Friday, December 27, 2013


You must perform excellently in business in order to stay in business. And it is very helpful to be able to quickly assess progress, to see how you’re doing - to know if what’s happening is going according to plan or not - so you can make course corrections, steer clear of pot holes, swerve around obstacles, take advantage of the fast lane, and drive your business on down the road to providing customers and clients with better and better products and services, and to generating more and more personal financial rewards and experiencing all the success that goes with doing that.

An obvious benefit of measuring your performance is to learn where you are struggling. If you operate your business from a budget, against which you are performing monthly variance analyses, you can see where your results are not meeting your projections.

The numbers paint the picture. You might conclude that your financial projections were too optimistic, that you bit off more than you could chew. You might conclude that your performance - your personal business behavior - is subpar and that it needs some minor adjustment or a total overhaul. You might determine that you are overspending, perhaps using marketing tools that are not generating enough sales. You might determine that you are taking on too much debt leading to more debt service. You might determine that you have a cash flow problem, that perhaps you are not collecting money that is due.

Over both the short and long term, consistent measurements can serve to help you identify your strengths and weaknesses so you can decide to modify your business behavior, put additional controls in place, or initiate other remedies to strengthen the performance of your business.

However, with all analysis there is a big caveat. When you are endeavoring to make some sensible conclusions - so you can grow your business and perform even better - by connecting the result of your monthly budget variance figures to human behavior - the doing of the tasks that produced the numerical result you see in the analysis - is there any real causal certainty. Is it possible to really know HOW you achieved a particular result, or WHY you did not?

To get some useful clarity on this question we must take a tangential turn and delve into philosophy just a bit.

Here we go. Big Fat Truth: The inside of your own mind is the only thing about which you can be sure and certain. That is where you know for sure and for certain that George Washington was the first President of the United States. You know in your mind. In fact, every bit of what you know is based on your experiences and thoughts, feelings and sense impressions. That’s it.

Whether you see it in a bank statement, or on a spread sheet, or in a stack of past due bills, the “facts” are in your mind, not in a piece of paper you hold in your hand, or in a computer document.

Some really smart people say we do not really know anything. We just somehow come to believe things. Our lives - and everything about we say and do in our behavior - is perpetuated upon finely-tuned beliefs made subtly over time. Everything we have ever known has been done before, been repeated precisely, or been changed slightly or radically, and then redone a bit differently, either by us or by other people. There is no evidence to prove that we know much of anything. There is no evidence to prove that we even know who, or what we are, because everything that we have ever learned has been made up by ourselves - based upon BELIEF.

So, back to where the old rubber meets the old road and to the reality of operating your business and calculating the consequences of your endeavors to make a buck or two - sure, measure all the stuff you feel you must measure, all the key variables smart people and well written books say to measure - but remember the truth. When it comes to making rational conclusions and forecasting what to do next based upon them, there will always be a lot of guessing going on - always, because no one can ever know anything for sure and certain. We can only believe we know HOW or WHY something happened, or did not happen, or might happen again.

By all means, please measure and analyze performance Do it because there’s no better way to “know” and no better data upon which to set future goals as you make or remake plans and move ahead in your business. Them's the facts Jack. 

Recently, in our monthly Master-Mind Alliance meetings, we have been asking our members and guests to take a few minutes to recall a positive result or experience from the past 30 days or so, something that made them smile.

We ask all participants three things about that result or experience. What was significant about it? How can you build on it to make a better future? What would be a first-step-action to make that happen? These conversations are fascinating, illuminating and educational.

Sharing the details about recent pleasant events - describing what happened and planning how to leverage these experiences to make the future better - sets a Positive Focus for the rest of our meeting day. We’ll keep doing this.

At Master-Mind Alliance meetings members plan improvements and changes all the time. Reviewing what produces positive desirable results is just another part of the experience. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Want more income for your business? Sure, who doesn't? Well then, why not make it happen.

Hey, you can actually do this. Others have and so can you. The trick is to correctly exercise one or more of the following options.

What DOUBLING takes is some combination of one or more of these six options. Allow me to explain a bit. READ ON...

You can INCREASE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY – This means that by becoming better at organizing and managing your time, you can spend more time on your Top Money Making Activities and, therefore, sell more of your goods, products or services. And make more money. 

You can EXPAND YOUR CAPACITY – This means you can hire people to help you, therefore multiplying your money making efforts through the contribution of other people. With more people working to make more money for the business, the business can make more money.

You can ACQUIRE, MERGE OR DIVEST – This means you can obtain another business like that one you have now and make it your own. Or you can join together with someone who has a similar business and benefit by the synergy you create. Or you can separate off a part of your business that consumes resources but produces little income. Any and all of these options can help you generate more cash money for your business.

You can REVISE YOUR OFFERINGS – This means offering for sale things possibly in addition to what you offer at present - things that are easier to sell, or that have more profit in them, or some combination of both. This also can mean dumping things that don’t sell, are hard to sell, or have little profit in them.

You can ADJUST YOUR PRICING – This means either raising your prices or lowering your prices on a select few things you offer or perhaps everything. This option is the easiest to implement and the fastest to test. 

You can MARKET AND SELL BETTER – This means making corrections or revisions to how your present your goods, products and services to your audience of best potential buyers. You probably spend time doing some of this already as part of your normal routine.

And there you have it. All the business owners it has been my privilege to know who have doubled their business income - some more than once - have utilized these options in one way or another to get richer quicker. That’s absolutely splendid. For each of them, the results were more than they expected. It has been great fun for me to have played a small part in their success. I look forward to more such opportunities, perhaps working with you.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

In order to own and operate a successful business enterprise there are eight things you simply must have, must always have, and cannot ever do without. The EIGHT KEYS TO SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS OWNERSHIP – what those in charge must possess are listed here.
1. Fire in the Belly, Passion. You believe and those who know you intimately would agree that you have passion for your business ideas and entrepreneurship. You are so firmly committed to succeeding in your endeavor that you cannot see yourself doing anything else. You know that there will be roadblocks to overcome, problems to solve, issues to wrestle with and you are ready for the challenge. You truly love what you do. For you, your business is not a job, it's a joy.
2. The Ability to Orchestrate Events. You can make decisions quickly, can plan, organize and implement prosperity generating business activities. You can cope with whatever comes your way. You can manage stress, both short-term and long-term, so you neither burnout nor rustout. Most of the time, you comfortably make measurable progress in reasonable time.

3. Offerings People Need or Want and can Afford. You offer goods, products and services that people - with whom you can communicate via marketing and branding, and all that goes with letting prospective buyers know who you are, what you provide and how to reach you – have a genuine need or desire to buy – and can afford to pay for.

4. Vision, plus Reasonable Expectations. You clearly know where you are taking your enterprise in the short term and in the long term. You share this vision with all who are connected to your enterprise so they can buy into your ideas and support you and what you want to do. Your expectations are sensible. They make sense to anyone who you talk with about them. You are so clear about this and can explain it so simply and concisely that a five year old child could understand where you want to go and what you expect to accomplish.

5. Strategies that Work as Intended. Your business behavior is well rehearsed, practiced and polished to perfection. Most of the time, what you attempt succeeds. Your strategies, while they will need adjustment and revision from time to time, predictable produce the outcomes you envision.
6. The Skills of Persuasion and Inspiration. Of all the skills it takes to operate a profitable enterprise two stand above all the others. The ability to persuade people to do what you want them to do - whether that is to buy from you, to work tirelessly for you, to refer to you, to lend you money or whatever – is finely honed. Persuading people to do your bidding is easy for you. And your ability to inspire others results in all those around you finding the inner motivation it takes to get all the things that need to be done, done right the first time, and every time, and on time, and on budget, and with as much joy for all concerned as possible. You have mastered both of these sets of complex interpersonal behaviors.
7. Masterful Money Making Behavior. You are crystal clear about what your top money making activities are and how to perform them masterfully. This is true as well for all individuals who are connected to the operation of your enterprise. The necessary amount of resources (including time) to put top money making behavior in just the right place are identified and scheduled and monitored so that the business truly is a money making machine. You, and all those who help you, understand that the only way your enterprise can continue is when the people involved do whatever it takes to always be bringing in new money through new and repeat and ongoing successful sales activities. 

8. Enormous Self-Control and Grit. Last on the list of EIGHT ESSENTIALS is self-control and grit. It just so happens that self-control and grit are more important than intelligence, more important than influence and more important than desire. Running a business successfully is something most people cannot do well. This is why most people chose to work for someone else rather than be self employed. Business owners know that running the show it is at times an uphill battle, a struggle, and that it can be very stressful. Therefore, an inner drive to tirelessly work through challenges, failures, setbacks and adversity to achieve set goals is an essential must, probably the biggest must of all.

All long term financially successful business enterprises stand on a solid foundation of these EIGHT ESSENTIALS.

Have All Eight - Or You’ll Settle For Less. That’s the truth.

When it comes to improving the performance of a business, we start by looking into the EIGHT ESSENTIAL MUST HAVES, for if there is something missing, if something is not quite right there, whatever that happens to be, that’s where we start making things better.

Monday, October 21, 2013


When you think about your business - if lately - things have gone askew - and you wish you only knew what to do - so you could start anew - and stop feeling sad and blue - I want you to know that you can get a breakthrough - make a sensible redo - get unstuck from the glue - and out of the stew - because when it comes to sucky results from bad strategy - there is no tragedy - no travesty - or catastrophe - or finality. You can always start fresh - make something mesh - find a new gear - persevere - steer into the clear - make next year premier - then enjoy a celebratory beer. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Adapted from Scientific American, August 2013

An EXPECTATION is a future-based belief that may or may not be realistic.

Question is, do expectations factor into our outcomes? Are our results determined by our expectations?

This is something that a German psychologist, named Ulrich Weger, and an Australian psychologist, named Stephen Loughnan, wondered about, so they did an experiment with two groups of people that were asked a series of questions on a video screen.

One group was told they would be given subliminal flashes of the answers that their unconscious minds would understand right before they were asked the question. The other group was told the flashes were just an indicator that the next question was about to appear.

Nothing meaningful was in the flash for either group, nothing at all. And yet, those that expected that they were being exposed to the answers did much better on the test. Apparently expecting to know the answers made people more likely to get the answers right.

Here’s some more on this topic. 

Most of us think that our bodies respond to physical exercise in a mechanical way. This is true. So we count our calorie intake, the calories we lose on a treadmill, etc. However, merely changing our thoughts about our physical activity seems capable of changing our bodies as this next experiment demonstrates.

The background: Hotel room attendants clean on average 15 rooms per day, each room taking between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. (The physical activity involved meets the Surgeon General’s recommendation of at least 30 minutes of physical exercise per day for a healthy lifestyle.) However, most hotel room attendants believe that they do NOT get regular exercise; and a lot of them believe that they do not get any exercise at all.

The experiment: Alia Crum and Ellen Langer, of the psychology department at Harvard University, told a group of hotel room attendants that their work INDEED provided the recommended exercise for a healthy lifestyle. The treatment group was monitored for 4 weeks.

A control group of hotel room attendants, who were NOT told that their work provided the recommended exercise, was similarly monitored.

People in the treatment group lost weight; their body fat percentages, waist-to-hip ratios, and systolic blood pressures dropped. Amazing, how did that happen? People in the control group showed no such improvement. These changes occurred despite the fact that the hotel room attendants’ amount of work, amount of exercise outside of work, and diets stayed the same for both the treatment and the control group.

This all goes to show that WE OFTEN GET WHAT WE EXPECT. So why not expect the best. If mindsets can change us, maybe we can deliberately choose our mindsets to improve our abilities. Yes! Perhaps we ought to choose to adopt a mindset that improves creativity, or productivity or happiness. Yes, yes, yes!

Of course, expectations can be applied to many things and it’s amazing how many barriers we can break through just because we expect to do so!

Expect the best and make it so.

Sunday, August 11, 2013


One of my favorite quotations comes from playwright George Bernard Shaw. “A reasonable person tries to adapt to the world as he finds it, and an unreasonable person tries to make the world adapt to his vision. Therefore, virtually all progress in the world depends upon the actions of unreasonable people.” 

Trying to make the world adapt to a vision is exactly what an entrepreneurially-minded business person must do to build a successful enterprise. Take a vision, an idea of what he wants his business to be like and to do for him, and then do all that can reasonably be done to transform that idea into a business that is so attractive that lots of people will want to buy the products and services it offers. This is what making a business work is about. And it’s never easy. The road to business success is littered with the wreckage of those who tried and failed.

If you’re thinking of starting a new venture, taking your existing enterprise into a new direction, or growing beyond what you have now, what will it take to make your idea blossom? Answer: a Rock-Solid Foundation. Construct a solid rock upon which your enterprise will stand, then build the rest of what you need to get to where you want to be, then implement all the right behaviors and you’re likely to win.

Three essential elements form a Rock-Solid Foundation. To make your enterprise flourish you need all three. The first element is Desire: a burning ambition to convert your idea into a money-making machine. Your desire must be strong enough to weather fatigue, to fend off exhaustion, to deflect the slings and arrows that people who do not believe in you will surely hurl at you. 

The second element is Willingness: a readiness to do whatever it takes, to make the necessary trade offs, and to let nothing stand in your way.

The third element is Accountability: an innate need for completeness and answerability. Accountability is the disposition to be true to yourself, to keep your word, and to live a no excuses life style. 

If Desire is clear, if Willingness is wholehearted, and if Accountability is strong, your foundation, like a three-legged stool, will stand. Then you’ll be happy, perhaps deliriously so.

In the Master-Mind Alliance, we have a name for the three essential elements that form the foundation upon which to erect a viable enterprise. We call it “Intention.” Intention is just the right blend of Desire, Willingness, and Accountability. Just enough to form a Rock-Solid Foundation. Get Intention right and you can proceed to the next level of structure: Goals, Game Plans, Strategy, and Action. Get all that right and you’re on your way to the next level: Productivity, Profits, and Predictability. Get to this level and you’re almost home, almost done with the structure you need to get to the top. What’s at the top? Why success, happiness, and lasting contentment of course, good stuff indeed, absolutely splendid in fact.

Twenty-five million tax returns are filed by small business entities every year. That’s a lot of business owners struggling to make the world adapt to their vision. Many of them are doing just fine. You can be too. By all means, go out there and pursue worthwhile enterprise. “Be Large and In Charge.” Put together your Desire, Willingness, and Accountability to make your big dreams come true. And as G. B. Shaw instructs, try to be at least a little unreasonable today and everyday.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


To create your DONE BUSINESS you must embrace and live by the Seven DONE BUSINESS Commitments. And you must work the Thirteen DONE BUSINESS Strategies (a subject of an article coming soon) until you master the behaviors pertaining to how you think, communicate and take action. 

  1. Responsibility—“I will use all my power and freedom to create my own life.”
  2. Passion—“I will align my interests, enthusiasm and talent with the most appropriate territory.”
  3. Insight—“I will know myself, acknowledge my limits and play from my strengths.”
  4. Openness—“I will seek and accept good counsel and assistance from all helpful resources.”
  5. Thoroughness—“I will assume nothing without confirmation.”
  6. Consideration—“I will judge no one without investigation.”
  7. Adaptability—“I will regroup and change goals, plans and strategy as necessary.”
The 7 DONE BUSINESS Commitments are presented as so called “I Statements." If you speak them out loud, that is, use them as positive affirmations, they will gradually but unwaveringly change how you think about yourself and your place in the world.

The 7 DONE BUSINESS Commitments are designed to get and keep you on the path to success every day. They work – if you choose to work with them – to make an investment in them. Then things will get better. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013


Every business stands on its structures: a foundational, complex mixture of underpinnings that create the fundamental configuration of the business itself. In the Master-Mind Alliance World we call these structures “ROCKS.” There are seven ROCKS: Offerings, People, Attitudes, Marketing, Delivery, Profits and Systems. For any business to flourish, to continue to exist, and certainly to reach DONE Business status, all the ROCKS must be functioning splendidly.

Offerings: you must offer things for sale that people want and are willing to pay for and can afford.

People: you must have the right people on the bus, people who can do what must be done with minimal direct supervision.

Attitudes: all the people associated with your enterprise, including yourself, must project a positive mental attitude, one of top notch service.

Marketing: if this does not work splendidly, all the rest of you have going on will not matter.

Delivery: the goods, products and/or services you sell must be provided in a way that knocks the socks off the buyer so they will return for more and refer their friends.

Profits: the money that comes in and goes out must add up to your favor.

Systems: all regular and repeating operations of your enterprise must be run by well tested systems, not by quirky personalities, not even your own. Systems rule.

Figuring out how to take all the logical and reasonable steps to get your ROCKS in order and functioning together as a highly productive unit, a lean mean machine, this is grist for the mill at every Master-Mind Alliance meeting, for it is part and parcel of creating a DONE Business.

A DONE Business is the grand goal, the top level, the ultimate accomplishment, for once achieved and maintained, business owner nirvana occurs. And that is ABSOLUTELY SPLENDID.


How do you get people call you back when you leave them a voice mail message? You want to talk to them, offer them something, perhaps sell them something, maybe make some money. But people resist, often vehemently. They often just don’t call you back. And of course you have no idea why. Did they not get your message? Are they out of town? What?

So what are you to do? How can you get people to call you back?

The answer is simple – once you understand the request and persuasion principle.

Imagine you own a mortgage company specializing in commercial lending. You work with individual investors who want to own commercial income generating properties. You’ve been in business for more than 20 years. You have phone numbers, cell phone numbers and email addresses. Your information is up to date and accurate because you keep it so.

Now you decide that you will go after some new deals. You will do that by contacting previous client investors in your database. You want this to work for you right out of the box. You’ve already prepared your best offers, rates, terms, the whole ball of wax. All that’s left to do is to make appointments with interested parties and outline the opportunity and close some loans.

So you start calling and most of the time you wind up leaving a message. The voicemail message you leave is simple. “Hi Jack. This is Herb with ACE Loans. Please call me back at 321-8778. Thanks.”

But after a few days of this, not very many people are returning your call. In fact, you’ve left two dozen of these this week and no one has called you back. This is frustrating.

Obviously this approach is not working and you need a better tactic.

I suggest you send an email first. Your email should present the bare bones of an offer and inform the person that you will call them to talk about it.

Here’s the email you send.

“Hi Jack,

Suppose you could borrow $400,000 at 3.4% for commercial real estate? Would you be interested? I’ll call you this week because I want us to talk about this opportunity.”

Jack now knows what you’re offering. In your email you’ve given him the chance to read, and if he wants, to re-read the reason for your communication. You’ve given him a reason to talk to you. When you call Jack, if you have to leave a voicemail message, the likelihood that he’ll call back goes way up, because he knows what you wish to discuss. Wow, $400,000 at 3.4%. You’ve made talking with you sound potentially interesting to him.

The formula:
Send short email with brief offer.
State that you will call soon.
State that you want to talk about possibilities.
Make the phone call – to the person’s cell phone number – that’s more personal.
If necessary, leave a message saying when you will be available.

That’s how you get people to respond to your voice messages.


Last month my Chalk Talk was about Time Management – the 5 Points. Winning with time is a must or we go bust. So what did I talk about exactly?

There are 5 keys to getting right with time, so you can beat the clock instead of having the clock beat you. To keep your business growing obviously your money making activities must be scheduled during peak money making hours and they must be started and successfully completed. And all conditions that contribute to that must be present and working flawlessly.

The 5 Points are: Block Out a Schedule, Work Your Priorities, Deflect the Urgent, Do the Hard Stuff First, and Schedule Your Distractions.

I think the first one in the most important, that’s why it’s first.

Block Out a Schedule says there are four kinds of time periods we can use: Show Time Periods, which are for our Top Money Making Activities. Prep Time Periods, which are for setting up Show Time Periods. Detail Time Periods, which are for finishing up. And Free Time Periods, which are for resting and rejuvenating.

Prep Time Periods are the most important. When our planning about how to use our Show and Detail Time Periods goes well, everything else has a far better chance of going well too.

And the critical thing about making these four kinds of time work successfully is that they are scheduled into our days and weeks and held dear. We must do that or we lose.

As usual, a link to a You Tube video of my Chalk Talk, was provided to all members for their review. 


People are people. To be happy and successful, they seek and need inspiration. As a business owner you want your people to do their best for you, to go all out, to go the extra mile. So give them sufficient genuine inspiration and they will.

Years ago a 45 year old man who’d never been in charge of anything before was given the responsibility to revive an organization of some 60 people who had not had a good day at work in over a decade. Everyone just knew the man would fail as many before him had tired and they’d all failed miserably. But this guy had a new approach, what I’ve chosen to call the Power Tactics of Inspiration.

The man definitely did not fail. The organization he directed became unbelievably successful, almost immediately. And the man who made the miraculous happen is and will be forever legendary in his field.

By properly talking to people you can get them to work tirelessly on your behalf, to go the extra mile every day.

By properly training people you can get them to act successfully on all the things what matters to you.

The proper talking is actually questioning in a particular way, in an inspiring way.

One inspiring questions is “What’s next for you, your top priority at home and here at work?” Yup, when you inspire people you ask about them, their goals, what they want.

Vince Lombardi became Head Coach of the Green Bay Packers football team in 1958. By using three hugely effective, inspiration generating Power Tactics, Lombardi turned a bunch of losers into a fabulously successful championship team. He did!

You can learn to do what Lombardi did.

Then by using the same Power Tactics Lombardi developed, you can push into productivity situations that confront you and make significantly improvements happen for your team and for yourself too. You can win bigger and bigger and more often. You can!

The Power Tactics of Inspiration will be the subject of our CHALK TALK in the March 2013 meeting of the Master-Mind Alliance. 

Monday, January 28, 2013


There are many successful multi-generational family businesses operating in Humboldt County, California. Some go back five generations, to the spring of 1850 when droves of folks, mostly men, began arriving in Humboldt Bay from all across the country and Europe. The newcomers came seeking gold in the nearby rivers. Most found nothing of course and quickly shifted their focus to the exploitation of more readily available resources, namely timber, salmon and raw land. From the chaos of that transition sprang new business opportunities, some which continue to prosper today. The newcomers saw needs to fill and problems to solve. Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

The family owned and operated businesses in our region, the stewardship of which has been handed down from one generation to the next, have survived all sorts of tumultuous times and events including earthquakes, floods, fires, recessions and severe depressions.

I interviewed the owners of nine local family businesses. I asked about the following issues: How do familial relationships affect the success or the failure of your business. What issues are special and peculiar to businesses run by family members? How smoothly did the current generation of management take the reins of power from the previous? What are some big problems that have confronting your enterprise in the past and how were they overcome? Is your management style markedly different from the previous operators, and if so, how? To ensure long term survival, what changes are under development? What key lessons did you learn from the previous generation? What were you not taught, but wish you had been? And what about the succession plan, bringing on the next generation, how’s that going?

I also asked about the Great Recession, you know that bad stretch that began in late 2007 or so and continues to this day. I asked questions like the following: What strategies are you using to cope with the recession? Have you had to redirect your marketing, and if so, how? Have you taken steps to get closer to your existing customers? Have you let people go, delayed new hiring? Have you lowered your expectations? What does the next year or so look like? And one last question, what’s your secret of success?

I’m happy to report that the operators of the family businesses I spoke to in Humboldt County are doing great. They are thriving, even in the recession. Much of this is because of the strength of the reservoir of family business experience.

Here’s the unique thing. There is a clear priceless family business advantage. Practically all the input the current generation might need to weather any sort of storm or to expand and grow more and more prosperous comes from the knowledge of previous generations in the family. Resting amid all that history is a vast repository of experience, wisdom, strong financial resources, plus a genuine willingness to pitch in and solve problems and of course, a compelling intention to keep the business moving forward and ensure a smooth transition to the next generation.

Growing up the sons and daughters had a unique business experience. The activities of the family enterprise were to topic of conversation at the dinner table for years. Many of the young had the opportunity to intern in the business during the summer months and after school during their teenage years, always learning at the feet of their parents. This stuff rubs off.

My father was a psychiatrist. I’m a psychologist. The business of mental health was the topic of discussion at our dinner table and I worked in my father’s office after school and during the summers doing laboratory work for him. It was a fun place for a nimble and impressionable mind to be. I’m sure my interest in the mental health of individuals and businesses was hugely influenced by my personal family business experience.

It’s true, the former generations of family business operators have seen just about everything there is to see and have had to come up with responses to all sort of crises and serious problems. Their bank of relevant experience is vast. They built their family business and know how it works. When the new generation faces a prickly problem the elders are more than willing to step in and share experiences and resources, even financial resources. They are genetically predispositioned and incentivized to do so because they are family. Input to the current generation in charge flow from the parents and grandparents and other relatives like a wide open faucet.

Let’s face this fact. It’s much easier to ask a family member, who understands and cares, for a loan when you've got a cash flow problem than it is to go to the bank. And the bank might say no. The relatives want what they built and managed to continue to flourish. They’re not going to hold back. So should the business need an infusion of capital they are likely to pitch with loans.

Now about the Great Recession: Members of the previous generation have weathered recessions before and their input has steered the current generation toward the development and implementation of successful recession coping strategies. These include the obvious notions: Get real close to current customers and clients. Learn their names. Get involved in community activities to be clearly visible. Postpone big purchases. Tighten up on inventory. Hold back on hiring. Cut costs to the bone. Reinvent and experiment with innovative marketing and sales and advertising modalities. Be hands on everywhere. Utilize free media such as Facebook. Be a cheerleader. Waste no time or effort. Manage stress by solving the problems that can be solved. Refocus and clarify the mission. And since there are family members in the business, sometimes several of them, resolve any personal messes in those key relationships. Keep those Thanksgiving dinners about the turkey, not about the business issues. Those can wait until Monday.

The business world everywhere is dominated by family businesses. One huge advantage is that they focus on long-term sustainability, community support and survival. Answering the question of how they survive intact and how families can maintain family unity over hundreds of years is essential. The family businesses that don’t survive the transfer of management from one generation to the next often point to unresolvable relationship conflicts as a big failure factor. I did not see any of that in my interviews. The folks I spoke with have figured it out. They do family business right.

Every one of the family owned business operators I spoke with loves being in their family business. They try to treat their employees like family too. They wouldn't have it any other way.

Humboldt County as a business community and as a society can feel secure in the fact that many family businesses play a major role in our economy and are here to stay. As we go forward, new history will tell us how the next five generations turn out. That will be for another writer to contemplate.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


HOW DO THE ALREADY GOOD GET BETTER? What’s the process for making more money and finding more happiness in your work time activities?

Big True Fact: To get better results from your business you will need to change some things. You may need to do MORE of some things, or LESS of some things, or START doing some things you’re not now doing, or STOP doing some things you are doing that aren’t working, and/or just do some things BETTER. MLSSB is the combination that makes more success happen. And what to change, well, it can be all sorts and kinds of things that need to change, not just a single one or two. But change you must if you are to be happier with your results, especially your money making results. 

You improve the performance of your business by changing your behavior and the behavior of those who work with you. It’s all about what you say and what you do… that’s behavior. 

We talk about making changes in ROUTINES or behavior at every one of our monthly group meetings. One of the goals of Master-Mind Alliance is that members make measurable progress in reasonable time. This means they change something with an expectation that the change will result in a noticeable improvement in bottom line results promptly. Then they see what happens. Did doing MLSSB produce the desired outcome? If not, then they re-apply the MLSSB paradigm and change something else. 

We know how to make the operation of any viable small business more successful. You just have to do enough of the things that are known to work. Those things are not a secret. We talk about them and share experiences using them at each and every Master-Mind Alliance meeting.

Last month my Chalk Talk was about how to start off the New Year, or the new month, or the new day in a way that is likely to produce winning results at work. 

We began off with 13 Assessment Questions looking at what’s working and what’s not. Then moved right into a discussion of Top Money Making Activities, the things people say and do that bring in the money. Essential to the application of your TMMA is setting up conditions that will make it so they work. This is about time management, allocating resources and yup, you guessed it, GOALS and planning and starting and following through with plenty of good old fashion persistent and consistent effort. 

Running a profitable small business is not easy. If it were more people would do it. It’s hard work. It takes time and patience and of course your strategies, especially your Top Money Making Activities, have to work most of the time. 

You get better at wielding your TMMA through Deliberate Practice, breaking down the complex entire activity into small pieces and practicing the pieces to perfection or to as close to perfection as you can get. Then you do a whole lot of what works and make the money flow into your pocket. 

As usual, a PDF of my Chalk Talk, plus a link to a You Tube video of my Chalk Talk, was provided to all members for their review.

TIME is finite. It goes by quickly. There never seems to be enough. If there were eight days in a week we’d probably still not have enough to do all we would like. So what do we do about that?

Winning in business has many requirements of course and central to them all has to be managing your energy and your time, especially your time. You must know the difference between the time you spend on important things -- that is, things that lead to goal fulfillment -- and time you spend on things that may be urgent, things you certainly must do, but things that have no relationship to your important goals at all. 

Ask yourself this question. How many times have you driven home from work and thought to yourself, “Drat, I spent all day busy, busy, busy and didn't get any of the things I wanted to get done even started… again. Where did the time go?”

I lot of people have this experience way too often. Those Top Money Making Activities just don’t get done. Sometime they don’t even get started. If this happens a lot, it can ruin an otherwise productive business. Speaking of a productive business, a definition of productivity I like is the following. Productivity is about getting the most important money making stuff done, in the least amount of time, with the fewest number of hassles and… for the biggest financial reward.

Look right in the middle of that definition and you’ll find the words “in the least amount of time.” The definition also says “getting the most important money making stuff done” that means actually finished and completed. This implies that the most important money making stuff actually got started. Someone, you or one or more of your team members, got to it, whatever “it” was, and they started and finished successfully in reasonable amounts of T I M E.

There are 5 keys to getting right with time, so you can beat the clock instead of having the clock beat you. To keep your business growing obviously your money making activities must be scheduled during peak money making hours and they must be started and successfully completed. And all conditions that contribute to that must be present and working flawlessly.

Getting right with the 5 POINTS of Time Management and making time work for you instead of against you will be the subject of our CHALK TALK in the February 2013 meeting of the Master-Mind Alliance.

Friday, January 25, 2013


In the National Football Conference NFL Championship Game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers, that took place on Sunday January 13th, 2013, the 49ers were behind 24 to 14 at halftime and it didn't look good for them. Then, miraculously, during the halftime break the San Francisco head coach said some things to the players that changed the course of history that day. In the second half the 49ers played much better and they won, 28 to 24. Then it was off to the Super Bowl.

Head Coach Jim Harbaugh must have had some powerful words for those guys huh?

I’m sure a few tactical changes were made and that helped. But it had to be bigger than just that. Harbaugh’s words had some magical effect. It had to be his words that created victory. No new players entered the game. Everything was the same except better performance on the part of the entire team. A few no doubt impassioned and well-chosen words from coach Harbaugh resulted in significantly better player behavior from every offensive and defensive player in the second half.

The Falcons were prevented from scoring any points at all in the second half. That's amazing. They are a very good team.

How did that locker room conversation make that happen? What must have been said? Well, we don’t know. We weren't there. No television cameras were present. But we do know this. Harbaugh’s problem solving, strategy redesign and let’s play better words and conversation inspired a new level of motivation and the results were terrific.

So…what can we learn from this? How can we use our words in our locker room -- our business environment -- to make it so all our players step up and perform at significantly higher levels? Can the mere words we use in conversations with our employees result in increases in sales and more money for everyone involved in our business? That would certainly be our victory, our win. Can we learn how to do that? The answer is YES, we can.

How do you get more productivity (more sales generating activity) out of your employees with your words? Simple, by asking the right questions, question that demonstrate that you genuinely care about THEM at work and at home too. You talk to them about THEM, their GOALS, what THEY want. You find out what’s important to them.

This kind of conversation has a fantastic effect on people. It shows them that you genuinely care about them. And that unmistakable demonstration  of caring inspires them to want to please you because then they like you better too. And when they all like you better, guess what? They work more closely together as a team to meet YOUR GOALS. They increase their focus and concentration on all the activities in your business that brings in the money. Common sense really. You demonstrate that you genuinely care about them and they reciprocate in kind. Everybody wins.

When you become a Peak Performance Leader and engage in GOAL CENTERED CONVERSATIONS, using what we call FIERCE QUESTIONS -- which are questions that pull no punches and are open and honest and relevant and on point and passionate -- the productivity and profitability of your business is all about the goals of your team members, your employees.

And that’s how your WORDS CAN CREATE VICTORY.