Forced Choices

Forced Choices

One of my favorite definitions of "strategy" is “Strategy is the creation of forced choices“. I thought this was a wonderful way to describe it. Properly developing a strategy does mean that we are choosing a path and it does mean we are giving up other things. And that’s the beauty of it! Too often I see organizations work without a strategy for many reasons (or excuses). Let's not be afraid to be more targeted and not try to serve everyone.

Why Develop A Vision for Your Business

Why Develop A Vision for Your Business

Visualizing the future. A waste of time. Can’t be done. What’s the point? Do these sound familiar? I hear them all the time. And I completely disagree. In my 20+ years of being a management consultant, a business advisor, and an entrepreneur I have found that organizations that take the time to develop a clear, concise long-term vision typically find that the benefits far outweigh the investment.

It's Time to Audit Your Customer Feedback Process

It's Time to Audit Your Customer Feedback Process

When you implement a customer feedback system it’s critical to look for these types of disincentives or areas that could lead to false, misleading, or incomplete information. Or if you have a process already in place you need to look at it critically and identify where problems might lie. Here are some ideas to make sure that your customer feedback is not being unduly influenced.

This Week's Must Reads

This Week's Must Reads

Well, we'll finally back in town. Colorado was a blast - cold weather and some snow. Just what some of us from a warm climate like Texas desperately need! And I guess we brought some of that cold weather with us too. Last weekend's high temperatures were in the 30s - cold for Houston. But in true Texas fashion, today's high is 80. Yikes! Annnywaaay.....here are some recent articles for business owners and business leaders you shouldn't miss.

What About ME?

What About ME?

You’ve seen the ads zillions of times. Wow! Awesome pricing! A great deal! A special bundle. And then waaaaaaay down in that tiny little fine print at the bottom: “New customers only”. I don’t know about you, but if I am a current customer of that company I always think “What about me?”. Why do people who aren’t even a customer get the best deals? What about people like me that have been a customer of yours for months or years? Do we ever get special treatment? I argue that companies should start to spend a little less time trolling for new business and invest a little more time taking care of those loyal customers.

This Week's Must Reads

This Week's Must Reads

Hey guys! I home you're having a great Monday so far. For many of us it's the beginning of Thanksgiving week so it's a little bit slower....or it's frantically busy with everyone trying to get things done before everyone disappears for the holiday. To get your week started off right, as I typically do, I wanted to share some of the best reads I have come across in the last week. So here ya go!

What's Your REAL Job?

What's Your REAL Job?

The other day I was running on a trail that passes behind the parking lot of a local library branch. At that moment a big waste truck was picking up the library’s trash bin at the back of the parking lot. As the truck’s big arms lifted the dumpster and emptied it into the truck most of the trash dropped in as it’s supposed to. But some didn’t. Some trash was strewn across the parking lot. What did the truck driver do? He backed the truck up (even driving over the top of some of the trash that had fallen to the ground) and drove away to the next stop on his route. I started thinking about what the library staff would think when they arrived and saw that trash in their parking lot. The word “thrilled” didn’t come to mind. Another idea popped into my head. What did that truck driver understand his job to be? What if he saw his job another way? 

This Week's Must Reads

This Week's Must Reads

Happy Monday everyone! I hope you all had a good weekend - and are facing a productive week ahead. As always, I like to start by sharing some of the best articles (and, ok, a few things I wrote myself) that I think will be valuable to you, the small business leader. So, read on!

The Growth Cunundrum

The Growth Cunundrum

Ah, growing your business. For many of us that has a really nice ring to it. But over the years I’ve seen enough companies grow to know that it’s not all roses all the time. Every phase of a business has its challenges. As I recalled that conversation and my experience seeing a number of companies grow I thought you might find it helpful to think about the less-glamorous, sometimes challenging side of business growth. This post outlines a few things to look for - and how to deal with them..

Constructing a Survey That Works

Constructing a Survey That Works

Over the years I’ve conducted numerous market research projects for my clients. There are so many pieces that have to be done right to make the study a success. And you won’t be surprised to know that one important piece is the thing at the center of the research…the questionnaire. Constructing it well makes a lot of difference to how much you learn. So, here are a few tips to help get the survey’s questionnaire right.

This Week's Must Reads

This Week's Must Reads

Hey guys! Welcome to another week - and Halloween! Fun news. I just spent the morning in jury duty. I know. I know. There are surely more exciting ways to spend your morning. But I have to admit, it was nice to see so many people from all walks of life there answering the call and doing their civic duty. It may not be a part of our democracy we love, but it is  one of the foundations of our unique judicial system. 

Although I'm getting a later start today I still wanted to share with you a bunch of great things I read (and a few I wrote!) over the last week or so. Here goes! Enjoy!

Aligning The Short-Term With The Long-Term

Aligning The Short-Term With The Long-Term

I just think too often we get caught up in the daily “fire-fighting” and don’t stop to make conscious decisions about how our daily and weekly tasks are helping us achieve those long-term goals. In fact, for many of us there’s not much connection at all between what we do each day and where we’re going long-term. It’s important that you NOT lose that connection. It's critical to make sure that each step you take takes you toward that goal. So here are some ways to get your day business aligned with your long-term business.

Who's Driving Who?

Who's Driving Who?

Your brand is a critical part of your business. It tells the world who you are, what problems you solve, along with intangibles about your business (like the business’s style, persona, and the feeling that your brand evokes in its customers). The brand is derived from the fundamental mission and vision of your business. But all too often we let the pursuit of an interesting, creative brand take the lead. That needs to be flipped on its. head. The brand needs to be driven by your business's fundamental mission and vision.

This Week's Must Reads

This Week's Must Reads

Hey everyone! I hope you had a very nice weekend. It's Columbus Day here in the US; so some people have the day off. Not many, but some. As for me, I'm in a semi-work situation today. My wife and three of my four kids are off work/school. But, as I usually do on Mondays I like to share some of what I think are the most interesting things I came across over the last week or so. So, here's this week's roundup. Enjoy!