NFL Lessons: Get a Great Business Coach for Best Results



Even though it’s a game, professional football is still a business and it provides lessons for all industries.

Successful athletes and teams have one thing in common – they have great coaches to beat the competition.

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of the New England Patriots. But love them or not, business lessons can be learned from the Patriots.

After the Patriots’ historic comeback win in  Super Bowl LI, it’s worth noting their 21st century record of consistency: Five Vince Lombardi trophies, seven AFC Championships, and 14 AFC East titles.

Obviously, the team has a winning formula for sustainable success. It all stems from enlightened management that focuses on adaptability and resilience.

In reshaping his team, owner Robert Kraft wanted an astute coach to elicit the strongest-possible dependable performance from the 53 players.

He hired a coach, Bill Belichick in 2000, with broad-based experience who understood the keys to business economics for infinite resilience.

Coach Belichick was a coach who wanted operational control with a promise of developing a flexible long-term vision, building the right team with an adaptable workforce, focusing on affordable operations, and instilling a culture with an unquenchable thirst for continuous excellence.

He’s accomplished the goals by hiring and training green coaches, acquiring unheralded players who had the character he desired, and adapting to different competitors each week.

So it goes in business. To avoid costly periods of trial and error, successful entrepreneurs also often have coaches who have a broad perspective from a full range of experiences.

If you want a Coach Belichick for sustainable growth, find a business coach to help you realize your vision for growth with focus, planning, fine-tuning and execution.

Here’s how to get the right business coach:

1. Hire a coach who has wisdom from broad experience

Whatever your goals, and to save time and money while building profits, look for someone who already has the insights to avoid unnecessary pitfalls.

2. Look for big-picture expertise

While you might want to solve a particular operational problem, remember that it might be linked to other problems. If so, you need a coach understands your situation and can provide a big-picture map to success.

So find a coach who has a global-cultural perspective to provide you with controls and solutions for growth.

3. Look for a coach who communicates well

You’ll succeed with a person who is empathetic and who will explain plans in easy-to-understood language.

4. Interface on a regular basis

The business environment is more dynamic than ever before. For many business situations, ideally, meet with your coach weekly.

A weekly update isn’t in real-time, but you’ll be in the best-possible position for creating progress reports in monitoring your initiatives and promptly implementing any necessary fine-tuning.

5. Be transparent

True, your financial, marketing or human resources situation might be embarrassing. A great objective business coach will not judge or ridicule you.

To get the confidential help you need, it’s important to share the right requested information and be coachable.

6. When in doubt, challenge your coach

If your coach gives you solutions that you doubt or with which you feel uncomfortable, sleep on it. Discuss your concerns with your coach.

But chances are, the solutions conflict with your ego.

Whatever the discussion, your success depends on being able to honestly communicate with your coach.

From the Coach’s Corner, here relevant tips:

Why Executives Emphasize Communication Training for Employees — Among human resources training priorities, employee communication is often now more important than skills, say many executives. Two-thirds of executives responding to a survey say communication skills are most needed by certain employees.

Tips for Strategic-Thinking in Finance: Your Staff, Individuals — Many companies want accountants and finance professionals who are strategic thinkers. But that’s not happening at most companies. Here are tips for managers and employees.

Thought Leadership — Why Companies Hire Management Consultants — Companies want knowledge and manage risks. A good idea can be worth $1 million and more. That’s why companies hire thought leaders. It’s also why you see many consultants position themselves as thought leaders and give away free information in how-to articles or studies, which lead to books, seminars and being quoted in the media. Successful consultants know that’s the road to take — to become an in-demand consultant by companies and in the public sector.

4 Tips to Get Your Money’s Worth from a Consultant — To get your money’s worth from a consultant, you might be surprised to learn you have to use best practices in your role as the client. For strong results, it’s not just a matter of hiring a consultant, forgetting about it and expecting work to get done. You’ll get top results after retaining a consultant if you’re at the top of your game as a client. Here’s how.

Strategies to Make Change Management Programs Work — Management is mostly to blame because most change-management programs crash and burn. Why? It’s up to management to hire the right people, and to invest in the right tools while inspiring employees to accept and drive change. Here’s how.

“There are no shortcuts to building a team each season. You build the foundation brick by brick.”

-Bill Belichick


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy keijj44 at www.pixabay.com

Clues You Need a Vision Plan for Growth – How to Write It



If you don’t have a written vision plan for fast growth, the reality is that you’re losing out on potential business.

A written business plan is best. But if you don’t have the time and resources to write it, go to plan B – a vision plan.

Many companies overlook writing it even though it only needs to be one page in length for most firms.

There are all kinds of clues – having to do with foresight and focus – why a young company should develop a vision plan.

vision stockimages.

Clues you need to write a vision plan:

1. If you have little revenue growth. The longer you wait to write a plan, the more obstacles you will face.

2. If you’re continually working long hours without a return on your investment.

3, If you’re starting to feel depressed on a daily basis.

4. If you’re feeling burnout.

5. If you can’t beat the competition.

6. If you don’t have any growth.

7. If none or few products or services are increasing in sales.

8. If your profits are being squeezed.

9. If your cash flow is tight.

10. If you don’t have sufficient followers on social media or fans.

The mistake most entrepreneurs make is that they think they’ll remember all necessary details. But they stray from their plans.

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”

-George Washington Carver

It’s key to write an action plan for your pathway to success – what you need to do to get there. You must do this before you even think about a Web site, blog or press releases.

Important elements to develop your vision plan:

1. Understand who you are

Learn a valuable lesson from Plato, who lived 428 to 348 BC, and was the world’s most-influential philosopher.

Famous for his adage, “Know thyself,” he suggested there was something special about each person. You are, too.

You can’t make smart decisions unless you know who you are and what your company is.

If you’re a micro business, remember you’re synonymous with your company. That’s why individuals evaluate themselves and their companies perform a SWOT analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Do a self assessment of your strengths and weaknesses for what you want to achieve.

You can lessen the impact of weaknesses if you improve on your strengths. Write about how you will improve on your strengths.

2. Develop an executive summary

Then, in one paragraph, summarize who you are and what you want to achieve.

Describe the niche you plan to fill. Explain what and how your firm will look like.

Very importantly: Don’t be tentative. For example, Don’t write, “I can…”. You must write with conviction: “I will…” or “my company will…”.

3. Value proposition

Differentiate your company from your competitors – ideally 10 to 15 words in length. Again, write with strong conviction so your customers will trust you.

Answer these types of questions: What benefits do you provide? Why are you credible and relevant so people will pay you for products or services?

For example, my firm’s value proposition: “The CMS Approach will save you time and money while increasing revenue in marketing, human resources and special projects.”

From these elements, write your three-to-five-word branding slogan. For example, this site’s slogan: Proven Solutions to Maximize Revenue.

Develop a simple logo that illustrates the benefits of your slogan. Allow it to be developed as a 16 x 16 pixel favicon. A favicon is important to brand your Web site.

For example, since 1992 , here’s my logo:

3. Your ideal customer

Understand the answers to this question: Who is your best opportunity as a target audience?

In addition to customers or clients, you will need Centers of Influence — people who will influence business to come your way. Identify who they are and plan to treat them as customers.

4. Turn your strengths into benefit statements

For selling situations, you will have to focus on your most-important five strengths. Develop a benefit statement for each strength for easier selling of your product or service.

5. Key indicators

When you identify key indicators of your business growth, you’ll be able to devote the right investments in money and time. Then you’ll be able to measure the results.

Use SMART as an acronym – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-specific.

6. Cash flow

Anticipate your expenses. Detail what will be needed in resources. Be conservative. Know how you’ll manage your inventory costs.

Once you determine what your resources will cost, add another 25 percent to allow for unexpected developments. Do a break-even analysis to determine when you will be profitable.

Know which revenue stream is profitable. Identify potentialities – what you can do to make more profit for the short-term and long-term. Don’t waste time reflecting on ideas that will only yield temporary growth.

As you proceed and grow, focus on developing multiple revenue streams.

7. Analysis of your main competitors

Understand why your competitors are successful in areas you’re not. Identify companies that are growing in unique fashions.

Identify the ways in which your competitors aren’t succeeding.

8. Human capital

Identify the qualities you need in people. Only recruit people who are inspired by your value proposition and who do quality work.

9. Increasing sales

Know your best sales opportunities. When do you sell the most? How can you improve?

10. Strategies

Fill in the blanks. Write the strategies in how you will succeed. Fine tune as you go along.

From the Coach’s Corner, finally, remember if you have a dream, it’s likely you’ll be able to draw on your experience to make it happen.

Here are related tips:

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth — Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

To Realize Your Business Vision, 8 Best Practices for Setting Goals — What ever your situation is, to realize your vision, focusing on the right details is a skill conducive for strategically setting goals. Here are eight best practices.

8 Simple Strategies to Give You Pricing Power — If you’re struggling with pricing strategies, you’re not alone. Many big companies struggle, too.

Marketing Tips to Run Your Online Business for Higher Profit — E-commerce has made it possible for entrepreneurs to get a fast return on their investments with higher profits. Here’s how they do it.

14 Steps to Profit from Online Customer Reviews — For competitiveness and profits, businesses can’t afford to ignore the potential of online reviews. They’re a factor in revolutionizing commerce. Reviews are important because they influence prospective customers to buy from you. They’re also beneficial in improving your Internet presence because search-engine crawlers consider them to be relevant.

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.”

-George Washington Carver


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Dos and Don’ts for Writing a Top Business Plan



There are many valid reasons to write a business plan — they aren’t necessarily to attract capital.

Multiple reasons to write a business plan range from sharing comprehensive goals with employees to determining when to hire new employees.

Whatever your reasons, you need a quality business plan not a mediocre document. To ensure success, there are key essentials.

It’s important to have the right content and to be expert in making your presentation. Although they might not be obvious, there are the dos and don’ts if you top want results.

Here are the don’ts:

1. Don’t overestimate your projected income

That’s probably the first thing investors discern. They know you want to impress them. So resist the temptation to insert financial puffery. If anything, they want you to be conservative and professional in your presentation.

2. Don’t be too optimistic in timelines

Forecast delays. Then double your estimates. New entrepreneurs are well-known over not being realistic.

KROMKRATHOG business plan3. Don’t focus too much on style

Remember financial backers and banks want facts, and they ignore slick-looking business plans.

Even if your goal in writing a business plan is not for attracting capital, focuse on substance.

4. Don’t make false statements

This means you should document every assertion – whether you need to supply data or testimonials from a trusted, authoritative source.

5. Don’t be careless in mentioning your competitors

Be factual and statesmanlike when mentioning your competition.

6. Don’t be ostentatious

The best way to turn off people reading your business plan is to use questionable language. You will not be taken seriously if you use unrealistic adjectives and superlatives such as amazing, best, fabulous, great, or incredible.

Avoid all gimmicks. Keep it mainstream, conservative and professional.

7. Don’t be verbose

If you’re too effusive or long-winded, your readers’ eyes will glaze over. If your readers are intrigued, they’ll be assertive in requesting more information.

Multiple reasons to write a business plan range from sharing comprehensive goals with employees to determining when to hire new employees.

Here are the dos:

1. Do know who your competitors are

Identify them. Differentiate your business idea from theirs. Be thoughtful and don’t put them down.

2. Do know to whom you’re talking

Thoroughly research your audience. Understand your audience preferences and track record. Know that bankers think differently than angel investors or venture capitalists.

3. Do substantiate your claims

Whatever assertions you make, provide proof. In mentioning your management team and you tout them, explain why their backgrounds matter.

Very few ideas nowadays are unique. You’ll likely have a business that’s similar to others. Differentiate you from them and why you’ll fare better. That includes your facilities and where the work will be performed.

4. Do be conservative

Your audience will zero in on your financials. Your projections should be tested and realistic. When in doubt, err on the side of being conservative.

5. Do be pragmatic

You must be thoroughly realistic in your statements about timelines and resources. Think logically. Make sure your plan is actionable.

Always allow for unexpected delays. As in financials, be conservative in your approach. Then add it to it. Be as conservative as feasible.

6. Do assess your management

Does your management team have the strongest-possible credentials? If your team doesn’t, add to this section a strong advisory board with documentation and resumes.

7. Do include information on how your audience will get an ROI

Depending on whom you’ll be approaching, include vital details on how they’ll get a timely return on their investment. Some will also want to be intimately involved in your operation while others want to be on your board of directors.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more strategies on planning:

Finance Checklist for Strategic Planning, Growth — Strategic planning in finance for growth means avoiding trendy fads. Instead, it requires an ongoing down-to-earth approach in order to create value. Here are seven steps.

Budget Planning Tips for a Micro Business — For entrepreneurs, often the most difficult part of launching a business is preparing financial projections. It may not be the most enjoyable task, but budgeting is imperative for maximizing performance. “Eight out of 10 companies fail in the first two years due to insufficient cash,” warns esteemed financial consultant Roni Fischer.

To Realize Your Business Vision, 8 Best Practices for Setting Goals — Whatever your situation, to realize your vision, focusing on the right details is a skill conducive for strategically setting goals. Here are eight best practices.

Critical HR Recruiting Strategies for Business Profit — By developing strategic recruiting plans, human resources professionals will make significant contributions to the bottom-line profit goals of their employers. So, it’s imperative to innovate in your recruiting processes and market your strategies to senior management and hiring managers.

Best Practices to Protect Yourself in a Business Partnership — Business partnerships often end in catastrophes because they’re not based on solid legal foundations. Here are five best practices in due diligence for your protection.

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.”

-Alan Lakein


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.



Photo courtesy of KROMKRATHOG of www.freedigitalphotos.net

Applying for Bank Loan? Here’s How to Shorten the Process



Business owners generally have two concerns when trying to get a bank loan or line of credit. Either they can’t qualify or they face scrutiny beyond belief.

Wouldn’t it be great to save time and shorten the process?

You can if you know what banks want and if you treat a banker like you would a prospective customer – by qualifying the banker by asking three key questions.

ID-10089370Before exploring this topic, here are three miscellaneous thoughts:

— Firstly, it’s worth noting I don’t recommend trying to borrow money for marketing or ongoing operations. And don’t borrow against your credit cards or mortgage. You’re asking for trouble, especially if you’re a young business.

— Secondly, avoid alternate sources of funding unless you’re guaranteed a very low interest rate. Crowdfunding is popular but remember you’d give away autonomy. A traditional bank loan is best for your credit reputation, and will enhance your future credit worthiness.

— Thirdly, never open an e-mail from an alleged lender offering you a loan. Those are “phishing” scams in attempts to get your vital financial information.

Generally, to qualify for a loan you must be able to provide positive answers to 10 questions:

1. Consistent cash flow

You must be able to show you have a solid revenue stream and stable cash flow. That generally means operating a credible business and showing a successful three-year track record.

2. Sufficient collateral

It’s possible to get a loan or line of credit without collateral, if can you show a pattern of success and own a home. But for many entrepreneurs, banks want collateral to loan money.

3. Debt-to-income ratio

If you’ve got debt or have other outstanding loans, banks won’t come through with a loan. Multiple requests for loans from other sources on your credit report is a red flag to banks.

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it.

-Bob Hope

4. Customer base

You should have a diverse portfolio of customers. Banks look with a jaundiced eye at businesses that have a small base of customers. If you’re a tavern or entertainment business owner, you face long odds for a loan.

5. Minimal credit history

Banks, of course, have credit-score standards. You must have a reasonable history of obtaining credit and paying it off. Most often, banks require a credit score above 700.

If your credit report shows errors, know that you have options.

6. Personal guarantee

A bank will want you to guarantee in-writing that you’ll be responsible for the loan and that you’ll pay it off.

7. Insufficient time in business

Banks look for business credibility. That means showing them a significant track record laced with profits.

8. Economic conditions

If the economy is uncertain, the banker will be concerned. The banker wants you to be able to pay in a timely fashion. Therefore, you must have a stellar record of profits and low costs to reassure the banker.

9. Authoritative management

You must personally have a stellar business reputation for honest and expert management of your business. That’s why effective self-marketing matters.

10. Questionable sector prospects

If your sector or industry has well-known problems or is in a pattern of decline, you’re wasting your time in seeking a bank loan.

After you study the questions and determine you’ll qualify for a loan, you’ll still face a ton of scrutiny when you apply.

“The income tax has made more liars out of the American people than golf has.”

-Will Rogers

Got your documents ready? To shorten the process, treat a banker as you would a prospective customer by asking three key questions:

— Who makes the decision?

When you approach a banker, ask who will make the decision. Does the loan officer or branch manager make the decision or will it be a committee in another location?

The more people involved in the decision process means additional questions and often an inefficient use of your time.

— What information is required?

Normally, you’ll be asked for your personal and business information. At the minimum, the banker will request your previous years of financials and a current financial statement. They often prefer recent tax returns.

If you’re asking for a large loan, they’ll probably want a business plan. A real estate loan will necessitate a current appraisal. A delay in responding with documents will be a red flag for a banker. So respond ASAP.

— How do they want the information?

Learn what will be accepted verbally, and ask if they want either hard or digital copies.

Good luck!

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s more information:

Tips to Get the Lowest-cost Small Business Loan — Small business owners are facing unnecessary financial risks because they increasingly seek debt consolidation and loan refinancing as the result of high interest rates and onerous fees, according to a small-business lender. Here’s what to do.

Debt Consolidation Will Sink You without These 6 Tips — If you’re not careful in your debt-consolidation plan to bundle your debts for a lower interest rate and minimum payments, you might get into more financial problems. Here are six precautions.

When there’s No Cash, 8 Tips to Organically Grow Your Business — Organically growing a business is lot like organic farming. Organic farmers pay attention to the signs of nature as a planting guide. They use rich sources of organic matter to build and maintain soil fertility. If you’re like many entrepreneurs, it probably makes sense to grow organically. You might not have another choice.

You Can Creatively Manage Your Cash Flow 7 Ways — If you’re taking the pulse of your business, of course, the first thing to consider is your cash flow. If your cash flow is poor, you feel poor because you can’t pay the bills nor can you use money for what you’d like to do. Your image can also suffer with vendors or with customers, if you don’t manage your cash flow.

Management — 5 Frequent Causes of Cost Overruns and Failures — Extensive research shows how and why corporate projects result in cost overruns and failures. The academic study is entitled, ‘Yes Men’ Are Killing Corporate Projects. The research reported rampant misreporting of project statuses at all levels of the companies. The errant information is prompted from cultural predispositions to career aspirations.

“Those who are careless in trifles give a precedent for remissness in important duties.”
Plutarch – Life of Æmilius Paulus


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

5 Tips If You Think You Have to Rebrand Your Business



Have you ever thought about what to do if you have to rebrand your business? Strategy, of course, is critical.

It’s not uncommon for businesses to change their branding – whether it’s to fix the marketing, go in a different direction or to capitalize on emerging trends.

Companies, small and large, come to such a crossroad from time to time. Products become obsolete. New competitors enter the marketplace. Consumer preferences change.

StockImagesEvolution is possible in different ways whether you need to expand or redefine your business.

No matter what you’re considering, it’s a serious decision. Any mistakes in assumptions or actions are critical and will threaten your efforts for success.

Here are five tips:

1. Know thyself

Plato, who lived 428 to 348 BC, was the world’s most-influential philosopher. He suggested there was something special about each person. You are, too.

You can’t make smart decisions unless you know who you are and what your company is.

If you’re a micro business, remember you’re synonymous with your company. That’s why individuals evaluate themselves and their companies perform a SWOT analysis of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

To achieve higher performance, you often need to evaluate your business processes optimization (BPO). Ascertain the effectiveness of your BPO strategies.

In this way, you’ll truly understand your values and best opportunities. Deductive reasoning will generate the right conclusions before you start the process of rebranding.

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?”

— Albert Einstein

2. Don’t totally disregard your initial objective

Figuratively, you might have to change your exercise program. It’s wise not to jump to conclusions. You might have been on the right track, which means you can focus on continuity.

Just because you’ve encountered new challenges doesn’t mean your initial thesis was wrong. So don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Consider possible commonalities.

With your SWOT analysis, you can identify new pathways that link to your past. In other words, you can target new customers without destroying relationships with your current clientele.

Determine how your logo and business name came relate to your past and future.

3. Double down on research

Watch your emotions. Do your due diligence. Don’t chase fads. Ignore the hype. Don’t take shortcuts.

“If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?” asked Albert Einstein.

You just might find too many red flags in embarking on your new ideas. What you need is actual growth potential, not pipe dreams.

Research should include several possibilities. As part of your research, decide on whether to just fine-tune your branding or to completely retool.

If you’re making big changes, first check on available domain names, social-media handles, business registrations in your state, branding slogans and logos.

If you make any of these changes, at least protect yourself with inexpensive trademarks in your state. The last thing you want as a business is for your company logo and name to be stolen. Depending on your budget, consider protecting your new brand with a federal trademark.

4. Address financials and anticipate liabilities

Remember you pay a price for everything you do. Make sure you’re making good investments in your energy and money.

Be conservative. Take incremental, baby steps. When you’re sure you’re ready to make changes, then go for it with passion.

5. Involve your stakeholders 

Don’t go it alone. If you’re thinking of change, chat with your family members, employees, friends, associates, customers and especially your mentor. Use them as a focus group, as they probably know you well.

Keep them informed about any major decisions. In this way, you won’t be sacrificing your credibility and hard work.

From the Coach’s Corner, here is related information:

Winning in Branding, Sales – The 6 Key Characteristics of a Logo — One key element for a company’s branding and sales that often gets short shrift is a great logo. Whether you’re an entrepreneur entering a brave new world or an established company needing profits, a great logo helps ensure top-of-mind awareness.

The Link between a Simple Logo and Branding Success — Some of the world’s most-successful companies have simple logos. That’s the conclusion from a study by a UK logo-design company, Small Business Logos. It conducted the 2012 study that lists the top-10 logos in different sectors from technology to shoes. “Creating a strong, memorable logo can really enhance the success of your business,” said Lucy Smith, marketing and eCommerce director for Small Business Logos.

Best Practices to Manage Your Global Brand, Web Reputation — As you no doubt know, the digital age has brought new challenges and opportunities. Best practices are critical in order to maximize your Web presence and to manage your online reputation.

Checklist to Build Your Brand on a Budget — Every business needs to save time and money while increasing revenue with affordable branding techniques. Here are 29 proven branding solutions for maximum profits.

Convert More Prospects with 10 Best Marketing Tips (Even on a Tight Budget) — So you’ve got a pile of business cards from prospects, but you haven’t converted them? Great sales stem from great marketing. You can’t grow crops until you plant the right seeds. That’s the purpose of marketing. Like many businesses small or large in this soft economy, you’re probably looking for a competitive edge on a tight budget.

“No one is going to understand your brand better than you.”

-Alexander Wang


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Career Tips: 5 Morning Habits of Winning Entrepreneurs



In a sense, entrepreneurship requires you to have a split personality. On one hand, entrepreneurship is very gratifying. On the other, it’s the most-difficult of all undertakings.

The key is to manage the highs and lows synonymous with a dynamic roller-coaster ride. You must stay on an even keel, despite all the negative surprises.

How to do it? Develop habits that make certain your attitude is contagious – an attitude worth catching — to prepare for daily success.

imagerymajestic yogaWinning entrepreneurs have five daily habits:

1. Start your day with an empty canvas

You might not have the talents of Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent Van Gogh from the 1800s. As an entrepreneur, you’re more like Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance-era painter, scientist, and inventor.

He’s best known for painting the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, which brings us to an important daily spiritual habit of clearing your mind to avoid stress.

Not to sound like a mystic nut, spirituality is important. That means starting your day with reading to prepare you for practicing mindfulness and your entrepreneurial pursuits.

Many people read their personal affirmations, the Bible, and/or self-help literature. Then, they’re ready to meditate or pray with a focus on gratitude for what is working well. In this way, their canvas calms them with focus and prepares them for significant achievements.

2. Exercise

It’s important to start your day early with an accomplishment by exercising. It’s great for a healthy mind and body.

Your options are many:

Go for a walk or hike. If you have a dog, both of you will have fun. There’s nothing like having fun with your best, loyal friend early each morning.

Or, if you’re a runner, go for a run every other day and pump iron in between. (I have a media associate in his 60s, an avid golfer, who uses exercise equipment and does 10 wind sprints. He’s the one of the happiest and highest-performing persons I know.)

Take advantage of your exercise equipment or go to the gym.

The most successful periods in my life coincide with daily meditation and exercise. By doing it early, you’ve experienced a personal achievement that gets your day off on the right footing.

The key is to manage the highs and lows synonymous with a dynamic roller-coaster ride. You must stay on an even keel, despite all the negative surprises.

3. Care for your partner and family

This is vital for a work-life balance. Family time is important, and it requires discipline. Allow time for discussions about your family-member requests for rides or other matters.

Make sure each person feels your attention and any necessary emotional validation. Especially if you’re home-based, though, be sure to set boundaries.

4. Review your day

By late Thursday, you should know your plans for the following week. But each morning, review your plans for that day.

Priorities change. The best defense is often the best offense. So go on offense. Plan to tackle the most challenging task first. The rest of the day will seem like a walk in the park.

5. Read what’s important

Scan your favorite informative news sites, especially the ones that pertain to your industry and clients. Check your e-mails and prioritize them A, B or C because they can be a leading cause of stress and time-wasting. Deal with the e-mails that require immediate action. Set aside the ones that can wait.

Look for new contacts and opportunities.

Prioritize your gratitude – send a positive hand-written note or e-mail to a customer, employee or someone in your network.

From the Coach’s Corner, here is related information:

24 Tips to Reduce Stress, Work Happier for Top Performance — You have a 35 percent better chance of living longer if you feel happy. That’s the upshot from a 2011 British study that links feelings of happiness to longevity. So the emphasis is on feelings. Makes sense, right? The study acknowledges some people inherently feel happy.

7 Morale-Boosters for Hope to Keep Your Business Alive — As you no doubt know, keeping a business going saps a lot of energy. Perseverance is key but it’s not possible unless you have hope. Here’s how to generate hope for success.

Communication – You Can Train Yourself to Stop Stressing — It’s OK to be nervous before giving a speech or when you’re entering an important round of negotiations. Feeling pressure is one thing but allowing it to morph into stress and tension is another. When you allow this to happen, in a sense, you’re giving away your personal power, which inhibits your performance.

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

The 3 A’s to Survive an Emotional Business Loss — Business executive: If you’re distraught over business conditions, my condolences as you’re not alone. Lots of businesses have financial issues. The good news is you can survive an emotional business loss with the three A’s.

Successful Entrepreneurs Smile from 20 Practices — Successful business owners smile because they are different. They take positive approaches that help them emotionally, physically and financially.

“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.”

-Sydney J. Harris


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is also a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at www.freedigitalphotos.net

To Sell to B2B Executives, Upgrade Digital-Age Sales Skills



E-commerce is increasingly popular. But in B2B sales, research shows a salesperson’s skills are paramount when the buyer is an executive.

So to maximize your revenue, make sure your salespeople are prepared with advanced sales training.

The “SiriusDecisions’ 2015 B-to-B Buying Study” seems to confirm the supposition.

In fact, the research contradicts conventional wisdom that indicates the role and importance of salespeople is irrelevant.

Ambro b2bIn reality, it’s just the opposite. In an era of digital buying behaviors, executives want to deal with salespeople.

“While the cognitive buying decision process is linear and sequential, we found that how buyers consume content and interact with provider organizations is not linear – in fact, the interaction patterns are much more episodic,” says SiriusDecisions Vice President Marisa Kopec.

“For example, a buyer can perform a single search on Google or go to a sales meeting, and that one interaction might provide all the information they need to inform each of the decision gates they need to get through in order to make a decision to buy,” she explains.

The 1,000 responding executives in North America and Europe made “significant buying decisions for $500 million in purchases, and they said the salesperson was important.

“We found that buyers interact with representatives during every stage of the decision-making process at least half the time, and that the type of decision – or buying scenario – greatly impacted the number and types of interactions,” adds Senior Research Director Jennifer Ross at SiriusDecisions.

In an era of digital buying behaviors, executives want to deal with salespeople.

The study’s key findings:

—The price point of an offering affects the number and type of interactions that occur between a buyer and provider.

— As the price point of an offering goes up, human interactions between the buyer and the provider also increase. But even at low price points, there is evidence that human-to-human interactions occur.

— More than half the time, sales representative involvement starts at the beginning of the buyer’s journey. In complex buying scenarios, sales rep involvement starts at the beginning of the journey two-thirds of the time.

— The highest level of reported buyer/seller interaction for all buying scenarios occurred during the education phase of the buyer’s journey (the first decision gate in the purchasing decision process).

—Not only do buyers interact with a sales representative from the winning provider organization in all phases of their decision-making process, but they overwhelmingly describe those interactions as positive (in over 85 percent of the buying experiences studied).

As you might guess, SiriusDecisions sells what it calls the B-to-B Buyer Interactions Model. It categorizes every type of interaction a buyer can have with a provider, to help organizations understand the balance required between human and non-human interactions.

The bottom-line:

“The new way to think about b-to-b buying is that human interactions still occur and matter, and that the rise of digital marketing doesn’t mean those interactions go away,” says Ms. Kopec.

“It just means that buyers and providers are interacting in new digital ways. Just because buying behavior is done digitally does not mean that sales representatives are no longer required to instigate or facilitate a buying process,” she adds.

From the Coach’s Corner, in order for you to successfully sell to executives, here are related tips:

The 7 Steps to Higher Sales — Secrets for sales success – seven steps to higher sales, five value perceptions that motivate customers to buy, and the three-step process for overcoming sales objections.

To Sell Ideas to Senior Executives, Tap into Their Emotions — If you want to persuade a senior executive, polish your soft skills. Whether you’re trying to sell your ideas to your CEO or you’re trying to sell to a key decision maker at another company, big data is important. But data isn’t the most important factor in persuading senior executives.

7 Tips for Strong Results in Setting B2B Appointments with CEOs — As every salesperson knows, face time with B2B prospects gives you a foundation for sales success.  Execution in the appointment-setting process is, of course, is key to being successful.

Big Ticket Sales – Prevent Buyer’s Remorse with 4 Precautions — In big-ticket sales — from consulting services to information technology — customer emotions run high. Buyer’s remorse will cost you a big sale. To prevent buyer’s remorse, you need to be a calming influence in order for the customer to understand you’re providing value.

Top 18 Attributes of the Best Salespeople — What’s needed to be effective in sales? Merely having a gregarious personality will no longer cut it in the 21st century. Here are the top 18 attributes of the best salespeople.

“I think the biggest mistake that salespeople make today is that they try to pretend they’re not salespeople.” 

-Irreverent Sales Girl 


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Ambro at www.freedigitalphotos.net

HR: Effectively Manage ADA Issues in Your Facilities



Disabled persons have had both valid and invalid complaints about the workplace. Such complaints concern your facilities and human resources program.

Unfortunately, published reports indicate businesspeople have had to contend with disingenuous claims by some lawyers with repeat clients.

Such lawyers are making a living for dubious reasons from Title III the Americans with Disabilities Act (Title III of the ADA).

PraisaengIt is complex legislation regarding public accommodations and commercial facilities. So it isn’t easy-to-understand.

Use any term you want to describe the insincere lawsuits – from “frivolous” to “drive-by.” They aren’t necessarily filed to help disabled people.

Many have conducted furtive incursions into businesses.

Just as many businesses have used mystery shoppers to ascertain the quality of their cust0mer-service employees, such attorneys have sent hired guns to inspect business locations looking for possible ADA violations and insignificant technical issues.

So it’s important for businesses to take precautions in their workplaces – both in their facilities and in their approach to human resources.

This article is designed to open your eyes to possible dangers. Admittedly, as a management consultant I’m not an attorney, therefore I suggest you seek appropriate legal counsel.

Meantime, I’d consider these Title III precautions:

1. Hire an architect who is an expert in Title IIIFollow through on the architect’s recommendations.

2. If you lease office or commercial space, review your lease for possible liability. In the event your facilities are vulnerable to ADA claims, you have to make certain you’re not sued along with your landlord.

3. Assess your strategy if you feel you’ve been hit with a frivolous lawsuit. My philosophy is that principle matters. Perhaps you might not want to cave to disingenuous claims.

For dubious plaintiff complaints to succeed, their lawyers must prove a few things:

— There must be proof a violation exists.

— The disabled applicants have actually been in your workplace and that they intend to return to the site of the alleged ADA violation, or that they will most certainly encounter discrimination when they do.

4. Be careful to save money. For instance, deposing witnesses in the discovery process can result in expensive attorney fees from both sides.

You also risk having to pay opposing lawyer fees even if you lose on a merely minor point.

5. Research the opposing attorney. You might learn the attorney has a pattern of filing frivolous cases. Sometimes, they’re negligent in taking shortcuts. If so, consider ways to make it too expensive for the lawyer to continue the practice of victimizing you and other business owners.

Precautions in human resources:

  1. Review your job descriptions. Make certain they’re accurate. spell out essential functions, and are otherwise up-to-date and lawful.
  2. When recruiting, conduct interviews that focus on the candidates’ abilities to succeed in the essential job functions.
  3. Train your staff members – who are involved in the recruiting and hiring processes – regarding all ADA requirements.
  4. Provide continuous training on how to make medical inquiries.
  5. Train your employees on what to do – in your obligations as an employer – if an employee volunteers personal disability information.
  6. Create a paper trail – diligently document the reasons if you make an adverse employment decision regarding a disabled candidate.
  7. Take the high moral road, but if you can reasonably justify denying reasonable accommodation, carefully document the reasons.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are relevant tips:

Why Companies Fall into the Management Lawsuit Trap — Small and many big companies are ripe for EEOC complaints. The majority of lawsuits targeting management usually stem from a half dozen poor practices. You’ll get into trouble using these six bad practices.

How to avoid EEOC Discrimination Suits — Here are six tips for micro-companies and 13 strategies for larger organizations to avoid EEOC migraines.

10 Tips on Responding to EEOC Complaints — Despite all the court cases, warnings and complaints filed at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a study shows big companies are guilty of favoritism in their promotion practices. It’s true that certain people are identified and groomed for promotion.

Diversity: Political Correctness or the Right Thing for Your Business? — Whenever you hire a new employee, you surely want a return on your investment of time, energy and money in your recruitment and hiring process. But in affirmative action plans you face obstacles — primarily, from your culture. Here’s what to do.

HR Tips to Avoid Legal Hassles with Immigration and Customs Enforcement — This includes strategies on how to respond to an ICE audit. Employers have been having problems with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). ICE served 3,004 notices of inspection (NOI) in fiscal 2012.

HR Tips — So Your Recruiting Enhances Diversity, Not Sexism — Can we agree that a diverse workplace leads to innovation, problem-solving and enhanced enterprise communication? And, as you know, inequality is unlawful. Why then are there so many companies that unknowingly, perhaps, promote sexism? That’s right. An academic study shows that many job postings are gender biased.

“It was ability that mattered, not disability, which is a word I’m not crazy about using.”

-Marlee Matlin


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.





Photo courtesy of Praisaeng at www.freedigitalphotos.net

Avoid the 5 Biggest Mistakes SMEs Make in HR



If you manage the typical small or medium-size enterprise (SME), you’ve got your hands full just trying to stay profitable. So it’s imperative to be careful in dealing with your biggest expense – your employees.

“Often small and mid-sized business owners and managers don’t really know what they don’t know – and may unwittingly make mistakes in overtime, wage and hour regulations, discipline and discriminatory practices,” says Christine Pahl, human resources client consultant at FrankCrum.

ID-10088767 stockimagesFrankCrum (www.frankcrum.com) is a self-described national professional employer organization.

“Unfortunately, these mistakes can be costly as well as create distractions that keep the company from performing at its best,” she adds.

Amen. I couldn’t agree more.

She says many companies make these five salient mistakes:

Improperly classifying employees as exempt

This may result in non-exempt employees not receiving overtime pay they are entitled to.

Paying someone a “salary” does not automatically mean they are exempt and a mis-classification can violate laws regarding recordkeeping, minimum wage and overtime.

Any of these violations may result in a lawsuit, with employers frequently unable to justify the reasons for their actions, which leaves them without a defense to the lawsuit.

FMLA

Many employers are not aware they are a covered employer under the Family Medical Leave Act or what their obligations are to the employees who qualify for protection under this law.

Hiring practices

Although most employers know not to ask an applicant’s age, other questions to avoid include those about medical history, prior workers’ compensation injuries, criminal record, marital status, sexual orientation, and political or religious affiliations.

It’s important to remember that position descriptions and interview questions should focus on necessary position requirements.

Discriminatory practices

Review all aspects of employment, including hiring, promotion, pay, discipline, termination, training opportunities and more.  It’s not enough to focus on intentional or obvious discriminatory practices.

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

-Peter Drucker

A proactive review of trends in these areas and the impact on employees may reveal unintentional practices that should be corrected.

In addition, employers should post an EEO statement and distribute a written anti-discrimination policy to be signed by employees and management, outlining the policy as well as redress and complaint procedures.

Corrective actions

FrankCrum uses the term “corrective action” rather than “progressive discipline,” because it keeps the focus on resolving problems and maintaining a successful relationship with the employee.

The earlier issues are dealt with and documented, the less likely it is that confusion about performance and expectations will lead to a claim.

“Business owners and managers need not become HR specialists,” says Ms. Pahl.  “But they should have knowledgeable advisers who can help them avoid HR problems.”

Again, agreed.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related HR/management tips:

HR: Overcoming Tech Trends, Boomer Retirements — There are ominous implications for human resources departments — from the same tech trends that have empowered consumers to force businesses into the digital age.

HR Strategies for Addiction Recovery Plans — Your human resources program should include plans for employee addiction recovery. Why? Consider a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Are You Guilty of Micromanaging? Here’s How to Stop — Micromanagement is a ramification of ignoring best practices in management. People who micromanage lose maximum efficiency, productivity and teamwork – in other words, optimal profitability.

Unpaid Interns: Safeguards to Avoid Legal Issues — Many students will work for an unpaid internship, if they can further their career prospects. They know they’ll benefit from training, business networking or getting a job with the companies once they graduate from college. But unpaid internships can be risky for a business. Here are the safeguards.

With Employees’ Help, 3 Strategies to Succeed with Your Strategic Plan — Have you developed your strategy? It’s important to proceed without engaging in self doubt. But you’re concerned about involving your employees? There are three closely related basics in working with your employees to get the job done.

How to Grow Sales (through Pricing and HR Training) — Sophistication in pricing by salespeople is an excellent driver to grow earnings rather than just looking for ways to cut costs. Instead of growing their profits with sophistication in pricing, many businesspeople miss growth opportunities when they mistakenly cut muscle – usually in human capital and branding. Here’s a better way.

“The entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

-Peter Drucker


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.




Are You Guilty of Micromanaging? Here’s How to Stop



Micromanagement is a ramification of ignoring best practices in management. People who micromanage lose maximum efficiency, productivity and teamwork – in other words, optimal profitability.

There’s a difference between leading a staff effectively and authoritarian behavior. The latter is one of the common traits of bad bosses.

Perhaps you’ve been the victim of micromanagement while growing up or on the job. Good, then you know the consequences.

To jog your memory:

You’ve suffered from a decrease in morale. It’s hurt your confidence and self esteem. You’re de-motivated. Your creativity is lost. But your parent or boss was clueless.

So if you’re a manager, do you really want to risk the effects of micromanaging your employees? Of course, you don’t.

If you think you’re guilty of micromanaging employees, you probably are.

Here are six ways to stop micromanaging:

1. Start learning the best principles of employee delegation

Delegation is a fundamental driver of organizational growth. This is one of the hardest facets to learn for many managers. So start thinking about implementing a new delegation approach.

Managers who are effective in delegation show leadership. Save yourself time and develop your staff for the welfare of your organization by implementing best practices in employee delegation.

2. Become aware of the consequences of micromanagement

Micromanagement causes serious damage to your workplace environment. It eliminates trust with your workers and damages their self confidence.

Instead, you should be working toward building individual autonomy, independent thought and professional growth.

3. Assess the strengths of each of your workers

Talk with under-performing employees. Analyze the duties of the person’s responsibilities and skill sets. Perhaps there isn’t a match.

Micromanaging won’t solve such issues. If you believe the person’s duties and talents aren’t compatible, then come up with a solution.

It’s hard, time-consuming work, but managers owe it to the organization to help employees to grow professionally. The organization benefits from higher employee performance and lower turnover. Strong employee retention obviously saves the employer a lot of time and money.

4. Develop communication

Communication skills are critical for managers. However, you probably have inadequate communication with your team members. Perhaps they don’t understand your expectations about their roles.

People with enhanced abilities in communication typically have successful relationships at work and home. Study the management attributes for effective communication.

Good communication must start with new hires and continue throughout their tenure with your company.

5. Implement methods for feedback

Know that each employee has preferences for feedback. As much as possible, treat each person as unique. Some employees benefit from daily discussions. But to others daily feedback constitutes micromanagement.

6. Focus on continuous learning

You realistically can’t hold employees accountable unless they’re given the right tools. That includes training and proper equipment.

Finally, know that you probably learned micromanagement from a former boss or your current one. If you feel your boss micromanages you, delicately deal with it.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are more management tips:

Why Executives Emphasize Communication Training for Employees — Among human resources training priorities, employee communication is often now more important than skills, say many executives. Two-thirds of executives responding to a survey say communication skills are most needed by certain employees.

Trust Gap between Managers and Workers — How to Drive Engagement — While it’s true there are companies that are aware that good morale among employees propels profits, many businesses are missing opportunities for growth. It’s not because of marketing. It has to do with internal issues. Why? There’s still a wide gap between what managers and workers think about trust.

13 Management Tips to Solve Employee Absenteeism — Absenteeism causes migraines for a lot of bosses. Obviously, your company will make healthier profits, if you don’t have an absenteeism problem.

3 Crucial Tactics Are Needed to Maintain Your Culture — As your company grows, you can expect growing pains and threats to your culture. Whether you create it or not, your business culture happens. There are at least three steps needed to fashion your culture the way you want.

10 Steps to Manage Conflict for High Performance — For progress, a business needs human interaction for ideas and innovation. Sometimes, argument, debate and conflict prove to be productive catalysts for high performance. But such catalysts can be obstacles to success, too. Here are the simplest ways to manage conflict.

“People and organizations don’t grow much without delegation and completed staff work because they are confined to the capacities of the boss and reflect both personal strengths and weaknesses.”

-Stephen Covey


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry. 





Photo courtesy stockimages at www.freedigitalphotos.net

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Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.