How to increase your personal business performance

Performing at our best all the time can seem like a challenge unless we move the goal posts and focus on learning, fun and clarity

How to increase your personal business performanceThere were only three days left before I had to have the program ready for my team. I had been putting off working on the project until it seemed like the last minute. I could feel the pressure building internally and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to deliver. Working to deliver…

Screwed up? It’s okay to be honest

Our mistakes in judgment help us learn and hopefully grow

Screwed up? It’s okay to be honestWhen I was a brash and self-assured 21-year-old, I announced at a family dinner with my aunt and cousin that I would be a millionaire by the time I was 30. I had found investors and had just started a business. I thought I was invincible, living in the big city, and figured I could…

Feel out of control? Try naming your year

Being rooted and attentive to a guiding motto, principal or goal can keep us from being distracted

Feel out of control? Try naming your yearIt was icy and the pickup truck on the road in front of me started sliding out of control as it rounded a corner on our way back from the ski hill the other day. While others in the car with me were shouting distracting instructions, in my head I could hear my father’s voice…

Hammer home business success with the right tools

Without the right tools, people and plans, your business will suffer. You’re going to have to work harder and that will affect your bottom line

Hammer home business success with the right toolsIt was almost the final straw. I was laying on the ground after falling off the roof of the house and the carpenter, John, was standing over me yelling. He was mad because his sawhorses had been broken in half because of my stupidity, while I was just wondering if I had broken anything in…

Business opportunities might be right in your front yard

When looking for opportunities to fill needs and create value, start by looking close to home

Business opportunities might be right in your front yardThere was a lot of excited yelling at our house on Saturday morning when I cut down the tree in front of the house. My morning started when my wife asked me six times in a row if I was getting a Christmas tree. I had told her all week that I was going to…

In desperate times, business owners must shift strategies

Leaders who make quick, smart decisions in times of difficulty and follow through are significantly more successful than owners who waffle

In desperate times, business owners must shift strategiesIt was an especially nice Irish day, which means it wasn’t raining. Emily, Isabel and Aisling had just been dropped off by their uncle at a train station in the middle of the country. The girls proceeded to the ticket counter, where they realized they were 10 euros short of what they needed to get…

Why business owners need to get serious about sales

No one just buys stuff. You need a concrete sales model based on what the product does, what its advantages are and the values it brings to the marketplace

Why business owners need to get serious about salesMy first sales experience was in high school, selling chocolate bars door to door as a fundraiser for a school club. Not much interested in the club but interested in the prizes for top sellers, I hit the pavement. Each day after school, I knocked on doors and sold chocolates to starving mothers and their…

Seven things business owners fear

To be successful, you need to determine what causes your fear and figure out whether that fear is holding you back or pushing you forward

Seven things business owners fearThe day I got married was the scariest day of my life. I walked up to the altar shaking like a leaf. At 31, I would have thought I was too old to be afraid of getting married. But I was afraid. Each month, I talk to a business owner who expresses their fears to…

Has your business been blindfolded?

Has your business been blindfolded?It was all fun and games, with a class of kids having an outdoor adventure while playing a game of trust when the accident happened. The game involved one child leading the other, who was blindfolded, around the campground, letting the blindfolded one try to figure out what they were encountering while avoiding danger. Unfortunately,…

Pricing mistakes every business makes

Setting a pricing policy and regularly reviewing those prices and strategies allows you to price for profit and success

Pricing mistakes every business makesHave you ever bought something and thought that there’s something not right about the price? Maybe it seemed too cheap or you felt you were getting ripped off. Pricing is tricky and a stressor for many business people. Are we too high and scaring away customers? Our competitors are priced lower than us, should we…

How to create customer service that works

It’s all about making a connection with your customers and building a relationship by giving them what they need in that moment

How to create customer service that worksI recently gave a customer service session to the employees of a store called Great White Toys. Having seen in the news that Toys ‘R’ Us has filed for bankruptcy protection and that many other retailers are also in trouble as a result of online competition, I was surprised to hear from store owner Cameron…

Are leaders born or raised?

Being born with talent, riches or a good name doesn’t make you a great leader. Leadership skills can be learned if you open your mind

Are leaders born or raised?Think about the best leader you’ve ever worked for or been associated with. If you considered the qualities that make that person so fantastic as a leader, what would you say those qualities are? It might be a coach or a team member. It might be your first boss or your current boss. It could…

Why a monthly report card is essential for business

Look at your income statement and your balance sheet closely every month. Consider the questions those figures raise and then seek out the necessary answers

Why a monthly report card is essential for businessI enjoy reading my kids’ report cards and making them sweat like I did when my mom and dad went through my report card. The truth is, their report cards are, for the most part, better than mine. The comments from the teachers are certainly much nicer. But why tell my kids that? If you’re…

Five ways you might be discouraging your staff

Motivated employees are the lifeblood of every great business. Understanding what you can do to motivate your workers is essential

Five ways you might be discouraging your staffIt’s true that people don’t quit a job, they quit a boss. A great boss can change the dynamics of an organization and inspire people to create a culture where work doesn’t feel like a chore. Motivated staff are key to having an operation that’s well functioning and takes care of customers in a way…

Happiness rooted in relationships, not possessions

The cost of isolation and fear caused by our response to the pandemic might be much higher and even more deadly than the illness

Happiness rooted in relationships, not possessionsI feel old. For the second time in a month, I’ve pulled a muscle in my back. It’s left me sore, stiff and walking like an old man. Yet I’m truly blessed that my life has been filled with good health – with the exception of injuries and concussions derived from my life of activity,…

What are you avoiding today?

The worst outcome in many cases is much better than not dealing with what we’re avoiding

What are you avoiding today?I caught myself trying to avoid work last week. Part of my job is to make phone calls to prospective clients. As it came closer to the time I had blocked out to make the calls, I found myself getting distracted. I went through my emails, clicked on links, looked at social media and even…

Why do we obsess over money?

Why do we obsess over money?In the days before credit cards, before microwave machines, before The Ed Sullivan Show broadcast across the night TV screens, bread was a dime, pop a nickel or less, and my grandfather worked for a mill in the Canadian great northwest. Years ago, I would visit my grandfather in his Richmond, B.C., apartment. We would…

How Phil saved her employer a full year’s salary

Hiring and on-boarding new employees is costly. Less staff turnover means your organization will reap considerable rewards

How Phil saved her employer a full year’s salaryLast week, I called my local credit union about my account. The phone was answered by Phil, who I knew as a long-term employee of the credit union. Over the years, I’ve gone into the branch on a regular basis. Phil would always be serving her customers in a caring manner, greeting people by name…

Five reasons why businesses and leaders fail

Most entrepreneurs build a business without a clear concept of what they’re building, the systems they need and where the profit comes from

Five reasons why businesses and leaders failI had a video meeting last week with woman whom we will call Sally. Sally was meeting to talk about her business, which she had started a couple of years ago. At one point in the conversation, Sally said she was making $2,000 a month but needed to make $5,000 from the business. Luckily for…

Working your business when your business doesn’t work

We have to put serious energy into looking at what’s working for us and what’s not and make a decision to adjust our strategies

Working your business when your business doesn’t workIn the winter of 1987, my startup company Winewear Fashions had cash flow problems. Not only could I not take wages, but I hadn’t been able to pay bills for several months without putting cash into the business. I took a job on the side selling books door to door in Vancouver to pay for…

Want a better business? Sleep on it

Running a business requires a lot of brain power. If a business is struggling, it takes even more mental energy. That means you need to be well-rested

Want a better business? Sleep on itLast week, I couldn’t sleep. Whether it was the new project I’m working on or the basketball team I’m coaching, my mind was spinning. I’d fall asleep immediately, but wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. and couldn’t get back to sleep. Wide awake, my mind was turning. I was thinking about new ideas; how…

The power of mentors in business and life

Mentors come in all shapes and sizes, and in all aspects of our lives. It’s only when they leave us that we truly realize their lasting influence

The power of mentors in business and life“Show me a successful individual and I’ll show you someone who had real positive influences in his or her life. I don’t care what you do for a living – if you do it well, I’m sure there was someone cheering you on or showing the way. A mentor.” – Denzel Washington In the last couple…

How compassion makes businesses money

Companies organized around values such as love, generosity and endearment have significantly greater stock market returns

How compassion makes businesses moneyMichael was my mentor when it comes to compassion. His heart always went out to anyone who was in a tough spot. As a roommate of Michael’s, I saw him reach out to people in the community who were down on their luck and in pain. He would help to mend hearts even after his…

Customer service: making it right

When we listen to our clients, it allows us to improve on aspects of our organizations that perhaps we haven’t noticed

Customer service: making it rightWhat would you do if you woke up one morning and right there on your Facebook page, for the whole world to see, was a complaint about how terribly one of your staff members was treating customers? Customer complaints are nothing new. In the past when customers received poor service from you or your staff,…

God rested on the 7th day. Why not you?

Working smarter, not harder, will make you more money. Take time off to think about other things and to refresh your mind, body and spirits

God rested on the 7th day. Why not you?On the seventh day, God rested. But for four years, I didn’t. My body finally said “No more!” I was laid out on the couch for two weeks, stressed and exhausted. Four years of continuous strategizing and deliberating had taken its toll. On top of running my businesses, I was involved in major campaign to clean up the…
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