Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Look In The Mirror For Real Answers

"The lesson has been: If you are looking for where to assign blame or find solutions, then don't look outside yourself," says Mark Richman, president of Skeleton Key. "I can't control the economy, but I can control my response to it. We have been deliberate in our actions for the last year, and that has allowed us to achieve our goals despite the economy."

(As seen in the St. Louis Small Business Monthly,, October 2010).

--Ron Ameln, SBM

Embrace Failure

"Don't embrace it as an end, but as a necessary component of success," says Eliot Frick, CEO at bigwidesky. "It is necessary for everyone. You either have a series of small failures that you can hide, or you are going to have one that you can't hide. If you look at the natural world, failure and redundancy is built into our system. We think that failure should never happen, but that is a chauvinism of our understanding."

(As seen in St. Louis Small Business Monthly,, May 2010).

--Ron Ameln, SBM

Sluggish Economy Is Great Time To Raise Prices

"This economy is the ideal time for businesses to get back in touch with who their ideal customers really are," says Dale Furtwengler, president of Furtwengler and Associates and author of "Pricing for Profit: How to Command Higher Prices for Your Products and Services. "
"When they do that, they become more profitable by shrinking the customer base and providing great value rather than salvage market share with people that are only moderately interested."
(As see in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, February 2010)
--Ron Ameln, SBM

A Lesson From Bill Walsh on Blocking And Tackling In Your Business

In the late 1980s as a young sports reporter, I was in Kansas City covering a Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers game. The 49ers had just defeated the Chiefs on their way to a third Super Bowl Championship in seven years. In those days, the 49ers ruled the league.
I was with a mob of other reporters after the game asking questions of the late 49er head coach, Bill Walsh. One reporter asked him a question about the West Coast offense, an offensive system Walsh helped create and the 49ers utilized at the time. "With this system, you can pretty much plug any player in and win?" Walsh shot back angrily. "Wait a second. We're not winning because of our offensive system. We're winning because we're blocking and tackling better than our opponents. If we block and tackle better, it doesn't matter what system we use."
I think the same can be said for business. In business, blocking and tackling means: 1. Knowing your numbers (inside and out); 2. Hiring A Players; and 3. Serving your customers like no other business could.; and 4. Having a plan for exactly where you are going. That's blocking and tackling.
I thought about all of this a few weeks ago when a social media expert (they seem to be multiplying) told a group of business owners that "if they weren't a part of social media, their businesses would die." Unfortunately, I've seen some businesses spend a lot of money and time with social networking. I don't see that as a problem necessarily (there are a lot of advantages). However, just as the West Coast offense didn't help the 49ers win three Super Bowls, social media won't help your company succeed. A focus on blocking and tackling will help you succeed.
First and foremost, spend time and resources on blocking and tackling. If you don't, social media won't help you at all. This is what the so-called "social media guru" should have told you.
--Ron Ameln, SBM