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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How to Give Technical Presentations without Boring Your Audience to Death!

You’re sitting in the audience at a medical practitioners conference. The speaker is droning on about the latest therapy for carpal tunnel syndrome and dumping data on you like you’re a Cray supercomputer. You don’t care because you’ve already tuned out and are drawing pictures of the back of the guy’s head who’s seated in front of you. You laugh at your caricature that makes the part in his hair look like the butt of a rhinoceros. Frustration sets in when his head flops down on the writing surface before him, robbing you of your muse and forcing you to finish the pastel from memory. Read More…

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5 Ways to Ask for that Raise in a Recession

I usually post to business owners, but this one is for you mid-line managers out there and members of the unwashed rank and file who cannot make your own pay–or can you?  Even in a recession people who know the secrets are asking for, and getting, the raises they deserve.  I’ll start you with a little story that is absolutely true.  I wouldn’t lie to you.

I’m walking through the grocery store the other day with my buddy Wayne.  Wayne is looking distraught—gloomy even.  I ask Wayne what the problem is, wearing a concerned look on my face. Read More…

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6 Business Lessons from Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks

The coming out party for Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks is now official, as last night they rolled up Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and the Miami Heat to take the NBA finals in 6 games.  The story lines in this series ranged from Lebron gone missing in the fourth quarter of much of the finals to Nowitzki playing with a 101 fever and a sinus infection in one of the games.  In fact the Mavericks were a fascinating watch all through the overdrawn NBA playoffs, as they impress you as a throwback, seemingly the oldest team playing professional basketball.  Chalk one up for those old geezers, by NBA standards, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry.

So why I am writing about this in a business blog?  Well, sports have long served as metaphors for business because of how simple things tend to be in sports.  Business has so much noise that we often lose the essence of what is important.  Here are six lessons to be learned from Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks: Read More…

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What Aren’t You Hearing? 3 Steps to Better Listening

Remember when you were back in grade school and you played the message game with your classmates.  You know the one.  The teacher whispered a message into the ear of little Janie at the beginning of the first row.  Janie whispers it to Bobby, who’s sitting behing her.  Bobby tells Laura, and so on, and so on, until the message worked its way to the other side of the room.  Finally the class derelict, Petey, has to stand up and tell the class the message.  When he confidently says, “Godzilla wears dentures so that he won’t bite his toenails after a walk through the muddy forest,” the class howls with laughter.  You do too, because you were in the middle of the classroom, and you knew damn well that the message actually dealt with King Kong’s shoes that were so tight that he got bunions from them.  Stupid Petey.  Then the teacher writes the original message that she gave Janie on the blackboard, and suddenly you didn’t feel so superior to that little delinquent Petey anymore.

What happened?  Well, a little slice of human nature came into play that I’ll call preferential listening. 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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