Cooler Heads Prevailed

February 24, 2018

Call me Mr. Do-gooder. I like to hand out business advice to the “needy”. It is my small way of giving back to the community. I am tired of seeing people fail because of inexperience. They may have a viable concept but inevitably run into unexpected obstacles.  While I may not be the most successful voice in the crowd, I have learned a lot along the way. Some of it may be valuable to you or others. Everyone has a major or minor predicament now and then. No road to riches is perfectly smooth.

I can also arbitrate disputes. Recently, I was involved in an argument between a colleague and his delivery drivers. People are the meat of any business. Productivity was affected by the complaint that the storage garage is too hot. The drivers are also responsible for loading their trucks and they practically suffocate on a warm day. They might as well not come to work on a hot one. There are no windows to open to let fresh air enter. It makes the job more than unpleasant and something has to be done. My friend tried to remedy the situations by offering more frequent breaks where the employees can sit outside and relax. This is fine but a mere Band Aid on the problem. I think he needs a larger vision.

It would be too costly to find another warehouse, so he had to become practical with ideas. I suggested a series of large garage ceiling fans spread over the entire space. Floor models would get in the way although they might be equally effective. No, the ceiling it is. He agreed. I helped him order the right ones that had adjustable speed–more than the normal low, medium and high. When the fans were installed and the crew pronounced the idea a big success, my friend and I were both ecstatic. Here is a prime example of how cooler heads will prevail. (Sorry but I like my puns to be literal). Nonetheless, my colleague went on to praise my negotiating skills as I had been able to understand the needs of both sides of the argument. The fans bought in bulk were far less expensive than moving the garage. They were also a way to retain good staff. With everyone appreciative to the max, productivity boomed and profits rose. This is what business is all about. This example is the essence of enterprise in a nutshell.

I am not a genius by any stretch of the imagination. I simply helped my friend open his eyes. He was so fixated on cost that he failed to see all options. Here was a problem with an obvious solution. A consultant is a guide of sorts and not necessarily an expert in any one field. I like this role as it allows me to help more people in various industries.

Jumping into the Community

January 26, 2018

Life is about what you personally experience and also about what you do for others. Nothing is more rewarding than making an impact on your community. The LPBC is my family and I often participate in activities that promote its interests. They vary from sponsoring lectures, seminars, promotional rallies, silent auctions, and group fundraising outings. Recently, my involvement took a different turn. I joined some other members in hosting a discount family day at a nearby, popular trampoline center.

We chose this venue because it is different and not a place that parents often take their kids. Sure, they go to the batting cages, skating, boating in the park, fishing, swimming, running, and the movies. A day jumping on a trampoline is another way to bond and have family fun. When it is at a considerable discount, it is appealing for parents with several children. It is all part of letting the world know that the LPBC exists and is here to promote family life and neighborliness. We want to show the world we care and in turn, we expect respect and support. It’s a fair deal, right?

On the event day, several of my friends showed up with me at the venue to watch the jumping extravaganza. I was surprised to see some of the best rectangle trampolines in the mix. These are large and great for doubles. You can bounce with your child without pushing them off the mat. I loved that there were ample safety regulations and spotters everywhere. They watched for aggressive action and taught the kids how to have fun and avoid injury at the same time.

We served a hot dog lunch and provided free lemonade and soda. Adults enjoyed it as much as the children. We don’t get to eat kid food that often. Who doesn’t love skirting mustard out of a flexible tube? I love sweet relish, chili, ketchup, and onions. How do you like yours? You can add pineapple, cheese, barbecue sauce, and any other condiment you like. After lunch it was time for the “competition.” Kids signed up to enter and we had many takers. It took a while, but the finalists were ready to go mat to mat. We cheered them on as they bounced their little hearts out. The winners were crowned in a blaze of glory. Kids love to get those cheap plastic trophies!

Trampoline jumping was a big surprise for me. I had no idea that the day would be such a success. As they left, the parents praised the hosts from the bottle of their hearts. They loved being able to share quality time with their offspring. I got to learn a new “sport.” Yes, I tried a few tricks during a lull in the festivities. I got a few laughs from my friends. Maybe this will become a new pastime if I can get a few others to join me. It is not something you would want to do alone. Share the fun and share the joy.

Helping out a new Business in the Area

January 8, 2018

As a business owner myself, I am very interested in community involvement. I try to make sure that some of my colleagues or would-be colleagues feel the same way; hence this blog. It’s important for successful people to share what they have and to use their power to help others. This is certainly part of the definition of a successful person in the first place. If you can find a way to be prosperous yourself while also making a lot of other people equally so, you can feel as if you have truly won.

Now that you understand my mission, you will see it in action. For example, recently I heard that a business down the road was having hard times and I thought it would be a good idea to give the place some publicity to create some buzz about town.  They have footcare products such as home massage items like foot spas. The best and most expensive pedicure salons have some version of them and this business is also a supplier. Most of the walk-in customers, however, want something portable they can use at home, like this: https://www.highermassage.com/best-foot-spa-reviews/. They aren’t going to give themselves a pedicure (especially the men), but they want relief for tired and aching feet. We have all experienced this condition many times in our daily lives. We stand around a lot when working or on vacation. We dance the night away in tight, fashionable shoes. Every shoe I see, apart from what I call “earth” shoes or sandals, can create friction on some area of the foot. No one wants to buy footwear that is too large and slack.

Foot massagers should be an easy product to promote so I started talking them up, recounting my own pleasant experience. I can honestly speak about the great benefits of home foot massage. You can change the settings and add more pressure to your treatment. The machine will also vibrate to help lull those tired feet into relaxation. All in all, it is a soothing and comforting enterprise. If you rely on word of mouth, you can improve sales in your area. People like to hear what others find valuable. I also told the footcare store to have a special sale to attract new customers who hadn’t ever entered through the front door.

It is too soon to see major benefits of my promotion campaign for this neighboring business, but soon I will drop in and check things out. Then it is time to go on to the next one in need. I want to be part of a solid, thriving community and it takes effort and time. I believe in networking so that it is easy to spread the word and help a new or existing company do better. I am always appreciative of any feedback I get after the fact from proprietors. Then I know that my mission is aimed in the right direction.

Office Appearance is Important

October 18, 2017

We know that appearance matters in business, especially when you deal face to face with business clients. You don’t have to go over the top with fancy and expensive clothing like suits, ties, and $500 leather shoes from Italy. You do have to be clean and neat with a proper haircut, nails with no trace of dirt, and polished mud-free shoes. It can be a polo shirt and khakis or jeans and a logo tee depending upon your business. You want to put your best foot forward when meeting with the outside world. Any list of must-dos to achieve success will have appearance at the top. This doesn’t just apply to the owner or manager, but to all employees in the vicinity. If they are seen by the public, they have to reflect the same values. You would be surprised how much clients notice even if they seem distracted by your words.

Also surprising to some, a well-appointed office is high on the same list. Even if you are in the computer field or are a free-lance graphic artist, if clients are visiting, they expect something organized, well-lit, and clean. If you work from home, you have escaped this problem. You don’t have to have a huge office and location doesn’t matter: city or suburbs. You do have to wield the vacuum now and then to tidy up the floors. Your furniture can be in any style as long as it isn’t too eclectic and looks like it comes from grandma’s attic. When in doubt, go modern. Spotted windows draw the eye—in a negative way. Dishes in the office lounge speak of laziness and lack of caring. Desks should not look like wrecks every day of the week. Carpets should be dirt and debris free. It takes some effort. If you get everyone on board, maintaining your business space will be that much easier.

I mentioned the vacuum because some of my friends don’t have a cleaning crew (it can get pricey) and use a cheap Hoover from https://www.thevacuumchallenge.com/best-cheap-hoover-vacuums/. No one wants to do the dirty work, but you can take turns. Hire a student to come in twice a week if you must. It will take the burden off the staff. I can’t see a petite executive assistant shoving a huge upright around, sweeping a wide cleaning path. She would have to use all her strength. Find a better way around the problem and I vote for professional help. They will dust the desks, clean the sink, mop the lounge tile floor, and do assorted cleaning tasks. Remember those spotted windows? Services specialize in this kind of work.

Apart from dress for success and keeping house at the office, there are a few other pointers about connecting well with clients. Greet them the minute they arrive and offer coffee or water. Some larger firms have snacks. Make them feel at home and if they have to wait, offer a comfortable chair. Smile openly and show enthusiasm. Your meeting will proceed well.

Giving Back

September 26, 2017

There are many reasons for giving back to your community and they should never be self-serving. It is a duty of every citizen, especially successful professionals and prosperous business owners. They have had good fortune and it is time to share with the needy. It is the least they can do. While people give lip service to the concept, in the U.S., there are so many worthy causes that it is very difficult to select the ones you want to support.

I became interested in working with local organizations when I remembered how various groups like the Elks and the Lion’s Club helped my dad in his day of need. It was a very long time ago, but I have never forgotten his gratitude and appreciation. Giving back is enormously rewarding, and I confess that this is one of the reasons to do it, and why not. It is all about feeling good about yourself and your role in life. You want to be there as you can. I give money to many international and domestic organizations, but there are time when I want face-to-face contact and I stay within my immediate vicinity. I have been looking for new opportunities. I try to get friends, family, and neighbors to join in at the grass-roots level.

Without the business world, many organizations, causes, and people would be in dire straits. I mentioned that I give money to viable charities, but I also donate goods, food, and services. I volunteer as I can and encourage my family to join me. If you don’t want to give money, these are good alternatives. My current interest is in a youth sports league. I earmarked this group for a supply of basketballs from Baller’s Guide that the kids can use for training and practice. Some will be saved for actual games. They don’t last forever, so this will not be a one-time thing.

Another reason to give back is to promote your business. You can do it by supporting a sports team for example (which will put your name on the field or in the program). There is nothing wrong with this as motivation as it is a great way to get more funds rolling into the community. Government budgets are hardly ample to do the job across the board. I openly talk about this with entrepreneurs far and wide and I try to share my thoughts with my colleagues, old and new. I believe everyone has it within their power to help others. It is part of the definition of a successful and happy person. Everything doesn’t have to be self-centered in life. American life in solid economic eras promotes personal success above all others. Why not find a way to be prosperous while making a lot of other people equally so? That is one way to look at it. I also think that one can express joy in their prosperity by helping the needy. Everyone wins in the long run. Think about what you can do.

Waste of a Day

August 25, 2017

Every day, I get up bright and early and look forward to going to work. I am not one of those sorry souls who hates his job. I am in business to make money, of course, but I also like the side benefits. I enjoy being one of the young pillars of the community and a person who is here to help others achieve success. My life has multiple functions. However, one of them is not a handyman. I say this because recently the water heater in my building went out and we have no maintenance man on site every day. We have to call a service. I was not about to try my hand at repairing it, although it can be something as simple as a pilot light problem. I know I possess few skills. Even lighting a match near a gas source is intimidating. It pays to learn a few basic things these days.

I succumb and call a repairman, knowing it won’t be cheap. It is like a plumber. There is a minimum number of hours to get someone to even show up. I grumble to my assistant and sit and wait. No specific time was given. I can’t work in this state of anticipation and tell everyone to go home. It is a total waste of a good work day. As soon as I begin to concentrate, my mind wanders. I wonder where the heck that darned serviceman is. I don’t want to keep calling and nagging the woman who answers the phone. She probably gets enough complaints as it is.

Hours slip by and I miss lunch. Now my stomach is growling and my mood turns black. I text everyone I know for diversion. I am getting bored and tired. Finally, at four o’clock he dares to appear, his toolkit in hand. He is a welcome sight and I cheer up enormously. After greeting him and suppressing the need to bitch, I show him the culprit and watch as he adjusts the water heater. “You need a new one,” he says. “Why not take advantage of the situation and get a tankless unit. They are state of the art.” I get the details from Water Heater Watch and estimated cost and consider this option seriously. It will save money on electricity bills and also save space. There is nothing but plusses involved in such a purchase.

I thought he was promoting the tankless unit to make a sale, but he assured me that he was only a repairman. I should check the prices on line and get the best deal I can. “They are really worth it,” he goes on. “You won’t have nearly the same problems and there is little malfunction risk.” I believed him and vowed to make this a project for next week. As for today, it was already too late. I was unproductive and would have to double my efforts tomorrow to catch up.

Being Kind can Positively Impact Profits

August 20, 2017

I started this blog to help people who are new to business learn the ropes. I use my experience to educate them. I hope what I have to say will apply to all careers. There are certain keys to business success and they are simple enough. Let me be brief:

  • Start with enough capital to expand when appropriate so you can take advantage of economic upturns.
  • Be creative with promotion and advertising. Know your target market. Hire professionals if you feel more comfortable.
  • Let people in your area know. Spreading the word is powerful. Drop off business cards to neighboring businesses.
  • Provide easy ways to reach your company with an easy-to-navigate website.
  • Use social media. Everyone touts it because it works. Get on Yelp.
  • Learn the art of professional sales if you market a product or service.
  • Hire the best people. They will be worth their weight in gold.
  • Prioritize your values. Create a mission statement and follow your heart.
  • If you see customers in person, offer them special consideration. You will wed them to your business for the long term. It pays to be kind.
  • Learn how to personalize on-line relationships. There are ways to do it by email.

Customer service in person or online is vital for any business. You want to be known for it. People care more about the ability to get help than the actual product sometimes. Remember that being kind and considerate can positively impact profits. Listen to expressed concerns. It is a major point in the realm of entrepreneurship. And it can apply to any business from financial consultation to auto repair. For example, I know a man who owns a successful auto-repair shop who enjoys more revenue than he expected at this point in time. I believe it is because of his fine work—the man can really wield a TIG welder and has done well on Rate My Welder. He offers emergency service and no one is turned away if he is busy. If a vehicle has been in an accident, he enjoys offering the best cost estimate in town. He knows how hard it is to supplement what insurance will pay.

He also provides a fast repair turnaround time for even big jobs. If people want custom modifications made to their cars, it can be done to order. That TIG (tungsten inert gas) welder gets a lot of use. I have seen him in action briefly and I am impressed by his great competence and control. I know from discussions with other welders how complex the device is and how difficult to master. No wonder he is known for high quality results.

This solid shop owner enjoys a great reputation in the community for good reason. The old dictum, “you get what you pay for,” doesn’t apply here. Just because he is low in cost doesn’t mean he provides a slip-shot job. He definitely comes to mind when I see the point above about kindness.

The Benefits of Giving Back to the Community

June 24, 2017

People really shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of actually giving something back to the community. A lot of people tend to scoff at this sort of sentiment. It’s been fashionable to be cynical about charity for a long time by this point. However, the benefits of charity haven’t gone away for anyone.

First of all, people should note that charity really can make a difference on a broader, community level. Some charities are better and more efficient than others, of course. However, when people contribute their time and money to efficient charity, they can make a huge difference in the lives of countless individuals.

Billions of dollars are given to charity all the time. Some of this money is spent in a way that is not ultimately useful. However, a huge portion of it is still used to help people. Finding a way to give to the most effective and efficient charities can allow a person to make a difference and truly help others, even if a lot of social problems seem insurmountable half the time.

There have been studies that have suggested that people who gave money away were happier than the people who decided to keep the exact same sum of money. People are genuinely motivated to keep helping one another. Competitive behavior is normal, but so is social behavior. In a world where competitive behavior is often valued, it is important to remember that a lot of people do specifically want to help others on a deep level.

There is also no doubt about the fact that a lot of social behavior is reciprocated. People who give back to the community will make a lot of friends and contacts as a result. They will meet people when they volunteer. They will also have a tendency to meet people throughout the course of being charitable people in the first place. Giving back to the community automatically puts people in contact with a huge network of individuals. It makes sense to try to use some of the resources associated with that network, even as the people involved are giving back to the community.

People also need to look at the bigger picture when it comes to evaluating their lives. They should think about everything that they are ultimately trying to achieve with their lives. Most people want to be successful in some ways. However, people are motivated by feeling as if they are generally good individuals.

Being a good person will mean different things to different people to a certain extent. However, most people will agree that the individuals who give a lot of time or money to charity are good people, at least in terms of this one aspect of their lives. Actually being able to look back at your life with pride is important, even if you are just looking back at your last life stage. Giving to charity is a way of making your life matter in a way that can be more fulfilling than just achieving new levels of personal success.

Successful people who can also give something back are the most successful ones, which is something that a lot of people acknowledge. There are countless people out there who want to make sure that they can do something to help at some point. However, they are not in a position to do so financially. If you have the means to help people, you should consider the idea that you actually have the responsibility to do so.

Poor people and middle class people actually are more generous, statistically speaking, than the rich. It makes sense to actually change this for the better, and that means that the people who have achieved financial success are the ones who need to alter their behavior on a more massive scale. It is possible for rich people to give back and to be successful in all aspects of their lives. You shouldn’t just use money as a way of measuring your success, like it’s your class rank. Your societal contribution should be part of your success.

Creating a Successful Charity Event

June 7, 2017

One of the first things to keep in mind with charity events is that it is important to try to manage the costs. If the costs are high enough, it will more or less negate the purpose of the charity event in the first place. However, the same can be said for a charity event that is unsuccessful. If people are spending a lot of money to get a small number of people in the room in order to give money, then they might as well just ask those people for money personally and call the whole thing off. An unsuccessful charity event is not even worth having, given the nature of charity events in the first place.

The first thing that people need to do when it comes to the planning process for a charity event involves getting the word out about the event. People aren’t going to come unless they hear about it. Word-of-mouth is unreliable, especially for charity events. People need to use all of their available tools to get the word out about a given charity event. Using social media, in-person social networks, telling people at work, and advertising in any way possible will help to make a charity event a success.

People also need to really think about all of the reasons why people attend charity events in the first place. People are interested in giving something back, of course. However, they are also interested in just getting out and having fun. They are going to this charity event instead of going to a concert or a show. They are doing this in order to do something different. As such, the charity event needs to be entertaining enough to actually fulfill that function in the first place.

A successful charity event basically is a concert or a show. There are exceptions, but if people are not providing some sort of a show for the night’s entertainment, they need to make sure that the event is a good enough networking opportunity between successful people for it to be worth it for them. A charity event has to succeed as a networking event if it is not a source of entertainment, and that means that a lot of successful people need to show up for it to work.

Successful charity events also need to have a dinner, or at least a lot of refreshments. Catering is almost always going to be expensive, and balancing the costs is going to be tricky in this case. However, people should remember that the important thing is not going with the most high-status caterer. Making sure that people are able to have a good time while raising money for charity is important. However, the charitable donations have to be large enough to be worth it, or it’s going to be a problem.

In some cases, there is no way to really predict whether or not all people who said that they would show up will come. It’s hard to know how these events are going to turn out. However, people need to think of these events like all other business events. They need to think of them in terms of profit and loss. They need to consider the expenses associated with the charity event. They need to imagine that it is possible for them to be able to truly earn money based on the event. They also need to think in terms of whether or not they are selling an actual product and service that people will want, which in this case is the event. If they think that the event makes sense in business terms, there is at least a chance that everything really will be going well and that the event will be truly successful.

How to be Both Prosperous and Generous as a Company

May 31, 2017

Many company leaders avoid giving to charity because they draw a false dichotomy between being prosperous as a company and being generous. It is actually possible to do both as long as companies are clever about it. Many of the most prosperous companies are very generous companies as well, which makes it that much more important for people to try to model themselves after the companies that have gotten this far in their time.

For one thing, companies that are successful enough don’t have to worry about their profit margins when they give to charity. They should consider whether or not they’re better off increasing the salary of the CEO or whether giving to charity would improve the image of a company. In some cases, this is a simple allocation of funds. The CEO might not need money, or should think about money in the long-term rather than the short-term. In the long-term, companies that are perceived as generous are much more likely to ultimately succeed and attract investors.

These days, customers will spend a lot of time reading about a company before purchasing their goods or services. There is no doubt about the fact that Millennial consumers in particular are obsessed with making sure that they are only buying from companies with a good track record in terms of environmentalism, labor rights, and charitable contributions. Getting these young customers as lifelong clients is key, and this is something that a lot of business owners are going to be able to do if they put a lot of effort into being ethical business owners right from the start.

Being a generous company is also positive in the eyes of investors. Investors will spend a lot of time looking at the profit margins of the companies that they are interested in before they get started. They need to make sure that they’re making a sound financial investment, which just isn’t going to be possible with certain companies. The companies that are giving money away to charity are already demonstrating that they are prosperous to a certain extent. It is well known that people have to spend money to make money. Giving to charity like a prosperous company can work to create a more prosperous company. Companies might be surprised by how much even small charitable contributions can improve the way they come across to the customers and the investors.

For one thing, it is possible to invest in a way that is ethical and that will actually create new business contacts. There are plenty of companies who have managed to more or less build up allies of theirs before they even were allies. Ethical investing makes it possible to make contacts in a way that causes those contacts to be loyal for life. There are many people all around the world who are trying to start businesses and who are trying to get ahead financially. Giving these potentially successful individuals the support that they need can make all the difference in the world in terms of the long-term success of a potential company.

The Benefits of Giving Back to the Community

May 24, 2017

People really shouldn’t underestimate the benefits of actually giving something back to the community. A lot of people tend to scoff at this sort of sentiment. It’s been fashionable to be cynical about charity for a long time by this point. However, the benefits of charity haven’t gone away for anyone.

First of all, people should note that charity really can make a difference on a broader, community level. Some charities are better and more efficient than others, of course. However, when people contribute their time and money to efficient charity, they can make a huge difference in the lives of countless individuals.

Billions of dollars are given to charity all the time. Some of this money is spent in a way that is not ultimately useful. However, a huge portion of it is still used to help people. Finding a way to give to the most effective and efficient charities can allow a person to make a difference and truly help others, even if a lot of social problems seem insurmountable half the time.

There have been studies that have suggested that people who gave money away were happier than the people who decided to keep the exact same sum of money. People are genuinely motivated to keep helping one another. Competitive behavior is normal, but so is social behavior. In a world where competitive behavior is often valued, it is important to remember that a lot of people do specifically want to help others on a deep level.

There is also no doubt about the fact that a lot of social behavior is reciprocated. People who give back to the community will make a lot of friends and contacts as a result. They will meet people when they volunteer. They will also have a tendency to meet people throughout the course of being charitable people in the first place. Giving back to the community automatically puts people in contact with a huge network of individuals. It makes sense to try to use some of the resources associated with that network, even as the people involved are giving back to the community.

People also need to look at the bigger picture when it comes to evaluating their lives. They should think about everything that they are ultimately trying to achieve with their lives. Most people want to be successful in some ways. However, people are motivated by feeling as if they are generally good individuals.

Being a good person will mean different things to different people to a certain extent. However, most people will agree that the individuals who give a lot of time or money to charity are good people, at least in terms of this one aspect of their lives. Actually being able to look back at your life with pride is important, even if you are just looking back at your last life stage. Giving to charity is a way of making your life matter in a way that can be more fulfilling than just achieving new levels of personal success.

Successful people who can also give something back are the most successful ones, which is something that a lot of people acknowledge. There are countless people out there who want to make sure that they can do something to help at some point. However, they are not in a position to do so financially. If you have the means to help people, you should consider the idea that you actually have the responsibility to do so.

Poor people and middle class people actually are more generous, statistically speaking, than the rich. It makes sense to actually change this for the better, and that means that the people who have achieved financial success are the ones who need to alter their behavior on a more massive scale. It is possible for rich people to give back and to be successful in all aspects of their lives. You shouldn’t just use money as a way of measuring your success, like it’s your class rank. Your societal contribution should be part of your success.