Two Words from Jeff Bezos that Can Transform Your Business


Last week, Jeff Bezos, in his annual letter to Amazon shareholders, listed many of the company’s incredible successes. 

Like Amazon Prime signing up its 100 millionth member. 

Or Amazon Web Services growing to be a $20 billion+ business. 

Or its acquisition of Whole Foods. 

Or how last year the company sold and shipped more than five billion items.  

And then he did a remarkable thing.  

He shared why and how Amazon has been able to accomplish all of the above and so much more. 

And to keep doing so in spite of now being a very big (560,000+ employees) and mature (20+ years old) company. 

For Jeff Bezos, it comes down to two words and all they represent.

High Standards.

A simple concept that all of us have been taught in some form - from our parents, from school, from professional mentors as we have made our way through our careers.

But a concept that when promulgated and enforced rigorously and daily throughout a business organization is the only true wellspring of lasting success.

Bezos notes how Amazon’s culture of high standards naturally derives from the its call-to-arms of "meeting the high expectations of our customers."

With false modesty and to make the point that he does not equate high standards with perfection, he remarks that Amazon has had "some success" in meeting these expectations, but “billions of dollars in failure” too.  

Then, he emphasizes that only through teamwork and culture can true and lasting organizational high standards be conceived and achieved.

And that it naturally follows that high standards are not intrinsic to an individual, but are teachable, "contagious" and able to be learned "through exposure."

To bring the point home, Bezos concludes with this thought on the importance of human talent and skill: 

How about skill? Is it another required element? In my view, not so much, at least not for the individual in the context of teams. The football coach doesn’t need to be able to throw, and a film director doesn’t need to be able to act. But they both do need to recognize high standards for those things...someone on the team needs to have the skill, but it doesn’t have to be you.

This is about as guiding a formulation of what effective business leadership and management is all about as we might ever read.

I've written often about Amazon because of the company's outsized impact on competitive marketplaces and customer expectations across almost all of modern society and business.

While they, like every complex organization, are not without their flaws and justified distracters, it is energizing and motivating to get a “peek under the hood” of the business engine that had outraced so many competitors for 20 years on now.

Meeting the high expectations of modern customers demand extraordinarily high standards of performance across all aspects of our organizations.

For sure, this is a lot of pressure and hard work, but also as Jeff Bezos lightly ends his letter...“high standards are fun! Once you’ve tasted high standards, there’s no going back.

Amen to that. 

Need More High Standards in Your Business? 

Feel like you and your team are not performing at a high enough level to really “break out of the pack” and compete and win? 

Need a burst of energy, ideas, and vision to get your business unstuck? 

If so, we should talk.  

To learn more about our business planning, innovation, and execution services, click here. 

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


Overcome Business Stasis [or Pay the Price]


A good friend of mine runs an IT consulting business. 

From the outside, it seems successful. He has solid revenues and marquee clients. 

But if you look closely, the business is actually crumbling beneath him. 

Because its core fundamental - the "delta" between what competitive pressures allow him to charge his customers and his fixed and variable costs - especially the cost of his W-2 employees - has been shrinking year after year.

Even more ominously, my CEO friend sees this squeeze only being tightened in the years to come by that merciless combination of high customer information plus low switching costs plus competitors willing and able to perform comparable work with lower cost structures and profit expectations and needs.

Now, let’s be clear, entrepreneurs and executives get paid a lot to identify the root of a business problem, its solution, and then to persist, overcome, and win. 

And to do so no matter which sacred cows might need to be gored in the process, whether those be an old brand identity, nice office space, long-time employees and of course the all time favorite “the way that things have always been done.”  

Alas, my CEO friend, so ambitious, admirable, clear minded and strategically brilliant in so many ways... 

...well he sees these swirls of dangerous marketplace and technological change all around him and intellectually understands what he must do yet he does nothing.

This is business stasis, and there's a strange but solid case to be made that, in spite of how much the speed of business has increased, that it is more of a problem today than ever before.

A first reason for it was outlined by economist Thomas Piketty in his seminal work, Capital In The 21st Century.

Pinketty’s hypothesis was that the affluent now make most of their money not via labor - in the case of business owners, from their company’s operating profits - but from their capital - i.e. their inheritances, stocks, bonds, real estate, and the like.

Thusly too many business owners, like my friend, want to see their businesses perform better, but don’t need them to do so to maintain their comfortable lifestyles.

Combine this economic reality with a certain fatalism that nothing that could be done will make a real difference anyway in the face of the inexorable onslaught of technology and globalization and...

...a certain “deer-in-the-headlights” inertness and inaction that can overtake even the most dynamic and change-oriented among us.

Now, the above is all intellectually interesting, but does not make it excusable, defensible, or right.

Because just as we could not defend a businessperson who purposefully set bags full of $100 bills aflame, nor should a pass be given to those who sit idly by and watch otherwise promising and valuable businesses slowly crumble because of leadership inaction.

No, what these “inert” business owners and executives need is a big bucket of ice water poured over their heads and a firm slap in the face (or several!) to snap them out of it! 

And do what they should do - calmly assess the threats facing their businesses now, along with those inexorably rolling down the road. 

And get out of their way.   

And do something else.

While that “something else” might be different for every business, determining it for a particular business really isn't that hard.

It is usually as plain as day, and when it isn’t a reasonably astute outsider - a hired consultant or a well-credentialed business friend - in a relatively short amount of Q&A, discussion and then competitive research, can easily surmise the needed business pivots. 

From there, it is then up to the owner/executive to do what is their sacred responsibility and charge to do.   

To drive change. 

The good news is that once the “change snowball” is set in motion, the additional energy needed to keep it rolling down the hill is normally not all that much. 

The key is to just get it going.  Today. Right now.  Without delay. 

Because waiting on inexorable fate is no way to live. 

Or run a business. 

Need to Overcome Stasis in Your Business? 

Feeling pricing and margin pressure coming at you from both sides and not sure what to do? 

Need a burst of change energy and ideas to get your business unstuck? 

If so, we should talk.  

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business’ current status, and key goals now.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


Adapt or Die


Last week I wrote about Amazon.

And whether it is a company that we should love or hate.

My ultimate conclusion was that while it is an interesting debate, for almost all small companies it is an irrelevant one, too.

Because the “customer is all powerful” world that the Internet economy has spawned and of which Amazon is the most prominent example is 1,000% here to stay.

And for businesses - especially small businesses - the only real choice is to either adapt to it...

or die.

Luckily, adapting a modern business is far easier than any of us might think.

It begins with coming to grips with the modern customer’s expectation and demand of the highest possible quality at the lowest possible price delivered in the fastest possible time.

Amazon, more so than any company ever, has delivered this to customers through a combination of operational excellence and by being allowed by the financial markets to operate their business on the tiniest of margins for literally decades on end.

And the “Amazon Way” has spread around the world, to thousands of millions of micro-businesses and freelancers - both domestically and overseas - who because of their super low overhead and minimal profit expectations sell and serve customers at extremely low prices.

All so very wonderful for customers, but often impossibly challenging to more traditional businesses across almost every industry.

While this new reality can’t be sugar coated or wished away, as business owners and executives we can take solace that we are customers too.

And as customers, we too can access these low cost sellers and service providers to outsource / reduce our cost structure and to somewhat offset the ever-present margin squeeze.

But in the end if all we do is cut costs it will be no way near enough.

No, we need business protection.

Against the challenge of the Amazons from above, and the swarming competitors from below.

And to be clear, this protection will not, can not, and should not come from the government.

No, the only true form of modern business protection is better strategy.

Better strategy as to how best to adapt and pivot to those “adjacencies” in our industry and to our business model that are more in line with modern marketplace realities.

For many businesses, this might look like serving a more premium and less price sensitive customer demographic, and in turn forsaking the plentiful but more structurally unprofitable mass market.

Or in rethinking our delivery model in a such a way that our customers serve to themselves their purchased products and services, and thereby structurally increasing our efficiency, throughput, and margin.

Uber and AirBNB are prominent examples of this self serve approach, and through a combination of innovative thinking and creative application of new technologies “sharing economy” process models like this can be applied to almost any business.

Or perhaps mixing in a bit of both of the above, on the one hand seeking to serve a mass market via a more self-serve delivery model, and on the other hand raising prices, perhaps under an entirely new brand, and then “walking that talk” with vastly improved product / service quality and customer care.

But as every business is a little different, so for every business the proper adaptation and pivot will be different too.

The only thing that will always be the same is the need to do it.

Because adaptation is way better than death.

Need to Adapt and Innovate Your Business? 

Feeling pricing pressure coming at you from all sides and not sure what to do about it?

Like to tap into some Uber / AirBnB “sharing economy” business model magic? 

Feel you have to do something new to get your business moving in the right direction? 

If so, we should talk.  

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business’ current status, and key goals now.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


Should We All Hate Amazon?


Amazon is usually in the news for being a company that customers love.

Because of its low prices, vast selection and fast shipping. 

And above all else for that invaluable feeling that if a customer has a problem - any problem - that the company will make it right.

But last week Amazon was in the news for the opposite reason - as a company that perhaps we should hate?

Because they are actually too good to their customers. 

Too willing to operate their business only for the customer’s benefit - i.e. with razor thin margins for years and decades on end.  

Placing untenable pressure on the competition - which given Amazon’s breadth and depth of offerings combines with its limitless Internet marketing and distribution reach basically means the entire retail sector. 

But placing pressure also on all businesses. 

Because of how they have raised consumer expectations across the board to arguably too high a level. 

Pushing prices too low and service expectations too high.

Which in turn, especially for small and medium-sized businesses, has caused systemic cash flow and margin pressure to arguably an unsustainable level.

Now Amazon is not solely responsible for this modern business phenomenon, it is fundamentally driven by the massive consumer information and choice power the Internet has engendered.

And consumers, i.e. all of us, naturally use and enjoy that power. 

Through searching for and choosing only those lowest cost / highest value sellers and service providers. 

With any societal, local relationship or business “loyalty” concerns and scruples be darned.

This is now playing out as a political debate, and Amazon is the most obvious target for “squeezed” Mom and Pop and Main Street frustrations.

How it ends, with additional regulatory burden or restrictions or even an old school monopolistic break up of the company, is for “rest of us” mostly irrelevant. 

Because, no matter what, we all almost certainly will be working for the rest of our careers in this “customer is all powerful” world that the Internet economy has spawned and of which Amazon is the most prominent example.  

And we gotta adjust. 

Through finding win-win ground with our uber-powerful customers.

Amazon is a great role model for how to do it.

Because win-win doesn't come just from low prices.

Or from speed of service. Or ease of returns. 

Or from a beautiful, easy-to-use, and selection rich website.

These are all nice but are byproducts and expressions of something more fundamental.

Something that predates the Internet and goes as far back as human history itself.

The concept of
true reciprocity.

Then when a customer offers a business that ultimately sign of respect and trust, namely their hard earned, often blood-stained and tears-wet cold hard cash...

...that businesses must reciprocate with that invaluable feeling we get when we shop at Amazon.

That feeling that we as a customer will be taken care of. 

And respected. 

And that wrongs, no matter the blame, will be righted.

Not only because it is good business.

But because, in this technologically crazy and strange and overwhelming world of ours, it is the most human thing we can do.

To reciprocate respect with more respect.

And trust with more trust.

The really cool thing is that reciprocity is just a feeling.

It doesn’t cost anything, but when our customers really sense it... 

...for sure the money does and will follow. 

Want Improve How Your Customers Feel about Your Business? 

Want your customers to treat your business with more respect and trust?  

And with more money? 

Feel you have to do something new to get your business moving in the right direction? 

If so, we should talk.  

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business’ current status, and key goals now. 

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


What We All Can Learn from Wayne Huizenga


Under-reported last week was the passing of Wayne Huizenga, one of the truly great entrepreneurs of the last 50 years.

Because in his lifetime, he founded and grew not one, not two, but three multi-billion dollar businesses.

In three separate industries.

With three different business models.

Wayne famously started his career in “trash,” driving a garbage truck from 2:00 am to noon every day, and in the afternoon trading in his overalls for a salesman’s suit to court and win new customers.

In 1971, he took that trash business public and within a year had bought 133 other garbage truck companies - hyper-growing right away the $14 billion conglomerate that became Waste Management.

Within his first great business success, he displayed passion and guts - when his eldest son, working summers for his dad, would complain about the smell of landfills and the dirty  work environment, his father would famously quip "It smells like money to me, son."

Combined with the passion and guts was an inherent foresight as to the overriding business importance of predictable customers and recurring revenue.

And about what makes a marketplace with lots of "mom and pop" fragmentation and lack of professional management ripe for the picking and consolidation. 

These insights served him well in 1987 when he invested in a small Chicago video tape rental chain called Blockbuster.

Similar to the rocket fast expansion of Waste Management 20 years earlier, Wayne grew Blockbuster from 20 to 3,500 stores within seven short years.

And just like with Waste Management’s early public offering, he cashed out of Blockbuster early - in 1994 to Viacom for a whopping $8.4 billion! 

Getting out at that peak moment before the emergence of the Internet and video streaming technologies led to the video rental chain's infamous demise and death. 

At this career point as a self-made billionaire with two massive business successes, no one would have begrudged him to retire to a life of leisure and  philanthropy.

Instead, again displaying that insatiable passion for business,Wayne went on to found and grow a third business - AutoNation, which became the country’s largest auto retailer with more than 360 retail locations, 26,000 employees, and $20 billion+ in annual sales.

A key to the success of AutoNation was Wayne learning to temper his “grow by super-fast acquisition” spirit that so drove the success of Waste management and Blockbuster.

And to delegate. In 2000, he hired Mike Jackson as CEO, who in turn recommended simplifying the company’s business model to focus more on new car sales, and more in the premium categories.

Wayne Huizenga - for sure on that very high “second tier” of great Modern American Entrepreneurs and Business Builders.

Not as famous or impactful as a Steve Jobs or Bill Gates for sure, but with a success strategy perhaps more accessible and emuable for the rest of us.

Work hard.  Love it.  Deal make always. Empower and believe in your people.

And of course, never think that a business is inaccessible because you've never done it before.

Trash.  Videotape.  Cars.

Businesses started and grown big in three very different industries, with three very different business models. 

But all with the same effervescent beating heart - Wayne Huizenga. 

Want to Start and Grow Multiple Businesses like Wayne Huizenga? 

See multiple opportunities in your business but not sure how to prioritize?  

Or how to pursue them at the same time? 

Feel you can do far bigger and better things than your current business results would indicate? 

If so, we should talk.  

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business’ current status, and key goals now.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you. 


Choose Wisely. Win Big.


Great executives and great entrepreneurs make great choices.

About everything.

The names of their businesses - think Google, Facebook, Nike et al.

The right products and services to build and sell - think the iPhone, Spotify or a really great pair of shoes.

The prices and terms at which to sell them - think Netflix, gym memberships and your mobile data plan.

The right win-win economic structures for employees and partners - think Goldman Sachs with its “golden handcuffs” compensation system, Uber and Lyft with their driver programs, and AirBnB with its rental hosts.

Which values are most important and appropriate for their company - think Patagonia with its environmental ethos. Or Oracle and Salesforce with their aggressive salesmanship.

The best way to respond to competitive pressures - think “Pizza Wars” between Domino's, Pizza Hut and Little Caesars.

And when not to respond - think premium brands like Rolex and American Express.

Now, because every businessperson is first a human being, decisions like these are made via a combination of data analysis, collaborative discussion...

...reflection, fear, greed and gut.

With the hope that from this motley mix will pop out decisions that are strategically sound, tactically possible, inspirational, and sustainable.

Sadly and of course, it doesn’t always work out this way.

The world of business is crowded every day with
horrible decision making.

Decisions made completely on whim and gut, without any data collection or quantitative analysis whatsoever.

“About faces” on decisions that don’t yield immediate results, new marketing and sales campaigns especially.

Perhaps worst of all decisions not made because of binary thinking, that debilitating fallacy that we are faced with only one right choice. 

And that the heavens and the earth will fall upon us if we choose wrong. 

But of course no matter the business decision - hiring, firing, marketing and sales, new products, raising capital, growing via acquisition, even flat out selling a business or shutting it down... 

...there is almost always more than one valid, workable, and perfectly fine choice. 

Choices are often also reversible and adjustable too - usually at far less cost than might be surmised.

And finally, there is more “zen” to business decisions than might immediately meet the eye.

They are often just as Sheryl Crow so memorably sang - not about having what you want but wanting what you've got.

Make the decisions. And don’t second guess them, at least not for a little while.

And be pleasantly surprised to see how much faster, and easier, things progress in your business right away.

How Good are Your Business Decisions?  

Are you able to decide upon and commit quickly to important courses of business action? 

With your marketing? With your culture? With your strategy? With your profits? With your balance sheet? 

Well if so, kudos to you and keep on keeping on! 

But if you are just a bit unsure as to the best tactics to take in one or several of these areas, then you probably need a jolt of ideas, energy, and inspiration. 

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business’ current status, and key goals and initiatives now.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


Attaining Competitive Advantage in Any Business


An underrated joy of being in business is the daily opportunity it offers to strive for and experience breakthroughs in "that best version of ourselves."

To some this may sound like pop psychology babble, but when you dig into it just a bit you will find within a HUGE KEY to attaining competitive advantage in any business.

It all starts with just going to work every day, and doing so with enthusiasm, optimism, pride, and a striving toward excellence.

I have been blessed in my business life with very hard-working partners, employees, clients, vendors and suppliers.

And the beautiful sum of all of their hard work has made my life easier, richer, more interesting, and team accomplishment filled.

You see, sometimes in our business bubble it is easy to forget that less than 25% of the total U.S. population works in the private sector.

While of course there is nothing wrong with other forms of work - in the public and non-profit arenas, or in being retired - there is just something fundamentally different, hard, and admirable of those “fellow business travelers” that battle everyday to pay the rent, meet payroll, and grow and prosper for-profit entities for the love of money and accomplishment.

Which fundamentally in modern business involves a tough and bare-knuckled ongoing struggle and fight for competitive advantage and victory.

The great Michael Jordan expressed this best when he talked about the differing intensity and drive needed to win a regular season game, versus a playoff game, versus a “close-out” game, versus a championship.

In all cases, a proper, focused direction of talent and the will to win are needed, but at each "higher" step on the victory pyramid the intense degree of these combined factors goes up and up and up.

Competition in business is similar. Starting a business is a challenge, similar in sports to say “making the team.”

Getting to cash flow break even, a seemingly minimal level of performance but one that a very small percentage of businesses ever reach, could be considered like qualifying for the playoffs.

But just like all of those athletes that get to play in, but eventually lose the bigger and more important games, just breaking even in business is very unsatisfying.

No, those next levels of competitive business striving - toward double digit and beyond revenue growth, real and tangible profit, meaningful asset aggregation, and toward brands, cultures, and reputations that stand the test of time...

... well to attain and achieve any or all of these require us to prevail over and beat the untold multitudes of competitors striving for exactly the same thing, many of whom have over us significant advantages of resources, talent, and cost structures.

Sometimes, the realization of the enormity of this challenge - often set off by a business setback like a lost sale, or a lawsuit, or an online flaming, can rise in us feelings of discouragement, futility, and even anger at how the cards seem stacked against us.

But it is in these darker moments when we discover things about ourselves that perhaps we never knew.

The depth of our courage and perseverance.

And of our burning desire to compete and win.

And what exactly is that best version of ourselves.

As professionals. As businesspeople. As human beings.

Striving for and attaining competitive advantage and victory requires and demands nothing less.

And truly, who would want it any other way?

Does Your Business Have REAL Competitive Advantage?  

Are you beating the competition in all aspects of your business? 

With your marketing? With your culture? With your strategy? With your profits? With your balance sheet? 

Well if so, kudos to you and keep on keeping on! 

But if you are just losing in one or several of these areas, then you probably need a jolt of ideas, energy, and inspiration.

Click here and complete this short questionnaire as to a few questions regarding your business’ current status, and key goals and initiatives now.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


What Tesla and Playdoh Do that Your Business Should Too


Growing wider every day is the divide between companies that “get it” when it comes to modern marketing and business promotion...

...and those that don’t. 

Luckily, there is a super simple way to upgrade your company’s marketing

from old, tired and slow to... 

...futuristic, engaged and hyper-fast.  

To illustrate, garner a peek at the Instagram feeds of Tesla, Playdoh, Airbnb, and Adobe. 

What we find is marketing that is beautiful, creative, dynamic, and relentless.  

And very different from how most of us go about it, sadly not all that differently from how JC Penney and Sears did so more than 100 years ago. 

Statically and unidirectionally. 

It was catalogs back then, and websites and mass emails today. 

Now, these methods still do work, to a degree - as evidenced by the huge sums spent on digital marketing and by the flood of promotional emails we all get.

But, they don’t work at all for huge swaths of target customers in almost every business category. 

Because those customers have opted out and sealed themselves off.  

Because the marketing is too much of a deluge and too never-ending.

And because of our smartphones. 

These immensely powerful, intensely addictive little things that are on us and part of us always, at work and at play.  

These little things that train us to expect personalized emotional experiences. 

As in watching, listening, and reading any kind of entertainment, informational, or titillating content that our hearts and minds might need and desire. 

At the exact moment when we need and desire it. 

Then, we bring with us this extremely high communication expectation with us when we shop for things and services.  

That they should be produced and presented just for us.  

And done so in that way as old and basic as Homo Sapiens themselves. 

As a conversation.

Between two people, on balanced and mutually respectful footing.

From this perspective, the platforms on which these conversations take place are of secondary importance.  

For sure, beautiful, visually-based platforms like Instagram are engaging in ways that the written word can never be. 

And are even more so when the conversations there are made so quick and easy by maligned but emotionally resonating tools as are “likes” and emojis.  

But modern marketing conversations of course can and should still take place in the traditional channels  - over the phone, in person, and via email.

They just have to be devoid of the marketing schmaltz and sales trickery. 

Instead, let’s meet our customers where and who they are.

As one-of-a-kind individuals with their particular hopes and fears big and small.

Marketing this way asks a lot of us.

We can no longer just “play the part” as engaged and empathetic businessmen and women.

Now we really have to be these things!

So it is harder, but so much more human in so many ways.

Scroll again through Tesla, Playdoh, Airbnb, and Adobe Instagram feeds if you have any doubt. :)

Is Your Marketing Tired? 

Do you “apologize” for your website? 

Are you struggling to exploit all of the new modern marketing and sales channels?  

And as a result, are your sales and profits not anyway near where they should be? 

Need a jolt of ideas, energy, inspiration? 

Have a key business initiative or new product that you want to get moving on this year?

Well, we can help. 

Click here and complete this short questionnaire. 

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


The CEO Trap (Avoid This)


Unfortunately, most things don't work in business.

New marketing campaigns don't generate leads, new salespeople don't sell, new software doesn't save the promised time and money, and so on and so on.

And, in a business, as the years go on, and the number of failed initiatives pile themselves upon one another... unfortunately a certain discouragement and fatalism can set in.

Which if we are not extremely careful can be our
business death knell.

I come across this often in my advisory practice, hearing tales of business woe from CEOs and business owners of all types. 

Of cost and pricing pressures bearing down on all sides. 

Of employees not hard-working or talented enough to do the job at hand. 

Of banking and finance partners not making available the needed capital to grow. 

And of a general weariness and heaviness that no matter what we won’t be truly able to break out of our business rut. 

Now, what is so interesting about these “whiny” CEOs is that in almost the next breath they will speak with great enthusiasm as to the real possibilities and opportunities for their business.

Of how valuable and unique their products and services really are. 

Of how many new markets and customers that are out there for their easy taking.  

And of how comparably strong and worthwhile their company is when compared to its competitors. 

It sounds self-contradictory because it is, on the one hand a "pity party" as to the “unsolvable” challenges they face, and on the other an almost childlike faith that a big breakthrough is right around the corner.

Well, the hard truth is to the degree these CEOs wallow and oscillate between these equally unproductive and ineffective nodes, their businesses will never have the slightest chance of meaningful growth. 

And it gets worse. 

You see, sadly there are a lot of CEOs for whom these afflictions are so deep rooted that for them all business hope is truly gone. 

And the best thing now they can do for their companies is to step aside and sell or hand it over to someone else.

Now, for those that are not yet chronic cases - i.e. they they whine and complain and are fatalistic somewhat, but are still grounded and action-oriented enough to be effective leaders, well for them the guidance is simple:

Judge, rate and decide on potential new business initiatives not on their raw and “siloed” prospects of success, which will almost always be quite low...  

...but instead by the prospects of the next best alternative.

I call this the “if not this, then how else?” formulation.

As in, if we don't try this new marketing channel (social media, SEO, telemarketing, etc.) then how else will we grow sales? 

If we don’t raise capital, then how else will we meet our cash flow needs? 

If we don't fire this person, then how else we improve their performance? 

If we don't develop this new product, then how else will we avoid obsolescence?

Now this “If not this, then how else?” formulation is powerful when we use it by ourselves... 

...but is completely transformative when used in group strategy and business brainstorming sessions. 

It quiets down those naysayers who jump immediately on the shortcomings and probabilities of failure of anything new. 

And once quieted, it then pivots them from energy drainers into active participants in designing and implementing moving forward plans and solutions. 

If not this, then how else?

Use this simple trick to flip discouraging business realities.. 

...into ones filled with possibility and action. 

Looking for Better Business Ideas and Plans? 

Tired of competing hard and long but just not winning? 

Need a jolt of ideas, energy, inspiration?

Have a key business initiative or new product that you want to get moving on this year? 

Then click here and complete this short questionnaire.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.


How to be an Olympian in Your Business


Isn’t it awesome to see the amazing grace, endurance, skill, and competitiveness of our Olympic athletes? 

And wouldn’t it be great to perform as executives and entrepreneurs at that kind of “ultra-peak” level?  

Well, it isn’t as hard as it seems. 

It just requires one simple thing that all Olympians do instinctively. 

Which is, in their quest for gold, assemble an awesome team of coaches, trainers, agents, nutritionists, sponsors, equipment partners, family, friends, and "moral teams" to enable and empower their peak performance.

Think about how different this is from the way most of us approach our work. 

One dimensionally. On our own. Isolated.

This is not a criticism, as thinking about work in this manner is very different from how most of us have been trained and have done so by habit for many years. 

But if we truly want to win business gold, just as it is for Olympic athletes, where the difference between standing on the medal podium and being an also-ran is usually mere thousandths of a second...

...the competition is just too good and too fierce to do it in any other way and honestly expect to win. 

Arguably the #1 factor in gaining those tiny, critical slivers of business competitive advantage, just as it is for Olympic athletes, is the quality of our team and network of advisors, consultants, coaches, and helpers.

This is well shown by Norway - with a population less than that of Colorado but with arguably the world’s best Athletes Development and Coaching Program, leading the Olympics Medals Count while the US is 5th and Russia 7th. 

Business is no different. The best and most successful companies have the best and most pedigreed teams of outside advisors of all types to build, sustain, and grow profitability and value.  

Whether that advice and assistance pertains to marketing, sales, branding, IT, new product development, finance, company culture, strategy, exit planning, and everything and anything in between.  

And luckily for all of us, this is a golden age where advisors of every business challenge specialty have as their default new client development protocol a complimentary consultation to discuss our unique problem, to offer initial recommendations, and to then revert back with a suggested scope of work and project action plan. 

All on their nickel.

And just like the synchrony between a great athlete and his or her coach, great business advisors catalyze transformational business leaps forward, bypassing and turbo-charging the traditional and slow “brick-by-brick” growth model into one of ideas, strategy and key relationship break throughs.

All of this “manna from heaven” starts from a simple choice: to throw our hat in the ring for a shot at that medal.

From this heroic step everything naturally and fairly follows - the evaluation of our competitive landscape and an inventorying of our own strengths and areas needing improvement.

And from this, then the natural identification of the the kind of outside help we need to achieve our big business dreams.

The beauty and intensity of Olympic competition brings this simple dynamic into perfectly sharp focus.

Looking for Olympic-Level Performance in Your Business? 

Tired of competing hard and long but just not winning? 

Need a jolt of ideas, energy, inspiration? 

Have a key business initiative or new product that you would get going on this year? 

Then click here and complete this short questionnaire.  

And we’ll reach out with our thoughts to help you.

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