Categories: Leadership

Define Your Business Vision Clearly

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 21

Make sure you and your team agree on your company vision and have established clear goals and objectives for the upcoming six months, 12 months, and two years. Consider both...

One Entrepreneur's Secret to Success

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 04

Whether embarking on a new concept or re-evaluating an existing business, entrepreneurs have to constantly revisit who they are and where they are headed. We need to continually feed that...

When an Employee Asks for Motivation

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 17

The other day I had an employee tell me that he needed me to motivate him. As I stared, dumbfounded, and started to address his concern, it reminded me of...

Keep Up with the Speed of Change

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 19

Successful small companies are adept at responding to opportunities and challenges at the drop of a hat. Employees in these companies will step outside of their day-to-day responsibilities to respond...

Establish a Good Partnership

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 09

Over the years I've seen a lot of businesses come and go. One of the things that always surprises me is how often businesses fail due to problems among partners....

Get Better at Managing Your Life

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 06

In the business world, everyone wants to succeed and make names for both themselves and their companies. While we all want to be good at our jobs, we don't all...

Look Outside Your Business for Ideas

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 03

Whether you are looking for new product or service ideas or improvements, new technologies and business processes, or even considering an entirely new venture, important ideas can emerge from a...

Crowdsource to Solve New Problems

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 02

Most businesses are occasionally confronted by challenges that are surprising, complex, and new. In fact, you are lucky if such problems arise only occasionally; in certain industries and markets, they...

Why Looking Ahead Is An Important Business Strategy

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 26

We've all been through rough patches with our businesses. Attitude has more to do with longevity than you might think. Winners acknowledge mistakes they might have made or the nature...

Build Rapport Quickly

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 19

To a small business owner, one negotiation with a prospect can make or break the company. With so much at stake, quick rapport-building becomes a critical skill. And what is...

Spend Time with Your Staff

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 18

The most important thing you can do to empower your staff is give them a voice and listen to their ideas. As entrepreneurs, sometimes this can be hard as we...

Be Assertive to Get What You Want

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 12

Assertiveness is the ability to be aware of your personal strength, advocate your point of view, and take responsibility for your actions. It is this trait that allows business pros...

Hire a Great Startup Employee

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 29

If you run a young company, you know that every hire matters. So how do you choose the ideal person to work in this unique environment? While the requirements for...

Great Leaders Ask Questions and Listen

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 28

Although everyone agrees that communication is a very important skill, research shows that it is crucial for leadership success. When business owners think about becoming better communicators, however, their knee-jerk...

Three Signs You Are Addicted to Chaos

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 18

Entrepreneurs are frequently so devoted to the business that they persist in the state of chaos, accepting it as a way of life, without ever trying to identify or solve...

Join an Ecosystem to Get Ahead

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 02

One of the best ways to get ahead as a small business is to join an ecosystem or group of businesses with a common goal. Doing so will allow you...

Stop Doing Things That No Longer Make a Profit

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 11

As the old saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting to get different results. It does not matter how long you've done something, if...

To Innovate, Know Where and How to Play

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 08

Small businesses are the vanguard of innovation. They create the most jobs, account for an increasing share of patents, and introduce new disruptions to established firms. But they cannot be...

Find Your Company's Most Valuable Asset

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 07

Give your business a makeover by getting the right strategic mix of hard assets such as property and equipment, and soft assets such as knowhow, name recognition, customer lists, and...

Let Reality, Not Fear, Be Your Guide

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 01

As a coach, I often meet clients who are concerned about their finances and disappointed by their income. In most cases, the fear of financial loss creates bursts of frantic...

Boost Your Emotional Intelligence

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 24

You could have a high intellect and prestigious education. Without emotional intelligence, however, your business will fail. Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to recognize, process, and communicate your own...

How Leaders Can Give Their People a "Hug"

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on December 22

I once conducted my own unofficial survey of colleagues, associates, and clients to find out what they value in a boss that would inspire, motivate, and make them more likely...

Why Successful Football Strategies Should Be Applied to Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 17

Running a successful business is much like running a successful football team. What are the common characteristics between successful football teams and successful business teams? 1. A true "team" must...

Get Creative with Commerce

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on November 09

To survive the down economic times, companies of all stripes learned to cut costs and do more with less. To return to growth, drive greater productivity, and improve profits, businesses...

Become Re-Energized at Work

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 06

Vacations are a great opportunity to rethink your goals and priorities. Unfortunately, most of us either opt not to take a vacation or never really leave work behind when we're...

Know When To Let Go

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on October 05

Have you ever experienced a truly aggravating situation with a business partner or a customer and wondered if the benefits from the relationship were worth the effort? It's important to...

Understand the "Freemium" Business Model

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 24

The "Freemium" business model is based on companies offering their basic services for free while charging a premium for advanced features. With a lack of available comparison sets, Freemium startups...

Empower Your Employees to Deliver Excellence

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 17

Ensuring your employees have the tools they need to be successful is critical. But empowering them to make decisions that could affect your business is just as important, if not...

Money Isn't the Only Metric

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on September 13

The deal didn't close. The numbers were down. The last few months have been really slow. What does it mean? Most small business owners use financial results to gauge their...

Before Going to Market Abroad

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 19

Over the past two decades, international business relationships have exploded and will continue to do so over the next two. In addition, more North American companies are doing business, and...

Use a Timer to Stay Focused

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on August 10

Having a timer running while you work can drastically heighten your awareness and allow you to notice quickly when you deviate from a given task. Setting a countdown timer for...

Build a Customer-Centric Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 22

Customer support differentiates your organization, whether your company is a vendor to thousands of businesses or an IT organization with hundreds of users. Customer support accelerates success, or failure, for...

Five Leadership Lessons to Unlearn

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 07

You can figure out who moved your cheese. You can become a one-minute manager while you go from good to great. You can even apply the art of war to...

Remind the Boss to Follow Her Own Advice

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on July 01

Innovation can be daunting. What I find interesting is that even among some of the most enlightened entrepreneurs who understand the need to continually innovate, there is a tendency to...

Get Out of the Office to Get Creative

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 30

Are you planning a vacation, weekend getaway, or staycation this summer? As you think about what you might want to do or try, consider adding a visit to a business...

Broadening the Source of Ideas for Business

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 29

One way to bring new ideas into your business—whether for new product or service development, new sales or marketing approaches, hiring practices, operational strategies, or other business activities—is to hold...

Strategy Means Knowing Your Bandwidth

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 21

One key element of strategy that is critical for all businesses—but particularly for smaller or early-stage companies—is the issue of choice. The choice I refer to here is deciding on...

The Case for Keeping Your Cool

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on June 09

In more than 20 years working in financial services, I've seen one simple truth play out again and again: Emotions and money don't mix. Why? Because emotions often drive us...

Driving Innovation

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on May 28

Small and midsize businesses are often referred to as the backbone of the economy. They also share innovation pains similar to their large business counterparts. In fact, companies of every...

Waiting on the Recovery Isn't an Option

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 27

Regardless of whether or not you believe the recession is over, there’s no doubt that the economic hammer created a new mindset—and a new way of doing business. The shocking...

Make Yourself Get Things Done

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 23

Creating accountability is challenging because it is easy to get caught up in the day-to-day operations of your business. If you are not generating ideas to overcome business issues and...

Become More Accountable

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 22

Accountability has always haunted business owners. Employees have someone to report to, someone to push them for results and most important, someone to hold them responsible. Business owners typically have...

Make a Difference in Your Local Community

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on April 14

In these tough economic times, I believe it's more important than ever for small businesses and entrepreneurs to support their local communities. Although many believe they're powerless to aid their...

Turn Failure into Opportunity

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 25

All companies are concerned with failure and are hesitant to fail, but often it's through failure that a company can grow and be stronger. History is filled with businesses that...

Be the First to Fail the Fastest

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 24

One thing that seems to be consistent in business—regardless of industry, size of the business, or market share—is that the first attempt at something may not always work as planned....

Learning from the Journey from Wall Street to Main Street

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 10

If there’s any work environment that teaches you how to remain cool and collected under pressure, it’s a trading desk on Wall Street. With millions of dollars at your fingertips,...

The Trade-Offs Involved in Executing a New Project

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 05

After tackling a program, project, or business development problem, try a different approach to evaluating your efforts. Revert to the manufacturing mantra: input, through-put, and output. Assume, for example, your...

Changing the Way You Do Business in 2010

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 04

While not every company has to work on recession-proofing its business, all businesses should look at ways to maximize what they do and how they do it. The time has...

Flexible Teams

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on March 03

No one individual has all the necessary talent, skills, resources, or time to do everything. Very often your staff will need to work in teams, if only temporarily, in order...

An Employee's Value: Real vs. Perceived

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 17

In my experience, employees will try any number of things to prove their value to an employer or supervisor. But I’ve found that there are typically two kinds of value:...

Collaborate to Innovate

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on February 10

Like "innovation," "collaboration" is an overused word. Yet collaboration and sustainable innovation are critical to a company’s business success. According to a 2008 report from IBM, approximately 75% of CEOs...

You're Not As Smart As You Think You Are

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 27

As entrepreneurs, our tendencies are to get immersed in our own companies and bury ourselves in work. But beware of the risks of isolation. No matter what you've learned before,...

The Importance of Employees and Advisers

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 22

Even the best business concepts will not flourish without the right team to support them. Make sure your team members have the right mix of experience and skills and are...

Articulate Your Business Goals Now

Posted by: Today's Tip Contributor on January 21

The legendary chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur once said, "Chance favors the prepared mind." When I think about my career over the past 20-plus years, I recognize many times when...

Working Less When You're the Face of the Company

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 07

Whether you're looking at cutting back on your time, retirement, or preparing for the sale of your company to your employees or somebody else, you essentially need to pull yourself...

The Time for Succession Planning Was Yesterday

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 01

Ever wonder why so many small businesses never survive the owner's death? Entrepreneurs often get so involved in day-to-day management of their baby that they never contemplate what would happen...

Cultivate a Culture of Innovation

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 26

Innovate. Innovation. Innovative. These words get thrown around a lot these days. As far as our organization's self-image is concerned, we'd all like to think of ourselves as innovative. After...

Burn the Company Suggestion Box

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 11

Does your small business still use a suggestion box for employee feedback? If so, it’s time to upgrade to a better system. Your business needs to continually progress and that...

Creating An Innovation-Intelligence Ecosystem

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 06

Most companies have an innovation community of master and everyday innovators. Normally, 10% to 20% of innovation workers are master innovators, who focus on driving disruptive innovation and strategic innovation...

You're Paying People Too Much to be Telling Them What to do

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 02

A client of mine, a CEO of a small company, told me that he was having trouble getting his people to adopt a new sales practice. After several weeks of...

Recognize and Admit Mistakes

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 01

Recognizing and admitting your mistakes strengthen your ability to lead. To err is human, and is therefore a necessary part of being an engaging, credible leader. Those who deny, gloss...

Clearly Define Success and Failure

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 29

Entrepreneurial leaders are often clearer than others about defining measures for success. Yet a definition of success alone falls short of illuminating the full spectrum of outcomes leaders must consider....

Why Business Ethics Matter

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 28

Ethics in business remains one of the hottest topics in corporate boardrooms and B-schools today. This is certainly not a new issue for owners and managers of organizations, or for...

Treat People Like People, Not Roles

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 22

How do you feel when someone treats you as a role, rather than as a person? Think, for example, of the salesperson or customer service representative who treats you like...

Being Trustworthy Does Not Build Trust

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 21

The idea that being trustworthy does not necessarily build trust may seem like a ridiculous concept to you. But haven't you had the experience of people questioning your motives or...

I Don't Have Time!

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 18

The No. 1 excuse I hear from managers about why they don't do the things they know they need to do to be more effective leaders is "I don't have...

Focusing on Purpose in an Uncertain Environment

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 17

During these tough economic times, it is important to avoid descending into panic mode. Rather, we must refocus on the fundamentals that make us, and our organizations, strong: our purpose...

Ideation Sessions on Campus

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 16

With the proliferation of innovation programs and courses at colleges and universities, business owners and managers can take advantage of the opportunity to work with college students on a problem...

Failing Forward

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 15

Though adaptation and change are inevitable for any business, they sometimes result in significant and costly mistakes. Though it is a natural reaction to try to bury the mistake and...

Getting into a Breakthrough Frame of Mind

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 14

During this time of economic recovery it can be an opportune period to rediscover and even reinvent your business. The following ideas can help create the conditions for breakthrough thinking:...

How to Accelerate Growth Now

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 10

The economic indicators are starting to look better, and there's hope in the air that perhaps we are truly at the bottom of the deep well we've been descending into...

Sometimes I Feel Like Giving Up!

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 28

Have you ever been so frustrated that you questioned yourself and wondered, "Why continue?" You're not alone. Many of the most successful people in life and business have endured setbacks...

Just Do It Today

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 17

What is your plan for today? It's important to realize that we live in 24-hour cycles. How we see today matters. If we see today as a gift, we will...

How a Leader's Beliefs Drive Results

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 11

It's been said that "thoughts are things." As a leader, it's critical to be aware and mindful of your thoughts, as they drive the results you get. For example, I...

Take Time to Develop Yourself

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 10

Working on your own ability to lead makes great business sense. Without developing yourself from time to time, those familiar tactics and strategies you used to succeed earlier in your...

Question Authority

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 07

People in positions to lead hinder themselves and others by having too many answers and not enough questions. In fact, truly bad decisions are made by those who fail to...

Why We Fail to Communicate

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 22

One of my most significant business lessons came early in my career, when I was put in charge of a large-scale employee attitude survey as a human resources manager at...

The Case for Lifelong Learning

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 14

What are lifelong learners? Lifelong learners are people who never stop learning. They may already have a degree or a rewarding job, but yet still they continue to enhance their...

Cultivate to Develop Employee Potential

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 13

I was a high school junior in a suburb of Memphis early in the 1972-73 school year when Mr. Zeke Andre came to me and said: "Mr. Fewell, I need...

Instead of Assigning Blame, Fix What Went Wrong

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 03

No one wants to be associated with a failure, and leaders are no exception. When something goes awry, it can be tempting to point the finger—especially if you feel certain...

Plan for the Unpredictable

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 30

I know the title sounds like a stretch—how can you plan for the unpredictable? If it's unpredictable, it can't be predicted, much less planned for! But how many times a...

Empathy Matters

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 29

Denial, anger, sadness, and fear are the quiet yet powerful human responses to upheaval inside and outside a business. Unfortunately these strong feelings radiate among your people at the very...

Show Appreciation

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 26

Pay attention to the performance of your employees and offer them the appropriate praise when they do something well. Giving your workers credit when it is due will create a...

If You Want to Sell Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 24

After spending years—sometimes decades—building a successful enterprise, you'll have to make countless decisions about choosing your replacement, such as the impact on your employees, your community, your customers, your financial...

Talk When You're Under Pressure

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 19

An essential coping skill for staying cool under pressure—more important than ever in a downturn—is communication. W. Edwards Deming is reported to have once said: "People will do anything rather...

Innovation on the Cheap

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 04

Reports indicate that companies are relying on incremental improvements to existing products to maintain market presence. Research shows that it takes 12 product failures for one successful product launch. This...

Tough Steps to Being the Best

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 02

Wanna win? Wanna be the best? Wanna become No. 1 at what you do? There is a way. It isn't easy, but it is simple. 1. Never graduate from grunt...

You Need to Engage, Not Agree

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 29

Constructive conflict creates an effective environment for innovation. Leaders who make agreement or consensus more important than candid, rigorous debate cause problems for themselves and others. Results suffer. Remember that...

Avoid Rash Decisions to Weather the Down Economy

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 28

As we see it, most businesses make fairly good decisions, but with a bit more effort they can make even better ones. And now is the time for better decisions....

How to Survive and Thrive Now

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 25

Many people ask me how we've managed to survive and grow in the worst recession our economy has seen in nearly a century. While I can't purport to have cracked...

Redefine Your Business for Change and Growth

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 13

One of the obstacles to change and growth can be traced to the ways a business defines itself. To break out of outdated models that may be keeping your company...

Innovation Doesn't Have To Be "Risky Business"

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 12

I recently talked with a retailer who was concerned about trying to innovate during the downturn. The owner was worried about losing everything if resources were diverted from the tried...

Turn Your Business Into an Idea Factory

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 11

Idea management systems are not just for large corporations. Every business needs an influx of potentially useful ideas to help it stay competitive. There are many methods for collecting and...

Starting the Transition to Open Innovation

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 29

The promise of "open innovation" is compelling: more competitive products in a quicker and more cost-effective manner. So if you're a small business owner looking to build a culture of...

Demonstrate Flexibility When Troubleshooting

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 03

Unplanned change is a reality of business. Behaving constructively and calmly in these situations of surprise and unexpected change is a leadership essential. Reacting to change can sometimes mean experimenting...

When Faced With Adversity, Be Persistent

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 02

When you hit an unexpected roadblock in your path, you may be tempted to lower your goals or expectations for that particular facet of your business. While lowering your aim...

Be a Pillar of Optimism

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 01

Every business experiences some bumps in the road from time to time. Adversity can bring colleagues together if it is handled in the right manner and is not allowed to...

Managing for the Upturn

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 30

How you respond to change in the current economic landscape will determine your company's prospects as the economy begins its recovery. What changes can you make to strengthen both yourself...

Make Business Problems a Priority

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 26

You may be tempted to put off finding a solution to a problem if you do not have to fix it right away. But procrastination is a fatal characteristic in...

Allow Learning Through Failure

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 17

Many business leaders say they coach employee performance as a part of their day-to-day routine. We know by observing sporting events that coaches do many things while the game is...

Avoid a "Recessionary Mindset"

Posted by: Nick Leiber on March 16

At first glance, you'd think our company would be a prime candidate to feel the recession's pinch. We're in technology. We're consultants. And we're based in Connecticut, a state with...

Four Ways to Delegate Decisions

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 12

As a small business owner, there are many ways that you can make a decision. Taking a page from the experience and expertise of others, the decision-making process can be...

Be Wary of Misguided Passion

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 11

Does a business need passion in order to thrive? There are many ingredients that go into creating a winning business, including a great idea, a great team, great passion, and...

Find and Solve Your Company's Real Problem

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 03

Most of us spend a good deal of our work time trying to find the sources of problems and fixing them. Sometimes problems are pointed out to us; in other...

Determine What Motivates You

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 02

The definition of "to work with meaning" is unique to each leader, and the leaders of small businesses are no exception. It's helpful to reflect on this from time to...

Achievement and Sustainability

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 27

How you succeed is every bit as important as what you achieve. In recent decades we have mortgaged the "how" to get quick wins—tremendous value was placed on consumption and...

Stepping Away from the Familiar

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 26

It's human nature to stay with what is familiar, even when we know that a big change is needed. The prospect of venturing into the unknown comes with fear and...

When High Standards Turn Toxic

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 25

When high standards are taken too far, they become counterproductive. Rooted in disappointment that things and people are not as they should be, some level of negativity, stress, and frustration...

Leadership in Uncertain Times

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 24

Leaders who view uncertain times as full of opportunities tend to position their organizations ahead of the pack. Entrepreneurs and small business leaders are particularly well suited to nimble change....

Combining Responsibility and Authority

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 23

Successful delegation requires granting both responsibility and authority. Too often, the two are split—one person or team controls the resources, while another is held accountable for getting the job done....

Breaking Bad News to Employees

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 20

Sooner or later, every small business owner is going to have bad news to share with employees. Here are a few suggestions to help ease the blow: • Break the...

Talk to Business Owners Outside Your Industry

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 16

Many small business owners and managers participate in Chambers of Commerce, trade associations, business networking groups, and conferences. They belong to these organizations and attend events to network with other...

Do Not Dump One Line of Business to Grow Another One

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 15

The death knell of growth comes when you decide that a line of business is too much work for you to keep. Do not dump any line of business unless...

Fit to Speak

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 29

When you pitch yourself, your company, or your product, you need to exhibit more energy than your audience, not less. If you walk into a room and your listener thinks...

Ask the Ethics Question

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 26

Strong ethical standards are a key ingredient of great leadership. Yet too often the question of whether or not we are doing the right thing goes unasked, particularly during the...

How to Handle Fear

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 25

We all worry, and today's business climate doesn't make worries any easier to avoid. Worrying is little more than trading your peace of mind for self-inflicted negativity about the future....

Participate and Observe at the Same Time

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 24

When participating in important conversations, try to use part of your attention observing. No matter how engaged you may be, send a small piece of your focus above the scene...

How to Get Unstuck

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 23

We all get stuck at times, and entrepreneurs are no exception. All too often our tendency to ask the same questions when facing the same circumstances keeps us from making...

Be a Role Model for Your Employees

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 22

Troubled times remind small business leaders of the need to take responsibility. Admitting your part in what went wrong—even when painful or embarrassing—not only moves the situation toward real solutions,...

The Art of Negotiation

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 17

For many business owners, nothing is more exhilarating than successfully negotiating a big contract or new partnership. A new contract can take a company to the next level or demonstrate...

Identifying Solid Business Opportunities

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 12

Distinguishing between ideas and opportunities is the fundamental challenge facing every businessperson. Those who can correctly sniff out the opportunities are the ones who will build successful businesses and create...

Developing Talent

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 11

"Cultivational" may be a new term for you. It means to be a person who prepares the mind, improves skills and performance, or develops the potential that resides within a...

Let Go of the Past—Now Is Normal

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 10

Is your business suffering due to high gas prices and the economic woes of 2008? Are you waiting for business to return to "normal"? If so, you must revolt: Stop...

Accomplishing Goals With the Help of a Business Advisor

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 28

Just as an athlete needs a coach, an entrepreneur needs an advisor. Whether you're a one-person company or running an enterprise, the right business advisor can help minimize costly mistakes...

Keeping on Track During Tough Times

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 27

In times of economic uncertainty, it can be tempting to become protective, and to expend your energy speculating about what this means for your business, or whether in fact you...

Evaluating an Idea or Opportunity

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 26

As experts in our business, most of us think we will know a good idea or opportunity when we see it. That might be true, but it leaves the business...

Keeping Your Creative Culture Alive

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 25

As your business grows, it becomes important to ensure that what started as a creative enterprise doesn't become stagnant and resistant to change. Here are some ways to keep your...

Keeping on Track During Tough Times

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 12

In times of economic uncertainty, it can be tempting to become protective, and to expend your energy speculating about what this means for your business, or whether in fact you...

Remember Small Touches

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 30

When was the last time you received a handwritten note? I bet you remember it. I do. After a brief conversation with the chief executive officer of a well-known franchiser,...

A Vision Is Not a Mission Statement

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 29

Consistently delivering a simple, memorable, and concise vision can make the difference between a successful business and a failing business. Not a mission statement, but a vision. I'm about to...

Prepare for Growth Spurts

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 27

Growth can be tricky and stressful for small business owners, and the best way to handle it is to prepare. Start by hiring ahead of the need. If you're growing...

Belonging and Diversity

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 20

The drive to belong and feel a part of something larger than ourselves is fundamental to being human. In a small business, a sense of belonging leads to cohesion, innovation,...

Digging In

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 17

Circumstances often confront small business owners with the unknown. Those who overvalue the appearance of knowing what they're doing tend to respond with bluster or defensiveness. Over time, such reactions...

Falling Down

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 16

Small business owners are usually overachievers and tend to be tough on themselves. While high standards are admirable, many take them too far—being fearful, intolerant, or ashamed of making a...

Great Supervisors

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 08

It has been said that employees join an organization but they leave a supervisor, and you may be nodding in agreement. Supervisors and managers have a tremendous impact on the...

The Best Employee for the Job

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 07

When the going gets tough, do you have the best people in your organization in place to manage the work and do the job that needs to be done? Here...

Building Good Working Relationships

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 06

Each of us strives to form good working relationships, to be a cooperative and constructive member of the group, to control anger and other counterproductive impulses, and to increase our...

Why You Need to Hear the Bad News First

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 03

Surprises in business are not a good thing. For a manager and supervisor, surprises are always best when they come with some warning. Of course, that almost never happens. The...

Take the Time to Evaluate Yourself and Your Employees

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 25

A leader's job is usually to guide others toward a vision of a greater tomorrow. Yet when things are going poorly in the here and now, a good leader moves...

Give Advice That Fits

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 24

Small business owners often take advice from well-informed, experienced people. After all, they can be quite compelling, as they seem to know better or to know more. When following such...

Try a Human Approach

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 23

Businesses of all sizes are faced with fierce marketplace pressures. Leaders try to get their people to do more, while available resources are scaled back in the name of productivity...

Define Your Core Purpose

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 22

As an entrepreneur, you are at your best when you are in sync with your "core purpose." Depending on your beliefs, this could be what you are best or most...

Fostering Autonomy

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 19

Small business owners who treat their employees as independent thinkers, regardless of level or role, are well-rewarded for their efforts. Many confuse leading with the more authoritarian aspects of parenting—they...

New Possibilities During Tough Times

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 18

During challenging times, it's particularly tough to imagine new possibilities and creative solutions. In fact, stressful conditions, economic issues, conflict, and uncertainty tend to make many people hunker and bunker....

To Innovate, Learn from Nature

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 10

Nature has had more than 3.8 billion years to perfect its survival strategy. Today, innovators and engineers are applying biomimicry practices to design products and solve engineering problems. For example,...

Make Your Work Environment Innovation-Friendly

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 09

What message does your work environment send to employees and customers about your philosophy and approach to innovation and change? Do you want clients to view your business as being...

How to Identify New Business Opportunities

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 08

To more effectively identify new business opportunities, you have to dig deep and ask lots of questions. Take a step back, and use these questions as a guide to help...

Analyzing Your Company's Strengths and Weaknesses

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 05

Comparing internal strengths and weaknesses and external opportunities and threats are invaluable, yet often overlooked steps in a CEO's decision-making process. • Strengths. Examine your company's strengths by looking at...

Creating a Culture of Innovation Within Your Team

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 02

What does innovation mean in your team? For teams involved in research and development or quality improvement, the answer may be obvious. But it isn't obvious for teams that do...

What Makes a Top Executive Different?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 01

What will it take to make it to the top of your company? A McGraw-Hill survey of some 4,000 managers, including CEOs, asked them to rank the attributes they considered...

Make Your Meetings Effective

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 28

We've all attended meetings that failed to start on time, ran way over, or simply felt like a waste of time because the agenda was not followed. When meetings get...

Create a Culture of Accountability

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 26

When developing an emerging-technology company—or any startup for that matter—the right leadership is critical. One of the biggest challenges is that early-stage companies are often dominated by a founder, a...

Balance Task and Relationship

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 22

Small business owners who are heavily task-focused don't tend to be very good at relationships. Yet those with too strong a bias relating [to others] have a tough time getting...

Be in Shape to Innovate

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 21

Innovation—whether in your own life or as a leader of others—requires purpose, curiosity, exploration, and receptiveness to discovery. Many entrepreneurs have rejected tremendous opportunities because they lacked (or shied away...

Lead with a Beginner's Mind

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 20

Each new day brings many chances to learn, and these opportunities are often hidden in plain sight. In this, children can be our teachers. Absent of preconception or judgment, the...

Meet the Demand for Speed

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 18

Realize that the swiftest competitor, not necessarily the smartest, is often the winner in today's marketplace. Speed is increasingly of the essence, no matter what business you are in. Consider...

Communicating Difficult Messages

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 30

It's inevitable that at some point business owners, managers, or supervisors have to communicate a difficult message. This can range from layoffs or an employee's termination to announcing your team...

Look Ahead—Stay in Charge

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 29

Most businesses have been in some way affected by the current downturn in the economy, and small businesses that provide discretionary products and services which are marketed directly to the...

Perception Management

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 25

Many entrepreneurs spend time trying to manage what others think of them. Unfortunately, it does little more than interfere with their ability to make decisions for the greatest good. While...

Silence

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 24

It is not unusual for a successful small business owner to lose track of the need to ask questions and listen to others. Being on stage often, holding court among...

Right Thinking

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 22

What you believe drives what you achieve. How you think about yourself, your core purpose, your people, your work, and your organization—leads to your feelings, actions, and, therefore, directly to...

Communicating in Times of Crisis

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 18

Effective communication is not only a key element of best business practices but should also be a critical component of your business continuity management plan. Begin by developing a common...

Driving Sustainable Innovation in Tough Times

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 09

While many companies are hunkering down during the current economic storm, smart companies understand that it is critical to drive the market, instead of being driven down by it. CEOs...

Planning for Greater Growth Rates

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 18

If you plan to sell your small business someday, you need to make growth and success a habit, starting now. Over half of the companies I look at each year...

Putting an Innovation Strategy in Place

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 10

In baseball, everyone wants to hit a home run. In the small business world, many owners have the same goal when it comes to their innovation strategy. Innovation is sometimes...

Build Creativity into Your Culture

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 09

Innovation, creativity, and divining what's next are challenges for businesses of every stripe, particularly small companies vying with industry leaders. Here are several ideas that have worked well over the...

Recognizing Mistakes Shows Strength

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 06

Recognizing and admitting your mistakes strengthens your ability to lead your employees. To err is human, and is therefore a mandatory part of being a credible leader. Those who deny,...

Assessing Your Own Performance as a Leader

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 05

Realistically assessing your own performance as a small business owner is an excellent practice. However, being overly critical of yourself is distracting, and over time can undermine your effectiveness and...

Listening with Heart

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 04

The heart is an amazing compass for what is important and true. When you listen to someone in a wholehearted way, you tap into a much broader spectrum of information....

Letting People Know You

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 03

It's critical for small business owners to understand the pitfalls of keeping too much emotional distance from their employees. When you are too aloof, people tend to fill in the...

Balancing Feelings with Facts

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 02

Small business owners need to make a deeply personal investment to guide others to phenomenal results. In fact, great leaders inspire others to do their best work when they operate...

Recognizing Employees and Colleagues

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 29

We all need to know that we are valued. One simple expression such as "Nice job" or "Way to go" can make our day. Recognizing employees and colleagues is not...

Weathering an Uncertain Financial Climate

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 26

It's time to evaluate the fiscal health of your small business and to shore up practices in case of a financial storm. Some areas for your attention might include: •...

You Can't Do It All

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 20

As entrepreneurs, we often think we should have a hand in everything. Unfortunately, we're not Superman (and even he needed help sometimes). When the growth picks up, don't try to...

Are You Growing Too Fast?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 19

In business, growth is always a good thing. But if you don't plan properly, you may find yourself struggling when growth happens fast. When you're growing quickly, be sure you...

Four Steps to a Solid Partner Relationship

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 16

Like any relationship, partner/agent relationships can be a roller coaster. What may start off as a love fest can easily deteriorate into hard feelings and anger when expectations are not...

Explaining What a Sale Means to Employees and Clients

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 28

Being acquired is a big deal. It can be scary for the entrepreneur, for employees, and for clients. A plan for navigating this critical transition should be part of any...

Protecting Your Company's Culture After It's Sold

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 25

Protecting your company's culture is a huge priority when selling the business—especially if you're the entrepreneur who built it. But it's naive to believe that an organization can undergo a...

Operate as a Small Business within a Larger Company

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 24

One of the biggest challenges facing any small business that has become part of a larger organization is making the numbers month in and month out. The level of discipline...

What Impedes Execution

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 18

As the leader of your small business, your beliefs determine many of the key actions taken and the results generated each day. Although we measure results, rarely do we measure...

Are Good Intentions Slowing You Down?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 17

Look closely at an unacceptable behavior pattern, and you will likely find a positive intention taken too far. For example, someone who is overly controlling may simply be taking the...

Detach Yourself from Outcomes

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 16

Leadership often means riding a curve ball—so it helps immensely to be flexible about the exact form your desired vision or goal will take. Indeed, small business owners who are...

Start Enjoying Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 10

When you choose to enjoy your work, you lead with greater power and you change lives for the better. Small business owners who make enjoyment a high priority are energized...

Define Annual Objectives with Your Team

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 31

Take charge of your team's performance by working with the group to establish annual performance objectives. By mapping out specific goals to achieve over the course of a year, you...

Be Adaptable and Create a Balance

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 28

Interpersonal skills are extremely important for managers dealing with a wide variety of personalities. All of your employees will be different—each will have his or her own way of thinking...

Keep Your Cool Under Pressure

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 27

Patience is a virtue that every leader should embrace. Panic is the enemy of efficient problem-solving and can be detrimental to the productivity of your workforce. As a small business...

Demonstrate Flexibility When Troubleshooting

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 26

Unplanned change is a business reality. Behaving constructively and calmly in these situations of surprise and unexpected change is a leadership essential, and can sometimes mean experimenting with something you...

Take the Time to Answer the Tough Questions

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 20

A small business owner recently asked me: "How will I know when it's time to open a new location to grow my business?" As a coach, I find it helpful...

Great Leadership Requires Curiosity

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 19

Insatiable curiosity is a key to great leadership. In contrast, the leader or business owner who presents himself as the perpetual expert shuts people up, and shuts them down. Curiosity...

Why Are You Rushing?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 12

Patient small business owners tend to delegate well and operate effectively. Patience—or lack thereof—is determined by one's core belief about time. An impatient person feels there's never enough time—a feeling...

The Right Way to Fix a Problem

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 11

A strategic partnership or professional relationship can, at times, become unbalanced or unproductive. It can be tempting to either put your self-interest first, or place the needs of the other...

Give Your Full Attention

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 07

Small business owners often walk into work situations with expectations, and rightly so. Yet in order to give a problem or person your full attention, it's critical to let go...

Managing Anger

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 05

Small business owners inspire their employees and others by being emotionally honest and authentic. So when your temper flares at someone, it's important to find a skillful response to your...

Avoid Overcomplicating a Crisis

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 04

When confronted with a crisis, small business owners must avoid responding in ways that further complicate the situation. It's natural to think big problems require big solutions, and so take...

What Are Leaders Responsible For?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 25

One of the biggest challenges every leader faces is personal responsibility. The organization holds you accountable for the results of your team, but as a leader you are also responsible...

Improve Your Listening Skills

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 24

Do you ever feel like other people are not on the same wavelength as you? Just being aware that every communication relays both information and feelings can make a world...

Change Your Work Environment, Invigorate Your Workplace

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 21

If you feel the pace at your small business is a bit sluggish, it might be time to do an "environmental audit." Put yourself in the shoes of someone—be it...

Leaders Use Open-Ended Questions

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 17

Becoming a good listener is not something that happens overnight. Many people in leadership roles are more accustomed to speaking than they are to letting others do the talking. Exceptional...

Reenergize Your Workplace

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 14

Employees seem stuck in a rut? Try taking them on an "idea excursion," such as going to a museum, doing improv, or having a scavenger hunt. I do this in...

Can It Be Work If We're Having This Much Fun?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 13

It used to be called "loafing," and now it's called "replenishing." It used to be called "goofing around," and now it's called "de-stressing." How can a business be productive if...

Create a Customer-Service Culture

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 26

There is a high correlation between customer service and customer loyalty. A study by the Society of Consumer Affairs Professionals in Business found 70% of online customers rated themselves "very...

Benefit from a Trusted Adviser

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 23

Highly effective small business owners trust advisers to help them explore new ideas and discover critical solutions. The candor, talent, expertise, and heart of those we choose as advisers helps...

Take Time to Celebrate

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 22

Successful small business owners take time out to celebrate. They know that celebrating makes their employees feel like winners. Employees who feel like winners tend to win more often. Despite...

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 19

The Role of Supervisors It is often said that "Employees join an organization but leave a supervisor." This is no surprise, as it is supervisors and managers who set the...

Dealing with Unpleasant Facts

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 16

Excellent leadership means having the courage to face facts on a regular basis and take appropriate action. As humans, we are all prone to simple avoidance—if not some level of...

Leading from the Heart

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 15

Leadership is about heart. Small business owners who believe that business is separate from heart are missing vital information that can lead them to achieve their goals: greater effectiveness, ethical...

Could You Work with Your Spouse?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 05

We can't make any promises about the ultimate success of your husband- and wife-run business—or your marriage. But we can tell you that so far our marriage and our business...

What Work-Life Balance Really Means

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 30

Though work-life balance is an important emergent issue in today's workplace, many people misunderstand what this concept really means. Balance is more than a juggling act; it is about being...

The Basic Rules for Brainstorming

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 26

Feeling stuck? One of the fastest and easiest ways to get unstuck is a simple brainstorm with your staff. Though it's a technique we're all familiar with, it's easy to...

Be Aware of How Your Behavior Affects Others

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 22

When leading a group of people, large or small, you must have a clear understanding of how your actions will be perceived by the people who report to you. Cultivating...

Use the Three-Part Process when Providing Feedback

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 18

A good leader knows how to communicate effectively with his or her employees about aspects of a job that were done well and those that were done poorly. If you...

Get Your Point Across Clearly and Concisely

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 16

Try this quick exercise. Pretend that a friend is an employee and that you need to give him an assignment specific to your business. The catch is you have only...

Reign in Your Emotions

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 15

Seldom do employees want to be strapped in to the roller coaster of emotions their boss may experience at work. Excessive anger, panic, and even jubilation on your part create...

A New Problem-Solving Technique

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 13

At times, a small-business owner will notice a recurring pattern of underwhelming results. This pattern could mean that you've got a hidden attachment to the status quo. Asking, "Why does...

Time for Leadership

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 11

Leadership is about the future, with a solid grasp of the present. The next time you are in an unproductive conversation about business results, a project, or an employee relationship...

How to Measure Success

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 06

How do you measure success? If the answer is not crystal-clear to you and your employees, then it's time to take a fresh look at your definition of success. A...

Know Your "Gremlin"

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 04

"Gremlin" is coaching-shorthand for inner-critic, self-doubt, negative, or undermining beliefs. Very few of us can say we don't have them. While the themes are similar—fear, self-doubt, perfectionism, fraud, self-criticism, and...

Why Honesty Works

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 03

Studies have shown that an environment that operates on honesty is far more effective than the alternative. Honest feedback is a great starting point. Soliciting and providing actionable advice at...

Managing Explosive Growth

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 27

The first five years of small business ownership can breed a unique set of challenges—especially for businesses that experience rapid growth. But growing pains in any small business can be...

Take Time to Listen

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 16

As a higher and higher premium is placed on our time, it is increasingly difficult to resist the temptation to multi-task when holding conversations with others. The pace of professional...

The Law of Referability

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 03

We have all been taught that the best new contact is one who has been referred by a friend or other business acquaintance. In my experience, it's amazing the kind...

Full Circle To Career Success

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 31

As we begin our professional careers, each of us has a skill set and a circle of influence that allows us to achieve initial success. Our circle of influence is...

Innovate Now or Break Out Your Running Shoes

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 19

Small businesses are often born from innovation and by that token are more creative and nimble than their large corporate counterparts. But due to limited time and resources, they often...

Giving Back

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 17

Giving back to the community or giving your product away for a good cause can be a blessing in disguise for your business. It may not mean immediate profit, but...

You Think You Need to Hire (But You Don't!)

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 12

In a startup, learning to recognize when you actually need to hire, vs. when you think you need to hire, is critical. As business picks up it can be tempting...

Developing a Failure Standard

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 20

A small business owner will typically work hard to develop a clear standard for achieving a successful outcome, which makes it possible to recognize success when it happens. Yet it's...

Conflict-Friendly Leadership

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 19

A business owner who supports constructive conflict creates an effective environment for sustainable innovation. A culture that is too friendly—one that goes overboard on building consensus and feeling good together—can...

Challenge Your Patterns

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 18

Familiar beliefs and behaviors that once produced great results can, if left unchecked, interfere with your own ability to lead. As circumstances change, even highly effective entrepreneurs can undermine themselves...

Resolving Problems at Work

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 13

When I'm working with a small business owner, I like to notice how he or she evaluates a situation, particularly a dysfunctional or non-productive one. When things aren't going well,...

Dealing with Tough Situations

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 11

When facing a truly difficult situation, important questions naturally arise. If we identify and reflect on them, they can provide a goldmine of information, shedding new light on what's holding...

How to Be More Efficient

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 06

What small-business owner wouldn't like to get his or her company running more smoothly? But increasing efficiency isn't always as easy as it might seem. Here are a few tips...

Have Fun

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 26

Business is supposed to be fun. Losing sight of that only tends to negatively impact your business and cause you to forget why you started your business in the first...

Cross-training to Keep Your Company on Top

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 23

As a business owner, you know about every part of your business. When your business was fairly small, you did all or some of everything. As you grew your business,...

Communicate the Good and the Bad

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on April 12

Many people only want to communicate "good things" to business partners, be they investors, bankers, lawyers, or even customers. As difficult as it may be sometimes, communicating both "the good"...

What, Me Worry?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 29

Most small businesses don't focus on protecting the security and privacy of their customers' personal and financial information because they believe they are too small to get caught for violating...

A Good Question to Ask

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 28

When facing a problem—whether a daily annoyance or an all-out crisis—a good question to ask yourself is: "What is needed here?" Without a fresh orientation, your ego can lead you...

Addressing Tough Topics at Work

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 26

When confronted with the need to address tough topics, small-business owners tend to choose from a small set of traditional approaches: plain talk, diplomacy, or avoidance. Some small-business owners exercise...

Building an Internal Business Development Team

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 12

As you know, an effective business development strategy is essential to growing a small business. Yet many businesses choose to outsource this critical function, especially in the early stages. Over...

Respect Third-Party Relationships

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 28

It's important when running a small business to understand outside opinion. It's easy in small business for everyone to drink the Kool-Aid, but more important is respecting third-party validation. It's...

Making Outsourcing Relationships Work

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 25

Companies without an outsourcing strategy are missing out on the cost and skill advantages of an increasingly flat world. But sending key projects and business processes offshore introduces new risk...

Controversy in the Workplace

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 05

Politics, religion, corporate scandals, international conflict—do you and your employees feel comfortable talking about controversial subjects in the workplace? While many of us try to avoid controversy and seek quick...

Moving a Discussion Forward

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 24

A preoccupation with the past or present is a constant danger for any small-business owner. It shuts down possibilities for creativity and effectiveness, and it traps employees into discussing things...

Mistakes in Delegation

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 22

Many mistakes in delegation can be tracked back to a small-business owner's own fears or desires. If, after delegating a task, you spend more time checking in and giving advice...

How to Delegate Effectively

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 18

Many small-business owners believe they can save time by telling their employees both what to do and how to do it. After all, in most cases they initially had to...

Solving Time Management Problems

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 01

Many sole proprietors say their primary challenge in maintaining and growing a small business is an inability to focus on generating new business. The tips below are just a few...

Learning to Listen

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 27

As small business owners, we often find ourselves more on "transmit" than "receive." That means we can miss important aspects of what's going on around us. Effective listening isn't easy:...

Preparing for Change

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 24

Change never comes easily, and small businesses are no exception. That's why it's important for you to prepare your company for change. Start by examining your corporate culture to discover...

Greening Your Business

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on October 16

You might think that it's impossible for a small business to think green, but that's simply not true. At Clif Bar we started five years ago by taking small steps...

The Spark of Leadership

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 11

A great leader has a spark that ignites others to do their best work. Over the years, I have found four qualities common among inspirational leaders: courage, honesty, an infectious...

Cut Through the Clutter

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 08

The daily avalanche of live and electronic information is a huge challenge for people who don't have effective tools for cutting it down to the essentials. Ignoring incoming information for...

A Trusted Adviser

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 07

Highly effective leaders trust advisors to help them explore new ideas and discover critical solutions. The candor, talent, expertise, and heart of those we choose will help illuminate our blind...

Refresh Your Perspective

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on September 05

The pace of life today demands that we constantly stay in motion. It doesn't encourage us to take time to gain perspective on the key puzzles and opportunities we have...

Family Business Advice from NASCAR

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 29

We recently interviewed Brian France, CEO of NASCAR, on our radio program Family Business Doctor. He shared some of the reasons he thinks his family business has stood the test...

What Is Your Corporate Culture?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 21

Even small organizations have a workplace culture. Is the office laid back? Is it a family-like atmosphere? Or perhaps it's got a survival-of-the-fittest feel. As the business owner, your personality...

Educating your Employees on Elections and Issues

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on August 10

As the 2006 election cycle heats up, small-business owners across the country are beginning to evaluate where candidates stand on the issues—such as health care, legal reform, regulatory reform, and...

Change Your Mind

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 10

The key to turning a losing situation into a winning one is to change your mind about it. We do our best work, with the least stress, when we enjoy...

Perfectionism and Procrastination

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 07

Many small business owners have a strong desire for excellence, which they typically meet or exceed. If taken too far, however, setting high standards can turn into a form of...

Unproductive Worry

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on July 06

Many committed small business owners are unaware of the longer-term worries they carry with them every day, while others believe them to be useful in maintaining motivation or focus. If...

"Uncivil" Service

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 26

In more and more of my professional conversations, I am hearing about workplace manners—or the lack thereof. Common complaints include interruptions, foul language, chronic lateness, missed deadlines, ill-tempered voice mails,...

Controversy in the Office

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 23

Politics, religion, corporate scandals, international conflict—do you feel comfortable talking about controversial subjects at work? While many of us try to avoid controversy and seek quick resolutions, meaningful conflict can...

Being an Entrepreneur and Being a Leader

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 22

Different skills and talents are needed to take your company from a startup to a thriving enterprise. There is a real difference between entrepreneurs who start companies and leaders who...

Making a Family Business Run Smoothly

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 20

Some family businesses are all sound and fury and have more in common with the plot of a soap opera than a Harvard B-school case study. But if you follow...

Know When You're Getting Stale

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 13

If you've been running your business for 10 years or more, it's probably time for fresh leadership. Consider bumping yourself up to chairman and getting a new CEO. Recognize that...

Co-worker Driving You Nuts? Be a Professional: Talk About It

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on June 09

Healthy work relationships between employees are one of the keys to success for a small business. In a small firm, there is little space, few people, and team members are...

Effective Supervision

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 23

Managers have such a tremendous impact on employee job satisfaction and productivity that it's often said employees join an organization but leave a supervisor. But despite the acknowledged importance of...

Running a Successful Meeting

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 15

Every meeting can be viewed as having two communication components: content and process. The content of a meeting refers to the "what" -- in other words, the subject matter that's...

Ask Questions, and Lots of Them

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on May 09

Innovations often come out of the examination of things most people take for granted. Question the assumptions you hold about your career and your business. Why have things always been...

Tips for Hands-On Leadership

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 31

No matter what style of leadership you prefer, as a small-business owner it's essential that you adopt a hands-on approach. Here's how: 1. Be there. Entrepreneurs warn that a successful...

What Leadership Style Fits Your Company?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 27

Different leadership styles are appropriate for different stages of a company. Too often, first generation family business leaders seek clones of themselves without considering what the company needs going forward....

Are You Mentor Material?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 07

Considering becoming a mentor? The mentor/mentee relationship is very much like that of a parent and child. The younger, less experienced child mentees will look to you, the older, more...

Keeping Your Business on the Creative Edge

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on March 02

Fostering creativity isn't as difficult as you think, but as so with anything, you still have to work at it if you really want to excel. Here are some suggestions...

Leadership Must Be Cultivated

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 27

"As the job market continues to tighten and good people have more options, it is imperative that companies spend time developing their most important asset -- strong leaders of the...

Keep the Spirit High

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 17

Small businesses rely more on personal impact than on a corporate brand. For a small business owner, it is essential to be optimistic and energetic. Your spirit will benefit the...

Dare to Be an Entrepreneur

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on February 09

One of the reasons I came to this country is that America is a land of opportunity and a country of freedom. One can easily think of so many examples:...

Your Four Mentoring Roles

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 27

As a business leader, you can play four active mentoring roles: formal mentor, informal mentor, mentee, and mentoring supporter. You probably know by now that you shouldn't be a formal...

Are Your Kids' Infected With "Affluenza"?

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 17

Many family business owners devoted long hours and tremendous energy to their companies to get them off the ground. They were frequently away on business trips, and they worked nights...

Small Businesses Run on Courage

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on January 12

Entrepreneurs must possess a set of core beliefs that cause them to conclude they're not engaged in risky businesses. First, they must adore the idea of being in control of...

Don't Forget about Goodwill Contributions

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 21

There are two aspects that contribute to the health and well-being of every company: the goods and services sold and goodwill. While it's obvious how the sale of goods and...

Give Up Control to Gain Success

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on December 02

Small business owners, by nature, want to maintain tight control over their enterprises. To some extent that's a good thing, but there is a downside to exerting too much control....

Keep Your Member of Congress Informed

Posted by: Rod Kurtz on November 24

Washington may seem far away, but you can have an impact. If gas prices are affecting your business, write to your member of Congress. Health care costs high? Your member...

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Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.

To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.

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