Recent Posts by Learning Entrepreneurship

Cultural sensitivity  

Tread carefully     

It seems to be a pandemic side effect. Everyone has exhausted their tolerance with all the  minor annoyances and the reaction on bigger issues may be exaggerated or extreme. Tread carefully. Nerves are exposed, fuses are short, anger and frustration are bubbling close to the surface.

You may think it’s over reaction or hyper-sensitivity to something insignificant and unimportant. You never intended to be insensitive and are not unaware of current social issues, but you might also recognize the symptoms in your own reaction to what someone else would consider insignificant and unimportant. Expect strong reactions to perceived insults, insensitivity, or neglect.

Using politically correct language and media approved acronyms or hashtags, like #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, or BIPOC, is not enough. It is too casual, too easy, and a too convenient dismissal of white privilege. It’s a lazy claim to being “woke,” without actually doing anything to change attitudes or behaviour.

We need to make the effort to create change. It takes more than repeating popular slogans or using all the right words to make progress on the issues of racism, equality, diversity, and inclusion. Seek to understand, listen and learn, before trying to dismiss, defend, explain, persuade or apologize. Pay attention, it’s a minefield. There may be casualties.

Old-fashioned politeness and respect for individual differences are a good start. Necessary, but not sufficient.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com

Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Recommended reading

For entrepreneurs

In the recent 2020 Edition of DON’T DO IT THE HARD WAY, I included my updated list of recommended references and books for entrepreneurs, to manage themselves and their businesses better. (See Part 6. Page 231)

The full list is available at below:

In order to help you be better as an entrepreneur, leader, manager and human being, I recommend the following authors for more ideas, information and inspiration. In my opinion, they are among the best at providing thoughtful insights and powerful advice.

I recommend that you make time for them in your process of continuous learning and improvement. Make your own selection from the list below, then find them online, follow them and read their work.

Management Gurus with advice for entrepreneurs

Here are some of their good books and a few memorable quotes:

Tom Peters

In Search of EXCELLENCE, 1982

“There is no more important trait among excellent companies than an action orientation. ... if you've got a major problem, bring the right people together and expect them to solve it.  They do, somehow, have the time." 

"Excellent companies are a vast network of informal, open communications. Forget the MBA - Masters in Business Administration – and remember the MBWA – Management By Walking Around."

Thriving on Chaos, 1987

"A well-handled problem usually breeds more customer loyalty than you had before the negative incident."

“Measure! And reward on the basis of the measures."

Henry Mintzberg

SIMPLY MANAGING, 2013

“Leadership has pushed management off the map…. Now we are overled and undermanaged.”

“Strategies are not immaculately conceived in detached offices. They are learned through tangible experiences.”    

Harvey Mackay

SWIM WITH THE SHARKS without Being Eaten Alive, 1988

"A goal is a dream with a deadline. Write it down" 

"Dig your well before you're thirsty"

"You'll always get the good news; it’s how quickly you get the bad news that really counts."

BEWARE THE NAKED MAN WHO OFFERS YOU HIS SHIRT, 1990

"Do what you love, love what you do and deliver more than you promise."

"You're a lot better off being scared than being bored."

Jim Collins

Built to Last, 1994

"Visionary companies almost religiously preserve their core ideology. Yet, they display a powerful drive for progress that enables them to adapt and change without compromising their cherished core ideals."

"Good enough never is. For these companies the critical question is – How can we do better tomorrow than we did today?"

From Good to Great, 2001

“Good is the enemy of great.”

“Confront the brutal facts, yet never lose faith.”

Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman

First, Break all the Rules, 1999

The one insight that we heard echoed by tens of thousands of great managers: People don't change that much. Don't waste time trying to put in what was left out. Try to draw out what was left in. That is hard enough."

Seth Godin

The Bootstrapper's Bible, 2004

"In advertising... persistence is the secret to success."

"In choosing partners remember: Ringo was the luckiest Beatle... a mediocre drummer riding on the backs of three musical geniuses."

Guy Kawasaki

The ART of the START, 2004

"Build a business to make meaning (the money will follow).”

“Have a mantra, not a mission statement.”

“Advertising is what you say about yourself, PR is what other people say about you. PR is better.” 

For some alternative points of view:

Michael Gerber
The E-Myth

Gerber claims he originated the cliché: Work on your business, not in your business. But his over-worked theme is a useful reminder to develop your business organisation and processes so that it can run without you in it every day.

Bo Burlingham
Small Giants

An interesting study of small eccentric companies that decided to succeed by staying small. The conclusions are a stretch to fit the hypothesis that small is better, but worth reading to remember to build your business for yourself; not to chase some dream of global grandeur.

And from an entrepreneur of two hundred and fifty years ago: Benjamin Franklin

Perhaps best known as an American statesman and scientist, (he signed the Declaration of Independence, flew a kite in a lightning storm and has his picture on the U.S. $100 bill), Ben Franklin was also a very successful entrepreneur. A printer by trade, he launched several businesses and introduced the concept of franchising to his printing shops. He was successful enough to retire at age forty-two.

He was also a prolific writer and intelligent observer, analyst and commentator on business and life. It is worth considering Ben Franklin's 12 Rules of Management by Blaine McCormick, 2000.

In summary:

  1. Finish better than your beginnings.
  2. All education is self-education.
  3. Seek first to manage yourself, then to manage others.
  4. Influence is more important than victory.
  5. Work hard and watch your costs.
  6. Everybody wants to appear reasonable.
  7. Create your own set of values to guide your actions.
  8. Incentive is everything.
  9. Create solutions for seemingly impossible problems.
  10. Become a revolutionary for experimentation and change.
  11. Sometimes it's better to do 1001 small things right rather than only one large thing right.
  12. Deliberately cultivate your reputation and legacy.

More Reading for your personal management issues:

To do better in life and manage yourself past the entrepreneurial challenges, these are my recommended reads for personal self-improvement.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey, 1989

"Begin with the end in mind."

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

More spiritual than you might expect, but some great insights and tools for personal management.

The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey, 2004

A follow-up book presenting the values of principle centered leadership.

Awaken the Giant Within, Anthony Robbins, 1991
"It is the small decisions you and I make every day that create our destinies."

"It is not events that shape my life and determine how I feel or act, it's the way I interpret and evaluate my life experiences."

The original concepts that launched Tony Robbins and the self-help industry.

The Intelligent Investor, Benjamin Graham, 1973
From the professor who taught Warren Buffet how to grow his investments to be worth billions. Buffet calls it "By far the best book on investing ever written."

The Wealthy Barber and The Wealthy Barber Returns, 

David Chilton, 1989 and 2011
An easier read than Benjamin Graham and a great basic handbook for personal financial management. It should be required reading for every high school student and every investor paying someone else to manage their money.

Any of these books will help you focus on the fundamentals and achieve more successful approaches to your personal growth and development. It's worth finding the time for them.

And if you have others to recommend, I would be pleased to hear from you. Did I miss any of your favourites worth re-reading or recommended for sharing?

And for something new and different, take a look at the Self-Help Bonanza Book Promo for your choice of free new E-book releases from expert writers. Limited time offer, expires April 25th. Tips and tactics to do better in life, business, and relationships. Including my two books for entrepreneurs. Share with a friend who wants to be better, do better.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com 

Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Coach, Critic or Cheerleader?

You get to chose     

It doesn’t matter whether you’re giving or receiving. Which are you going to be, and which do you need, right now? Coach, Critic or Cheerleader? Choose one.

It’s an important distinction and a choice of role has to be made. In every relationship: manager & employee, coach & player, teacher & student, partner & parent. Do you need a coach explaining how to do it? Or do you need a critic explaining how to do it better?  Or do you need a cheerleader encouraging you to do more of the same?

It’s easy to be a critic – no prior knowledge or experience is required. Just have an opinion and be willing to share it.

It’s important to be a cheerleader – pay attention, be impressed, and share your enthusiasm and encouragement.

It’s hard to be a coach – you absolutely must have knowledge and experience, combined with empathy and skill in communication. Don’t be swayed by the flattery of being asked for advice or assistance, if you’re not qualified to coach, admit it. Or agree to be a critic, or cheerleader, only.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph 

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com

Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Lessons from Lamborghini

Build a better tractor   

Neighbour has a nice car ….

I wonder if he'd take me for a ride. Maybe my next car, after I sell the 2nd million books ….  As Anthony Robbins would say, have a goal in mind and give yourself rewards as you pass the milestones.

Do you know the story of Lamborghini?

Mr. Lamborghini was a big fan of Ferrari and he owned a few. He had made his money as the owner a tractor manufacturing company in Italy. At one point, he had a few complaints about what he thought were deficiencies in the style and performance of his Ferrari. So he sent a message to Ferrari with a few suggestions for improvement. After a few more complaints, and suggestions, they replied with something rude about him sticking to tractors with his advice.

So he built his own cars and showed them what he could do.

Good lessons for Enlightened Entrepreneurs. Listen to the customer. Learn from the competition. Improve on what they do well and fix the deficiencies.

(Now about that test drive, ….)

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions. 

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

The Enlightened CEO

Obviously  

Most outspoken critics of CEOs are lazy. They find an easy target in the stereotypical greedy, selfish CEO, and they shout their loud accusations. Unfortunately, some of those CEOs are easily found and they are equally lazy about explaining or defending themselves.

As my mother used to tell me, “Don’t confuse them with the facts, they’ve already made up their mind.” But I keep trying.

Most CEOs, business owners and successful entrepreneurs didn’t get there because they’re ignorant of the requirements to stay successful. Many of their critics and self-proclaimed pontificators of the new rules for “people and the planet before profits,” make it sound simple and obvious, but are more arrogant and ignorant of how difficult and complicated it really is to be successful as an Enlightened CEO.

My definition of Enlightened Entrepreneurship:  Building a sustainable business based on loyal, long-term, profitable customer relationships while recognizing and respecting the needs of Employees, Customers, Business Partners, Communities, Society and the Planet.

Obviously, focusing on short-term profit is a formula for long-term failure. Obvious to me and to you, but it does require explaining, to some CEOS, business owners and entrepreneurs, and to their critics. It’s worth trying.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Basic principles still apply

Stay calm & carry on

As we near the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is lots of talk of the new normal. The world has changed, and we need to do things differently.

Now what? It’s worth remembering the old normal and the basic principles that still apply.

Here are a few reminders:

  • Look before you leap.
  • Just do it!
  • Treat employees well and they’ll treat customers well.
  • Buy low, sell high.
  • Do your homework.
  • Trust your instinct.

 

  • Watch short-term profit, but focus on long-term value.
  • Lead strategically, manage minutely.
  • Under promise, over deliver.
  • DON’T WASTE TIME!

 

  • Make your mother proud.
  • People and the planet come first.
  • You cannot over-communicate.

 

  • Stay healthy and be well.

 

An incomplete list, in no particular order. Even some apparent contradictions. So, make your own list of the principles that have worked for you in the past. Focus on those that still apply.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

Abuse of loyalty

Lost to arrogance and greed

Consumers can be fiercely loyal to a brand. Beyond rational explanation and impervious to persuasion to try the alternatives. Until they’re feeling abused or taken for granted.

Even the best of brands make the mistake occasionally. Losing their integrity and showing a lack of respect for loyal customers and fans because somebody decided to push into markets where they don’t fit, to reduce costs and raise profits, or make exaggerated marketing claims for the product.

Choose your own example – Apple, Microsoft, Tesla, BMW or Porsche, Nike or Adidas, McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s? Have they ever tested your loyalty? Enough to switch?

It’s not easy to remain relevant and competitive, adapt to changing consumer preferences and grow in new markets for long-term growth. But it’s essential to respect the integrity of the brand.

Of course, long term success must be based on a clear and unflinching commitment to the strategic vision, mission and values, to the market positioning and corporate image, to the character and quality of the brand.

Necessary innovation, creativity and change can be realized, while retaining current customers, if they are not surprised or disappointed in their expectations for the brand.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

 

Pandemic notoriety: Naughty or Nice?

Which list are you on?

 (This article is based on the ideas in Uncle Ralph’s books for entrepreneurs, DON'T DO IT THE HARD WAY & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans.

“Awesome! What a profit opportunity!”

Probably not what you will be reading in the press releases.

It will be all about the socially responsible entrepreneur, pivoting and showing remarkable resilience and creativity. Re-aligning research and manufacturing processes toward the production of face masks, hand sanitizers, personal protection devices, ventilators, emergency care facilities and Covid-19 vaccines.

Companies in the right place at the right time, like Amazon, FedEx, Pfizer and Uber all exploited the unprecedented opportunities of the global pandemic. Their billionaire owners and the happy shareholders saw unexpected jumps in revenue and profits while so many other businesses were devastated in the retail, hospitality, travel and entertainment industries.

But, since “exploited” and “profits” are dirty words, if not cardinal sins, to many people, did these companies end up on the Naughty List? Or did they do well by doing good as enlightened entrepreneurs are supposed to do. What about the businesses that failed to make the most of a good crisis?  They’re now on the naughty list of both their unemployed workers and their unhappy shareholders.

It’s been a challenging test for us all. As business owners and as customers and consumers, we now have to live with the consequences.

Which list are you on?

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

A test of loyalty

Time for a change?

(This article is based on the ideas in Uncle Ralph’s books for entrepreneurs, DON'T DO IT THE HARD WAY & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans.

In times of economic crisis, we are faced with difficult choices in a stressful new environment. Loyalties are tested and we’re wondering if it’s time for a change. A change in suppliers, customers, management, or employees. Who are all looking at making the same choices for themselves.

There are two primary factors to consider:

  1. How strong is the loyalty already established?
  2. How have the two parties responded during the recent period of crisis?

The purpose of every business is to build loyal, long-term, profitable relationships with customers based on equally solid relationships with the management team, employees, and business partners. They have all been tested during the past year of the global pandemic. How have they responded?  Do they deserve to be supported or to be replaced?

And what about you and your business? What are your customers, employees and business partners deciding? Take a closer look and make sure everyone is making good decisions based on the right information.

Constant communication of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it, will be important to re-establishing the loyal, long-term, profitable relationships that will ensure your success going forward.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com

Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

The Beginning of the End

We’re not there yet

(This article is based on the ideas in Uncle Ralph's DON'T DO IT THE HARD WAY & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans, 2020 Editions) 

I’m feeling safer, and closer to the end of the pandemic effects on life and business after receiving my first dose of the Moderna vaccine for Covid-19 this week. (Old-timers first! Thank you for allowing us the first shots.)

The good news arriving with 2021 keeps on getting better as we start to return to normal this year.  But we’re not there yet – in Montreal, my favourite coffee shop is still closed, breakfast and lunch stops are take-out only, the curfew still restricts any evenings out and social contact is still constrained to small groups, wearing masks and keeping their distance.

These may all be signs of the new normal for post-Covid-19 after the global war on the pandemic has ended. (If it ever does.) Like the new security measures after post-9/11 and the global war on terrorism, we will have new security measures against deadly contagious disease everywhere. Not just for getting on airplanes or entering foreign countries, but for entering bars and restaurants, live concerts and sporting events, enjoying museums, libraries and movie theatres.

Have you noticed what’s changed and what we’ve learned together?

  • A new awareness of our shared responsibility to take care of each other. And the need to listen and understand before trying to change the behaviour of those who disagree because of ignorance, fear, selfishness, anger or ideology.
  • A greater sense of urgency for fixing the social services network and supporting our front-line health care workers and first responders.
  • A heightened appreciation of the importance to our health and welfare of maintaining close personal relationships with friends and family, neighbours, associates and colleagues.
  • A better understanding of the need to tell the truth; to be a critical and skeptical listener; and, to engage in civil discussion of ideas and issues with those outside our usual circle of friends and fellow travelers.

What can we really expect of the new normal?

  • Innovative, creative and ambitious entrepreneurs continuing to respond with effective solutions.
  • Increasing adoption of new technologies and digital, online services in all areas of our lives; from work and recreation to education and entertainment.
  • Better regulation and oversight of the technology giants who dominate social media and control our access to, and sharing of, information both public and personal.
  • Better choices made by socially aware customers and consumers to support businesses, products and services that meet responsible, ethical and moral standards to protect people and the planet.

Can we be hopeful and optimistic? Yes.

Will we be among the intelligent, caring and compassionate, rational human beings who allow us all to be better and do better together? Yes, let’s do that too.

Be better. Do better.

Del Chatterson, Your Uncle Ralph

Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.

 Read more Blog posts at: LearningEntrepreneurship Blogs

 

Recent Comments by Learning Entrepreneurship

No comments by Learning Entrepreneurship yet.