Finish What You Start!

Finish what you startIt’s been 2012 for a little over a month and a half now and I already feel that I’ve accomplished so much more than in the entirety of 2011.

Every January instead of a making a New Year’s resolution, I opt to do something a little more useful with my time, a process which can make not just one positive change in my life, but potentially many.  I recap all of my accomplishments from the previous year.  This includes reviewing each week’s summary on my “to do list” and highlighting my most significant successes that were accomplished and then highlighting the most significant tasks that still were incomplete.

In doing so I noticed that I had put a lot of my priorities on hold because I was starting too many new projects and so I’ve made a commitment now to simply finish what I start.  This forces me to prioritize the options in which I choose to invest my time in and has already made a significant positive impact on my productivity.  How so?

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When Maximizing Profit Can Destroy Your Company

Maximizing profitsWe’ve all witnessed it – companies who maximize their profit at all expense – regardless of the potential consequences.  No matter what anyone says, maximizing profits should not be any company’s highest priority.  While it’s a vital lifeline within any company, often times it’s maximized at the expense of increased potential for long term success.

Because this article will touch on a number of real life instances, I will refrain from using these companies’ names to protect their identities.

After I publish this article, I fully expect a number of my trusted partners, colleagues and clients to call me, I know that I’ll hit a chord and well… the truth always hurts.  So here are the most common scenarios where focusing on the maximization of profits tend to erode a company’s potential for long-term success.

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When It Comes to Websites, Content Is King… But Only Once Earned

Content Is KingEverywhere you turn, there’s another individual that’s touting the same old expression “Content is King”.  If you’re in an industry that works with publishing in one way or another, you probably hear this almost as many times each day than the number of spam messages you receive!  But what does it really mean?

I’ve witnessed hundreds of companies massaging this expression to fit whatever message they’re trying to convey.  The term is used so frequently because it creates a sense of authenticity for whatever words follow.  The fact of the matter however is that the words itself means very little without further explanation.

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Get Your Priorities Straight

Priority All the time people ask me how I get so much done each and every day.  There are a lot of weapons in my arsenal that you’ll learn about if you follow my blog, this is most definitely one of them.  I call it my “super-secret, no bullsh*t priority management approach” but you can call it the “common-sense well thought out approach” if you wish… I just think my naming choice sounds cooler.

Every week or two I intend to reveal another one of my weapons used to battle the obstacle-laden horizon of productivity.  If you want to take your business to the next level, with no cost other than the time you take to learn from and implement the strategies that I’ve honed over the last decade and a half, you too will become a powerhouse to be reckoned with in your own respective industry.  After all, what do you have to lose?  More importantly, what do you have to gain?

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Keep Thy Strengths Close and Thy Weaknesses Closer

Want to try something interesting?  Take a minute and identify your top 5 weaknesses right now.  Go!  If you’re like most business owners you’ve discovered that you have only identified one or possibly two.  The reason for this is simple, your focus is too narrow.  You simply haven’t taken the time to widen your focus so that you can see the entire picture.  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  So many business owners get caught in “the daily grind” by focusing on the tasks at hand and moving from one to the next, they forget to take a look at the whole picture and to maintain a longer term plan can be worked towards.  Strengths

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The Dimensions of a Successful Website (Part 4 of 4): Functionality

Welcome to the last of the 4-part series that focuses on the dimensions of a successful website.  Congratulations, you’ve made it through all four parts and can pat yourself on the back because clearly you’re dedicated to ensuring the success of your website!  Last in this series, but not least, I’ll be addressing functionality.

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The Dimensions of a Successful Website (Part 3 of 4): Organization

Welcome to the third of a 4-part series that will focus on the dimensions of a successful website.  Today I’ll be addressing the topic of organization.  I’ve had tremendous positive response to this series already receiving dozens of emails, comments and inbound links from all over the Internet so clearly I’m hitting on a valuable topic that many business owners understand the importance of leveraging the Internet as an important ingredient in gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage in what many would refer to as the new economy, one that is significantly more volatile than historically.

Before I get into the topic I’d like to re-iterate what I consider to be a successful website.

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The Dimensions of a Successful Website (Part 1 of 4): Content

Welcome to the first a 4-part series that will focus on the aspects of a successful website.  Today I’ll be addressing the topic of content.

Before I get into the topic I’d like to address what I consider to be a successful website.  To me, a successful site is one that accomplishes all of the following goals consistently on an ongoing basis.

  • Revenue generated by the website (directly or indirectly) exceeds the expenses of operating the website.
  • Positive cashflow (revenue minus expense) is growing year over year at least 15% (please note: this doesn’t sound like a lot but due to the power of compounding, your profits will triple over 9 years at this rate)
  • Your customer base is consistently growing and you have a way to communicate with and solicit repeat business

* Please note: I do realize that not all websites are in existence to earn additional revenues and some websites may be created solely for the purpose of reducing expenses (e.g. online technical support, online help, etc.).  The criteria of this type of website is essentially the same, however, its goals are reached by reducing expenses as opposed to increasing revenues.

Once any of these goals are no longer being successfully accomplished, it’s time for a refresh; your website has either aged too much and is no longer current or competitive with other companies in your industry.  Remember, just because your site is doing fantastic for you today, it can all change overnight when one of your competitors takes charge of their Internet presence and revamps it entirely!

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Do Not Choose Your Suppliers Based On Price Alone

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is ready to make 2012 their best year yet!

Over the holidays I had a couple of challenging situations with companies contacting me to help with emergencies.  Ironically, these emergencies could have likely been prevented had some cautionary steps been taken to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

These emergencies occurred because these individuals simply chose their suppliers based upon price alone.  These suppliers both were new in their own respective industries, smaller companies with very few testimonials and mixed online reviews.  A quick review of the quality of their products revealed several clues that they were most likely not very experienced in their respective industries.

If you were ever to require an emergency operation, and have the option of two potential surgeons; one that has performed a dozen operations with a 50% success rate versus one that has performed a thousand operations with a 95.3% success rate but costs marginally more, which one would you choose?  Now that you’ve answered this question, think about why you’re willing to take so much more risk with the success of your business?  Is it simply because it’s your company’s life on the line and not your own?

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I’ve got a website… now what?

You’ve decided to take the leap, the daring yet completely sensible move to launch a website for your business.  You know that an online presence is vital to the success of your business.  After all, in practically all cases, online presences have become the primary method with which potential customers are introduced to businesses.  In the last week you’ve even used the Internet to research day cares, televisions and organic food suppliers in the area and made purchases as a result of that research.

You’ve hired the right team and ensured that your online presence is better in every way to that of your competitors, because you cleverly realize how vital it is to stand out.  Thinking about how you shop online, you realize each time you perform research, it feels like a speed dating session whereby you, like the majority of others, quickly browse 5-10 websites and within mere minutes have narrowed down your potential supplier to one or two options.  A combination of first impressions and your own personal priorities have been the criteria in which you’ve narrowed your choice.

So you’ve got the most visually appealing website that’s the easiest to use in your industry and your products and services are among the highest quality.  Your prices are even amongst the lowest… everything is going for you!  You’ve even ensured that your website has been optimized for indexing by search engines (if you don’t know what this is, please read this article next: What Most Search Engine Optimization “Experts” Won’t Tell You).  But… there are no customers!  Why?

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