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Are You Treating Your Long-term Employees Well?

A recent post You Probably Mistreat Your Best Clients, by Tim Berry on his Planning Startup Stories got me thinking about a corollary … Do businesses treat their new hires better than their existing long-term employees? Berry asks: Do your long-term loyal clients get the worst treatment? Do they pay the highest rates? Do you... Read more »


Three Envelopes Transition

I first heard about the Three Envelopes more than 30 years ago when I was working for a local educational institution. It was a very short presentation on briefing the person replacing you. Over the years I’ve run across the program in other places, in slightly different forms, including some Internet search results. I’m retiring... Read more »


Women in the Workplace—The Tipping Point

Women will become, in the next few months, the majority of the American workforce, passing the 50% threshold, according to The Economist’s Dec. 30, 2009 issue. Here are a few items from the article highlighting this accomplishment, and pointing out the challenges. High points: Women run many of the world’s great companies, e.g. PepsiCo in the... Read more »


Create a Marketing Kit for your Business

In a new article on, Fiona Friesen, president and founder of Glue, outlines why your business needs a Marketing Kit as part of your strategy to convert potential customers to loyal ideal clients. 1) It keeps your marketing efforts consistent 2) It tells customers why they need you 3) It keeps you on track... Read more »


We Don’t Give No Respect!

“I don’t get no respect!” That was Rodney Dangerfield’s catchphrase. I say this is terribly true today in the universe of electronic communications where, I point out, it is we that don’t give any respect. In our typing and our composition we are lazy, slovenly, careless, thoughtless, nonchalant — in short, downright disrespectful — and... Read more »


Troubadour takes bad customer service to task. Song #2.

This past July I talked about how Dave Carroll’s “United Breaks Guitars” YouTube post had brought new strength and power to consumer complaints against corporations’ customer dis-service. The original song/video has had over 5 million views, and is now available on iTunes. This is an astounding amount of bad publicity, damaging mainstream media press coverage,... Read more »


Social Networking Is Not Private

A couple weeks ago Tim Berry posted about how social media is actually publishing, and if you publish, you are not private, and how people you might not want to read your posts, such as employers, licensing boards, etc., may do just that. Here is another example of how what you put up on the... Read more »


Business Plan Competition for the Community

The Business Library of the Brooklyn Public Library just announced the winners of their fifth annual PowerUP! Business Plan Competition. Top prizes went to a Brooklyn fudge maker, a local evening-wear creator, and a neighborhood retail shop selling earth-friendly products. Other prizes were also awarded amongst the 75 plans submitted. Now, this is the kind... Read more »


Sales taxes heading toward Internet businesses

The tax man is coming to your Internet store. Sooner than you think. Today, 13 January 2009, New York State Supreme Court Justice Eileen Bransten dismissed a lawsuit brought by challenging New York State’s right to collect sales tax from out-of-state Internet retailers. With most states cash-strapped and facing decreased revenues from existing sources,... Read more »


Know your competition

Time and again we’ve read a plan where someone thinks they have a unique service or product and proclaims they have no competition. Wrong. So very wrong. Everyone has competition. It’s a fundamental. This week our Back to the Fundamentals article points out that Competitors are a fundamental reality of doing business. Read more »


Customers – a business fundamental

It is fundamentally important to understand . . . 1. You need customers. The first thing you need to start a business, maybe even the only thing you really need, is customers. It all starts with at least one customer. 2. Who is your target customer. In detail. Not just generalities and demographics, not even... Read more »


Silver bells, silver bells…job satisfaction

“Silver bells, silver bells, It’s Christmas time in the city…” Nice melody, pleasing orchestration, cheery lyrics. This song is one of the “olde favorites” we hear every year in December. Of course, it’s not really that old…er…uh…well it is as old as I am, which explains why I remember hearing it all my life. “Silver... Read more »


Putting a little english on English with homographs

Shawnie, a member of our excellent Palo Alto Software Customer Care Team, emailed me this list of homographs (words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings and different pronunciations). She thought I might enjoy them, and I certainly do. We polish the Polish furniture. He could lead if he would get the lead... Read more »


Using the Bplans Break-even Calculator

The latest contribution to our popular series, Back to the Fundamentals of business planning, is highlighting our Break-even Calculator, which is one of our FREE tools, available to help you write your business plan. One of the most fundamental questions in starting a new business is “When will I break-even and start to make... Read more »


Using the Starting Costs Calculator

Today we are continuing our popular series, Back to the Fundamentals of business planning, by highlighting our Starting Costs Estimator Calculator, which is one of our FREE tools, available to help you write your business plan. Getting a handle on what it will cost you to get your business started and running is about... Read more »


Cash flow is important when the economy turns down

Planning, monitoring, tracking, and managing your cash flow and cash balance is always important. In an economic downturn this becomes, perhaps, your most important business management activity. In this next addition to our Global Entrepreneurship Week series of “Back to the Fundamentals” business planning articles we look at The importance of cash flow during an... Read more »


Credit crunch is squeezing U.S. small businesses

On their Small Business page has published some interesting stories on small businesses in the U.S. who are feeling the credit crunch and how they are responding. One page has a series of vignettes of small business efforts to cope. Business owners discuss many problems and solutions from moving their business locations, late accounts... Read more »


Planning In Times of Uncertainty

Regardless of whether you are based in San Francisco, California or London, England, we all agree that recent months have been pretty unstable from an economic perspective. What should one do with all of the business uncertainty we now face? As these two articles by Alan Gleeson of Palo Alto Software Ltd, U.K. describe, it... Read more »


The Psychology of Email

The science behind email behavior is extensive, I’m sure, and not something that I purport to know much about, from a factual standpoint. Most of the email-based thoughts and assumptions I make throughout my day are driven by a fair bit of intuitiveness — with a dash and a half of instinct and a peppering... Read more »


Gittin’ you grammatchicals ko-rec

One of my favorite humor authors is the late Walt Kelly, creator of the comic strip Pogo (1948-1975). It’s a fine study of economics, politics, relationships, and the unlimited absurdities of human nature. I just bought a copy of a collection of Sunday strips called Pogo’s Double Sundae. In one piece the characters are discussing... Read more »