I think the Universe is trying to get my attention, and perhaps through me, it’s trying to get yours as well.
Last week, I attended an event sponsored by Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. It was part of the firm’s “Open Talk” series and featured Harold Ford, Jr. interviewing Russell Simmons. As I described to a friend soon after, it was a no-hold bars conversation; Russell’s transparency and candor were refreshing, funny, and for some in the audience of approximately 400, I would suspect, shocking.
I am on Marie Forleo’s “Rich, Hot, and Happy” mailing list. This week’s video message about one of her non-negotiables ironically (?) contained the same message as is in Russell’s book, “Super Rich” – which I’ve been reading since the event.
What do Russell Simmons and Marie Forleo have in common? Continue Reading »
I left work after 10pm one evening this week with my head spinning with ideas – new clients to reach out to, contracts and proposals to write, and wondering how I was going to manage all of it with limited time.
I was approached by a woman on the train platform.
For those who are unfamiliar with NYC subway etiquette – you don’t approach strangers. And you certainly don’t approach them and hand them anything. But she was dressed in professional work clothes and didn’t seem like she might be harmful so I glanced down at what she handed me.
It was an Avon catalog. Continue Reading »
As a consultant you are constantly working on and in your business. These three simple tips are the way to stay motivated, focused and build your business with the right values and people.
1. Make it a habit to be in contact with your clients regularly.
E-mailing is nice, but actually picking up the phone and calling your existing clients goes even further. Just getting to know them a bit more personally by asking how they are, inviting them to events that are good for their business and getting to know their networks are the simplest means of getting referrals, and additional contracts from them. Don’t call them just when their payment is late or when your business is slow, do it regularly and do it often. Your call can get them into thinking about some need they have or problem for which you could provide the solution. Continue Reading »
As an entrepreneur, you have no doubt already realized that this dream can be challenging to turn into a reality! This is NOT to say it cannot be done, but definitely not when you are just starting out or even three to five years in, especially if your business is really YOU.
There are plenty of entrepreneurs like me, who are the product and service. It is often difficult to figure out where and when to outsource or bring in additional staff to do some of the work your business and reputation is based on. Continue Reading »
I recently taught a business plan class and was blown away by the number of students who had not yet started their business.
The course was at the half way point and all of the students had amazing business ideas. New products to import and export, new services they could enhance, online applications that could save time or create new communities and even a not for profit that targeted a new client niche. They had constructed their ideas on well thought theories, were in varying stages of market research, and had outlined their first year of income and expenses.
Yet none of them had actually started the business.
They gave me a host of reasons
- Not enough cash
- Finalizing legal structures
- The need for venture capital of other financing options
- Selecting potential partners
These were all good reasons. But none of them could answer why they hadn’t started testing the ideas on a few select customers and getting feedback. Continue Reading »
Although we tend to equate the term “career” with profession, I argue that our health is the most important career of our lives, one that we must sustain and adapt as necessary. For business and entrepreneurial-minded folks who seek me out to help them achieve their health goals, I like to make the following analogies between their “day job” and nutrition:
Continue Reading »
As social media continues to evolve, so do those who participate in it, and how they respond is changing. Responding to social media criticism is difficult at best—creating a short, punchy response can make you look too aggressive, while a reasoned response is often lost on someone out for blood. This process has become a daily challenge for most entrepreneurs who walk the fine line of protecting their reputation and business, since often they are both. The process of analyzing feedback has become more important to major corporations, large organizations, and the government. They have created a process for responding to bloggers, encouraging legal counsel and PR experts–only respond to comments in certain situations.
These three strategies can assist you with a social media criticism problem, particularly one that stands to damage you, your organization’s or business’ reputation. If you’ve spent the last few days losing sleep over a negative comment someone left on your website, staring at a bad review of your product or service, a nasty column, or an insensitive comment, apply these tactics and judge its negative value before you submit a reply. Continue Reading »
Recently, a friend called me out of the blue asking for help with a recent challenge within her business. I juggled a few meetings, we scheduled a block of time to speak ,and talked through a few possible solutions for resolution.
She updated me a few days ago to share that she had finalized all of her work with the client and received payment. She was happy to be moving on; I was excited for her and wished her well until we had a moment to work together again.
What’s interesting about this story was the valued relationship that we had developed over the years. I hadn’t heard from this friend in over six months – but as soon as she called, I was more than happy to jump in and spend the same amount of time that I would normally reserve only for clients or business partners. On several occasions, she has been willing to do the same for me – and more than happy to roll out the red carpet treatment for introductions or problem solving.
Why? Continue Reading »
For many of you who are considering starting a business or are in the early days of running it, the last thing you are probably considering is how it will end. I’d like to challenge you to consider it and decide now what options you want to create.
It’s like Life Insurance – no one wants to talk about it but you need to buy it.
I share this because recently a good friend had the unfortunate incident of being placed in charge of running the family business. She is the spouse of a successful business owner. He stepped down due to health conditions and had to have his legal dependent, his wife, take over the reins of the company.
Many of his workers are not happy. The wife lacks many of the management and leadership skills that her husband had and is not familiar with the day to day operations of the business.
I blame poor planning.
All business owners – regardless of the size of the business – need to consider how they want to leave their business. Whether it’s due to Father Time or unforeseen incidents you need to consider options.
It’s also a good to consider an exit plan if you should decide one day that you want to try another industry or are interested in starting a new business. It’s not just for someone who has worked in one business for 25 years. You need to consider if you want to sell to another firm, offer shares to your current employees or dissolve the entity completely. There are pros and cons to all options and I advise you consult with a lawyer and experienced entrepreneurs who have been in the position to exit their business for advice.
The key take-away – The exit plan is not just designed for some fancy smancy high tech startup looking to be bought out in 2 years. There is huge value for businesses of all sizes and purposes to consider it well in the early stages of planning.
Looking for more information – check out these articles
Many entrepreneurs use a Board of Advisors when starting a new project or venture. It can be helpful to have a group of people who can share insight or feedback for the idea and provide a sounding board for the entrepreneur.
But it’s hard to know who to approach when you are first starting. And you may not have the “people capital” established yet to know how to ask a group of talented entrepreneurs, bankers, accountants, lawyers and other small business experts to support you with your business. (Plus it takes time to coordinate schedules and plan the agenda!)
So I’ll recommend using an accountability partner as you start your business. Continue Reading »