Your Unique Qualifications – Aren’t

Eventually, every business or organization has to answer the question – Why you instead of someone else? What makes you unique? Why should I do business with you instead of XYZ? What are your qualifications?

There are wrong answers to these questions.

We have the lowest prices – is it because […]

Business Development – Where Did It Come From?

Meredith and I had an interesting and wide ranging discussion the other day about business development. We started out by trying to define it.  Now, Wikipedia has the definition as
Business development comprises a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities within and between […]

Vision – Part 2

In our last post, we examined vision statements from Fortune 500 companies and, with the help of A Study of the 2005 Fortune 500 Vision Statements by Bart Kasowski and Louis Jacques Filion, we discovered that only 11% have “real” vision statements. As with the mission statement, few […]

Your Mission Statement – Part 1

One of the classical components of any business plan is the mission statement – the why your company or organization exists. Usually the founders throw together a good sounding statement and move on to the more important parts of their business plan without much thought. But the mission statement […]

Have You Considered You Might Be Wrong?

I read a short story once about a king that got down in his cup and wrongly took exception to something that the court jester said. He ordered the court jester beheaded and, the king’s word being law, the sentence was swiftly carried out.

End of story? Not quite, because […]

Why You Might Want to Pass on Angel Investors

  It’s the dream, right – landing an angel investor who believes in your business so much that they’ll just give you money to make it happen? But angel investors are not the answer for everyone. In fact, for many businesses, they’re start up suicide. Case in point: […]

Absolutely Do This Before You Open a New Business Location

This is a question we received at the Spokane Ask Me Anything sponsored by the National Association of Women Business Owners held June 12, 2014.

When a company looks to open another branch or location, what are the most common pitfalls you see?

When making any significant change to a business […]

Succession Planning and Buses

What has succession planning to do with buses you ask?  Everything!  Usually when someone is talking of succession planning they are talking about how a business will continue after the founder is no longer running the show either because of dead or disability.  And that’s very important.  But […]

Visioning – Then What?

I have recently heard a lot of people talk about visioning – basically, what you visualize is what you’ll get.  Now, I believe in visualization – I even mentioned it in my last blog post – it’s a very effective means to work out what to do when […]

Space Shuttles, Fast Food, & Failure: Why Assumptions Cost More Than Questions

Whenever we plan for the future, we always have to make assumptions.  We make assumptions about the weather when we go on a picnic or skiing.  We make assumptions about prices when we go to the store and decide to buy the asparagus (is it lower here or at […]

8 Reasons Startups Fail – And How To Avoid Being One of Them

Most startups will fail – and it’s rarely because they lacked passion. Their founders are like baby birds who jump out of the nest too quickly, and fall into one or more of these common planning traps:
1. They aren’t selective about who they work with
These founders confuse convenience with […]

Gold Nuggets and Diamonds: Using the Pareto Principle to Increase Returns

I heard a story once about a consultant that was called in to help a team of top executives be more productive. After observing the executives, the consultant suggested that each executive write a list of things to do the next day before leaving the office. The […]

Free Crisis Management Tools: Table Top Exercises

Just after 9/11, Frank helped a community organization in the DC area develop a disaster preparedness plan.  The group coordinated turning neighborhood churches into shelters and coordination centers in the event of an attack or natural disaster. The leadership was completely volunteer – they all had regular day jobs […]

Black Holes and Consequences: The Physics of Crisis Management

A black hole will swallow everything that gets too close to it – including light. The area around the center of the black hole where something disappears is called the event horizon. It’s the black part of the black hole – there’s stuff there, but you can’t see any […]

Slow and Silent and Secondary: The Most Dangerous Crisis of All

photo credit here

Over the weekend, I talked about how mismanaging communication during an initial crisis can trigger an immediate second crisis – the kind that causes angry, confused customers to hit you with a landslide of complaints in a short time period.  These are called secondary crises – ones […]

Why Sending an E-mail to Customers in a Crisis May Be Worse than the Crisis Itself

We consulted on an emergency recently (shocking, I know). The very short of it is that a large service-based corporation contacted me after discovering an independent franchise owner skipped town without delivering services clients had paid for. It’s easily high-five-to-six-figures in fraud. The corporate isn’t legally responsible for his actions […]

Godzillas and Frogs: Understanding Potential Crises

Photo Credit: here

Whenever I tell people that I deal in crisis management, their response is, “What type of crisis?”  I can answer with descriptions of personnel, management or even moral crises that I’ve dealt with, but almost every crisis that I have dealt with over the past 30+ years […]

Baby Elephants and Baby Birds: What Does It Mean To Be A Startup?

photo credit here

These days, the word “start-up” gets tossed around so much that we’re starting to lose its meaning.  And the meaning matters. Consider this: a lot of creatures can be classified as baby animals. But when you want to learn about baby birds, it doesn’t make sense to […]

Q&A: Help! I Have Too Many Ideas and Too Much to Do!

Photo Credit: csm-web via FlickrHey, Mer -My business is really starting to take off and I’m getting lots of feedback from my new customers. I have so many ideas for the new products and services they want, but I’m trying to bring on my new employees so I don’t […]

Three Keys to Successfully Managing Risk in Your Business


There is something deeply satisfying about competence in the face of real risk. Keeping a lid on your fears, knowing what you are doing, and managing the risk to come out alive.
-Euan Semple

Conflict, failure, crisis, funding, cutbacks… all are your constant companions when running a business. They boil down […]