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    28 Apr

    elephant-rider  photo by 9-lives

    Imagine a large elephant and a relatively small rider, making their way through the jungle.  Now imagine the elephant sees something they’re interested in and heads that direction…at that point, the rider is literally carried away, even if that’s not where they wanted to go!

    That’s a key premise in Switch (How to change when change is hard) by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.  As the title suggests, this is a book about effecting change…within yourself, your family or your business and it’s full of great stories and a lot of practical ideas.

    What’s the deal with the elephant and the rider?  They’re part of an analogy originally developed by Jonathan Haidt – author of The Happiness Hypothesis.  The elephant represents your emotional side and the rider is the analytical / rational part of you.  Think about it this way – it’s mid afternoon, you’re kind of hungry and you know there’s a leftover doughnut laying on a plate in the other room.  Rationally you know you don’t need to doughnut, they’re fried rings of death!  However you also know they taste great and emotionally that doughnut would make you feel really good.  For most people, the elephant is going to win that battle fairly quickly and you are going to eat that doughnut!

    That’s what really cool about Switch – they give you a practical framework to not only understand why we act the way we do, but also tools that can help you do something about it.

    Read More…

    22 Apr

    stubborn photo by Ernst Vikne

    Sometimes the hardest part of this whole business thing is getting them to move!  Have you ever had the situation where you’ve had good meetings with potential prospective clients…and then you wait?

    They know who you are.  They know what you do.  They need what you do, but for some reason they don’t move and you end up waiting for something to happen!

    I’ve got a couple of clients facing this very situation – they’ve put a lot of time and effort into marketing, they’re getting initial meetings with what looks to be the right kind of people (qualified and in need) but things are moving slowly…or really not moving at all!

    Read More…

    15 Apr

    Move The Worldphoto by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

    Undoubtedly you’re familiar with Archimedes famous quote:

    “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.”

    If you’ve studied any physics, then you know Archimedes is talking about the concept of leverage, which essentially means that through the proper use of tools you can do a lot more than you could through straight brute force methods.

    It’s an important concept in physics and baseline for a lot of engineering principles, but for a small business owner, it can likely mean the difference between long term success or exhaustion and failure!

    Read More…

    12 Apr

    patience  photo by looseends

    Do the right things and be patient. That is easier said than done. As most of us are painfully aware following the Kansas City Royals has been one of the most challenging tests of perseverance and patience in the history of professional sports. The 2011 season is young, but it appears Dayton Moore’s plan of doing the right things (developing young talent through the Farm System; the foundation of the franchise) and patiently waiting for the results is starting to payoff…stay tuned and read on.

    Approaching your business with the mind set of doing the right things and being patient is also easier said than done. If you are going to have sustainable long term success in your business you must build a strong foundation. Short cuts usually only yield short term results. And the process of building a strong foundation takes patience.

    Read More…

    08 Apr

    hard photo by Simon Peckham

    I had a great discussion the other day at one of my Peer Group Advisory Boards – we were talking about rolling out a new marketing initiative and that it would be a real challenge.

    At that point, one of the members used a phrase that summarizes one of the primary secrets of business success:

    “If it was easy, everybody would be doing it.”

    On the surface that sounds like a pretty obvious thought…almost a ‘duh’ moment.  But if you think about it a bit longer, it uncovers a lot of the issues that business owners face all the time.

    Read More…