Posts Tagged 'small business success'

A Proven Formula for Failure

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When I was back in high school, a friend of mine started a rock and roll band which lasted all of a week. When I asked him why they broke up, he said, “Well, we had one practice, and it was pretty clear that we’d never be as good as the Beatles, so we quit.” Leaving aside the question of whether one practice session is really enough to determine, with certainty, that you’ll never be as good as the Beatles ...

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What Are Your Customers Really Telling You?

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At a conference I was speaking at, one of the other presenters was talking about customer service. He showed a photo of a storefront he had once seen; it was a small, mom and pop candy store. Taped to the front window was a hand-made sign on which was printed, in large, angry letters:

NO, WE DO NOT SELL ICE CREAM!!!

This conference happened several years ago, and although I don’t recall the name of the other presenter ...

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The Light at the End of the Tunnel

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So…where are you going to be when the recession ends? Because it will end, you know. Not that there’ll be a specific date, like V-E Day (that’s Victory in Europe Day for you kids in the audience—May 8, 1945, when Nazi Germany surrendered, ending the European portion of World War II; also for you kids in the audience, World War II was a big, big war that happened before you were born). But at some point the economy is going ...

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The Most Important Skill for the Future

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I saw a billboard the other day that said something to the effect of: “The top 15 careers of 2025 don’t even exist today.” Whether those numbers are accurate or not, they’re almost certainly in the ballpark. The point is, we can’t predict with any certainty what the challenges and opportunities will be even a few years down the pike. After all, in the 60s nobody was predicting anything remotely like the computer industry or the Internet, not to mention ...

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Do What You Hate

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I just got back from the gym. Perhaps not the earth-shattering news you’ve come to expect from this blog, but to get the full impact you have to know two things:

  1. I hate going to the gym (even though I go virtually every day); and,
  2. I really hate going to the gym in the morning!

But, because of some scheduling conflicts, it turns out that 7:30 this morning was the only time today I could go. Yes, I could have opted to simply ...

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A Lesson in Attitude from Austin

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Yesterday I was the opening keynoter for a conference in Austin, TX. The audience comprised 300 financial aid professionals—the people who make it possible for other people to go to college. Because of a number of factors, their status is completely up in the air; they literally don’t know if their organization will exist one year from now. So what was the mood like at the conference? Upbeat, enthusiastic, and fun! We had an absolute blast together, and it was ...

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The Dangers of Business Bowling

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My mother was raised on a plantation in Haiti. Interesting upbringing, to be sure, and there are many stories—some involving voodoo. This isn’t one of them. This is a story about bowling. (You: “Why, Bill, if you have freakin’ voodoo stories, would you choose to tell one about bowling?” Me: “Because this one has a point…and besides, the voodoo stories are too weird.”) So here, as a lesson for business leaders, is the story of my mother’s bowling catastrophe.

It was ...

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Somebody’s Gonna Win…Why Not You?

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Every college or university has its share of freshman-level courses. You know, the huge “intro” courses that start out with 300 or so students—and end with maybe 100? Most of the students who drop these courses do so for one of two reasons:

  1. they find the course material stultifyingly dull, or
  2. they find the course material inordinately difficult.

That’s the way it should be. These courses are designed to “weed out” the serious students (in that field, at least) from the dabblers, the ...

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Keeping Your Eye On The Ball

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I attended a benefit concert last night—An Evening with the Music of John Lennon—featuring a pantheon of rock musicians from bands such as the Cars, Yes, Queen, Alice Cooper, Foo Fighters, the Commodores, and others. One of the driving forces behind this concert was my friend Alan White, the drummer for Yes who also played drums with John Lennon and George Harrison (he’s the guy who plays drums on Lennon’s song Imagine). Thanks to Alan, I had the opportunity to ...

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3 More Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know

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A few weeks ago I wrote an article called 3 Beatles Songs Every Leader Should Know. My premise was that in the Beatles’ 200+ oeuvre, there are a number of songs that, by their title alone, could give a successful business leader plenty of food for thought. Today we’re going to look at three more:

Tomorrow Never Knows (from the Revolver album, 1966): We can study trends, we can examine the prognostications of futurists, we can even read tea ...

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