Sep 14 2009

WHERE 9 WORDS BELONG . . .

Analytical

BELONGS TO SCIENCE AND BUSINESS

Kidding

BELONGS TO GOATS

Teasing

BELONGS TO HAIR

Wired

BELONGS TO ELECTRICIANS

Criticism

BELONGS TO THEATREGOERS

Judgements

BELONG TO COURTROOMS

Pushiness

BELONGS TO BULLDOZERS

Lecturing

BELONGS TO CLASSROOMS

Crowding

BELONGS TO SUBWAYS AND SARDINES

Got some thought-provoking additions? Share what you can. They belong to everyone! 

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Input always welcome: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  

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Jun 22 2009

SMALL BUSINESS HALTS ECONOMIC PANIC!

What does “business

                                     

as usual” mean to you?

                                                                              

Guess what you are? You get to your desk or worksite by 8:30 to beat the 9am employee rush. You make the rounds  with staff, do emails and phone calls. 12 to 1:30 is a fat lunch with an associate, customer, prospect, or relative who’s in town for the day. You return to a lineup of boring, energy-draining meetings where every attendee feels compelled to advance her or his personal agenda. You leave between 5:15 and 5:30 after most everyone else has cleared out.”

    Answer: Odds are you’re a corporate employee. So don’t waste time here; go to FaceBook, CNN, C-SPAN, MSNBC, the local commuter bar, or whatever floats your boat…and leave the business of straightening out the economy to the only people around who know how.

     I speak of course of those who frequent this blog: small business owners, operators, managers, entrepreneurs, and professional salespeople… those who aren’t conscious of time, who rarely spend more than 20-30 minutes eating anything, and who have no tolerance for time-wasting meetings.

     Their disciplined nature, by the way, doesn’t make these folks numb or humorless; they’re simply dedicated to their pursuits and tend, I believe, to be far more fun to be around than their “Fortune 1000” counterparts.

     None of them live like the “business as usual” guy described above. All of them are busy making their business innovations work because they don’t get corporate bailouts or economic stimulus packages.

     “Business as usual” has been made a thousand times more difficult by the shortsightedness and naivete of our government.

     When history points to small business as overwhelmingly responsible for American job creation, and job creation has been proven to be overwhelmingly responsible for building and strengthening our economy, history needs to be heeded, not re-invented as socialism.

     Sharing wealth and funding corporate and government incompetency doesn’t do it. Channeling staggering amounts of (not yet even available) tax dollars into major corporate entities whose insolent greed put us here to start with makes no sense. 

     The very same small businesses that stand the best chance of being positive economic impact catalysts are the ones being the most harshly drained. This is how to create job creation incentives?  

     “Business as usual” has a prayer attached. We need to pray that small business spirit and entrepreneurial innovativeness can rise up against all odds and once again rescue America’s economy.

     We need to nurture small business and business startups and pray that our nation’s small business owners and managers can make their dreams work in spite of government interference and corporate anchors.

     We need to support small business now more than ever before.    

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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Jun 11 2009

CREATIVE IDEAS VS. INNOVATIVE IDEAS

“Put your money

                                            

where your mouth is!”

 

Y’know what? Even the last traffic cone placement person you passed has good, solid, creative ideas. Tell the people who work for you that you don’t want any more good, solid, creative ideas.

Tell them they’re wasting their time, and yours, with all the suggestions about what should be done and who could do what and what would be best. Tell them to shut it down. Finis!

After they all stop gasping, tell them what you really want from them are innovative ideas, the kinds that entrepreneurial minds thrive on.

Explain that you don’t want to hear about the need to launch a new product or service. Be specific in telling your people that you want instead to hear about HOW to launch a new product or service.

Give them some guidelines. Let them know that you will be interested in and very appreciative of ideas that come to you that are fully supported with answers to questions like those that follow.

  • You want to know the unique customer benefits of the new product or service.
  • You want to know how and when the new product or service will be planned and created or manufactured or produced.
  • You want to know how and when and where it will be distributed.
  • You want to know how and when and where it will be sold, and by whom, and for what price and on what kind of sales compensation arrangement.
  • You want to know how the new product or service will be marketed and when and by whom and how and where and at what cost and via what media?
  • You want to see research studies and findings that support the answers to all these questions.

You want a business plan. It need not be fancy or formal. It doesn’t have to be filled with all the imaginary exaggerations about revenue projections that are typically waved in front of banks and investors, but it should include some realistic, conservative estimates of what might constitute total revenues and expenses for the first three years.

Golly Gee, that’s a lot of work!” your people might proclaim. Tell them: “Welcome to the real world” and point out that only by thinking in innovative terms (taking an idea all the way through from beginning to end, and having all the answers that support the pursuit) will people come up with the big winner products and services.

     Being able to have all the answers (and more) to the questions highlighted above, will put your people a few notches up on the competition and well on the way to proving the value of what they believe in. If someone says to you, “Ah, it’s kind of like putting your money where your mouth is?” Your answer is:  Yup!

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 Hal@TheWriterWorks.com

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals!

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jun 10 2009

Management & Staff Training Program Tips

Good Trainers Are Actors.

                                       

Make Sure To Set The Stage!

                                                                                 

     More and more companies and organizations that have tightened their belts the past couple of years have begun to loosen their training budgets because they are recognizing that investments in training must be ongoing regardless of how crunched revenues become.

     Without continuing training efforts, competitors move in and take charge of sales, customers, markets, communities, quality employee candidates, vendor relations, and entire industries. Status quo is not an option. 

     Having designed, delivered and facilitated nearly 2000 training programs, seminars, and workshops, I feel uniquely qualified to offer forth some wisdom to companies and organizations that are planning or setting out to conduct sessions of their own.

     Following is informed, free advice—small stuff that adds up to big bucks—that will save you time, money, energy, and aggravation. It will help insure that you get your money’s worth out of your training dollars:

     Give program facilitators (especially “outside professionals” you’re paying fees to) advance access to training facilities, rooms and equipment. Allow them adequate (by THEIR definitions, not yours) set-up and workspace “psych-up” time prior to actual scheduled sessions. Insure their privacy during these periods by keeping access by others restricted, including locked doors and covered windows.

     Much of what a facilitator does that’s effective depends heavily on presentation staging, on having familiarity with the setting and the equipment, on having comfortable and uninterrupted rehearsal time, on being able to set up a room and seating and control devices and practice session agenda steps.

     Conscientious leaders, teachers, facilitators like to do “dry-runs” with the use of easels, tripods, display tables, computer and screen projection equipment. They want to make sure of not tripping over a tripod leg as they walk backwards to emphasize a particular point.

     They don’t want to get to the board and find no markers or chalk. Laptop projections and sound system connections can be critical. Some who conduct programs require special lighting, chair and desk arrangements, wall display areas.

     BOTTOM LINE: Don’t expect a professional facilitator or trainer or workshop/program/seminar leader to simply stroll in at the appointed session time and conduct an effective session. You will positively NOT be getting your money’s worth if you do.

     THINK GREEN: Ask for or prepare 2-sided copies of printed handouts whenever possible. Use or encourage note taking and written exercises be done on the backs of typed scrap paper whenever possible. Maintain room temperature slightly cooler than the usual level throughout the session (vs. constant back and forth adjustment). Active sessions generate more heat.  

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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Jun 06 2009

CALLING ALL CONSULTANTS…

Mind Your Own Business!

                                                          

     . . . Not bad advice for consulting professionals. Why? Because the tendency we all have who are working with and helping other businesses and organizations is to get so caught up in our clients’ affairs and activities that we easily overlook many of our own needs. And we forget how to sell!

     If you’re a consultant in the first place, it’s because you thrive on some form of problem-solving and probably have a wealth of experience to share. You’ve no doubt heard the definition of a consultant as  someone with a briefcase from more than 100 miles away.

     And perhaps you’ve heard about the engineering consultant who charged the gas company $20,175. for his one hour of services, explaining the invoice breakout as $175 for the hourly rate, and $20,000 for knowing where to mark the X on the pipe that was leaking.

     Anyway, what matters in the end is that you remember to mind your own business because—like being able to manage stress (http://halalpiar.com/2009/05/4-steps-in-one-minute-zero-stress/) and remain calm in a catastrophe—you can’t be much help to your clients if your own house isn’t in order!

     This means you need to take periodic inventory (perhaps weekly, or even daily or hourly with some critical consulting specialties… surgery, nuclear fusion, e.g.) that spells out clearly where you are and where you’re going with each client and project. Where you’ve been is almost never important to anyone but you!

     So, scheduling is critical because you can’t afford to be meeting with one client when you’re supposed to be getting work done for another. Going from one meeting to another inevitably takes longer than originally anticipated, and needs to be factored into your travel plans. Telephone and email time needs also to be estimated and booked with time padding to prevent overload.

     With 30+ years of consulting under my belt (management, marketing, sales, leadership, communications, personal and professional growth and development, family business, and business start-ups), I have learned (now getting back to the subject of consulting service sales) that the best way to get consulting clients is to DO consulting!

     In other words, instead of talking about how great you’ve been and how much you know and how great you can be, stop with the BS and simply BE a consultant! Companies don’t hire consultants who are tangled up with contracts and invoicing and credentialing and who dwell on past performances.

     If you’re already talking with a prospect in the first place, it’s because there’s an immediate problem. Roll up your sleeves, get into the trench and start giving away your valuable assessments and advice for free!  Show what you can do instead of talk about what you can do.

Solve or shed light on an immediate problem

on the spot

and odds are you’ll be hired… on the spot. 

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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Jun 02 2009

When one UNclosed sale beats three closed sales

“It’s like knowing when to

                                                     

  walk away from the table”

–A worldclass sales professional on the subject of closing a sale

     “…know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em…” goes the old country Western song about gambling card players. Well, it happened today and served as a good reminder. No, I didn’t lose at cards. I UNclosed a sale I thought was closed by stepping back and politely away.

     I felt like Jimmy Durante stepping back softly through the spotlights at the end of each show, tipping his hat and wishing Mrs. Calabash goodnight, wherever she was? You’re too young for that? Well, I’m sure it’s someplace on YouTube. The point is there are times when it’s best to UNclose a sale. Driving a prospect into commitments she or he really isn’t ready or able or willing to make will surely backfire.

     There are also a lot of wonderfully well-intentioned people out there who can waste your time, energy and money by stringing you along with maybes. half-hearted commitments, and (every lawyer’s favorite word) delays. Sales professionals (and that means you if you run your own business or professional practice!) do not have time, energy and money to waste.

     So how do you know when a convincing, engaging, personable, charming prospect isn’t serious about buying what you have to sell? You ASK! It’s that simple. If a person IS a serious prospect, he or she will not be put off at being asked to affirm that interest. If NOT, that person will say so or be insulted and walk away (which is just a huffy “NOT”). And, in fact, the “Are you serious” question will often kick up the real reasons for hesitating to commit, which puts the evasive target you need to hit smack in your lap! (Ouch!)

     I had what I thought was a hot prospect–after six weeks of three personal visits, three email exchanges, and four telephone calls (all positive and encouraging)–who accepted completely my well-founded assertions that I could double her business sales at no added expense except my easily-affordable fee.

     And today, I asked if she was serious and ready to get started. She started hemming and hawing about needing her husband’s approval and that he thought he could do what I do and they would save the fee. I agreed. I told her that was great, a genius move, thanked her, and did my Jimmy Durante act.

     Another couple of weeks worth of of maybes would snap the old rubberband. It’s all about opportunity loss when you get yourself wrapped up with a foot-dragger who has some other agenda besides buying from you! This unclosed sale beat three closed sales. And I didn’t have to bet the farm!

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Input welcome anytime:

Hal@TheWriterWorks.com or comment below.

Thanks for visiting. 

Go for your goals, good night and God bless you!   

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May 28 2009

EMPLOYEES WHO UNDERMINE YOU

Mind Over Undermine

                                                                                                           

     At some time or another, every business and professional practice boss discovers a hired or inherited employee or group of employees whose sole mission appears to be to undermine operations—from manufacturing to customer service/patient care to administration to sales.

     Sometimes it’s vindictiveness, jealousy, bitterness, resentment…all good stuff, right? Sometimes, though, it’s naivety, ignorance, immaturity, misplaced loyalties, or just plain stupidity. While the reason might be important to uncover, what’s most important is to act on the discovery before it has chance to fester.

     If it’s too late to contain the infection from spreading out and affecting others in your organization, it may require you to rise to the confrontative occasion and call for all the cards to be put on the table. This, however, is not always the best solution.

     Why? Someone who may have been undermining you or your business or practice may be truly innocent of premeditation, or was perhaps unwarily acting out someone else’s issues. In that situation, you could be pulling the plug on someone who is a valuable potential asset to your operations or reputation.

     This may be the right point, instead, to pull in a professional to facilitate differences and/or re-train problem employees, or to counsel you on how to do it, or to force the situation to a head on your behalf. At any rate, it’s certainly worth the time to discuss the circumstances with an outside consultant before making that decision. 

     Prepare a short bullet list of issues and individuals involved with your own assessments of how effectively each performs in the roles for which they/he/she were/was hired. Try to keep your comments as objective as possible so as not to prejudice an outsider’s opinions, but articulate your issues and concerns clearly.

     Make your mission clear, and make your goals for each position that’s involved clear ones. In the process, look to your self as well, and question what (if any) contribution your own statements or behaviors may have contributed. Ask your consultant for a straightforward, unvarnished opinion and recommendation.

     Decide when, where and how to act, and what to say. Be receptive to whatever responses you provoke, and assess those in private. In the end, you will have given enough time and energy to the situation to justify moving forward from the point of implementing your decision. Then move forward.     

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 Open minds open doors.

 Thanks for visiting.  God bless you. 

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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May 20 2009

STRESS Kills Sales Quicker Than The Economy

“I’m Sick of Worrying!”

                                                                         

     An important followup note on last night’s blog post topic: “Worry” as noted comes from being too over-focused on the FUTURE, which ignites weapons of self-destruction fuses and pulls the pin out of expectation grenades that inevitably breed disappointment, followed by negativity, depression, stress…

     This is all true, but as I re-read the post, I see that I failed to include being too overly-focused on the PAST as a worry trigger as well. Consider getting caught up in giving either too much attention to future plans and expectations, or in over-and-done-with past events, as “partners in crime.”

     These “bad guy partners” are out to get you, and you can stop them short, before either one ever gets close to delivering harmful effects to you, your family or your business. Success means simply that you need to exercise more of your brain power to deliver increased personal awareness and increased self-control to your SELF! (Considering Einstein reportedly only ever used 10% of his brain power, just imagine what’s possible.)

     Thinking about the past can be productive, relaxing, and instructional, but not once it reaches the point of dwelling on past events. As with allowing future thoughts to become worrisome, our balance and stability as humans is equally threatened by dwelling on the past. 

     The past is over and cannot be changed. Worrying about and dwelling on it is a nonproductive (actually counter-productive) waste of time and energy. Conscious or unconscious, the fact remains that paying over-the-top attention to either the past OR the future—instead of the (much-healthier) present—is a choice.

     To get past the “points of destruction” in your mind, you need to be a detective about yourSELF. Figure out what it is that trips your circuit-breaker, that gets you “lost” in past or future thoughts and issues. Once you know what your “trigger” is, then every time you are aware of it coming to the surface, let it serve as a reminder to pinch yourself or feel your pulse or heartbeat, or take a deep breath…and return yourself to what’s going on right in front of your face.

     Oh, but that’s hard and I don’t know how to do it! It’s hard if you CHOOSE for it to be hard. You can just as easily CHOOSE for it to be easy. As for how to do it, just start paying closer attention to your own behaviors…how you respond and react to others, to situations.

     Keep track of your words and actions. Write your observations down someplace and review your notes every few days. Keep asking yourself what you are learning about yourself right this minute.

     You’ll surprise yourself. And odds are you’ll far exceed your own expectations of what you believed to be possible for your own physical, mental, and emotional health and happiness. Try it. You’ll like it! But don’t wait too long. There’s no time like the present!      

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar              # # # 

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May 02 2009

SMALL BUSINESS STIMULUS BUDGETING

“It Don’t Matter To Me!”

                                                                              

     That song title should be your answer (aside from the ungrammatical “don’t”) to any question about who’s to blame for this economy. All that matters in the end is what you are doing about it for your own business or professional practice.

     Whether you’re a doctor, a retailer, a small-size manufacturer, a distributor, agent, or service provider, it’s time to take a hard look at how you are dealing with your current spending plans. This, for example, is NOT the time to fold up the sales and customer service training rug and store it in the basement. Besides the fact that basement-stored rugs attract mold and mildew, there are better solutions.

     Check in with your local community college or adult education program for an inexpensive training option. Or, do it yourself! Or round-up a team of masters or doctoral students from a nearby university to put a program together for you.

     Many internship programs across the country award academic credits for firsthand real-life experiences. A combination of business and education or psychology majors should be able to package a good motivational training program for your business. Some training is better than no training!

     Just be sure you present such a program in the right light and discourage over-the-top expectations. Help your people to see such an occasion as an opportunity to foster idea exchanges and teamwork, instead of setting up training quality judgements. Point out that what they will get from any program is what they end up putting into it.

     Speaking of motivation, remember that small frequent rewards (like family entertainment arrangements and lunch invitations) are more meaningful in the overall scheme of things than high-priced permanent rewards (like salary/benefit increases).

     Look at ways to promote your business without having to bite the media advertising bullet that will undoubtedly break a tooth if not your wallet. www.BizBrag.com is a terrific free site to register with and post free news releases and newsy photos — every day if you like!

     People are selling everything under the sun on Twitter these days. Also for free. You need tenacious endurance to make Twitter work for you, but it will if you will. Didn’t tenacious endurance get you to where you are anyway? 

     Are you asking people in your family to help you with certain tasks that will help free up your time so you can be more focused on sales, for example? Maybe retired Uncle Harvey wouldn’t mind at all coming in a few times a week to do some light cleaning (in exchange for some sports tickets or a couple of dinners out) to help offset custodial service fees?

     Cover the tax-deductible cost of some business books for your college student son, daughter, neice, nephew, or cousin in exchange for some office, fieldwork or factory floor interns? Combine expenses with neighboring businesses? Shared transportation and shipping costs, even direct mail postage, advertising, clerical and website maintenance sharing are possible.

     Think it out. Tough it out. But stay focused in the process, and stimulate your OWN budget!    

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      . . . I’m open to your input anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thank you for visiting. Good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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Apr 16 2009

FILLING YOUR PIPELINE (Not Alaska’s)

Biz Cards in the Men’s Room?

                                                                                                

     Filling your pipeline has to do with how attentively you are keeping as many sales prospects as possible, alive and kicking, at any given moment on any given day! If you make your living by selling, you know what I’m talking about, and unless you’re in one of those numbing slumps, you need not read further.

     IF YOU RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS, however, you could stand to examine this post a little more thoughtfully. Why? Because when you’re not selling 100% of the time, filling your pipeline is easy to forget. It’s easy to overlook it, or become pre-occupied.

     It is especially easy to drift away from your pipeline when you’re busy tending to new and existing customers and projects. But therein lies the challenge. How can you prompt yourself to physically, mentally, and emotionally rise to the occasion?

     What can you do to rattle your own cage? How can you be running your business AND continuing to network and cold call while servicing others? Knocking on doors, after all, takes time and energy, not to mention travel preparations and expenses.

     Okay enough questions. Here are some answers. CONTINUE TO LEARN ALL YOU CAN ABOUT YOUR SELF! By doing this with relentless attention, you will do a better job of working with others — customers, staff, vendors, prospects, the community. Because the more you know about what makes YOU tick, the more you’ll understand what makes OTHERS tick and the easier it is to be productive in your dealings with them, and inspire their productivity in return.

     CONTINUE TO APPLY ALL YOU KNOW ABOUT HOW TO MANAGE YOUR OWN STRESS! Do deep breathing as routinely as you can remind yourself. Take a cue from wristwatch beeps, from little signs in your briefcase, on your rearview mirror, in your medicine cabinet and refrigerator…whatever works for you. Click here http://halalpiar.com/?page_id=35 for detailed 4-step approach that takes a full 60 seconds! Do yoga, meditate, exercise (regular fast-paced 20-minute walks will do it!), dance, sing, play with little kids…

     PAY MORE ATTENTION TO TIME MANAGEMENT! Return phone calls at 11:30-noon and 4:30-5pm when people are less likely to waste time because they’re getting ready for lunch or their commutes home. Use to do lists (and add interruptions) and colored markers to cross out accomplished tasks (including those added). ALWAYS PLAN FOR DELAYS (BE READY FOR THEM, NOT PROMPT THEM) as times to be productive with phone calls, text messages, pen and paper writing, reading, laptop activity. BRING READING & WRITING MATERIALS EVERYWHERE! Polish up your delegation skills and learn to let go of nonessentials tasks!

     SET REALISTIC GOAL TARGETS OF HOW MANY NEW BUSINESS SALES CALLS AND PITCHES YOU WILL MAKE EVERY MONTH, BY WEEK and stay flexible enough to shift gears if you get overloaded with other tasks or people issues…or underloaded!

     FOLLOW UP. FOLLOW UP. FOLLOW UP. KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS OF EVERY CALL AND DECISION. SEND A GAZILLION THANK YOU NOTES. 

     COLLECT AND GIVE OUT BUSINESS CARDS EVERYWHERE YOU GO. EVERYWHERE. YES, EVEN THERE!  

 Good Night and God Bless You!  halalpiar     

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