Dec 15 2009


Get your fingers out


 of other people’s pies!


You may be the boss. But don’t stick your nose into the creative process that’s being strategized or implemented by the writer(s) and/or designer(s) YOU hire. When you’re paying an individual or team to create your branding message, advertising, packaging, promotion, public relations, website, or Internet marketing: Back Off The Process!

If you’ve done your job up front by hiring top talent to begin with, leave it be. You risk losing personal respect, leadership control (including the ability to motivate), sales, and even market and industry stature by interfering in his, her, or their work in progress.

I’m NOT suggesting you don’t VERY carefully explain the perspective and posture you want to see be used in representing your business at the very beginning of the creative process. You need also to insist on a “How Goes It?” review / inventory / status or progress report half-way through the creative process.

And you positively must review every word and every graphic treatment BEFORE it’s released or launched or distributed, and offer an honest critique … which, btw, is usually better accomplished with questions than with judgement statements.

It’s your company and YOU are ultimately responsible for every verbal and every visual message conveyed. [And ad agencies and marketing groups — even in-house — love to walk the thin line of public acceptability and appropriateness; it wins them awards!]

But just because you think you’re a “creative whiz” and know how to write a nice email or drum up some sizzling topic for your kid’s science fair entry, or can draw cute pictures that always amuse people, do NOT think that you can match those you’ve entrusted to do the job!

If you were that talented at design or writing, you’d be a designer or writer. It’s just another way of expressing the old management theorem: Stick To Your Knitting! Creative people are not likely to be able to match your entrepreneurial drive and management / organizational and financial know-how. Tech people are, incidentally, the least creative.

Get the best people you can find to do the job, give them your input, take their pulse at the fifty-yard line, double-check their final product, but let them do the job.

I have seen countless great marketing, sales, and advertising campaigns be ruthlessly and unwittingly aborted by well-intentioned top management who haven’t a clue about how to connect their messages to their target markets.

No time to do all that creative process management stuff? Lacking the sensitivity to deal with the writers and designers? Not sure how to best direct or coach them? Call me. If I can’t do it for you, in a consulting role, I’ll find someone who can. [302.933.0116]

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Aug 15 2009


“Stick to your knitting!”


(and risk going down the tubes!)


All of history’s great management gurus  have traditionally advised business owners and managers to stick to their knitting, as in “do what you do best, put your head down, and charge forward!”

But these are radical times  that call for radical solutions. “Sticking to your knitting” can earn you bankruptcy. Look around you for the proof. Would you like a list of all the (big AND small) single-minded-pursuit businesses that closed in the last two years?

Except for those few businesses  that thrive on hard times… do-it-yourself stuff and debt consolidation and pawn shops and vulture lawyers… those who do best are adapting and expanding and re-inventing themselves!

You run a service business  but have more to offer than just your accounting skills. I’m not talking about your tuba-playing. Surely you have taught others something about your specialization at some point. Why not add that ability to the range of services you offer?  

VOILA!  Now you are also a consultant and trainer. Package these add-on services, price them, and include them on your business cards and letterheads. Hey, nothing ventured… 

You’re a painter or designer?  Add less-expensive, one-of-a-kind postcards and greeting cards to your lineup.

You sell furniture  and discover the new senior housing complex down the road provides a small alcove area next to every front door; nothing you carry fits there, but you (or someone you’re connected with) have (has) some carpentry skills. Measure twice; cut once. Skinny/tall/customized corner cabinets! Sell affordably and POOF! A new revenue stream and new prospective customer base.

Every problem is an opportunity.  

A lousy economy is an opportunity

to innovate and spin new business

directions out of your old knitting.

“A stitch in time…”     

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Thanks for visiting. 

Go for your goals, and God bless you!


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