7 Rules for a Drama-Free Family Business

Folks, working with family is haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaard.

There’s emotional baggage. There’s years of noogies and wedgies. You’ve probably been on the giving or receiving end of at least one teenage “I HATE YOU!” or “GET AWAY FROM ME” from your coworker or boss. And they know just how to push your […]

Belly Ballot Hoax: Let’s Make Better Mistakes Tomorrow

Back in January, a startup baby name website called babynames.net ran a “Belly Ballot” contest. They promised to pay $5,000 to an expectant mother who let their readers vote to name their baby. It was supposed to launch their new Belly Ballot feature, which allows friends and family to […]

Educating vs.Marketing – What Modern Customers Need to Know Before They’ll Buy

Customers view most marketing content with the same wariness we all have for blind dates – we never know if we’re going to get someone really interesting, or get stuck with some self-involved idiot who talks about himself the whooooollllle tiiiiiiiiime. That’s the problem with most marketing – a […]

LISTEN NOW: The First Rule of Explaining Complex Concepts to Customers… Without Boring the Crap Out of Them

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Ready for an audio awesomeness double feature? 
Frank and I are almost ready to start releasing audio and video content!

That’s right – we are actual people who move and talk with voices you can even hear and everything.

Crazy – I KNOW.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be bringing you […]

Why It’s KindaSortaTotally Your Fault Your Customers Are Ignorant (and What You Can Do to Change That and Be More Successful)

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This week, photographer Jennifer Harvey interviewed me about how to stand out in an industry of copycats. Jen’s one of my favorite clients and friends – we met two years ago when she worked her magic and did our headshots. Click on the link up there^ to […]

Why It Pays to Be Paranoid (or, How Frank Became Obsessed with Scanning Receipts)

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Most everyone will deny that they’re paranoid, but the truth is that everyone is paranoid to a degree.  The only questions is: are you paranoid enough?  Do you put a letter in a mailbox, close the lid, and then open it again to be sure the letter […]

The Ten Commandments of Responding to Negative Reviews Online (Without Looking Like a Flaming Idiot)


Check out yesterday’s post on business owners acting badly:

How to Lose a Fight on the Internet
A flame war is a internet comment exchange gone nuclear. You’ve seen them. Two commenters talk around each other and never really address the other’s issues, and the conversation escalates to name calling and […]

How to Lose a Fight on the Internet

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One of the most common issues business owners ask me about is how to handle negative comments online. Just the thought of it strikes fear into the heart of the most professional proprietor. And for good reason – we’ve all seen it happen. Someone posts a negative […]

You Did This to Yourself: Motivating with Fear

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Last week, I talked about personal reasons why good people lie. Most of the lies in the world are told by good people. Really. True sociopaths are rare – you’re just not likely to encounter someone who lies because they can’t feel empathy and don’t care about other […]

Why Good People Lie: Dishonesty and Human Nature

Recently, I had an interview with a local ecclesiastical leader. He supervises a few thousand people in several congregations in Spokane. After getting to know each other, he started asking me the prepared questions. But halfway through the interview, he stopped suddenly and looked straight in my eyes. 

“You must […]

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

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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 […]

Crisis Management and Mental Illness: What We Can Learn from Paula Deen

photo credit: lifescript hereIt’s been a bad week for celebrity chefs.In three short days, Paula Deen gone from Food Network darling to being publicly fired by the network. You can read more about it here, but let me sum up: A former employee filed a lawsuit against her charging […]

Rebuilding Trust with the People Who Matter in a Crisis

Yesterday, I told you about the Australian military sex ring scandal and shared Lt. Gen. Morrison’s brilliant response, challenging decades of entrenched military culture (you can click here to watch the video on YouTube). He did something else in that three minute video that everyone must do during a […]

Three Crisis Management Lessons from the Australian Military Sex Scandal (or, Why Lt. Gen. Morrison Wins the Internet This Week)


read the transcript here

Last week on Facebook, I talked about “pivot points” – clear breaks with the past coupled with action to change the future – and why they’re essential to good crisis management. This next story takes pivot points to a whole new level.

In short, a group of Australian Army […]

Crisis Management, Excuses, and the Nigella Lawson Choking Scandal


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On June 6, culinary superstar Nigella Lawson was photographed crying at a restaurant as her husband, advertising mogel Charles Saatchi, repeatedly grabbed her throat with both hands during an argument.  He did it at least 4 times, while she cried and tried to placate […]

You Are Only Two Minutes Away from Being a Better Crisis Manager

I love this quote, because it sums up the first principle of crisis management: get control of yourself.

“Actually, this seems to be the basic need of the human heart
in nearly every great crisis – a good hot cup of coffee.” – Alexander King
Photo Credit: Moyen Brenn via Flickr

When a […]

Q&A: Should I Pay An Independent Contractor for Cancelled Appointments?

Photo Credit: Mike Knapak via FlickrDear Meredith, Here is the situation: What is your opinion on canceled appointments and paying independent contractors? I run a tutoring business and have a few independent contractors for special subjects like math – until the business builds and I can hire them full-time.  When parents […]

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

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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: What Do I Do When Customers Want Me, Not My Employees?

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Background:  Kate* is a victim of catastrophic success. She’s never done a minute of marketing, but she’s full to capacity with a long waiting list. People ask for her by name, and it’s all from word-of-mouth marketing.  Me2  has been helping Kate manage that crisis with a plan for […]