Jan 22 2019

Do you REALLY know what your customers think?

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Your “Best Guess”
No Longer Sells!

Small business and professional practice owners and managers need to squeeze every marketing dollar.

That’s easy to do when you make the decision to stop thinking you know it all when it comes to customer and patient needs and wants, and start finding out the truth!

Successful businesses are those that use Focus Group Sessions to uncover the real reasons that customers and prospects may be driven to your door, or abandon your offerings for those of a competitor.

“No matter how great your business or professional skills are –as with life itself– there’s no way you can actually “put yourself in another’s shoes.”

But (Voila!) you actually CAN get an accurate reading of other’s perceptions about what products and/or services you offer and how you offer them. No, not by using questionnaires or inventories or surveys… none of which most people ever respond to truthfully or meaningfully, even when they use heavily-researched, data-proven wording and techniques.


What matters is what actual customers/patients/clients actually say and think, and how they express those comments. That takes a Focus Group.

6 FOCUS GROUP ESSENTIALS

1. PARTICIPANTS

9 to 11 mix of screened customers and types of prospects you most want to reach. Identify those who best seem to represent your target market (or results may be skewed or not useful).

2. MODERATOR

Market research firms can be hired to organize and facilitate. This, however, can cost a small fortune and not necessarily perform as well as one (non-employee) consultant or coach who has solid Focus Group leadership experience, and who can also interpret body language and be 100% objective… someone who knows how to encourage on-time attendance and full participation… plus be able to keep the discussion lively and beneficial to your interests, without feeling (as you might) the need to be defensive in response to a comment or attitude. In this case, it’s actually best to not be present at all.

3. COMFORTABLE “OFF-CAMPUS” SETTING

Location (not your place of business) matters. You need a relaxing environment… a general meeting room at a business building, nearby hotel or conference center, or a private restaurant room where you might host an informal dinner.

4. RECORD IT ALL

In addition to written notes, be sure to record the entire event with the understanding it will ONLY be used for review by the Moderator and business/practice principals involved to make sure of accuracy of written notes.

5. MORE THAN ONE GROUP = MORE ACCURATE RESULTS

Depending on the amount of budgeted money and time available, multiple Focus Groups can be used at different times to allow for response variety and the additional data helps validity and consistency of results.

6. REWARDS

If not a meal, at least coffee/tea/water/juice, and snacks should be available, and a small token gift with a personally-signed (by the business/practice owner/principal and the Moderator) Thank You card plus a token gift… a small potted plant, a $10 gift card for a local restaurant… for each participant.

GO FOR IT! Doubts? Worries? Call HAL @ 1.931.854.0474 (CT). No fees. No sales pitch. Just some free input to clarify the above and help you succeed.

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Dec 29 2018

TOMORROW!

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TOMORROW: It’s the

“first blank page of

your 365-page book.

Write a good one!”

Thanks to Brad Paisley for the quote, and to my old friend Tony Emanueli, the very finest New Jersey Realtor, for sharing it <www.TonyEmanueli.com>

It has been commonly reported in the publishing world that more than 80% of all people believe they have a book to write. As we begin the new year, keep in mind that:

A) Books don’t write themselves,

B) Your “Resolution ” to write a book (or even a 7 words-or-less billboard!) will never happen without a plan, and

C) NO plan (book-writing, business sales and development, professional practice growth) works without all five of the following criteria…

1… Your plan must be REALISTIC. You cannot plan to write a bestseller that will also be the basis for an award-winning film. You cannot plan to price your book for $139.95 and think you’ll make enough money from sales to retire, or spend the rest of your life in luxury traveling the Mediterranean. You cannot plan to write exactly 327 and 1/2 pages or have a genuine leather dust cover. In your business or professional practice, or book, your plan must fit the reality of what you are TRULY capable of doing, not what you dream of doing. It is NOT “a wish.” It is an approach to taking action.            

2… Your plan must be SPECIFIC. Don’t allocate 10-hour workdays to uninterrupted writing time unless you’re a hermit. Having a goal to sell a million units a year or “paint the Brooklyn Bridge” or to “clean the house” will never be as effective as an agreed-to-in-advance monthly sales goal , or a goal to paint each girder (or clean each room), so you can check off daily/weekly sales –girder or room at a time– what you are in the process of achieving, and gain a sense of realistic timing to complete the goal.

3… Your plan must be FLEXIBLE. Nothing is in concrete. Goals need to be changed to fit the reality of changing circumstances. A plan is meant to be edited and changed according to life circumstances. You can always keep the target and change the dates or the methods to use or the steps involved… or you can even change (enlarge/expand/ reduce/move the target to best accommodate the flow of people and changing events involved.

4… Your plan must have a DUE DATE. Figure the hours and days and weeks and months, perhaps years, involved. If you approach the due date and see it won’t happen, regardless of whether the reason (There will A-L-W-A-Y-S be interruptions in life!), simply move the due date or reduce the desired results and get back on the horse. Remember #3 above and don’t berate yourself. Remember your due date is what you seek to achieve. It’s a target that you’re free to move or expand as circumstances dictate.

5… Your plan must be IN WRITING. Electronic keyboard entries don’t cut it! There’s a physiological response that handwritten plans produce by sending the message from your brain, through your neck and shoulder and arm and wrist and hand to your pen into the ink, and onto paper that adds up to genuine commitment.

Have a happy, healthy, productive 2019 filled with accomplishment of realistic, specific, flexible, due-dated, handwritten plans (not empty New Year’s Resolutions) for your life, your business, your professional practice

. . . and, yes, your book!

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Dec 20 2018

CHRISTMAS is not about giving OR receiving.

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Watch where you’re going!

Barnegat Girl 10/15/97-9/1/10 R.I.P.

I watched a blind man’s golden retriever thread his master through the parking lot and into the giant retail outlet, through electronic doors and deftly around an oblivious woman who appeared cast in stone, at one with her shopping cart… surely not about to move.

The man and his companion worked their way around obstacles, displays, counters, other shoppers. They passed so briskly and so seemingly self-assured that only a few passerby even noticed just one pair of color-blind canine eyes leading three pair of legs.

But I did. And in a mere matter of seconds after the man’s best friend and the man were devoured by store traffic, my mind snapped to attention from its visual tracking trance and realized I had been witness to a man with no eyes. Mine began to fill with tears. Maybe it was being sad for him, or grateful for me, or simply the season, but…

All my weaknesses, complaints and woes went quickly off into space as I closed my eyes and considered for just a moment what my life would be like without ever again seeing a crepe myrtle in full bloom, the ocean, a blue heron following with its body its spindly silent legs as it creeps along the shore, a laughing toddler, deep woods, a frolicking litter of puppies, snow-topped mountains, my family, a book, works of art, lightening, swooping seagulls, my toothbrush, a roaring fireplace, faces, a Christmas tree…

Who could possibly want a Christmas present, who has full use of vision, after seeing someone who does not?

So, I am left to conclude

that Christmas is truly not

about either giving or receiving.

Christmas is instead about consciousness-raising, celebration, self-renewal, and setting out once again on our annual trek to make the most of what we already have, to better ourselves and the lives of those around us.

Christmas is a gentle wake-up call to remember we are here to make a difference on this planet, one day at a time, to focus on making what’s possible actually happen. Christmas is a time for melancholy, yes, but also for introspection. We remember that we have within each of us the ability to choose the pathways that make existence on Earth as worthy as what lives in the riches of our souls.

Here’s what I’ve learned (often the hard way, mind you) so here’s what I have to share: In both business and in life, watch where you’re going, but always think about where you are. Be grateful for all that is yours, and continue your work to grow your business so you can help others from a position of strength… because the greatest gift of all is love wrapped up in charity.

# # #

God Bless You One And All

And Merry Christmas To You!

# # #

Hal@Businessworks.US    

1-931-854-0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Nov 28 2018

SAVVY BOSSES BEAT THE GREAT AMERICAN SLOWDOWN

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SAVVY BOSSES BEAT

 

THE GREAT

 

AMERICAN SLOWDOWN

 

Unless you’re caught up with ushering in holiday retail and online madness shopping clamor, you are likely entering “The Great American Slowdown” holiday season, and taking that much-awaited business relief break for yourself.

This is not to suggest you divert from the certainty of increased family interactions. 

It IS, however, to point out that as a suddenly relaxing American business or professional practice boss (Owner, Partner, Operator, Manager, Entrepreneur, CEO, CFO, CTO, or one of those other corporate muckity-muck titles), you may well be missing your single greatest business growth opportunity of the year ahead. 

Speaking of “ahead,” putting your hands behind your head (and feet onto your desk) for longer than some deep stress-relief breaths — instead of simply shifting productivity gears (like your savvy competitors will surely be doing) can be just enough to send your happy business existence down the tubes. 

By not making the most of business downtime to give yourself and your business interests a thorough checkup, and revitalize your  business growth plans for 2019, you may well be short-circuiting what little entrepreneurial think time you will have once January hangovers and New Years Resolutions begin to fade.

Putting a stethoscope to your business structure, employees, customer base, ambitions, growth directions… and whatever “map” you may have in your head for how to get where you’re going needs to be your first step.

Remind yourself that once 2019 gets on a roll (usually around mid-January) it may be too late to take the time out to reassess, reevaluate, and adjust goals and directions.

NOW is the ideal time (or after Christmas, if you’re in retail) to take a step back from where you’ve had your head buried all year to inventory what worked and what didn’t, what needs to be adjusted, what needs to be dumped… and PUT IT IN WRITING!

What? Who needs that? I put stuff on my PC, notebook, laptop, smart phone… writing?! Humbug!

When you put important ideas, ambitions, guidelines, goals onto paper with (OMG) a pen(!), there is a major physiological difference. Ideas from your brain that go through your neck to your shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, fingers, and into a pen, then ink, and transfer to a piece of paper, you create a more personally binding commitment than with keying in any kind of electronic transfer.

Humans do not commit actions to words on a screen, but we do follow-through with a greater sense of determination, open-mindedness and commitment when we put our words to paper.

This doesn’t mean everything has to be rigid or etched-in-stone. Effective planning and goals still need to be specific, realistic, flexible, due-dated, and in writing to be effective!  

So, when things change–as they always do–in ways that impact what we are aiming for, we simply re-write our plans on another piece of paper and tear up the old one . . . and, like the battery-run rabbit, “keep on going.”  

 

BusinessWORKS.US

COACHING BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE GROWTH NOW

New book: Healthcarepreneurs — free 24/7 access to weekly

22-minute “BUSINESSWORKS”  Radio Show/Podcast

 Creating Record Client Impact Since 1981

 DIVISION OF THEWRITERWORKS.COM, LLC.

 

 

 

 

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Sep 24 2018

Business? Healthcare Practice? DO IT NOW!

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GROW YOUR BUSINESS OR

 

HEALTHCARE PRACTICE NOW!

 

Get your FREE no-strings-attached

weekly dose of success-anchored guidance

based on 100+ years’ experience

 

NO TRICKS. NO GIMMICKS. NO RECORDS KEPT OF YOUR VISITS. This is not some online “upgrade” deal. Get your free 22-minute podcast 24/7 via computer or mobile phone. Pick any night-or-day time slot that fits your schedule (Listen before, during/after work–even driving). Nothing to subscribe to. Replay it whenever you want.

 

EACH 22-MINUTE PODCAST gives you tools and ideas for achieving fast-track success with your small-to-medium-sized business or healthcare practice… and grow it quicker than you can do by yourself. No time limits! We don’t chase after you. We don’t even know who or where you are. Start with a “Sampler Visit”—> CLICK HERE (then scroll down to “BUSINESSWORKS” and pick any topic!)

SIMPLY LISTEN WHENEVER YOU CAN to get the best of two diverse approaches to solving your own business and practice growth problems. We share what we’ve learned to help you avoid wasting time, money, and energy.

 

YOU GET:  STIMULATING, PRACTICAL

“HOW-TO” IDEAS, PROVEN INPUT AND

ADVICE THAT GETS RESULTS. YOU GET

CAUTIONS AND ENCOURAGEMENT, PLUS

 WAYS TO DEAL MORE EFFECTIVELY WITH:

Branding. Marketing. Advertising. Sales. Community and Public Relations. Customer Service and CRM. Recruiting, Hiring and Firing. Management Coaching. Staff Training. Investments. Money/Resource Management. Outsourcing. Dealing with Partners/ Investors. New Revenue Streams. Startups/Revitalizations. Stress and Time Management. Communication Skills. Strategic Planning. Dealing With Government Agencies. Much More.

 

CO-HOSTS HAL ALPIAR AND JOHNNY STITES (and their periodic guests) help you sort through issues, stimulate your creativity, and learn to trust your own business sense and judgments.

YOU GET  HANDS-ON-EXPERIENCED INPUT from professional coaches who help grow all kinds of specialized and competitive enterprises… from construction and skilled labor to retail, manufacturing, and service entities… from healthcare practices and facilities of every specialty and description… medical centers, hospital departments/ institutes, immediate and long-term care facilities.

NOT ONLY DO BOTH HAL & JOHNNY PROVIDE a combined 100+ years of success track-record. They also offer proven expertise in managing the uniqueness’s of family businesses and in positioning nonprofit and creative project businesses and organizations for long-term growth.

 

IF YOU’RE INTERESTED

BEYOND PODCASTS . . .

CALL HAL AT 1.931.854.0474 

OR JOHNNY AT 1.931.261.7003

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Sep 14 2018

THANK YOU for your support of “FEARLESS! ABOUT LOVE”

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THANK YOU for your support 

 

A truly heartfelt thanks to each of you,

dear friends, you who stepped up to help

support movie pre-production expenses of

 

“FEARLESS! ABOUT LOVE”

 

CLICK PHOTO for first minute of musical movie!

You know who you are. We know who you are. And headed toward production in 2019, we know only that we couldn’t be here without you!

You are friends of Valerie, friends of Hal, friends of music and the performing arts. You are also friends of creative and determined entrepreneurship.

You are friends of this dynamic humorous and dramatic triple love tale that everyone can relate to.

And you are friends of the inspired music and lyrics that tell the whole story. Your support is genuinely appreciated. 

 

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Jul 24 2018

HELP Launch This Brilliant New Musical Movie!

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This inspirational film musical is

about 3 intertwined, related love 

stories… with a touch of fantasy. 

 

Humor, memorable songs and dramatic edginess ala Sound of Music, La La Land and Mama Mia are delivered yet again with new and different captivating characters–struggling to conquer the trials of life in:

FEARLESS! ABOUT LOVE 

                                                                                                                                 

The music drives the emotions and dialogue of the characters singing original songs by composer Valerie Connelly in a variety of genres. 

NOW — with more than a dozen years of production testing and development (including a range of live stage performances), YOUR HELP IS NEEDED to open film production doors, recruit top talent and assist with initial development costs.

To visit a complete representation–including music and stage performance trailers–and Valerie Connelly’s lifetime of songwriting, music arrangement and composition, her recordings, live performances, and life path, simply click on the black-outlined logo box/link at the top of this column. 

 

BusinessWORKS.US

GROWING BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES NOW

Check Out Co-Hosts Hal Alpiar & Johnny Stites

On Free Weekly BUSINESSWORKS Radio Show 24/7 Podcasts

Creating Record Business Growth Impact with 100 Years of Experience

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Jul 14 2018

EVERY GROWING BUSINESS GROWS WEEDS

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EVERY GROWING BUSINESS

 

GROWS WEEDS

 

The National Federation of Independent Business proclaims NOW is the first time in 45 years that confidence levels of US small business owners are prompting a growth and expansion attitude.

 

So, the time to grow is NOW.

But beware the temptation to charge full-steam ahead because pursuing more business or professional practice growth now probably means you’ll need to be pulling weeds first!

You’ll need to make more elbow room for your new or planned crops/flowers/products/services to gain more sunshine, and an increased share of watering.

And, remember that no matter how clear things appear above ground, nothing can grow when underground weed roots are commandeering the water supply, and strangling what you are trying to plant!

So, even with more sunshine, unless below-the-surface water routes are not also freed up, you will have done only half the job… ending up with half the possible results.

 

Well then, where do you start?

Just pulling harder on your weeds often only serves only to delay failure because the roots that remain (after the aboveground portions snap off) simply get larger and even more aggressive.

Odds are you already have a pretty good idea of where you want to end up, but before you set specific, realistic, flexible, due-dated goals in writing, step back from what you’re doing right now and assess your business’s ability to rise to the occasion.

In other words, honor the famous old quotes from Robert J. McKain: “There is no achievement without goals” and Earl Nightingale: “People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going.” And most importantly: Start with an honest appraisal of your SELF.

How capable are you and how much do you really want to spend the energy to make a difference for your SELF, your family, your employees, your customer/patient/client base?

How many people are presently employed by your business or professional practice?

Have each of them demonstrated a capability to rise to the occasion? If yours is a “family” business, how invasive is that influence on where you want to go?

Make a Yes/No/Maybe list.

Who among the “no” and “maybe” people are “weeds”? (i.e., they need to move or shift their attitudes somehow to allow more sunshine in… or they need to simply be removed by the roots because they are taking up too much space and water to continue with your new growth ambitions and directions.)

Decide how flexible/adaptable/energetic/motivated each of them is?

And what you think it will take to get each moving in the right direction.

Remember that weeds DO have a use

. . . when they are added to the mulch pile.

 

BusinessWORKS.US

GROWING BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES NOW

Hal Alpiar & Johnny Stites Weekly Radio Show 24/7 Podcasts

Creating Record Business Growth Impact with 100 Years of Experience

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Jun 11 2018

DON’T KNOW HOW TO BOOST BUSINESS NOW?

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BOOST BUSINESS NOW,

 

 BUT DON’T KNOW HOW?

You thinkin’ it takes money to make money, honey,

but you ain’t got none… and that ain’t funny!

 

It’s all a matter of THOUGHTS and WORDS and DEEDS. You need to believe that you can make happen whatever you WANT to happen for your business or professional practice. And, yes, NOW (with America’s current and projected economy) it is indeed the time!

Stop the negativity! It’s true that what goes around comes around, but NOT true that opportunity knocks once or twice. Opportunity knocks as many times as you choose for it to knock. And those choices come bursting up to the surface based on:

 

1) WHAT YOU THINK most of the time about yourself , and what you think most of the time about your enterprise!

2) THE WORDS YOU USE to describe yourself and your business or professional practice in formal plans and informal conversations… the words you use with friends and family, your customers/clients/patients (and their families), other businesses and practices, your geographical, educational, sports, charitable, and spiritual communities,

3) THE GENUINENESS OF YOUR ATTITUDE, and the endlessness of good deeds and services you offer… including those you know in your heart you’ll never get back or ever hear from again. Remember that integrity is doing what’s right even when there’s no one around to notice.

The Bottom Line: You have the ability to change your circumstances by simply making the decision to do that and then by consistently following through with the thoughts, words, attitude and actions that reinforce your decision at every turn.

 

BusinessWORKS.US

 

GROWING BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES NOW

Hal Alpiar & Johnny Stites Weekly Radio Show/24-7 Podcasts

Creating Record Business Growth Impact with 100 Years of Experience

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May 20 2018

YOUR BUSINESS VS. SNAILMAIL: WHO WINS?

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Economy Surge Boosts Business

 

(but not yours or the Post Office?)

 

YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT DELIVERING ALL

THAT YOU WANT OR NEED FOR IT TO BE?

Are you seeking some magic to re-ignite your business to take advantage of the booming US economy… or are you standing there, totally befuddled, sucking your thumb and wondering how YOU MISSED THE BOAT??… this post is for you!

 

DELIVERING 

BASED ON CAPABILITY ALONE

IS DIFFICULT AT BEST

… EVEN FOR THE BEST.

The United States Postal Service has had a zillion opportunities to succeed over a zillion years of big-time budgets and noteworthy big-time leadership of politically-based government organization people, who appear to have never earnestly sought real-world business input.

USPS has failed to act on endless business  growth opportunities Priority-Mailed to itself on a golden platter because those in charge thought they had and continue to think they have all the answers. (When was the last USPS Customer Survey you received?)


That belief alone spells disaster for any business or organization, or even professional practice. The lifetime of failure spawned (and actually nurtured) smarter competition.

How do I know all this?

First, because I grew up with my father being (for 25 years) a USPS Special Delivery Messenger –the first 7-days a week version of overnight delivery service– and watched Special Delivery Mail dissolve away to open a floodgate of business for FedEx, UPS, Amazon, and a long list of others.

Second, because I’ve had the good fortune to have had many proven and experienced business teachers and trainers in my life share many business development basics, like: No one ever has all the answers. Open Minds Open Doors. Leadership is about listening first and acting second.

And I have been able to apply successfully what I’ve learned to teach others— as a professor, business and healthcare practice coach/consultant, published author, management trainer, and now as a “business how-to” podcast and radio host.

With that as background, I attempted numerous times over the years to communicate with USPS executives in some of the same ways I succeeded at communicating with private business enterprise owners and managers… with ideas and proposals… but they were never responded to except by form letter thank-you-but-no-thank-you notes.

IF YOU ARE TRYING TO

RUN YOUR BUSINESS WITH

A CLOSED-DOOR USPS MINDSET,

NOTHING — not even a booming economy — can save you!

 

 

STOP HERE. Take a deep breath.

Has your business run away from you? Are you trying too hard to force it into a direction that simply doesn’t fit?

Do you shut down whenever someone floats a business-growth idea past you because you think they couldn’t possibly understand what you’re facing or what you’ve done to get where you are?

Or maybe just because you don’t trust that person’s face or age or lack of hard-nosed experience, or what you imagine to be her/his sense of reality?

HOW RECEPTIVE ARE YOU, REALLY?

If your answer is “VERY,” Congratulations! Now open your eyes, your arms and your mind and get ready to turn things around. You’ve just taken the first step to put yourself on track to being the business winner you’ve always been capable of being. Reach out for input from other business owners, from employees, from customers. Consider and sort out and weigh the options… THEN (without betting the farm), Take Action!

 

P.S. In case you haven’t heard, President Trump is “taking action” with the formation of a USPS Task Force to address some of the kinds of issues raised here, as well as how to get a better deal with other delivery services. Hoping for the best for USPS… and, of course, for YOU!

 

BusinessWORKS.US

GROWING BUSINESS & PROFESSIONAL PRACTICES NOW

Hal Alpiar & Johnny Stites Weekly Radio Show/24-7 Podcasts

Creating Record Business Growth Impact with 100 Years of Experience

 

 

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