Two Ears-One Mouth, Which Gets Used More?

Why is it that in most business and social encounters the mouth is employed much more? Many people think they are listening when they are just hearing. If your ears are healthy, hearing is an automatic anatomical response to sound in your vicinity. It takes no effort or skill.

On the other hand, good listening, which uses the same two ears as hearing, takes focus and is a skill that can be learned. The most common mistake in good listening is that while someone is talking, you are thinking about what you are going to say. The consequence of that is the other party quickly realizes you weren’t listening to them, as your remarks did not take into account what you should have just heard. Not exactly a confidence builder.

How many times have you been introduced to someone and almost immediately forgotten their name? You didn’t forget. You just didn’t really hear it.

This listening thing is a big deal. It affects all phases of your business and personal life. In my opinion, it is the key component of successful selling. If you ask good questions and then really listen, most buyers will eventually tell you how to sell them. Silence many times is your best friend. Successful negotiators are good listeners. They learn what’s really important to the other party through good listening. They can then speak to address their concerns and priorities.

Good listening is a major trust builder. People want to know that their opinions are being heard. They will have confidence and trust in people who listen to their point of view, even if they don’t share it. This applies to your employees, peers, customers, suppliers, family members, and all earthlings you meet.

Understand that humans process ideas faster than they can be delivered verbally. This makes it easy for your mind to wander when listening. Patience is required to focus.

Good listening will improve your relationships at home. Don’t come home and bring all your problems to the dinner table if you aren’t willing to listen to everyone else’s concerns and activities.

There is an abundance of books and videos available on the subject. However, just being aware of the situation will make you a better listener. You can always improve on this skill.

I strongly believe listening is a life skill that should be a mandatory course beginning in high school.

The answer to Challenge #3: DESPERATION = A ROPE ENDS IT

Challenge #4-rearrange ALL the letters and using each one only once in the words:

A DECIMAL POINT to form a new word or phrase that has a bearing on a decimal point.


Know What You Don’t Know

Success or knowledge in one area or endeavor does not automatically ensure the same in others. I have never met anyone who knows everything about everything. No one can know it all, although many think they do. I’m sure you’ve met some of them.

However, when many people are asked a question and they don’t know the answer, it is difficult for them to say the simple words “I don’t know.’ Ego seems to interfere with good judgment as it does in many areas. To make matters worse, some people will make up a story rather than saying those magical three words. By doing so, they are destroying their credibility, because people will eventually discover their deception.

On the other hand, the simple “I don’t know” is a real trust builder for entrepreneurs. People will then have confidence and believe you when you say “I know.”

Learning should be a life -long endeavor both personally and in business. You need to learn to objectively know what you don’t know so you can work on learning it.

This may sound simplistic, but it is important in building trust and growing.

Answer to Challenge #2: Slot Machines = Cash In Me

Challenge #3- Rearrange ALL the letters and using each one only once, in the word

        DESPERATION, to form a new word or phrase that has a bearing on Desperation. (Answer in next blog)


    When I blogged my earlier post on Suppliers, I received a great comment from Pierre Martell, the CEO of Martell Home Builders  ( ) in Moncton, Canada, that I want to share with everyone. Their mission is to build customized homes in 99 days on budget. Their website is their primary selling tool. To accomplish this, they use a network of subcontractors. As a start up in a very competitive industry, Pierre quickly realized how critical the performance of his suppliers were to his success–thus his 100% agreement with my supplier post.
     So, to attract maximum supplier cooperationover  his competitors, he came up with what I think is a simple but brilliant concept. I know from experience, that the single best action you can take to be a great customer to a supplier is to PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME.
      Pierre brought this maxim to a new level by creating the idea of paying all of his supplier invoices via Electric Fund Transfer (EFT). According to Pierre this has worked to perfection and helped propel his company to formidable success in a short period of time.
       Many times in my life, I have heard of a new idea and said to myself , this is so simple, why didn’t I think of it. This is one of them.I would have jumped on this idea in my earlier businesses. Where were you Pierre?
       I can just imagine the suppliers reactions. They had their payments much sooner, as there is no mail delivery time, which historically gets slower, no clearing the check time, no running to the bank to deposit time, etc. It also clearly sends a message that this customer is committed to pay their bills on time. The end result is loyalty to the customer and 5 star service to satisfy him. Pierre tells me that as of this date none of his customers have adopted electronic payments. Amazing, as surely they have heard about it from the suppliers.
      You might want to think of another way to employ this idea. Reward your best suppliers by creating a special club for them that you could call Suppliers Platinum Club. (My guess is you can come up with a better name) You could spell out the criteria for the supplier performance you expect. These special suppliers will feel honored,while getting their cash faster.
      Thanks for sharing Pierre.

 Answer to challenge#1:  DORMITORY =DIRTY ROOM

Challenge #2- Rearrange ALL the letters and using each one only once in the word’s SLOT MACHINES, to form a new word or phrase that has a bearing on slot machine. Answer will be revealed in next blog Monday October 26th.

Put Up or Shut Up!

PUT UP OR SHUT UP or Practice What You Preach. This mantra has many more implications and consequences than you think. You as the owner of your own business are the defacto leader of the company. However, real leadership must be earned. You can’t tell your employees to do one thing while you do the opposite. They will not follow or respect you. On the other hand, if your actions support your words, your people will respect and trust you and attempt to emulate your deeds. Your words will gain new credibility.

In thinking about this, I decided to follow my own advice in my new book, Bootstrapping 101, by bootstrapping its marketing. First, I decided to self-publish the book as I was less than satisfied with the effort of the well known publisher of my first book.

My first chapter is on Barter, “The exchange of goods and services for other goods and services.’ Usually no cash is involved. One morning while reading the local paper, I saw a feature article on a young lady, Briana Bragg and her company Business Bragger, which assists companies in  using  social media to achieve their business goals. Briana lost her first job before graduation, because her employer downsized. She decided to never let this happen to her again. She became an entrepreneur and started her own company. I contacted her to meet, and we struck up a barter deal. She was going to teach me how to use social media to sell more books, and I would mentor her through the growth of her start-up. We are both benefiting immensely.

I also have a chapter on the Free Help available to small businesses at Universities. Knowing that professors of Entrepreneurship like to assign teams of students to real life situations, I contacted Len Green, the savvy professor at Babson College. I suggested that one of his student teams might take on the assignment of creating a business plan on marketing my book. He was enthusiastic, and I will be going to Babson the end of October to hear the students’ plans and to talk to them about the path of entrepreneurial success.

I am using many of the book’s tips, and it is gratifying and fun to follow your own advice. It is also reinforcing my belief that it works.

Following one’s own advice is applicable to your personal life, particularly in parenting. How many times have you seen parents enforce particular behaviors on their children while acting contrary to their advice? They then wonder why their kids don’t listen to them. Children and adults will ape the behavior of parents or leaders they respect.

Practice What You Preach Is also very applicable to our elected officials. It will help their popularity rating which is currently dismal.

CHALLENGE # 1–Rearrange ALL the letters and using each one only once,in the word

DORMITORY,to form a new word or phrase that has a bearing on the original word…..
  (answer in the next blog)

Entrepreneurs, Be Nice to Your Suppliers!

Suppliers can be a critical component of your business growth and survival. Your approach to suppliers needs to be part of your strategic plan, since almost every company, whether product or service oriented, is dependent on suppliers. Many people seem to get this supplier issue wrong. They feel that because they write the order, they are in the dominant position and can exploit it with unreasonable demands upon their suppliers, including personal perks.

Please let’s get this right! You need good and reliable suppliers. When you find them, treat them like gold. Work as hard on building a supplier relationship as with any other one.

Be loyal to your good ones. They are essential to your good health and your growth. They are a nuanced Bootstrapping strategy.

How suppliers impact you

Let’s briefly look at all the ways suppliers can impact your company.

  • Quality. Whether you purchase a component, finished product, or service, suppliers can positively or negatively affect the quality of your product. Higher quality increases customer satisfaction and decreases returns, which add cash to your bottom line.
  • Timeliness. Their timely deliveries are crucial to how customers view your reliability. Their quick turnaround becomes the key to your minimization of inventory, which in turn translates to less risk of inventory obsolescence and lower cash needs.
  • Competitiveness. They can keep you competitive and one-up on your competition based on their pricing, quality, reliability, technological breakthroughs, and knowledge of industry trends.
  • Innovation. They can make major contributions to your new product development. They are working to be on the cutting edge of innovation of their product. The good ones will understand your company, its industry, your needs, and help you accordingly in your new idea execution.
  • Finance. They can be a major and constant source of financing for you. Your payment terms to them can be an important source of money because their extended terms don’t usually carry interest. If over a period of time you’ve proven to be a trustworthy, considerate, and loyal customer, you may be able to tap into them for additional financing in your growth mode—or if you run into a cash crunch. It may take the form of postponed debt, extended terms on new purchases, a loan, or an investment in your company. . . all of which improve your cash position.

The best way to become a great customer of a supplier is clearly to PAY YOUR BILLS ON TIME.

Will paying your bills on time in your personal life improve your credit and integrity rating?

Passion – More Than Just Sex!

PASSION−A key attribute to overcome adversity and build a business. Every attribute and skill can be learned except passion. I would not recommend that anyone start a business unless they have a passion to do so. Passion is the wild card in overcoming many obstacles facing fledgling companies. To name a few: inexperience, knowledge shortfalls, lack of resources, unproven company concept, no customers yet, etc. Enough? 
Your passion for your new baby can overcome and ameliorate some of these obstacles. Your potential customers, employees, suppliers, money sources, etc., are much more inclined to help you if they witness your passion. Passion is generated internally. No one can teach it to you. It will also help you rebound from the setbacks that are sure to come, help you rationalize the ridiculous amount of hours you will work, and the sacrifices incurred in your private life. 
Many who have already been in their businesses for some time start to lose their passion. Their challenge is to restore it. This can take many forms. They need to remember why they originally started the venture. I find that a three-day weekend once a month works wonders for my juices as well as daily workouts that take place at many weird hours. Look for what works for you. 

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