Dec 03 2012

Two “Takes” On Life for Entrepreneurs . . .


“We should enjoy life while we’re here

’cause there’s no here, there!”

(Worldclass cartoon character Ziggy)

“You can have everything in life you want,

if you will just help other people

get what they want”

(Worldclass motivational sales guru Zig Ziglar who left us this past week,
to hopefully join Ziggy for some fun and enjoyment “there”!)

What’s the point? Entrepreneurs have a way of becoming so driven and preoccupied by the race to achieve their ideas, they rarely take enough time out to enjoy what they already have, like family and friends, and life itself. They can also become so readily entrenched in “doing” for themselves and the growth of their ideas, they can often forget about helping others.

If, like many entrepreneurs, you think you have been put on earth to better mankind by pursuing your great ideas to the exclusion of taking time outs for your self and your family and friends, or to the exclusion of taking time to help others in their moments of need, you might want to revisit your sense of reality and the purpose of your life and business leadership.

My recommendation for how to proceed with this thought for the next minute is to simply take one more step and have a little fun by entering “Ziggy” in the search window to the right, then scan the three blog posts that surface, then enter “Zig Ziglar” in the search window and scan the fifteen or so blog posts that mention or quote him.

I promise –that between the two quick searches– you’ll be amused or prompted to action, if not both. Most assuredly, you will be as I have been by re-skimming these posts, enlightened. I stand humbled by the inspiration I draw from each. You?

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Hal@Businessworks.US    302.933.0911

Open Minds Open Doors

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Nov 25 2012

Headed Down Your Business Homestretch

Help Jumpstart


My Kickstarter


For many businesspeople, asking for help may come easy, but rarely is it easy for an entrepreneur.

For an entrepreneur, such a request can translate into “having to swallow my pride,” “getting someone to do what I can do better,” “having to trust someone else with my baby,” “admitting a weakness,” or “owning up to my own inadequacies.”

So what? Who appointed you as “Perfect”?

When you consider that all of the above suggested excuses (which I have heard often over my years of business and professional practice development consulting . . . and have admittedly tried myself on occasion) reduce themselves to unproductive ego-based thinking and behavior.

Remember your grandfather telling you:

“No man is an island”?


Ego-maniacal thinking and behavior of course tends to dominate early-on entrepreneurship pursuits until experience and reality sink in and struggling entrepreneurs begin to realize that it’s the idea that’s important, and that any (legal) way to achieve success –regardless of others that need to be relied on– is the right way to go.

For entrepreneurs,

results tend to outweigh process.


Interestingly, the opposite tends to be true in government and corporate life where more relience is placed on analysis of available options than on getting the job done (e.g. deciding which committee to study an emerging market becomes folly in the face of an entrepreneurial spirit that simply drives itself into the heart of the market and adjusts along the way.

I have learned a great deal in the first half of my Amazon Kickstarter site effort that literally requires nerves of steel for me to implement in completing the second half of the effort. Stuff I forgot: Ask for the sale. Ask again. And again. Drive as many people as possible to visit or experience your message. Adjust and improvise. Switch gears. Ask for the sale. Ask again.

Why “nerves of steel”? I’m a creator, not Superman, not Zig Ziglar, not (Thank Heaven!) Steve Jobs, not an award-winning super-salesperson or winning candidate. I’m just a small business owner.

I’m me. I don’t like asking. I have to conjure up massive amounts of courage to approach my friends and family, and online contacts (even strangers) to buy into something I created. I know in my heart that what I have to offer is worthy. I know it’s a great dollar-value. And, yes, the Kickstarter race against the clock means it’s “make it or break it” time. It still feels awkward.

But –ahhh I’ve always taught that behavior is a choice, so it’s time to get over all that and step up to the plate, right? Okay, so here it is —

Will YOU please help me jumpstart my Kickstarter by visiting this site NOW and making a pledge of some kind  —EVEN JUST ONE DOLLAR!??

In the interests of your love for the arts and creative development, will you also please urge your friends and contacts to visit my Kickstarter site NOW?

I will be forever grateful for this very important bit of support.

Thank you!

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Open Minds Open Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

God Bless You and Thank You for Your Visit!


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Jun 26 2012

What Are You Waiting For?

You’re an entrepreneur, right? 


You own or operate a small business or professional practice. You’re in the hot seat 24/7. You’re worried about sales, overhead expenses, taxes, insurance, legal issues, and making the most of social media opportunities. You are constantly trying to be two places at once. You need a break. Just thinking about priorities gives you a headache. You’re talking to yourself?

So maybe it’s time to stop worrying and stop thinking. Keep your goals, but get rid of the “overkill” and simply get on with it. Let it go. Do it. Follow your instincts. Go with the flow. You think perhaps those are crazy unprofessional notions?

I have some news to share:

You got where you are not because you followed some carefully-crafted strategic plan.

Nor did you get to be captain of your ship by dutifully following orders, or a master plan outline, or some naive business school professor’s idea of business development rules, or some archaic family inheritance guidelines.

You are a maverick. But maybe you forgot? Did you forget that you have achieved what you have achieved by taking action and making adjustments and taking action again, and making more adjustments and taking more action?

Trial and error? Sure. So what? Something wrong with that? It worked for Henry Ford and Thomas Edison and Bill Gates and Oprah Winfrey and Mary Kay Ashe and Walt Disney any other success you can name.

But, you might say, you’ve been chasing your tail to survive the economic quagmire (the one that started as a mud puddle in 2007, and has since become the recipient of relentless dumping of mismanaged government quicksand).

Or has your entrepreneurial spirit been dashed by industry or professional incompetence, corporate or union greed, misunderstanding friends or family, or by government interference, and you’ve settled into an acceptance mode.

You need to re-discover yourself! Realize –first and foremost– you are you and you are unique and no one else is exactly like you and you already have the ability and the power to reverse or redirect your engines to get where you want to go without dragging along the burdens that outside influences try to impose.

How? How does one do that? By making the choice. All behavior is a choice. If it’s not an active choice, it’s an inactive choice or the result of something you may have chosen long ago. But you don’t need to choose to keep living with it. You can stop choosing to settle for inferior quality, unproductive activities, incompetent outside influences.

Okay, so you have to pay taxes. But you don’t have to choose to worry about them.

Choose instead to move on.

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May 18 2012

The Entrepreneur

“The entrepreneur is


essentially a visualizer


and an actualizer.


He sees exactly


how to make it happen.”

 — ROBERT L. SCHWARTZ, Founder, The New School for Entrepreneurs


When I “graduated” from what was once The New School for Entrepreneurs in Tarrytown, New York, it was with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. I had the entrepreneurial success idea of all time percolating in my professorial brain all during the program’s intensive retreat-style weekends, but could bring only a Fortune 500 corporate background to the table.

I came away from the Entrepreneurs program experience with lots of material to weave into the college classes I was teaching. I came away with a better understanding of who I was and what I was all about, and that I was “an entrepreneur” of sorts for being so hellbent on making ideas work (and not the weirdo I was sometimes accused of being).

I ended up creating and copyrighting “Corporate Entrepreneurs” and “Doctorpreneurs.” I used what I learned to help start hundreds of successful businesses.

I learned that the Entrepreneur does not fit any definition. But being one usually means you share a number of characteristics and traits evidenced by other entrepreneurs.

  • You are first and foremost a catalyst of society.
  • In your own–usually underestimated–way, you are a “mover and shaker.”
  • You possess the unique combination of vision and follow-through.
  • You take reasonable risks.

You are the key —the secret— ingredient that’s missing in corporate think-tanks, and in every level of government.

A true entrepreneur running the U.S. Postal Service, for example, would be competing head-to-head with FedEx and UPS instead of folding up sidewalk mailboxes, cutting back offices, hours, and work schedules and raising prices. You would know that you have the world’s greatest address delivery database and network, and you’d figure out how to take over the world of email.

But what entrepreneur in her or his right mind would want to spend a lifetime untangling a 237-year-old pile of knots?

Entrepreneurship is not dead. It is lurking.


Entrepreneurs are sitting quietly in the shadows watching and waiting for the ever-dwindling opportunities that earmark today’s economic quagmire to show some signs of life. Entrepreneurship-driven activities are on hold waiting for revitalized and more encouraging government responses. Entrepreneurs are waiting for renewed trust in government representation.

  • Who, after all, wants to initiate (or pay for) an innovative new business venture that gets over-taxed and over-regulated before it even gets its startup feet wet?

Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial spirit will rise again. And when they do, they will usher in a new “Age of Enterprise” unlike any we have ever known. And besides revolutionizing the Internet and smart-phone worlds, part of the fallout will be that the U.S. Postal Service will no longer exist. Another part will be a new sense of self-enlightenment!

What are YOU doing now

to ensure that your business survives and thrives?

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May 02 2012

Past/Present/Future: Where are you most?

If the past sits in judgment


of the present,


will  the future be lost?


I heard a twist of this (the headline above) on the radio recently. I can’t tell you when or where or who, but it rang a bell. Is it just my imagination or do we too often –in life and in business– get ourselves caught up in over-analyzing what went wrong and what went right in order to decide what we should be doing today? Some of my earlier posts called it analysis paralysis.

Contrary to many popular beliefs, over-analyzing is not a symptom of entrepreneurship.

We live (men especially) in an analytical world. We watch instant TV sports replays in slow motion and stop action in order to know down deep in our souls whether the ball actually touched the ground before it was caught, or while it was caught, or after it was caught. I mean, like who could possibly sleep without a satisfying answer to that nagging question?

Probably, an entrepreneur. Okay, well, there are entrepreneurs and there are psychopreneurs!

Those who are unfortunate enough to have to make a living working for the government or some mega corporation probably spend half their careers taking apart research reports and study findings looking for clues about what happened or didn’t happen last month, last quarter, last year, last decade . . . in order to adjust a present course of action.

Entrepreneurs make adjustments on the fly. If they’re wrong, they adjust the adjustment and try again.

Most corporate and government managers, for instance, weigh risks then use analytics to justify not taking them. Who in their right mind, for example, would want to make waves that could topple the corporate ladder she or he is climbing?

Entrepreneurs take reasonable risks (which rarely if ever includes climbing political ladders). Entrepreneurs will bet their profits, but they won’t bet their farms. They will start a new side business, but they won’t visit casinos or stuff their pockets with lottery tickets — those are not reasonable risks.

The problem of course is that the more we tend to assess who did what to whom and what broke when and why the horse we led to water didn’t drink, the farther away we get from moving forward, from innovating, from controlling our own destinies, from making the differences each of us wants to make in this world.

Entrepreneurs, by virtue of how they think and act, and choose to believe, represent society’s real catalysts for change. Maybe they do work harder and not smarter, but they get things done. They alone drive the economy. They alone represent the opportunities that government and corporate giant environments fail to breed.

Entrepreneurs move constantly forward into the future while focusing on the present.

When you find product or service you like, that works the way it’s supposed to and is economical to boot, know that it was likely created and cultivated without excessive analysis . . . and thank an entrepreneur.

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Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

 Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Apr 22 2012

I have what you need and want now!

You are not what you sell.


You are what you solve.


True business professionals who dwell in the world of sales, and all small business owners (who live there too) know instinctively that they are not really salespeople pushing their wares and services on others.

They recognize that they are actually problem solvers who listen carefully to customers and prospects and respond with solutions. They focus on building relationships.

The problem is that solving the problem is often glossed over, dismissed, and sidetracked in the process of communicating with a customer or prospect. How often have you heard a store or organization or company rep start out (or jump to her or his safety net when a positive response is not evident) by rattling out a long list of product or service features?

It’s human nature to talk about all the strong points and unique features of a product or service we want others to like, and want, and dive into their pockets for the money we hope they’ll produce. But human nature doesn’t move sales. Customers and prospects don’t buy features. They buy benefits.

How long will this product or service last? How economical is it? How does it work? What colors are available? How spectacular is the price deal? How great is the supplier company or organization? These are all very nice kinds of things to get across because they help purchasers justify their decisions to others (bosses, spouses, friends, etc.) BUT . . .

None of those kinds of features will trigger a purchase.

Features are rational objective things. People are motivated by emotions. Maybe they’re simply charmed by the rep, or maybe they’ve been convinced that the personal benefits to be had outweigh the expense . . . because the product or service solves their problem!

We buy benefits: how easy and convenient this makes your life, how much your friends and neighbors will admire your good taste, how great you look with/in/next to it, how terrific your garden will be when this thing keeps the deer and rabbits away, what you can do for your children’s/grandchildren’s future with the savings from this policy, how wonderful this will look in your living room/dining room/kitchen.

And how do you get someone to this decision point? 1) By listening carefully (prompt customers and prospects to talk 80% of the time!), and 2) By processing what you hear and see to show how what you have to offer can solve their problem.

Anyone can ram features down someone’s throat. This loses more sales than anything else. It takes patience, understanding, and sitting (mentally and physically) on the same side of the table, working in concert to solve the buyer’s problem.

For immediate, focused, affordable sales help, call me now: 302.933.0116

# # #

 With thanks to my LinkedIn friend Kevin Kempler for inspiring this post

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Jan 11 2012


 You’re an entrepreneur?


You’re probably the


 runt of the litter!



Ask anyone who’s made it big in the service business, and the odds –by my calculations– are roughly 9 out of 10 that she or he did it by staying small. Makes sense. Most runts of the litter have entrepreneurial zeal and instincts. They scrap, scrape, and battle for food and attention from the day they’re born.

And runts make great dogs but not always great parents, which raises a key how-to issue about staying small. From my experience, there’s hardly ever a good and reasonable reason for adding payroll employees when you’ve passed the point of generating strong revenues on your own..

At most, you may decide to put an assistant on payroll, but herein lies the secret to continued growth: The person you choose must be dedicated and loyal to you at all costs. He or she must be a super organizer since –as an entrepreneur– you’re probably not. This individual must have no greater purpose than to make you successful.

In other words, do NOT seek a creative thinker. That’s your job! Do NOT seek a super salesperson. That’s also your job! Find someone you can trust absolutely all of the time. Find someone who will be assertive with other people on your behalf. Find someone who will rise to the occasion, who does not need hand-holding.

You need a person with strong judgement skills, who can readily size up others (and situations) and who knows enough to know when to insist on over-communicating with you. In other words, if you need to hire someone, hire a leader. If you can find this individual, and it may take years of searching, you won’t need anyone else.

Anyone else you take on should be on a commission, performance incentive, or parttime basis. Once you add a payroll position, and get the wrong person involved, you commit to stagnation and foreclose your prospects to succeed; you commit to the odds of adding expenses without being able to cover them. You commit to status quo.

In a product business, you need only to add skilled labor on a highly selective and prudent basis. One person with know-how, and the drive and energy to do the work of two people at one and a half times a one-person salary is far better than two people doing two jobs for three-quarter person salaries.

The bottom line: Runts of the litter excel as entrepreneurs. They are more independent, inventive, industrious, and self-sufficient. Rather than waste time looking, they will use a coin for a screwdriver. But once in a while, they need to back off and do some hard thinking about where they’re headed and where the next bone is coming from.

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Hal@Businessworks.US   931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Oct 03 2011

For better or worse, richer or poorer

 If you’re not going to


marry your business,


don’t get engaged to it!

America’s abysmal unemployment situation has inadvertently spawned a burst of fledgling entrepreneurial enterprises. It’s been: “Outta work? So what. Who needs all that aggrevation anyway? I’ll start my own business.”


If you are caught up in this thinking, un-catch yourself! If you’re telling yourself you can start a little business and still work 9-5 with weekends, sick days, personal days, vacation, and holidays off, you might as well be living on Mars. I’m not saying don’t do it. I’m saying don’t be disillusioned from the start.

Business Ownership

is a marriage.


If you’re not willing to accept the fact that you and your new business venture are going to have to eat together, sleep together and get along with each other 24/7 for a number of years, don’t buy an engagement ring, get down on one knee and pop the question –OR plan the wedding and fantasize the honeymoon–  to start with!

Even if the bantered-around figures that claim 9 out of 10 businesses fail in the first 11 years (and don’t break even financially for 6 years) are only half right, consider your odds for success realistically.

Every new business idea  

is a great idea

before the doors open.


With a super unique product or service and a ton of investment money, with a brother-in-law accountant and an uncle lawyer and your spouse cheering from the sidelines, your chances for survival (nevermind success) are still practically non-existant if you are thin-skinned, hard-headed, inattentive or ungrateful, and that’s just for openers.

The attentiveness to detail, and to every single exchange with every single person every single day, plus the ultimate responsibility for paying every bill and returning every investment (plus a return ON every investment) that were none of your province or burden as an employee rest squarely on every business owner’s shoulders.

Spare yourself the agony of separation and divorce and probable bankruptcy if you’re thinking you can just gloss over or dismiss or delegate stuff and concentrate on sales or production or IT or some other aspect of your dream. The sad truth is that no successful entrepreneur can concentrate on any single aspect and make money.

Successful small business

owners and operators

concentrate on all of

what they’re doing

 . . . all of the time.


Operations, finance, sales and marketing, cashflow, legalities, IT, distribution, partnerships, collaborations, staffing, service,   innovation, creativity, leadership, suppliers, product and service knowledge, and industrial/professional/community relations are all equally important!

So, what was it that grandpa used to say? “Look before you leap!”??? If you’re intent on charging into your own business, do it with your eyes (and ears) open. Reality beats fantasy hands down. For better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health . . .

Of course if you’re not ready for marriage (or your hands are already full with the family you have), there’s nothing wrong with using your ambitions and skills to find another, and hopefully better, job than the one you’ve left behind that prompted you to think a business startup would be a piece of cake. It can be if you’re a baker!

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 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Sep 22 2011


“Detail” Counts


Big Time In 


Small Business


My first employee review in my first real job accused me of not liking or tending to detail. Decades later, I still don’t like it or tend to it, except as absolutely required by clients, the IRS, or a book manuscript or marketing program that demands it. And even then, I still don’t like it.

After all, how can creative spirit flow freely

 with “detail anchors” weighing it down?


And, it seems when I look back, that entrepreneurs and small business owners of every conceivable description, similarly hate having to deal with detail. Yet, meticulous attention to detail is what often makes a small business become a big business. At every level: finance and operations as well as marketing and sales.

By listening carefully (vs. just hearing) to what customers and prospects say they REALLY want, you engage yourself in the world of providing detail, and the better you do at it, the better you will invariably do at not just servicing, but delighting each person and entity that you confront.

Detail –except in word choices and design applications– is not generally an area that commands great attention from those who provide creative services.

Attention to detail is most typically the milieu of those who provide accounting and legal services, intricate products, operational equipment, and safety-oriented products.


This doesn’t mean you need to be a bean counter, brain surgeon or rocket ship c0mponent manufacturer to justify the need for attention to detail. In fact, the further away from these “expected” areas of business a customer or prospect encounters what you have to offer, the more likely you are to have positive impression opportunities.

Why? Because most people don’t expect a roofer or plumber, or dog groomer, graphic illustrator, a self-proclaimed SEO or social media  “expert,” or shoelace salesman, to be able to support product and service claims with hard evidence and factual findings –details– that boost and solidify the sales message. 

Details are what drive home the emotionally-triggered sale by providing the objective, factual, unemotional supportive features that purchasers use to justify their decisions to themselves, their spouses, their boss’s, their partners, their associates, employees, shareholders.

Details may not always be fun. But –in every sale, they prevail! Do you? Are you supporting claims with facts? Attention to detail means attention to customers and prospects . . . a practice you can never go wrong with!  

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Hal@Businessworks.US  302.933.0116

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 21 2011


It’s the middle name for



most entrepreneurs, but



is it the source of



real solutions?


Multi-tasking —as in walking post haste to the men’s or ladies room, chewing gum, texting your accountant while cell phone conferencing your lawyer and signing off on a major customer delivery form on a clipboard being held by your assistant . . . and all the time knowing that in just a matter of seconds, you’re going to need at least one hand free.

Yes, entrepreneurs live in the fast lane, and yes multi-tasking is a way of life for the small business owner. But does the end always justify the means? Surely you’ve heard more than once from a filled-with-wisdom grandparent type that “Haste Makes Waste!” and have no doubt proven the truth of that to yourself a few times, true?

But now you have passed all recollection of those life experiences into the deep, dark, dingy caverns of your mind and no longer carry the need to heed such warnings anywhere near your front burner, and in fact probably harbor them back in that little storage area that holds memories of a flunked course, a failed romance and poor toilet training when you were three.

Though –aha!– the more you try to do in a hurry, the more likely you are to screw something up. Why? Because it’s been scientifically proven many times over that the human brain (though many protest the thought with what they believe to be contradictory examples) cannot do more than one thing at a time, meaning in the exact same moment.


Sit in a chair.

  • Lift your feet off the ground. turn your ankles so your feet make small circles (any direction you like — one in one direction and the other in another, or both in the same direction; it doesn’t matter).

  • Next, get your hands moving in sync by turning your wrists.

  • When you start feeling like a well-oiled machine, try to reverse direction with your hands while maintaining the original direction your feet have been moving. Or switch and reverse foot direction from your hands.

The point is that multi-tasking may look impressive to others who are easily impressed, but don’t expect that any kind of steady diet of trying to do more than one thing at a time is going to produce some miraculous level of off-the-charts productivity to write home about.

It is not better to do half a job well instead of a whole job not well. Doing half a job well simply means the job is only half done. Period. Doing a whole job not well means that effort and determination were present, and that, presumably, something important was learned in the process. Uh, this is true at least for most successful entrepreneurs. The rest? Who knows?

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Open Minds Open Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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