Wednesday, June 29, 2011

If You Ignore It, It Will Go Away

How dumb is that advice?

You've got a growth on your back, but you don't go to the doctor because you believe that "if you ignore it, it will go away."

The creepy looking guy keeps asking the cute single girl out to the movies, but she's not concerned he might become a stalker, because she thinks that "if you ignore him, he will go away."

Your car is making a weird noise every time you turn left, but you're a little tight on money right now so you don't take it to a mechanic because you make mostly right hand turns and eventually "if you ignore it, it will go away."

Even politicians believe that when someone brings up a hot button issue at a town hall meeting "if you ignore them, they will go away." Unfortunately all too often the politicians are right and the issue never gets addressed.

But this is not a politically motivated post. This is about business. And from what I've seen... the business world is the only world where that expression has any validity. Too bad it only shows it's validity in a negative fashion.

What do I mean?

As the owner of multiple businesses over the years, I have seen firsthand what happens when you ignore your business... it goes away.

If you ignore your clients, they go somewhere else.

If you ignore the phone calls from potential clients, they will stop calling and find someone else to call.

If you ignore your suppliers and stop paying them, they stop shipping you the supplies you need to run your business.

If you ignore your employees, they quit and get a job elsewhere (usually with your competitors).

If you ignore your competitors and don't keep tabs on what they are doing, they may find a better way to do what they do and take marketshare from you. Or they may be going out of business and their customers are looking for a new place to do business, but if you don't know what's going on, you can't capitalize on the opportunity. (Please don't misunderstand me, I do not advocate any sort of industrial or corporate espionage. You can legally and ethically keep an eye on your competitors without stooping to such activities.)

If you ignore the IRS and fail to pay your taxes they will come get you! They don't like being ignored. (Just ask Al Capone).

So just like with the growth on your back, or the noise in your car, don't ignore your business. Because if it does "go away" you may not be able to get it back.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Is It Cliche To *BE* A Father?

We've all heard the jokes.

We've heard the country music songs like "Cleaning This Gun" by Rodney Atkins or "She's In Love With The Boy" by Trisha Yearwood.

Unfortunately we've also heard the statistics about how many kids grow up without a father.

And I guess that's what bothers me so much. I've got two young daughters. Scares the crap out of me to be honest. It's hard work. It's frustrating. It's overwhelming sometimes. But my wife and I love them dearly and would do anything we could for them.

I don't want to be crude, but we all learned in biology class that to "father" a child merely requires the exchange of some bodily fluids between a male and a female and around nine months later out pops junior.

But "to be a father" is different. It's more than just sex. It's a verb. "To be" a father requires the same amount of commitment as it does "to be" a doctor. And just like doctors, we are continually practicing.

Sometimes we get it wrong. Hopefully, most of the time we get it right.

Sometimes we are so focused on the big corporate dinner with the important client that we forget about the tea party with our little princess.

Sometimes we have a bad day at work, but when we walk in the front door and you see your child's face light up and she runs to you and throws her arms around your neck... oh man, that's the good stuff right there.

I just hope that your child is running towards you in love as you walk in the door and not running away from you in fear. Both are powerful emotions that can shape your child's future. And in my opinion the only thing worse than having your child fear you is a child that doesn't care one way or the other. Fear and the scars that caused it can be overcome with sincere love. Indifference and apathy are harder to deal with.

So I guess what I'm saying is... If you are going to be a father then actually be one. Be there for the tea parties and the little league games... be there for the bedtime stories and the scraped knees... be on the couch next to your kids as they do their homework... be at the dinner table talking to them about their day even though they've told you the same story four times already.

Because if they can't count on you to be there when they are little talking about the small stuff, they probably won't come to you later to ask for your input or help dealing with the big stuff.

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Observe The Masses & Do The Opposite

If you haven't picked up on it yet, I love movies. They tend to speak to your inner being in a way that normal conversation can't.

I even did a whole series of articles on Things I Learned About Business from Top Gun.

So let me ask you. Have you seen The Matrix?

I love that movie, especially the scene where Morpheus and Neo are walking down the street and Neo sees the lady in the red dress.
That scene is so powerful if you are paying attention.

First off, they are walking against they flow of traffic. Successful people tend to go against the grain. They "observe the masses" and "do the opposite."

Secondly, Morpheus explains to Neo what most successful entrepreneurs already know.... The masses of the people in the world around us are locked into a "system" that confines them to only a fraction of the potential that they have in life. In one sense most people (whether they realize it or not) are slaves to the "system" but they don't have to be. They too can "take the red pill" and start taking control of their own destiny if they want to.

Lastly, the most important part of that scene is with the lady in the red dress. Some people would argue that she represents lust and sexual desire. I say it's more than that. She is the embodiment of all those things that can keep someone from becoming successful.

The lady in the red dress represents any thing that can distract you (remember how Neo acted when he saw her) and get you off track. Certainly lust can be in that list, but the successful business owner has to be on guard against all manner of distractions... playing golf every week can be a distraction... watching too much TV can be a distraction... having your children involved in 400 extra-ciricular activities every week can be a distraction... spending too much time on Facebook can be a distraction... anything that takes prevents you from doing what you have to do in order to become successful is a distraction that you can control.

If you remember at the end of that scene the lady in the red dress has changed into an "agent" of the Matrix. In the movie, an agent usually meant death. Distractions won't kill you, but if you don't control them, they can kill your success.

I'm not saying you can't do any of these things. I watch TV & movies. But I try not to do it when I need to be bidding on jobs or sending out invoices. There are websites that stream current and older tv shows for you (I'm currently catching up on Magnum P.I.) or DVR's allow you to record it and watch it later.

I have a Facebook account as well as a couple business pages on Facebook that I admin, but I don't spend hours playing Farmville or whatever the latest craze is.

My daughters have activities that they participate in, but my wife and I are not gonna play taxi-cab driver all over town doing every possible thing they think they might have an interest in.

And as far as golf is concerned, I really have no idea why anyone would spend all day in the hot sun chasing a little white ball across a cow pasture - but maybe that's just me.

In case you wanna rewatch the scene, I found it on YouTube... Enjoy.

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