May 13 2015


Business Owners and Managers . . .

     WISH YOU COULD BE . . .

fly on wall?????????????????????

STOP WISHING that you knew what was being said when something goes wrong. Instead, start asking the right questions to find out what you really need to know.


But don’t ask “WHY?” – that only breeds excuses. WHY were you late again? My alarm clock broke. I got a flat tire. My dog was sick. I had to help a neighbor. My mother-in-law showed up for breakfast. I had a really late night last night, and . . . Well, ya’see, I belong to this carpool, and . . .

Instead, ask “HOW?” Find out the process that is or was involved. And don’t settle for a “WHY” answer that many people offer even when they are asked “HOW?”

Staying with the same “late for work” scenario, try asking the late person: HOW can you prevent being late again? Can you give me three steps you’ll take immediately that will keep you from being late again? Please write them on a piece of paper and drop it off here before you head home today.

You’ll be amazed at the results that come with handing in that piece of paper.

If necessary, explain that you want to understand the steps involved, not the reasons for taking them. You can never make something better unless you find out how it got that way to start with . . . you need to know exactly what the specific steps were. Problems aren’t solved by addressing blame or generalities. They’re solved by studying what took place.

WHY doesn’t matter. Knowing WHY won’t help you fix things. Are you wishing you were a fly on the wall so you could have someone or some circumstance to blame, OR being able to know enough to be able to fix the problem?

Can you see how the first of these two options is anchored and invested in fanning the fires of your own self-importance? The second prompts the violator to solve her or his own problem. Do you want to make things work better . . . or feel like a hot-shot?

Well, okay, some people thrive on being management firefighters who prefer to flex their problem-solving muscles by finding fault with others instead of helping others solve their own problems. So, if that’s the case, just keep asking WHY? Oh, and just keep wishing . . . you might win a trip to fantasyland!

 # # #

Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474


Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Dec 30 2014

2015 – Ta,ta,ta,ta,ta,ta,ta,ta,ta,ta,ta,tah – CHARGE!



What ARE you waiting for?


I know, I know. You’re waiting for a parade. The doctor? Next Christmas? Someone else to go first? Your parent’s approval? Ah, your boss’s approval. A work order? 5PM? Lunchtime? Oh, right, vacation. Your birthday? A full moon? High tide? Rock bottom? Another way out? The Mets to play the Cubs in The World Series? (HA!) The car in front of you to get out of the passing lane? Your child to become President? Your Father to strike oil? Aaaaaah, of course, a winning lottery ticket.


If you seriously answered “YES” to any of the above, you are too filled with excuses to make a success of yourself. I really can’t help you. My, um, best guess is that Psssssst! YOU NEED A SHRINK! Visit again sometime after therapy! 


Now. Who’s left out there? Anybody? Good. Well, there’s still hope for you after all. Since time truly does fly, if you’re truly not waiting for some event or person in order to move forward with your life –and especially your business pursuits– then odds are you’ve just been procrastinating. Christmas has passed.

Putting stuff off is okay sometimes. It happens to all of us. But you might need to give yourself a smack alongside your head, or if you can work it out, kick yourself in the butt (?). At least get yourself in gear to answer the two following questions:

     Question One:

How much more productive can you be with your waiting time?  (Like bank lines, traffic lights, bridges, RR crossings, commuter trains, subways, boats and buses, the dentist, Motor Vehicle Bureau?)

     Question Two:

What’s normally in your pocket, briefcase or pocketbook while you’re waiting?


. . . your answer does NOT include: A pen, paper, laptop, tablet, smartphone, sticky notes, or a book to read … 


. . . the answer to Question One above is that you can be a LOT more productive just by carrying these items. [Hint: Those listed are all tools or avenues of productivity).

I know people who’ve put together complete photo essays standing in line at the post office. I know an engineer who says he stimulates his brain by sketching vehicles and machinery while waiting for trains and bridges.

I know highly acclaimed writers who write as many street and business names down as they can see while stopped at red lights (that they can cherry-pick from later when they’re seeking character and location names for their works of fiction).

The point is, like the old Schlitz Beer commercials used to proclaim, “You only go round once in life!” (Well some maybe do a few trips, but most of us, well . . . ) and how convenient that we all only remember how short lifetimes can be when someone close to us passes away. You’re here to make a difference, aren’t you?

SO, stop fooling yourself with delays, excuses, nonproductive and unproductive waits. Stop staring into space wishing you were somewhere else. Stop bemoaning the lousy delay experiences and start DOING the stuff you’ve been saying, “Well, someday, I …”

 T O D A Y is “someday”!

 Some action is always better than no action. And remember that it’s ALL YOUR CHOICE because all of behavior is a choice. So choose to march shoulder-to-shoulder with time, not ahead of it, not behind it, but with it.

 Make the most of 2015.    Make your mark.

Make a difference. Make 2015 YOUR year!

Love, health, and happiness to each of you!

# # #

931.854.0474 (CT)    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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Nov 08 2011


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



Quicksand? No. Quick draw? No. Quick start? Almost. This is about how I’ve seen successful business owners and managers apply four of my father’s favorite words for motivating me and my brother:



No matter what you may be thinking about bunnies, you have to admit they are quick as they go about their business. No nonsense about “all things come to he who waits” — or about the one time a tortoise beat one of ’em in some race. “Slow and steady” was it? Hmmm, surely that was before txt msgs!

Every one of us deals with someone who’s slow on the road, in line, at the counter, on the phone, responding to an email, walking on the sidewalk or in or out of an elevator or building. Most of us act more courteously than we feel because we –most of us, I believe– tend to give the other (slow) person the benefit of doubt, right?

Well, we might mutter . . . maybe he’s lost; maybe she has a vision problem; maybe they just got married; maybe it’s his first job; maybe she’s got a big problem to deal with at home; maybe he’s writing a book. Hey, most of us can be patient when we run into delays. Not all of us and not all delays, but speaking generally.

Leading the parade of exceptions of course  is the kid in the 4-wheeled boombox, baseball hat on backwards, who’s doing 50mph in a 50mph zone but is somewhere between ten and eleven inches from your trunk, who we consider tapping the brakes at or launching some windshield washer fluid, y’think?

But, no, not a good idea. Next thing is we’d get abused for practicing road rage (or shot at in some cities, which I’ll leave to your imagination to list). “What’s your hurry?” I’ve heard. “All of life is just one big interruption anyway!” I’ve heard. But then, uh oh, there’s that little ghost voice of my father’s in the back of my head nudging me forward:



And guess what?He was right (well, mostly). Whenever something needed doing, whatever the task, personal or business, it was get-out-of-the-way time. Maybe he invented the “Life in the fastlane” term? So where is all this leading? To developing and practicing an action attitude . . . unless you’re 92 and playing checkers on a barrel.

Today’s business world is all about pleasing –delighting– the customer because customers are the only entities that make your business truly recession-proof (especially now as we enter The Great Obama Depression). Being highly responsive to customers (both internal and external) means acting now and analyzing later.

Instead of “I’ll look into that for you and call you back tomorrow,” look into it now and ask if the other person can wait while you get an immediate answer. Too many excuses and delays send customers and prospects up the walls — followed by rapidly considering other options, including your competitors. 

Customer loyalty motto for 2011 and (at least) 2012 is “What have you done for me lately?” If your answer to this starts with , “Why, just last week . . .” you’re talking about ancient history. It is never too quick to take a step on behalf of those who support your business, from employees and suppliers, to customers and prospects.

If you go too quick and make a mistake, there’s time to recover and correct it. If you go too slow, by the time you straighten out a screw-up, the customer will be headed off into the sunset. Go for it. Today. Now. Right now. It’s your choice to help others choose you and your business. LEADERSHIP = RESPONSIVENESS


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Hal@Businessworks.US  302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Sep 28 2011


“That’s me! That’s 


just the way I am!”


Yup! and that’s also a choice — to avoid telling the truth or avoid offering an explanation that feels awkward. 

Do we hear this kind of excuse with regularity, or am I just imagining things? It almost doesn’t matter what the question is that triggers this response. Asking why a person did something, or failed to do something can be equally responsible for getting that shoulder-shrug, palms up answer. Because it’s an easier “out” than admitting an error.

Notice, btw, that the keyword that sets off these (“That’s me,” “That’s just the way I am,” “Hey, whadda I know?”) kinds of retorts is WHY?

“Why” is a terrible word for anyone except a scientist.

All it does is provoke excuses.

“Why were you late to work the last three days?” will get you “My car broke down” or “My dog has been throwing up a lot” or “I had to give my neighbor’s kid a ride to school this week.”

Entrepreneurs don’t spend their energy analyzing.

It wastes too much time.


Better to use “HOW?”

How? forces excuse-makers to deal with reality. It begs the question of process. What specific steps can be taken, in other words. “How can you avoid being late beginning tomorrow?” Effectively followed by: “Please give me a 3-point list of specific steps (HOW?) you will take to be on time/restore the dog’s health/leave earlier for school?” 

“That’s me. That’s just the way I am”

. . . is the classic response from those who are lazy, yes, but more telling than that: from those with low self-esteem. Today’s society is literally plagued with low self-esteem. Children are not taught that they are okay. Parents rarely reinforce what they believe is obvious. Employers have stopped back-patting.

And social media is nothing more than an avalanche of token compliments and empty promises.

Many have come to accept social media exchanges so readily that they convince themselves that their 14,000 Twitter Followers are actual friends, and that their Facebook Friends are far beyond acquaintanceship.

Self-esteem reality is being dwarfed by ego fantasy.


I find this trend disconcerting because I (and many psychologists) believe success in life and in business has more to do with a person’s sense of self-confidence than almost any other factor. Self-confidence is a by-product of self-esteem. When someone feels good about her or himself, he or she becomes confident in her or his pursuits.

Of course there are exceptions to the above, but generally speaking, the best thing we can do for our loved ones (especially for the malleable minds of our children and grandchildren), and for our employees and associates, is to plant and nurture as many seeds of esteem-building words and actions as possible, as often as possible.

The return on investment can be enormous, and there is nothing more self-satisfying you can give to others than your sincere compliments and encouragement. Try looking for opportunities to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative” (a song my father used to sing). The more it works, so will your business, and your life. 


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Hal@Businessworks.US 302.933.0116

Open Minds Open Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

 Make today a GREAT day for someone!

2 responses so far

Feb 08 2011

The Answer IS . . .

The Answer IS . . .


Whether you’re looking for better grades, improved cash flow, an investor, a loan, new customers, repeat customers, a new employee (or  job), new revenue streams, the exact right set of words for a branding themeline, or some trace of your ex-mother-in-law who changed her name and left town with the contents of your wall safe . . . your odds of success increase dramatically when you:



You might think that’s pretty basic advice, but my experience is that it least happens when you most expect it –especially with headstrong entrepreneurs.

It isn’t that business owners strut around with a know-it-all cockiness; it’s that they don’t want to waste time and it can often seem more productive to step out of a meeting, seminar, webinar, conference call, txtmsg exchange, or cocktail party, than to suck it up and stay there and have to ask questions (when time is perceived to be better spent, instead, taking action).

Does that ring a bell or am I just imaging things?

Entrepreneurs (and most men, it seems) have to be on the verge of total mental meltdown before they’ll ever stop to ask anyone for driving directions. It used to be the threat of embarrassment for being so dumb as to have gotten lost. Now. it’s more like cringing at the thought of getting a reply like: “Hey, man, you mean you ain’t got no GPS or MapQuest thing?”

Here’s the bottom line:

If you don’t ask for what you want,

or what you want to know, 

you don’t get it!

(Always? No, sometimes we get things by accident.) 


Oh, and asking questions is completely useless if you forget the answers. Write them down. Stop with all the excuses about how much time it wastes to write things out by hand on paper (assuming you actually still own a pen and can find some paper, and remember how to write ;<)).

When you write things down, you get them out of your head, create more think space, and deal better with the inevitable interruptions that occur within seconds of getting your question answered. Note taking is not only smart insurance that you’ll walk away with an undistorted idea of what you heard, it also communicates that you value and respect the source of the responses you get.

The answers to questions

are at the root of all progress.


If you’ve been focused on secondary research sources (like books, reports, and the Internet) as your primary decision making tools, you may want to get yourself out into the real world and ask real people real questions once in awhile. There’s nothing can compare with asking real customers what they really think, really listening to their answers, and really writing down what they say.

Formal focus groups? Perhaps. But just plain old informal questions (without rebuttals, defensive reasons, excuses, or “yes, but’s”) will serve the purpose just fine. You will walk away feeling gratified, maybe astonished, and definitely enlightened. So???  (That was a question.)


# # #

931.854.0474    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!

No responses yet

Jul 26 2010


The check’s in the


mail. I’ll get back   


to you Friday. 


I’ll send you that


update the minute


it comes in. As soon


as we get an invoice.


When shipment


arrives. But I never  


got your note. Your


email must have


gotten lost in  


Cyberspace. Oh,


that?That was a




     You’ve heard it all, right? Maybe you’ve even said some of it yourself. But when your intentions are genuine and sincere, nothing can be more frustrating than hearing a pile of excuses . . . from a customer, a prospect, a supplier, an investor, an employee, a boss.

     So, what’s the magic answer? It’s somewhere within yourself. You may not be able to control the attitudes that give birth to replies like these, but you can control your own attitude. You, in fact, are the only one who can.

     And by controlling your own response to the excuses you hear, you are cultivating an opportunity for yourself to set a true leadership example. By setting an example, you:  

A) Keep your emotions out of the fray and

B) May actually influence the offender to re-visit her or his initial behavior or verbal representation of it, and reconsider a better, more productive, higher integrity avenue.

     Perhaps you’re not Henry Ford or Bill Gates or Mary Kay, and the idea of changing the world is not on your breakfast plate, but — as a small business owner or manager or entrepreneur — you are in an extraordinarily unique position to make a difference for yourself, for your family, and for those you work with, simply by choosing to respond instead of react.

Besides, if you never react,

you can never over-react!


     People offer excuses to cover their own feelings of inadequacy. Most of the time, you can probably count on excuses being not so much intentionally dishonorable as a shortcoming of the person who’s offering them up in the self-esteem category. Some people who feel they can’t get positive recognition will opt instead for negative recognition because it’s at least some recognition.

     Humans crave recognition. And some recognition always beats indifference.

The opposite of love is not hate.

It’s indifference!


     When you hear excuses, appreciate the insecurities behind them. When it’s possible to overlook them, do it and then make a point of offering (genuine) appreciation for instances of getting a job done without a presentation of reasons why it didn’t get done.

     Offer more encouragement than you might usually provide. Be kinder than you might usually be (because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle). Appreciate differences in perso0nalities and behaviors and help others to grasp the choosing behavior idea through your examples.

     Excuses are a way of life, but they are not always intentional or dishonorable. When you give the benefit of doubt to others, you may get bit in the butt a few times, but you’ll be serving the important purpose of minimizing anxieties and demonstrating productive leadership traits most of the time.

     The captain who keeps an even keel and balanced ship through stormy seas marks every journey with success.


 302.933.0116    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 for someone!

No responses yet

Mar 23 2010

Overcome the Fear of Marketing

This is not the time


to back off your 


marketing plan!


     Three times in recent weeks I have firsthand experienced business owners running scared from the economic crunch, straight into the debris left by salesquakes that erupted because each decided they were too afraid to carry out their marketing plans.

     If you don’t think that’s remarkable, try this on for size: all three had already paid 90-100% of the associated expenses to activate the marketing programs that they had planned. Something is clearly wrong here. Fear of failure? Fear of success? Fear of competition? Fear of more government regulation? Fear of being out of step with the marketplace? Fear of the words and images they were about to use?

You live in the wilderness, and routinely hunt for food for your family. The deer you’ve been tracking all day is now ten yards ahead frozen in place, do you load your gun and then turn around, unload it, and walk away?

Do you say, “Oh, I guess I wasn’t really interested in hunting anyway,” or “Our food supply can hold out ’til next week,” or “Gee, I can’t just shoot it because it’s not running,” or “What if I miss?” or “How would I ever get the thing back to the truck?” or “I should probably wait because one more after this and I could end up exceeding the limit,” or . . . 

     When I asked each of the three what made them pull up short of triggering programs they had already paid for, the answers I heard back were just as ridiculous as the hunter example. You would not believe the credibility each attempted to put behind the excuses they offered.

     It would have been like the hunter deciding to sit and take the whole gun apart to make sure all the pieces were clean and properly connected before resuming the pursuit, by which time the deer would obviously be six counties away.

     This is not the time to back off your marketing plan.

     You’ve come this far. You’ve put together the best program you can, and engaged the best help you can afford. Don’t start to question yourself and your efforts and Monday morning quarterback your decisions! Your instincts are what got you here in the first place. Trust them.

     What’s the worst that can happen if the plan fails? What’s the worst that can happen if you do no marketing? What’s the worst that can happen if you don’t find another deer before your food supply runs out?

     Roll up your sleeves and get in the game! This is what entrepreneuring is all about. Stop choosing to fret and start choosing to take action. You’ll get to your destination. Enjoy the journey.  

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day! Blog via RSS feed or $1/mo Kindle. GRANDPARENT Gift?

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