Aug 04 2010


Businesses balanced on


the brink of  bankruptcy


have only truth to sell! 


Regardless of how you explain it or how you think you got there, businesses that teeter-totter, balanced on the brink of bankruptcy got there through poor management.

Not enough capital, not enough sales, the wrong personnel, the underestimated expenses, the increased cost of raw materials, the lack of bank loan support, weak operational planning, bad press . . . it’s ALL poor management!

But no need to bury your head about that. 

  • First: You have company. 9 out of 11 new businesses reportedly fail within the first five years, and a best guess is that probably half that many fail after the first five years.
  • Second: Every (Right, “Every”) highly successful venture of the many thousands I am keenly aware of has its success roots traced back to major failure. Forest fires create new and stronger trees.

Not unlike cutting and running on the battlefield or in the sports arena, the choice to fold up the tent is of course always available and, for some, it can gallop into position rather abruptly and become a choice that is no longer a choice.

For many, however, the moment of truth can breed heroics! It has a lot to do with courage, gumption, spunk, resilience, stick-to-it-iveness, passion, and drive.

It also has more to do with common sense and authenticity than most who face the threatening storm typically would care to admit. But facing the consequences with your business on the line — especially where the increasingly common issue of bad press is involved –requires more of one ingredient applied thoroughly and consistently than any other: truth.

Recent bad examples abound on the big business side of the coin with brokerages, mortgage companies, automakers, and scores of big-name corporate product recalls, with the over-exaggerated media hyperbole in oil leak containment effort reports.

Many see the same kinds of mismanaged and basically DIShonest accountings of activities surrounding sinking hospitals, banks, the post office and, sadly, many small business ventures.

There lies deep within these complex business failings a desire to save face at all costs, to cover one’s butt — a desire that is actually stronger than the desire to succeed. 

A sizeable hospital has disavowed it’s attachment to an affiliated and approved and endorsed physician who is alleged to have literally destroyed a community that the hospital has thrived in and nurtured its whole life.

Instead of going to the great lengths and expense and repeated hand-wringing it did to deny a relationship with the person in question (a tragically mentally sick doctor is the only way to describe what the evidence appears to point to), the hospital needed only to:  

  • Step up

  • Own up

  • Tell all

  • Admit past screw-ups and negligence

  • Ask forgiveness, and

  • Act immediately to bring the public to the truth of it.

Resistance to speak the truth in trying circumstances because the consequences are imagined to be humiliating, inevitably ends up making the dynamics and repercussions of the act itself far worse than when it started out.

Toyota’s response to failure was to smother it with marketing dollars. But peoples’ memories can’t be bought off! The hospital referenced will likely fold or be bought out for a monumental financial loss – all because the administration lacks backbone!

When the going gets tough, speak the truth. Sweeping the mess under the carpet only makes cleaning harder. or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You. God Bless America and Our Troops.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jul 22 2010


Okay, before you buy it,


here’s what’s wrong


with our product!


     The smaller the business, the closer it gets to practicing transparent marketing.

     The farmer at his produce stand will tell you that the corn wasn’t picked today, or that the peaches are maxed and need to be consumed within 24 hours, or that the berries may be tart because they’re not quite in season.

     The bigger the business, the more money that’s paid out in fees for ad agencies and PR firms to cover up product and service faults with retouched photos and exaggerated claims. Always intentional? No, not always, and especially not always on the part of the hired creative guns because clients often keep bad news locked up and intentionally mislead their marketing people.

     What kinds of product and service faults? HA! Start with air!

     Soap companies pump air into their bars of soap to give them bulk and make consumers think they’re getting bigger amounts and better dollar value. Note how many more bars of corporate giant soap you go through compared to homemade soap. In the end, the big brand names full of air cost more.

     How about big brand ice cream? Pumped in air? Of course!

     They can fill the containers with less product and make more profit. Do you think consumers ever think about weighing their ice cream? Maybe we should. Guaranteed that volume doesn’t correspond to weight anywhere near as closely as with homemade ice cream (and don’t believe any stories about the big boys using lighter ingredients!).

     And you thought just car dealerships, banks, and hospitals had a lock on dishonest representations?

     How about beauty products? Dense creams used in many big name skin and hair care brands get watered down and sold as “Instant” formulas — as, for example, sprays instead of in jars —  using a fraction of the original thick ingredients from the jar version, and selling it at a higher price because now it’s “Instant.” Uh, that’s “Instant” as in instant profit rewards for adding the water.

     This could go on for a zillion blog posts, but I don’t pretend to be Ralph Nader or Consumer Reports. I’ve just experienced situations like these first-hand and have stories you wouldn’t believe about hot dogs, pickles, bacon, chicken, drugs, doctors, and all the electronic stuff that thrives on planned obsolescence. (And you needn’t go any further than the recording industry on that count!)

     The point is that none of us will ever live long enough to see totally honest transparent marketing (or leadership, for that matter), but the answer is NOT “if you can’t lick ’em, join ’em” because THAT is an evasive political response that’s routinely practiced by dishonest money-crazed government and big business, and WE are small business, right? (No, this is not a rallying cry!)

     We are 30 million strong in America. We are not all honest. We are not all willing to be forthright in our marketing, And we are not all beyond telling some white lies or committing errors of omission when they fit our purpose, but most small business owners are, I believe, basically honest about the products and services they represent and market.

     If you think you need to “pad” the wares you offer or the claims you make or the words that drive your marketing programs, perhaps you should consider re-evaluating where you’re headed with your business and where you see yourself going in life. If there’s not some genuine compatibility evident, you could be setting yourself up for disaster. or 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You. God Bless America and America’s Troops. “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day!

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May 06 2010

ENTREPRENEURSHIP Breeds Leaps of Faith

When you undertake


to organize, manage,


and assume the risks


of owning and running


a business…


. . . you are not just taking a leap of faith.

You are taking the leap with a full plate in hand.


Imagine a waiter balancing a tray full of dinners on one hand and carrying a “table jack” with the other, while deftly jumping across a six-foot moat into a flame-edge-bordered room packed with ravenously hungry people, and no idea of who ordered what.


     Well, if the guy is the owner of the restaurant, odds are the right people will get the right food, others will get some complimentary food with appreciative remarks and everyone will end up coming back.

     If it’s a giant chain restaurant, the wrong people will get the wrong meals, nobody else will be acknowledged and the only ones who return will be coming back for the cheap prices only. 

     It seems appropriate on National Prayer Day (yes, that’s today in case you forgot to say some) to be addressing leaps of faith, even if it is in conjunction with a business focus. Entrepreneurial enterprises are, after all, among some of the world’s greatest benefactors of prayer and leadership faith.

     Most small business owners do most everything that needs to be done by themselves. They sell; they finance; they organize; they manage; they innovate; they manage and serve customers and clients; they market, promote, and publicize. Entrepreneurial “personalities” rarely if ever match corporate counterparts (and most would agree there really are no direct counterparts anyway).

     Entrepreneurs tend to be entrepreneurs because they simply don’t fit the orderly, entrenched, established, procedural, authoritative and controlling mindset that corporate muckity-mucks seem to thrive on. Corporate guys are invested in the status quo. Whoa! Don’t make waves!

     Senior executive vice presidents and directors of anything are up to their you-know-whats in burdensome and tedious reliance on planning and analyzing . . . activities that are viewed by upstart business venture principals as paralyzing behavior.

     By contrast, entrepreneurs thrive on innovation, action, and high enthusiasm. When a small business owner consults with her market research department, she is talking to herself as she cruises through Bing and Google.

     Okay, so right about now, I know there are a smattering of grumbling corporate people (mostly, it seems, brothers-in-law of entrepreneurs!) who are punching their monitors and yelling that times have changed and big business is now leading the way in innovation and brand loyalty and new market development and communications and high-level training. Bull.

     Automakers? Banks? Pharmaceutical giants? Oil companies? Mainstream media? Consumer product manufacturers? Need we go further? How many of these do you see taking leaps of faith?

     The monster donut-maker guys may think America runson their junk food, but they’re dreaming (their coffee’s not even good!).

     America runs on small business and entrepreneurial spirit, on Mom and Pop Stores, basement and kitchen table and garage businesses, one-man-band services, farm families, commercial and residential contractors, and techies in bathrobes working out of their bedroom closets. 

     That’s what we’re all about. That’s what will turn this economy around. That’s who we need to be remembering in our prayers today and every day. Small business and entrepreneurial pursuits are the foundation of America’s past and the keys to America’s future.

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! God Bless America, and God Bless our troops because “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]  Make today a GREAT Day! 

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Nov 04 2009

BANK Bu$ine$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Banking on your bank?


Don’t waste your time!


     The economy continues to hemorrhageOh no, that’s just not true, I heard that it’s not true on the news today:  The federal government says “we’re seeing many signs of things turning around.”

     I can’t imagine  what’s in some one’s line of sight that would prompt THAT statement. Also in today’s news, Microsoft just laid off another 800 employees. You connect the dots.

     The point is that when the going gets tough,  the average hard-working business leader thinks: The BANK. The BANK will bail us out. The BANK will lend us what we need. The BANK is the answer.

     One leading national bank  says they’ll even give loans to illegal aliens. Another says it will help customers who need help. Don’t you believe either one of them, or any of the other sleazy branding line enticements being offered out there in medialand. 

     You cannot depend on The BANK.  Period. Banks are tripping over themselves trying to outdo hospitals and the US Postal Service in the stupidity and low trust departments.

     Banks are at least 50 years behind reality  and –just like the hospitals and US Postal Service– think that slick, clever slogans, spiels, and marketing devices coming from empty suits and empty heads are going to make up the difference, the decades of incompetence.

     Credit unions offer a bit more comfort,  because they answer to their “members” not a board of directors and stockholders (but can also be a bit more risky for businesses because loan percentages, for example, can end up being higher than credit card rates if you’re not careful and alert).

     You think BANK  because the BANK has convinced you that it is your good neighbor, that because it’s been doing business in your town for a zillion generations, that it’s honorable and will loan you the money you need when you need it for a ridiculously low rate because they’re your neighbor.

     Good Luck!  A lot of businesses are failing because they naively trusted The BANK would support them in hard times. Reality Check: The BANK supports itself in hard times.

     What else is there?  Investors. Great, but guess what? Today’s investors want immediate gratification ROI and enough proof and collateral to guarantee it. Not much help if you don’t already have the money you need! 

     “Angel” investors  are getting tainted with skepticism, and are also requiring more than you probably have cause if you had it you wouldn’t be looking for it! Hmmmm. Barter. Right. Well, barter is great up to a point, but it rarely if ever produces money. Stockpiled merchandise and services have increasingly marginal value. 

     So, that leaves (ta-ta-ta-ta-tah-tah!):  SALES. Innovative, value-added products and services = SALES. SALES ALWAYS BEAT The BANK. How to boost sales now must be your number one (and perhaps only) priority. There is no greater or more important issue for you or your business to be dealing with right now, unless of course you own or run The BANK. 

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Jun 03 2009


Don’t be waiting for unions,


government, big business,


banks, or Fairy Godmothers! 


     It’s a good idea to step on the scale every once in awhile. It’s easy to let your business get too heavy from feeding it too much fat and not exercising it enough, or making sure it gets the sleep it needs. Whaaat? Well, sure: your business has a life too. The question is–since it’s YOUR business and dependent on YOUR choices–what exactly are you doing to keep it healthy and growing?

     When’s the last time you stepped outside your business and re-entered it, pretending you’ve never been there before? Just as trying to draw conclusions about your own health from just stepping on the scale, weight is merely one indicator. Many other factors need to be inventoried.

     Beyond the obvious business health ingredients, like first-impression appearances (e.g., parking, signage, displays, employees, facilities, waiting areas) and all the components like lighting, colors, cleanliness, etc., there’s a myriad of interrelated factors, issues, concerns and pursuits that warrant your assessment or reassessment.

     When, for example, did you last–or when do you next plan to–launch a new product or service program or initiative? Have you been holding back until the economy is “better”? Considering the growing evidence that that could be a very long time, could a launch delay now drag your company’s energy level down, perhaps to a point below a more aggressive market competitor? In other words, is it worth waiting?

     If you’ve already launched your exciting new Zilch-Zapper product line and support services, are they dying on the vine while you’ve preoccupied yourself with tap-dancing around your bankers and investors? There comes a point–as with humans–when a business becomes so over-burdened, so dis-stressed, that it collapses or has a stroke. Could you possibly be cultivating that kind of trauma?

     The good news is that business trauma is easily reversed. It requires only two things:

1) Recognitionthat the negative places your business health dwells in or is headed toward are the result of your conscious or unconscious choices (It’s as easy to choose to UNdo a bad choice as it is to choose to stay with a bad choice), and

2) Awareness that a burning commitment needs to be made to act on and directly treatthe diagnosis your inventory produces, and to be made by standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the immediate and long-term business healthcare and growth goals you set.

     Bottom line: If YOU don’t balance the life of your business (as well as your own… in order to grow your business from a position of strength vs. a position of weakness), who is going to balance the life of your business? Certainly not the government, unions, banks, or big business… I guess the answer kinda doesn’t leave much to the imagination. But that’s okay, because imagination is plentiful, and it’s what you need to exercise in order to get the job done. 

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Input welcome anytime: (”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 07 2009


You’re partly pregnant? Uhuh… 


     Two months ago, I took my car to an independent service center for a quick oil change, and was told I needed a new air filter. The mechanic showed me a thin layer of gray that had settled on a few of the white edges. I was quoted some ridiculous rate for the new filter and labor. I said I’d wait ’til next time and got back a couple of tsk-tsk’s and an undertaker’s smile. 

     A few weeks ago, I took my car to the dealership it came from to have the oil changed and asked them to check the air filter. It’s fine, I was told, a little dirty but nothing to worry about…but the tires! You need four new tires and soon! We can do it now if you can wait. Only six hundred and change. Er, I think I’ll wait. Well, don’t wait too long! Right.

     Today, I got a flat tire (first one in 20-something years, so now I know I’m doomed to have to pop for the six hundred and change). But God Bless Ernie. Ernie is my neighbor who is a walking Google of auto/truck/Harley mechanic info.

     Ernie inflates my tire with his portable compressor and says that for $10 the guy up the street will plug the nailhole that caused the flat, and that if I’m getting new tires, can he have mine for driving to California and back because they’ve still got another 20,000-30,000 miles on them!

     I get the tire plugged for $10 and the tire guy says these are nice tires you have; would you consider selling them? Now I’m laughing and buying the tire guy coffee.

     What’s the point? What does “PARTLY PREGNANT” have to do with plugging tires? (Nevermind. Bad metaphor!)

Here’s the bottom line:



     Why? Because businesses like the service center and the dealership are ripping people off. Because these–and many other– businesses are basically greedy and have now become panic-stricken by economic impact. Because no one has ever told people like this that:


     Integrity is not something to be toyed with, turned on and off like a faucet, or underestimated. INTEGRITY IS DOING THE RIGHT THING ALL THE TIME REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SOMEONE ELSE IS WATCHING OR NOT! There’s no such thing as “partly pregnant” and there’s no “partial integrity” either!

When you exercise integrity, you must exercise it 100% of the time regardless of what the economy does or doesn’t do.

     The US Postal Service, airlines, ferry services, banks, and even hospitals are all adding insult to injury and they don’t even realize it (let’s at least hope they don’t). My message to all of them is that when the going gets tough financially: THE SOLUTION is NOT to raise your prices and lower your service.

     THAT is exactly the kind of thinking that has been leading us into economic spirals to begin with. THE SOLUTION is to make sales by exercising integrity…in-person, in writing, via Internet, and on the phone…consistently!    



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