Apr 25 2012

Try it Now! Say it Now! Do it Now! Move it Now!









The tougher that times get, the more focused we need to be on the here-and-now present. Anything else triggers agita! Demonstrating to our customers, prospects, employees, associates, investors, advisors, referrers, and community-at-large that we are seriously committed to making things happen quickly is one of the strongest impressions a business can make.

This is not to suggest a haste-makes-waste attitude that ends up costing money or relationships. Instead, it’s all about responding promptly to what’s asked of us. Every business owner knows that pleasing others and building strong work relationships and customer relationships is directly related to one’s ability to “hop to it” when a request or purchase is made.

But all too often, this ownership sense of urgencyis never passed along through the rank and file. In my work with at least a thousand businesses over the years, I’ve heard frequent references to “The Boss” as someone who works hard and responds quickly to the interests others express or show in the business, or in the business offerings. But it’s not contagious!

Many employees and associates seem to settle into a lethargic comfort zone that relies on the boss’s behaviors to make things happen instead of assuming responsibility to follow the boss’s lead and adopt her or his commitment to action.

With the assurance that some action is always better than no action –at least in business– most bosses fail to communicate a sense of hustle to those around them.

When did you last gather your staff or team together to let them know how much you’re counting on them to solve customer problems and fill needs as quickly as they can, how important this single commitment is to repeat sales?  Are you rewarding hustle? Try tossing a one dollar coin (because it’s uncommon, it’s special) at someone every time you observe rapid response activity. You’ll be amazed at how far that single dollar will go toward motivating urgency.

  • A 6pm phone call requesting delivery of a part 400 miles away by 9am the next morning was greeted by one delivery service with “Sorry our switchboard is closed after 5pm; try back tomorrow.”

  • Another delivery service responded by saying it would have to cost $2,500 to get the part to its destination by 9am because the driver was scheduled to go the opposite direction and would have to leave two hours earlier to fill the request.

  • A third company said the office was closed and all the trucks were scheduled for the morning, but the person answering the phone said he had nothing planned for the evening and would take the part personally in his car for gas, tolls and breakfast… $323.50. Do you think that customer returned to the third company for future deliveries? 

It’s really hard to respond too quickly to a customer or prospect request. In fact, they’ll surely tell you if that’s the case. But no one forgets the business that goes out of its way to see to it that requests are handled and processed promptly. It’s called having an Action Attitude. Do you?

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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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Aug 18 2011

A Sense of Urgency

Unless you’re a surgeon


or bombsquad defuser,


 nothing gets done


  by standing still.



Yesterday we talked about constantly moving targets. We touched on the challenges presented by rapidly changing rules, attitudes, circumstances, and information access.

To impact consumer, employee, and supplier behaviors positively, entrepreneurs and small business owners must flex, adjust, adapt, and go with the flow.

We must also hustle.


When problems surface, pounce on them. I’ve actually seen unsavvy (and ultimately unscuccessful business owners and managers walk away, pass the buck, blame others, close up and go home, and –in one instance– put a “Gone To Lunch” sign on the counter at 11:55am, and literally chase out eight customers who’d been waiting in line

. . . oblivious, obviously, to the common knowledge that every unhappy customer tells a minimum of ten other people who tell ten other people. So, in this case that makes 800 bad-mouth comments. Can your business survive that? (“Quick like a bunny” was my father’s motto; it always earned him big tips.)

Having a constant sense of urgency communicates leadership, compassion, integrity, authenticity, and professionalism. Others will assign those values to everything you are associated with — your products, services, ideas, and all of the people involved with your business. Pretty good return for zero dollar investment.

Don’t be so afraid of making mistakes. Yes, “haste makes waste,” and “failing to plan is planning to fail.” But you can’t run a business cornerstoned by trite expressions. When you take reasonable risks, you are not betting the farm, or running off to the nearest lottery window, racetrack, or casino with your gard-earned dollars.

Unless the task at hand requires some Herculian effort (e.g., securing a king-size mattress onto the roof of a Washington Bridge-bound VW) or is intricately detailed (e.g., drawing blood, folding a parachute), be on the alert about when you can hustle your muscle and please your customer or employee or vendor with a prompt response.

All of this takes an action attitude and a determination to “Git R Done,” but, hey that’s simply a matter of sleeping and exercising enough, eating right, and making the choice. This starts to sound like some kind of training camp? It is. If you’re going to make this all work, you have to choose to keep yourself in good shape, and stay with it! 

Try walking faster. Oh, and keeping a journal of response times for various tasks and services will give you a sense of where you are, where you need to be, and give you the information you need to improve the sense of urgency you deliver. What every day? No, but maybe a day or two a week to start, then a monthly check-up. 

Remember the Chinese proverb: “Talk Does Not Cook Rice.”   

# # #


  Open Minds Open Doors 

 Thanks for your visit and may God Bless You.

  Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jun 20 2011


Chinese Proverb . . .






Like facing a mental firing squad, being called out to justify your existence –by anyone with clout: a client, customer, partner, investor, lender, referrer, founder, advisor, even some braindead government regulatory agency official– can paint you into a corner of zero return on your time, energy, money, and often innovative talent as well. 

Justifying decisions and actions may be important in a courtroom but, in business, searching for reasons wastes enough time to prevent a needed quick-fix, to intercept momentum and slow down progress, and to prevent the launch of creative fantasy into innovative reality… a process today’s economy needs more of rather than less! 

Many entrepreneurs seem to include some form of justification frustration in their list of reasons for giving up corporate or government careers to join the ranks of the self-employed. “I hated having to always subject every breath I took to someone else’s microscope. Getting the job done on time is what should matter, not how or why.”   

Talk may serve to satisfy boardroom egos and government budget rationales, but if you own or operate a small business, it doesn’t cook rice! 


In our steadily sinking economy, it serves no purpose to patronize and pander. Telling your supporters that things are still not where they need to be but that they are in fact better than they once were means absolutely nothing. Nada. Zero. Action still speaks louder than words. Responding with a sense of urgency still counts big-time. 

All those business guys with clout (in the top paragraph) care only about results! ROI. Benefits. What’s in it for them? How soon can they realize value or affect a turn-around? So the trick is to side-step requests to justify yourself by answering demands to explain why the rudder broke, and to use that time and energy instead to right the ship.

It’s called an “action attitude.” Every successful entrepreneur I’ve studied has practiced it under fire, when the chips are down. Those I’ve seen who dwell on “getting to the bottom of things” usually do because that’s what they choose to preoccupy themselves with, instead of moving forward. 

If you think you need all the answers in order to move on, you’ll never move on. Which brings us to the central message here. Sure there are times when we need to explain ourselves for the sake of maintaining household or employee harmony, or to satisfy an upset customer who demands it, or to keep an investor at bay. But:

You need to free yourself from always feeling that you have to justify yourself.


It reportedly took Thomas Edison 10,000 attempts to invent the light bulb. Imagine if he had to stop and explain his way out of each failed effort? We’d still be sitting in the dark! Life is to short to worry about what went wrong. Focus on getting things to go right!                                         


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Hal@Businessworks.US or 931.854.0474

“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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Jun 05 2011

Someone’s Opinion of You

“Someone’s opinion of you


   does not have to become 


   your reality.”


—Motivational Speaker Les Brown


Let’s look at it this way: You are reading this right now because you are an entrepreneurial thinker and/or leader, because you own or operate or manage a small business or professional practice, or because you are a partner or investor in, or advisor to (or a student of) small business.

If this is true of you, then you know you are made of different stuff than are corporate or union folks, or those engaged in mass media. . . or government employees (from the White House to your State House, County Seat and Town Hall . . . including all levels of government agencies) . . . or those theoretical academic types.

Let’s put all those people aside for a minute. (Yes, of course there are exceptions; I’m talking about the overwhelming, vast majority of individuals who simply don’t get it, and who prefer being sheep!)

You, on the other hand, have a brain. And common sense skills. You know how to think and act productively.

You are focused on the here-and-now present-moment more than most people, and have little or no use for analyzing the past or fantasizing the future, beyond getting your ideas to work.

You know how to make things happen.

You have a sense of urgency, and you know how to “turn on a dime” when it’s time to change direction or meet a market need.

You create your own opportunities and are not afraid to step up to the plate when they arise — plus, you are smart enough to know how to get yourself on base without swinging wildly for the seats on every pitch.


Okay, so as far as others cut from the same fabric as you are concerned, all of the above makes you a (no gender implied) “Good Guy.” (There are 30 million of us!)  

But–alas–those admirable qualities that set the entrepreneurially-minded apart from the closed-minded also fail to insulate small business enterprise high-achievers from warped opinions!

Here’s the bottom line: When you find yourself beginning to worry about others’ opinions of you, your behavior, the way you run your business, the kind of schedule you keep, ask first if you are behaving legally and second if you are sacrificing your own health or your family’s existence.

If it’s “no” to both of these questions, change the channel.

It’s your brain. You are the only one who controls your brain. Simply change the mental channel in your brain from whatever self-denial, self-badgering, self-guilt station is playing, to something more challenging or geared more to easy listening.

It’s a choice. You can choose to rise above other’s opinions and pursue your burning desires freely.

Imagine if Edison or Ford or Gates or Winfrey or Ashe or Carnegie or Jobs or any great entrepreneur had balked at others’ negative opinions. We’d probably be –just for starters– without lightbulbs, cars and computers. Don’t choose for the negative opinions of those who can’t see your light to create darkness for your business ventures.

There’s too much to do, and life is too short to waste time dwelling on or worrying about other people’s opinions. Because–in the end– all you have for certain is you!


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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

“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!

2 responses so far

Feb 12 2011

No, Mr. Obama, you still don’t get it!

America’s small business


community is 30 million strong.



On one issue —the economy— we


stand shoulder to shoulder


with one voice:


The economy can only be saved by new job creation.

New jobs come —only— from small business.

(Check history!)


It’s time to face the fact that America’s small businesses drive America’s economy. Period.

It’s time to step up to the plate, Mr. Obama, and exercise the kind of domestic leadership you were elected to provide.

Without a strong economy, there is nothing else you can provide. Your social agenda will continue to dissolve. Our nation’s image will continue to deteriorate. Your support will continue to erode. And the kind of legacy you surely pursue will become more elusive each day.

But you can turn the tide.


You need only to choose to stop being driven by fear of losing face and votes, and show the world the leadership you appear to be capable of.

Bottom line, Mr. Obama:

Stop being an under-achiever!


Your “pulling up short” behavior simply doesn’t do justice to the promises you represent. Surely you can do better than that?


Instead of:

  • Blockading and berating small businesses at every turn, and catering to big businesses that are over-run with lethargic 9 to 5 attitudes and disreputable union leaders . . . corporate giants entrenched in maintaining the status quo.

  • Creating artificial government “jobs” that simply add to the deficit . . . how many people does it take to fill a pothole? (A State issue? And where do the states take their lead?) 

  • Making lots of PR sound-bites and photo ops to illustrate your administration’s dedication to business (and setting up token programs through the pathetic SBA and other smoke and mirror entities to try to look good to voters). . . I served the SBA Advisory Council for two, two-year terms; it’s a farce run by corporate giants. 

  . . . how about trying a bold new tact?                                           

What, for example, could happen if you actually threw Federal support behind small business development by providing genuine tax incentives for job creation?

What, for example, could happen by introducing genuine tax incentives for meaningful small business expansion, and for the creation of entrepreneurial and innovative new revenue streams?


Will you please set the stage for entrepreneurial input by taking the high road? In other words:

  • Can you start to genuinely demonstrate a more receptive attitude toward small business owners?

  • Can you show a little entrepreneurial spirit yourself by taking the reasonable risk of rolling up your sleeves and setting to work with non-politicized teams of America’s great entrepreneurs? (This includes looking past just those who have worked with and on your various campaigns.)

  • Can you put political ambition aside long enough to recruit some active “straighten-out-the-economy” participation by small business? (This means doing far more than just dispatching small armies of researchers and interviewers and surveyors into consumer, industrial and professional marketplaces to “report back.”)   

So far, it seems to ALL of the hundreds of small business owners I informally communicate with regularly, that your administration has done everything humanly possible to alienate entrepreneurs and small business owners and operators and managers, instead of tap into their experience and knowledge, and embrace their spirit.

Small business owners and operators and managers and entrepreneurs know how to be productive.

They know how to turn on a dime.

They know how to create and manage marketplace opportunities.

They know how to do whatever it takes with a passionate sense of urgency.

They know how to make things happen.


It’s hard to know the source of numbers that have crossed your desk, but reality is that there are indeed 30 million of us who are tired of being stepped on, over, under, and around. And many of us care more about turning things around than we do about making political points.

We truly want the opportunity to work with government to turn things around, but there must be an ongoing and mutual sense of purpose and respect coming from the White House. There has not been so far. 

Just say you’re willing to try, Mr. Obama, and let’s get started! Yes, it’s that simple.    


# # #


www.TheWriterWorks.com or 302.933.0116 or 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!

3 responses so far

Dec 28 2010

Carpe Momento!

Seize the moment!


Trying to “Carpe Diem” (grab hold of an entire day) in these relentless times, can breed toxic troubles in your relationships and send chills up the spine of your bankbook. But “moment at a time” works.


The days are history when we all thought we could bite off more than we could chew and get away with it. Carpe Diem–from its humble creation by lyric poet Quintus Horatius Flaccus (known primarily as “Horace”) between 65BC and 8BC–has quietly and dormantly stood the test of time, even up to 22 years ago! 1989? What happened then?

Robin Williams’ inspiring performance as a 1959 boys prep school teacher in the classic movie, Dead Poets Society, reinvigorated and redefined the seize the day expression for an entire generation. Most of you who are reading this right this minute were at least around at the time of that screen debut. But guess what?

The breakneck speed of technology has so revolutionized our world so rapidly that even THAT is now ancient history.

Life is moving so fast.

Almost all business is a reflection of the needs and wants of the societies and communities that house each of them.

Business owners and managers are scrambling just to keep pace . . . even as they continue to struggle with the still plummeting economy and job market. 


There’s a steadily emerging new emphasis on immediacy and responsiveness. FOR INDIVIDUALS, this means getting out of and away from that unproductive, hope-based, dreamlike existence so many have chosen to pursue and, instead, start taking action!

Return messages. What are the most productive roles to play with needy friends? Without meddling or trying to commandeer the day, provide here-and-now support where you can.

As with 3-D Leadership, lead by example. Teach yourself to respond instead of react! Pace yourself to match your capabilities, but don’t underestimate what you’re capable of, especially when you don’t need to block out a full day to get ‘er done! Oh, and trust yourself more, will you?!

Don’t just live FOR the moment.

Live IN it!


This translates to having a more pointed sense of urgency. FOR BUSINESS, having a present-moment mindset can’t help but impact the bottom line positively. Let all dealings with employees, customers, investors, referrers, vendors and suppliers, professional services ring with a Do It Now! attitude . . . from finance to operations to marketing.


is the new transparency

because responsiveness is

    married to responsibility!  


Yes, we all need to be more on top of our lives and our businesses in 2011 than we were in 2010. With a full third of our existences (2,920 hours a year) consumed by needed sleep –or wishing we could– we’re left with 5,840 hours of awake time. This of course hasn’t changed much since the beginning of time, but the rate at which we consume those 5,840 hours has slammed our sensibilities.

Well, the way I see it is that seizing any single day out of 365 is not really within the realm of possibility anymore (unless it means rocking on the nursing home porch), but I sure as hell can seize one minute at a time! And my reward is that it keeps me in touch with the fun and reality of the personal and business lives I lead without leaving much room for upsets, stress, and disappointment. 

How do YOU see it?


# # # 

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 THIS moment a GREAT moment for someone!

3 responses so far

Dec 06 2010

Walk The Talk!

Follow, deliver, be urgent


and reckless


hardly sounds like a


success formula, but 


. . . NOTHING in business is more telling about the character and integrity of an individual or organization than the honoring (or not) of commitments.


  1. Consistent follow-through and follow-up

  2. Delivery of what’s promised when it’s promised

  3. An all-pervasive sense of urgency, and 

  4. The reckless pursuit of customer delight

. . . are the marks of true business leadership.


Underpinning those magical business attitudes are respect for others, and a mission to maintain quality and value at every turn.

Besides –that all by themselves– those qualities make for explosively productive marketing and branding programs, regardless of the nature of the business or the goods or services offered.

Humans buy benefits first, attitude of the provider or supplier second, and product or service features a distant third.


Who knew? Not most business owners (who continually insist on marketing features first, and who routinely dismiss attitude issues as ones that impact the bottom line, and that they have little or no control over).

In fact, benefits and attitude offered are the engines that drive the bottom line. They are also largely a matter of choice. Attitude is 100% choice. If product or service benefits are limited, it’s because someone at some point didn’t recognize or flex that 100% choice muscle in the process or decision making about what to offer customers. But choosing a corrected attitude can upgrade the benefits.   

The only problem is that I can just barely think of slightly more than a handful of businesses in my lifetime that actually deliver consistent follow-through and follow-up, delivery of what’s promised when it’s promised, an all-pervasive sense of urgency, and the reckless pursuit of customer delight.


What happens when you put these four yardsticks up against the ways you think and the ways your organization is doing business right now? How do you and your business measure up?

Are your weakest-link areas ones you can correct/adjust/improve or boost on your own, or will you do better to enlist outside help? How big of an issue are the expenses associated with getting expert input? What’s your opportunity loss?

You could well be, for example, losing more dollars worth of business opportunities right now because your and your business’s emphasis are on the least productive points (like marketing features?) which could easily be costing you more than to bring in a professional specialist who can help you stop the trickle before it becomes a flood.

If you go this direction, be careful about who you choose to step in. Make sure that that team or group or individual exemplifies the four points identified above. Yes, there are plenty of earnest and capable individuals (especially) out there who can deliver the results you seek. Do due diligence. Ask for references and ask references for references. Use your gut instincts.



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!

One response so far

Jun 30 2009


  Is Your Business   




     I am convinced that the number one reason for business failure is not the economy, not insufficient capital, not poor management, and not over-regulation by government, though all are symptomatic.

     Government interference is of course particularly irksome because it’s being crafted, dictated, and delivered by an arrogant socialist stampede of naive, incompetent leaders whose total business experience equals zero.

     So, what IS the number one reason for business failure?

     Dig deeper.  

     In the past few years, I personally experienced or had first-hand reported more than two dozen incidents involving owners, operators, and managers of sizeable, established businesses hurtling their business interests the wrong way down one-way streets with reckless abandon.

     All have either since collided or failed or are on their way

All have or had the following characteristics in common:

  • Lack of follow-through and a vested interest in maintaining the status quo (amazingly, even after hiring outside consultants to ignite, stimulate, and motivate!) 
  • Disregard for and disrespect of their employees, with tokenism providing the prevailing wind 
  • Disregard of the very talents and solutions they were outsourcing to shore up their own shortcomings (hard to believe, especially after paying for services, but true!) 
  • Complete resistance to initiate two-way “partnership style” communicating
  • Not having a sense of urgency.    

     I reduce all of these weaknesses to driving a business the wrong way on a one-way street. It’s noteworthy that many of them talk(ed) the good talk…but to themselves: Mission Statements with no teeth!

     Without keeping open to and encouraging two-way communication by exercising strong listening and feedback skills, by making assumptions instead of addressing differences, and by disregarding the very consulting input they were paying for (and then not providing feedback), they were/are setting themselves up for failure. 

The economy, under-capitalization, poor management, and over-regulation are excuses. Businesses succeed–even with all of these factors working against them–by communicating openly at all levels all of the time. Communicating openly at all levels all of the time is the ultimate trigger for business transparency.

Transparency, like pregnancy, cannot be half-way.

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 Hal@TheWriterWorks.com or comment below. Thanks for visiting. 

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

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