Tag Archives: vision

The Butcher, the Baker, the Candlestick-maker

Small businesses are the backbone of small towns and cities throughout the United States. It is the small, local, independent store owner, service provider and professional who are usually the movers and shakers in these communities. Take a look at any positive activity or progress happening in your local area and chances are a small business person is behind it or actively involved in moving the effort forward.

It is in everyone’s best interest that these small enterprises not only survive, but thrive. That is the guiding principle of a new on-line effort being driven by The 3/50 Project. This website explains their focus in detail, but the basic principle of the 3/50 Project is this: Pick 3 local businesses you would miss if they were gone, spend $50.00 per month in those businesses. Simple as that.

The 3/50 Project points out that for every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures. If you spend that money in a national chain store (big box store) only $43 stays home. If you spend it online, $0 dollars stays in your community. That’s right ZERO dollars, the big nothing, the old donut hole…

Kind of easy to make the decision to support 3/50 when you ponder those numbers, isn’t it?

I want to thank The Supply Chick, Becky Flansburg for bringing the 3/50 Project to my attention. Becky is one of “those” people, you know the type: exhaustively positive, constantly chipper and always doing something to move herself (and those around her) forward.

Take 15 minutes today to visit The 3/50 Project and sign up. Then, next time you are out and about in your town, visit one of those small businesses that make your community unique. Take out your wallet and live a little.

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Filed under Leadership, Responsibility, Shop locally

Two Days That Don’t Matter

Calendat page

There are two days in every week that one should never worry about; yesterday and tomorrow.

Yesterday no longer matters because it is dead and gone. No matter how much one would like to go back and change yesterday, it is forever beyond one’s control.

Tomorrow, with its uncertainties, promise or possible adversities is nothing more than a blank slate. Indeed, tomorrow is not promised to anybody, it is only a possibility.

The only day that matters is today. The awesome thing about today is that it is here, now, and one can actively do something about it. One can start a diet today, which if followed faithfully, will result in a much better tomorrow. However, that tomorrow will never come except for good decisions made during a continuing series of present moments. In order for any plan to work, one must keep in mind that the decisions made in the present will make themselves known only in the future. Each present moment, each decision, brings with it the possibility of bringing us towards the future that we envision or one which we will regret.

One can start writing a blog today. One can hire a new employee today. One can make amends for past offenses today. One can start a new marketing campaign today. All one has to do is decide today, here in the present – now.

I have been planning, for the past months, to start writing a weekly e-mail newsletter. I planned it yesterday (when my yesterdays were still today), I am going to send it out tomorrow. However, I am going to write it today.

What are positive steps are you going to take today to make your tomorrow a better day than yesterday? What vision of the future are you going to start creating today? What decisions can you make now? Good Luck!

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Filed under Goals

Starring in the “New” New Economy

Are you ready for Internet 2.0? John Chambers, CEO of Cisco believes he has them ready; not only to survive but flourish. He lays out their game plan in the July 25th Wall Street Journal. Based upon his track record with Cisco, I wouldn’t bet against him.

So what is the game plan that has helped him build Cisco from a small Silicon Valley start-up to the Internet behemoth it is today? It is a simple four-part plan:

“The first element of his playbook, he says, is to “be realistic,” that is, to gauge how many challenges are created by the economy, and how many are self-inflicted. The second is to “assess your situation,” which means to ask how long a downturn will last and how deep it will be. “And,” Mr. Chambers says, “it will usually be longer than you think.” His third element is to “get ready for the upturn,” and the fourth is to “get closer to your customers.”

Simple, but not easy.

So what does Mr. Chamber predict for the “new” new economy?

“This Internet 2.0, Mr. Chambers says, will be all about pervasive video and collaboration tools. It will power the social networking Web world to even greater heights.”

If Mr. Chambers is right, and I feel he is, the business environment is going to become more personal as we rely on technology to connect those of us with shared interests and needed skills. Does this mean that geography is going to become irrelevant? No, because energy concerns will continue to create an environment where it will make sense to be as close to the marketplace as possible. However, what these tools will allow us to do is to connect and more easily recognize and share the resources that we have available to us in our marketplace.

So, of what value are social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked In? They are just the portals into the “new” new economy. They are just a few of the doorways into Internet 2.0.

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Filed under Trends

Coming Soon (to a phone in your pocket)

Why be on the web? What is the value of a presence on Facebook or Twitter? To get an idea of what is going to be coming to a smart phone near you, take a look at this video from Engadget . In it you will get an idea of what local promotion will consist of in the not-to-distant future. Follow your viewing of the video by reading this article from Fast Company.

The short version of what this means to you. If you run a retail outlet or any other type of business which relies on having consumers finding you easily, you need to start working on your web presence now! Before we know it, consumers wanting to find anything they need will be consulting their phones before going anywhere. One of the primary sources of information for the applications these web-based phones are going to rely on are social networking sites and/or local web portal sites.

The shorter version of what this trend means to your business is this: If you aren’t planning on entering the world of social networking or investing in your web presence, you are planning on being out of business before you know it.

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Filed under Trends

Looking through the fog of adversity

Many today are of the mind that we area going through some tough times right now. Many would be right.

Although the signs are that the economy may be improving (at least no longer deteriorating catastrophically, as we saw this past winter), it would not be unreasonable to feel as if one is experiencing some adversity right now.

The important question is: what are you going to do about it?

Complain? Who cares?

Get angry? At who?

Give up? Good for your competition, bad for your future.

When you’re in the midst of adversity, don’t look at where you are or how you got there; envision where you want to be, even if your vision seems unrealistic. See yourself beyond your current circumstances and envision yourself where you will be after you have weathered the storm.

When businesses or people are in the middle of adversity, they tend to behave in reaction to the circumstances as they are during that set point in time. That is, they can only see poor sales, poor cash flow, poor traffic patterns, etc. Many put in place short-term “fixes” to get them through. However, some of those “short-term” answer can have negative long-term effect on their business.

But an effective leader needs to look beyond the now. They see a future scenario where they have adapted to adversity and have achieved a new level of success for themselves and their business.Eye

Realize that whatever situation you’re in is temporary and it will pass, no matter how bad it may seem. When you envision what’s possible, you quickly discover that adversity actually can be an opportunity to make the changes you need to make to move to the next level.

Bad times can be a catalyst for change that allows you to re-invent yourself or your life circumstances. Adversity prepares you for something better.

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Filed under Goals