Category Archives: Business Success

Goodwill

Goodwill is defined as:

  • friendly, helpful, or cooperative feelings or attitude
  • a foundational business term – representing the established reputation of a business regarded as a quantifiable asset, e.g., as represented by the excess of the price paid at a takeover for a company over its fair market value

Goodwill is also a company…

In a prior post I mentioned how we made frequent trips to Goodwill, in the process of downsizing for our recent move.

Conveniently, Goodwill lit-up a store several months ago, about 2 miles from our previous home, where a grocery store failed.

You see, Stop ‘n Shop built a brand new facility across the street from Market Basket, a long-time successful enterprise in our prior town.

Even after Stop ‘n Shop had been open for years you’d observe Market Basket’s parking lot being completely full and only a smattering of cars at Stop ‘n Shop. Stop ‘n Shop became the convenience store. That is, if you only needed a couple of items and didn’t want to fight the crowd at Market Basket, you’d go to Stop ‘n Shop.

It seems Stop ‘n Shop misjudged the market opportunity in that town. And, since this was a business model that could NOT be sustained, they closed up shop.

Fast forward: Goodwill industries purchased the facility and converted it to serve a prime market opportunity.

I am amazed at a number of observations that can now be made. For example, where another enterprise failed, Goodwill now:

  • Employs numerous people at this location, and is STILL looking to hire more!
  • Receives a constant flow of FREE inventory as people (like us) drive-up and drop-off their unneeded stuff.
  • Has a parking lot full of cars, as customers stream in and out, scoring great deals on “stuff.”
  • Tractor trailers constantly coming and going as they distribute their “free” inventory to/from other locations.

What a great business model! They convert donated stuff (their free inventory) to revenue, pay thousands of employees and allow others to acquire reasonably good stuff “on the cheap.”

Recently, I’ve read how some people feel that the company pays its executives too much and are otherwise casting a bad light on the firm.

To that, I’d ask, what are YOU doing for society that provides the benefits mentioned above (i.e., jobs and fairly priced goods to the communities it serves)?

Perhaps you have a great idea? If so, go for it! It is a COMPLETELY free country 🙂

More on this (pursuing a worthwhile business idea) in a future post.

All the best!

Where Do I Get A Job Like That?!?

It has been quite a while since my last post. This results from being over-the-top busy with the combination of selling our current home, acquiring a new home (both of which are still in process) and client engagements. More on that later…

Recently, while on a mountain bike ride during “normal” business hours, I received a call from a Project Management (PM) candidate who I was considering presenting to one of my clients. Since I was on a short break, to catch my breath after climbing a grueling hill, I was able to take the call.

The PM candidate asked if I had a moment to talk and I said: “Sure, I’m on a bike ride and have a few minutes to chat, as I’m taking a quick break.

He said: “Wow, where do I get a job like that?” I responded with a chuckle and we then held our conversation.

Thinking more about the call I felt compelled to write this post to reinforce that, it is NOT THAT HARD to have a job like that. A “job” that affords significant flexibility while still paying the bills.

How does one go about doing so? Feel free to scour this site for TONS of insight on how one becomes highly productive and self-employed. Pay special attention to the series of posts on Launching a Consulting Business. The purpose of this post is to add some icing on the cake based on the current example, in which I’m working to provide a client with a seasoned PM to meet their needs.

You see, under most circumstances consulting firms and headhunters will ONLY present candidates to their clients when they are sure to reap a financial reward from doing so. This can include, for example, a fee in the form of a percentage of the candidate’s annual salary or a minimum commitment period to source the candidate under contract.

To be clear, I too like reaping financial rewards 🙂

In this case, the highly qualified PM candidate, who I have worked with previously, was more interested in full-time employment than contract work. But, he was open to explore contract opportunities as well, if that best suited the client.

Realizing this, I presented the client with what I’d consider to be the ultimate in options. That is, they could consider engaging the candidate as:

  • Contract PM – through my company
  • Contract to permanent PM – through my company (a “try before you buy” scenario)
  • Permanent employee – with no strings (financial commitments) attached

While unconventional, I have found that this approach (which I’ve taken numerous times) has gone a LONG way towards building solid client relationships. So much so, that I receive inquiries “almost” every single week from people looking for Project Management help. This, with NO marketing activities taking place or related expenses being incurred 🙂

In summary, my top priority is to connect great people with great opportunities. If I am able to reap a financial benefit, fantastic. If not, I’ve at least delivered (unforgettable) value, by connecting a highly skilled person to a great opportunity and making it extremely easy for a client to fulfill their need.

I wonder who they’ll call the next time they need PM help?

In closing, I’m not bragging, or looking for a pat on the back. What I am doing is laying it out there. That is, if all we go for is the short term (quick buck) we will spin our wheels for the rest of our lives. If, however, our primary objective is to constantly deliver value to all involved we get to do some mountain biking during “normal” business hours 🙂

Now THAT is the job for me!

While the example shared relates to a consulting business, the principle applies regardless of vocation. If we constantly deliver more value than expected we will be, must be, rewarded! Alternatively, if all we do is what we are paid to do, then we are already being paid for all we are worth. We must do more to earn more!

All the best!

p.s. – It is good to be writing again…More to come…

Click here to review the next article in the series.

It Isn’t Selling. It’s Helping People!

There are so many misconceptions about selling. Justifiably so…

Most of us quickly conjure up an image of a used car salesman in plaid pants, pushing more vehicle than we can afford, as we wonder if he is pitching us a lemon.

We may also be reminded of the persistent telemarketer who gets us on the phone and will not take NO for an answer.

We have all been on the receiving end of these painful “selling” experiences. Many of us then come to the conclusion that we would NEVER “do” sales.

But, it just does not have to be this way.

You see, selling, when done right, is the highest paid profession (skill-set) on the planet. Selling simply connects a person’s need and/or want with a solution (product, service or idea).

Our 2 middle boys (Aaron and Ethan) are right in the thick of it 🙂

As previously mentioned, these guys are professionals in the personal training space. While their roles are based on effective “delivery” of personal training services, they are also commissioned to sell gym memberships and personal training contracts.

They were both working at the same gym in northern Mass – a GREAT market for these services. However, there simply wasn’t enough room for both of them at this particular gym 🙂

So, Ethan went to another gym, also in northern Mass.

They now both “pretty much” have free-reign at the respective gyms they operate from.

Ethan recently came home, excited as ever, to report that on the first day of the most recent 2-week sales period, he had achieved 92% of his sales quota. And, he has 13 days to bring in the remainder. All of which is only 50% of his personal goal. That is, he has set a goal to achieve TWICE what his actual sales quota is for the period 🙂

He mentioned that, upon first joining this new gym he thought it was too sales-focused. He has since realized that: It isn’t selling: It’s helping people!

You see, when people go to the gym, they do so to look and feel good – even great. Whether they are a visitor just trying out the facility for the first time (a candidate for membership) and/or are looking to take things to the next level (a potential personal training client) he has “services” that can help them achieve their goals. All he has to do is make conversation with them, learn their goals and present options and programs that are available to help them get there.

Did you hear that cha-ching? Another deal just closed 🙂

To augment his skill-set he completed a couple of marketing and advertising-related courses, over this summer. Hopefully, this will continue towards a 2nd degree in Marketing.

Then, there is Aaron.

In addition to his selling and personal training activities, he has had the opportunity to develop a number of marketing programs at his gym. This includes: designing a logo and t-shirts that are now sold at the gym (generates revenue and, more importantly, walking billboards). He also put together a 30-second commercial complete with video capturing highlights of a group training session, sweeps of the gym, with music and a professional voice-over. This commercial is now airing in local movie theaters, just prior to the feature presentation. And finally, he writes a blog promoting health and fitness. Bottom-line: The gym has seen new traffic from these and other marketing efforts he has spearheaded.

Separately, he placed his profile on a modeling agency’s website. This past weekend, he had his first “gig.” It involved pitching a new cologne for men, at a high-end retailer. By the end of the day this retailer had moved several hundred dollars worth of this brand new product!

In summary, they both are successfully building upon their foundational skills and education, to take things to the next level which is ONLY achievable via “selling.”

Why am I writing about this? Just to brag about my boys? Well, only partially 🙂

We all have foundational skills and capabilities – necessary to perform our assigned role. The question becomes: Are we limiting ourselves, in any way, by simply performing a narrowly focused job, when we could take things to the next level by truly embracing “sales”?

The result of taking things to the next level includes:

  • Feeling the inner satisfaction of helping someone achieve an important goal (personal, professional or otherwise).
  • Significantly increasing the amount of compensation (salary) we receive.

Embracing “sales” does not necessarily mean that we must become a salesperson (by title). It suggests that we develop and leverage the skill-set of selling: successfully connecting a person’s needs or wants with a solution (idea, product or service) that they adopt.

I recall many years ago, when I was VP of a large Customer Care organization…The SVP of Operations passed out the book: “Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In”, to all of his direct reports. Many thought the topic didn’t apply, as NONE of us were commissioned sales people.

However, we ALL were (like you are now) responsible for:

  • Working successfully with other people (peers, subordinates, superiors, customers and/or vendors).
  • Negotiating with others in such a way that we achieve go-forward agreement, with everyone feeling good about the outcome.
  • Over-coming objections, even misunderstandings in the process…

As such, all of the above really applies to EVERYONE. And these “sales” skills have a place in both our professional and personal life.

You see, we are “selling” when we are:

  • Trying to convince our children to do the right thing.
  • Recommending a new rock group, book, movie or great vacation spot to a friend.
  • Providing guidance to a peer or subordinate on how best to address a business challenge.
  • Suggesting to a client that they try a new service, or feature of an existing product, to better solve their “problem.”

However, we will NOT achieve the desired outcome of the other party accepting our “input” unless we have the finesse to “pitch” it to them in a desirable manner. Doing so is certainly not rocket science. Nor is this something that people are simply endowed with at birth. These are skills that we each can learn and hone throughout our lives.

Doing so enables us to realize that, quite literally, the sky is the limit!

Alternatively, we can live with an aversion to “sales” thus creating a glass ceiling for our career and related compensation.

In closing, impose no limits. And, change your attitude: It isn’t selling. It is helping people!

And, consider the recommended reading below, available at Amazon by clicking its image.

51dTCidubqL._SX307_BO1,204,203,200_

All the best!