Nov 07 2011


Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!



First off, as an entrepreneur, small business or professional practice owner, operator, or manager, you have a public persona, or image —a brand, if you will– that communicates your reputation to others in your Private-Public and in your Public-Public. You do, indeed, have both! Ignore either at your peril.

Your Public-Public (or EXternal customers) is what most often comes to mind when we talk about sales and markets. But every business also has INternal customers (family, friends, partners, investors, referrers, lenders, employees, agents, consultants, and suppliers). These are your reliable supporters, your Private-Public.

Many successful businesses build their Public-Public customer / client / patient base as an offshoot of their Private-Public resources because –sorry, marketing, advertising, PR, SEO, and social media experts— NOTHING sells like personal recommendations.

Often overlooked in this mix of supportive and prospective recommenders are FORMER family, friends, partners, investors, referrers, employees, lenders, agents, consultants, and suppliers who you are still on good terms with. Some older mid-sized companies actually foster employee alumni associations and reunions.

Not only can your Private-Public become a loyal customer base and serve to refer Public-Public purchases, they can also often suggest new business approaches, technology, and revenue streams… IF they are properly motivated and encouraged AND (and here’s the biggy) IF they are carefully solicited and attentively listened to.

Lest there be any doubts , I am not suggesting abandonment of marketing functions (sales, PR, promotion, packaging, pricing, SEO and SM applications, etc.). I am simply pointing out that day-to-day, many of us have a tendancy to overlook the obvious, spend more than we need to,  and  not tap into our best resources.

Traditional Public Relations is rapidly becoming an ineffective tool for building brands and brand awareness. With increased use of Internet sites, webinars, digital marketing and social media, the odds for stimulating Public-Public purchasing and Private-Public referrals, only the flexible, cyberspace-savvy PR firms are surviving.

A similar assessment surfaces for traditionally-invested advertising, sales, and marketing firms. This doesn’t mean “always and everywhere.” It does mean that small businesses can no longer rely on successful past media, creative, financial and market development  strategies to survive today’s onslaught of instant communications.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Remember too that YOU, personally, are always on stage. Someone is always watching and listening. You are always being sized up by someone, even when you least suspect it. The bottom line is that in addition to your business having public concerns, awareness’s, and opportunities, so do you!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Making the most of what you have means being, as Thoreau once urged, forever on the alert! 


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Open  Minds  Open  Doors

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Apr 17 2011

Set Your Assets On Fire!

Before you throw all your


  tech stuff on the BBQ . . .



Recognize, first and foremost, that your greatest assets are your people. If you’re a one-man-band, maybe “your people” are a loving spouse, partner, children or parents who assist you, or a reliable friend or two who consistently refer(s) others to you . . . or a hotbed of talented interns.

If you’re the owner of a small to medium-size business, perhaps “your people” are account or department or office or branch managers.

The point is that I am NOT suggesting you run around torching these folks, or even giving any of them a baseball-dugout-style “hotfoot.”  I AM suggesting that you ask yourself (and answer) the following questions:


Can you readily identify and easily separate your internal and external customers?

What percentage of each day are you actively marketing to each group?

In other words:

  • How much and how often are you (externally) marketing your people?

  • How much and how often are you (internally) marketing TO your people?

  • How much and how often are you (internally AND externally) marketing THROUGH your people?


Do you think the meaning of Customer Service is to have a Customer Service person or department?

  • If each and every one of your internal customers know how to relate to and respond to external customers, why would you have to pay someone or a group to perform this function?

  • Ideally, anyone in your organization whom I might reach by phone or meet in-person should be able to handle my customer service needs.


Your marketing people or your own marketing sense tell(s) you how to motivate external customers. You surely have a strong idea of what sells and what doesn’t sell them on your product(s) and/or service(s). Do you have a sense of confidence about the best ways to motivate internal customers?

Do you apply Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs?


If you try (or have tried to) apply Maslow’s Hierarchy, are you (or have you) doing (done) it from a position of strength — by first being a detective to understand individual “hot spots”? Has this approach helped you to realize that the best internal customer rewards are not (in spite of all popular beliefs) not always cash, raises, and bonuses?

As a leader who is heavily invested in growing the loyalty, respect, and receptivity of both internal and external customers, are you making a conscious effort to breed entrepreneurial thinking accompanied by reasonable risk-taking behaviors? Or are you breeding investment in the status quo?

Are you fostering and nurturing innovation. Do your people come to you with just ideas, or do they fully exploit the ideas they propose with well thought out paths for implementation that include all possible operational, financial and marketing applications? Do you get a thorough and complete picture instead of just a quick sketch? 

Having great people behind you is great for your ego. Having great people behind you who are inspired and highly motivated, who deliver comprehensive plans of attack, is great for your business.

Which is more important? 


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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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Apr 12 2011






When you undermine those


who work with you, YOU


become less effective. 



Entrepreneurs, small business and professional practice owners and managers are notorious for undermining the people they work with. They’ll ask a partner, associate or employee to handle a certain task or make contact with someone in their absence, then –an hour or two, or day or two later– will turn around and do it themselves.


Sound familiar?


I’m reminded of one of those yea/boo stories [I need a bucket to bail out the boat (boo!); ah, here’s a bucket I can use (yea!); oops, my bucket has a hole in it (boo!); the hole is in the top (yea!) . . .].


When you ask someone to do something and then whisk the job away because it wasn’t done the way you would do it or because it wasn’t done as quickly as you wanted — or worse, maybe it was already done, but instead of checking to find out, an assumption is made that it wasn’t, and the task ends up being needlessly duplicated. 

Besides that such actions are looked upon unfavorably by both internal customers (employees, investors, referrers, suppliers, lenders, advisors) and external customers (purchasers and consumers) and are considered highly unprofessional in business circles . . . the behaviors persist.

By pulling the rug out from under someone you’ve charged with a responsibility, the likelihood is great that you will also have managed to ignite fuses of discontent, frustration and neurosis.

Not to mention the not-worth-it losses you’ll suffer in credibility, respect, and reputation. 


I know personally of two employee shooting rampages attributed to having “assigned responsibilities” prematurely withdrawn, or arbitrarily reassigned. 

When you as a leader empower someone (or set someone up to become empowered), be extremely clear what needs to be done, and how (assuming there’s no room for interpretation or alternate approaches), and by when. Then go away. Don’t disenfranchise an individual that you’ve just enfranchised.

“Well,” you say, “this sounds good, but nobody else does stuff as effectively as me. If I don’t ‘ride herd’ on those I give assignments to, they’ll never get done.”

Are you really saying that you don’t trust those you’ve partnered with or hired? Is what you mean that you think you’re better than anybody else? Is what you mean that you like running around like a maniac, putting out fires?

Are you really saying that under all these pretenses, you simply don’t trust your SELF or your own judgment?

This may sound embarrassingly obvious,

 but worth the risk of mentioning anyway:

When the kinds of carelessness

that start fires to begin with,

are eliminated to start with,

you won’t need to start with

being a firefighter. 


Maybe it’s time to consider corporate life, or a job with the Post Office? Most towns have openings for roadway cone placement. Nothing to undermine. Think of all the stress you’ll spare yourself.

Entrepreneurial leadership means–among other things– that you need to trust those you’ve trusted to work with, to get the jobs done that you ask them to do, and go about your business of growing your business instead of wasting your time and energy, and everyone else’s. 

Think twice before you delegate. Make sure you are delegating to the best person to get the job done under the circumstances. Make sure you explain carefully what’s needed, and by when, and how much room there is to determine methods and techniques for getting the job done. Set “How Goes It?” follow-up plans. Trust. Walk away.

When you undermine others,

                                                you’re really undermining yourself.

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  931.854.0474   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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Feb 15 2011


The best way to inspire 


your people is to accept


them as your internal


customers . . . and not


your puppies.



Did you ever think of your “inner circle” of employees, your key support staff, as a pack of puppies? Not the same as a litter; those are all the same breed. A pack! A pack of puppies. Some are more aggressive than others. Some are more animated. Some bark louder. Only a few pay serious attention to the tasks at hand. They run and jump in every direction, except at dinnertime — they all like to eat!

And all will, of course, perform as challenged

for the smallest of treats.


They look up to you as their leader. They pay off your expenditures of energy and time (which they sense or understand) and money (which they do not understand) with unsolicited admiration and unquestioning, unchallenging instincts to follow your commands and your examples. They won’t cross you because they don’t want to risk missing dinner and . . . because they know you’re “the boss”! 

As they grow, they become more set in their ways. Regardless 0f temperament, most like to explore –the woods, the beach, the basement, maybe only their own paws, but some thing. They can get discouraged though quickly when explorations are frowned upon.

Have you seen employees become discouraged when management emphasis is having them learn to stay in line, follow orders, and continually focus on past events and future plans at the expense of the present moment.

Puppies and free-wheeling innovative employees are present-moment creatures.


To keep things manageable, you coax them all (puppies and employees alike) into a the security of a routine. As if almost in a trance-like state, routines tend to be non-threatening and predictable. But, wait! Is that what you want for your entrepreneurial mission? Are you in search of  innovators or household pets?

The trouble is that as the relationships grow over time, and the reward treats become bigger and more expensive, there seems to rise from the ground in a great cloud of smoke, an irresistible temptation to mix up that smoke with some mirror tricks, and/or become lackadaisical, dependent, and reliant on the leader for direction.

Consider the ultimate corporate and (excluding military, police, fire, and EMT services) government life routines of: 9 to 5, paychecks, benefit plans, and (for those lucky-but-mostly-come-to-be-unappreciative few), holiday turkeys. These are wonderful reassuring kinds of expectations for cultivating employees to behave like pets.

It keeps them in control, and makes healthy, fun-loving life companions out of them. But (and you know what’s coming):

Entrepreneurs and small business owners and managers can no longer afford compliant, obedient, do-nothing employees.

Despite preachings you may hear from the White House, there is no denying that these are, and continue to be, tough times.

Trying to be profitable in a country that is virtually broke is like trying to play inspired World Cup Soccer in a silent, empty stadium.


Employees must be catered to as much as customers. Innovation needs to be ignited and encouraged daily. Employees are your key internal customers and they will either drive business for you, or they will quickly transform from entrepreneurial puppydom into corporate and government sheep, waiting for you to sheer and feed and shepherd them!

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302.933.0116   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!

One response so far

Dec 11 2010

Your Most Important Asset?

Well, It’s Your PEOPLE,


Of Course!



Whether it’s your spouse helping with bookkeeping while you run a home-based business, or it’s a workforce of 3 or 300 or 3000, if you are not doing a GREAT job of motivating each of them, your business will never get where you want it to go.

Having the world’s greatest business plan, fat investors, and full access to cutting-edge tech systems and equipment means zip without committed support from those who work with and for you! Your PEOPLE are your most important asset!

And that kind of support only happens with your consistent leadership by example.

Job one is to do whatever it takes to figure out how to best open each individual’s mind, then open it, then keep it open.

Because open minds open doors.


The more people are encouraged to think for themselves, and to think in innovative terms, and to always think first of customers, the more opportunities they will create — for both the business and themselves, which translates to steady growth.                                                   

3 Key questions to ask yourself (and answer) in order to succeed and grow:


1)   Can you readily identify and separate your internal and external customers?

2)   Can you really tell the difference?

3)   What percentage of every day are you marketing to them?


This set of questions and answers is all about your ability to market your people, market to your people, and market through your people.

Successful entrepreneurs focus intently on these (above) fifty or so words . . . take a minute!  


Do you think that the meaning of customer service is to have dedicated customer service people?

Successful entrepreneurs charge every employee with customer service responsibilities all of the time. Parttime assistants as well as the most senior officers need to be able to handle every customer service issue at any time.

Customer service interruptions should be the rule, not the exception. 


Can you “ask, don’t tell” with the words you use? Unless you’re a creative director guiding designers and writers, can you “engineer, not architect” with verbal pictures you paint? 

When you lead by example, can you diagram ideas, and resist “giving orders” in favor of putting others and yourself on the same side of the solution table?

Successful entrepreneurs recognize that marketing through their people means being careful with what is said and how it’s said.  


Are you breeding entrepreneurs (and can you manage them)? Or are you breeding investments in the status quo (and can you manage that)? Are you encouraging enough reasonable risk-taking? Are you rewarding failure when great efforts are expended?

Do your actions take the 5-step direction of:








Creativity only happens when thinking stops, and innovation requires re-activating THINKING in order to take the creative ideas all the way through every step of the strategic process from concept to launch, with all anticipated needs addressed. 

Then THINK AGAIN — Assess the innovative plans and designs.


# # #


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!

2 responses so far

Nov 10 2009


Blow the sale or


hold your tongue?


Diplomacy: Skill and tact in dealing with people

It’s comin’ ’round agin… the ole trainin’ ground fer dip-lo-macy. Yup! Thanksgivin’ gatherin’s.

Now if you can get through the entire dysfunctional-family -Thanksgiving-experience this year (especially this year with the sucky economy and your brother-in-law crabbing about the price of gas to drive to your house to eat), you will have earned a medal.

But –more importantly —  you will have completed the qualifying round for your annual refresher training on how to deal diplomatically with your internal and your external customers! (Internal: associates, employees, referrers, alumni, key suppliers; External: customers / clients / guests / patients, other suppliers, industry and community organizations, and the media) Maybe missing someone here, but you get the idea.

IF you can deal with your in-laws,  little kids terrorizing your dog and spilling unknown fluids on your furnishings and floor coverings, your uncle ranting about his adolescence (which he’s still in), your aunt Tilly reminiscing about her last 47 Thanksgivings, the neighbor’s kid revving up his overhauled Mustang next to your only broken window, and having to step over eleven spastic bodies glued to some idiotic football game on the TV that separates you from the only available bathroom, while hearing that four hours into the roasting process, the turkey still has ice inside of it

… YOU are ready to sell (No, not your house! Your products and services!)

How do we know this?  Because you’ve managed to deal with all of that and not be in jail, or the nuthouse! Somehow, you’ve risen to the occasion, kept the peace, swallowed your pride, bitten your gums and held your tongue (doing the last three items at the same time, by the way, is a pretty good trick!)

So what will you have learned  on the Thanksgiving firing line? There are times to speak and there are times to listen. EVERYONE is a prospective or repeat customer. EVERYone. Your appearance and demeanor and receptivity will determine whether others have a good time or not. Too much alcohol can undo the best of intentions. Too much food will give you a stomachache. Not stepping outside into the fresh air periodically will give you a headache (but avoid the side of the house with the revving Mustang!)

Every day is a new opportunity to do the best that you can do.  Thanksgiving, besides being a truly great opportunity to appreciate family and friends and all the brave young servicemen and servicewomen who make it possible to be able to gather together in the first place. It is also a great day to practice diplomacy and carry that renewed spirit forward in returning to your work.

OR, hey, don’t wait ’til the end of the month;  just read about it here, today, and start holding your tongue tomorrow! Sales are only made by listening! 

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Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day!

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Jun 13 2009


You are your business.


Attitude and behavior


are your brand.


     Small business owners rarely devote enough attention to branding and the importance of branding. It is much more than a logo, name, label, or catchy slogan. Brands reflect the integrity and reputation of both the company and the business owner.


 Your brand and branding messages need to include

 and be wrapped around

ALL aspects of your business.


     Your brand and branding messages need to make a statement about the environment and methods you and your company are engaged with. This “statement” needs to be an integral focal point of ALL of your communications… verbal, visual, written, in-person, and implied!

     Your business exists because of your customer bases: INternal customers (like associates, employees, referrers, strategic alliances and present suppliers) as well as EXternal customers (like past and present buyers, prospective buyers and employees, and prospective suppliers). What it is that you put out to each and all of them every day is what adds up to your brand and branding.

     This translates into how you and your business deal with all of these diverse “customer audiences” on a day-by-day basis, how you treat them, whether you pay your bills on time, if you follow-through with customer service after the sale is made, if your business is a good citizen in the communities that support it, whether your products and services provide true quality benefits and dollar value.

     Keep in mind that one unhappy customer (internal OR external) will tell ten other people about her or his lack of satisfaction, and each of them will tell ten more. In case you weren’t doing the math, that’s a hundred people walking around bad-mouthing a business that may naively dismiss one upset as one upset. But–aaaaaah, the reverse is also true: delight one person and gain a hundred positive referrals!

     Reality is that maintaining positive and productive brand images and branding messages means you need to practice unending vigilence in tending to all levels of (internal AND external) customer service. It is especially important to be and stay tuned in to employee and industry-related issues, and to pounce on problems and deal with them honestly.  

     A great memorable name and themeline are critically important to brands and branding messages, but not nearly as important as a business with clear-cut genuine values run by people with clear-cut genuine attitudes. 

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Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God bless you!

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