Category Archives: learning

Learning & Storytelling - Presentation/Seminar including Author Sale & Book-signing.

July 11th, 5-à-7 Bureau en gros, @ St. Charles & Transcanadienne, Kirkland, QC.



Which do you prefer - Fact or Fiction?

 Business text book or crime fiction with an entrepreneur as hero?

Entrepreneurs learn best by sharing stories - Fact or Fiction?  A boring business textbook or a crime thriller with the entrepreneur as hero?

What are the differences between my business books and the crime novels?

Real-life stories:

  • More facts!
  • More details
  • More useful to understand and apply the strategies, tactics & techniques

Crime Fiction:

  • More fun to read and to write!
  • More creative ideas and inspiration
  • Easier to remember the guiding principles
  • Introduces a new and wider audience
  • Allows more subtle cheerleading for entrepreneurs and the promotion of Enlightened Entrepreneurship

Everyone learns by sharing stories. But the choice of fact or fiction is all yours.

You're welcome to join the seminar on July 11th. All the books are available online or at your favourite bookstore. Please have a look, then try, buy, read, review and share with a friend.

Thank you!

Christmas Shopping Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Ho! Ho! Ho!

I’ve always said I never wanted to work in retail. It’s hard work and unreasonable hours. Customers expect too much and are willing to pay too little. Employees ask too much for doing too little. And both groups are probably stealing from you.

It’s a harsh judgement based on limited evidence, I know, and my recent Christmas shopping experience has given me new insights and a new respect for retail.

You may have noticed, my latest entrepreneurial adventure is writing fiction. It has been an interesting and challenging process and forces me into doing retail. There’s no point in writing the book if you don’t sell a few.  So, after the writing comes the marketing and selling part of the adventure.

At a recent book-signing and author sales event in the local shopping centre, I learned some useful general principles from the Christmas shoppers and the bookstore. Here’s what I learned that’s worth sharing:

  • The customer in the store is still the best source for market research and feedback on your product, price, packaging, and positioning.
  • Retail sales people do best if they like the product they’re selling and they’re supported by effective tools for making the sale.
  • Direct contact face-to-face with customers is still more immediate, more effective and more valuable than the filtering and anonymity of on-line selling and social media contact.
  • Price is not that important, as long as the product, packaging and positioning are aligned and consistent with it.
  • Shelf space is very important. It makes awareness unavoidable and confirms that sales are expected in large quantities for added sales pressure.
  • Proximity to direct competitors significantly aids positioning and awareness of your alternative.
  • People do judge a book by its cover.

Enjoy your holiday reading and learn more.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Expertise or Opinion

Which is it this time?

If you ask for an opinion you’ll get one. Almost nobody can resist giving you a response.

They’re flattered that you asked and they don’t want to disappoint you. Apparently, you think they’re an expert in the subject. Or at least you think they might have an intelligent, insightful opinion.  Nobody is going to tell you you’re wrong, on either count.

They’re thinking, “Yeah, I’m sure I can come up with something useful.” They’re never thinking, “But I’m an idiot. I know nothing and have no opinion on the subject.” Have you ever heard that answer?

But it can be dangerous to ask. What if they’re adamant about a really bad idea? Now you have a problem.

It’s best to preface your request with the caveat, “I welcome your input, but please don’t take it personally, if I choose to ignore it.” Much better than having to respond with, “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.” It’s hard to recover from that conversation.

So, carefully ask the question and clearly distinguish between a formal request for expert advice and a friendly exchange of personal opinions. Confirm your expectations before you ask. It will be easier to know what to do with the response.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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 a book, take a course. Go to a training session, workshop, seminar or conference. Share stories with other professionals, entrepreneurs, friends and associates.

You can extract lessons from everywhere and everything that’s happening around you, as observer or as participant. Lessons on leadership, management, operating effectiveness, personal relations, salesmanship, marketing or customer service. Most of the valuable lessons are free!

Even during the periods when you’re relaxing, enjoying the recreation or entertainment, pay attention to the strategies, tactics, behaviour, results and consequences.

Maybe you’ll notice like I have, for example, that business is like golf. (See my Blog: Business is like golf) The game of golf frequently reminds me of the important basic principles for success: have a strategy and a plan, execute well, stay focused and avoid mistakes.

So back to my initial question, what did you learn today?

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.

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.




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?

Summer jobsFun 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 remember?

But it was not all fun. It was a job and it may have involved garbage collection, cleaning toilets, digging ditches, mowing lawns, making beds, hauling heavy loads or serving hostile customers. All while avoiding boredom, exhaustion and a demanding and difficult boss.

But there were important life lessons learned.

Simple lessons, but important:

  • Show up on time, work hard.
  • Focus on the task at hand.
  • Be responsible for your actions.
  • Pay attention to the customer, the boss and the environment – in that order.
  • Use the right tool for the right job, be aware of safety and security issues.
  • Get your priorities straight – personal, work, family and social.
  • Better performance leads to better jobs.
  • Save your money.

Let’s hope these kids are learning them too. They will be better employees, bosses and entrepreneurs, if they learn from their summer jobs.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

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

Join our mailing list at 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. 





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 is important to us and what we should be angry about. Then theybad news insist on pushing the same story and analysis, over and over for days, with too much mind-numbing repetitiveness.

Whether it’s current affairs, politics, sports or business, it is hard work to dig deeper and get the whole story or find any thoughtful and perceptive analysis that goes beyond the initial impressions. But we need to do it, if we really want to have things change.

We need to be less passive and more selective in where we go for news, information and analysis. That means avoiding the easy choice of following those sources and analysts that we agree with or we have something in common with.

It also requires making an effort to listen to people that you don’t like or don’t agree with and avoid simply dismissing them as ignorant or evil. That’s not easy either. Especially when the tactic is so widely used to effectively stop discussion.

Remember: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey includes “Seek first to understand before seeking to be understood.” That is a much better process for seeking compromise and achieving agreed solutions.

Keep on the path for knowledge and wisdom and continue to learn, make changes and make a difference.

And thank you for including me among your resources.

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.



Check out this video and tell me if you agree that it actually promotes the most negative stereotype of entrepreneurs as greedy and manipulative - in it for the money and part of the problem in our consumption based economy.
"Let's Raise Kids to be Entrepreneurs ..."

The video at the end of this TED presentation is a more positive and inspiring view of entrepreneurship but most of the commentary seems to be focused on his own version.

Thought provoking, but not convincing that this is what we should be teaching kids in school.

The start of a new year is a good time to look back and plan ahead. (Sounds dangerous. May explain the pain in my neck.)

However, looking back at 2007 can you conclude on the mistakes you would rather not repeat or the things you would like to do more often? Or maybe the issues and ideas that were completetly neglected? Select your priorities and include them in your plan for 2008.

Is it time for a radical new strategy or simply continuous improvement of a well established formula for success. Don't forget to look outside your business at your personal priorities. Is it time to fix the foundations of family, friends, physical and financial health?

And don't try to do too much. Small successes will usually add up to more than a few big ideas that don't get finished. Good luck.

My next teaching challenge is to present the subject of Entrepreneurship in the Continuing Education program at Concordia University.

Can you really teach entrepreneurship? What if you have to be born that way? What about all those stories about "delivering papers when I was nine years old"...? I didn't, so am I disqualified?

My own theory is that an entrepreneur is simply a creator of businesses to meet an opportunity. Anybody can do it anytime; if they have the marketable skills, relevant knowledge, and determination to succeed.

So what can I teach? Having reviewed a number of textbooks on the subject, I have concluded that the expectation of those signing up for the course is to learn some basic business processes and principles that will help them to evaluate their choices and make the decisions necessary to develop an idea or opportunity into a valid business model and business plan, finance it, start it and make it grow.

Sounds simple.