Category Archives: Uncategorized

Entrepreneurs don’t read

And business fiction doesn’t sell

I’m trying to prove both assumptions are wrong. A futile exercise?

Maybe you can help.

Dale_Hunter_Series_facebook_banner_4-24 Version #3

First, entrepreneurs can and do read – mostly non-fiction books and articles, mostly related to business and self-improvement. I think we can agree, entrepreneurs are time-challenged and do not want to waste it on fiction. Many do try to keep current on the economic news, business issues and maybe the latest best-seller on leadership or entrepreneurship, but fiction? Not often. No spare time to read for enjoyment, except on the plane or on the beach. Even then it’s seldom fiction.

Are they missing the opportunity for some creative, lateral thinking? New sources of ideas, information and inspiration? Maybe, but their reading habits are already set and unlikely to change.

So my Dale Hunter Series of crime thriller novels set in the computer industry of the 1980s is about an entrepreneur, but it’s written for a wider audience. Appealing to both my 93-year old mother-in-law and my 14-year-old grandson and everyone in between. Different people like it for difference reasons.

You can decide for yourself. Enjoy the fun summer read!

A Free E-book copy of NO EASY MONEY at: Book funnel https://dl.bookfunnel.com/nbi0i5e10t (Offer ends Aug. 15th.)

PLEASE, TELL A FRIEND!

Any feedback, comments, suggestions or reviews are welcome.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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.

Bad behaviour

Needs to be changed, not explained

Baby TrumpBad behaviour needs to be changed, not analyzed, explained, rationalized or excused.

Speculating over why it’s happening may keep the analysts and commentators busy, but it’s tiresome and irrelevant. If the bad behaviour can be stopped by removing the cause, then let’s do that, but if we cannot determine the cause, then let’s accept the fact that it will continue unless we change it.

The best way to help change the behaviour is to allow the negative consequences to be evident and obvious to the individual and to his supporters, facilitators and enablers.  It doesn’t matter if it’s an arrogant politician or selfish CEO, delinquent employee or spoiled 5-year old. Let’s change the behaviour or change the player.

(OK, maybe not change your 5-year old, he’ll grow up and improve.)

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Consultants: How to Choose, Use, and Not Abuse Them

sold!  Help them, help you

Since my first consulting project over thirty years ago, I have learned a lot about how to successfully manage consulting projects and the client/consultant relationship.

Here are some ideas that may help you with your consultants (and your lawyers, accountants and other professionals):

  1. Before you introduce consultants to the process, be sure you need what you want and want what you need. Beware of consultants that agree to do whatever you want, whether you need it or not.
  2. Look internally to confirm the three “C’s” of consulting project readiness: Capacity in budget, time and resources; Commitment of management and staff affected by the process; and Capability to support the project and implement the conclusions.
  3. One more “C” – Compatibility. Select your consultants from an organisation that is compatible with yours – are you a corporate multinational or a local entrepreneurial business?
  4. Recognize whether your consulting needs are strategic: requiring outside expertise to inspire and facilitate your business planning process, or operational: bringing knowledge, skills and experience that are not available internally.
  5. Meet the operating consultant. It may not be the same charming, talented person that sold you the work.  And at those fee rates you don’t want to train a recent MBA, who started last week and studied your industry yesterday.
  6. Test Drive: Check whether the consultant arrives with questions, not answers; will operate as neither boss nor employee; and will win the hearts and minds of your staff. Successful consultants will listen, understand, empathize, analyze, strategize and persuade better than normal people.
  7. Remember you are hiring a consultant to challenge and push you. You are not renting a friend to tell you how smart you are.
  8. Can you confidently expect a solution that will be yours not theirs?
  9. Ask for references.  Call them.
  10. Ask who is not on the reference list and why not.  Learn what they think causes a project to be unsuccessful.  And ask which list they expect you to be on when this is over.
  11. Ask for fee rates and a work plan with estimated hours. Then agree on a fixed fee for agreed deliverables with dates, documents and milestones.
  12. Don’t let their progress reports interfere with your progress.  Get what you need, not what they need for internal “CYA” requirements.
  13. Check who else is billing time to your project.  Sometimes there is a very expensive partner back at the office who needs to keep his billing rate up. Your budget can be quickly consumed while he “supervises” from a distance.
  14. Avoid surprises.  Ask about additional expenses: travel, telephone and printing. Terms of payment?
  15. Do they have a satisfaction guarantee?
  16. Get the agreement in writing, read it before signing it.
  17. Watch for signs of trouble: such as, selling more work before the work is done; long delays between on-site visits; too much time spent “back at the office” and billed to you.
  18. And finally, remember consultants are people too. They want to boast about good work and satisfied clients.  You can help them help you.  Don’t be difficult.

With all due respect and best regards to my favourite clients and consulting associates.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

It’s another New Year. So what.

It’s still a good time to reflect and plan

(Sorry for playing the old hits with a repeat of my message from January 2016, but it’s still appropriate and applicable to 2018.)

In the ditchYou have already looked at too many year-end reviews and predictions for the New Year. The consensus seems to be that last year was bad everywhere and this year will be worse: more terrorist events and political stupidity, extreme weather and natural disasters, investments at risk of a bursting bubble and volatile economic conditions that will challenge every industry.

So if you cannot control the environment, what can you do differently this year? Aside from trying to stay out of the ditch.

A good general rule is to keep it simple. Focus on just two memorable accomplishments for the year – one personal, one professional. Richard Branson suggests that you refrain from making another to-do list, but work instead on your to-be list.  It is more important who you are than what you do.

Work on making memories.

If you look back on last year, how would you characterize your achievements? Personally and professionally, what were the outstanding memories? Did they just happen or were they your intent? It may not have been something that changed the world, but were they significant memories for you and the important people around you?

So what will your memories be for this year? Will it be the year for a major turning point in your career, or your business direction or your personal development?

Of course a more detailed plan is required, but I recommend to start with some simple objectives that are easy to remember without getting distracted by external events. Work on the issues that you can control and the actions that will make a difference. Be prepared for surprises and disappointments that are out of your control and develop the resilience and strength to get past them.

Have a good year. Make it memorable.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at: Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs

 

Click Here to 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.

 

‘Tis the Season

For reflection and relationships

Family of Feet warming at a fireplaceForget the shopping and the frenzy of holiday season obligations and year-end deadlines. Take time for reflection and relationships. The Holiday Season should be dedicated to finding quality time for quiet reflection on life and the world around us and for the relationships that are most important to us.

First, with compliments to my wise wife, Penny and the Advent Conspiracy Video, re-direct some of your time and money to sharing with those in need of both connection and support to improve their lives.

Take time out to work on family relationships and be a better parent, grandparent, sibling, son or daughter.

Set aside for a while the pressing issues and challenges of your business and build better personal relationships with associates and colleagues who are more than cash-flow generating employees, customers and suppliers.  Wake up and learn like Scrooge did that there is more to life. Remember the part about having fun and making a difference.

Wishing you all the joys of the season and a very healthy and Happy New Year.

Your Uncle Ralph,

Del Chatterson

 

 

It’s all about the Money

Of course

raining cashAs they keep telling us, “It’s always about the money.”

Time to stop denying, explaining, apologizing? Maybe we can just ignore the critics and focus on the people that are really important to us.

It’s the employees, customers and suppliers, maybe your bank and probably your family, that really need to know you also have their interests at heart. You already know that you could make more money, especially in the short term, by taking a few short cuts. They’re not all illegal, some are just exploitive or objectionable use of people and the planet. But you also know that they are all actually bad for your business, if you want to maintain your ability to look after all those people that are important to you.

 Now let’s deal with the critics. Unfortunately, they can influence the environment you work in and the rules you have to comply with, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about. So let’s help them understand what entrepreneurs are really about. Don’t let them accept all the easy stereotypes and generalize from the few bad actors.

We don’t need to apologize (I hope), but we do need to explain.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

The people problem

The challenge of making good fits

A recent conversation with an entrepreneur drawn unexpectedly into a family business, reminded me that the biggest challenge to building and growing a better business is managing the relationships within the organisation.

meeting - explainingLike him and most other entrepreneurs I know, you are confident and competent in the primary domain essential to the business – technology, operations, financial or sales and marketing management. But managing people and inter-personal relationships is a tougher challenge. And it can be painful to be continuously drawn into issues that you are not interested in and not good at. You would rather focus on other priorities and ignore the distractions – performance reviews, payroll and benefit plans, managers that are competing instead of co-operating, conflict between employees on the job, petty complaints about policy and procedures, questions about who is doing what and why.

People do make it challenging and maybe you can delegate to a human resource professional, but as the owner/manager you have to ensure that people and relationship issues are not holding back business performance.

The solution lies in making good fits. Getting the right people in the right jobs, doing what they are both good at and like to do. Building teams at all levels that deliver better performance and solutions because they communicate well and share effectively their different strengths, knowledge and experience.

It starts with open two-way communication throughout the organisation. From the corporate mission statement, strategy and objectives down to the set-up and staffing of the reception area. Advise, listen, explain. Listen again, explain again. Still a challenge, but too important to be neglected.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to 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.

Necessary, but not sufficient

You’re not there yet. 

Golf swing“Keep your head down, focus, stay calm.”

All good advice, but never sufficient to get you to the finish line with a higher level of performance. Remember there are usually a few more steps in the process of improvement.

The first step is necessary, but never sufficient to initiate real change or start seeing better results. In golf or business.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to 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.

 

More celebrations

Fewer apologies 

It seems to be part of the new approach to historic anniversary celebrations to give more attention to apologizing for past failures and the sins of our ancestors than on recognizing our accomplishments and the progress we have made on all fronts since those evil events in our past.

celebrationsThe celebratory narrative is interrupted by vociferous activists and protestors directing the audience to their issues and raining on our parade. They do get our attention, but it’s not usually the time and place for constructive action on challenging issues. It is too easy to respond to the rhetoric and symbolism with more rhetoric and symbolism, instead of initiating creative and ambitious programs to make real progress. Another time and place, starting with an exchange of mutual respect and goodwill, will more likely lead to practical long-term solutions.

In life, business and politics, it is important and instructive to recognize our accomplishments as well as our failures. It is acceptable to create a mythical version of our history and who and what we are, without denying our errors and imperfections, as long as it inspires us to strive continuously to achieve those high ideals.

Apologizing is not enough. Let’s be more ambitious.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to 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.

 

Manage like a Hockey Mom

But in a good way

hockey-fansIt is that time of year for hockey playoffs and not just in the NHL. It’s always exciting and entertaining and often provides inspiration and ideas for outside the hockey rink.

At a grandson’s recent Peewee AAA hockey tournament in Montreal, the welcome brochure included the Quebec Hockey Association’s Code of Ethics for Parents (also useful for grandparents). In reading it, I realized it could be adapted as a useful guide for business owners and managers. Here is my version.

The Code of Ethics for Entrepreneurs

As a business owner and responsible manager, I recognize that I have the potential and the opportunity to make an important contribution to the personal development and well-being of the individuals who choose to work with me and accept that as a priority over “winning the game”.

I will therefore ensure my conduct continually demonstrates that:

  • I understand that my employees are here for their benefit and pleasure, not mine.
  • I consider winning as part of the pleasure of playing the game; I will not exaggerate the pain of failure; and I will recognize errors as a necessary part of the learning experience.
  • I will respect the efforts and the decisions of the supporters and supervisors and of the outside authorities responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations. I will do my best to understand and accept the rules and regulations applicable to my business.
  • I will recognize good performance on the part of our individual employees, as well as that of our competitors.
  • I accept each individual’s limitations and will not project my own ambitions or unreasonable expectations upon anyone. My expectations will be appropriate to the qualifications and experience of each individual.
  • I will demonstrate and expect from all employees a reflection of the important values of respect, discipline, effort and loyalty.
  • I will not encourage or tolerate any level of personal harassment, conflict or aggressive behavior.
  • I will encourage and support the personal development of the skills and capabilities for every individual.

Good advice from responsible hockey moms. (I do notice that a lot gets ignored during the playoffs when winning is everything, but that’s another issue for a future article. Meanwhile, the hockey analysts are all over it.)

Be better. Do better. As a responsible, enlightened entrepreneur.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Click Here to 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.