The biggest mistake most small business owners make

We need to develop systems of hiring and monitoring our employees to ensure we have the right people

The biggest mistake most small business owners makeBob was frustrated, stressed and upset. One of his key employees, Keith, had just left to start his own business and had taken another staff member with him. I wasn’t surprised. I’d been working with Bob for several months and had met Keith several times. My impression wasn’t favourable and I had discussed this with…

The painful – and necessary – lessons that losing teaches us

Losing gives you greater clarity and insight, adds a little humility, and builds resilience

The painful – and necessary – lessons that losing teaches usI’ve been called a loser more than once. Often it’s by my kids, who don’t like some stupid joke I just played on them. But I’ve also made a bucketful of mistakes in my time on this Earth and have lost everything from money to employees to elections to friends. I’ve even lost the trail…

Five things your business could learn from Starbucks

Customer service, exclusive products, ambience, pricing and systems are all important to the coffee giant – and you

Five things your business could learn from StarbucksMy wife Margaret likes Starbucks but when I ask her what she likes about it, she can’t quite put her finger on just what it is. She tells me that the coffee is good (I don’t drink coffee so I wouldn’t know) but I have friends who say that McDonald’s coffee is even better. She…

Your business might be losing money on first impressions

Many companies spend more fixing their mistakes than setting up the systems that could prevent them

Your business might be losing money on first impressionsI want to tell you three stories about first impressions that happened in one recent week. First, my friend Freddy was mad. Freddy took his wife’s car into a dealer and had a terrible experience. The worst thing for the dealer was that it was Freddy’s first time dealing with them. If they were trying…

Sweet music for business: setting goals and reaching them

Establish ways to be accountable and do the same for your staff and the benefits will follow

Sweet music for business: setting goals and reaching themDo you play your guitar at work? In 1988, business was so slow that I would go to my office at the back of our store, close the door, take my guitar out, put my feet up on the desk and start strumming. While it was soothing for the soul, it wasn’t very productive. After…

Can your leadership take your business from good to great?

When leaders work through pain points and create an inspiring vision for the future, companies can thrive again

Can your leadership take your business from good to great?The ice on my neighbourhood skating rink is good but it’s not great, and that’s totally my fault. There have been years where the ice has been fantastic and people from all over the city came to skate on the rink. It even got nominated for best outside rink in the city one year. But…

The year of living to the fullest

By giving the year ahead a motivating label, and keeping that label front and centre, you can achieve great things

The year of living to the fullestA couple years ago, I was invited to speak at a conference where the hosts encouraged the attendees to “name their year.” The purpose was to come up with a name that would inspire and motivate the attendees for the next 52 weeks. When they were finished, people were asked to go to the stage…

‘Bah humbug!‘ to business owners who act like Scrooge

We don’t appreciate enough what our business creates in the community through wages, jobs and donations

‘Bah humbug!‘ to business owners who act like ScroogeHave you ever felt like Scrooge? I have. I went to the local production of The Christmas Carol and was thoroughly impressed. Often with great acting, the characters remind me of people who I’ve come into contact with. This was no different. The script is set in the 1800s but could have easily taken place…

This Christmas, resolve to go device-free one day a week

Starting this Christmas, have the guts to turn off the phone for a few days – okay, start with one day – and contemplate what you have to celebrate

This Christmas, resolve to go device-free one day a weekSomeone once asked me if I missed the mayhem of owning a business at Christmas time. The truth is, I do. While I don’t miss taking inventory, all the extra hours, the squeeze of trying to find enough time for family and customers, figuring out if there should be a Christmas bonus or another program,…

Can you work less and earn more?

Thinking differently, delegating more, and strategically planning are key to earning more and worrying less

Can you work less and earn more?“You just learned in a year what most MBA students never learn in a lifetime,” I told a client this week. He had just responded to my question: “What did you learn in the past year?” “I learned that I can earn more by working less!” he answered. Not only had my client doubled his…
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