Friday, April 27, 2012

To Whom It May Concern

To whom it may concern.

I wish to inform you (the readers) that I will be discontinuing the production of content for this blog.

The reasons are many but it is apparent to me based on what I can see and the feedback I get that the return on my investment of time to write these articles does not justify the effort involved to continue.

I will leave this blog up for those of you who wish to share any existing articles, but until my personal situation changes or until I hear from a compelling number of readers who want more, I hereby tender my resignation so to speak.

Good luck in your endeavors. I hope you are able to develop the mindset of a business owner on your own.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Stand Up!

Image: graur razvan ionut /
If there's one thing I probably hate more than anything else in this world...

It's the limp wristed, rubber spined, sideways talkin, good for nothing, flip floppin, can't make a decision if their life depended on it type of person who allows polls and popularity of ideas to dictate how they think and act on an issue.

I mean, come on!
Quit letting everyone else do your thinking for you.

Make a freakin' decision! Take a stand! Even if it's unpopular. Even if someone will say you're wrong. Even if it means you risk "offending" someone. Quit being so politically correct that you become ethically incompetent.

There's an old country song by Aaron Tippin that says "'ve got to stand for something, or you'll fall for anything..."

But it's true. You have to know what you stand for. You have to know what you believe in.

Those who know me, know that:
  • I'm a believer in the free enterprise system.
  • I'm a believer in the sanctity of marriage and that if you make a commitment to another person, that it's a commitment for life.
  • I'm a believer in the value of life and, contrary to what some groups would have us think, abortion is not an option.
  • I believe that there should be less government intrusion into our lives.
  • I believe that our current banking and financial systems are in need of a major overhaul.
  • I believe that our healthcare system in this country also in need of an overhaul, but I also believe that the infamous "Obamacare" plan is not the answer and should be repealed. (And believe me, if you knew my family's medical history you'd think that I would be one of first in line to sign up for that plan, but it goes too far in all the wrong areas and doesn't go far enough in the right areas).
  • I believe that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the living Son of God.
  • I believe that not only is it a right protected by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, but I believe it is the responsibility of every citizen to own and learn how to properly use a firearm. 
  • I believe that it should be unlawful to sell "unsweetened" ice tea.
  • I believe it's totally okay to be "random" from time to time.
There are obviously some hot-button issues that I have a very decided opinion about. They are just a few of the things that I feel very strongly about. You don't have to agree with me. But my one request is that either you agree with me because you truly believe the same things I believe, or disagree with me just a passionately for the things you believe and the things you stand for.

Have you ever had to take a stand on an issue, even though people told you that you were wrong to do so? Have you ever changed your position, not to accommodate someone else, but because you learned new information that shifted your perspective on the issue?

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Monday, March 12, 2012

The Broken Clock

Image: Salvatore Vuono /
So you are working your guts out and absolutely nothing seems to be going your way. What do you do?

Are you going to start doubting yourself? Are you going to start trash-talking yourself? It can't be all bad. Even a broken clock gets it right twice a day.

What you may have to do is take a step back and take an honest look at what you are doing and what is happening. And you may need a mentor or reliable friend that can look you in the eyes and give you feedback that isn't sugar-coated with rainbows and unicorns.

First off you need to determine if what you are doing is worth doing. If it's not worth doing, STOP DOING IT.

If the rewards will never exceed the effort and investment you are putting in, cut your losses and find something else to do.

But if it's worth doing, keep at it. Maybe you just haven't put in enough time and effort.

Secondly, you need to determine where you are going wrong in your plan of execution. You do have a gameplan don't you?

Maybe nothing is going wrong. Maybe you just need to keep doing what your doing. Maybe you aren't being consistent doing what needs to be done on a regular basis.

So keep at. Stay in the zone, so to speak. Eventually something will happen.

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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Ball Pit

Image: graur razvan ionut /
My two daughters love to go to places like McDonald's and Chuck E. Cheese because they have a play area just for young children.

I love to take them there because I can sit down for a minute and breathe and let them burn off some excess energy before having to deal with baths and bedtime.

You don't see this too much now, but years ago, places like that would have a giant "ball pit" where kids could "swim" around and dive under the balls and have fun.

For those of us in the business (especially those of us in sales), the world is like that ball pit.

Think about it...

Let's say that all the balls in the pit represent your potential customer base, but only the red balls are the ones who will buy from you. Unfortunately, all of the balls (the red ones included) are covered in mud so you really can't see what color it is.

So what you have to do is reach into the ball pit (access your prospect list), pull out a ball (call that prospect), clean it off (qualify the prospect) and determine what color it is (ask for the sale).

Anyone in any sort of sales or service industry knows that it's all about the numbers. If you talk to enough people, eventually you will find the right ones who want to do business with you. The problem as we all know is  nobody has a stamp on their forehead or a neon sign around their neck saying "pick me... pick me."

Some months you'll reach into the ball pit and immediately find the 4 or 8 or 12 red balls you need to reach your goals.

Other months you'll go through 30 or 40 wrong ones to find the right ones.

But lets say that the ball pit has 3000 balls, but only 10 of them are red, but if you find all 10 red balls you earn $100,000 bonus. Anything less than 10 and you don't earn anything. But you know that it is 100% guaranteed that there really are 10 red balls among the 3000 mud covered unidentifiable balls in the pit.

How hard would you work to find those 10 red ones? How long would you stay at it until you found them? What if the 10 red one were the last 10 balls you pulled out? Would you stay at it through the other 2990 or would you give up after five or six hundred because you didn't see the results you wanted to see?

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

All Alone... Or Not

The following post from Roger Magalhaes has been republished with permission. Roger has been a business owner since 2006. He comes from a background of sales and installation in the window treatment industry, but his points are universal for any entrepreneur.

Image: graur razvan ionut /
With the beginning of every new year, business owners take time to analyze how their operations performed in the previous year and also make plans to increase sales and profits for the years to come.

Most business consultants and analysts agree that business owners should focus on the tasks that bring the most value to the company, such as sales and overseeing the operations. Even when the whole operation is a “one man show” there is still room for delegation.

This is an example of a plan we should NOT follow:
"I know of a professional painter that does superb work at the job site. He is a perfectionist and knows how to finish corners and baseboards seamlessly.

Unfortunately, he is not good with numbers or paperwork so he wastes a lot of time doing his books. He is also unsure about how to promote his business and wastes time and money in campaigns that do not bring enough revenue to his company."
Does this sound familiar to you?

A better plan for this owner would be to hire a sales person to close more sales, find a bookkeeper to do the books more accurately, and even hire a company to manage his marketing campaigns. Sometimes, business owners – especially the ones working alone – think they need to do all the work, which reduces the bottom line. It’s very rare for a single individual to be great at everything he/she does. Hiring the right professionals to do what they do best frees the owner to do what he/she does best, increasing the bottom line for the company.

Focusing In Our Industry

If you are great at sewing even the most complex window treatment, but lose sleep the night before the installation, you should consider hiring an installer for the job. Perhaps you are all about creating drawings and putting colors and fabric together. Why bother doing an “okay” job sewing it yourself? Why waste tedious hours trying to find the “perfect” fabric with your client when you are just the best at installing?

The point is: do what you do best and hire the ones that do their job best to form a winning team.

Roger Magalhaes
Roger Magalhaes is a certified Professional Installer by CHF Academy, Hunter Douglas, Somfy, and Norman Shutters. He is an active member of the WCAA, WAOA, and CHF Forum. Roger is the owner of Shades IN Place Inc. in Franklin, Massachusetts. Established in 2006, his company specializes in all types of window treatment installations, window treatment cleaning services, and sales of brand name custom window treatments. Roger is known throughout the industry for his award-winning installation techniques, attention to detail, window treatment custom design understanding, and superior customer service. He also attends international conferences and trade shows annually to keep himself current on new and improved products and techniques. For more information, contact or visit

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Who Are You?

Let's face it. The more people that know who you are and what you do, the more likely you are to create revenue, find clients, expand your business and become more profitable.

That being said. How are you letting people know who you are?

Are you using traditional advertising such as radio, tv, magazines, and billboards? Are you attending networking events at your local chamber or other professional groups? Are you using social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn?

I once heard someone say that the best place to promote yourself and your business is:

Wherever your customer is.

So if your ideal customer is watching TV, use TV to promote your business. If your ideal customer is on Facebook, connect with them on Facebook, but don't be "weird" while you're on there. People don't connect with corporations, they connect with people. And survey after survey proves that people don't like to be "sold" something. But if they understand the value of what you offer, then they are more likely to buy a product or service from someone they trust.

How do they start trusting you?

First off, they have to see a real person behind the company logo.

Melissa Galt, a business coach and owner of Prosper By Design, says that you should be "...congruent on every network (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc) and that you should use the same image and a similar bio everywhere because consistency leads to success."

If you take a look at my "web properties" you will see that I have taken her advice and I have the same headshot on almost all of my profile pages.

Don't get me wrong. I love my daughters and they look adorable, but it's simply not appropriate for me to use a picture of them on my LinkedIn profile page. And neither is a photo of "James Bond" (which probably has a copyright attache to it).

And lets face it, it someone reads this blog and wants to connect with me on Google+ or Twitter, how will they know they have found the correct James Holloway if I've got a different picture on every site? It would be a lot harder.

So let the world see your business by seeing who you are.

And remember, I'm pulling for you, even if nobody else is.

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Friday, February 10, 2012

Are You A Rhinoceros or A Whine-oceros?

image courtesy of  Nite Owl Graphic Design Group

They say that the lion is the king of the jungle. Well, he may be the most majestic, but the rhino is the toughest beast you'll deal with.

Business owners are like the rhinoceros.

They have to be in order to succeed.

A business owner has to have "tough skin." You have to be able to withstand the attacks and jabs of those who try to put you down, or put down your business or ideas.

Just like the rhino, a business owner has to be fearless. Being in business requires a certain amount of risk. And starting a business from the ground up is Not For The Meek Or The Weak.

The rhinoceros is a target for illegal hunting and although business owners usually do not have to worry about being hunted down and shot, they have to be able to protect their ideas to prevent the competition from "poaching" their intellectual property.

Business owners must also step up to the challenges presented to them and "charge ahead" instead of wallowing in the mud whining about why it won't work, whose fault it was, and so on.

 So, are you a Rhinoceros or a "whine-oceros"?

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Groundhog Day

Image: chrisroll /
As is customary this time of year here in the U.S. we take time out of our lives to pay homage to a giant rat in the hopes that the cold winter will be mild and pass us by thus ushering in an early spring season. We call it: Groundhog Day.

It just so happens that in 1993, Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell star in a film by the same name.

If you've seen the movie, you know that somehow Bill Murray's character is subjected to living the same day over, and over, and over, and over. And according to some, Harold Ramis (the director & writer) explains he relives "Groundhog Day" for more than 10 years - some estimates say 30 or 40 years.

If that is the case, is Ramis using the story of the plight of Phil Conners as a look into the life of most Americans?

Think about what most people do...
  • They have an alarm clock wake them up from a cozy bed. 
  • They eat breakfast (probably the same thing every day - or at least very few variations). 
  • They take a shower. 
  • They get dressed (probably the same outfit gets revisited every 4 or 5 days). 
  • They drive to work (probably leaving at approximately the same time every day and driving the same route every day). 
  • They perform the same tasks and duties while at work. 
  • They eat lunch (probably at the same place - or small assortment of places). 
  • They go back to work. 
  • They drive home (again taking the same route in all likelihood). 
  • They fix dinner (again with very little variation - hey it's Wednesday, that means it's meatloaf night). 
  • They watch some TV or read a book, catch the news and go to sleep.
And the next morning they start all over again.

And they do this for 40 years of their life hoping to one day be able to retire and live on 1/3 of the income that they can't survive on now.

I call this a "settle for" life. But you don't have to live this way forever. Just like Phil in the movie, you can learn to live each day to the fullest. Chase your passions. Start that business you've always wanted to start. Find something, anything, that can inspire you to do something you've never done before.

Take a different route to work. Leave 45 minutes earlier and meander down side streets, or leave 60 minutes later and wait for the traffic to thin out - although this is probably not for someone who has a traditional job, most managers don't like it when you slide in "whenever you feel like it" (boy am I glad I don't have a manager.)

But what ever you do... don't get stuck in a rut. Don't end up reliving the same set of events day in and day out for the rest of your life. You're better than that. You were meant for more than that.

I believe in you. And even if no one else is, I'll be pulling for you.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Write The Vision

Image: Paul /
How many times have you had a dream or a desire to accomplish something?

Everyone has. It is within the genetic makeup of each and every human being.

Why then do some people achieve greatness and some suffer in mediocrity?

I firmly believe it is because they didn't have a plan, and if they did have a plan they didn't write it out.

Their is even a passage in the Book of Habakkuk from the Old Testament that admonishes us to write out the vision:
Then the Lord answered me,
“Write the vision.
Make it clear on tablets
so that anyone can read it quickly.
The vision will still happen at the appointed time.
It hurries toward its goal.
It won’t be a lie.
If it’s delayed, wait for it.
It will certainly happen.
It won’t be late..."
I have found that when I have a gameplan, and I write down what I want to accomplish (my goals) then I am much more likely to follow through and take the necessary steps to achieve those goals, thus fulfilling my vision.

And I know how easy it is to create something like this on the computer or tablet. But I have found that when I personalize it by writing it on paper in my handwriting, it is more impactful than if it is just in a document on the harddrive or "in the cloud."

Even better than writing it on paper, buy one of those dry-erase boards and mount it in your office or bedroom so that it's BIG and you see it every single day.

Keep your eye on the prize, keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars.

I'm pulling for you. Even if nobody else is.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Maybe I'm Missing Something

This title was the lead in to a thread I started on a business network forum on LinkedIn. It became a really hot topic for several months.

The actual title was somewhat longer...
Maybe I am missing something. Maybe I'm overly tired. Maybe I'm just turning into a grumpy old man. Maybe I'll get banned for asking it... but I have a question... Is there anyone posting to this groups discussion board that ISN'T trying to sell their e-book, or get rich quick program or trying to get me to visit their website so that I can become the next victim on online fraud and identity theft?

It had been bothering me for some time that I was constantly having to wade through a seemingly unending stream of offers and solicitations to get to the real threads where people were asking for help or offering something of real value.

I got some really interesting feedback from a small sampling of the 7000+ members of the group.

M.S. said:
I believe many people have been misinformed about how to use Linked in and Facebook to build business relationships. Many new people just use them as a means to get their commercial out to the masses. I have learned that these are tools that help business owners let other business people know who they are and how they can provide value to the community as a whole. Building trust with people is done over time, you must not rush it or force it.

F.M. said:
I get that same feeling with most discussions in this group. However, I have also found some really good information that is very helpful as I build my businesses. While these people are often annoying, the do fade in and out.

J.W said: (this was one of my favorites)
If the bulk of the postings were in response to the question "how do I", I supect the SPAM complaints would not have soared and this thread would be meaningless.

L.A. said:
This is my first post to this group. Before I decided to post, I read through (or at least looked at) the posts in the DISCUSSION section of this group. For me, discussion implies conversation between individuals about a specific topic or idea that each individual/group either already is using, without the intention that there will be money exchanged as a result of the conversation. Then I looked at the PROMOTION section of this group. Promotion to me implies that you have something you are trying to sell or get me to buy. I'm sad to say that I had a hard time telling them apart. In other groups the members had to be reminded of the purposes and reasons behind the different sections. I guess it comes down to your perception of what comprises tools for business owners.

I joined this group with the hopes that more seasoned members would be willing to share ideas on how they grew or are growing their business that would help me. I didn't join this group to have to wade through pitch after pitch after pitch to buy or invest. Like others, for the majority of the posts I hit the delete button. A shame.

And then of course the icing on the cake was from someone who on 4 occasions posted a "comment" that was not related to the discussion at all and was barely coherent in the first place (not to mention all in CAPS):

So bringing it back to my original question: Am I missing something or is this just typical of the digital environment we find ourselves these days? Have you had to deal with this on your forums or blogs? How did you deal with it?

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