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Business Continuity Starts with Survival: Lessons from Irene

business continuity, hurrivance Irene, mid-atlantic hurricane, mean ireneWhenever there is a natural disaster, you consequentially hear about disaster planning and business continuity, with stories and tips literally coming out of the woodwork.  Usually it centers around the all-important data backup, file management, saving equipment, and of course, the safety of employees.  When the TV and Internet are blanketed with images like this one, the frenetic story tends to blur the lines between fact and fiction, important and insignificant, and often courage and stupidity.  Here’s a little wake up call I got within the last 48 hours that in 46 years of life, I never had to experience. Read More…

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Leading From a Distance: Best Practices of Leaders in the Cloud

This is the second in a series of pieces I am doing on virtual collaboration and trends for CEOs, small business owners and entrepreneurs.  It looks at best practices for virtual video-conferencing technology and the techniques for keeping people engaged using tools from the cloud.  Today’s Vlog interview is with Phil Montero, president of Montero Consulting and founder of YouCanWorkFromAnywhere.com and http://www.TheAnywhereOffice.com.  Phil is a business partner and friend and happens to be one of the world’s best gurus when working with small and mid-sized business leaders to set up the technology, training and tools for working leading from afar.

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How to Become a Business Consultant on Purpose–or Not

You may have heard recently that Apple Computer has more on-hand cash than the US Government.  Now that either says something great about Apple or something pathetic about the political machine in D.C. or both.

As much as Apple has been booming in recent years since launching the iPhone, there is one industry that is blooming faster (and ripening faster too).  So what do you think that would be?

If you said private business consulting, you win the gumball Mickey!

Not only are there more small businesses than at any time in American history forming, but an ever increasing number of those businesses are that of private consultants.  Why?  Is it the Obama economic plan?  Has government created these “new” jobs as is so often the claim?  I think I speak for most of you when I say the answer is, “Of course not.”  The new consulting businesses popping up across the map are a direct result of corporate downsizing and the difficulty in re-landing professional employment.  As major corporations are scaling back on technocrats such as engineers, human resource professionals, and MBAs, small consulting firms are born from the dying corporate carcasses like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. There are three reasons why these professionals, suddenly jobless, become consultants: Read More…

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Virtual-Mastermind.com Accelerates Small Business Success

virtual-mastermind.com, mastermind groups, business mastermind groupsI’m incredibly excited to tell you about a project that has been in development for 6 months now called Virtual-Mastermind.comVirtual Mastermind is a service that I’ve created in conjunction with key technology partners that focuses the power of Mastermind groups on small businesses and entrepreneurs.

The Masterminding process has been used by business and world leaders for the past 100 years or more, with Napoleon Hill given the most credit for coining the term in his classic book, Think and Grow Rich.  These leaders knew that leveraging the collective intelligence of like-minded business peers in a structured way would put their knowledge and efforts on steroids to achieve things not dreamed of before.

Imagine that every time you had a significant business problem that would alter the course of your business, for better or worse, you had at your beckon call a team, a Virtual Advisory Board of leaders who’d been there and done that who could guide you to success.  Large corporations have been employing this process for years.

But what about small business owners?  Aren’t we usually left to our own devices?  We’re up to our asses in alligators and have a hard time coming up for air, much less finding, qualifying, selecting and meeting with this fictional board of advisors that probably won’t want to help us anyway. Read More…

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Independence Day for Small Businesses

As Americans celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July, most of us are taking a day off of work (except the retailers), firing up the charcoal briquettes, and finding some watering hole to be near to escape the heat.  Too often we don’t remember the true meaning of this holiday, America’s Declaration of Freedom from the tyranny of British rule.  Clearly the most seminal moment in our country’s history that set the stage for the type of country we were to become, based upon the freedom to take risks and realize the awesome benefits, or suffer the tragic consequences, of our own decisions.  It is a free market capitalism that rewards innovation and creativity, takes no prisoners, and allows for true self-determination. Read More…

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7 Steps to Correcting Bad Egg Employees and Keep Your Wits!

A fortnight ago I was consulting with a small business owner who had more orders than he could reasonably handle.  Let’s call him Mac.  I suggested that he hire an additional set of hands to help with the workload.

“Look Mac, why don’t you pick up an employee or two to help out?”

“No way, brother.  Mama didn’t raise no fool!  Do I look like I just fell off the turnip truck?  A bird in the hand—“

“STOP!  I get it.  What’s the big aversion to hiring someone?”

“Well, if I hire someone, what do I do when they screw up?  I’m just not good at dealing with employees.  They’re nothing but trouble.”

It was then that I realized how much pain the average small businessperson has in dealing with problem employees.  Read More…

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Earn Your Business Black Belt: 5 Lessons in Mastery

Many small businesses fail today without the process or discipline to succeed.  When all the excuse-making is said and done, do you have the will and the skill to survive and thrive?

A few weeks ago I watched the culmination of 4 years worth of work that started at the ripe old age of six.  Huh?  As impossible as it seems, 4th graders can set a goal, focus on it (kind of), and progressively realize it one step at a time.  I’m talking about my son Jack, who just achieved a black belt in Karate.  This was a big deal to all the kids and adults in his class, reminding me of achieving my Eagle Scout as a teenager, and this dad was beaming!

These guys were unbelievable, and on the grueling 6 hour day of final testing and ultimate celebration, it was amazing to see not only Jack but everyone in the class crackle with a precision you wouldn’t think possible.

So how’s this apply to you as a business owner?  Here are 5 Lessons in Black Belt Mastery for your business. Read More…

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Small Business Effectiveness: Kill Distractions & Focus

Yesterday I told you about target strategic threats to your business, your small business Osama bin Laden, that could provide focus for you on that single challenge that is holding you back, even when it seems out of your control.  Focus is a funny thing.  With it, you’re at least at your best when trying to get something done for your business.  Without it, you either don’t get it done or you get it done poorly. Read More…

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The Small Business Osama bin Laden: What’s Your Target Strategic Threat?

Small Business owners have thousands of issues to deal with each year, to the point where it is overwhelming to prioritize and focus upon the main thing, that Pareto 20% of stuff that will make 80% of the difference to you.  Business owners can profit by identifying their key target strategic threat and designing a game plan to find where it is hiding, contain it and if possible, snuff it out. Read More…

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The Power of Perspective for Small Business Owners

Owning and operating a small business can be overwhelming and all consuming.  You start it to create more time and more money, and you find yourself with less time than ever, not withstanding the money.  The passion driving business owners is laudable, yet it can become an obsession rapidly as you find more and more “must do” activities that you simply cannot live without.  Business ownership can be an ulcer-inducing, pulse-racing siege against the ever-important obstacles to your success.

Sometimes life has a way of tossing perspective at us that makes you re-examine the really important things in life. Read More…

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