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A little earlier this week The Society of Innovators, the organization that works to foster an environment supportive of innovation, inducted their newest members, fellows, and teams. One of the key moments of the evening is the awarding the Chanute Prize, which was presented to two outstand…
Last week I attended a conference in a very nice hotel out of town.
Businesspeople meet other businesspeople all the time. At trade shows, networking events, seminars and on sales calls we are constantly shaking hands and exchanging business cards.
Looking through the business book listings under the topic of leadership, I found hundreds, if not thousands of references. Leadership is a popular topic. Why? Because very few people (think John Wayne in some iconic movies – and they are fiction) in a leadership role feel adequate or even c…
Recently I heard a businessperson’s sad lament over a lost client, “Oh, I thought we had built such a strong relationship with them that they were our customer for life. We played golf together, we went to dinner together, we sold lots of stuff to them for years. I thought we were friends an…
Most companies work hard to keep their service, quality and value promises to customers, not as something extraordinary, but as part of their normal existence. “It’s what we do here every day at XYZ Enterprises.” So they rarely make a big deal of it.
In today’s competitive marketplace, because of massive technological change we are seeing huge disruptions in our marketplaces.
How many times have you been considering something – maybe introducing a new product or service, a different internal process, perhaps a change in your marketing geography – and said something like, “we don’t want to reinvent the wheel”?
For many people, the process of planning is difficult and the hardest part is getting started. Often the difficulty is staring at the proverbial blank sheet of paper, white board or monitor that is intimidating, causing a case of severe procrastination. But once the plan is started, words, d…
It’s been a long time since I collected baseball cards, but I remember vividly the little table on the back of each card that illustrated various statistics on each player. In business we call those stats critical factors for success, often referred to as CFS.
I got a number of emails after last week’s column about asking “management auestions” to solve problems forever, so I thought I would expand on this theme this week.
Problems. Every business has some problems of one kind or another. Sales problems, quality problems, employee problems, production problems, inventory problems, financial problems. The list goes on and on.
I was sitting outdoors a little after dusk on a warm summer night mesmerized by the magical glow of fireflies flickering, illuminating, building awareness and bringing momentary joy.
Every purchase, no matter how small, has an element of risk in it for the buyer. To some degree, this element of risk reduces the chances someone will actually make a purchase. If the prospect feels they are assuming too much risk, they will not buy.
Every businessperson has goals, most have lots of them. But when asked what those goals might be, most communicate their goals in “fuzzy” terms like, “more sales and profit,” “give better service,” “fewer inventory outages” or “more efficient production.”
While preparing for a presentation I will be giving next month, I had to review some material that was filed in my filing cabinet.
Every so often I, like most people, fall into a gumption trap.
One business activity I have been involved in for many years is attending networking events – chamber meetings, “business after hours,” conventions and industry seminars, etc.
This is not a column about bird watching, but for the past month or so we’ve been enjoying watching migratory birds on their seasonal travels.
Many if not most business activities are repetitive. No matter the industry or what you do within your industry, your company produces something, gets stuff from vendors, has a bookkeeping function and deals with customers and prospects.
Sooner or later, everyone in a leadership position hears someone say, “I didn’t know what you expected” or “I didn’t know how you wanted me to do it” or “I didn’t know when you wanted it done” or “I thought I did it right” or any one of many variations on that “I didn’t know” theme.
The primary use of a brand is to focus attention on a company’s core differentiation and make it memorable. To do that, the brand must be easy to comprehend and illustrate benefits.
Why is common sense so darn uncommon? Well, if I could answer that question I’d probably win the Nobel Prize.
Last week I had the pleasure of sitting in the audience at the Society of Innovators Leader Luncheon where a number of innovative community leaders from government, industry, education, business, nonprofits, and science spoke.
The other day I heard a faint warbling sound in the sky. Looking up, I was able to spy a flight of sandhill cranes making their way north on their annual springtime migration. Just as swallows fly back to Capistrano, cranes, robins, geese, ducks -- and your customers -- all follow seasonal patterns.
It’s happened yet again. I was told that old, sad story of the loyal customer who suddenly became disloyal.
Every so often everything is going smoothly, the marketing is working, the cash register is ringing, and customers and staff have smiles on their faces. Then suddenly something awful happens, and it all goes wrong.
The highest percentage of sales presentations revolve around the salesperson talking, talking and talking some more.
A boomerang, in the hands of a skilled thrower, will loop back to the person who threw it.
While watching the weather reporter discussing the horrible winter we’ve been having this year from coast to coast, I reflected on that phrase “everyone talks about the weather but we can’t do anything about it.”
Along with many millions of others, I’ve been glued to the television watching the amazing spectacle that is the Olympics.
As the last minutes of the Super Bowl ticked off the clock, I started thinking about the how the athletes who suffered such a massive, public defeat would react.
Here in Northwest Indiana and in many other places around the country, we’ve been dealing with very difficult arctic weather conditions that have caused major disruptions in our personal and business lives.
If you were to look at your sales records going back two or three years, I’m sure you would find a sizable number of clients that bought your products or services but have not bought from you in some time.Ask yourself: Is it possible they no longer need my products or services? Did we do som…
The first rule of successful communications is that you must immediately win your audience’s attention, capture their imagination, engage them and answer their “what’s in it for me?” question.
Iconic world-class modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe gained notoriety with that quotation decades ago.
Even though tomorrow is a few work days into the new year, for many, it will be the first day back to work after an extended holiday period.
For the next few days we are all going to inundated by gurus and fortune-tellers telling us what 2014 will be like for business and in the governmental and political arenas, since they are all so intertwined.
At some point in the past your business was invented or, at the very least, it was modified from someone’s previous invention.
In every business there are a number of long, mindless, slogging, dull, repetitive tasks.
At some level we are all actors playing a part as if we were in a movie, TV show, or stage play because in our normal business day, we present many different versions of ourselves.
Repetition. It’s not a secret strategy but over time, repetition can be one of the most effective marketing and advertising tools a business can use to become known in the marketplace.
Seemingly, all of a sudden, it’s holiday season, from the run-up to Thanksgiving all the way to the first day back to school and work after New Year’s Day.
I think I’m a pretty mild-mannered guy, but about once a year I feel the need to vent after coming across the “Customer Elimination Department” at a few businesses.
So there I was sipping coffee with a business friend, a man I have had many cups of coffee with over the past couple of decades and he said it again: “We’re going to take the business to the next level.”
The late Charles Revson, founder of Revlon Cosmetics, was quoted as saying, "In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope."
In some ways, our world with its acronyms substituting for words everywhere often seems like a big bowl of alphabet soup. There is one acronym, KPI, which is essential. KPI stands for "key performance indicators.” Every business has a whole basketload of KPIs and can use them to measure many…
When two or more businesses that offer complimentary services combine to service clients that neither could serve on their own, that’s a strategic alliance.
There are a few people in every industry that, by dint of their efforts, their creativity, their ability to communicate and their often provocative points of view are considered to be “thought leaders.”
Last week I traveled cross-country to a seminar and am happy to report I had a great experience throughout my trip in an age when we hear so many complaints based on stupid systems or uncaring attitudes.
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