THINK BIG…THEN ACT

Bill Rancic has certainly come a long way from his win on The Apprentice. He was just featured on The Rhode Show to talk about a new campaign he is running with Intuit Quick Books to celebrate the success of small businesses in America, which have accounted for two-third of new jobs created in the United States in the past decade. They’d run a similar campaign a few years back and it was so wildly successful, they’re going to make the deal even sweeter this time around.

Original ‘Apprentice’ Winner Bill Rancic Shares Advice – The Rhode Show

Small business owners will get a chance to compete for a free ad that will be aired during next year’s Super Bowl. Imagine your company being among the ones that paid $4.5 MILLION dollars for their precious 30-second spot. The opportunities that can result from that exposure absolutely boggle my mind.

But they aren’t stopping there. Procuring funding for expansion is always a costly prospect in the form of sky-high interest rates so Intuit is creating a fund to help small businesses finance their longer-term activities as well as bringing together a network of small business experts to share experiences and offer guidance and advice.

There’s MORE!! Bill goes on to share some of his own tips in the video clip below. It’s super-short and worth a watch. He basically has three tips for aspiring entrepreneurs:

  • Be Agile – You need to adapt and be flexible and respond to changes in market influences.
  • Don’t Go It Alone – Tap trusted subject matter experts, learn from their mistakes, drink in their advice.
  • Work Hard & Live Lean – Don’t expect a paycheck quickly and learn to do without while you grow your business.

All extremely important messages. I have one more to add to the mix:

  • Do Your Research! – Learn about every facet of your target industry, understand all the nuances, dependencies, challenges, pitfalls. Figure out what the competition does well and come up with ways to do it better. Embrace innovation. Soak up knowledge like you’re a sponge and then apply it to your long-term strategy. These activities will save you a lot of money, aggravation and disappointment. Trust me, I know.

Why Employers Should Aspire To Be Like Captain America

It should come as no surprise that I saw The Avengers: Age Of Ultron on opening night. And while I am disappointed to say it was not my favorite installation, I still enjoyed it. Kind of. Well, as much as I could after three Jack and Cokes at ten o’clock at night, sprawled out in a big La-Z-Boy seat. Way past my bedtime. =)

Anyway…

I’m definitely not happy that Tony Stark has lost his swagger. That was one of the most fun parts of these movies. But what was really cool to me was seeing Captain America really take charge and lead his troops, so to speak. There’s so much to respect about a guy who strives to always do what is right and just. But not only that. He knows people. He understands their strengths and weaknesses and aligns them to the tasks where they can best deliver value to an endeavor.

Employers, take note. You can learn a few things from Captain America’s leadership style.

1. Check your emotions at the door – During The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Cap realized that what he’d wanted out of life before he’d been frozen was very different from what his life’s mission had become so many decades later. He has a duty to support the greater good and lives to fulfill it. His needs are pushed to the back burner as he strives to conquer evil and protect the lives of the innocent.

2. Stay true to your moral center – Tough decisions aren’t always the popular ones but a strong leader understands the potential negative impact of ambivalence and complacency. Cap always strives to do what’s right even if he knows the decisions will not be embraced wholeheartedly. He never backs down from what he believes is the right thing to do.

3. Be loyal to your brand – Just like Cap is recognized for traits such as individualism, justice and fairness, employers should make sure they are exemplifying the elements of their brand – what sets their company apart from the competition.

4. Take care of your own – Employees are the backbone of any business. Understanding their strengths and weaknesses is critical to ensuring you have the best people making decisions on your behalf. Cap knew which of his counterparts he could count on to deliver results. Hulk, SMASH!!!!!

Courtesy of www.imd.com

Courtesy of www.imd.com

Think Twice Before Joining The Style High Club

Hubby recently joined the Five Four Club. For $60 per month, he was promised an entirely new and fashionable wardrobe. Upon registering, he completed a detailed questionnaire so the company could gauge his style and taste and send him items according to his preferences.

Sounds simple enough, right?

The first shipment came the other day. I had to include pics because not only were the styles completely off, but the quality is extremely sub-par. The jacket is some kind of flimsy nylon material and the shirt is just a plain black t-shirt with a couple of buttons. Neither one of us was impressed and Hubby decided to cancel the membership.

IMG_2364

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After keeping him on hold for about twenty minutes, Hubby found out he couldn’t return the clothing items for a refund. That’s part of the program, not one they widely publicized, by the way. He was definitely cancelling after hearing that.

But then the customer service rep said if he’d like to continue the membership, they would send him higher quality items the following month. Hmm.

Can you say swindled???

That first month tells this company a lot about their subscribers. If customers let it go without complaining about the crappy items they’d received, the company continues to send them shoddy items, saving themselves wads of cash because they’re able to keep costs down and send the lower quality merchandise.

For the subscribers that may not be happy with the quality, they may not want to sit on hold for eons so they’ll just suck it up, take the clothes and not wear them (at least they won’t if they have wives like yours truly).

Only a few will be disgusted enough to call, sit on hold and complain to customer service. These are the ones who they still have a shot at retaining. Offer them better quality to keep them happy. It’ll cost the company a little more, but they’re already making money hand over fist with the others who are just accepting what was sent.

Then there are the dissenters…the ones whom they can’t convince to stay. These are probably few and far between and not the true target for this company anyway, so better to let them go. Not cost to the company since they don’t give refunds. They still sucker them for $60 a pop (even if it was only ONE pop).

The Five Four team is not really embracing the concept of customer loyalty. Or maybe they just don’t care. Seems like a scam to me. Buyer beware. Big time.

Women Make Better CEOs…Just Ask Mr. Wonderful

Women make better CEOs.
At least they do to Kevin O’Leary, the shrewd and calculating entrepreneur of ABC’s Shark Tank. But this isn’t conjecture; he’s got numbers to prove it.
According to Mr. Wonderful, female-run companies offer him greater returns on his investments and quicker exits.
“If I want high returns with low volatility, that equals a woman.” You heard it here, folks.
But why? What key attributes make these CEOs more financially successful? Why are 55% of the companies in O’Leary’s portfolio run by women???
Courtesy of www.entrepreneur.com

Courtesy of www.entrepreneur.com

“Attributes that I have observed are that they take less risk, they are more goal orientated in terms of setting targets and meeting them. If they say, ‘I am going to expand capacity or we’re going to increase distribution in the next quarter’, they deliver,” he explained. “It’s not an intuitive feeling. It’s actual hardcore results.”
Less cowboyish, less rogue, more strategic…yes, I can certainly see the rationale. =)
However, despite their obvious successes, we still don’t see a lot of female infiltration within venture capital and angel investor boards. It’s still a very male-dominated environment but one thing stands out. Networking plays a huge role and if you’re not rubbing elbows with the right people, you may not get the opportunities and visibility you deserve.
Women have always been great at networking…with other women. There are so many groups and associations and advocates for females in business but they are limiting because they only provide access to 50% of their potential partners. That’s just not good enough. Business people need to be smart and forward-thinking about their goals and understanding how all peers and competitors operate will offer significant insights for how to augment company growth.
Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice. If you’re trying to run a business or launch a fledgling company, don’t limit your networking reach. Establish relationships with everyone who can possibly have an impact on your growing business. Learn how they work and use it to help shape your own strategy.
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