Archive for August 2013

How to handle negative publicity?

“There is no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary”
- Brendan Behan -

It happened a few days ago. It was my first time. I was in the middle of a meeting with Charlie when Jenny came running into my office. She held up our local community newspaper. She could barely breathe. She just kept on saying “I cannot believe that, I cannot believe that, have you seen what they wrote about you?”.

Charlie took the paper out of Jenny’s trembling hands and laid it out in front of both of us. There it was on page 5, under “around our town” section. It had a picture of my little store with a title which stated something like “Do we really need another copycat chocolate store in our town?”. The article itself was not much better.

My first reaction was anger, how dare she wrote that. She did not even know who I am. Then the feeling changed to despair, “No one will ever come to the store”, I continued to deny, “maybe no one will read it” and turned back to anger. Read more

How to guarantee business failure?

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure…than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows nor victory nor defeat”
- Theodore Roosevelt -

Over the past seven months, we traveled together a long distance, we learned about how one should conduct their business (and even their lives). It is an exciting journey and the best is yet to come. Success is great, but I think we can learn a lot from our failures.

Last night, I heard a speech given by Charles Munger. At one point he said “Tell me where I’m going to die, that is, so I don’t go there”. I liked it. It made me think about my business. It made me think about failure and success.

“Tell me how a business fails, that is, so I don’t go there”.

Let me tell you the key lessons I have learned to guarantee your business failure. These key lessons will tell you what not to do. Read more

To be safe or sorry, that is the question

“He that’s secure is not safe”
- Benjamin Franklin -

I am on the last two days of my European trip. It was a good trip. I established many new connections. I met interesting people. I signed up several important strategic contracts and I had a good time with my brilliant and insightful son.

I always have time to think during these trips. I usually pick up some local books, magazines and comic books to learn about a new culture, people and their way of living. I was strolling at one of the few remaining bookstores on Regent street and all of a sudden I saw Seth Godin’s new book The Icarus Deception, I read the first few pages and when I got back to the hotel I got my fancy kindle version of the book.

As I was reading the book, somewhere in the first 50 pages, Mr. Godin poses a question. Is it better to be safe than sorry or is it better to be sorry than safe? Read more

The one question to ask when hiring

“Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you. You think about it; it’s true. If you hire somebody without [integrity], you really want them to be dumb and lazy.”
- Warren E. Buffett -

Jenny and I are eating our favorite chocolate cake. We are celebrating her amazing business growth. Today we mark another indication for her success. Today, Jenny is looking to hire her first employee. If operated correctly, it’s a great time in a small business owner’s life, the time in which you realize you need help in order to continue your business growth. It’s the time to hire your first employee for your company.

Jenny came with a pile of resumes, they all look the same, they are all filled with credentials, and extra activities. All the people behind the resumes appear to be intelligent, and possess high energy and enthusiasm.

Jenny asks me “which one should I pick, how do I know I am hiring the right person? How can I tell if a person fits my business not just by her skills and by her values? How do I know if they share the same vision?”. She continues and says “maybe I’ll just ask them what are their skills, values and vision?”. Read more