Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Attitude - How Do You Prepare Yourself?

Attitude. How do you prepare your attitude on a normal day?
What about when something challenging happens, that will change your life?
What do criminals do to prepare their attitude before they go and commit a crime that may leave them incarcerated for years... or forever?

I was thinking about this kind of mental preparation following watching a video this morning that was sent to me by a friend on Facebook.

What kind of mental preparation has the father in this video taken to get his attitude congruent to face the challenges in his life? I guess the video is meant to showcase the son in this, but for
me the attitude that this man cultivated throughout shines through and just leaves me speechless.

While there is a lot of 'man-bashing' going on in our societies, and talk of 'deadbeat dads' and the like, this is an inspiration to men and women alike.

See what I mean.

What a lucky kid to be born to such a man.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Personal Sovereignty & Duty As A Citizen

In a recent discussion on a group that I am on, the topic was raised, What Is Your Responsibility As A Citizen? In the context of maintaining one's personal sovereignty how does one balance these two concepts?

This seems to be an issue of confusion. Personal Sovereignty may be an attitude, it does not however, bestow rights over and beyond those that other individuals enjoy in fact - even though they may deny themselves what to me may be a privilege of assuming Personal Sovereignty. Some will view such a concept as anathema, and want no part of it. My Personal Sovereignty, if it is to be so, does not bestow on me the right to disregard the rights of others.

My responsibility as a citizen is to live within the legal boundaries set down for the community. My sense of duty to others may take many forms. When I step outside the boundaries dictated by the rules of the community in which I am a member, I may or may not be acting in the interests of the wider community. At this point however, I run the risk of allowing my own hubris to override that good of the community, as is generally agreed and set down in law... in favour of following my own whim. Good intentions aside, I am as problematic to the society to which I claim citizenship, as any with poor intentions, if the action is the same.

Within the context of the society in which we reside, and claim citizenship, there are many ways that we can exert our personal sovereignty. Pretending that this extends to having our own personal set of rules that owe nothing to the context of the society in which we live is not only foolish, it despoils the whole notion of Personal Sovereignty.

Even kings... especially kings... understand the limits of their office.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Facebook - But Which Face?

There are miles of text written each day on the various social networking sites. Large among them, in recent times, is Facebook.

A little more social and a little less 'buttoned-up' than other networks, like LinkedIn, the question arises as to how much of "you" should you reveal in these online situations?

Anyone who has been involved in social networks online for any length of time will probably agree, that to maintain a fictitious character over time is not only going to be hard to do - it is likely to be a waste of time. People bond online, in much the same way that they may do so in a face to face situation. Simply put, the truth, whatever that is, or at least the vibe that we send out into the netosphere, if it is to be consistent over time will give you away, no matter what your intentions.

Spooky, but there you have it.

Trying to second-guess what people might like 'better' than your 'real' self, is a game for mugs.

Get out there. Be who you are when you aren't worried about it, and add something to the social networking fabric. Of course if you have nothing at all to add, you can keep that to yourself too!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

LinkedIn and Left Out?

The world, if you believe the mountain of opinion on the internet currently, is about to witness a revolution in the form of social network wars. Facebook, LinkedIn... numerous other bit players whose names are forgettable...who will win?

Never mind the platforms, at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is people. What platform ultimately 'wins' (in the unlikely event that only one is left standing), is merely technology. People are what counts. Without the people, the technology is worthless.

Great networking tools, won't make someone with no social skills, great at networking. Without a genuine liking for the people one networks with, there can be no relationship. Without a relationship, networking is doomed to be nothing more than a name collection hobby. Of course, having a relationship is no guarantee either, that constructive use of the network will happen.

These are extra issues that require a clear understanding of the rules of the engagement, a willingness by all players, and a level of trust to experience and work through issues till the network partners get it right.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Words That Sell

Sometimes keeping in touch with clients can be the most powerful thing we can do - and the hardest! The only thing harder? Writing for people who are not yet clients.

Knowing the words that sell is a great start to developing those relationships with clients, and increase your profits!

Here are some links to get you started

Business Proposals that Sell - Writing Clinic

Yellow Ads and Classifieds that Sell - Writing Clinic

Ideal marketing toolkit for Mortgage Brokers. Includes all the letters and how-to information that Mortgage Brokers need to market themselves on a daily basis.
112 Mortgage Broker Marketing Letters that Sell

Click here for 100's of marketing forms, checklists, analysis tools, marketing how-to's and over 800 pages of direct marketing, advertising and internet marketing secrets
Marketing Forms & Tools!

How To Write A Winning Tender

Take the challenge. You need a full range of marketing materials to use with your existing clients and future clients, both to attract new business, and develop relationships with your customers. Learn how to communicate with customers.

Friday, May 11, 2007

For All Who Work With Rude Customers

This was sent to me by a client this morning. Now I don't believe in having rude customers, but for those businesses that have yet to sign up to operate with Positive Expectancy in their business and life, then this may look like poetic justice.


For all Employees Who Work With Rude Customers

An award should go to the Virgin Airlines gate attendant in Sydney some months ago for being smart and funny, while making her point, when confronted with a passenger who probably deserved to fly as cargo. A crowded Virgin flight was cancelled after Virgin's 767s had been
withdrawn from service. A single attendant was re-booking a long line of inconvenienced travellers. Suddenly an angry passenger pushed his way to the desk. He slapped his ticket down on the counter and said, "I HAVE to be on this flight and it HAS to be FIRST CLASS".

The attendant replied, "I'm sorry, sir. I'll be happy to try to help you, but I've got to help these people first, and I'm sure we'll be able to work something out." The passenger was unimpressed. He asked loudly, so that the passengers behind him could hear, "DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHO I AM?" Without hesitating, the attendant smiled and grabbed her public address microphone: "May I have your attention please, may I have your attention please," she began - her voice heard clearly throughout the terminal.

"We have a passenger here at Gate 14 WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHO HE IS. If anyone can help him find his identity, please come to Gate 14."

With the folks behind him in line laughing hysterically, the man glared at the Virgin attendant, gritted his teeth and said, "F... You!"

Without flinching, she smiled and said, "I'm sorry sir, but you'll have to fly QANTAS for that service."

What I Choose, Is What I Am.

This week has turned into my week for remembering that Positive Expectancy as a way of operating in business and life is not a univeral point of view. Not yet anyway! It occurs to me that it is also another aspect that fits, hand-in-glove, with understanding that we create our own reality. That's an unpopular idea with many people, I realize. It is however, the only position that gives one control over our own outcomes and empowers us to move forward, no matter what happens. Far more flexible (and therefore useful) than playing "victim" and reducing our responses to cowering and moaning when things don't go the way we prefer.

I've a quotation that I favour, so much in fact that I have it printed and posted in my office. It has no attribution for author and I have been unable to find a source for it so far. In any case, it is this:

My position in life
is equal to the sum
of all the decisions
I have made,
Or allowed
to make for me.

What I choose
is what I am.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Calculators: Credit Card -

Calculators: Credit Card -

One of the handiest things on the internet are the calculators that are available to compare different interest rates, weights, measures, currency etc. And I often Google up a calculator to work out distances or relative dimensions and the like, but I've never seen a calculator that shows how payments to credit cards will compare, when you alter the minimum monthly payment for example, with the time it would take to pay that amount owing back.

In the example that I selected, $7,000 since I understand that is supposedly the average credit card debt in the US currently (check the figures if you wish, this is a guide, not verified), at at a rate of 17.5% which is relatively low, the payment time is 28 years. Naturally this assumes that nothing else is added to the card ;-)

Check it out.

Calculators: Credit Card -

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Blogs Will Change Your Business

Blogs Will Change Your Business

Think your business is not one that needs to be on the internet? Might be time to learn a bit more on how blogs have become incorporated into the larger "how people do things" scope of life.

Here is a great article with some interesting links to get you up to speed on a topic that isn't "optional" to know about any longer, if you are in business.

The End of a 1,400-Year-Old Business

The End of a 1,400-Year-Old Business

And you thought you'd like your business to be Built To Last...

Follow the link to learn about the world's longest continuously operating family business - Japanese temple builder, Kongo Gumi

Monday, April 09, 2007

Blog of Design Business Engineering

Blog of Design Business Engineering

Hey I just posted to my Merchant Circle blog about a new site that I am in process of launching. You can Find Me At this link too, with an article on

And check out the Small Business Survey

A Letter from an Unwilling Cook - 101 Cookbooks

A Letter from an Unwilling Cook - 101 Cookbooks

This came into my browser today and amused me greatly. For quite a while now I have thought that entering the life coaching experience from the point of view of the newly single man would be a good idea - and starting with How To Eat Well, Without A Wife. So much of our identity can be bruised when we find ourselves single, and matters are made worse when there are practical issues involved, like How To Eat Well - when you don't know an egg from an eggplant.

Maybe I will put that on my To Do list for my next website. Cooking, Living and Fresh Starts. It occurs to me that the same thing would be valid for women who are Bloke Challenged and don't know how to do those blokey things around the house. Of course, many of the men I know are a bit challenged that way too ... ;-)

Monday, March 05, 2007

Future Of Small Business Report

Intuit has been hard at it, predicting the future trends and likely changes that will occur in small business over the next 10 years.

Whether it comes to fruition, or not, there is sure to be some essential food for thought in this report that could have repercussions for us all in the direction that we take our own businesses.

The report deals with the US but should track part of the way for any country. Forcasting growth in the entrepreneurial and personal business sectors, with a move away from the White Male Entrepreneur being the typical face of small business in the future, and the increase in business ventures from the fringe demographics - young starters and older people looking to fund a retirement they just can't afford, as well as the growth in female operated business, there are sure to be some interesting times ahead.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Customers Ask: "Why Don't You Know Me?"

You know when someone loves you don't you. They hang off every word and want to anticipate your every wish, and they take the time to know what you like and to offer attention in ways that they know you appreciate.

You know when someone doesn't love you too, don't you. They don't bother with the attention and don't have any interest in hearing what you want or have to say and couldn't care less what you appreciate. This is also how many businesses treat their customers.

In a recent survey:

Financial services customers regularly receive communications for products or services that are not relevant to their needs, or even worse, communications that promote products and services they already have through that company. Consequently, 59 percent of financial services consumers who responded to the survey claim they don’t feel valued when it comes to the communication of products and services from their existing providers.

Among the key findings:

--88 percent of financial consumers claim to receive regular communications for products and services that are NOT directly relevant to them and their circumstances.

--64 percent of financial consumers claim they are more likely to stop using companies that regularly send them inaccurate or irrelevant communications material.

--65 percent of financial consumers don’t feel like they are being treated as an individual with regard to the communications they receive.

--Well over half (56 percent) of all financial consumers say they are less likely to buy from companies that send them information on products and services that are irrelevant to them.

--More than half of financial consumers (58 percent) claim to regularly receive communications selling them products and services they already have with that company.

--71 percent of financial consumers claim to regularly receive documents from the same company at the same time in different envelopes.

“People are bombarded with information, so companies must find a way to cut through the clutter by demonstrating immediate relevance to their customers,” said Chris Stone, president and CEO of StreamServe. “This requires personalized information. Companies have invested a significant amount of time and money collecting information about their customers, and with StreamServe, they finally have the ability to benefit from these efforts by putting content in context—making each piece of communication personalized to each customer’s specific needs.”



But is isn't just financial service businesses that are guilty of this. Every kind of business needs to look at how they communicate with their customers to pay attention to whether they are being treated in the way that the customer wants, or not.

But wait... if you aren't communicating at all with your customers, you won't be committing this mistake! Guess what? Not communicating with them at all is probably an even BIGGER mistake! That proves just as clearly that you are not interested in them as does sending them information that clearly does not apply to them.

So how do you get to know what they want?

Well, it is a very arcane and secret procedure that must be followed.
Known only to the chosen Few!

Shall I reveal it to you, dear Reader?
Okay, just for you, and you must promise to only mention this secret to those most close to you and your business.

Ready for the secret to be revealed?

The secret is...

You Ask Them.

How, you ask? Well, that may be a topic for another blog.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Presentation Magic - Put Your Best Foot Forward

As I used to say to my son during his teenage years ... "Appearance is nothing. And you will be judged by it." That goes for us all, and not just in the way that we look, but in the way that we speak, the words we use, the 'vibe' that we give out and everything else in our communication - both verbal and non-verbal.

I had the good fortune to connect with Lisa Braithwaite today and learn some more about her business. Lisa is a regular contributer on Ryze the business online network and her specialty is assisting people in business, or any walk of life, on how to make the most of the presentations, and public speaking engagements they are called to perform.

What a boon for anyone who is working with the public, be they in sales, or just wishing to communicate generally, and deliver their message in the best and most effective way possible. Like any other skill, it is usually only when we learn to master it that we realize how poor our original efforts may have been. In some things that doesn't matter. "Having a go" is something to take pride in anyway. But when you are establishing your business and building your credibility it really is commonsense that getting help from someone who knows, is the way to go.

You can check out Lisa at her website or visit her blog and sign up for her email tips. Located in Santa Barbara California, I look forward to meeting up with her when I am back in the US.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Reduce Fuel Use

A recent article reminded us the do's and don'ts of getting the best fuel economy from a tank of petrol (gasoline). Here's the short version. You can find the full article at the link above.

Keep to the golden fuel rules

1. Keep the car in as high a gear as possible and get to the higher gears as quickly as possible.

2. Have a light touch on the throttle. For most applications 25 per cent throttle is quite adequate. Hard acceleration is the enemy of fuel economy.

3. Look ahead and read traffic conditions. Plan to maintain momentum, reducing the need for excessive braking and subsequent acceleration.

4. Monitor tyre pressures. Low pressures increase rolling resistance of tyres and use more fuel. You should keep to the manufacturer's specifications.

5. Stick to the speed limit. High speeds use more fuel.

6. Reduce mass and drag. You would be surprised how much unnecessary equipment accumulates in the boot of a car. Roof pods, racks and extended wing mirrors all minimise the efficiency of a car through the air. More weight and drag equals less economy. Remove the bits when they are not being used.

7. Avoid idling as you are wasting fuel going nowhere.

8. Keep your vehicle in shape; clean air filters keep impurities in the air from damaging the engine and can improve fuel economy.

9. Don't turn on the airconditioner as a first response to heat; even the most efficient airconditioners expend a fair bit of fuel.

10. When buying a car, consider its fuel economy.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Marketing - By Any Name

Over on there was a thread posted on marketing and what it was that caused business owners (the thread was directed at a woman only list, but applies to all genders), where they express interest in growing and developing their business - ie Making More Money - and yet fail to even bother to read or learn about marketing - much less do any.

Frankly I come to wonder if the nomenclature is the problem. Just like nobody thinks they need to "do a business plan" - as though there was an option for that! Well of course that is optional too. You can know what you are going to do, how you are going to do it, what you need to do it and how to get where you want to go from where you are already ("Where Am I?")...or you can do the other thing. hehehe. How funny. Like anyone would be that stoopid ;-)

Where marketing begins and where it intersects and impacts on every other area of a business is something that mystifies me some, so I just don't look at it as a separate thing. A business is a system - at least a working business - and a system is more than a collection of parts. It is a collection of parts that work together to create something that functions. Take out any vital part of a system, and it is not a functioning system any more. It is nothing. Like taking out a vital organ from a human being will cause the system to fail and the patient to suffer and eventually perish.

Word of mouth marketing? Yeah, you don't need marketing when you have that. How do you get that? Oh, well you need *this* and *this* and *this* to happen... It is the culmination of all the parts of the system working well. And behind all that is the marketing strategy, working with the financial and operational systems, the customer service systems, the internal relationships and external relationship systems and on it goes.

At the heart of it, the frustration is that what people need to learn is not marketing. It is far broader and far narrower than that. What they first need to learn is how to open their mind and their eyes and some strategies for discovering how to learn to know what they don't know.

My advice? Don't wait until 'the wheels fall off'.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Magic Pill - Marketing Myths And More

The myth that there is a Magic Pill and once taken, the need for marketing is "over" is a common one.

It is not however, the only Magic Pill myth, that seems to flourish in the minds of many small business owners. As with the Word of Mouth Myth, which goes that this is what you need and it happens somehow without all the other parts that make up a business working in concert with all the other parts.

The tragedy of these myths is that they allow people in business to hide and pretend that they are doing all that they need to do to ensure the health of their business. They do so, presumably, because there is a higher value for them in avoiding:

a What is hard
b What makes them uncomfortable
c They don't know how to do

...than the value to their business to run it like a business, and put What The Business Needs, ahead of what makes them personally feel good.

Never mind that the wellbeing of the business, will ultimately have a very big impact on what feels good in the long run, to the business owner and their family.

What intrigues me, is how often the people who work with small business owners, are complicit in allowing these myths to continue, and how reluctant to do something active to educate their clients, and help them to get a more fundamental understanding of the principles of a healthy business, in action.

For all those who work with small business owners, let me ask you this. How many other business specialist advisors have you recommended and personally taken steps to introduce to your clients who need help (whether they know it or not yet) in areas of their business that is not your core work? How many have you arranged to meet clients this week? This month? This past year?

The change we want to see, starts with us.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Your Business Through Your Customer's Eyes

It's a funny thing, that in so much discussion that goes on in businesses, how much of it is focused from the business point-of-view -- and how little attention is given to "what it looks like to a customer". As though that is of no consequence to a business!

We can market and develop our business just as we see fit. But if it doesn't resonate with our customers, and connect with those we would like to bring in to our business, in a way that satisfies what *they* want... then we are missing the point - and the opportunity.

I've seen accountants and life insurance agents and mortgage brokers and lawyers and real estate agents and more...all discussing "my client" as though they understood them - when they have no clue. That these different business people are all referring to the *same person* in identifying "their client" - and potentially NOT ONE of them has a clue as to what the customer really needs overall and in a complete context, is a sad state of affairs. When the customer relies on their advisors in the decisions they make to purchase whatever it is they need, then we let them down by not providing the understanding of the role that we could (opportunity to us) and probably should (responsibility to them and to our larger business interest) be playing.

Here's a link to a great blog The Social Customer Manifesto