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Perseverance, Relevance and the Chicago Cubs

Coming from a die-hard Cardinals fan, congratulating the Cubbies is not an easy thing to do.  But the Cubs provide a great lesson for entrepreneurs. The Chicago Cubs have been the lovable losers for 108 years before finally bringing home that championship.  Talk about perseverance.  But in all those years of “dashed hopes”, both the Wrigley Company and the Chicago Tribune built one of the most successful, profitable and enduring franchises in all of major league baseball. They certainly did not do it with winning.  They never had great teams.  Some of the teams were competitive, but in all those 108 long years most were not.  None the less, the Cubs consistently drew large crowds, high television ratings and a large share of the MLB...

The Myth of Change Management

Change is a constant.  It is a paradox we live with, but the notion that you can manage or control change is a fallacy.  This does not mean we are a slave to change, having to accept whatever outcome arrives.  Rather we dance with change, an exchange of actions and reactions, both internally and externally driven. Success and the beautify of this dance comes from being able to synchronize those movements. We live in this sea change – constantly adjusting in order to attain our objectives.  The things we can control (our own actions) we do.  But so much of making any change is beyond our immediate control.  We can influence, we do not control.  Employees need to execute plans, and customers need to accept and embrace new directions.  Those are...

The My Way Trap

My Way is a very dangerous place. My Way is the place we go to when we perceive we do not have time to explain a situation. My Way is the place we go to when we do not trust those around us. My Way is where we go to when we are afraid and confused. My Way means that decisions are made spontaneously, without research or review, and without collaboration, often causing people to either fail completely or fall short of their goals. My Way is expedient, but in the long run it is not effective. A business owner must find a way to create the time and framework to allow him or her the opportunity to work on the business of running the business.  This is to say the owner needs to be able to step back from the day-to-day operations and review how the business is...

What is the Biggest Threat to the Value of your Business?

There are so many reasons a business can be derailed, lack of capital, poor execution/delivery, new technology, new competitors.  The list can go on forever.  Building value in your business takes patience, discipline, and perseverance.  It requires you to create a practice that clearly identifies the WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW and most importantly the WHY surrounding your business. Understanding “Where you are going, How you will get there, and Why you are going there.” Will help you stay on track.  But you also need to build repeatable processes and systems that your employees and customers clearly understand.  In addition, you need to be acutely aware of what new products and trends are impacting or may impact your industry, or who new...

Why do so many businesses fail?

It’s a simple question.  Let’s start with the assumption there is a market for what you do and your initial capital investment is adequate (without these basics the business is doomed even before it starts)… So why do the majority of new enterprises fail? Is it bad marketing? Too little cash flow? Poor quality (product or service)? Failure to adapt to change? These are some problems that can tank a company and I am sure if we put our minds to it, we could come up with a much longer list of problems.  However, these problems are not at the root of a business’ failure, they may have caused the final death blow… but these are really symptoms to a bigger problem. I believe we can agree, that there are many technical financial,...

Effective Meetings – Three Simple Rules

Meetings are the bane of every business.  We’ve all heard the complaints – This is a waste of time. We can’t seem to stay on track or get anything done.  I’d be more productive if I didn’t have to go to all these meetings. That said, meetings (both formal and informal) are the way we communicate our business’ mission and vision, our goals, the obstacles we face and it is the way we celebrate our successes.  But how do you conduct an effective meeting? It really is not that difficult.  Follow these simple rules and you will be well on the way to more effective and efficient meetings.   Don’t Boil the Ocean: All too often managers try to cram too much into a meeting.  They attempt to cover a wide array of...

Building Value: The 5 Keys for Achieving Success

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