May 14 2011

“Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing, Baby!”

Is speculation


feeding your doubts? 


 ( With appreciation to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell for popularizing the Ashford and Simpson lyrics in their 1968 hit song, “Ain’t nothin’ like the real thing.” It is used in this post title because it fits the message below and because it was likely to attract more visitors than the headline, “Is speculation feeding your doubts?”) 


You’re an entrepreneur of some sort. You own or manage a professional practice or small business that you started or bought or inherited. You’re pretty sharp about most things, and probably more innovative than the majority of businesspeople. Way more than corporate and government types. Not even an issue.

Management, though, and maybe the finer points of leadership, have never found that comfort zone among your greatest strengths. So perhaps you tend to rely on others for those skills? 

If others are providing the majority of practical, shirt-sleeves back-up support your venture needs in order to allow you the time to pursue sales and financing and creative idea development, you may be putting too much risk into your business.

Even if they’re half wrong, government reports claim 9 of 11 new businesses fail in the first 3 years because of poor management, and that even with good management, that it takes 5 years on average just to break even. You may want to re-read that and digest it before you respond with

“Hey, whatever works!” 

Why? Because your reality might speak otherwise. 


It’s your business. When you have doubts about operational or staffing issues, get out from behind your desk or dashboard or computer screen or BlackBerry, or office or garage or kitchen door (or wherever you camp out every day) and check it out yourself. In person. Regardless of when or where. Go to it! Speculation breeds screw-ups!

When you depend on other people’s reports –no matter how loyal or trustworthy they may be– remember that they don’t have your perspective or your personal business interests at stake. It’s not a matter of trust. It’s simply not their business. They do not see things with your sense of vision. Go to the trouble spot.

This is not a suggestion for you to become a firefighter, solving everyones’ problems.


It is a recommendation to take increased responsibility for operational and staffing issues that can impact your bottom line. Others, for example, may have great intentions, but intentions never led anyone to accomplishment or success. Only action does that!

If, for instance, you have reason to believe that your customers or clients or patients are not being handled properly on the phone or by email, become a customer/client/patient and see what you get back. Be your own “mystery shopper.” You can be a detective without acting like one. Ask questions. Take notes. Check resources.

You don’t need to flash your badge, wear a trenchcoat or yell “Aha!” every time you find a clue.


Instead of telling, lecturing, scolding, threatening, or intimidating someone you find is getting it wrong, consider showing her or him by example how you would get the job done. Remember how you once learned something you’re fond of? Remember that your people are your most important asset!

Leave the how they do it part up to them — as long as the task and/or attitude is accomplished on time without compromising quality or results. Food for thought: Everything need not be done your way!  


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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!

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Apr 25 2011

Becoming An Entrepreneur





. . . IS YOU!


Becoming an entrepreneur is not like becoming a corporate guy or (thank heaven) a politician. In Entrepreneurville, there are no rules about how to think, or operate, or create, or market, or finance.

All there is for certain is you!  

Why is that different from corporate life? You may have your own team, but you’re not part of somebody else’s.

All there is for certain is you!

And surely you haven’t the time or inclination to indulge in the under-pinning of all corporate existence: analysis paralysis. By the time your corporate counterpart initiates some market study, you could introduce your product, service or idea, take it back, adjust it, re-introduce it and be making money!

What makes entrepreneurship different from politics? For openers, winning popularity contests seldom has any value. And, for closers, truly successful entrepreneurs only win by exercising consistent integrity. In between the openers and closers is a vast wasteland of propaganda, distortions and outright lies embedded in every election.

It’s making your ideas work that counts. It’s finding ways –channels, roads, avenues, strategies– to get from where your ideas are now, to where you want them to be.

Sometimes that “finding” process needs the help of others. But if you’re an entrepreneur with great ideas and no ability to engage and manage others to provide the help you need, you’re not likely to ever get where you want to be.

The number one reason for new business failure is “poor management.”

So start at the beginning. Realize that having great ideas, and being driven with burning desire to achieve results with them is paramount. But knowing how to manage things, people, systems, and operations to get your ideas on the launchpad is an equally critical challenge.

Spare yourself false starts.

When you jump the gun, rush to judgment, make assumptions, take shortcuts –even though these steps might be well within your comfort zone because you’re an action-oriented kind of person– you are setting yourself up to take huge (and probably expensive) unreasonable risks.

True entrepreneurs take only reasonable risks! 

It is the utmost and arguably most important of all reasonable risks for an entrepreneur to take: to expend the time and energy to gobble up every available shred of information about how to communicate clearly with and motivate others . . . how to be a leader and exercise productive leadership that’s followed eagerly.

Of course there are many behavioral and personality traits associated with entrepreneurial instincts, and those are not to be underestimated for the values they bring to the table, but genuinely successful entrepreneurs are historically those who cut out and apply big chunks of management expertise and leadership know-how.

If this subject matter gives you queasy feelings, or you start to hear your knees knocking when someone suggests that a management psychology or professional growth and development or therapeutic group experience might serve your entrepreneurial pursuits big time, take that road less traveled. It pays the biggest dividends.

All there is for certain, you know? 


# # #

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!

3 responses so far

Mar 02 2011







The heading above is not a code. It is what it is. Misdirected and misunderstood and miscommunicated talk ruins companies. It rocks the business foundation like an earthquake. Some survive. Many don’t.

Small business failures are blamed on as many reasons as there are small business, yet every single one of them reduces itself to poor management.

Go ahead and accuse under-capitalization, faulty equipment, incompetent staffing, ineffective marketing, convoluted financing, the rotten economy, and your mother-in-law, but the truth will out:

The true culprit, inevitably, is  poor management!

And heaven knows the failure rates alone walk with a heavy foot. As fuzzy as the attempts to grasp accurate figures, it is commonly accepted that only two-thirds of all small business startups survive the first two years and fewer than 50% survive to become four-year-olds!

If you’ve got some startup ideas,

you may want to read that statement again

. . . and the next one!


Toss in that on the average a business startup will not likely break even financially (if it survives long enough) until year six, and it’s often quoted by the inept SBA that nine out of eleven new businesses fail in the first ten years! It’s no wonder that those among the weak-willed tend to flock toward cushy government jobs.

One of the leading indicators of poor management is poor people leadership, which translates to poor communications, which translates to that whole “Loose Lips Sink Ships” expression — too many people talking too much too indiscretely to too many others, both inside and outside the company.

And the rapid onset of text messaging has both

amplified the risks and raised the stakes.


When employees are unhappy, they talk. Unhappy employee talk creates waves of negativity, which can ultimately build to tsunami proportions. The business goes down and the owner throws up his or her hands proclaiming some vague reason. But, in the end, it’s poor management.

Savvy business leaders know that it’s not always money issues that harbor employee resentment. They know that happy employees are people who are challenged and who are given responsibility.

Happy employees are people who naturally seek fair compensation, but who will –more often than you might imagine– settle for frequent (and genuine) praise and small, frequent expressions of gratitude. And happy employees don’t indulge themselves in orange-alert-level chatter. They don’t host or entertain gossip.

When employees like their jobs, they also talk. And that talk is positive. It cultivates sales, community respect, and more employee positiveness. So, there’s some kind of choice here?

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 “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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Aug 21 2010


“You must be very


  proud of yourself!”


“No, I own a business


and I have a life!”


Self-pride can, and almost always does, get in the way of progress — and even survival!

Self-pride. Now isn’t that like stubbornness? “Stop being so stubborn,” my stubborn mother used to say, “it’s gonna get you in trouble. People care about you as a person and they respect what you’ve accomplished, but no body cares about your honor except you   . . . not even me!”

So, yes, I am the son of a wise mother.

As a management consultant and entrepreneur coach for many years, I’ve seen my share of business and life failures. Research studies always point parental fingers to “being under-capitalized” as symptomatic of poor management and the key reason for business failure.

But rarely does anyone look beyond “poor management” being the ultimate culprit to see what else is lurking in the shadows . . . what else is there to account for business and life failures?

Someone should be looking. Why?

Because at the end of this fraying personal and business lifeline is a very heavy anchor that is best categorized as self-pride. It’s something that happens when you choose to get sidetracked from your business and life pursuits, to deal with some imagined threat to your ego.

You put day-to-day operations off to the side to entangle yourself in a legal suit that you know you’re right about just to gloat in satisfaction at having humiliated an annoying competitor, or to realize a thousand dollars payoff after legal expenses.

How much business is lost in the process of your ego-indulging diversions?

The minute the sidetracking starts, it has a tendency (like An object in motion tends to stay in motion) to snowball itself into an avalanche. And it doesn’t take long (sometimes just minutes!) to get to the point of completely immobilizing growth and survival modes.

In minor role applications, the sidetracking diverts needed attention from goal pursuits, family well-being, and from business and career opportunities and success.

Turning your spotlight inward takes the focus away from where you’re headed, and when it gets dark — you’re bound to trip over or run into some thing. You may or may not get up, or be able to.

In major role applications of this sidetracking, businesses go bankrupt, couples get divorced, children get abandoned, and some people can end up depressed enough to be taking their own lives as their failures become more pronounced.

What to do?

There’s always choice involved. Turn the other cheek! Why not? Is letting go so hard when you consider the consequences of holding on?

When you choose to feel insulted (you’ll know when you feel your face flush or knees wobble or stomach churn or head ache or fists clench), you need choose to stop where you are and stop whatever you’re doing.

Force yourself to take some (at least 3 or 4) really deep breaths, while saying to yourself with each inhale, “Healing energy into my body!” and with each exhale, “Stress and tension out of my body!” Remind yourself again that your behavior is your choice!

You can choose to escalate a situation or simply back away from it because it gets in the way of your success (and presumably because you prefer success to getting sidetracked). Getting (choosing to be) sidetracked is simply an admission that you have chosen for someone else to get inside your brain and control your behavior.

Don’t choose your self-pride over your self! or 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

Aug 09 2009

Thinking about starting a business?

Reality Check!


      Just in case  you’re star-struck with the idea of starting your own business venture, be aware that there’s a little more to it than flipping the black and red “Yes, We’re Open” and “Sorry, We’re Closed” sign twice a day.

There’s . . . 

  • money (at least twenty times more than you can even imagine needing!) 
  • industry experience, training and know-how
  • knowledge of the market and the competition
  • customers (you’re going to need a few to start)
  • suppliers (you’re going to need a few to start)
  • location (which is often critical, depending on the nature of the business)
  • utilities
  • a formal written business plan
  • investor and/or loan payback arrangements
  • basic office and business supplies
  • inventory of products and/or services
  • credibility (industry/community associations?)
  • advertising/marketing preparation
  • advertising/marketing implementation
  • an accountant
  • a lawyer
  • an advisory board
  • employees
  • a bank and bank account
  • maybe a post office box
  • maybe charge card or PayPal arrangements
  • maybe a charge card
  • furniture and equipment

…this could go on for pages!

     And don’t tie-up  your brain with this next thought, but you surely need to be conscious of the fact that 9 out of 11 new businesses fail in the first 3 years, and that it takes 5 years on average just to break even financially.

     Be aware that  most businesses fail because of poor management. Period. It’s common to hear that a new business didn’t make it because it was under-capitalized, but if you think about that for 2.5 seconds and can be honest about it, under-capitalization is:  poor management!

     You can be  a free-wheeling entrepreneurial spirit all you want, but reality dictates that you have to do some planning and have a ton more money than you think you need just to get up and running. This is a “haste-makes-waste” point in time where shortcuts don’t work.

     Of course there are always  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates success stories about starting in a garage and working “on a shoestring,” and I wish for you to be that kind of successful, but reality is that these two superstars are each one in trillions.   

     If all the above  thoughts have fueled your fire instead of discouraged you into retreating to the life of a bottom of the barrel employee, you might actually have what it takes to make it work. Go for it! (Oh, and if you need to call me for help, do it please before running out of money! Thank you.)

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Input aways welcome: (”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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2 responses 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.

# # # or comment below. Thanks for visiting. 

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

One response so far

Dec 28 2008

New Year’s Resolution – WASH YOUR HANDS!

STOP business deaths


and staff infections NOW!


     By now, all of us know, or have heard (or we believe instinctively) that the majority of hospital deaths, complications compounded or initiated by staph infections can be traced back to caregiver professionals and support staff not properly and frequently enough washing their hands

     Who woulda thunk it?  Such a simple thing.

     Well, not only is it true, but I believe it’s even truer (though never researched) in business.  It’s no secret that the majority of business failures, corrupted products and innefective misguided staffs and services come from poor management. 

     Management (even when it’s more task than people oriented) is all about interfacing, interacting, and encountering.  It’s about keeping a clear and receptive mindset.  Open doors open minds!   

     Now I’m not talking about hot water, soap, scrubbing and towel drying.  I’m talking about:

  1. Closing your eyes for just 10 seconds (perhaps 5 if you’re telemarketing, and not at all if you’re driving!) before and after every customer/employee/vendor/investor encounter,
  2. Taking a deep breath (to focus and maintain blood pressure) and
  3. Mentally (imagining yourself) washing your hands, like a doctor between examinations. 

     For many who try or maintain this practice, it helps to go through a 2-3 second physical action of simply rubbing your hands together.  The action sends a reinforcing mental message to your brain.

     EVERY meeting, conference, phone call, email, letter, overnight delivery, and text message exchange, you are after all being a doctor, aren’t you? 

     You ARE examining, aren’t you? 

     You ARE listening, exploring, considering, assessing, recommending, deciding, weighing, evaluating, checking and re-checking, sizing up, assuring and reassuring, projecting, planning, strategizing, and predicting, aren’t you?

     And what happens to your brain when you’re on the fly and go straight from one encounter to another without –it sometimes seems– even breathing?  Go on, answer this last question.  I’ll wait.  Okay, and how does that stress translate to your body? 

     Headaches, backaches, toothaches, stiff neck, upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, short temper, edginess, leg cramps, burning eyes, skin rash, urinary infection, or worse — cancer, heart problems?  Bottom line: is it worth it? 

     TRY THE 10-SECOND APPROACH for just one week –the first week of 2009 is a perfect test period.  Try it and see what happens. 

     Here’s what you’ll get:  IF you’re honest with yourself and IF you actually follow the presecription, you will be more tuned in to each person you communicate with; you will be noticeably more productive; you will GUARANTEED feel better – mentally, physically, and emotionally; you will more positively affect others around you. 

     Put reminder notes around you, or a sign over your desk, or stuck to your phone and computer screen.  Ask a co-worker, friend or associate to ask you: “Did you wash your hands?” before and after you turn a doorknob, before and after you lift and replace your phone, start or end your meeting . . . improvise here; just keep making the effort. 

     You will, I promise, astound yourself!     halalpiar

Okay, we’ve got one last Christmas-Business-Politics thing to say, and it’s best summed up by this high level laugh (and maybe cry too!) “C-SPAN Coverage” of Santa in Washington . . . definitely worth the check-it-out!

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