By k | November 20, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

When I was first approached
with the business gig
that ended yesterday,
my brain screamed ‘yes’
but my gut said ‘no.’

I listened to my brain,
ignored my gut,
and the result was a heavy dent
in my carefully nurtured reputation.
Yeah… ouch.

Suze Orman has a great post
on why listening to your gut
as an entrepreneur
is always the right thing to do.

“This is my most trusted business practice:
The minute I say yes to something
that is not honest and true for me
is the minute I stop being a good businesswoman.
I have never been led astray
by my commitment to listening to my gut.”

Listen to your gut.
It sees truths your brain will try to rationalize away.

By k | November 19, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Yesterday, the business gig
I was involved in
ended and ended abruptly.
It was not a good ending
and that is regretful.

You see…
endings are as or more
important than beginnings.
Endings may be your last contact
with a person or company
for a long time.
It will be the impression you leave
and how people will remember you.

That is why
when hosting a dinner,
I never skip on the desserts I offer.
That is why
I bring in donuts on my last day
at a contract gig
(normally - not yesterday).
That is why
I put extra care in the last chapters
of my novels.

If you end anything,
try to end it well.
It’ll benefit you in the long run.

By k | November 18, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

An executive rallied the troops
for an ‘emergency.’
He told us
this situation was top priority.
We were to drop everything
and focus on it.

So we did.
Then we needed his approval
for one of the actions.

He was told of that need.
He was in the office.
He had time.

He didn’t respond.

We felt like idiots
because we made his top priority
our top priority
only to discover
that it wasn’t his top priority.

We’re smart people.
We aren’t going to drop everything
the next time
he calls an emergency.

When you call an emergency,
ensure that you have the same immediate response time
as you’re expecting from your staff.

By k | November 17, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

Analyst John Morris
says that, in clothing,
the sweater is expected to outsell
the gift card for the first time in years.

“Consumers are saying
gift cards are falling in favor
a bit this year.
They’re shifting back to
more traditional gifts,
especially accessories, jewelry, and sweaters.”

The hot toys,
according to toy analyst Gerrick Johnson,
Monster High dolls,
Disney’s Chuggington train,
Bey Blades,
and Dance Star Mickey.

So if you are a retailer,
you can’t rely on the lucrative gift card market
as heavily this season.
Have some gifts
shoppers can touch and feel and wrap.

By k | November 16, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I know a car manufacturer
that forces vendors to accept
6 months as their terms
(yes, they don’t pay ANY bills
until 6 months after invoicing).

I know a high end housewares company
that hasn’t paid their bills
in a couple of months.

How can these companies
push vendors around so adeptly?

Because they’ve built a brand.
A start up car manufacturer
wouldn’t be able to do it.
A mom and pop housewares company
wouldn’t be able to do it.

To do business with these big names,
vendors will put up with a lot.
They also assume
that the big names won’t go belly-up.

THAT is one of the reasons
you build a brand.
It is like cash in the bank.

By k | November 15, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

If you’ve played the game long enough,
you know how to say
the politically correct thing.
You know how to be kind
AND truthful at the same time.
You know that everyone ALWAYS kills the messenger
so you don’t volunteer bad news.

So when you play at a certain level,
you listen more for what ISN’T said,
rather than what IS said.

I’m currently in the midst
of a business disaster.
The person I am working with
is usually upbeat.
We’ve been through sticky situations before.
During them,
he often says things like
“Don’t worry, K.
We can handle this.”

That ISN’T being said
with this current disaster.
Because he doesn’t feel that way.

He won’t come out
and say “You’re f**ked”
but I got the message quite clearly
from what he hasn’t said.

Silence is often more telling
than a stream of words.
Listen for what isn’t said.

By k | November 14, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Marketing

I’m as guilty about this
as the next person.
I get all swept into the new story
I’m writing
and I neglect to promote
the story that recently released.

The hard facts are…
if readers don’t buy my current story,
I’ll find it difficult to sell publishers
my next story.

Build marketing into your day.
Schedule a daily meeting with promo.
Block that time
and then…

There is no sense building a wonderful product
if no one else in the world
knows about it.

Marketing is important.

By k | November 13, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

30 Rock’s Tracy Morgan is upfront
about his ’secret’ to success.

“I got booed at the Apollo.
That’s what gave me my balls.”

“If you can survive getting booed
at the Apollo,
then everything else is a cinch.
That’s the attitude I had
when I went to Saturday Night Live.”

My equivalent experience
was losing the company I worked for
one million dollars
(in a contract screw up).

After that,
I was fearless.
I figured that if I could survive
that big mistake,
I could survive anything.

Mistakes often don’t make you fearful.
They make you fearless
and that is a very good thing.

By k | November 12, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in New Business Development

There is a high end housewares company
in the midst of a very painful
management transition.

When the dad ran the company,
sales were high,
and product lines were profitable.
The brand is so powerful
that vendors will wait over a year for payment.

… And they have been.
Because when the dad retired,
he convinced his son to take over.
It was his legacy, he argued.

It may be the dad’s legacy.
It isn’t the son’s.

The son is a computer programmer.
He is very intelligent
but he has no interest in housewares
and no aptitude for business.
He is running the business
because he feels he has to
and is doing a piss poor job at it.
On the side…
yes, he writes computer programs.

Just because your kids love you
doesn’t mean
they love your business.
Don’t link the two.
Assume you’ll sell your business
to someone outside the family,
and give your children
the freedom to build their own legacy.

By k | November 11, 2010 - 6:00 am - Posted in Corporate Games

Today is Remembrance Day
in Commonwealth countries.
It is
Veterans Day in the U.S.

There are debates waging
over whether or not we should celebrate war.
I think these individuals miss the point.

What I think about today
isn’t war.
I think about
belief and sacrifice and passion.

These veterans BELIEVED in something.
They believed so strongly in that something,
they were willing
to make the ultimate sacrifice
and die for that belief.
They were so passionate about that belief,
they spent days, weeks, months,
away from loved ones,
fighting in muddy trenches.

When I complain about lack of sleep
during an editing binge
(like now)
or tight deadlines
or how I haven’t seen my loved ones in days,
I think of these veterans.