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The Horrible Side Effect Of Retirement


This side effect is especially dangerous for business owners. If you own a business it’s something you’ll experience and if you’re not ready for it, you might wish you never left your business.

What is this side effect you say? Read on and you’ll find out.

First, a story

The first twenty years of my business career was spent in the vending and food service business. I went from being a no-body in the industry to being one of the five or ten most visible people.

I taught over 200 vending companies strategic financial management, people management and operations management. I was the President of the New York State Vending Association for three years and I was chair of the National Vending Association’s education committee for eight years.

Then the time came for me to leave the vending business. I sold my business and had no plans to really leave the industry. I just didn’t know that once I sold my business the vending industry wouldn’t really want me.

You see, the phone stopped ringing and because I was off the radar screen of people in the industry there was no reason for them to call me. I went to trade association meetings for a while but people weren’t as interested in talking with me. I found out I wasn’t relevant because I no longer had a vending company I was involved with.

I was lucky. I had made arrangements to immediately join another industry. I had something to keep me busy. Unfortunately, many other people I know who have sold businesses just sit at home waiting for the phone to ring… and it never does, at least for them or for that matter me.

It was pretty hard going from being in constant demand to having no one want to hang out with me. And, it’s something that will probably happen to you when it’s time for you to leave your business or your career.

What have you done to prepare when the phone stops ringing?

If you don’t think your phone will stop ringing, think again. You might initiate calls to your friends in your industry and my guess is they’ll take your call, but be much less interested in what you have to say. Read more >

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6 Reasons People Don’t Take Your Advice


We’re all frustrated by this.

 You know you’ve got great advice to give but your employees, your children or your spouse don’t take it.  If they only listened and took your advice you know their life would be better.  So the question is, why don’t they take your brilliant ideas and run with them?

Here are some reason you might want to consider:

1. They don’t trust you.

I hate to say it, but this might just be the big one.  If the person you’re giving advice to doesn’t trust you they won’t take you seriously.

You might want to ask yourself whether the person you’re speaking with has a high level of trust in you as a person.  If the answer is no you will need to rebuild trust before you move on to giving them advice.

2. They don’t know how your advice would benefit them.

This happens all of the time in the advice business.  An advisor gives their client advice and the client is confused.  They don’t know how the particular piece of advice will benefit them.

The advice might be confusing or it might be complicated.  Both are the death knell when trying to get others to accept your advice.  If a person you’re advising doesn’t understand what they’re supposed to do and why they want to do it, there is a good chance that they won’t implement.

3. They don’t have a compelling reason to take your advice.

This is where developing a strong why is important.  If the person doesn’t understand why this advice will help them move their agenda forward there is no reason for another to take your advice. Read more >

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6 Reasons You’re Lousy At Forecasting The Future


If you were an Econ (a totally rational person) you would be able to take all of the information that’s available to use and use that information to accurately forecast what’s going to happen in the future.  That might be true if all of us including you are able to keep your biases and feelings out of the way when making predictions about what’s going to happen in the future.

The truth is you’re not an econ and neither am I.  Both of us have this problem.  We are way too optimistic about what’s going to happen in the future.

My problem with budgeting.

When I had my food service company I would do an annual budget and every year that budget would be off by anywhere from 5% to 20%.  You might be thinking that I was incompetent with my ability to budget and you might be right about that.

At the same time, I just was over optimistic on what I thought we would do for sales every year.  I was pretty good with budgeting expenses.  I just was horrible at budgeting how much we would do in sales.  

At first, I thought this was something that only I had a problem with.  Then I started to observe others, both in business and in their personal life with annual budgets they did.  Lo and behold, I found that others were just as bad as I.  

It could be that we all were really bad at budgeting, but then I ran across the topic of behavioral economics.  I found that humans as a group are just over optimistic when it comes to believing what is going to happen in the future.

Let’s think about some of the reasons this might happen… Read more >

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Are You a Person People Want to Help?


FullSizeRender-258x300When my business mentor, New York Times bestselling author Michael Port, prompted me to explore this question, my answers led me to the single most important element of myself that I needed to change to get out of my own way and get my business moving in the direction I wanted it to go.

“Be the kind of person people want to help,” Michael said on a Think Big Call I was on a few years back. “Be the kind of person people want to help,” he said again before signing off encouraging us to think bigger about who we are and what we offer the world.

“Be the kind of person people want to help.” What the hell does that mean? I wondered as I ambled around the kitchen preparing dinner for my family after the call. I’m a smart woman. I’m practically a Ph.D. and I don’t know what he’s talking about.

“Be the kind of person people want to help,” the phrase haunted me. I went to bed thinking about it. I woke up thinking about it. I wondered why I couldn’t let it go. In between its recurrences, other stuff came up.

I’m the one that helps people, remember, I don’t need anybody’s help. I heard a defensive part of myself say. I stopped to listen, afraid I’d discovered something shocking about myself: I feared I wasn’t, and that perhaps I never would be, the kind of person people wanted to help.

“Because you can’t do this alone,” Michael had said and I recognized a huge obstacle in the way of my path to success. After a series of hurts that might have helped me sooner if I’d only looked at them differently, I had decided that I’d do it alone, that I didn’t need anyone. This stubborn-stance, I told myself, would make me stronger.

Turns out, that wasn’t true. Just like dichotomizing whether I was the person who gave or received help wasn’t true.

I thought about my long-ago incarnation as a doctoral candidate who’d gone into the program with teaching accolades and twelve years of experience. I cared about my work and it showed. I was also fiercely determined to appear the consummate professional. I didn’t mix it up with my peers, declined social invitations, and never shared my personal story.

Many of my peers were newbies; I could have been a great help to them but I was terrified of letting them get to know me. If they had, they might have discovered that I wasn’t any different from them, I’d just been at it longer which also meant I’d had more time to make some big missteps I learned from the hard way; I preferred to keep those in the closet. Read more >

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Stop Lying To Yourself – Here’s Why You Won’t Delegate


We all know that growing a business is hard work.  Lots of time you have to go against the grain from what you’ve been taught.  Delegation is certainly one of those activities.  Here are some statements you might have running around in your brain:

  • “If you want to get it done right, you must do it yourself.”
  • “It’s faster if I just do it myself.”
  • “I have to be there to help because they don’t know how to do it.”
  • “I can’t afford to have a mistake made.”
  • “They never get it done in time.”
  • “Their work is just always sloppy.”

You can take a few minutes and fill in your own excuse… and that’s exactly what they are, excuses to not delegate when you know you should.

Delegation starts with trust.

Here’s the number one reason you won’t delegate.  You don’t trust your people.  I know, you’re going to tell me how much you trust your people and yet, you don’t delegate to them.

There are likely three reasons you don’t do this and it could be one, two or all three.

  1. You don’t think your people are competent.  If this is true, then it’s your job to train them.
  2. You don’t trust them to be timely.  Too often we ask someone to do a task and we don’t trust that they’ll be reliable in getting it done.
  3. You don’t think they really care.  They might not care about your customers, you or your company.  If this is true, you need to be much more careful about whom you let into your company in the first place.

If any of these are true, you need to take a long look in the mirror and ask yourself why it’s true.  It’s either because you’re letting the wrong people in your company, not training properly or you allow deadlines to be missed.  In each case, it’s about you looking in the mirror.

You have to learn how to tolerate mistakes.

When you delegate you can be sure there will be times when things don’t go the way you want.  Instead of getting upset at someone, ask him or her this simple question:  “What did you learn?” Read more >

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