Monthly Archives: January 2008

There is a trap that business owners must avoid, and it is the everybody-must-have-a-website philosophy. A website can be an economic benefit, producing sales and increasing visibility for a business. Or it can be an economic blunder, creating operational demands that cannot be fulfilled, presenting an unflattering face to the public, and distracting you (for hours, days, even weeks) from doing the work that actually produces the revenue and profit of your business. Continue reading

Posted in communications, merchandising and marketing | Leave a comment

Business acquisitions are not for the faint hearted — or faintly experienced. Optimistic financial analysis, getting involved in a competitive negotiation, emotional involvement, and lack of cultural due diligence can all doom an acquisition before money ever changes hands. Tuck this short posting in your back pocket, and look at it whenver testosterone and adrenaline threaten to overcome your better judgment. Continue reading

Posted in general business | Leave a comment

As soon as I uttered the words “kill the pilot” I was quietly escorted to a small cubicle at the corner of the security area, to be interviewed by another serious fellow who clearly found it feasible that a chubby, middle-aged woman with more round-trip tickets to her name than the average consumer was planning to murder the pilot with a Sharpie or a 2″ tweezer. Continue reading

Posted in communications, general business | Leave a comment

Isolation from feedback is one of the most difficult aspects of being an independent business owner/operator or senior executive. In the case of the independent, feedback is difficult to find because of secluded working conditions. In the case of the senior executive, feedback is difficult to come by because colleagues will not offer it, and when they do it’s hard to tell if they are acting in your best interests or for a personal political objective. Continue reading

Posted in personal development | Leave a comment

Recent government intervention makes it likely that we will experience another short burst of growth prior to experiencing a recession. Job growth hasn’t increased because it can’t – the labor market is too tight. But an interesting trifecta – the government’s new financial incentives for business to invest in infrastructure, the weak dollar creating export growth, and the emerging baby-boomer retirement wave – should contribute to earnings growth for American workers over the next few years. Continue reading

Posted in economics, general business | Leave a comment

My last job taught me this lesson daily. I was the CEO of a company that employed roughly 500 people. We were a team-based business engaged in open book management. I think we did as well as any other company committed to open communication, yet nearly every exit interview indicated a need to improve communication. Once or twice a year some department or team would suffer a decline in morale and invariably we would discover that a group of stakeholders had made a poor decision which they would not have made had they been aware of readily available information. Continue reading

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The answer to what business are you in is trickier. The enduring challenge of business is to figure out what will provide profits. One of the major failings of most small business owners is the fact that they are unwilling to shift gears and turn attention to what earns them profits. That may sound crazy, but it happens all the time. Continue reading

Posted in entrepreneurship, general business | Leave a comment

An artist friend of mine once made a comment that an artist can not afford to be a dilettante – they must pick one medium and focus entirely on it to become truly skilled. To achieve mastery in an art requires years of curiosity pursued with discipline followed by more curiosity pursued with more discipline. If an artist flits from one artistic medium to another they never develop the skill in any one required to be a master. Could someone pursue a medium to the point of mastery, then pursue another medium? Continue reading

Posted in personal development | 2 Comments

The paradox is that the truly curious rarely get burnt out on work (though they may get burnt out on a particular job or manager). The incurious complain of morale issues, suffer from lack of recognition, and most horrifying of all, allow themselves to become bored. Continue reading

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In my career I have encountered countless professionals who do not know how to make a computer do anything. They can make an application do something (with varying degrees of success), but that’s different than making a computer do something. So the computer has become a god, and not to its benefit. Continue reading

Posted in systems management | 2 Comments