Aug 02 2015

Baking Entrepreneur Cakes?

cake

Entrepreneur Programs

 

Do Not Make Entrepreneurs

 

Entrepreneurship can be taught. And those who are entrepreneurs can be made more productive. But the truth is that those not born with entrepreneurial instincts and attitudes can only learn what the tools and ingredients are –and maybe even how to use some of them– yet never become entrepreneurs.

Not everyone, after all, can consistently look at problems and count them as opportunities. Thomas Edison saw his 10,000 attempts to invent the lightbulb as 9,999 ways to learn from, that led him to the last.

Just as tools and ingredients do not bake cakes, neither do they make entrepreneurs. What happens to the cake if you put the egg in at the wrong time? What happens to a well-informed entrepreneurship student who’s afraid to take reasonable risks?

Can risk-taking be taught? Maybe. But when the moment of truth arrives, will a top student who fully understands reasonable risk-taking, but lacks entrepreneurial instincts, actually take the risk she or he needs to take to achieve success?

Entrepreneurial instincts practically dictate resistance toward and distrust for authority figures. Does this preclude meaningful instruction? Who can teach entrepreneurship except an entrepreneur?

And how many entrepreneurs are driven by the entrepreneurial-essential fire-in-the-belly desire to put themselves in the middle of a complex politically-stratified organization that relies on academic authority channels to exist, when they themselves could instead be developing the next great medical treatment or mobile app, or self-tying shoelace?

Entrepreneurs are driven by making their ideas work, not by others’ ideas, not by money, not by organizational achievement. Though there undoubtedly must be some exception somewhere, my lifetime of entrepreneurial pursuits and independent coaching (to instill entrepreneurial values in organizations), has yet to uncover even one.

An entrepreneur is an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur. [That’s sort of like: “if it quacks like a duck . . .”] Learning as much as one possibly can about entrepreneurial-thinking-and-doing will, without doubt, strengthen one’s business and career odds for success — on a campus, in a corporation, or in small businesses run by entrepreneur-savvy people. And, yes, even in government captivity.

Realities:

  • Don’t expect such efforts to crank out legions of entrepreneurs
  • Many succeed beyond their dreams without even an inkling of entrepreneurial values
  • Almost every business and career can benefit by infusions of entrepreneurial energy and style

Like teaching those few-and-far-between truly brilliant musicians that they have what it takes, entrepreneurship teaching and training efforts can provide much-needed wakeup calls! Programs grounded in entrepreneurial traits, characteristics, behaviors, and action-orientation do indeed succeed. They raise consciousness for students and corporate executives who have what it takes, but who never quite cultivated the awareness levels needed to put it all together for themselves.

Deliverables include: increased innovation, productivity (less wasted time, energy, resources and money), and sales; increased customer and market awareness and responsiveness; sharper and quicker decision making; accelerated market testing; rapidly expanded networking and referral bases; enhanced communication skills; and a stronger across-the-board sense of teamwork, self-fulfillment, and self-motivation.

The ultimate entrepreneurship determinant is REALITY

. . . existing as much of the time as possible in the

“here-and-now” present moment. 

Are you?

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Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

God Bless You and Thank You for Your Visit!

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Feb 15 2012

CREATIVE BUSINESS

TIMELESSNESS

Surely you jest! The closest we’ll ever get to this state of existence (and still be living) is on vacation (or drugs!), or by meditating or exercising. Reality dictates that timelessness is not a condition of most employment, unless you’re an Astronaut.

~~~~~~~

So what’s a poor creative business type to do to achieve a big enough taste of nirvana, be inspired to greatness and  innovative genius . . . and to prompt meaningful sales?

First, manage your time more efficiently. Pay no attention to corporate trainers and consultants who advocate that life is not about managing time but should instead be about managing your self more efficiently.

CREATIVITY IS NOT SPAWNED

BY EFFICIENCY.

Creative expression evolves from dreaming, trial and error, inspiring examples, hard-nosed research, brainstorming, testing, communication, and often from sleeping on your ideas.

You’ll do –for example– a better job of creative marketing or website design after watching an animated movie, or after taking a walk or jog through the woods or a park, or along a waterfront.

You’ll get more creative traction out of playing with a toddler, or a puppy, or visiting your local ASPCA adoption offerings, or a nursing home, children’s hospital, school, theatre or day care center.

In other words, get yourself up and out of your element, away from your “normal” day-to-day environment.

ROUTINE EXPERIENCES

DON’T STIMULATE CREATIVITY.

Total immersion in the exceptional, extraordinary, bizarre, unexpected, and unusual DO.

Savvy creative directors send their writers, artists, and designers to different kinds of events to broaden their horizons and enable expanded thinking directions. It’s not unklike getting up from your desk, drawing board, computer, or workbench to take a short walk, a break, a stretch, or to get a cup of coffee. This also translates to not eating lunch in your workspace.

When we make a point of achieving little hunks of timelessness in the consciousness of our daily work efforts, grabbing at it whenever possible, we will perform better than those who don’t, and better than we normally would when we don’t take time outs!

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Hal@Businessworks.US 302.933.0116

Open   Minds   Open   Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Oct 17 2011

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES… “D”

Welcome to the world’s first

BIZ ALPHABET SERIES of blog posts — 

 

“D”…DELEGATION

 

 Does it make a big difference if I tell you 

to do something . . . or ask you to do it?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

                                                                        

Telling you what to do might work out fine in the military, or aboard a plane or boat, or operating heavy equipment . . . or if you’re a prisoner, a horse, or a Cocker Spaniel.

But, in business, unless you –the owner or manager– need to prompt cooperation with others to get a job done, the results you’ll trigger by giving directives cannot compare with the response you’ll get from making a request, which can be astonishing. And when was the last time you got great results from giving orders?

US President and General Dwight David Eisenhower taught his senior officers how to exercise leadership by pushing a tangle of string across a tabletop vs. taking one end and pulling it, which of course ended with the string in a straight line moving in a single direction, instead of a jumble going nowhere.

Yes, sincerity, genuineness, eye contact, backpats, your posture, tone of voice, and and smiles often make the difference. So does the reputation you carry for having integrity and authenticity — perhaps the two most important qualities an entrepreneur can have on the road to success.

And, interestingly, integrity and authenticity are ever too late to cultivate.

Well, okay, you know all that, but how far must you go with the “please” and “thank you” routine? Truth? You’ll never go far enough, and if it’s actually become “routine,” go back to your cave.

Here are a few treasured learnings I can share:

  • Even when we think we know, little do we ever really know about what life circumstances will bring, and where we’ll end up with our businesses in the years ahead.

  • I have seen discounted, dismissed, dissed and insulted employees turn up years later being the bosses of those who once humiliated and looked down on them.

  • I have seen long-term top customers walk away from businesses in an instant after learning about relatives (a son, in one case) who worked for the provider business, unbeknownst to the boss, who were routinely berated, chastised, scolded, yelled at and wrongly blamed for screw-ups.

  • I have personally watched businesses run by owners who were rude, constantly preoccupied, always angry, and routinely barking out orders . . . go down and under.

Do you –like the carpenter and heart surgeon– make a practice of measuring twice and cutting once? Do you think twice before speaking once?

Remember

you can delegate authority,

but you cannot delegate

responsibility.

Responsibility is yours alone.

When you ask peopleto get things done, asking nicely is not manipulation, it’s respect. Use words that inspire and that demonstrate your passion for your business: opportunity, challenge, reward, investment, courage, pride, workmanship, spirit, spunk, gumption (add your own) . . . the right words make your passion contagious.

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0911

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Sep 14 2011

Business Body Barometers

Hopefully, your mouse is pointing to (and clicking on) the HIGH TIDE box on the right~~~>

BUT, where is your foot pointed?

                                                               

YES, I have better things to do. NO, I am not a kinetics (body language) expert nor a walking lie detector. Like most business owners, I muddle through exchanges with others –using a combination of what I know and feel from experience– to decide on another person’s intents, genuineness, and ability to perform up to my belief system.

But I have written and taught considerably on the subject, and am frequently asked about practical business applications. So, remembering that you’re not licensed to practice psychotherapy, here’s enough body barometer stuff to shrink out some of those business head cases you deal with:

Let’s first distinguish between verbal and nonverbal communication, keeping in mind that: A) words themselves do not have meaning; only people have meaning, and that: B) Only 7% of communication is generally believed to be verbal. (38% is believed to be tone of voice, and 55%, nonverbal!)

Nonverbal communication, I recall, is accomplished in 9 different ways (there may be more, but who needs more?):

  1. AMBULATION — How someone walks. Big differences in the messages coming from someone who swishes vs, stomps or swaggers, bounces, strides, or drags.

  2. TOUCHING — The most powerful form of nonverbal communication. Consider the differences in touch for expressing anger, interest, trust, tenderness, warmth . . . and the differences in willingness to touch or be touched.

  3. EYE CONTACT — When do pupils dilate? What’s in your unconscious mind about eye colors? Trust? Sincerity? Forthrightness? Does someone stare, shoot daggers, avoid direct eye contact, glance slyly?

  4. POSTURING — Are arms and legs crossed defensively? Stand or sit slouched or erect. Severe threats promote fetal positions.

  5. TICS — Uncontrollable nervous twitches may indicate a sensing of possible threats.

  6. S UBVOCALS — Um, er, uh, whew! . . . and grunts and groans, whistles, loud swallowing, tongue clicking.

  7. DISTANCING — We each have our own Space. Comfort zones vary by person, geographical region, country, and by odors.

  8. GESTURING — A wave, thumbs up or down, an OK sign or angry fist, a V can all be acceptable in one place and not in another.

  9. VOCALISM — Say: I LOVE my children! vs. I love MY children! vs. I love my CHILDREN! vs. I love my children! Same words, but do you hear different meanings?

STROKING arms, legs, or hair often indicates a lack of affection (perhaps at the moment, perhaps in general). See if talking about how valuable that person is to your business stops that activity.  SMILES are great, but can often be a defense mechanism. THE FACE ALONE CAN PRODUCE 250,000 EXPRESSIONS! (Weird research, huh?)

Sports guys and politicians use THUMBS UP and THUMBS DOWN. Hitchhikers point THUMBS SIDEWAYS.

CONFIDENCE is often expressed by pyramiding fingers, by hands in pockets with thumbs out and by hands held behind a stiff back.

INSECURITY is frequently communicated by pinching, chewing (pens, pencils, pipe, fingernails, gums), by hands stuffed deep into pockets, as well as by smoking, fidgeting, jingling coins, tugging ears or mustache, or underclothing, by someone who frequently covers her or his mouth and /or “ahems” often.

HOW a person lights and holds a cigarette, pipe or cigar, how he or she writes (including pen pressure), how glasses and eating utensils are held and used, how food is picked up and eaten. These are barometers. So are the ways people greet and say goodbye to one another. Handshakes (firm, wimpy, bone-crushing?). Hugs and kisses. Who touches whom?

The boss’s hand on someone’s shoulder shows authority. People in power feel comfortable touching subordinates, but not the other way around! Is it acceptable to touch a pregnant woman? Holding one’s hand to show the palm is regarded as a sexual attraction signal, especially when pupils dilate.

Watch how people move toward and away from one another — Distances? Who moves first? When?  Is someone’s foot pointed toward you when she or he speaks with you, or toward the door? Effective communications requires effort!

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Hal@Businessworks.US 302.933.0911

Open Minds Open Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

No responses yet

Jul 14 2011

Do I? Do I What?

Do I understand you

                                  

  correctly to mean…? 

                               

 Can you give me

                    

an example?

          

When you’re not 100% sure that you fully understand the meaning and intent of someone’s words, ask paraphrasing-type questions

. . . and ask for examples.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Asking these two questions is evidence of quality leadership. Because true leaders listen. Paraphrasing and asking for examples are key indicators of effective listening. The responses clarify. The responses help ensure accurate two-way communications, and they help prevent errors and misunderstandings.

Simply by posing these two questions (plus this one), leaders can help agitated people (e.g., upset employees, irate customers, impatient investors) to jet down. The asking alone serves to build trust, loyalty, teamwork, and promote open innovative exchanges. It also, by the way (but not unimportantly), reassures, flatters, and compliments.   

Used correctly, paraphrasing is equally effective in personal life as well as business. Business partners, employer/employee and parent/child relations, teacher/student, married and unmarried couples and family relationships can all benefit by using paraphrasing.

It is, in effect, a clarification checkpoint practice that works. 

                                                       

What does “used correctly” mean? Process. Dynamics. The process and dynamics of asking the questions — the how, when, where, and circumstances; the nature of the people involved; the nature of the actions to be taken or tasks to be done– all have a bearing on the value of the outcome. How you ask. Your tone of voice. Your posture.

Yes, some could see this kind of attention to communication detail as a lot of unnecessary work. Those people are choosing to feel threatened by the intrusion of having to expend extra energy and time (yes, it will take more time that “normal” for a meeting or phone call or e-exchange) to get stuff right the first time instead of on a re-visit.

If you’re not presently building these kinds of questions into your daily practice of leadership –business, home, professional practice, community organization, classroom makes no difference– put it to the test. You will find, inside of just three weeks, major improvement at many levels, including increased receptivity.

You can greatly enhance the prospects for yourself to succeed with this challenge by adding note taking to your listening time. If you think it makes people feel good to be asked if you’ve understood something correctly, or to provide an example, wait ’til you see their faces when you start jotting down what they say.

Back to the agitated communicators, when you can also ask someone: “Would you mind please slowing down (or repeating what you just said) so I can make some reminder notes for myself to be sure I don’t miss any of the important things you say, I will appreciate it. Now if I understand you correctly to mean…?” You defuse the upset.

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Hal@Businessworks.US  

  Open minds open doors. 

 Thanks for visiting and God bless you.

   Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Jul 13 2011

Twisted Meanings

The mouth says “Yes!”

           

 but the body says “No!”

                                                                                                                                   

What’s wrong with this picture?

You stand there, head down and tilted to the right, parentally staring over the tops of your glasses.

Your arms are folded defensively across your chest.

Your aggressive right-side shoulder is turned away and leans on the doorway or wall.

Your aggressive right-side foot is being held back by your receptive left-side foot which has it blocked or covered.

And you are telling your contentious investor or your irate customer that she is right, that you agree completely.

A mixed message? 

_________________________

Great sales professionals know that when your job involves some form of persuasion (name just one that doesn’t!), you can’t learn too much about body language.

Why?

Because without some great theatrical dynamics in your DNA, or having taken some pantomimist course of study, people’s bodies speak truer than their mouths.

(Precisely why txtmsgs fail in every attempt to exercise persuasion.)

                                                                       

Without being able to see firsthand how the person or group you’re communicating with responds to greatly handicaps the persuader’s ability to gain acceptance. Remember that every successful decision to buy, or buy in, is one that’s emotionally-triggered–not logically reasoned.

Telephones are a step up from texting because careful listening allows us to “see” responses like a smile, a frown, anxiety, preoccupation, anger, but it’s true that there is nothin’ like the real thing, baby! Skype? Pretty close to in-person, though you’re not likely to ever know if the tie and jacket are just upper hosts to underwear and bare feet!

Studying up on observation skills is always a good thing, but don’t expect it to suddenly turn your tide. Careful listening and effective eye-contact (note the word “effective” means to eliminate staring, glaring, leering, and flirting) are equally important assessment tools. They give you the unspoken chance to make adjustments.

Great athletes will tell you that the ability to make adjustments –batter to pitcher, quarterback to hard-charging defenders, boxer to boxer, skier to slope conditions, golfer to wind, marathoner to temperature, etc.– is the difference-maker and deal-breaker when it comes to actual performance.                                                                                  

Still trying to think of a job that doesn’t involve some form of persuasion? There are none. And that should tell you something all by itself. The better you can be at quietly and unobtrusively “reading” and processing another’s body language (kinetics, if you prefer formality), the more effective you’ll be at growing your business.

When you note someone folding arms, crossing legs, sitting back, jiggling a foot, or steepling their fingertips, you must decide how to mentally/physically/emotionally step back from whatever you’re representing, long enough to prompt a change to more receptive posture before moving forward.

Thinking is one thing. Awareness is another. 

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Hal@Businessworks.US  302.933.0911 

  Open minds open doors. 

 Thanks for visiting and God bless you.

   Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

No responses yet

Apr 11 2011

EMAILS JOIN THE SNAIL PARADE

It used to be just the Post

                                          

Office took forever to get

                                 

the message to you. Now,

                             

dumb emails are joining

                            

the snail parade.

                                                                          

 

The Post Office–no doubt next in line for more government bailouts of lethargic incompetent organizations–remains fully responsible for (and permanently disabled from) getting slaughtered in the marketplace.

They’ve been pummeled by emails, FedEx, UPS, and all the other non-government-affiliated, more convenient, better quality, better performing delivery and shipping methods and organizations.

These private enterprise businesses, keep in mind, bloomed overtly, and directly under the Post Office’s wanted-poster eyes.

But email snailmail?

Email communication failures that end up delaying message accuracy are strictly the doing of the senders.

Every time an email fails (I calculate the frequency of non-spam fairly important yet thoroughly convoluted messages arriving bedraggledly into the stage center glare of my monitor screen spotlight to be about four or five times a week), it’s the sender’s fault.

                                                 

It’s something like throwing a fourth quarter tie-game seventy-yard Hail Mary Pass directly into the encircling waiting arms of the fleet-footed, leaping downfield receiver, but it turns out to be a golfball. 

______________________________

First off, emails are not just short letters or long text messages. They do not take the place of one-on-one or group meetings. They are not substitutes for phone calls. Carrier pigeons? Well.  

Emails are emails are emails.

                                                             
  • When we GET them, they are either junk or important, or they’re provocative or relevant-sounding enough to get past the spam sentries (but are still probably junk).
  • When we SEND them, we labor over them and painstakingly tend to editing and refining the message and recipient list and including just the right amount of cordiality. I mean, don’t act like you’ve never sat back and tried to imagine how your message will be received.

OR,

  • We just mindlessly FWD those we think will amuse or entertain or educate certain collections of family, friends, and acquaintances.

Right? Ah, but sadly, the answer is: no; that’s not all.

                                                             

There is one more omnipresent category –the silent majority it seems to me– that careth not a thing about who or what circumstances may be on the receiving end.

(At least on the phone, you can hear if someone has a miserable cold!) 

Is it just my imagination, or do most emails lack forethought, editing care, and common courtesy?

Hmmm? 

                                                 

Since the electronic nature of the medium is so impersonal, we are therefore justified in acting impersonal with the tone and content of what we send? Is it really necessary to not include some sort of greeting or sign-off courtesy?

Why not just staple-gun the thing onto the tree in front of my office and wait for me to notice it?

It really doesn’t take much to say “Hi Joe” which is a nice thing, unless your name is Diane or something. And it’s not like time-consuming hard work to end with “Regards” or “Have a great day” or :Stuff it!” or SOMEthing. Really.

Which brings the subject of ESNAILMAIL full circle. Why is email time-consuming? Because too many email senders “wing it” and pay little or no attention to detail, or rely fully on attachments which don’t open, or that set off alarms, or come packaged with 27 cute little pop-ups trying to sell exploding washcloths (no need to launder ;<) . . .

. . . and then –because they don’t get it right the first time– have to RE-send a corrected or edited or updated version to say what they should have taken the time and trouble to say right the first time. VOILA! A phone call would have saved time. 

Oh, and while I’m at it, please stop with the Reply emails that say things like: “OK” or “Got it” or Sure thing” or Later” or “Let’s do it!” –especially with all 106 prior emails in the string still attached.

OK? THX.

                                                  

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www.TheWriterWorks.com or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Mar 30 2011

Eh? What’s that you say?

Communicate. Communicate.

                         

Communicate. Communicate. 

                         

(Four times? Ah, yes, but repetition sells!)

There is no part of good communicating that beats good communicating! Yes, it takes longer. Yes, it’s more work. Yes it can be annoying (if you choose for it to be), but guess what? It is worth pursuing 100% of the time.

There is no part of good communicating

that beats good communicating!

Sure, you know all about the “listening 80% of the time and talking 20% of the time” stuff. And you know that one-way communicating is for radio, TV, and high physical risk situations.

You’re very aware of how important it is to communicate just the right amount of information — not too much or too little– in order to get the job done.

And you also no doubt know (but may have forgotten) that sometimes a W~H~I~S~P~E~R communicates better than a SHOUT! Oh, and of course you always try to offer and ask for examples to better understand or make a point, right? Right, and diagrams. Think of diagrams as little communications accuracy insurance policies.

So how hard do you listen? Human attention spans drift off in peaks and valleys. People often miss the most important points. This is even more pronounced and more frequent in phone conversations than in one-on-one exchanges.

And in case you thought putting it in writing helps, hmmm, look carefully at your last three emails or text messages!

When was the last time you were approached by a customer or employee or supplier who had input for you –regardless of how valuable or not you perceived it to be– and you pulled out a pen and pad (you do remember what pens and pads are?), and –as if you were a legitimate journalist (a stretch perhaps)– and actually took notes?

Let me get this down. Can you say that again?

What’s an example I can jot down?

Can you give me a resource to make note of that I can check out later?

Here, can you try to diagram that out for me on this pad so it’s easier for me to remember later?

Here’s what I wrote that I thought you just said; is it correct?

Just imagine being a customer or employee or supplier on the receiving end of a note taking boss who asks these kinds of questions. Do you think you might get more accurate initiatives and responses? Does it mean more work on your part? Of course! Will it take more time? Absolutely! Is it worth having clearer exchanges of information?

You don’t know how to explain the new note-taking you? How’s “I’m trying to improve my listening skills.”? Would that create havoc? Who knows, it might even prompt some increased admiration and respect. Maybe others will start doing the same thing? What have you got to lose? Miscommunication?

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Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

One response so far

Mar 02 2011

BUSINESS CRASH

MAJOR GOSSIP, LOOSE LIPS,

                                  

(& BIZ TLK TXT MSGS)

                      

ROCK FOUNDATIONS

The heading above is not a code. It is what it is. Misdirected and misunderstood and miscommunicated talk ruins companies. It rocks the business foundation like an earthquake. Some survive. Many don’t.

Small business failures are blamed on as many reasons as there are small business, yet every single one of them reduces itself to poor management.

Go ahead and accuse under-capitalization, faulty equipment, incompetent staffing, ineffective marketing, convoluted financing, the rotten economy, and your mother-in-law, but the truth will out:

The true culprit, inevitably, is  poor management!

And heaven knows the failure rates alone walk with a heavy foot. As fuzzy as the attempts to grasp accurate figures, it is commonly accepted that only two-thirds of all small business startups survive the first two years and fewer than 50% survive to become four-year-olds!

If you’ve got some startup ideas,

you may want to read that statement again

. . . and the next one!

                                                        

Toss in that on the average a business startup will not likely break even financially (if it survives long enough) until year six, and it’s often quoted by the inept SBA that nine out of eleven new businesses fail in the first ten years! It’s no wonder that those among the weak-willed tend to flock toward cushy government jobs.

One of the leading indicators of poor management is poor people leadership, which translates to poor communications, which translates to that whole “Loose Lips Sink Ships” expression — too many people talking too much too indiscretely to too many others, both inside and outside the company.

And the rapid onset of text messaging has both

amplified the risks and raised the stakes.

                                                            

When employees are unhappy, they talk. Unhappy employee talk creates waves of negativity, which can ultimately build to tsunami proportions. The business goes down and the owner throws up his or her hands proclaiming some vague reason. But, in the end, it’s poor management.

Savvy business leaders know that it’s not always money issues that harbor employee resentment. They know that happy employees are people who are challenged and who are given responsibility.

Happy employees are people who naturally seek fair compensation, but who will –more often than you might imagine– settle for frequent (and genuine) praise and small, frequent expressions of gratitude. And happy employees don’t indulge themselves in orange-alert-level chatter. They don’t host or entertain gossip.

When employees like their jobs, they also talk. And that talk is positive. It cultivates sales, community respect, and more employee positiveness. So, there’s some kind of choice here?

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Hal@Businessworks.US

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]
Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals. God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Feb 08 2011

The Answer IS . . .

The Answer IS . . .

ASK QUESTIONS!

Whether you’re looking for better grades, improved cash flow, an investor, a loan, new customers, repeat customers, a new employee (or  job), new revenue streams, the exact right set of words for a branding themeline, or some trace of your ex-mother-in-law who changed her name and left town with the contents of your wall safe . . . your odds of success increase dramatically when you:

ASK QUESTIONS! 

                                     

You might think that’s pretty basic advice, but my experience is that it least happens when you most expect it –especially with headstrong entrepreneurs.

It isn’t that business owners strut around with a know-it-all cockiness; it’s that they don’t want to waste time and it can often seem more productive to step out of a meeting, seminar, webinar, conference call, txtmsg exchange, or cocktail party, than to suck it up and stay there and have to ask questions (when time is perceived to be better spent, instead, taking action).

Does that ring a bell or am I just imaging things?

Entrepreneurs (and most men, it seems) have to be on the verge of total mental meltdown before they’ll ever stop to ask anyone for driving directions. It used to be the threat of embarrassment for being so dumb as to have gotten lost. Now. it’s more like cringing at the thought of getting a reply like: “Hey, man, you mean you ain’t got no GPS or MapQuest thing?”

Here’s the bottom line:

If you don’t ask for what you want,

or what you want to know, 

you don’t get it!

(Always? No, sometimes we get things by accident.) 

                                                                                     

Oh, and asking questions is completely useless if you forget the answers. Write them down. Stop with all the excuses about how much time it wastes to write things out by hand on paper (assuming you actually still own a pen and can find some paper, and remember how to write ;<)).

When you write things down, you get them out of your head, create more think space, and deal better with the inevitable interruptions that occur within seconds of getting your question answered. Note taking is not only smart insurance that you’ll walk away with an undistorted idea of what you heard, it also communicates that you value and respect the source of the responses you get.

The answers to questions

are at the root of all progress.

                                                      

If you’ve been focused on secondary research sources (like books, reports, and the Internet) as your primary decision making tools, you may want to get yourself out into the real world and ask real people real questions once in awhile. There’s nothing can compare with asking real customers what they really think, really listening to their answers, and really writing down what they say.

Formal focus groups? Perhaps. But just plain old informal questions (without rebuttals, defensive reasons, excuses, or “yes, but’s”) will serve the purpose just fine. You will walk away feeling gratified, maybe astonished, and definitely enlightened. So???  (That was a question.)

                                                                                    

# # #

931.854.0474    Hal@BusinessWorks.US

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!”  [Thomas Jefferson]

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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