Technology and alternate ways of doing things are always in a state of flux. Whether it’s outsourcing some of your operations or looking at techniques that aid your decision process, it’s important to keep emerging tools and practices on your radar screen.
One example is the evolving nature of financial planning and analysis software that transcends beyond traditional spreadsheet tools. Do you ever wish you had a crystal ball to aid your business decision process? Would you use such a tool if it was available? With operations becoming more and more complex, having the ability to anticipate, analyze and assess alternate strategies BEFORE committing valuable time and resources is becoming vital.
“Anyone who says businessmen deal in facts, not fiction, has never read old five-year projections.“-Malcolm Forbes
Does your current financial forecasting model provide answers to these SEVEN TYPICAL INQUIRIES? (more…)
I hear the same comment over and over…”I can take the product shot. I’ve got a digital camera”.
A few years ago, I was walking through “Ace Bargain Center”. Ace was a combination of connecting buildings that went for an entire city block. This store had every kind of used merchandise you could possible imagine. It was like an indoor junk yard (but clean and safe). As I was walking by one of the rooms I noticed that it contained all the materials for a complete operating suite; gurney, cabinets, lights, autoclave and even some surgical utensils. I realized that for the paltry sum of a couple of thousand dollars, I could set up my own operating room. I would have the equipment. The problem was, equipment doesn’t make you a surgeon, talent does. The same thing goes for photography.
A GOOD PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER IS MORE ARTIST THAN PHOTOGRAPHER.
A pro realizes the effect of lighting, positioning, backgrounds and even the image your product conveys. Lots of people can take “good” photos with a digital camera and they can be the hit of the picnic, but the professional photographer takes it the extra mile to make your product shine.
You’ve put a lot of time into developing your product and you’re proud of it. Put your best foot forward and show it in the best possible way. I think you’ll find that most photographers can work wonders and are a lot less expensive than you’d think.
Another tip: Don’t dictate to the photographer, let him ask questions and give you his best possible recommendations. If you let an artist use his vision, chances are you’ll get something much better than you had hoped for. In my 35+ years of experience, it’s worked every time.
Next week: The Car Dealer and TV.
Always let the artist make the suggestions!
Bob Martin is principal of Martin Creative Consultants, providing advertising consulting and services to manufacturing and retail businesses. His MCC VoicePros division creates audio voiceovers for radio, TV, internet ads and presentations.
A lifestyle of the rich and famous is a common image projected by many network marketing leaders. It is extolled in video presentations. It is acted out at “major events” held in exotic resorts. It is seductive…a heady experience. We attend in droves, in hopes of an epiphany on the road to riches. We listen to the dream, with hopes the dream now includes us.
These sessions do inspire and encourage…but, if what follows is financial and relationship stress arising out of unreasonable business expectations and overextended expenditures, the inspiration backfires. A promise of vast, easily-acquired wealth, is seductive and destructive; both for the new person, and for the leaders who are under pressure to uphold the persona.
This should be the shortest post I have ever written…of course you have to sell…end of story!
Sadly, I have heard this “pitch” all too often. “Join our company. It is great. You don’t have to sell anything. Because we know how much people hate selling, we have set it up so you won’t have to sell a thing.”
First of all…anyone making this statement is rather foolish if they haven’t figured out that what they are doing is trying to SELL you on the idea that you can make money by just sitting around…and uh… watching the grass grow… I guess.
If you did sign up, it is unfortunate they did not realize what great sales people they are!
This “Monday” blog is written to honor what we believe are enlightened organizations and communities, and is normally posted on Monday, but our Monday posting has been delayed in hopes of results on a great story coming out of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Unfortunately, the City Council will not vote until tonight on a resolution that will determine what you, if you live in Vancouver, can have clucking in your back yard. So I felt I could be late no longer. Lets talk about it and on Wednesday, I will give you the results of their vote.
IN A NATION OF FOOD BANKS – WE ARE JUST BEGINNING TO GET IT…
IS THE WORD -VALUES-AN OXYMORON IN THE BANKING INDUSTRY?
VANCITY IS PROOF POSITIVE -IT IS NOT
VanCity, based in Vancouver, British Columbia, is in its sixth decade of operation, offering a form of social and spiritual capitalism that proves doing business in alignment with high values and integrity can also be profitable.
This unique blend of more than-a-credit-union and more than-a-bank, is a breath of fresh air in the midst of the tornadeo of devastation wrecked by banking institutions whose operating philosophies are more of a testament to the capitalistic prophecies born out of the ancient Greek myth of Erisychthon.
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES: SOME GOOD & SOME NOT SO GOOD
It is the nature of human decision making that no matter what course of considered action, there generally are some resulting unintended (and generally unforeseen) consequences. You don’t have to search to far for many examples that permeate our society.
For instance who could have foreseen the chain of events a few years ago from Don Imus making his insensitive remarks on the air…………. to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine being badly injured in a car crash while on the way to hear Mr. Imus apologize to the Rutgers Women’s basketball team?
“You cannot always predict the results of purposeful action. Life is frequently too complicated and unpredictable, the universe too random, to bend to the will of any individual or group of individuals.”- Steven Gillion
That seemingly constant, gusting wind I cursed when I lived in Grande Prairie, Alberta, had a different look and feel for Drennen and Jamie Hallett. It was the whiff of opportunity.
The Hallett’s, owners of Golden Sheep Power, officially opened their doors for business in Grande Prairie on February 1, 2009. They will be the first company in Alberta to offer home-owners a chance to get off the grid by using home-based wind turbines and solar panels.
A NEW WIND IS BLOWING
Their timing could not be better. The provincial government just passed regulations to allow for micro-generation in Alberta. And the City of Grande Prairie, a city that has seen explosive growth in the past 5 years due to oil and gas exploration, has shown its openness to explore other sources of energy by allowing the Halletts to set up a pilot project to demonstrate and test the home-based units.
In the debt-free province of Alberta, where the black gold that first gushed from the ground in the 1950’s, has resulted in a Heritage Trust fund worth of billions of dollars being set aside for a “rainy day” – getting anyone to think about alternative energy sources is not an easy sell. But two framers from the tiny farming community of Vegreville have risen to the challenge.
Their innovation to create Biogas from cattle manure seems a perfect fit for a province that has ranching as it second largest industry. It is also timely for a province aware of the implications of the depleting sources of non-renewable oil and gas, and the challenges of a reliance on an industry with a Boom/Bust economic cycle.
“Inventing a new technology is a pure Alberta story… a great example that building a knowledge economy can happen on the farm, not just in ivory towers” – Evan Chapko, CEO, Highmark Renewables (Edmonton Journal, 02/08/09)
Introducing Kiva.org, a Web 2.0 company focused on connecting generous contribution with the creative potential of those living in poverty. Kiva’s mission is simple: “to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.” I had the pleasure of listening to Co-Founder Jessica Flannery speak this past weekend at Jubilee in Pittsburgh. Her speech offered two valuable insights:
1) A glimpse of hope -the poor of the world have the talent and creativity to become self sustaining…all they need is a boost in the form of capital
2) Advice – on how to realize the dream of any company, Kiva’s Story has something to offer to all of us.
INSPIRATIONAL CHRISTIAN CONFERENCE WITH A UNIVERSAL HUMAN MESSAGE
click to visit Jubilee’s homepage
I never thought attending a Christian conference would present me with such an abundance of culture and progressive thinking. This weekend started out with a talk by Gabe Lyons, co-author of the book “unChristian,” describing perception research into how the world views Christians. This research was conducted the same way a company conducts market research to understand brand perceptions, awareness, etc .
His research suggests, among other things, that people perceive Christians as having lost touch with culture and creativity – they are sheltered…out of touch with reality. These opening remarks began a weekend of inspiration, insight, and an exposure to some remarkable individuals who prove such an argument couldn’t be more wrong.
THE ULTIMATE FOCUS…THE HUMAN MESSAGE
How will you use your God-given talents, abilities and opportunities to cultivate learning, creating, building, and serving? And…how can you accomplish these goals in such a turbulent world?
A 15+% return on
investment – for real!
click for details
enlightened orgs: inspiration
ECONOMIC SOLUTIONS WILL BE FOUND AT THE LOCAL LEVEL
Michael Kalmanovich, owner of a unique, organic food supermarket in Edmonton, Alberta, does not lack for inspired, innovative ideas to fulfill his passion to sell locally grown organic food, socially conscious products, and a free dose of education in the process. He took his first step of faith in 1991 by opening a store with $20,000 invested, $167.00 in his bank account and a huge abundance of dreams.
Earth’s General Store was opened in a small location on the fringe of the university in the capital city of the province. It is also smack dab in the heart of a ranching and oil-based economy. It was in this province that KD Lang, a home-town celebrity, riled local extremist ranchers who defaced community signs outside her home town of Consort, Alberta, after her public service announcement in which she spoke out in favor of vegetarianism.
If opening an organic food store in a business culture like that sounds like it takes guts and a leap of faith, that pales by comparison when you hear Michael’s latest dream!
I discovered our Enlightened Corporation for this week while watching a segment of the Oprah show in which she interviewed young, self-made millionaires.
Tony Hsieh,CEO of Zappos.com, was one of the guests. He is a great inspiration, a model CEO of a model corporation, for our Enlightened Orgs directory.
His business achievements are certainly significant for such a young man. While still in his twenties, Hsieh (SHAY), a computer undergraduate from Harvard, co-founded an internet advertising agency called LinkExchange, which was sold to Microsoft for $265 million in 1998. But it was actually his business philosophy or mindset, that really caught my attention.
“I AM NOT NECESSARILY PASSIONATE ABOUT SHOES…WHAT I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT IS…
Will we sleep better knowing we have made a few million dollars on a “paper” or “security” that is not tied to something tangible and could collapse at any minute? … or will we leave this world pleased we have restored the planet to the beauty and abundance it once held for all?
We had the Slow Food industry, as a backlash to unhealthy eating, now Woody Tasch has initiated his Slow Money movement to offset the lust for speedy profits, at any cost. Tasch is our honored CEO of Enlightened Orgs for the work he is doing to bring sensibility to a world made giddy by financial greed.
THE MOST POWERFUL SOLUTIONS ARE OFTEN THE SIMPLEST…
There is nothing that delights me more than coincidences. I think they are a little “cosmic goose” telling us there is much more to this “life and universe business” than we ever dare to imagine.
It is a higher power having a bit of fun with us, as one would gently and lovingly tease a child. I think they hold metaphorical messages, if we will only take the time and energy to attempt to decode them. I hope the coincidences I have detected this week are a sign that there is…
The meeting is over. You just delivered the news of the changes that will need to occur in your business in the near future. All heads are bobbing in agreement. The staff have left the room, but you have a strange feeling in your gut. Somehow, you know things are not going to work out quite as well as everyone in the room seems to be telling you it will.
Over the next few years, this scenario will be played out over and over, as business takes the hard decisions to reinvent themselves, in an effort to remain competitive in the current economic environment.
enlightened organizations: global trends: inspiration: best practices
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THINGS AT ODE-TRULY POETIC
Ode (from the Ancient Greek) is a form of stately and elaborate lyrical verse[Wikipedia]. Ode magazine is included in our list of Enlightened Organizations for its commitment and success in lyrically focusing on what there is to celebrate in the world!
This month Ode magazine honors the heroes whom they call Intelligent Optimists:
“Intelligent Optimists, individuals who aren’t famous yet but should be because of the work they’re doing to bring positive change to their communities, their countries and the world. That’s how we got 25 reasons to be optimistic in these challenging times.”
I like the quote from Andy Warhol, “They say time changes things but you actually have to change them yourself.” One of my best life lessons was coming to the realization that when I changed the way I looked at a situation – the situation itself seemed to change - when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change!
Have you ever wondered about the real environmental commitment of hotels with those little cards telling you they are concerned about the environment,“so please don’t ask us to change your towels or sheets daily”… and then, they fill up the bathroom with little tiny packages of toiletries that get partially used -and then, become landfill?
Well, Greg Salloum, property owner, Best Western Inn, in Kelowna, British Columbia is an exception. This man is sincere and dedicated to his commitment to the environment and has spent the money to prove it.