UHNW Blog

 
  • The Myths of Small Business Growth and How to Overcome Them! by P. John Brunstetter, Ph.D

    Every small business leader has been exposed to a variety of “theories” about how to make a business successful. Although many of these theories are prone to be invalid, some proponents continue to base key business decisions on them. The following are the most pervasive, but invalid, “myths” about small business growth and what enlightened small business executives have done to overcome them. Myth 1: Our customers’ only concern is getting their own needs met. Fact: Successful companies are passionate about openly sharing needs, wants and expectations with their external and internal (employee) customer. Research confirms that Customer and Employee Satisfaction are highly correlated. Rapid growth is the result of highly satisfying company, customer and employee partnerships i.e., joining forces and responding to the following questions: What will it take to satisfy mutual needs? What are our mutual problems/challenges? Who and what mutual resources are required? How do we become mutually “proactive” to adapt to changing market conditions? The Myth 1 Bottom Line: Our experience indicates that businesses are more effective when they treat customers and employees as partners. Myth 2: All companies should be solely profit driven. Fact: Recent research throughout all industries suggests that highly profitable companies are value driven, not solely profit driven. Studies of customer satisfaction confirm that customers seek the best value, not necessarily the lowest price. Cost containment that lowers customer service and satisfaction is shortsighted and inevitably a profit drain. The most successful companies live by a consistent set of values, ethics, and business practices. These are critical cornerstones in the foundation for business growth. The Myth 2 Bottom Line: Profitability is only one dimension of a business growth strategy. Applied corporate values are equally important. Core standards of behavior and business practices need to be defined, communicated and rewarded. For example, the most successful high growth companies make following a “Customers Bill of Rights” and “Employee Code of Customer Conduct” a key part of each employee’s performance evaluation. Myth 3: Charismatic leaders with creative new ideas drive the most successful companies. Fact: Our experience clearly supports that the most successful companies are driven effective operating systems and procedures as well as by leadership. Some entrepreneurs shy away from systems and procedures for fear of being too “bureaucratic.” Consistent and focused change planning, however, allows the business to grow and flourish without being dependent on charismatic behavior. The most effective companies integrate creativity and systematic controls. Self Test for Small Business Success 1. Would your key customers and employees consider you a business partner? __ Yes __ No 2. Do you use cost containment mainly to increase short-term profit? __ Yes __ No 3. Has your company defined and communicated to all employees its expected values, ethics, and business practices? __ Yes __ No 4. Does your business depend on charismatic leadership behaviors to insure work gets done? __ Yes __ No 5. Are your supervisors aware of and responsive to the unique needs and expectations of their subordinates? __ Yes __ No […]

     
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  • High Performing Business Culture and Values by Dr. Bill DeMarco

    While recently preparing for a client meeting, I came across the value proposition of a consulting company my client had worked with in the past. Their value proposition had a lot to do with “optimizing the performance of human capital”. My first instinct was to cringe a bit at the notion of treating people like capital, but, on reflection and in the spirit of full disclosure, I needed to plead guilty of using this concept in the past.  One of the ground rules of sound communications is to use language that the listener can relate to.  In the world of business, the noun “capital” is  truly capital as the Brits would say!   Its use has the ability to capture the attention of business leaders so we can get to the “good stuff”.  In this case, the good stuff is to identify what’s required to bring about a high  performing business culture.  At my client meeting, we discussed about how, in my international research over the past decades, “treating people with dignity and respect” consistently correlated with sustainable high performing business cultures in a variety of business sectors.  It is a subset of what I call “Ethical Role Modeling”.  I spoke about this in a business radio interview nearly twenty years ago.  In more recent research,  it still has resonance.   My reflections and  client conversation on the merits of  ”treating people with dignity and respect” led me to an new insight.  Isn’t “treating people with dignity and respect” similar to the Golden Rule of “doing to others as you would have them do to you”? Interestingly over twenty of the worlds great religions, which account for over seventy-five percent of the world’s population, espouse fundamentally the same “Golden Rule“.  I know how, in our secular society, mixing religious with business values is frowned upon. BUT , maybe there is cause for thought when businesses as well as Buddists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and other beliefs espouse fundamentally the same  core value of “high performance”.   Meaningful reflections!  -Dr. Bill DeMarco

     
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  • Key Questions Every Family Business Needs to Ask Itself on a Yearly Basis

    In his book, Every Family’s Business, one of my colleagues, Thomas Deans PhD., talks about the 12 Common Sense questions every family business needs to ask itself to truly protect its wealth. I highly recommend that everyone read this book. Furthermore, if you have a chance to see Tom Deans speak, I strongly suggest that you attend since you will leave the meeting with many wonderful insights. A Sample of The 12 Key Questions are as follow: 1) What does our business look like in 5 years? This question should be answered by both the Owner and the person taking over the business. 2) Are you interested in selling your stock? If yes, to whom? This should be answered by the Owner and the person taking over the business if they own stock. 3) Are you interested in buying stock and acquiring control? This should be answered by whomever is taking over the business. 4) Do you understand and agree that in the interest of maximizing shareholder value, this business can be sold to a third party at any time? This question should be answered by the Owner and whomever is taking over the business. 5) I agree that within the next 60 days I will put in place a special compensation formula for my child/key employee in the event that the business is sold in the next five years? This question is answered by the Owner. 6) As a fundamental principle I understand that from time to time we will receive unsolicited offers from third parties to acquire the business. These offers will be considered and accepted at the discretion of the controlling shareholder and supported by whomever was thinking of taking over the business. This question is answered by the Owner and whomever is taking over the business. 7) I will arrange for an updated valuation of the business and I will calculate whether there is an appropriate amount of insurance in place. I will furnish evidence that this has been done and that estate taxes will not impair the ability of this corporation to function after my death. This question is answered by the Owner. For the remaining questions, and for Tom’s incredible insights, please buy this great book.

     
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  • Leo Buscaglia – Speaking of Love

     
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  • Meaningful Reflections in a Sound Bite World by Dr. Bill DeMarco

    We live in a world where we have been conditioned by quick sound bites. On radio and tv, it’s in ten words or less!   No matter what the medium, we insist on top line highly condensed ”information”. Because of our hectic lives, our subconscious frequently cries out “spare me the details; I don’t have time for anything else!” We tend to view quiet time as either a luxury we can’t afford or an undesirable waste of valuable time.  Even worse, we may have become so intellectually lazy we do not want to be challenged! So what do we get from the quick sound bite approach to life?  For starters, we get more time for more quick sound bites!  More significantly, we take a whole lot of risk when we let others tell us what we should think… feel… do.  A meaningful example would be how we get information needed to make intelligent decisions about important or meaningful matters in our lives. In our work lives, many if not most have grown to prefer top line or bottom line results over details.  Since executives, managers, and supervisors set the example of what good looks like within the culture, it doesn’t take long for subordinates be hehave in kind.  “Spare me the details” becomes a lifestyle up and down the organization. This is easy to check out if you are so inclined. Another place to look would be contracts for computer applications or cell phone services.  They go on and on, written in language specifically designed to encourage the consumer to go to the “I accept” button quickly. We value short, crisp language, and these contracts are anything but.  And we are not discussing the legalese that very few consumers can properly evaluate, such as insurance policies, mortgage agreements, tax codes, or contracts of all sorts. Another example would be how we consume “news” in video or print formats.  I had a friend many years ago who was a foreign correspondent for a prestigious and particularly well-written international newspaper.  This was just prior to the days of CNN.  I remember how appalled David was with the popularity of the new USA Today because its format was a collection of brief bites with catchy titles.  Because it had almost no in-depth reporting, He called it a “ten minute read on a good day!” In an ideal world, “news” is really information distilled and interpreted from hundreds, thousands, and maybe even millions of bits of data. Our passion for “getting to the point” and “spare me the details” has all too often led to “information” passed off as “News” with little or no supporting data.  My friend David was prescient about what this would lead to.  I was not!  Far too many societies/individuals have drunk the coolaid of the unchallenged mind, and have grown to like it. Thomas Jefferson wrote that a “society that wishes to be free and yet uneducated expects what never was and never will be”.  He was obviously calling for […]

     
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  • Focus on what you value before you focus on the value of what you own

    Priorities of Life    

     
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  • Dr. Oz on Glutathione

    Dr Oz on Glutathione – Master Antioxidant!   Dr. Oz discusses glutathione with Dr. David Katz. Glutathione is the Master of Antioxidants! Glutathione is a vital tri-peptide consisting of Cysteine, Glycine, and Glutamine. These amino acids are naturally manufactured in every cell of your body with high concentrations in the heart, lung, liver, spleen, brain, muscle and skin tissue. Glutathione functions as both an antioxidant and an antitoxin for your body, attracting free radicals and toxins like a very powerful magnet. Glutathione boosts the immune system and helps reduce the damage of free radicals on your cells.  Although Glutathione is naturally prevalent in every cell of your body, starting in your early 20’s your body’s natural production of glutathione starts to decline by as much as 10% – 15% every decade. Additionally, stress, exercise, infection, injury and environmental toxins can also reduce your body’s glutathione levels. To increase your body’s natural defense against pre-mature aging and cellular damage you must increase your glutathione levels.

     
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  • Did you know? Shift Happens – 2010

    Shift Happens – Did you know? 2010   A really interesting view on life as we live it today. It has been around for a while, however business and people are still experiencing the pressures today — a reminder that we need to continually look at our environment and what impact it has on our decisions.

     
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