Monthly Archive for February, 2010

Don’t just adjust to change, lead it and sell it

As I have said many times before, our challenge is not change - the computer is just a fancy wheel.  Indeed, the only thing that’s really different about change in the past 3,000 years is the velocity of change. What’s taking our breath away is the time between generations of change, which is being significantly compressed by technological innovations.

In this high-velocity change environment in which you operate your business, sustained success requires that you do more than merely accept change.  In fact, 21st century success means you embrace change, are able to sell it to your organization and customers and then lead that change - everyday.

I know this sounds hard. It is. If it weren’t, monkeys would be running small businesses.  But here is a piece of advice that will help you embrace, sell and lead change.  I hope you’ll write this down somewhere and remember it. I call it Blasingame’s 21st century Small Business Attitude on Change: “It’s okay to fall in love with what you do, but you can’t fall in love with how you do it.”

Recently, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I discussed this new attitude on change with Brett Clay, including tips on how to incorporate this leadership attitude about change to find solutions for your customers. Brett is the founder and CEO of Change Leadership Group, LLC. and the author of Selling Change: 101 Secrets for Growing Sales by Leading Change.

Take a few minutes to listen to what Brett and I have to say and, as always, leave your own thoughts on leading with change. Listen Live! Download, Too!

One inspirational small business survival story

When big businesses get into a bind, the sheer size and calamities of any one of them is such a huge story that politicians feel they must get involved. But remember, there are only a few thousand of those companies.

For America’s small businesses, The Great Recession created a lot of financial pain, organizational damage and way too many failures. But when the recent economic conditions cause problems for any one of these 26 million heroes, the story likely won’t even make the local paper. And as we’ve seen, any help for small businesses from our so-called political “leaders” has been lip service at best and bad policy at worst.

Please allow me to report on one of America’s small business Great Recession stories. Think you’ve had it bad? Had to overcome a lot, did you? Got tough times? Listen to Gigi Stetler, as she talked with me recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, first about being a woman business owner in a male-dominated industry, and then she reveals the greatest challenge she had to deal with.

Gigi is the author of Unstoppable: Surviving Is Just the Beginning… and the only female owner of two RV dealerships in the U.S. Take a few minutes to listen to Gigi’s story and, as always, leave your thoughts and your story. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Would new battery innovations change your small business?

Look around you at how many things you use that are electronic. Then make that scan again, but this time, only look at the things that run on batteries. Now look one more time and think about how much of the form and weight of those battery-operated devices is determined by the battery.  In the next 10 years, not only will fewer devices be burdened by an electrical cord, but fewer will be restricted by the battery. Emerging battery innovations will dramatically change the way we use things and live your lives.

For example, what if you could push a button and literally print out a battery - on a sheet of paper? What if the battery itself, so to speak, was actually part of the paint on a device?  Go ahead - let your mind wander.  I’ll wait … Hmm-Hmm-Hmm.

As our friend, Brain Trust member and world-class futurist, Joel Barker, has taught us, the byproducts of exciting innovations are often paradigm shifts. As you stand in your business, imagine if battery technology innovations became the next killer app, what shifts would result for the goods and service you use and sell?  The next question is, would these shifts harm or benefit your business?  Contemplating these kinds of questions are why business owners need to connect with the thinking and projecting of futurists.

Recently on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, Joel reported on exciting battery innovations, including batteries that can be printed on paper.  By the way, you can find Joel’s books and other works at Joel  Take a few minutes to listen to our conversation and let us know what you think the world would look like if you could buy a ream of batteries. Listen Live! Download, Too!

An honest debate about race and entrepreneurship

You may not be surprised to learn that one of the things that interests me is why black Americans aren’t more represented in the marketplace’s entrepreneurial ranks.  For example, according the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, African-Americans are only 40% as likely to choose business ownership as are white Americans.  To put this number in perspective, Latinos are 60% as likely to be business owners as are white Americans. Furthermore, Chika Onyeani, editor-in-chief of the African Sun Times and author of Capitalist Nigger, reported in his book and on my radio program, that in the New York burrough of Harlem, recognized for generations as ground-zero for black America, very few businesses are owned by blacks.

With decades of civil rights legislation, anti-discrimination regulation and billions of dollars spent to make sure the marketplace playing field is level for all, why aren’t there more black business owners? During this same period women overcame similar obstacles, but over the past 10-20 years, business start-ups by women have become the fastest growing ownership sector.

Recently, on my program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I discussed the issue of African-American business ownership with two individuals that I consider to be thought-leaders on the topic, intellectually, professionally and because of their race. Donald Hunter is a business owner, a commercial finance expert, and an entrepreneurial educator. Clara Villarosa is a retired business owner and co-author of Down to Business: The First 10 Steps to Entrepreneurship for Women. Both have overcome more than the average obstacles of a black business owner: Donald is blind, and Clara started and successfully ran her woman-owned business at a time when even white women faced heavy odds.

One of the things I believe is that political correctness, wherever it manifests, is the enemy of achieving excellence, and I asked Donald and Clara what they thought about this. You don’t want to miss their answers.

Take a few minutes to listen to our conversation and let us know what you think about race and business ownership. Listen Live! Download, Too!

Identifying common problems that inhibit small business performance

Every small business likely has one 800-pound gorilla in its living room and more than one 400-pounders.  There might even be occasions when the “emperor has no clothes.” You’ll pardon the mixed metaphors, but these are the disfunctional elements that everyone knows prohibit efficient execution, productivity and good morale, but no one wants to talk about. There could be many reasons for such a lack of candor and honesty, but the usual suspect is top management cruisin’ down that river called denial.  

If you’re business isn’t hitting on all cylinders, such as not enough sales, bad morale, department bickering and turf wars, etc., what you probably have, as that famous line from the movie “Cool Hand Luke” goes, is a “fail-ya to communicate.” This “fail-ya” is caused when management doesn’t demand and practice organizational honesty

Recently, I talked with one of the honesty experts in my Brain Trust, Steven Gaffney, on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show.  We discussed how to reveal the hard questions that have to be asked and answered with brutal honesty in order for your business to be successful. Steven is the president of Steven Gaffney Company and author of several books, including Honesty Sells.

Take a few minutes to listen to our conversation and, as always, leave your thoughts on how to promote honest conversation and more success. Listen Live! Download, Too!

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