Confront the Brutal Facts


Confront the Brutal Factstake this week (Christmas holiday in US) to consider the brutal facts your currently face with in your business/position/brand and what are the measurable task/projects you need to accomplish during the first month of 2017 and/or first quarter of 2017. Start the year strong; start. At, Brand You we’ve been concentrating (themed) on building out our management consulting systems in 2016 and it is time to complete 3 key projects by Dec 31.

Build a Brand, not a Business


Personal-Branding-BrandWhen taking on a new project, every student should ask themselves why they are dedicating their time to said project, and what do they hope to benefit from the experience.  As a student, if your answer to the benefits is made up of dollars and cents, you are probably not off to a good start.

Get the scoop here



Job search is a skill. Be encouraged is a habit. 2-1-30= 2 new skills 1 new habit every 30 days 

It’s easier to get a job when you already have one. Take that part time position, or the one that pays less then what you expected, consider a entry level position. Employers are more open to hiring you when they know someone else has taken a chance on you. It’s gives you verifiable work experience. 

There are jobs out there!

74% of available job openings are found in the hidden job market and filled through word of mouth referrals. Networking is key. Attend professional associations and service club meetings. Put yourself on the announcements at church to let people know that your interested in working. 

Volunteer with a community based organization (reciprocity is real) let people  know that your looking (map your relationships and contacts on paper)

There are jobs out there!
300,000 jobs were offered in the healthcare industry in the last 12months.

Make sure you have at least three CLEAR job objectives, know the job title that your seeking. Never say “i’m looking for any job” have a firm understanding of what your truly qualified to do.
Remember job search is a numbers game. 3-5 applications per day three days a week should be the goal.

Are you ready for the christmas
hiring season? Employers are! I might mess with Macy’s or something, I need some new shoes and a winter coat and the little one wants a car. 

Change your voice mail from “baby I’ll call you back” to a standard or more professional one.

Dump the
addy for a standard
Go to vistaprint and get some free business cards. Get your resume proofed and edited!!!!!!!!!!!
And stop sending your resume out like it’s a “chain letter.” Tailer each resume specifically for each employer.

The 10 Worst Traits of Even the Great Entrepreneurs

Does it really take a few flaws to make a great entrepreneur, or are the rest of us just confused about what a perfect business person is all about? In the past I’ve written about the positive attributes of great entrepreneurs, so this time I thought I would focus on the negatives that I see often, and I challenge you to find someone that has all the positives and none of the negatives.

We’ve all heard the old adage that “nice guys finish last,” so I would quickly concede that positive and negative are relative terms, depending on the context. For example, if a customer is being particularly obnoxious or demanding, would a great entrepreneur respectfully show him the door, or accommodate his demands, with the positive goal of satisfying every customer?

The entrepreneur with the positive traits to calmly and patiently handle tough customers, vendors, and personnel situations, balancing all the issues, I would evaluate as a great one. Yet here are a few other traits that I see in great entrepreneurs, which don’t seem so positive for the entrepreneur, his team, customers, or investors:

Multitasking to the extent of thrashing. Entrepreneurs often have a thousand things going in their mind, and switch so rapidly from one to the other that they leave many people confused, including themselves. The result is that important tasks get short shrift, and relationships suffer. Don’t let multitasking supersede focus and real listening.

Demands perfection from all. Entrepreneurs who are perfectionists are never satisfied with their own work, as well as the work of others. This can cause delays and costs in the business, as well as friction and frustration in relationships with team members, partners, and customers. Steve Jobs survived this imperfection, or it made Apple famous.

Strong convictions bordering on obstinate. The best leaders have strong convictions, but listen to others, and are willing to compromise when required, to move the ball forward. In business, if you refuse to compromise to meets the needs of customers, your competitors will replace you. Business is no place for stubbornness.

Not a team player. Most entrepreneurs start their business because they perceive a need in the market not seen by others, and often they just don’t enjoy working with others. In time, however, every business requires a team, and giving up control becomes a constant struggle. Some entrepreneurs simply jump ship and start again.

Over-confident to the point of being egotistical. Letting your ego drive decisions is not the same as confidence based on knowledge and trust. While entrepreneurs need a healthy ego for body armor, it can quickly become the negative trait of arrogance if not tempered. Many put Ted Turner and Larry Ellison in this category.

Procrastination on certain challenges. Sometimes I see very smart entrepreneurs who struggle with tough issues, like hiring and firing people. They may ignore these, or hand them off to a capable business partner. The positive traits of learning, management disciplines, and timely decisions have to step forward consistently to grow a business.

Paranoid reaching delusional proportions. The good trait of being alert and cautious when approaching new people and new partners can easily morph into paranoia, where the entrepreneur trusts no one, and thinks all deals are a potential plot. The best entrepreneurs believe they can find win-win relationships with partners and investors.

Work-life balance and workaholic tendencies. Most entrepreneurs will admit to being a workaholic at some stage of their startup. Ultimately this dedication will be seen as a negative trait by partners, family members, and team members, and can limit your business growth. Migrate to the positive traits of delegation and organization.

Often emotional and temperamental. Passion and sensitivity to people are key traits in every good entrepreneur, but in some cases, these can seem to escalate to mood changes and emotional outbursts for no reason. At this point the leader may make less rational decisions, and loses the loyalty and trust of associates and customers.

Looks at the world through colored lenses. Successful entrepreneurs can easily lose sight of the real business world, once the perks of power and influence set in. Many say this happened to Tony Hayward, BP CEO, after the Gulf oil spill, and AIG executives before the recent Depression. The time to worry is when you start seeing humility as a character flaw, rather than a positive trait.

Every successful entrepreneur can probably relate to these not-so-positive traits, and in many cases, will attest that without one or more of them, their startup would likely have failed. The question is whether that makes them good traits, which should be learned and nurtured by every young entrepreneur who is striving to be great. I think not. There has to be a better way.

CEO & Founder of Startup Professionals, Inc.; Advisory Board Member for multiple startups; ATIF Angels Selection Committee; Entrepreneur in Residence at ASU and Thunderbird School of Global Management. Published on Forbes, Gust, Young Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, and Huffington Post.


What “My Rich Dad Said”

The business lessons I’ve learned have come not only from my own businesses but from working with thousands of small businesses in cities around the world.
Many business owners will have heard the terms:
Business Plan
But what do these words mean? Well, the definitions will mean different things to different people. My goal is to give you definitions that you can put into practice right away.
First we’ll define all three and then we’ll look at how to implement them in your business.
What is a vision? In my opinion, the vision of a company is the overriding future goal that you have for your business. This vision is clear, quantifiable and – if you communicated it to others, such as your friends or your staff – easily understood.
A vision is a clear future event or development that you can anticipate and plan for. For example, if you owned a hair salon your vision could be: To be voted the number one hair salon in my city, state or country by the Hair Industry Association and to have revenues of $500,000 by the third year of business.
What about a mission? I like to define a mission as your overriding direction – what you aim to achieve that is not quantifiable and does not have an end date.
For instance, Starbucks mission is: To contribute positively to our communities and our environment.
Another example of a mission is the Rich Dad mission which is: To elevate the financial well-being of humanity
While we can think that this mission could one day be achieved, more likely it will be on ongoing process that will never end.

Your Business Plan
A business plan sets out the future strategy and financial development of a business, usually covering a period of several years.
Every business person knows that every business needs a plan. However, too many companies spend a lot of time and money putting together a business plan that then sits on a shelf and is never seen again. What’s the point of that?
A business plan should be a working document that you revisit at least once a year – preferably twice – and that outlines all the actions you need to take to move the business toward its goals – or its vision – and is in line with its mission.
A typical business plan will have three components.
Marketing Plan
Operations Plan
Financial Plan

Marketing Plan
What marketing activities are you going to implement in a set period of time to help achieve your sales goals? Will you use direct mail, telemarketing, email marketing, strategic partnerships or advertising to achieve your sales targets?

Operations Plan
Review the resources you have and the way the business operates. Is the business running efficiently? Did you have any issues or challenges with delivery or service? If so, what new resources or systems need to be put in place to ensure that the business is able to deliver its products or services in an efficient way to enable the sales targets to be met?

Financial Plan
This is the most crucial of all. Your financial plan, or cash flow, should be projected monthly, if not weekly, with clear details on what funds are expected in, what will go out, and what will be left. It should be reviewed at the end of each period to discern the differences between the expected result and the actual result. If you’ve fallen short of expectations, you can determine how to change that.
A business plan doesn’t have to be dozens of pages long. In fact, the longer it is the less likely you will be to want to look at it.
So, start with a document that is just a few pages long, but most importantly: refer to it often!
To review: First outline your Vision – what is it that you want to achieve and by when? Remember: keep it simple.
Then, define your mission – you may not know right now what that is, but keep in mind that when you started your business there very likely was a reason (other than money) that you had in mind. If you’re unsure… brainstorm with others to come up with something. I know that for me, our company mission ‘to provide transformational business education that improves the lives of our customers’ gets my staff excited.
Finally, put together a short-term plan. If you’ve been in business for while, you are more likely to be able to see into the future three to five years, or longer. If you’re new in business, then maybe six or 12 months is as far as you can plan. And that’s just fine.
Each piece plays a vital role…and a clear vision, mission and plan are at the heart of every successful business.
By now you have a sense of how Rich Dad thinks…so it’s time to get started and DO IT. As you lay the foundation for your financial journey you will ask yourself many questions. Your honest answers will help you visualize Your Dream, set Your Goals and craft Your Plan of action that will deliver the rewards you seek.
Getting started requires two action steps: First, you need to determine your general financial goal and, second, you have to become financially literate so that you learn to think like the rich.

Questions you need to ask yourself in setting your financial goal:
What do I want to attain?
Do I want to be financially secure?
Do I want to be comfortable? Or…
Do I want to be rich?
The answer to this question is important because it will determine which quadrant you stay in or enter and how you go about making money inside that quadrant.
Keep in mind that a ‘goal’ is different from a ‘wish.’ You may wish to be rich, but that doesn’t mean you’ve taken any practical steps to make that ‘wish’ come true.
If you’ve ever earned enough money to put some aside, like most people you’ve probably invested it with an eye toward security – since, perhaps, you can’t imagine yourself ever getting rich.
Be honest with yourself about the things that are important to you.
“Most people dream of becoming rich, but it isn’t their first choice,” Rich Dad said. That’s because the effort and uncertainty of becoming rich disturbs them and they seek refuge in the easier goals of security or comfort.
People who make security and comfort their first and second choices are often seeking a single ‘hot investment tip’ – a simple, risk-free way of getting rich quick. Some people do get rich on one lucky investment, but all too frequently the money they amass is later lost.
Examine Your Long-Term Goals
If you’re really serious about achieving financial freedom – about moving from the left to the right side of the CASHFLOW Quadrant and staying there – it’s time to examine closely how you prioritize your long-term goals.
Determining what you value most will save you many agonizing decisions and sleepless nights later. A good way of getting started in goal-setting is to write down what you perceive as the pros and cons of each possible goal.
Depending upon how the pros weigh in against the cons, you may actually find yourself putting your goals in a new order. This exercise suggests possibilities that you might not have imagined and can be priceless in terms of the impact that it can have on your financial future. Often times when people try to live frugally – scrimping and saving – they think they’re being financially smart. In truth, they’re limiting themselves.
Most people spend their lives imprisoned by financial ignorance. It shows in their faces and in their attitudes, especially as they grow older. They begin to look like wild lions trapped in their cages, pacing back and forth while they mull over what happened to the life they once knew.
How can you escape this fate? Draft a series of personalized financial plans: One for security, another for comfort, and a third for rich. This will help you visualize the possibilities.
Step 1 – Write a Plan for Lifetime Financial Security
What does security mean to you? The absence of stress and worry? Few, if any, sleepless nights?
Determine exactly what you need to do to achieve your vision of security.
If you’ve decided that your first priority is to be rich, this step may seem mechanical and boring – even unnecessary. Because when you plan for security, you’re planning for a world of ‘not enough.’ One of the goals of this step is to motivate you to reach beyond a goal that might limit your potential.
Step 2: Write a Plan for Lifetime Comfort
What does comfort mean to you? A big house and two cars? A house, a vacation cottage and three cars? Obviously, this plan will be a little more aggressive than the first one. And it will be less boring because when you plan for a world of ‘enough,’ there are more choices open to you. Your challenge will be to choose.
Step 3: Write a Financial Plan for Becoming Rich
This will be your most aggressive plan – and the most exciting. For, now, you are anticipating a world of ‘more than enough.’ You’ll be faced with a myriad of choices, for opportunities to make money are all around you.
As with the previous plan, your challenge will be coping with the abundance of possibilities. You don’t want to wander through life like a kid in a candy store, so distracted by choices that you can never make one.
Think this plan through carefully and thoroughly.
This exercise illuminates the fact that you have choices – more than you’ve ever imagined and that you need to make decisions about those choices. Too many people go from job to job or business to business without getting where they want to be financially. They wander through life without a plan and all the while their most precious asset – time – is fleeting.
This doesn’t have to happen to you.
As you read rich dad’s plan, we recommend paying close attention to your internal dialogue, which is the conversation you have with yourself. Notice if you are saying, you can or you can’t and if you’re saying that if it sounds too hard and you want an easier answer. If you find yourself saying “I can’t” too often and want easier investment answers, then mutual funds may be the answer for you.
Rich Dad’s Power Investing …
a plan for people who want to afford anything they want. This is the basic plan that the richest investors in the world follow. The Rich Dad’s Power Investing Plan cosists of, starting a business, investing the cash flow from the business into real estate, and then balancing your asset classes with investing your excess cash flow in paper assets.
Your own personal business is by far your best asset because, if successful, you can generate the most income with less work and with the least taxes.
The drawback: Of course, if you are not successful in building a profitable business, a business can be a very big liability and loss of money, which is why we often recommend starting a part-time business before quitting your daytime job.

Accelerator #1: Other People’s Money
The first accelerator in starting a business is to use other people’s money. As you become a better businessperson, this will become easier because investors like winners.

Accelerator #2: Entity Selection
Choosing the proper entity in which to hold your business is critical. You absolutely do NOT want to hold your business as a sole proprietorship or general partnership.
Review the various requirements and benefits of a C Corporation, S Corporation, Limited Liability Company (LLC), or Limited Partnership (LP) with your attorney and tax advisor to see which entity will provide the best protection for your business and result in the best tax advantages, thus maximizing your cash flow.

Accelerator #3: Other People’s Time
If you are a good business owner, you have the leverage of other people and systems doing your work. In other words, if you are a good businessperson, it is the same as earning money for nothing, once the business is up and running. Most people will have to work for money for much of their lives because they work for a business rather than work to build a business.

Accelerator #4: Tax Laws
The taxman is on your side as a business owner. Review Chapter 5 of the book Rich Dad’s Who Took My Money on how the tax laws were written to benefit business owners and investors.

Accelerator #5: Charity
My rich dad always reminded me of the saying, “Give and you shall receive.” Being generous and giving back to the community are essential elements in growing your business. You may not know how the returns on your charitable giving will be realized, but they will be. The more people you serve, the richer you will become.


Accelerator #6: Other People’s Money
My banker is on my side for investing in real estate.

Accelerator #7: Entity Selection
Entity selection is again critical in understanding the secrets and strategies that the rich have used for generations to protect their real estate assets.

Accelerator #8: Tax Laws – Depreciation and Real Estate Paper Losses
The tax man offers great accelerators in your real estate income and cash flow in the form of depreciation. You will want to get competent advice from your tax strategist, as the choice may also be important based on your state/local laws.

Accelerator #9: Tax-Exempt
The tax man offers even greater leveraged advantages to investors who invest in projects the government needs financial assistance in.

Accelerator #10 – Hedge Funds
Hedge funds allow me to invest with insurance. They have the benefits offered by mutual funds in that they are “easy,” but without the downside risk. There are many different hedge fund strategies but their primary goal is to reduce volatility and risk while preserving their investors’ capital and delivering positive returns under all market conditions.

Accelerator #11 – Options
Investing in stock options allows me to leverage my investments in paper assets. Instead of buying the stock I can still control it through the purchase of options for a fraction of the cost.

Accelerator #12: PPMs (Private Placement Memorandums)
A private placement memorandum, however, is an offering of stock in a company that is exempt from federal registration. In March 1982, the SEC adopted Regulation D to coordinate the limited offering exemptions and to streamline the existing requirements applicable to private placements and sales of securities. Again, the documentation and legal requirements of this type of investment are critically important. You need competent securities legal advice as well as tax advice to select the funding tool appropriate for your situation.

Accelerator #13: IPOs (Initial Public Offerings)
An initial public offering (IPO) is a company’s first sale of stock to the public. Typically, an IPO involves the stock from a young, new, and not usually well known company. An IPO is highly regulated and costly to prepare, as it requires tremendous legal and accounting professional time.



Nobody really wants to have a crucial conversation that produces bad results.  Preparing for a crucial conversation is the best way to establish a foundation for a favorable outcome.  Not planning for these conversations can result in your losing your temper.  You cannot also end up saying the wrong things.  Sometimes we engage in conversations that leave us feeling frustrated.  There are a number of valuable lessons you can learn from the book, Crucial Conversations.  I have found this book to be a great resource.  I use the principles I have learned  in training and coaching my clients.

In the book, Crucial Conversations, there is a story about an executive, Greta.  Greta, the CEO, was leading a two-hour meeting with her top employers.  During the meeting a member of the team confronted her regarding her congruence.  Greta wanted to reduce costs however her actions did not show this.  When confronted by the employee Greta had to choose her response.  Would it be a professional response or  result in conflict.  Of course, conflict can be both uncomfortable and disarming.  However conflict when handled properly does not have to end badly.


The authors of the book, Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High, define a crucial conversation as a discussion between two or more people where:

  1. Stakes are high
  2. Opinions vary
  3. And emotions run strong.

There are techniques that you can master as a leader to handle any situations.  How you handle conflict in any situation whether it is personal or professional will determine your success.  It also directly impacts the quality of your relationships.

So, what steps will help you in preparing for a crucial conversation?  Asking the question “what do I really want here” is key when engaging in meaningful dialogue.  This questions will help you to evaluate your motives.  In addition prepping in advance allows you to look at different scenarios.

Stopping to ask yourself “what do I really want here” will also help you focus on your priorities.  Here are a few questions to consider:

  • What are my goals for this meeting?
  • What do I hope to gain by having this conversation?
  • Will the person be better off when our interaction has ended?
  • How will I feel?
  • Do I appreciate the value of this relationship?
  • What are my underlying motives for this interaction?

I have found all of these questions to be very helpful when working with the leaders on my team.  I remember a conversation I had several years ago with one of my team leaders.  The leader called me to discuss a sensitive topic regarding something I had done.  My initial thought was “how dare you.”  However I did not verbally say this.  Instead I thought what do I really want to happen from this conversation.  I focused on the person and what they were saying.  I really sought to understand their perspective instead of trying to explain myself.  As a result of our time together, the time member felt heard and we continue to have crucial conversations when necessary.

Let’s look at the 5 steps to prepare for a crucial conversation.

  1. Keep your mind on the goal. By focusing on the goal you can avoid trying to win.  You are also able to gauge your emotions.
  2. Don’t accuse others. Seek to gain an understanding of the other person’s perspective.  That leads to another important step.
  3. Work on your listening skills. Develop a pattern of listening intently to others.
  4. Practice pausing. Before responding to the person, pause and think about your comments.
  5. Be willing to engage in the dialogue. Mentally being prepared to stay fully engaged in the dialogue will help you to avoid shutting down or arguing your point.

These steps will help you get the most out of each interaction.  Remember, keep your mind on the goal, don’t accuse others, work on your listening skills, practice pausing and be willing to engage in dialogue.  When you master these steps you will find that you really will get who you want from the interaction.

If you would like to learn more about the book Crucial Conversations and resources, click here.


Goal Setting & New Years Resolutions: Getting Prepared For The New Year

by Dhane Crowley on December 28th, 2012

It’s that time of the year again ladies and gentlemen. Despite the fact that another year is coming to a close, its closing brings about a clean slate for the coming year.

Invest these last moments of the year to reflect on your wins and losses so you can know what it’s going to take to make the new year bigger and better.

Unlike most people who write out a laundry list of “New Years Resolutions” that never get accomplished, you’re going to do things a little differently this time around.

First, invest in a daily action planner. I received an action day planner as a gift during the holiday season. And while I didn’t ask for it per say, I’m always working on refining my personal execution system. I believe this gift will come in handy this coming year and help be more productive.

Second, invest time in clarifying your vision for the year. “Begin,” says Stephen Covey, “with the end in mind.” So ask yourself, “What do I want to be, what do I want to do, and what do I want to own this time next year?” Again, resist the urge to write a laundry list of goals and aspiration. Focus on capturing your top three (3).

Lastly, when it comes to goal setting, take a page from the book of Ray Higdon and ask yourself two simple questions:

What do you want to have accomplished by the end of January?
What do you need to do each day, starting now, to reach that goal?
Then, repeat the process at the end of each month.

Now you have the strategies and tools you need to accomplish your goals for the new year. Take out a piece of paper and answer the questions above. Once you get all you answers, invest in a daily action planner to plot your course to victory.


12 common mistakes made in strategic planning

This article examines 12 common mistakes made in corporate strategic planning. Complimentary PDF resources on strategic planning are available at the end of the article.

1. The timeframe of the plan is too long

While business strategies should be expected to be steady and relatively unchanged for a longer period of time, strategic plans need to remain sharply focused on accomplishing strategic priorities in a timely manner. The plans also need more frequent refreshing to keep them from becoming stale and to keep the organization energized on plan execution. Long-term planning certainly has its place in a corporate world, but shorter operational plan horizons, going only 12 months out, allow organizations to utilize valuable current information and remain engaged in delivering to the plan milestones. A rolling 12-month plan that is updated on a quarterly basis offers more value to the organization in several ways. As long-term plan goals are partially or fully met, the operational component of the plan moves forward and is refreshed with more accurate and updated information for the coming 12 months. New objectives and sub-initiatives move up as others are completed and move out. This provides actionable data for managers to work from during budgeting and gives executives a more realistic sense of actual plan momentum and progress.

2. Too many strategic goals

Organizations often have a long wish list of goals, ranging from pie-in-the-sky to mundane. Dreaming up goals is generally not an issue. Instead, the issue is having the discipline to narrow down prioritized goals to a manageable and achievable level. Five goals is a good number to consider as a maximum. When you consider that each goal will lead to a sequence of programs, initiatives, activities and deliverables that will need to be managed and implemented throughout the organization, it’s easy to see how a long list of goals can inhibit implementation success.

3. Goals not tied to measurable outcomes

Organizational goals should be constructed in terms of outcomes that will mean something tangible to customers, employees and the organization’s markets served. Likewise, goals should be defined in such a way that they can be measured and managed throughout the layers of the organization. Goals should help propel action and achievement from the managers and workers who will be involved in accomplishing them.

4. Employees are unaware of the goals

Believe it or not, this can be a huge problem in many organizations. When the corporate planning process fails to consider the individuals who will actually implement the plan, breakdowns happen and desired outcomes are rarely attained. Detailed plans of action are needed for each initiative and goals should be carefully communicated throughout the organization so that everyone knows and understands not only the “big picture”, but what is expected specifically of them.

5. Key vendors and partners not considered

By communicating organizational goals to key vendors, distributors, suppliers and partners, much needed buy-in and assistance can be gained from these external parties to achieve desired outcomes. For example, asking for price reductions, extended payment terms, or quantity discounts can be greatly facilitated when suppliers and partners are made part of the process and understand what may be in it for them in the long-run.

6. Plan leaves too much room for interpretation

This mistake typically circles back to the way organizational goals have been defined. If there is ambiguity in the way the goals are explained, they will be easily misinterpreted by members of the organization and will result in execution that misses the intended mark. Starting with a clearly defined outcome, much of this interpretation and resulting ambiguity can be replaced by clearly defined expectations.

7. Job descriptions not aligned to desired strategic outcomes

When job descriptions and job responsibilities align with corporate goals, organizations see better results in strategy execution. Job alignment helps achieve accountability and also fosters needed cooperation from individuals throughout the organization. When job descriptions and responsibilities are effectively communicated to employees and when additional responsibilities are given to them related to accomplishing tasks related to strategic goals – these individuals become tuned-in with their roles and the expectations surrounding them. The goal is to create empowered team players.

8. Performance measures not aligned to organizational goals

Adding to the above, organizations must set performance measurements and incentives for employees and officers. These performance measurements should be derived from the job descriptions and job responsibilities, and the resulting incentives must be strong enough to empower all layers of management to measure and manage efforts toward the achievement of plan goals. While this adds a layer of complexity to the organizational planning process, neglecting this step will result in subpar performance.

9. Organizational culture is overlooked

The corporate planning process must consider the organizational culture. Without this, it is impossible to fulfill the organization’s potential to dominate within their marketplace. Culture determines how the organization functions and how work will be completed. Aligning strategy, tactics and governance to address these dimensions will positevely affect the outcome of planning efforts.

10. Customer value is overlooked

Customer-centric planning puts your number one stakeholder – the end customer – at the forefront of the organization’s activities and goals. By creating goals that reflect the type of value the organization can create for the customer, you’ll “put a face to the name” and more effectively connect members of the organization with the desired outcomes. This requires a competitive analysis in order to understand positioning, threats and the true current-day value proposition of the organization’s offerings. Not all goals need to be customer-centric in nature, but overlooking this aspect during planning can lead to missed opportunities.

11. Operational planning is overlooked

An effective corporate planning process allows the organization to plan strategically at the enterprise level and then operationally at the business unit level with each part supporting the other. Failing to reach all the way down through the organizational layers is a common problem with corporate planning processes. This is where inadequate budgeting can come into play, resulting in resource constraints that will undermine the plan’s execution down stream. Strategic planning, to be effective, must address the entire business ecosystem – from top to bottom.

12. Cyclical and seasonal peaks and valleys overlooked

It is well-understood that organizations must balance the realities of financial budgets during the corporate planning process. Yet, the organization must also take into account relevant economic cycles that will impact the strategy over time. Economic cycles will affect market conditions, access to capital, energy, focus, and many other factors (both positively and negatively) to inhibit or accelerate an organization’s ability to accomplish its desired outcomes. To the extent that economic and cyclical factors are understood and anticipated, the organization can build a layer of realistic contingency into corporate plans that address the peak workloads of workers, budget cycles and many other factors – thus improving the realism of the plan and ultimately the results.

To read more about strategic and operational planning, refer to these complimentary PDF downloads from Joe Evans:

Bridging the Gap Between Strategy and Execution, a guide to successful strategic planning
Strategy Implementation Essentials, a guide to successful operational planning

Joe Evans is President and CEO of Method Frameworks, one of the world’s leading strategy and operational planning management consultancies, providing services for a diverse field of clients ranging from small start-up tech firms to Fortune 500 companies like Southwest Airlines and Bank of America.

The 10 Rules of Cash Flow 101

From Philip Campbell, CPA

Cash flow is the lifeblood of all businesses. Learn the Cash Flow 101 Rules to free yourself from money worries. The statistics on small business failure are alarming. Michael Gerber, author of “The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It”, says that 40% of businesses fail in their first year. 80% fail within their first five years. Why? A main reason is they run out of cash. Don’t let this happen to your small business. Use the basic rules of Cash Flow 101 to help you take control of your cash flow so you can create the business you have always dreamed of. 1. Never Run Out of Cash. Running out of cash is the definition of failure in business. Make the commitment to do what it takes so it does not happen to you. 2. Cash Is King. It’s important to recognize that the basics of cash flow 101 are what keeps your business alive. Manage it with the care and attention it deserves. It’s very unforgiving if you don’t. Remember, cash is king, because no cash means no business. 3. Know the Cash Balance Now. What is your cash balance right now? It’s absolutely critical that you know exactly what your cash balance is. Even the most experienced person will fail if they are making business decisions using inaccurate or incomplete cash balances. This is fundamental cash flow 101. That’s the reason why business failures are not limited to amateurs or people new to the business world. 4. Do Today’s Work Today. The key to keeping an accurate cash balance in your accounting system is to do today’s work today. When you do this, you will have the numbers you need – when you need them. 5. Do the Work or Get Someone Else. Here is a simple rule to follow to make sure you have an accurate cash balance on your books. You do the work or have someone else do it. 6. Don’t Manage From the Bank Balance. The bank balance and the cash balance are two different forms of cash. Rarely will the two ever be the same. Don’t make the mistake of confusing them. It’s futile and frustrating to attempt to manage your cash flow using the bank balance. It’s a prescription for failure. You reconcile your bank balance. You don’t manage from it. 7. Know Your Six Months Cash Balance. What do you expect your cash balance to be six months from now? This one question will transform the way you manage your business and help you pass cash flow 101. This question really gets to the heart of whether you are managing your business or whether your business is managing you. 8. Cash Flow Problems Don’t Just Happen. You would be amazed at the number of small businesses that fail because the owner did not see a cash flow problem in time to do something about it. The key is to always be able to answer the question – what do I expect my cash balance to be six months from now? 9. Have Cash Flow Projections. Cash flow projections are the key to making wise and profitable business decisions. They give you the answer to the all-important question from Rule # 7. It’s impossible to run your business properly without them. 10. Take Care of Customers. Eliminate your cash flow worries so you are free to do what you do best-taking care of clients and making more money. Use these cash flow 101 rules to free yourself from cash flow worries. That way you can focus all your time and talents where you can make the most difference in your business. No more wasted time worrying about what’s going on with your cash flow. Instead, you can focus your unique talents and abilities each day on ways to grow your business and make more income each year. That is a recipe for success and wealth creation.

Avoiding Pain

The desire to avoid pain is greater than the desire to attain pleasure. This is why most people give into their fears and never do what it takes to make it big. The perceived pain of leaving their comfort zone is greater than the pleasure of being wealthy. Excuses are then produced and the mind will find a way to justify them with logic.

use this to make your own way


Young adults: Avoid these privacy red flags

By Jason Alderman

Young adults applying for college or preparing to enter the workforce are sometimes shocked to find out that that certain behaviors that were either tolerated or ignored when they were younger now fall under closer scrutiny and could actually hurt their advancement possibilities. Among the biggest culprits are oversharing sensitive personal information in public forums and getting extreme tattoos or body art that may not yet be fully acceptable in certain work environments.

Red flags. It should be common knowledge that many employers perform online profile searches of job or internship candidates. They’ll scour public postings on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube looking for inappropriate content like racy photos or videos, racist remarks or evidence of illegal activities that would rule inappropriate candidates.

But many people don’t realize that colleges, insurance companies, law enforcement and government agencies sometimes do the same. Thus, an underage student hoping to boost his cool factor by posting photos that show him engaging in drinking games could be disqualified for college admission or even have his scholarship revoked.

Privacy settings. According to projections by Consumer Reports, roughly 13 million Facebook users have never set, or didn’t know about, the site’s privacy tools, and 28 percent share all, or almost all, of their wall posts with more than just their friends. It pays to thoroughly read the privacy policies of all sites where you’ve registered, including social networks, your bank, retailers, blogs and news sites where you’ve made comments, etc.

Email is forever. Deleting an email from your computer doesn’t mean it no longer exists. Chances are your email provider – or employer, if sent from work – will retain a record for years to come. Plus, recipients won’t necessarily delete the email and may in fact forward it to others.

Haunting photos. Just like emails, photos posted online can live forever. That includes pictures of you that someone else posted and tagged with your name. My rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, don’t do it, say it or film it. Also, don’t post photos of your kids that might embarrass them or hurt their professional reputation down the road.

Resume lies. It can be tempting to embellish the truth on your resume or during a job interview, but as recent headlines about disgraced executives being fired have shown, these lies can come back to haunt you. Employers can easily determine if the degree or past job titles you’re claiming are legitimate. Another no-brainer: If your resume is posted online on or LinkedIn, make sure there aren’t major inconsistencies with the one you submit to prospective employers.

Tattoos. One-fifth of adults have at least one tattoo – the percentages are higher among younger adults. A few years ago, job candidates wouldn’t get past the first interview sporting tattoos; today, depending on the industry and type of customer contact involved, many employers will look the other way.

However, some employers do enforce strict no-tattoo policies which, if based on sound business reasons, are legal. Fortunately, my own kids aren’t old enough for body art to be a consideration, but when they are, I’ll give them the same advice I’d give any young adult: Think about the long-term consequences of your actions.

Jason Alderman directs Visa’s financial education programs. To Follow Jason Alderman on Twitter:

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