Is your business prepared for a disaster?

A couple of years ago the world watched as New Orleans almost became the ‘Lost City of Atlantis’. Hurricane Katrina almost completely destroyed this historic city on the Mississippi. Homes, lives, and businesses were lost in the matter of just a few days. Many of those businesses had enough warning to enable them to move vital information to secure spots. Unfortunately, many more chose to ‘stick it out’ in hopes that the storm and surge would pass by them. Most people who live along coastal waterways know there is the possibility that they will be subject to some kind of

Business Costs

When starting a new business, many have problems deciding how much money they need. They may have a figure in mind, but if they have never owned their own venture before, they may have no idea about hidden business costs. These can be small, or they can be very large and troublesome. Most figure out what they know, but far too many fail to do proper research before they take out a loan to start their own company or service. This usually means they will fail because they run out of money. Business costs can be something like Monopoly money.

Innovation in the Family Business

A danger in any business is stagnation. As our business becomes more successful, we become more comfortable with our surroundings and less motivated to change from existing practices. Family businesses are no exception: Starting out on an entrepreneurial high, family businesses are widely recognized as a major source of technological innovation and economic progress. But somewhere in the process we lose the drive, the desire to continually bring innovative practices and products to our organization. Owners may become more concerned about the risk of losing their business, than the prospect of growing it into a larger and more successful entity.

What Really Makes My Business Tick? 8 Questions Every CEO Should Ask

The US Army’s motto of “Be all you can be” served them well for years. But it applies equally well to any businesses, organizations, and even families for that matter. Many organizations see themselves as somewhat contented with the way things are, but of course it’s hard to think of anything else when there are real issues to be discussed. Still, for our businesses, we aspire for something deeper and more meaningful. In our businesses, we all have issues and challenges to overcome. But that should not keep us from striving to become not only all that we can be,

The 80 – 20 Rule – Don’t Abandon the 80

The 80/20 rule, otherwise known as “Pareto’s Principle” is going through a revival. Marketers, business analysts, and academics are all calling for an increased focus on this seemingly, set in gold, business and life ‘standard’. In simple terms, what the 80/20 rule says is that 80 percent of the work done, or sales made, or service given (depending on your industry or point of view) is performed by 20 percent of employees, customers, or clients. In other words, from a business perspective, the vast majority of your revenue, and hence profit, should be coming from a mere 20% of your

Is an Online Education Right For You? Choosing an Online Education, Part 1

Whether you know it or not, you have spent your whole life learning. You just may not have a fancy printed certificate hanging on your wall to show for it. Is now the time to make that step to get your degree? Taking that step in the past was a scary, and for many, impossible, feat. You don’t have the time to attend classes at night, you cannot afford the tuition and travel expenses, or maybe you are uncomfortable in a classroom setting. With the advent of the internet, learning online may be the key to achieving your goals and

Will rising fuel costs spur an increase in telecommuting?

The dream of working from home in your pajamas has probably been on the back of almost every ‘white collar’ worker at some point in their career. Not having to hassle with spending an hour or more in the car every day just to get to and from the office has always sounded pretty good. But that dream has never turned into a reality for most people. Even as recently as 2006 some suggested that there was more myth than reality to the idea of telecommuting and flexible work schedules (Gragg, 2006). However, as gas prices have risen past the

What is Management Consulting?

The world of management consulting at times appears to be clouded with uncertainty and confusion; it can require the patience of Job and the Wisdom of Solomon, the serenity of Gandhi and the confidence of Churchill, all at the same time. It can also be the most rewarding experience outside of family that a person can have. Seeing the impact a successful project implementation can have on an organization, even beyond the monetary rewards, makes the headaches and frustrations all worth it. The experience of being part of something that not only impacts your own life but the lives of

If it ain’t broke you may need to fix it

Normally, the old adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” is a well heeded thought. Unfortunately that is not always the case when it comes to technology. Recently a client brought to us a computer that was extremely old. This computer had been working for many years and was used to control equipment used in a manufacturing environment. There had been no need to monitor how this equipment was functioning, or the software it was running, because it ‘simply worked’. The problem that now surfaced was that this particular computer was failing. Simple enough to solve; or at least

10 Things You Should Know Before You Bid On a Business Product from an Online Auction

Recently I spoke with someone who had purchased a car through an online auction house. Unfortunately they found out too late that the car was not what it was supposed to be. They attempted to cancel the check, they wrote, before it was actually sent from the bank, but it was too late. Buying something on an auction site can be a thrilling adventure. You may have the opportunity to buy something at a price far below the normal cost of that item. You may also find items that are not available through normal stores and retailers. You also need

What Really Makes My Business Tick? 8 Questions Every CEO Should Ask

The US Army’s motto of “Be all you can be” served them well for years. But it applies equally well to any businesses, organizations, and even families for that matter. Many organizations see themselves as somewhat contented with the way things are, but of course it’s hard to think of anything else when there are real issues to be discussed.

Still, for our businesses, we aspire for something deeper and more meaningful.

In our businesses, we all have issues and challenges to overcome. But that should not keep us from striving to become not only all that we can be, but also to set our sights higher. Dreams and goals established when we are young, or when our businesses are just getting started should continue to live within us.

Is the old adage goes “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” really true? Or, can we?

Ask yourself the following questions, and the answers to what drives your business, your personal life, and ultimately your success may become magnificently obvious.

1. What do you really want your business to become?
This is a question for the ages. There are so many things you want to do in your business and seemingly so little time to even think about accomplishing them. Finding something that your organization does well can help you realize that small step towards improvement will result in major steps towards accomplishing your long range goals. Diligence and perseverance are the keys to knowing that it is worth it.

2. Does your business need to change?
Organizations starting in today’s highly competitive and fluid environment have redefined the meaning of ‘self’. Watching ‘dot com’, or in many cases ‘dot bomb’ corporations being started with new values and ambitions has taught me that there are far worse things that could happen to our business than having a bad quarter here and there. How can you use these examples, some good, many not so, to help you as a CEO define the vision that you see for your organization? There is also a very real danger in thinking that you do not need to change. Maintaining the ‘status quo’ could be just the thing that ultimately puts you into a downward spiral.

3. What’s the bright side in all of this?
The speed of business has entered warp drive. With so much happening around us there seems to be no room for imagining that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. There is so much positive that we can take from each experience we have in our business environment; we learn from the bad experiences (and hopefully do not repeat them), while we relish the good and strive for more of the same. We can still see each new adventure as an opportunity to show what our organization is made of. And if it’s a train at the end of the tunnel, take it for a ride and see where the adventure takes you!

4. Am I comfortable with the direction that my business is going?
There is always the easy way and the right way when it comes to deciding what goes with which shoes, or purse, shirt and whatnot. You don’t have to be Albert Einstein to see your organization as unique, or else we’ll all be equally the same in everything we do. No two organizations are the same; you each have different specialties, markets, and potentials. The variety, or ‘spice of life’ that comes with building your own unique organization is what makes this journey exciting and builds the legacy that we leave behind us. The path that you choose to follow does not have to be the same as everybody else’s. In fact, the road less traveled, though fraught with unknowns and seemingly blind paths, may ultimately lead you to newer heights and greater profits.

5. Have I done enough for my business?
Have you, or is there something more you want to, or should, do? contentment in every aspect can be dangerous in large doses, but in small amounts you’ll be able to see and do stuff you could never imagine doing. But, also realize that it is not entirely up to you to determine how your business runs and ultimately succeeds or fails. You can use the people that surround you, be they family, employees, or peers, to help you in evaluating what course your business should and can take.

6. Am I happy with where I am as a leader in my business today?
It may not be a fair question to ask yourself, because ultimately we are our harshest critics, but to evaluate yourself honestly and openly will help you in seeing where you are in relation to your personal and business goals.

7. What motivates me as a leader in my business?
What motivates you? It’s an answer you have to find out for yourself. There are so many things that can make everyone happy, but to choose just one may be the hardest part. It’s not like you can’t have one serving of your favorite food in a buffet and that’s it. Just try it piece by piece.

8. What really does make your business tick?
So? What really makes you tick? What is it that gets you the most excited when you consider all the many things that your organization does? You can make your organization almost anything you have always wanted it to be, by first deciding what really is it that you want to achieve. Always remember, that self-improvement is not just about the physical or philosophical change you have to undergo, but it’s something that you really want.

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