Jul 08 2014


“There’s no business like small business

It makes economies grow

Everything about it is revealing


Got everything that customers want now

Nowhere could you get that happy feeling

When you make a sale-with-service vow”

(With There’s No Business Like Show Business adaptation apologies to Irving Berlin)



Like Broadway without lights, imagine America with no small business. We have thrived as a nation because of small business. Small business employs the vast majority of workers in this country, and stimulates the U.S. economy more than all the nation’s giant corporations put together!

ALL things great that happen in business

happen first in small business.

Entrepreneurs deserve the credit for our existence as a people. They brought us (and continue to bring us) to our senses. They made (and continue to make) the freedom of our daily lives happen. Our military forces deserve the credit for keeping our existence free.

Yet neither finds favor in Washington? Or, in fact, with a great many state and local governments?

Why do you think this is?

Government people are charged with regulating business but rarely if ever have enough business experience to even understand the consequences of their regulations. If, in fact, they were entrepreneurs to begin with, they would never have ended up in stultifying government careers.

What more poignant example could there be than the U.S. Postal Service . . . dying a long, painful death since 2008 (at taxpayer expense!)?

Show me a single entrepreneur who thinks that the way to make more money and compete with Fed Ex and UPS et al is to reduce services, close down basic operations, and raise prices. Please. The Postal Service is a shameful waste and an ideal example of everything that’s wrong with our government and our economy.

They take mailboxes off the streets because they don’t know how to make them profitable.
They cut employee hours, close offices and stop Saturday delivery in many locations to save money.
BUT they spend many millions of dollars in meaningless, empty advertising campaigns run by Madison Avenue ad agencies seeking to win awards instead of making sales. Clearly an example of what your Grandmother used to say about the right hand not understanding what the left hand was doing.

What’s really discouraging is that it doesn’t take—pardon the trite expression, but it says it best—a rocket scientist to figure out that the U.S. Postal Service is in shambles and that it’s ego-maniacal ad agency is certainly not the bail-out answer. It takes an entrepreneur.

Only an entrepreneurial-spirited soul has the wherewithal to fully understand and appreciate how to transform the Postal Service into a privatized, profitable business. Think this is unimportant stuff? Guess what? America’s government from the top down is agonizingly in need of reform and innovative new approaches if it is to survive.

This kind of thinking is not forthcoming from our nation’s leaders, and never will be until they are replaced en masse. You own and operate a small business? Are you willing to step up? It’s YOUR business, and ultimately your family, that’s on the line. Please do SOMEthing. Even if that just means “Talk it up!” Without small business, there IS no America!

# # #

 Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US        or comment below

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

 Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

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May 18 2012

The Entrepreneur

“The entrepreneur is


essentially a visualizer


and an actualizer.


He sees exactly


how to make it happen.”

 — ROBERT L. SCHWARTZ, Founder, The New School for Entrepreneurs


When I “graduated” from what was once The New School for Entrepreneurs in Tarrytown, New York, it was with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. I had the entrepreneurial success idea of all time percolating in my professorial brain all during the program’s intensive retreat-style weekends, but could bring only a Fortune 500 corporate background to the table.

I came away from the Entrepreneurs program experience with lots of material to weave into the college classes I was teaching. I came away with a better understanding of who I was and what I was all about, and that I was “an entrepreneur” of sorts for being so hellbent on making ideas work (and not the weirdo I was sometimes accused of being).

I ended up creating and copyrighting “Corporate Entrepreneurs” and “Doctorpreneurs.” I used what I learned to help start hundreds of successful businesses.

I learned that the Entrepreneur does not fit any definition. But being one usually means you share a number of characteristics and traits evidenced by other entrepreneurs.

  • You are first and foremost a catalyst of society.
  • In your own–usually underestimated–way, you are a “mover and shaker.”
  • You possess the unique combination of vision and follow-through.
  • You take reasonable risks.

You are the key —the secret— ingredient that’s missing in corporate think-tanks, and in every level of government.

A true entrepreneur running the U.S. Postal Service, for example, would be competing head-to-head with FedEx and UPS instead of folding up sidewalk mailboxes, cutting back offices, hours, and work schedules and raising prices. You would know that you have the world’s greatest address delivery database and network, and you’d figure out how to take over the world of email.

But what entrepreneur in her or his right mind would want to spend a lifetime untangling a 237-year-old pile of knots?

Entrepreneurship is not dead. It is lurking.


Entrepreneurs are sitting quietly in the shadows watching and waiting for the ever-dwindling opportunities that earmark today’s economic quagmire to show some signs of life. Entrepreneurship-driven activities are on hold waiting for revitalized and more encouraging government responses. Entrepreneurs are waiting for renewed trust in government representation.

  • Who, after all, wants to initiate (or pay for) an innovative new business venture that gets over-taxed and over-regulated before it even gets its startup feet wet?

Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial spirit will rise again. And when they do, they will usher in a new “Age of Enterprise” unlike any we have ever known. And besides revolutionizing the Internet and smart-phone worlds, part of the fallout will be that the U.S. Postal Service will no longer exist. Another part will be a new sense of self-enlightenment!

What are YOU doing now

to ensure that your business survives and thrives?

# # #


Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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May 18 2011


Considering his long-term-do-nothing-decide-nothing-accomplish-nothing track record in both the State of Delaware and now in Congress, Rep. John Carney finally said something of substance about saving the economy:


“It’s up to government 


   to create favorable


conditions for





At least it sounds good, though clearly his statement is the work of a professional writer, and I’m quite certain Mr. Carney’s vision of “creating favorable conditions” varies considerably from what America’s 30 million small business owners would suggest. But, taken face value, it’s a reasonably good start. Where it goes is what matters. 

Using taxpayer money to shore up bungling corporate giants as Mr. Obama did, for example, continues to be an unpardonable act of violating the public trust. So is the government’s financing of no-brainer token job creation in order to pump up fake employment numbers just as fraudulent a practice.

 (How many cone-placement people are really needed for DOT projects?) 





At the very least, Mr. Carney’s comment above would seem to suggest that he (of all people!) is actually a step ahead of you. Your public statements remain as incongruously pathetic as those of the White House.

See for yourself, blog visitors:

Read SBA Chief Karen Mills’ declarations about

“How the SBA evolved through the economic crisis”

 CLICK THIS LINK TO Ms. Mills’ feature headline article 


Sorry Chief Mills, but your comments are far out of step with reality. It’s just too bad, because the SBA really could make a difference if it would only (and ironically) pay more attention to small business owners, by talking with them straight-on, instead of down to them.

Real entrepreneurs are much smarter

than the SBA acknowledges.


On the flip side, I also know for a fact that many SBA people have heartfelt intentions and that a good many SBA Loan Officers are excellent at what they do. That having been said . . .

As for your attempts to defend what we all know is a case of SBA lethargy at best, to say that the SBA “evolved” hardly represents a dynamic business passage worthy of bragging about.

Also, though your article tries very hard to pretend that the “economic crisis” is past, I respectfully suggest that perhaps some actual “down in the trenches” two-way communication visits on-site with real small-town, small business owners might provide appropriate enlightenment.

Here’s some business truth: The SBA, like the US Postal Service, is rapidly becoming irrelevant and –without major shake-ups– is headed for extinction. If you don’t think so, you’re living in fantasyland, and small business owners everywhere will agree. Go ahead and test this opinion. Ask!   

By taking up a politically risky crusade to launch a meaningful program of NEW business tax incentives for job creation and innovative development, you have the ability to open the doors to economic recovery by actually doing as Mr. Carney suggests: “Create favorable conditions” for small business.

The economy will never recover

until NEW small businesses  

get help creating new jobs!


You should know that I served two two-year terms on the SBA Region II Advisory Council (with 34 others, 33 of whom were all major corporate employees!), plus six years as an SBA SCORE Counselor. I’ve been running my own small business for 35 years, and have directly helped to launch over 500 successful ventures.

. . . And, that I am using this blog as a forum to address these points because I tried four times to submit similar comments on the SBA website yesterday, and none were ever posted.

Defending and reacting and explaining will not move us forward. In the Spirit of Entrepreneurship, I ask for you to respond with new small business job creation tax incentive action.

Thank you  – Hal Alpiar


# # #


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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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Jan 09 2010

Websites are NOT 24/7 TV Commercials!



Chest-Thumping Websites


     Is your businessthe greatest thing since sliced bread and bottled beer? Do you consistently remind your customers and prospects that you and your business are the best there is and that your competitors should just fold up their tents, throw in the towel, take their footballs and go home to sit on the couch and eat bon-bons while they watch global warming creep in?

     Nah, you might say. Whaddayathink, I’m some kinda whack job? you might ask. I play it low-key with customers and competitors, you offer timidly, because, says you, your website does all that rowdy outta-control stuff!

     Well, if your website is bumping bosoms and thumping chests, it is BIG-time out of step with reality. Websites are NOT 24/7 TV commercials!

     Websites are your only round-the-clock opportunities to be engaging and deliver consistent sales messages, to stimulate 2-way interactive exchanges of information without prejudices or emotions getting in the way, without shooting yourself in the foot.

     Done right, your website gives you a dimension of control that’s not possible in personal selling. No, it comes nowhere near replacing personal selling, but it absolutely does enhance and accentuate the sales function in every industry on Earth if it has the right ingredients, especially (says all the research) great copy/text/writing/words.

     And if it does have the right ingredients, you need only to attract attention to it and generate visitor traffic (a task generally best left to Internet marketing specialists).

Here’s what your website should do: Educate, entertain, create interest, stimulate desire, bring about action, generate sales inquiries and leads, and promote increased awareness of how great you are not by saying it, but by demonstrating the benefits your products and services provide … not the features, the benefits!

     Does it matter that you’re a nonprofit organization or government agency? Of course not. It doesn’t make any difference if you’re the fading-off-into-the-sunset US Postal Service, the local community college, a church or service dogs organization. People buy benefits.

     Use your website to sell benefits. Do it serious or do it with humor, but do it by helping the customer solve a problem or address a need, not by bumping bosoms or thumping chests or telling everyone how great you are.

     Because when it comes to sales, except for maybe your mother, nobody really cares how great you are. And, in the end, integrity speaks for itself.   

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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!    



# # #      

Send your input anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Good night and God bless you! halalpiar              # # # 

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Mar 11 2009


Having grown up a mailman’s


son, maybe I’m just sentimental


(or simply as stupid as the PO?) 


     On top of their idiotic, money-wasting, survey last December [Click on December Archives in right column and go to DEC 15 “NO MORE ROOM FOR “SNAIL MAIL – Gutless, Incompetent, Greedy, The US Postal Service” for the ugly details], the amazing U.S. Postal Service management team has been making some astonishingly whacko business decisions.

     Since revenues are off, they’ve cut back hours, increased postage prices, increased their elaborate sample mailing campaign to entice more small businesses to do more mailings with (you guessed it) stuff that’s prohibitively expensive to the typical small business to even think about mailing anyway.

     I’ve received two personalized t-shirts, a metal hinged and color-labeled box filled with expensive die-cut printing samples, and the list goes on. And now. Now they’re pulling the blue drop boxes off the sidewalks!

     How utterly brilliant! Hey, nobody’s using them, so take them away. How many things can you think of that those boxes could be used for if YOU had them for YOUR business? I’ll bet there are at least 10,000 ideas.

     Okay, here’s where I’m stupid. I’m going to give away my consulting expertise for free to the U.S. Postal Service. Right here. Right now. Think they’ll take it? Not a chance, but I’m going to put it out there anyway just because they are chewing off their own arms and legs and I hate to just stand around watching them self-destruct.

SO… Here’s what the U.S.P.S. needs to do:

  1. Stop wasting time and money and effort on useless dumb surveys. Just listen to your customers!
  2. Stop with the radical cost-cutting methods and ideas that only serve to prevent future sales and revenue streams. You can’t make money by turning off lights! Only sales make money!
  3. Stop throwing good money after bad with products and services no one wants. Stick to your knitting, and remember innovation is taking an idea all the way to completion! 
  4. Take some pages from FedEx and other competitors who train their drivers to go beyond being just drivers and to become account managers– as responsible for promoting and selling and customer servicing as for driving and delivering.
  5. Start an Email delivery service (Call me for details!).
  6. Learn how to use and promote via social media options. Visit Twitter for two hours!
  7. Initiate customer service training at ALL levels. When was the last time anyone got a thank you note from the U.S.P.S. when it wasn’t a thinly-veiled give-me-a-tip-for-Christmas card?
  8. Put a P.O. Box in every P.O. Box (Call me on this one too!).
  9. Recruit community groups to garden and landscape your ugly buildings (inside and out).
  10. SPONSOR community events; get out there and mix with your customers! They don’t bite! Show them you’re (like State Farm) a good neighbor! 
  13. Provide shelves for the poor souls with heavy packages standing on lines waiting for the incompetent counter clerks to finish their coffee. 
  15. Make it “A POSITIVE EXPERIENCE” to go to the post office!
  16. How about an occasional (NON-Christmastime) slip in empty mailboxes that the carriers sign that says: “I noticed you didn’t get any mail today, but I wanted you to know I was thinking of you anyway. Have a great week!” 
  17. Barter some direct mail advertising for media time and space… other services! 
  18. Run direct mail training sessions for small businesses in P.O. lobbies – serve coffee for free! 
  19. START A REAL BLOG that actually addresses real customer situations on a daily basis! (If you actually read this far, definitely call me on this one!)
  20. Teach small business owners/operators how to tie direct mail to website and other ad and promotion programs.
  21. Offer (Put in all business P.O. Boxes) detailed info on direct mail programs with package rates for use of postcards and self-mailers, with sizes and deals and discounts and coupons!
  22. Offer quantity discounts!
  23. Offer and arrange shared delivery discounts (to same office or building, for example).

     NUTS, huh? Well, I’ll tell you what: If you continue the course you’re on, YOU’RE NUTS BECAUSE YOU WILL END UP KILLING YOURSELF and that would be a terrible waste of assets, resources, some super-nice people who work for you and bring about the demise of a still much-needed service.

     God Bless and Good Night!  halalpiar     

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Dec 05 2008


Gutless, incompetent, greedy

— the US Postal Service! 

     While everyone out there is busy flexing holiday business muscles by beating up on our gutless car manufacturers, incompetent government, and greed-saturated Wall Street, I propose we have overlooked the longest standing American institution of them all –which happens to be gutless, incompetent AND greedy– the US Postal Service!

     Whaaaat?  I LOVE my mail carrier. 

     Oh. yeah, well I have news for you: my Father was a US Post Office Special Delivery Messenger for over 20 years (and no gift to higher learning I might add, but I loved him nonetheless). 

     There is no Special Delivery designation or service anymore.  It’s been replaced by overnight delivery services and the Internet.  Whaaaat?  Yup, nobody in the P.O. (including the “Postmaster General”) had any B.R.A.I.N.S. or the foresight to see it coming.  And when they finally did, the solution was layoffs and stamp price hikes?

     Having Special Delivery service in the 30’s and 40’s, then closing it out as express mail options came on the scene, is like being ahead of the other team 25 to 0 in the first inning, and losing.

     I practically grew up in and around the stupidity that permeated the P.O. (or “P.U.” as my Dad routinely called it while holding his nose).  Add to that, the fact that my career has included massive direct mail experiences (including responsibility for 1.6 million mailings per month at one point, and annual mailings of 8-9 million at another), and I can tell you with some measure of authority that Postal Service management has gone from dumb to dumber in two short decades.

     What prompted this tirade, you might ask?  This week, I received a lunatic 4-page survey from the highly undistinguished Gallup Poll asking for multiple choice answers to 37 zillion stupid questions about how pleased or displeased I was with the US Postal Service.   

     First of all, the missive was addressed to my long-closed and dis-incorporated company of years ago and delivered (only heaven knows how the wheels of government turn) to my relatively new P.O. box in a different state! 

     I mean, I would love to hear the explanation of what the value is of how what I think of whether my P.O. box mail arrived before or after 10am in the last 30 days and if the carrier behaved pleasantly.  Duh.  Do you, in other words, make it a policy of tracking your routine mail deliveries by time periods and carrier dispositions?   

     What contribution are answers to these inane questions ever going to accomplish in helping this disintegrating giant of disorganization to rise up and slay the (now commonplace) successful overnight delivery companies of the world?

     Don’t the ninnies who run this establishment realize that while Fed Ex and others have been busily teaching their drivers that they are not just drivers, that they are account managers (and this, by the way, for more than 20 years!), and realize as well that the public has simply passed them by?  Are they blind to the fact that UPS has risen to the occasion and outperformed them? 

     Have they never heard of being competitive in the marketplace?  Do they still think they are viable?  Have they ever reckoned with being referred to as “snail mail” all these years of emerging Internet communications domination? 

     Oh, and who’s worse?  The Postal Service for being so blind and unbusinesslike for so long, or the Gallup Organization for taking advantage of the P.O.’s plight, to whip together this ludicrous questionnaire?

     $urely, this $urvey wa$ a big-ticket a$$ignment to Gallup.  Dear Postmaster General – You should know that I could have solved the problem (instead of prolonging the agony with meaningless surveys) for whatever amount was paid to this failing polling organization.  The solution is called strategic competitive marketing.  Surveys won’t show this! 

     The Postal Service obviously hasn’t a clue.  Gallup knows even less.  Maybe they deserve each other: two fading giants of the past.  Let’s hope someone wakes them up, shakes their boots, and gets at least one of them back to planet reality.  halalpiar        

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