Being the founder doesn’t always equal being the president

Pete knew in college that he wanted to be a food scientist. He loved discovering new flavor formulas. After he graduated he worked days for “the man” at a big food producer and nights for himself developing specialty foods for hospitals. But years of double shifts began to wear Pete down. He dreamed of owning his own business and being his own boss   Read More

Want to double your profits? Work the levers.

Want to double your profits? Work the levers.

I admit it, I listen to a lot of podcasts. They’re like mind-candy to me – always something new to learn. I stumbled across one recently that I’ve been thinking about ever since. It’s called The Seven Levers of Business.

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If you ever meet a “Mike” – hire him!

It was late in the afternoon and my staff and I were trying to hold a much-needed status meeting in the front office. A man I’d never seen before (Mike) walked in and asked if he could fill out an application. The bookkeeper gave him an application on a clipboard; put him in the next office and we resumed our meeting.   Read More

How you interact with customers matters

I used to think that being able to leave a voice mail for a customer was the next best thing to talking to that person. I used to think that the convenience of being able to send an email to a customer at any time, day or night was efficient.

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It’s hard to make wood with a dull saw

My father is an active, energetic 87 year old. One of the things he’s always done and still enjoys is “making wood”. He burns wood for heat and he sells a few cords as well. Dad has always taken good care of his saws. The blades on his chainsaws (he has five in all) get sharpened and oiled regularly. I can still hear him say, “It’s hard to make wood with a dull saw.”

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It was a rotten day on the range

You have to admit, Saturday was not a nice day. It was cold and it was wet. It was the kind of day to curl up with a good book and Grandma’s quilt. Unfortunately, that wasn’t in the cards for me. My husband and I spent the day at the Gopher Rifle & Revolver gun range in Harris scoring targets for 600 yard bench rest matches. We were lucky to be able to work inside where it was relatively warm and dry.

For the 30+ shooters it was a different story. They were outside, shooting off concrete benches with no covering. Between targets they would huddle under portable canopies (open on four sides) wipe the rain off their faces, dry their equipment and commiserate with each other about the weather. Some were so chilled they sat in their vehicles with the engine running and the heater on. It was a miserable day – but memorable too.

What made it memorable was hardly anyone complained or quit. Every one of the participants was there because he/she loved the sport. They put up with the inclement weather and rain running in their eyes and down the back of their necks. They encouraged each other, shared towels, jackets and heaters. When the first day of the two day competition was over, the traditional steak fry went on as planned. People sat around and talked, compared targets and wished each other well for the next day. About 9:30 some moseyed off to their campers, other to their homes and a brave few to the tents they had pitched that morning.

The next day was sunny and crisp and dry – a perfect shooting day. Only one shooter was a no-show/no call.

The point is you never know if life will deal you a series of sunny days or rainy days. You’re only assured of losing if you don’t keep playing. In business if you feel the odds are stacked against you, play harder, play smarter, but play ALL the way. We all lose at times, but the real winners never give up.

Don’t Run Your Business the Way Some Idiots Drive

I spend a lot of time driving to appointments and meetings; lately it seems that more drivers are making dumb decisions on the road.

Some of the decisions they make behind the wheel could be correlated to the way business owners run their companies. See if you agree.

Driving 40 MPH when it’s snowing (Speed limit is 55, roads are NOT slippery)

The owners may be uncomfortable making decisions that might involve any risk whatsoever. They like to play it really safe-slow-&-easy. The result? Stagnant business growth.

Passing on a yellow line

Ignoring risk is as bad as avoiding it; when you do stupid things you never know when something is going to come around the corner and smack you right in the face.

Passing on the right shoulder (when there’s no passing lane)

It’s against the law! If people break small rules in business – can they be trusted on the big ones? It’s a matter of integrity.

“An ounce of clear thinking is worth a pound of research into the mysteries of the obvious.”
– Dr. Thomas Szasa

What Will it Take to Make 2013 Your Best Year Ever?

by Linda Laitala

I’ve been posing this question to my Inner Circle members this month. The answers I’ve gotten have run the gamut from improving health to landing a million dollar project.

The point of the question is to visualize what your life will look like next year. But don’t stop at the visualization – tell someone what you want to happen. The very act of saying what you want out loud is the first step to making it happen.

   “You must see your goals clearly and specifically before you can set out for them. Hold
them in your mind until they become second nature.”
~ Les Brown

Insider Perspective: Are you managing with tunnel vision?

As you plan for 2013, do you look back and wonder what you could have done to make 2012 stronger? If so, you’re not alone.

Many plan but find gaps in execution. One frequent – but preventable gap is tunnel vision. It’s caused by being buried with work or by depending on people solely within your company or your industry for help.

Tunnel vision means you’re not getting outside perspectives that help you see your business from new angles. Tunnel vision prevents you from thinking “outside-the-box”.

Fortunately there are solutions; you can:

• Talk to suppliers and customers and get their perspective

• Research the web, not just your industry trade publications and business magazines

• Join a peer group (like Inner Circle) – one that brings different types of businesses to the table.

The advantage of this type of peer group is that you step away from your business for three hours a month to work on the business instead of in it. It lets participants from many different arenas share their business – and personal – challenges in a confidential setting.

The diversity provides you with fresh viewpoints and unique ways to tackle your problems – in ways that people within your own industry aren’t using.

Eliminating tunnel vision can help you approach 2013 with new insights and renewed enthusiasm.

Abolish tunnel vision in your business and have a stronger 2013.

If you’d like more information about Inner Circle contact Linda Laitala at 612-889-5848 or email : Linda@RavenPerformanceGroup.com