When to Step Back from a Client

How Do You Know When to Step Back from a Client?

knowing when to step back from a clientA client asked me a fantastic question this week. I knew I needed to address it in a blog post. It’s a question that many business owners ask, especially in the service industry. However, it can also be a question that is asked when dealing with a partner, sponsor, or vendor as well. Here’s the question asked in a few different ways:

“How do you know when to step back or stop? How do you know when it is time to back off from a client? How do you know when it is time to stop instructing, stop coaching, stop consulting, stop trying with a client?” I will expand the question to also include, “How do you know it is time to stop working with a vendor, stop trying to fix an employee situation, or stop trying to mend a partnership?” Read More

Are You Holding Yourself Accountable?

Accountability breeds responsibilityAre you Accountable?

To be accountable also means to be responsible, liable, and answerable.

Accountability has been a significant theme in my life, especially with my clients lately. Therefore, I figured that it was important to address the various dimensions of what it means to be accountable, to be held accountable, and what it means for a company or business of any size to practice accountability.

I have always felt a tremendous accountability for my actions, responsibilities, deadlines, and promises. I am a very self-disciplined person that can hold myself accountable for coming up with a vision and executing against it. So do I need someone to help me stay accountable? Read More

You Gotta Know Your Target Market

know your target market or there will be red flagsDo you Really Know your Target Market?

Regardless of what you call it – target market, target audience, ideal prospects, your tribe – defining your ‘who’ is extremely critical. Many entrepreneurs and business owners don’t put emphasis and time on identifying their real target market. To know your target market is probably one of the most critical components of launching a business.

Your target market dictates how you market. Your target market dictates what your branding, logo, packaging, promotional materials, and website should look and feel like. Your target market dictates the experience and business workflow you create both online and offline. Without identifying and getting to know your target market, your product or service may never reach them and it may never appeal to them, even if Read More

Listening is a Gift We All Have to Give

active listeningThe gift of  listening is one of the most powerful and effective gifts that you can give someone both personally and professionally.  Yet, many people just don’t take the time and opportunity to simply listen. Listening allows you to connect and build relationships. Active listening clearly demonstrates care, concern, compassion, and interest. What an amazing tool that we all possess, but don’t fully utilize.

Have you ever expressed something important to a friend, only to find that they are not really listening to what you have to say? They may be giving you one word answers such as “yeah”, “really”, “hmmm”, but you sense that they are not really listening. They hear you talking, but have checked out and are most likely doing something else while listening.

Why has it become so difficult to listen and be present?

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Business Research Can Be Daunting

business research 101I am working with a client who has a fantastic product idea in the food arena. However, when we began to break down his product idea, we realized that there are many forms that it can take – non-refrigerated, refrigerated, or frozen. Depending on where he sells the product, the form could vary. And then, after he decides how he wants to produce it, that decision may impact the target audience that he has identified. Lots of questions need to be assessed and decisions made before he can really get started.  He needs to conduct some business research.

When the decisions begin to multiply at a rapid rate, many aspiring entrepreneurs can become overwhelmed. And when overwhelmed and on your own, the frustration takes over and many people do nothing. Read More

Was Einstein Also A Patent Agent

Use a Patent Agent to patent your inventionsI host an open business group called Let’s Talk Business at Sachem Public Library. The group is an opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs, startups, individuals who want to start a non profit, and existing business owners to come, ask questions, and discuss business and marketing.

A few of the participants had products ideas and inquired about patents. My initial reaction was to refer them to a patent attorney. I knew one attorney in Manhattan but set out to identify some local Long Island referrals for patent attorneys.

During my research I came across a website for a local, registered patent agent who was a licensed professional engineer and qualified US Patent Office Examiner. His website was extremely informative and, upon request, he mailed me a very educational packet detailing how to obtain a patent. I was very impressed with the level of detail and explanation in this booklet. It was not written with heavy legal ease and spoke very clearly to his target market.

My assumption was that you needed to use a patent attorney to apply for a patent. That assumption was incorrect. Read More

Setting Up International Production in a Developing Country

An opportunity to attend an immigration delegation to Oaxaca, Mexico, turned into an opportunity for me to learn about how a US-based company setup their international production in Mexico, a developing country.

How I ended up in Oaxaca, Mexico

I was invited by my local residents association to a delegation trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in August, 2015. The trip was sponsored by the Hagedorn Foundation and facilitated by Witness for Peace. The delegation’s purpose was to teach Americans from Long Island about the root causes for Mexican and Central American migration to the United States. It was a 9-day trip to both Oaxaca, Mexico (the largest and poorest state in Mexico) and Tiaxcala, the smallest state in Mexico.Vida Nueva is a women's weaving cooperative Oaxaca Mexico

Through our travels, we were introduced to a cooperative of women called Vida Nueva. Vida Nueva is a cooperative of Zaoptec women from Teotitlan del Valle, an indigenous Mexican community with centuries of weaving history. Their patterns and techniques have been passed down from generation to generation and each design expresses their unique culture. Historically, men were only permitted to weave. However, over the last several years women have also begun to share in the weaving. Read More

Conquer or Embrace your Business Competition?

Conquer or Embrace your Business CompetitionBusiness competition can consume a business owner if they allow it to take over. Let’s break down what business competition really is and identify some ways of viewing and embracing your competition.

The word compete means, “a person or group that strives to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same.” I don’t know about you, but the word defeating sounds very aggressive and unnecessary to me. So, I like to think about competition in a different way.

Today, there are over 7 billion people living on Earth. The Internet allows access to a significant portion of those people. There are enough clients Read More

The Same Target Market Rules Apply Wordwide

Who is your target market?

Chocolate trip to cacao farms in the  Dominican RepublicHave you taken the time to assess who wants to buy your product or service? Do you believe that your product or service appeals to everyone? Do you have a great definition of your target market but have no clue how to actually reach them? While traveling during the summer of 2015, I had the opportunity to meet an inspiring women-owned business located in the northern regions of Dominican Republic. This chance meeting demonstrated the criticalness of defining and knowing your target market.

I have been working with a local production company called the My Long Island TV Show for many years. They produce a television show for Verizon FiOS1 that airs on a daily basis. The Producer, Waldo Cabrera, and I have become close friends and frequently have strategic business discussions about how to evolve and grow our businesses.

During one of our business strategy chats, Waldo happened to mention that his family (who reside in the Dominican Republic) owns a 100+ year old organic cacao farm close to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Read More

Should I Quit My Job?

Should I Quit My Job?

Should I Quit my Job?If you are a Shark Tank fan, you always hear the Sharks question people’s dedication to their business. Many times, contestants are criticized if they are splitting their time between a job and other responsibilities and not 100% focused on building their business. However, after watching the show since its inception, I also have witnessed many contradictory statements about this topic from the Sharks.  If you are an aspiring entrepreneur or have an established business already, I am sure you have asked the question, “Should I quit my job?”

Let’s first remember that Shark Tank is a TV show that is fully edited. Therefore, we are not getting a complete accurate portrayal of the conversations that occur between the Sharks and the business owners. We don’t know all the business details, the owner stories, the financials, etc. We are seeing and hearing edited questions and answers. So, we can’t really take everything we hear on this show (and any TV show for that matter) at face value.

Quitting a job to focus on your business idea is a dilemma that many aspiring business owners face. Read More