Take a Break

Do yourself a favor. Do your employees, coworkers and associates a favor. Do your clients a favor. Take a break. Take a walk, play with the dog, practice your clarinet, read a book. Take the afternoon, the weekend or a cruise. Sure you are behind. Gotta catch up. Just gut it out, get it done, man. Go! [...]

By |2021-07-01T13:09:12-04:00July 2nd, 2021|Rest, Small Business, Stress, Tactics, Time Management|0 Comments

How to Get Into Harvard. Part 1.

How does one get into Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown or THE Ohio State for that matter? The answer is simple: Be Unique. We have all heard stories of the kid with straight As and perfect SATs who failed to even get waitlisted by a top school. While being a great student is admirable, it falls well [...]

By |2019-11-01T08:21:52-04:00November 1st, 2019|Small Business|Comments Off on How to Get Into Harvard. Part 1.

Slow Is Smooth and Smooth is Fast

When learning to play a musical instrument. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Sleight-of-hand magic. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Archery or shooting skills. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. Dance or martial arts. Slow is smooth and smooth is fast. The work in front of you. Slow is smooth and [...]

By |2019-10-25T07:34:46-04:00October 25th, 2019|Small Business|Comments Off on Slow Is Smooth and Smooth is Fast

Custom. Special. Rare. And Therefore Sought After.

Alexander "Howard" Dumble custom builds the the most expensive and sought after guitar amplifiers in the world. Well, he did at one time build amplifiers. He is so shrouded in mystery no one can confirm if he is still actively working. His customers, mostly studios and celebrity musicians like Carlos Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ben [...]

By |2019-10-18T07:56:19-04:00October 18th, 2019|Small Business|Comments Off on Custom. Special. Rare. And Therefore Sought After.

Right But Wrong

I got a call from a client yesterday. He was unhappy about some work I had done for him. He was completely wrong. Everything he said; wrong. I was right. So what did I do with all my insight, breath control and zen training? I argued. I argued with a sick old man. It did [...]

By |2019-10-11T09:31:17-04:00October 11th, 2019|Small Business|Comments Off on Right But Wrong

Every Great Story

Exodus, Moby Dick, Hamlet, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Charlotte's Web, Green Eggs and Ham. Every great story has, at its very heart, risk, peril and a healthy dose of uncertainty. How great is your story?

By |2019-10-04T07:10:12-04:00October 4th, 2019|Small Business|Comments Off on Every Great Story

My Name Ain’t Heloise, But I’ve Got Hints

This is a little far afield, but, heck, I like to share. The best best shower glass cleaner is homemade. The Recipe: Four parts water Three parts white vinegar One part Dawn dish soap The best part about this cleaner: you can use it daily because it costs pennies per batch, especially if you buy [...]

By |2019-09-27T07:21:54-04:00September 27th, 2019|Small Business|Comments Off on My Name Ain’t Heloise, But I’ve Got Hints

A Parable

A professional does not sell time. A professional sells value. Hourly billing, more often than not, fails to capture the professional's true value. A parable: A client calls with a project that needs to be done well and very quickly. She is willing to pay a premium to get the project done in three days. Fortunately [...]

By |2019-09-07T07:07:10-04:00September 7th, 2019|Small Business|Comments Off on A Parable

You Get to Choose

Here's the thing about being in your own business: You get to choose. You get to choose your clients. You ge to choose the work you do. You get to choose your work schedule. You get to choose your employees, who become your coworkers, maybe even your friends. You get to choose your partners, though [...]

By |2018-09-20T17:04:35-04:00September 21st, 2018|Small Business|Comments Off on You Get to Choose

What If?

What if you had to double your fees? How would you explain it? Which customers would stick with you? How would your marketing change? How would it affect your brand? How would your volume change? How would your need for resources change? How would your manpower needs change? Would it actually be better? It may [...]

By |2018-09-13T07:16:28-04:00September 13th, 2018|Communication, Small Business, Value|Comments Off on What If?

Some Zzzs

If you are having trouble sleeping, for Pete's Sake, don't worry about it. Study after study points out that the human beings, no matter how sleep deprived, will eventually sleep. If you have one, two or even three days of poor sleep, rest assured [ha!] that it won't be long before you get a nine [...]

By |2018-09-12T07:58:59-04:00September 12th, 2018|Rest, Stress, The Human Condition|Comments Off on Some Zzzs

Like Football

Two of the most basic tenets in football are keep your head on a swivel and keep your feet moving. These are not simply bromides: they apply both to the gridiron and the pressure cooker that is business today. Keep your head on a swivel reminds us to be situationally aware, constantly scanning the field for [...]

By |2018-09-10T07:27:47-04:00September 10th, 2018|Communication, Customers, Skills, Small Business, Tactics|Comments Off on Like Football

The Best and the Worst

The best blogs or vlogs or art of any kind are an act of generosity. They offer a point of view, insight, encouragement, something interesting or even something beautiful. The worst try to sell you something: "And that's how the Dalai Lama approaches conflict. And speaking of conflict, how often have you seen people conflicted [...]

By |2018-09-09T07:48:03-04:00September 9th, 2018|Art, Blog, Business, Creativity, Humor, Marketing|Comments Off on The Best and the Worst

A Very Simple Rule

Austin Kleon is an artist and author of the book Steal Like an Artist that I highly recommend for anyone who has a creative passion that they want to express. Austin has a weekly email newsletter that I look forward to receiving every Friday morning. This past week he shared a quote that really resonated with [...]

By |2018-09-07T07:28:00-04:00September 7th, 2018|Creativity, Rest, Stress|Comments Off on A Very Simple Rule

Never Be Overwhelmed Again

Being overwhelmed is a terrible state. It is essentially chronic panic. People in a panicked state don't think clearly and tend to make bad decisions. The thing about being overwhelmed is that it is by definition temporary. You can't spend your entire life, or ever more than a few days, overwhelmed. What is overwhelming usually passes [...]

By |2018-09-06T06:57:56-04:00September 6th, 2018|Attitude, Humor, Stress, Terminology|Comments Off on Never Be Overwhelmed Again

Good/Fast/Cheap

There is an old joke in business: Good/Fast/Cheap. Pick any two. What if you took one off the table? What is everything you offer has to be good? Then it can be fast, but not cheap. Or it can be cheap, but not fast. So you get paid well for working under pressure (which feels good), [...]

By |2018-09-04T07:35:22-04:00September 4th, 2018|Humor, Profitability, Small Business, Tactics, Time Management|Comments Off on Good/Fast/Cheap

Solitary Confinement

It is when I am in a flow state, a time of effortless focus, like a shortstop turning a double play or Arthur Rubinstein performing  Chopin's Mazurkas, that I am the most valuable. I can create something of value for my clients. But during these times I am considerably less valuable in a human sense. [...]

By |2018-09-03T08:33:11-04:00September 3rd, 2018|Creativity, Relationships, Skills, Value|Comments Off on Solitary Confinement

Differentiate

It's probably not enough to know the tax code better than most other accountants. It is helpful, it shows that you are a serious and competent professional. But in the end clients don't care. What they care about is how you make them feel. That you take the time to carefully explain a matter, to [...]

By |2018-09-02T08:04:57-04:00September 2nd, 2018|Creativity, Generosity, Humor, Jargon, Marketing, Niche|Comments Off on Differentiate

Be Jealous

You only get four, six if you are lucky. If part of what you sell is creative or problem-solving in nature, you may have noticed that the flow state required is not something you can keep up all day. The reality is that human beings can only sustain this level of deep work for about [...]

By |2018-09-01T06:58:55-04:00September 1st, 2018|Art, Creativity, Productivity, Small Business, Time Management|Comments Off on Be Jealous

The Work You Want

After the startupworkgrab, you know, the first months or years when a new business will take any paying work, there has to be a time of self reflection. You now have some data and you need to ask yourself some questions. I suggest that you pose these questions as negatives: What work is the least [...]

By |2018-08-30T08:04:28-04:00August 30th, 2018|Customers, Profitability, Small Business, Success, Tactics, Tips and Tricks|Comments Off on The Work You Want

Just Do It

I view my career as a marathon. I plan to work until I am not physically able. Alternatively, I plan to die in my sleep or while having sex. In order to accomplish this goal it became clear to me that it is imperative that I take care of my body. I go to the [...]

By |2018-08-28T07:19:58-04:00August 28th, 2018|Habit, Health & Wellness, Humor|Comments Off on Just Do It

The Right Light

Since starting my own business in July 2001, just weeks before the world changed in September 2001, there have been no shortage of, um, challenges. 9/11 itself was one of the first. There has always been some problem, some obstacle. This Gloomy Gus really summed it up for me: "There are no pleasant surprises when [...]

By |2018-08-27T07:50:59-04:00August 27th, 2018|Attitude, Change, Humility, Humor, Personal Development, Professional Growth, Small Business|Comments Off on The Right Light

We Could Be Heroes

I met a man of the cloth at a party. I was struck by the man's charisma, his charm, his wit and his aura of grace. This man gave me courage and hope: if this is what Catholicism as all about, I am proud to be part of it! His name was Cardinal Theodore McCarrick. [...]

By |2018-08-26T11:12:13-04:00August 26th, 2018|Catholicism, The Human Condition|Comments Off on We Could Be Heroes

August

People (not me) take vacations in August. Europeans take almost the whole month off. God bless 'em. I took Friday off to watch a little golf at the Northern Trust. And I have jury duty next week. So guess who is working all weekend?  This guy. Ah, self-employment. Why did I do this again?

By |2018-08-25T06:13:23-04:00August 25th, 2018|Humor, Small Business|Comments Off on August

Getting A Letter

I sat down for breakfast this week with a friend and really fine appraiser who recently started his own business. A lot of his work is in the commercial mortgage sector, which is pretty typical for a fledgling practice. I don't do a lot of mortgage work, so I was surprised to hear of the [...]

By |2018-08-24T06:46:44-04:00August 24th, 2018|Automation, Creativity, Small Business, Trends|Comments Off on Getting A Letter

Gambling

A lot of people really enjoy gambling. They play the lottery and bingo, go to a casino and play the slots or blackjack or roulette. They love the bright lights, the excitement, the risk. I am not one of them. I own my own business. Every day is a gamble. Am we getting calls for [...]

By |2018-08-23T05:32:13-04:00August 23rd, 2018|Humor, Risk, Small Business|Comments Off on Gambling

I Will Make You A Deal

This blogging thing can be a head game. I have a tendency to want to write something profound, important, BIG. Big ideas. Big inspiration. The Bible in one page. Real success is probably something smaller. People want to feel that they are are not alone. That their fears are shared. That they are understood. That [...]

By |2018-08-22T06:12:43-04:00August 22nd, 2018|Future, Gratitude, Habit, Personal Development|Comments Off on I Will Make You A Deal

People

I inspected an industrial property the other day, one location in dozens (maybe hundreds?) of locations owned by this company. The company has got to be one of the most vertically integrated businesses in the world. They design, the manufacture, they distribute, they print point of service signs. They print one million labels a day. On [...]

By |2018-08-21T05:58:55-04:00August 21st, 2018|Automation, Business, Humor, Labor, Management, Technology|Comments Off on People

Disclaimers

In appraisal we call our disclaimers Assumptions and Limiting Conditions. Potato, Potahto. When you come across a business with an extraordinary number of disclaimers they tend to be larger and lawyered up, attempting to cover every possible contingency long before they happen and however unlikely the scenario. From the customer's perspective, it can be a little [...]

By |2018-08-20T08:59:34-04:00August 20th, 2018|Attitude, Relationships, Small Business|Comments Off on Disclaimers

The Opening Band

The Opening Band doesn't usually get the audience's attention. The audience is not really and audience yet, just a bunch of people milling around, tailgating. The Opening Band works hard to put on a good show, just as hard as the Headliner. Writing, arranging and recording songs takes a lot of time and is financially [...]

By |2018-08-19T08:42:56-04:00August 19th, 2018|Professional Development, Skills|Comments Off on The Opening Band

Small Things Count. A Lot.

Marketing is pretty obvious if you sell consumer products like Procter & Gamble. The color of the Tide Detergent package, the fonts used, the material selected and the "feel" of the container in your hand are all functions of marketing. As is Tide's  Loads of Hope Community Program, which brings brightly-colored tractor trailers of washing [...]

By |2018-08-18T06:48:50-04:00August 18th, 2018|Generosity, Gratitude, Marketing|Comments Off on Small Things Count. A Lot.

The Future of Retail

It is no secret that retail is dying, and the biggest problem retailers have today is themselves. They want to do things the old way. The way that used to work. Lower prices are a race to the bottom. To bankruptcy. You can't out-Walmart Walmart or out-Amazon Amazon. So what do retailers need? Engagement. Think [...]

By |2018-08-16T08:08:51-04:00August 17th, 2018|Brand, Marketing, Retail|Comments Off on The Future of Retail

Take Action

Law: one of the best ways to relieve stress is to take action. You will be surprised at how a wildly intimidating project or situation becomes merely a challenge after a few well-placed hammer blows. Jump in with both feet. A couple of hours of focused work can change your world. Corollary to this Law [...]

By |2018-08-16T07:20:49-04:00August 16th, 2018|Humor, Rest, Stress, Time, Tips and Tricks|Comments Off on Take Action

You’re Doing It Wrong

For those of you not familiar with Wordpress, there are these things called Plugins. Plugins are little programs that do specific tasks, like creating a contact form or preventing spam comments. I once used a Plugin that "helped" me write blogs. There were all sorts of rules: at least 300 words, the text of the [...]

By |2018-08-14T06:26:42-04:00August 14th, 2018|Blog, Creativity, Stories|Comments Off on You’re Doing It Wrong

My Spirit Animal

Apropos of my recent blog on Pickleball, I owe the sport a debt of gratitude. The great delight I took in running in circles, in making fast cuts, in chasing and returning little balls led me to an inescapable conclusion, one that I had long suspected. My spirit animal is the Labrador Retriever.

By |2018-08-13T07:29:44-04:00August 13th, 2018|Humor|Comments Off on My Spirit Animal

A Schedule Change

I have decided that I am not taking telephone calls or answering emails on Friday afternoons. If there is a piece of bad news guaranteed to cause me stress, it almost always received on a Friday afternoon. The worst part about it is that I can't do anything but stew about it until Monday morning. [...]

By |2018-08-11T12:04:22-04:00August 11th, 2018|Change, Stress, Time Management|Comments Off on A Schedule Change

Phone Books

I am not old enough to remember party lines (I am not sure they were ever used in the densely populated New York Metropolitan area) but I do remember phone books. Now a relic ignored by all and probably threat to the environment, phone books were at one time revolutionary. Before the invention of the telegraph [...]

By |2018-08-09T07:00:25-04:00August 9th, 2018|Change, Customers, Humor, Marketing, Relationships, Small Business, Social Networking, Technology, Trends|Comments Off on Phone Books

Social Entrepreneurship

Social Entrepreneurship is a business concept that places public good over corporate profits. A lot of businesses have been founded on social entrepreneurship ideals in recent years TOMS is a well known company founded by Blake Mycoskie that donates a pair of shoes with every pair that's bought. Jacqueline Novogratz founded Acumen, which provides "patient capital" to [...]

By |2018-08-08T06:27:58-04:00August 8th, 2018|Charity, Christianity, Humor, Small Business, Tactics|Comments Off on Social Entrepreneurship
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