My First Experience Pitching A Business Idea

I love business. I love coming up with a new idea for a business; the process of building a business; marketing a business; and running a business. It's a total thrill. When I go on sales calls and earn new business, I feel like a winner. I get the same feeling when I come up with a new idea to try out in my business that makes money. Business is like a drug to me, and it's a good drug: like caffeine, it's good for me. It makes me more successful, and it stimulates me to keep going. A big part of Read More

Business Lessons from TV’s “Shark Tank”

I just discovered the TV show "Shark Tank" a few weeks ago and have been eagerly devouring each episode. Sure, I'd heard about the show a few years ago, but ignored it because I don't like watching TV and find most reality TV shows to be a total waste of time. But I should have checked out Shark Tank much sooner—it's really exceptional. I don't really watch the show for entertainment value, but for the business lessons. Hopefully, what people realize is that when they're watching this show, they're Read More

How Many Golf Balls Can Fit in a School Bus?

Have you ever heard that question before? If you have, it's probably because you've read somewhere that it's one of the questions that Google asks prospective employees during interviews. I don't know if this is entirely true, because I've read accounts of people who have been hired at Google who never had to answer anything like this, and yet other online sources say they do, in fact, ask this and many other bizarre and pointless questions. I've had this on my mind for a long time, but today I read Read More

You Are What You Wear

Everybody knows you are what you eat. But did you know it's also true that you are what you wear? The reality, though unfair, is that whether you believe this or not, there's at least some truth in it. When I first started my business a few years ago, I went out to Kohl's and purchased several sets of nice slacks, some button-up collared shirts and some nice leather shoes. Whenever I went to meet clients, I made sure my shirt was ironed, my pants had no wrinkles, and I even tried to match colors. Read More

The Most Important Word A Business Owner Can Learn

A few years ago, I heard a radio ad while driving down the road where the whole premise was "We Do That." The ad went like this: you listen in to a phone conversation between a car owner and a front desk guy at the auto repair shop. The caller says "My brakes are squeaking and I think I need a brake inspection." The front desk guy says "we do that." The car owner goes on to explain that he's also having some transmission trouble and the car makes a funny rattling sound when the car shifts gear. Our Read More

Getting the Job, Part 1: Resume Best Practices

[ This is post one in a series of three called “Getting the Job: Tips from a Hiring Manager." ] Have you ever noticed how a job search is like a marketing campaign? It's a perfect case-study in marketing. You have a product (yourself), you're figuring out who your buyer is (a potential employer), then getting them to buy (by hiring you). A few years ago, I worked as a hiring manager. I sorted through hundreds of resumes, made lots of phone calls, interviewed lots of people, and learned a lot in Read More

The Drive That Gets Lost

A few years ago, when I was in the construction industry, at one point, the company I worked for had over twenty field employees. We were constantly hiring, trying to keep up with attrition and the manpower needed on larger and larger jobs we took on. Because of this, I got to know hundreds of workers who quickly went from prospective hire, to employee, and then (sometimes quickly) to ex-employee. I recall one of our workers in particular—I'll call him Steve. Steve was a very big man, and by all Read More

Business Lessons From The Godfather

For those of you who've seen it, it's almost not even worth mentioning that The Godfather is one of the best movies ever made. Yes, it's a gangster movie. Yes, it's full of blood, killing, sin and sorrow. And yes, it's full of astounding business lessons as well. There are far more references to business than I can mention here, but here are the top dozen that really stand out. And if you haven't seen it, please add it to your Netflix queue as soon as you possibly can. Trust me, you're already running Read More

Canceling My Wells Fargo Account

Last week, I did what I’ve wanted to do for years: I closed my Wells Fargo account. It felt good. Wells Fargo is an extremely convenient place to bank at, because they have branches and ATMs all over the place, but to them, I was just a number. Probably a number in the tens of millions, if I had to guess. So I was #10,000,001 to them. (Give or take a few.) They didn’t care that I had banked there for ten years. They didn't care that I had three checking accounts, a savings account and two credit Read More

Kozmo.com – Overdue for Extinction

You know how there are some things in life that sound good on paper, but turn out to be not-so-great in real life? An idea where, when put into practice, you're confounded by why it didn't work, because it seemed so brilliant? Kozmo.com was one such idea. ...except for that it wasn't even good on paper. Anyone remember them? They were one of the goofiest internet startups of all time. Founded in 1998, the basic premise was: Consumers could turn on their computers, "dial up" (as we said back in those Read More