Learning Blogs

More ideas, information, inspiration.

Available NOW – Novel NO EASY MONEY and Uncle Ralph’s Business Books

Available NOW Novel NO EASY MONEY and Uncle Ralph's   Business Books NO EASY MONEY, “You never win playing by the rules.” The first in a series of Dale Hunter Crime Novels, this novel an explosive mix of crime, cash and computers in the 1980s. Entrepreneurs face challenges every day. It’s hard to be a hero. This is the story of a Continue Reading

Political decisions

Political decisions Risky business Political decisions are risky because they're public and they're personal. They're political because they're about principles, policy and personalities. They're important and unavoidable. Political decisions have to be made, not just in politics... in business and in life. The question is, will the decision be guided by the principals and the policy objectives or by the Continue Reading

Entrepreneurs don’t read

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. 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 Continue Reading

Good luck or bad bounce?

Good luck or bad bounce? Hazards of the British Open Tiger Woods was leading after nine holes. At one point it was Spieth, also Kisner, Schauffele, and Chappell. Finally the winner, after four days of challenging conditions and 72 difficult holes of Scottish links golf, was Francesco Molinari. How to explain it? Yes, the best golfer won, that’s the way Continue Reading

What did you learn today?

What did you learn today? You don’t have to be in school to learn something every day If your goal is to get better and do better, then you should be learning something new every day. You don’t have to be in school to be learning. There are many alternative learning strategies and they can all make a difference. Read Continue Reading

Bad behaviour needs to be changed, not explained

Bad behaviour Needs to be changed, not explained Bad 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 Continue Reading

Enlightened Entrepreneurship – A wider perspective

Enlightened Entrepreneurship A wider perspective “I’m only in it for the money.” Really? Hardly anyone admits to it; most of us are accused of it. Most of us already know that being motivated by personal gain and short term profit are losing propositions. We must have a higher purpose and satisfy a wider spectrum of interested stakeholders to achieve sustainable Continue Reading

Results are all that matter

Wrong. Character matters Whether 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 Continue Reading

Listen to Mom

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. Sound familiar? If you can, be sure to tell her Continue Reading

Warming up or procrastinating?

Warming up or procrastinating? It’s your choice Like 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 Continue Reading

Image is everything

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 Continue Reading

Character makes a difference

Impressive, talented and tough Business is like golf Brooke 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 Continue Reading

Video blog post: Bankers, Willing & Welcome?

Bankers - Willing & Welcome? Video blog post: Click to view the video: (8 mins.) https://youtu.be/p9goXIhSauU For a quick scan of the original post or to read it yourself, click on: Is your Bank a Welcome and Willing Partner in your Business?            

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

Is your Bank a Welcome and Willing Partner in your Business? Why not? Banks 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 Continue Reading

Lessons from the Masters

Lessons from the Masters Business is like Golf Four 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 Continue Reading

Choose your critics

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 Continue Reading

Perfect enough

Perfect enough Time to expose the flaws 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 Continue Reading

Qualifying Questions

Qualifying Questions Is it Strategic or Operational? Before leaping into action, it is important to ask yourself some qualifying questions and make better decisions about both the immediate and the long-term action required. Entrepreneurs are inclined to act instinctively and “just do it” when they are presented with a new challenge, opportunity or problem. No time wasted. Let’s not make Continue Reading

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

Consultants: How to Choose, Use, and Not Abuse Them   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): Before you introduce Continue Reading

Deadlines can be deadly

Deadlines can be deadly Don’t overdo it Most of us agree that deadlines are necessary. They help us to scope the work and make a plan.  Awareness of the deadline helps us to focus and get the work done on time. But, the stated deadline may be entirely arbitrary or self-imposed and it may actually not be very important. Seldom Continue Reading

Juggling too many balls?

Juggling too many balls? Maybe more than one is the first mistake   It’s not the number. It’s the amount of time you spend on each one before throwing it back into the air. Try it. Be better. Do better. Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson  

High pressure sales tactics

High pressure sales tactics Because they work If you have recently strolled the beach near any southern resort hotel, you have probably been introduced to the “body snatchers,” timeshare salesmen offering attractive incentives – free dinner, golf, Cirque de Soleil tickets – for you to attend a brief sales presentation at their resort. And then you can easily waste half Continue Reading

Customer Service is Marketing?

Customer Service is Marketing? Simply deliver what you promised  A recent Linkedin article argued that Customer Service is the new method of Marketing – do it right and traditional marketing is unnecessary. I would argue that it’s an essential element of a three part process – Marketing, Sales and then Customer Service – to deliver the objective of attracting, satisfying Continue Reading

Exceeding expectations

Exceeding expectations Even if you’re not working for tips  Good waiters and bartenders get it. Prepare a good product and meet the minimum expectations for delivery, quality and price, then add the personal friendly touch, demonstrate your expertise and dispense your worldly wise advice to create a more knowledgeable buyer, who appreciates it all. It's good for tips. Even better Continue Reading

Lead by example

Lead by example Show the way and how to behave getting there Leadership means more than showing the way to achieve your goals and improve group performance. It requires demonstrating your guiding principles on dealing with challenges and working with colleagues, associates, suppliers and customers. People follow your example more than they will be persuaded by powerful rhetoric. Leadership by command Continue Reading

The Power of No

The Power of No Be willing to walk away It's not a tactic and it's not a bluff. It's a change in attitude that changes the relationship for both sides. Now you are only here because you both want to be. And you're working toward the same objective. Confronted with a firm no, both parties will find a better way Continue Reading

Pricing to please

Pricing to please Not everybody, but your target customers “Can you do better?” Back in the day, when I was selling computer hardware to resellers in Boston, that was usually their response, whenever I quoted a price. Actually, in Boston it was more like, “Can yuh do bettah?” In any case, my smart-ass reply was often, “Better for you or Continue Reading

2018 And it’s another New Year. So what.

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.) You have already looked at too many year-end reviews and predictions for the New Year. The consensus seems to be that last Continue Reading

‘Tis the Season

‘Tis the Season For reflection and relationships Forget 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 Continue Reading

Good salesmanship still works

Good salesmanship still works And you can’t fake sincerity Ambushed at the service counter. But it was such a smooth, subtle switch to the sales pitch that I was persuaded to sit down and listen. Before I got out of the car at the dealership service bay, I noticed the well-dressed young man coming to greet me who did not Continue Reading

Retail is dead?

Retail is dead Hah! They said that about the horse & buggy industry. We’ve been saying it about retail for over fifteen years.  E-commerce is coming, catch the wave or be drowned by it. Soon there will be nobody left but Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba. Maybe this Christmas shopping season will be the final slide into oblivion for traditional real-world Continue Reading

Breakfast Strategies

Breakfast Strategies More than 2 scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, toast & jam. I have been working to establish a new family tradition of big boys’ breakfast on Sundays for grandpa, sons and grandsons. The variety of breakfast spots has been a useful lesson in strategic positioning. The specialty breakfast restaurant is a well-established concept, especially in Montréal, starting with Chez Continue Reading

Tiger lessons – Business is like Golf

Tiger lessons – Business is like Golf Coming back as a contender Tiger Woods is back. Playing in the Bahamas against the top 32 golfers in the world, he clearly belongs there again, hopefully for the 2018 season. Age 42, after four back surgeries and he has not played more than two tournaments in almost three years. How does he Continue Reading

It’s all about the Money

It’s all about the Money Of course As 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 Continue Reading

Under Promise & Over Deliver

Under Promise & Over Deliver But don’t Under Sell It’s a popular mantra: Under Promise & Over Deliver And it’s good advice to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction. Promise delivery in the next 3-5 days, then deliver tomorrow. Wow! Customers love it. Except those customers who did not order it, because they needed it in two days. Cautious promises Continue Reading

Lonely at the top

Lonely at the top It doesn’t have to be You could be proud of the fact that you are all alone running your business. You could be constantly complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. Or you can make different choices. It can be lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be. Sharing your challenges and looking for solutions Continue Reading

Hiding in anonymity

Hiding in anonymity Who me? Bad behaviour is easier when it’s anonymous. As you have noticed, I’m sure.  In traffic behind tinted windows in a closed car, drivers are more likely to be rude, selfish and inconsiderate. Online, aggressive and inappropriate behaviour is even worse and made easier if it’s anonymous. Some people enjoy the attention and notoriety of their Continue Reading

“I knew that, I do that”

“I knew that, I do that” Obviously Sometimes when you’re working on self-improvement and reading the latest business textbook, or following a self-help advice column or participating in a workshop or seminar from your carefully chosen preferred expert, guru or philosopher king, you may suddenly think, “Hey, that’s obvious. I already knew that. Of course I do that.” The experts Continue Reading

You’re fired!

You’re fired! Hire well, but fire better Donald Trump made his name as a Reality TV star with the trademark line, “You’re fired!” As President in the real world, instead of the very unreal Reality TV world, he may have used it one too many times. There is a lesson here for entrepreneurs. Firing an employee needs to be done Continue Reading

Disaster insurance

Disaster insurance Reducing risks Strange concept, insurance. You hope the disaster never happens, but you bet that it will and buy insurance to recover when it does. The insurance company takes your money and bets against you, also hoping it never happens. If it happens, you win (at least on the insurance), they lose. Flood, fire or theft, commercial liability, Continue Reading

No conflict of interest?

No conflict of interest? Look closer The next time an agent, broker, lawyer or advisor offers to help and work on both sides of the deal, say “No thanks”. If they try to tell you there is no conflict of interest for them, then reply, “Either you know you’re lying, or you do not. Either way, I’m disappointed. And the Continue Reading

Evil greedy entrepreneurs

Evil greedy entrepreneurs Reinforcing the stereotypes There is currently a lot of angry rhetoric around the Liberal government proposals for tax reform related to small business. “Trying to ensure fairness for the hard working middle class,” is their oft-claimed objective. “Removing corporate tax loop-holes only available to the wealthy.” But the policy debate quickly deteriorates into reinforcing preconceived stereotypes of Continue Reading

It takes a conversation

It takes a conversation Not a lecture “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” followed by the evil warden delivering a severe blow to drive the message into the dumb prisoner’s thick skull. Maybe it works in the movies. But the approach is probably as useless as raising the volume or relentlessly repeating the same message. If you Continue Reading

The people problem

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. Like him and most other entrepreneurs I know, you are confident and competent in the primary domain essential to Continue Reading

Participative management

Participative management You cannot fake it Is your business run democratically? Probably not. Employees do not get to vote, managers are supposed to be responsible and make consistently good decisions. Let’s not confuse them with too many contrary, ill-informed opinions. We have seen too many unhappy conclusions from democratic decision-making lately. It is easier to accept your role as lonely Continue Reading

Business value

Business value What is it really? Whenever you are looking at an investment in a private small business or a large public company, or if you are selling a business, it is always a challenge to define the value. Everyone leans on the price-to-earnings multiple, but it is never that simple. Simple to calculate, but not easy to get it right. Continue Reading

The blame game

The blame game Goddamn the …? My Dad grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan where the most hated institution was the CPR, responsible for the railway across the prairies. He liked to tell us the story of the poor farmer who complained “I lost my crop in a hail storm, my truck broke down, my dog died and my Continue Reading

Summer jobs

Summer jobs What did you learn? It’s time to get back to school soon and the kids are enjoying the last few days of their summer jobs. Remember those days yourself? Fun in the sun, hanging out with friends, pool parties, BBQ and beer, working on your sun tan and hitting on the other cute kids. Is that what you Continue Reading

Modern managers are smarter

Modern managers are smarter Are you? Remember the bad old days when managers judged performance by all the wrong indicators? A managing partner who questioned a consultant ready for promotion because, “I’m not sure of his commitment to the firm, I never see him taking his briefcase home at night.” Not noticing the same consultant was usually going home after Continue Reading

The price is the price

The price is the price Almost never And it’s a problem. Pre-occupation with price leads to bad decisions, if we miss the important factors that determine the value. We have all seen frequent examples of nonsensical pricing and have our own favourite stories of a deal we have boasted about, without admitting that it turned out badly. TV ads. Only Continue Reading

Timing is everything

Timing is everything And it’s your choice In decision making, we often spend a lot of time analyzing the who, what, where and why, without giving sufficient consideration to the when. It seems obvious, as soon as possible, now that we’ve decided. But maybe not. We always have a choice to make. It’s now or later. Maybe never. Deciding not Continue Reading

Culture of creativity

Culture of creativity Encourage feedback Do you have a suggestion box? Have you done a survey lately? It is important to get new input and ideas to change your perspective and consider creative and innovative approaches to challenging issues. You cannot possibly have all the answers or even know all the issues that need to be addressed, unless you get Continue Reading

I can do this

I can do this I’ve seen it done. Hideki Matsuyama surprised everyone but himself, at the WGC-Bridgestone golf tournament on Sunday, with a 9-under-par 61 that tied the course record and gave him a sudden victory by five strokes over all the contenders, including World Golf leaders, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy and Zach Johnson. Matsuyama knew it was Continue Reading

Constructive, not criticism

Constructive, not criticism Please, no useless commentary. “Whoa, that didn’t work out as planned.” Thanks, but I already knew that. If you are going to comment on my performance, please take the time to suggest something helpful. Don’t just pile on with more useless criticism. All that does is kill the enthusiasm to try again. Every performance review will be Continue Reading

Necessary, but not sufficient

Necessary, but not sufficient You’re not there yet. “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 Continue Reading

Pick your poison

Pick your poison Killing key relationships  There are many ways to kill important business relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, bankers or strategic partners. But why would you want to do that? You probably do NOT want to, but you or your staff may be doing it inadvertently. Habits and attitudes that will silently, slowly, but certainly poison relationships. Entirely contrary Continue Reading

Are you sensitive?

Are you sensitive? To rising interest rates? The Bank of Canada rate went up Wednesday from 0.50% to 0.75%. OMG!!! That’s a 50% increase! Well technically yes, but in reality no. The rate is essentially a basis for the banks to raise their rates by the same 0.25%. So if your current Line of Credit or variable rate mortgage is Continue Reading

More celebrations, Fewer apologies

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. The celebratory narrative is interrupted by vociferous Continue Reading

Make work fun

Make work fun A simple principle for good management Make work fun. It really is that simple. Don’t make it more complicated. I know, it is more complicated, but let’s try to simplify good management down to one guiding principle. Your job as a manager is to ensure that your employees are working effectively to meet the department’s and the Continue Reading

Annoying disturbances

Annoying disturbances To Prevent, Avoid or Ignore A pleasant walk in the sunshine this morning was interrupted first by the dive-bombing red-winged blackbirds along the riverside, then by the swarms of annoying mosquitoes in the woods. Back at the office it may continue. The noisy air-conditioning, the neighbour listening to the ranting on talk radio, or the constant interruptions by telemarketers. Continue Reading

Evolving

Evolving People and processes The founder and CEO of Uber, Travis Kalanick, is stepping aside because his combative personality and the culture he created at Uber are no longer in line with the business’s need to be both more stable and predictable and more socially responsible and engaged with the communities where it is operating. His ruthlessly aggressive style has Continue Reading

By the numbers

By the numbers Not just the ones you already know Most entrepreneurs and business owners regularly monitor a few key numbers – sales, profit margins, operating expenses and the bottom line. All easy to understand and regularly reported. But it is not enough, if you want to be a top performer in your industry. You need to dig deeper to more Continue Reading

What crisis?

What crisis? Who needs a crisis? In times of crisis, it is easier to justify tough decisions. But why wait for a crisis? The challenges of business day-to-day should be sufficient to justify making those decisions all the time. We have all observed that the companies that survive a crisis come out stronger, correcting their weaknesses and building resiliency and Continue Reading

Chasing the big deal

Chasing the big deal Many small deals may be a better idea When you know that increasing sales will solve your problems, it is tempting to chase the one big deal that will get solve them all quickly. It could be a mistake. Maybe it’s better to say, “No thanks, for now.” It can be great for your ego and Continue Reading

Having a bad day?

Having a bad day? Don’t expect so much. Be grateful for what you’ve got. After one more setback it’s easy to slide down the road of regrets…, “If only…,” “I should have, could have,” “How did I get here?”, “Is this all there is?”, “Why am I not rich and famous yet?”, “Are my best years behind me?”, “There is Continue Reading

Manage like a Hockey Mom

Manage like a Hockey Mom But in a good way It 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 Continue Reading

Forgetting failure

Forgetting failure Don’t forget the lessons learned. Jordan Spieth is back at the Masters tournament at Augusta National this week and trying to forget his horrific collapse last year on the 12th hole that knocked him out of a commanding lead and caused him to finish second. He says he’s “over it”, but there will be powerful reminders, questions, and Continue Reading

Strategic choices: Porsche or Pick-up truck?

Strategic choices: Porsche or Pick-up truck? Focus and forget pleasing everybody. Whatever business issue or challenge you are facing, I believe you should always start from a strategic perspective. Step back, way back, and ask yourself if the solution you are considering is consistent with your strategic plan and will move you toward your long-term objectives.  Have you made explicit Continue Reading

Stick to the plan

Stick to the plan Calm and confident pays off Business is like golf. Consider the challenges faced by Canadian Adam Hadwin on the final round of the Valspar Championship on Sunday. This is his third year on the PGA Tour and Hadwin had recently attracted attention with the rare and remarkable achievement of a 59 on a par in California, Continue Reading

Performing past the obstacles

Performing past the obstacles Dustin Johnson keeps calm and gets the job done Dustin Johnson won again last weekend at the World Golf Championship event in Mexico City. He held off the challengers on Sunday and finished first, in spite of losing one ball in a tree, hitting into the water and stumbling on a couple of holes to suddenly Continue Reading

Take a break

Take a break It’s spring I know it’s blowing snow and -7C in Montreal today, but all the kids and parents are talking about Spring Break, so let’s take apply the concept more generally. Take a break. Take a break from all the distractions that keep us from making progress on improving our lives, achieving our business objectives, supporting family Continue Reading

Alternative Facts or Alternative Conclusions?

Alternative Facts Or alternative conclusions? We seem to be learning from the current political debate that not only is it OK to invent alternative facts, (what we used to call lying), but that they are useful to explain and justify bad ideas. It may have proven to be effective in political campaigns, but it is definitely not recommended for subsequently Continue Reading

Business without politics

Business without politics It’s not possible, never has been There was an old idea that you should never mix business and politics. The concern was that it can be hard to stay friends and keep customers, suppliers and employees loyal, if you strongly disagree on political issues. But it has always been a hopeless and futile mission to avoid politics Continue Reading

New top gun or one-hit wonder?

New top gun or one-hit wonder? Justin Thomas has a great start to 2017 Justin Thomas suddenly won two tournaments in a row in Hawaii with total scores at 49-under par and set all-time records with a round of 59 at age 23 and the lowest 72-hole score in Tour history. Who is this guy and where did he come Continue Reading

Made in Mexico

Made in Mexico You think bullying and bribery will work? I’m thinking about President Trump’s approach to negotiating his new deals with Mexico. Sitting by the pool in Mazatlán, I’m surrounded by happy Mexicans working for $8-a-day and happy tourists spending $200 or $300-a-day. We’re all a little uncomfortable with the contrast, but the Americans are feeling even more uncomfortable Continue Reading

Who are you listening to? Why?

Who are you listening to? Why? Only very smart people. Because they agree with me. But are you learning anything new? Do they make you think or act differently? That’s how you can tell if you learned anything. It doesn’t seem to matter which mainstream news source we read, watch or listen to, they all seem to agree on what Continue Reading

Mom had other plans

Mom had other plans My last email newsletter and Blog post on December 15th were recommendations to enjoy the holidays. Unfortunately my Mom had other plans. After a difficult few months at age 97 she was in palliative care and passed away quietly on Christmas Eve. She left us comforted by her three children and with the love and fond Continue Reading

Time for Happy Holidays. Again.

Time for Happy Holidays. Again. Share the love and the joys of life. ‘Tis the season. Last year’s advice is still entirely appropriate: Ignore the headlines, Donald Trump and the Middle East for a few days. Set aside your worries about the economy and your business. Find the time and make the space to celebrate the joys of life. Focus Continue Reading

Trump election lessons for your business

Trump election lessons for your business Democracy makes for bad decisions? The recent election of Donald Trump was a shock and a disappointment to many of us. The political analysts and commentators, experts and amateurs, will debate it intensely for weeks and intellectually for decades. But what have we learned for our businesses? Here are some discussion points that I Continue Reading

Choosing your response

Choosing your response  Strategic or Operational? Entrepreneurs are by nature action-oriented and they trust their instincts. So they are quick to assess any new challenge and decide on a response immediately. But before leaping into action, it is important to ask yourself an important initial question: It is a strategic issue or operational issue? The answer will help you make Continue Reading

Whose business is it anyway?

Whose business is it anyway? All these people want a piece of me You thought you were the owner of the business and did not have to share with anyone else? Sorry, that’s not how it works. Your business is essentially an economic entity in the social order, but you cannot ignore all the implications for society at large and Continue Reading

Ready to Play is Not Enough

Ready to play is not enough Ready to win is the question Just ask Tiger. He's almost ready to come back to competition, but not yet. He could play now, but not well enough to win, he thinks. Are you playing just well enough to get in the game or are you ready to win? Ready to compete is the first Continue Reading

Pressure improves performance

Pressure improves performance Raising the stakes may help you too  Compared to the recent disappointing Olympic golf tournament, the Ryder Cup was a tremendous spectacle of high performance under pressure. Drama and excitement for three days of competition. At the Olympics, the golf event was a complete failure. The best golfers did not go, the spectators did not care. At Continue Reading

Let’s take the politics out of it

Let’s take the politics out of it Make better decisions We seem to be in an era described by commentators as post-reality politics. It’s all about making the pitch and telling a compelling story. The politicians have learned that successful marketers are the best storytellers. But, they have also learned they can they can make the sale even if the Continue Reading

Dramatic finish for the FedEx Cup

Dramatic finish for the FedEx Cup Severe tests of skill, strategy and nerve.  Just like your business.  Proving he is definitely back, Rory McIlroy came from behind to win the PGA Tour Championship and the FedEx Cup on Sunday. It was a big win worth a total of $11.5 million. And he took it all from Dustin Johnson, who had been Continue Reading

The Wanna Be Market

The Wanna Be Market Are you the hunter or the prey? Have you noticed how many serious businesses are marketing hard to the Wanna Be market? Wanna be a writer, movie star, professional athlete or internet millionaire? Buy my stuff. Appealing to everyone who has a dream and is looking for the short-cut to realizing it. Stroking egos and offering to Continue Reading

Every business is a social enterprise

Every business is a social enterprise It’s an evolution of the community The term “social enterprise” is starting to get annoying. Over-worked jargon used to make entrepreneurship in general or a particular business seeking support appear more appealing and acceptable to a cynical public that sees every business as evil and driven by the sole objective of making money for Continue Reading

Qualifying Questions

Qualifying Questions Is it Strategic or Operational? Before leaping into action, it is important to ask yourself some qualifying questions and make better decisions about both the immediate and the long-term action required. Entrepreneurs are inclined to act instinctively and “just do it” when they are presented with a new challenge, opportunity or problem. No time wasted. Let’s not make Continue Reading

Rory is back, or he never left?

Rory is back, or he never left? Talent and hard work are hard to beat Within hours of a suggestion that Rory McIlroy was “at risk of no longer being part of the conversation”, he suddenly forced himself back onto the stage with a dramatic demonstration of world class performance and a win at the second round FedEx playoff in Continue Reading

Back to school, Not just for kids

Back to school Not just for kids It’s time for back to school, but once the kids are settled in it's also a good time for you and your team to learn more and do better for yourselves and your business. Expand your knowledge or take a refresher in the fundamentals for better personal and business performance. You probably have Continue Reading

Let’s be reasonable

Let’s be reasonable You cannot win an argument by raising the volume. It’s not because they cannot hear you that they are not buying it. You need to be more persuasive. They need to be more reasonable, or rational, or intelligent. Right? Because they are clearly too emotional, ignorant or biased. Maybe. But thinking it and saying it out loud Continue Reading

Mistake #5: Neglecting key relationships – Employees First

This article is an extract from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way".  Mistake #5: Neglecting key relationships Employees First Stan was leading the group today and started with, “OK, let’s start the discussion with a question. Which relationship is the most important key to success for any business?” “Customers, of course.” And it wasn’t just Larry with the obvious answer this Continue Reading

Excuses are easy

Excuses are easy “Too busy fighting fires to do fire prevention” “When you’re surrounded by alligators it’s hard to see a way out of the swamp.” But there is no excuse for neglecting to manage the entrepreneur’s Challenge #1: Balancing strategic leadership with management effectiveness. The difference between management and strategy is the difference between engineering and philosophy. Are you Continue Reading

The Evolution of e-Business Challenges

This article is extracted from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way". Read the book. The Evolution of e-Business Challenges Good management principles still apply Early e-business challenges for small-business owners started with the arrival of e-mail and websites in the early 1990’s. Today we are trying to understand the implications of the rapidly expanding world of social media and mobile applications. Perceptive Continue Reading

Building loyal, long-term, profitable customer relationships

 This article is an extract from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way". Read the book. Building loyal, long-term, profitable customer relationships Evolve through the customer experience  Goal: The primary objective of every business: building loyal, long-term, profitable customer relationships.  Process: It’s a three-part process of Marketing + Sales + Customer Service. It’s all about finding, attracting and retaining customers that bring value Continue Reading

Marketing, Sales or Customer Service?

This article is an extract from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way". Read the book. Marketing, Sales or Customer Service? Are choices to be made? Do we need to deliver on all three? “First let’s define better the three elements of this process to build long-term valuable customer relationships: Marketing – understanding the market and defining the target customer; building awareness, interest, Continue Reading

In defense of Business Plans

In conversation with Stephen Goldberg, a discussion of the value of Business Planning. "It's about the process, not the product." Read the full article and watch the video here. Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson   Read more Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. The Seven Biggest Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Find the Exit before it's an Emergency When to Launch Your Business The Continue Reading

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

This article is an extract from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way". Read the book. Consultants: How to Choose, Use, and Not Abuse them Help them, help you Since doing 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 Continue Reading

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

This article is an extract from Uncle Ralph's, "Don't Do It the Hard Way" and the advice on managing your banking relationship is always relevant.  Read the book. Is your Bank a Welcome and Willing Partner in your Business? If not, then you need to make changes. Entrepreneurs are usually quick to agree that banks are an obstacle to their success, rather than a Continue Reading

Brexit: Success for democracy or failure of leadership?

Brexit: Success for democracy or failure of leadership? Now we know the risk of a protest vote. You may accidentally get the result you were only intending as a threat to get some attention to your complaints. Poking the bear to make it go away may just provoke it into biting your hand off to leave it alone. What else Continue Reading