Archives for February 2012

Are Your Customers Getting the Red Carpet Treatment?

Have you ever called someone, and as soon as you say who you are you hear a letdown in their voice, like they were expecting the lottery committee, but instead they got a telemarketer? What if it had been Brad Pitt or… fill in the blank with your favorite celebrity. Which way do you treat your customers? Are your customers getting the red carpet treatment?

red carpet

red carpet

After working in the entertainment industry for many years I’ve seen the lowliest nobody suddenly being hounded by everybody once they make it to a certain level. And the same people turn on a dime when they are no longer in that position. And it’s happened to me twice. The first time I was hosting a TV show and working behind the scenes in the role of producer. Saturday Night Live was at its peak and we had some of their writers writing the show. Broadway dancers doing the introduction. And Billy Joel’s arranger writing the music for my segment.

It was great. I was fielding calls from people I never imagined I would even be able to get on the phone. And they wanted to be in our TV pilot. I also got tickets to just about anything I wanted to see on Broadway. Shows I could never afford on an actor/waiter’s salary. Tickets to the hottest parties in town and dinners in the nicest restaurants. People were thrilled when I called, or at least they acted like they were. [Read more…]

Is the Entrepreneurial Spirit Dead?

I’ve agonized about putting up this post because the last think I want to do is kill the entrepreneurial spirit. Life is hard enough for the entrepreneur, but with 80,000 pages of new regulations coming out every year in America it’s getting harder to keep that spirit alive.kid entrepreneurs

You know the saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, it appears the only people who can do that are the ones that teams of lawyers and employees ready to deal with the mountain of paperwork and regulations they will have to abide by.

When I read this article, it really made me sad:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2011/08/03/the-inexplicable-war-on-lemonade-stands/

A lemonade stand was really the very first business I ever had. In fact, this is the first introduction many kids have to running a business. [Read more…]

What I Would Tell a Young Up and Coming Entrepreneur

Lately I’ve been giving some advice to a young up and coming entrepreneur. ¬†She doesn’t yet know that she’s an entrepreneur. But I know the traits when I see them. Fearless, determined, not afraid of hard work, not afraid of doing any kind of work, and focused.

If you’re still a kid I’m assuming you live at home with parents or someone that pays all of your bills. Except for school you’ll have plenty of time on your hands. And plenty of energy. Take advantage of it now. You’re going to need it. Entrepreneurs work very long hours. Unless you’re lucky enough to stumble on a great idea that makes you a fortune quickly, (don’t count on it) you’re going to have to work for years before your business takes off in a big way. Ask any successful business owner how long it took before they got their first vacation or day off.

entrepreneur

entrepreneur

When I was 16 I opted for a half day of school and then went straight to work in the afternoon. When that shift was finished I went to the mall and worked another job. I worked another part-time job selling Avon on the weekends. And I still made pretty decent grades.

I never cared that much about school at the time because I think deep down I always knew what I wanted to do. And there wasn’t anything I could learn in school that would prepare me to be an entrepreneur. Before you think I’m trashing education, I’m not. I believe you should learn every day of your life. I just don’t think college is for everyone. Especially an entrepreneur. If your career path is doctor, lawyer, scientist or engineer that’s a different story.

Remember the up and coming entrepreneur I was telling you about? She has over $100,000 in student loans to pay off and she’s working a minimum wage job that isn’t even close to what she got a degree in. I live next to a large college and I hear that same story all the time. If she had put $100,000 into a business she would be making a lot more than minimum wage by now. And wouldn’t be paying off debt. [Read more…]

6 Ways an Entrepreneur Can Get More Done in Less Time

entrepreneur time

entrepreneur time

If you’ve ever been to a tropical island, perhaps you’ve heard that people there run on “island time”. In other words, they get things done when they are good and ready. It sounds nice, but if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you know, the kind that actually pays bills and can get more done, you can’t get sucked in to that kind of trap.

Working from home is deceptive. I leave the TV on in the background sometimes so I don’t get lonely, but I rarely get to watch it. I keep the volume just loud enough so I can’t really hear what they’re saying. The lure to want to stop working and go play is strong. So, what’s the trick? Make your WORK your play.

If you aren’t doing something you really love to do, that you find interesting and exciting, you’re doing the wrong thing. Right now I know there’s a suspense/mystery on the I.D. Channel that’s calling me. But yet, I blog on. Because I love it. And I know if I finish all of my work I can watch back to back episodes of “Deadly Women” on TIVO. That gives me incentive. [Read more…]

Hiring What You Don’t Know

I remember taking a tour of a friend’s office and warehouse once. Okay, it was more like a compound. It was unassuming from the outside, but on the inside it was like a surreal toy factory.

There were different divisions that handled some thousand or so products. You could walk through the hallways and see teams of people working on new designs and packaging. Then there were other groups working on catalogs and marketing. All typing away at their computers.

So I was a little surprised that the owner, the big cheese, the head honcho, really couldn’t use a computer at all. Here was a multi-millionaire that had started this business in a one room apartment with no money and built it into a powerhouse. But he could barely send an email. When I asked why, he said he hired people to do what he couldn’t do, or didn’t want to do, and spent his time doing what he was best at.

I’ve spent the past few days trying to figure out how to put an HTML banner on my site. This is not something that’s easy for me to figure out and I’ve wasted a lot of valuable time. So, I finally decided to take my friend’s advice and hire someone for a couple of hours to come over and do it for me. [Read more…]