Recent Posts by Learning Entrepreneurship

Wrong. Character matters

angry bossWhether you are a CEO, politician, celebrity or simply a humble hard-working entrepreneur or employee, performance is continuously being assessed by the results you achieve. Does it matter how they are achieved?

Some people think not, results are all that matter. They’re wrong.

Character matters. Ethics, attitude and approach matter. Tactics and methods matter. Success and the desired results may appear to be achieved, regardless of the behaviour. Immoral, irresponsible, ruthless, and aggressive behaviour may even appear to have been necessary to achieve the results. Wrong again.

The apparent short term gains will eventually be lost to long term reactions. The used and abused will get even. A legacy of accomplishment may be completely forgotten, when the true character is revealed. Just ask Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein or Rosanne Barr.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit for more Blog posts and articles.

Join our mailing listfor regular e-mails with ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:"Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Listen to Mom

Even when she’s not there


My Mom passed away almost eighteen months ago, but I still hear her talking to me, telling me her favourite stories, responding with great one-liners and encouraging me to do better and be better. I still try to make her proud.

MOMSound familiar?

If you can, be sure to tell her she's loved and appreciated. Everyday, not just on Mother's Day.

Happy Mother’s Day!

These are my favourite Blog posts to share for Mother’s Day.

Happy Mother’s Day to Mom’s everywhere.

 Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

 Visit for more Blog posts and articles.

Join our mailing listfor regular e-mails with ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:"Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Warming up or procrastinating?

It’s your choice

Rock starsLike for the rock-stars, a warm up act can be good. A good warm up act gets the main act and the audience in the mood for a great performance.

If you’re working on your own big performance it’s a good idea to warm up, a little stretching or a quick jog around the track.  Or a few Blog posts and Tweets to warm up before working on the serious article or a new book. (This is me, doing that.)

BUT, be careful you’re not procrastinating. Stalling until you feel like you’re “in the mood” for it. Maybe it’s better to just “Do it!”

Warm up by getting started. Set a time to get going, when the bell rings or the puck drops.

Remember, the vacuuming and the laundry are not urgent! Re-organizing your files and cleaning up your junk mail, that’s procrastinating. They need to be done and done right, but not RIGHT NOW!

Make a distinction, are you warming up for the main act or postponing the important stuff with very poor excuses?

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit for more Blog posts and articles.

Join our mailing listfor regular e-mails with ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:"Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book. 

Image is everything

Don’t let packaging become a problem

Does your packaging provide a competitive advantage? Does it appeal to customers and enhance your brand name? Raise your corporate profile?

Or is it annoying and dysfunctional? Loud and obnoxious, attracting the wrong kind of attention.

The trick is to make packaging decisions in favour of the customer first. Not just for flashy presentation on the shelf or to prevent shoplifting. Think about those packages you hate and make sure you’re not among them. Like those giant colourful, appealing boxes of cereal that turn out to be only two-thirds full. Or Gillette razor-blades that are locked down and set off alarms if you want to take a closer look.

Is that really helping sales? Making it look overpriced and hard to buy?

Some packaging is all about presentation and not at all practical for consumers when they get it home. Buy a new shirt or pair of socks and you’ll ask yourself, “Why do they need all the paper and cardboard wrapping? And 27 pins buried in painfully hard to find places?”

heinz-ketchup-bottlesAnd then there’s Ketchup. Fifty years of impractical glass bottles that were a challenge to get the tomato paste out of. Was it really a branding strategy to build a cult following of unusually persistent dedicated buyers? Pissing people off is not usually a good sales tactic. Finally some genius at Heinz introduced the squeezable upside-down plastic container. Great! And much easier to consume large quantities. Now that has to be good for sales.

How good is your packaging?

Instead of wrapping up your stuff in flashy exaggerated marketing B.S. and tying it down tight so nobody can steal it, think about higher values of being functional, appealing, authentic and socially and environmentally responsible. Easy to open, but secure from tampering or inappropriate use. Non-polluting.

And stop worrying about people stealing it.

Try giving it away instead. Those people may just become loyal repeat customers and raving fans who tell everybody how wonderful you and your product are. Those giveaways may be your best-performing marketing initiative.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson 

Visit for more Blog posts and articles.

Join our mailing listfor regular e-mails with ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check out Uncle Ralph’s books:"Don't Do It the Hard Way" and "The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans" Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Impressive, talented and tough

Business is like golf

henderson-brookeBrooke Henderson showed great skill and determination on the weekend as she dominated the strong winds and the world-class competitors at Ko Olina Golf Club in Hawaii to win the Lotte Championship for her sixth LPGA Tour victory.

After a disappointing round of shaky putting trouble in the third-round, Henderson finished strong at 12-under par for a four stroke victory. The 20-year-old from Smiths Falls, Ont. is already within two victories of tying Sandra Post’s LPGA Tour career record for Canadians.

A charming young lady, she has talent and skill and the strength of character to push through against all obstacles. She also demonstrated her integrity and generosity with effusive praise for her supporting team, especially her caddy, sister Brittany, and a thoughtful tribute to the families of Humboldt, Saskatchewan after the tragic bus accident for the Broncos hockey team.

A great Canadian, athlete and inspiration.



Is your Bank a Welcome and Willing Partner in your Business?

Why not?

bankersBanks have their own version of what they want from you, in order to have a productive relationship.

Here are my own tips, based on decades of working with both sides:

 1. They will not get it.

 2. It's only about the money.

 3. They have a checklist.

 4. Reduce the risks.

 5. Think big.

 6. Get a second opinion.

 7. It's not a people business.

 8. Manage your numbers.

 9. No surprises, please. 

 10. People still matter.

For the full details on how to make your banker a welcome and willing partner in your business, here is the original article.

This article is an extract from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way."

Entrepreneurs are usually quick to agree that banks are an obstacle to their success, rather than a key supporter. Most business owners certainly do not consider their bankers as welcome and willing partners in their business.

Yet it is an important relationship that will often affect your ability to grow and to survive periods of financial stress. It may very well be your most important strategic partnership. So give your banker the same priority and attention as your best customer. You do not want to have them become your worst supplier, instead. If they are not yet a key strategic partner, then something needs to change.

Working with your bank as an unwilling and unwelcome partner can be a destructive distraction from managing business growth and profitability.

My recommendations for a more effective partnership with your banker are built on understanding the following key principles of that relationship:

1. They will not get it.

Start by accepting that your bankers will never fully understand what you do for a living - your motivation, your challenges or your circumstances. But you do have to try to get them to understand enough about you and your business operations so that they can be confident that working with you will be good for them.

Remember the bank's primary role is not to lend you money; it's to earn a return on their investment for their shareholders and limit the risk of losing money.

2. It's only for the money.

You will need to prove that the money is all you need; because you have looked after everything else.

The banker does not want to worry about your customers, your management team, your sales and marketing efforts, your operating efficiencies, your health, your marriage or anything else except the financial services you need.

3. They have a checklist.

When you meet and fill in the forms, remember the banker wants to be satisfied on these five criteria:

  • Character – do you have a reputation of integrity and responsibility on prior financial obligations?
  • Capital – do you have enough invested in your business to be personally at risk?
  • Capacity – do you have good potential to support the cash flow requirements?
  • Collateral – if you cannot repay your loans, what assets are available to cover them?
  • Conditions – is your industry in good economic condition or in a downturn?

Good answers on all these points will give you the start to a good relationship with a confident and willing partner instead of tentative support from a cautious and reluctant partner.

4. Reduce the risk.

You may be stimulated by risk and reward; your banker is not.

Banking is a very conservative career choice. Regardless of how good you and your plans are, the banker will still want personal guarantees. That means he gets your house if you fail.

(Note: I have never met a banker who found it amusing to suggest that you should get his house, if you succeed.)

5. Think big.

The more you need, the more interested they'll be and you'll likely get better terms. (The only time I had no personal guarantees was when the loans were up to $4.8 million.) So, if you're starting small, be sure to describe your growth plans and your intention to build a strong, long-term banking relationship.

6. Get a second opinion.

Bankers love to win business away from other banks. That's good for their careers. (That’s how we got the $4.8 million with favourable terms.) So check out the competition anytime you need new financing or your current bank is not serving you well.

Just be sincere and be ready to change. One banker asked me directly, "If I meet all your requests will you move to my bank?" I said, "Yes". Then he delivered and so did we.

7. It's not a people business.

It's a numbers business and you cannot negotiate with a computer. That friendly, helpful person you're talking to does not make the decisions. Your numbers get fed into some obscure computer program and the answers (or more questions) pop out. They are not negotiable. A good banking relationship means that you will be told what numbers are required to get favourable answers.

8. Manage your numbers

Make sure your business plan computes and gives financial results that are attractive to lenders. Then manage the numbers to deliver the results and stay within the limits set by the bank. Read the fine print to be sure you don't miss any requirements to maintain financial ratios or any restrictions on payments to shareholders. Deliver financial reports as required, but also be sure to provide your own analysis and explanations before someone else does. You don't want that computer to set off the alarms.

9. No surprises, please.

Bad news is never well received, but the reaction will be much worse if it's also a surprise. And no news at all only makes them worry.

Keep your banker aware of what might go wrong and what you plan to do about it. Then keep them current as things evolve so they get used to your ever-changing circumstances and how you are handling them. (Hopefully, well.) Avoid going back with a new plan too soon or too often. And try to plan well ahead of any request for more financing. It is very hard to get the bank to help you out of a disaster when you’re in it.

10. People still matter.

The personal connection is still a very important part of a good relationship with your bank. Part of managing that relationship is to be sure that you are not entirely dependent on just one contact. If the relationship lasts, your contact person will change and you need to know someone else to maintain continuity of the relationship. Stay connected at several levels.

Your banking relationship needs to be strong to withstand the inevitable hard times that hit any business. A welcome and willing partner should help you weather those occasional storms.

I’m sure you have your own anecdotes of unsupportive bankers, but it is more important to get them onside with your other key strategic partners.

Happy banking!

Be better. Do better. 

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Lessons from the Masters

Business is like Golf

Masters 2018Four days of exciting Masters Tournament golf in the 82nd year of its memorable history at the beautiful and challenging Augusta National Golf Course also delivered some lessons for us all.

The winner of a suspenseful round on Sunday for the Masters trophy, the traditional green jacket and $1.98 million in prize money was 27-year old, Patrick Reed. He prevailed with four excellent rounds against strong challenges from the best young golfers in the world, Rory McIlroy, Ricky Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas and against the nostalgic hopes of the over-40 previous Masters winners Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Fred Couples and Bernhard Langer.

Here’s what we learned and why business is like golf:

  1. Young, new competitors are still most likely to win. Seven of the top ten finishers were under thirty years old. Younger, faster, stronger, and just as talented and tough, makes for very challenging contenders.
  2. Veterans can still do well.  If you stay fit, use current technology and maintain your commitment to getting results, then you can also share in the rewards. You don’t have to be best. Third place was worth $748,000. Four players, including two veterans, tied for fifth and won $386,000 each. Tiger Woods was back, but not at his best. He finished strong and remains a threat to the young guns.
  3. Consistent high performance is necessary to prevail.  Jordan Spieth had two record-breaking rounds and two ordinary rounds, he finished third. Rory McIlroy started in second place on Sunday, but lost his touch on the greens and finished fifth.
  4. Not every shot will be a good one.  It’s how you recover from your mistakes that matter. Fifty yards off the fairway and under the trees? Then hit it from the pine needles down the fairway and close to the pin.
  5. Even the good shots may end up badly.  A beautiful long curling 200-yard shot lands in the centre of the green, then rolls off the edge and into the water. Drop another ball and carry on.
  6. A good attitude, plus talent and hard work are necessary, but a little good luck also helps. Reed chipped too hard from the edge of the green and the ball was going fast across the green toward the water, but hit the flagstick and fell in the hole. Exactly what he intended!

Remember: Business is like golf.

Be better, do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog


Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.comand join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check outUncle Ralph’s books, Don’t Do It the Hard Way and The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans. Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.




Choose your critics

And maybe still ignore their input 

Somewhere in the process you are going to hear from the critics. You may even ask for it. For product development, customer satisfaction, or market testing, you'll be asking, how do you like me so far?

The first step in getting constructive feedback is to choose your critics wisely. Are they relevant to your target audience? Are they knowledgeable, perceptive and willing to contribute?

You still may not like all the answers. But you should not be asking people who are too complementary, kind and generous. You want to be surprised, or disappointed. To learn something you didn’t already know. Maybe you’re worrying about the wrong things. You can try to think like a customer, but it’s better to ask what they’re thinking.

To get valuable feedback from willing critics and retain the right to choose what you use, remember to make two requests at the start:

1) Please be honest, and

2) Please don’t be offended, if I choose to ignore your input.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Perfect enough

Time to expose the flaws

artist at work (2)Don’t let perfectionism become an excuse for procrastinating. You can continue making improvements, editing, revising, polishing, testing and tuning without ever releasing a final product. But at some point, you have to decide it’s perfect enough.

It’s time to let fans, readers, customers find the remaining flaws. Maybe they’ll love it as it is. They’ll never see the same imperfections that you’re obsessing over. They may find some that you never noticed.

Let it go. Share your work with the world.

Work on the next one. It will start closer to perfection based on what you’ve already done.

Good enough is too low a threshold, perfect enough is better.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Recent Comments by Learning Entrepreneurship

No comments by Learning Entrepreneurship yet.