Archives for October 2012

Prepare For Your Business Like You Would Prepare For a Storm

Hurricane Sandy, or “Frankenstorm” as it’s been nicknamed, is barreling down on the east coast this week. Home owners and business owners are boarding up in anticipation of a monster of a storm that is expected to last for up to a week.

storm

storm

We never expect anything like this to happen, but the truth is that it does. The same thing can happen with your business, so you should prepare for it now. As a manufacturer I did think to prepare in case anything happened to the factory, like a typhoon or political upheaval. But I didn’t anticipate the price of oil going up so much (affects the price of plastic and shipping) or how bad the economy would become (not just here, but around the world).

Here are some things to consider when preparing for a natural disaster or one that hits your business: [Read more…]

Why Didn’t I Get Hired?

On my trip back east last week I shared a cab with a guy who had graduated from college a couple of years ago and was still looking for a job in his chosen field. He was in Washington, D.C. for a job interview, but said he didn’t think he got the job. As a business owner and someone who has hired a few people in the past, I could immediately tell why he didn’t get it. Unfortunately I think it may be a long time before he does get a job. And I’ll tell you why.

Why didn't I get hired?

Why didn’t I get hired?

First of all, he was a very nice, polite guy who was dressed in a suit and tie. That part is actually ahead of many people I meet at job fairs who show up in jeans, T-shirts, mini skirts, and flip flops. So that wasn’t the issue.

He was well spoken and well educated. I didn’t see his resume, but if he graduated two years ago and hasn’t had a job since then, that resume is going to be quite thin. But that also isn’t the problem.

The very first thing I notice at job fairs after the dress code is the person’s attitude. I could care less if you have the best resume on the planet. In fact, I’ve hired plenty of people who were fresh out of college and barely had anything on their resume. But what they had, that this guy lacked, was enthusiasm, passion, curiosity, and creativity. I worked three jobs to start my business. I sacrificed nights, weekends, holidays, and vacations to put everything into the business. Hiring an employee is one of the biggest costs of running a business. As a small business owner I simply can’t afford to hire the wrong person. So I’m as careful as I can be about who I put on the payroll. And I don’t think I’m that different from other business owners.

Here are some issues that need to be addressed from the employer’s point of view. This is just from my own view of start-ups, which may be different from large corporations. [Read more…]

Are You Creating Loyal Customers?

loyal customers

loyal customers

I would be willing to bet that most people are creatures of habit. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, because when we find companies we like we tend to stick with them. That could be a brand of clothing or a type of car or the restaurants we frequent. And we usually tend to stick to our own neighborhood restaurants for various reasons.

So, when I found out one of my favorite restaurants had gone out of business, it was sad. This is where I spent many Thanksgivings and Christmases enjoying the holiday special of turkey and pumpkin pie.

I went through the restaurant reviews and found out that I wasn’t the only one that felt that way. In fact, some of the reviews were quite interesting. [Read more…]

My Week Without TV or Internet

Unplugged

Unplugged

I just realized it’s been quite a while since I wrote my last blog post. I’ve been on the road traveling and had no Internet access or even a TV. I think the last time I did this was years ago when I was backpacking through New Zealand. I didn’t exactly do it on purpose, but the places I stayed didn’t have either one.

Funny, I did have a phone, but no one called me all week. I was already getting to the point that I thought many people have stopped connecting to each other. And after stepping back and watching the world go by in my week without TV or Internet I realized I was right.

You would think by the way I’m talking that I was on a mountaintop in Siberia, but no, it was New York City, Washington, D.C. and places in between. I stayed in B and Bs and hotels in the middle of nowhere with no Internet access and bad cable reception.  [Read more…]