October 23rd, 2009
Northwest Airlines takes a detour on October 22, 2009. As a business speaker, I do a fair amount of traveling. Most flights are pretty routine. I get to the airport a little early. I walk around the terminal to get some blood flowing. I make a few phone calls, return a few emails and catch up on whatever the News Channel on the airport big screens is feeding us. I get to my seat, have a drink of water, read for a few minutes and then doze off to napland. Usually the next thing I hear is the announcement that we are about to land. So I get organized and get ready to arrive. We pull up to the gate. I wait my turn to get off the plane and say “thank you” to the flight crew on the way out.
I am betting that if I were on the Northwest flight that missed its stop by 150 miles that I would not have noticed. I probably would have slept through the whole episode; especially since it was an evening flight. If it was a daytime flight, I do like to look out of the windows to look for land marks I recognize form the air. I might have noticed us crossing the Mississippi much farther south and east than we should have been… and asked the flight attendant if we weren’t needing to turn to the airport pretty soon. I can imagine that there will be a few people getting in a lot of trouble over this.
The moral of the story is: “Take a long nap while things you cannot control work themselves out”.
October 12th, 2009
In these interesting times, it is a challenge to create budget projections. I am working on creating budgets for 2010. Based on the way 2009 has gone, it is any one’s guess what will happen in 2010. Yes, I see signs of recovery…or at least a bounce along the bottom in some areas. Yes consumers are continuing on with their lives. Businesses are also continuing with their trajectories.
But many of the rules have changed. Some are probably the same. If I were to put my business consultant hat on, I would give myself this advice: prepare to go left and right at the same time and run down the middle. Have a plan in place for how your business will react and re-form itself if things seem to improve or if an opportunity presents itself.
Have a plan in place for stripping your business to the core, in case you see the situation deteriorate, or in case you find you must head to the life boats and let the cruiser go down. Then on a day to day basis, keep doing the things you need to do to grow. Talk to clients. Look for incremental improvements in your performance. Develop your staff. Make sales calls. Work on your customer service initiatives. Then each week you can look at what you accomplished, take an assessment of the business climate and decide. Do you continue to go down the middle? Do you jump left? Do you jump right?
October 9th, 2009
It was not that long ago when people in rural parts of the United States had no night-time light, other than candles, kerosene lamps or wood fire. It was not that big a deal if you lived in the northern or eastern forests where there was a seemingly unending supply of fire wood. Actually there is something very comforting about the light cast from a wood fire at night. When electricity began to appear in rural areas, things changed dramatically. Economies were created around all the things one could now do, now that you could see enough to do things after the sun went down.
This is the situation developing in wide areas of the world where there is either no electricity, or very sporadic electricity. However there is a big difference. Most of these areas are over populated and under forested, meaning each day that people go without electricity, the de-forestation of the earth increases. EEEK.
You can’t build coal fired power plants to create this electricity. That would be a disaster. You can’t use diesel or gasoline. There is no huge slush fund to build nuclear plants everywhere. Oh DUH… the sun shines everywhere!
Who needs power plants, when you can have personal power in the form of a lamp that charges from the sun during the day and lights your tasks at night. D.Light Design markets such a lamp now, called the Comet.
This is a huge financial opportunity. If D.Light can sell enough of these, it can bring the price down a little more and sell even more of them. This creates jobs for the people who build the lamps and supply the materials to build the lamps. This creates light for business or pleasure for people who would not otherwise have access to light.
This is also earth friendly. We live on a pretty good planet and we do not have any replacement planets anywhere near-by, so we might as well take better care of it, don’t you think?
As a professional speaker, I think we should all be speaking about shifting our economy to an earth-friendly economy, where local small business can thrive.
Let the sun shine at night and let the economy boom.
October 6th, 2009
I had a good visit tonight with a client I enjoy. One of the things we talked about was customer service. I must hear a keynote speaker at every conference talk about customer service. We talk about it at PhoneSmart almost everyday.
What does it boil down to? I believe it boils down to interupting the customer’s expectations. Customers expect sales people and service agents to act a certain way. When the customer gets something unexpected and pleasant, they are jolted somewhat. This little jolt is what we all hope to see happening to our customers. It means we interrupted their expectation and delivered more and better than what they thought might be coming their way.
October 5th, 2009
I am a business speaker. By that I mean: I speak business. Yes, business is a dialect of sorts. There are words, phrases and sayings that have a special meaning to business people. It is not different than any other pursuit. It has its own set of expectations, connotations and entendre. If you are a business person and are already a business speaker, this is no news to you, all thought you may forget sometimes how specific the dialect can be and end up stressing people out at cook-outs and cocktail parties.
If you are not a business speaker, you should study our jargon. Read business magazines and business books. You may be uncomfortabloe at first, but you will soon begin to have an appreciation for the scope of our dialect. Don’t be afraid to try it. You may also learn a lot about the world you live in by understanding how business speakers talk about it.