Category Archives: Personal Success

We Have Cut The Next Hardline!

It is FINALLY official. We have cut yet another hardline!

In prior posts (years ago now) I mentioned that we had cut our:

The next hardline I’ve been super anxious to cut is internet cable.

As of today, it is done!

We now connect all our devices (e.g., MacBooks, iPad, printer) over the wireless network offered by the “personal hotspot” on our iPhones.

Over the years I had been monitoring the cost of cellular data plans in the quest to do this. And, until recently the pricing has not been conducive to running a household off an iPhone’s personal hotspot.

Of late, we were paying about $100 / month for a “limited” data plan. During a recent transaction to upgrade Cindy’s iPhone we learned that Verizon Wireless now offers an UNLIMITED data plan for the same price as I was paying for the limited plan.

The switch to unlimited was easy!

Now, all I had to do was test. The testing involved:

  • Confirming we can stream Netflix movies over the personal hotspot, via a MacBook, connected to a TV and not have it stall out. Done!
  • Confirming Cindy can watch Netflix on her iPad, connected to her personal hotspot. Otherwise, there’d certainly be a murder (mine). Done!
  • Confirming we can hook-up our wireless printer and actually print to it. This was the one I was most worried about (unnecessarily). Done!

For years I have been using my personal hotspot to run my MacBook when I’m on the road or in some location that doesn’t offer WiFi, so I knew this would work fine. This includes sending/receiving email, surfing the web and running web conference calls with screen sharing.

The result: we are now ready to cut the next cord…

On calling the cable company to cancel they certainly did NOT want to let us go.

Cable Company: “Mr. Bailey, we can offer you the same plan for $64.99 / month, vs. the $74.99 you are paying now.

Mr. Bailey: “Thanks, but I don’t need to pay anything more for internet since we already have it on our cell phones.

Cable Company: “Well, we wouldn’t want you to ever be out of internet if a cell tower should go down. We can offer you a standard plan at $44.99 / month to make sure you are never without internet.

Mr. Bailey: “I’ve been using cell phones for decades and have NEVER experienced an outage. Thank you, but we are good to go.

It is done!

Now, let’s run this savings through the “cost / savings over time model.”

So, we “were” paying $75 / month for internet cable. Over 12 months that totals $900. And, over 10 years, that represents a cost / savings of $9,000!

Pack your bags Cindy. This will more than fund a few trips for two, to somewhere tropical 🙂

I love this!

The final cord to cut will be electricity. Once Verizon Wireless starts streaming that we’ll be good to go. To be clear, this is not all that far-fetched…

I remember during the early days of working for one of the first internet companies (back in the 90’s) the CEO said: “One day even lightbulbs will have an IP address” (a.k.a. be connected to the internet). That day has arrived!!!

All the best!

Launching a Business – Shamelessly Promote: Part 2

About 18 months ago I posted an article, in the series on Launching a Business, titled: Shamelessly Promote. If you’ve not read that article (or need a refresher) you are encouraged to do so now by clicking here.

This article builds on the above…

As you may know, great ideas come from many sources.

One thing I like to do is scan our local / weekly paper. And, I’m never disappointed in the fact that 1 or more ideas result from doing so. Ideas that I can use in my own business or share with my clients (business and/or SCORE).

This week was no different.

After reviewing this week’s paper I found 2 articles that are examples of simple ways to promote our businesses.

  1. A business spotlight which introduces a new business to the community by sharing a brief story on the owner and how they arrived where they are as well as the products / services they offer.
  2. An informational article authored by a business owner sharing approaches to solving a problem or achieving a goal. This week’s example was from a Real Estate agent: How to maximize your selling potential during the winter.

Local newspapers are a highly recommended and worthwhile channel to get the word out about our business. Not only that, they provide the opportunity to exercise our “promotional” muscles which, as a business owner, we must be doing every single day!

The reality is that most local newspapers are anxious to publish “good news.” In fact, you may learn that you have an opportunity to publish a series of informational articles over the course of several weeks or months. Consider it an extension of your blog, only in print. That is, you only have to write the article once and you can make it available to the local newspaper as well as online on your website.

To explore this option, simply look for the editorial contacts that will be clearly provided on your local newspaper and send them an email, or call, to discuss potentials for doing any / all of the above.

Yes, I know…It can be uncomfortable to self-promote. In the words of my wife, Cindy: Get over it!

The fact is, if you are in business for yourself, you MUST get the word out and remain top- of-mind to your marketplace. This, assuming you truly believe in and have a passion for what you do. The alternative, if you don’t self-promote, is that you will likely not be able to serve (a.k.a., help) as many people as you’d really like to with the products / services you offer. And, you will have dramatically reduced the revenue you could have otherwise generated.

In closing, you are encouraged to shamelessly promote! And, constantly look for new ideas and approaches to doing so.

All the best!

Click here to go to the index of articles on Launching a Business.

On Corporate Acquisitions – What About Me?

Coincidentally, 2 people in my inner circle recently asked for insight and advice related to corporate acquisitions. This includes:

  • My oldest son, who works for a high-tech company that just announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by a larger firm.
  • A Chief Information Officer (CIO) friend who joined an organization heavily involved in acquisitions.

Since I’ve worked for firms that have been acquired, and have acquired others, as well as having led numerous post acquisition integration projects on a consulting basis, I have a “bit” of a clue.

In fact, over the years, my company (Customer Centricity) published a number of articles on the topic, which I’ve included at the bottom of this post, for those interested in learning more from a corporate / management perspective.

For those who work for a company being acquired, but don’t play a (huge) role in managing it, this post is for you.

More specifically, I hope to answer the following question / concern:

What is likely to happen “to me” as a result of the acquisition? And, how can I ensure that I come out OK?

The quick answer: That depends.

It depends on a number of things, including, but not necessarily limited to:

  • The nature of the acquisition
  • Your department
  • You

While you may have no control over the first 2 items, you most certainly control the third (you).

More specifically, you control your attitude (keep it GREAT) and performance (keep it HIGH).

If you haven’t noticed already, there are (or soon will be) people absolutely freaking out at the possible outcomes of the acquisition as shared via the water-cooler scuttlebutt.

My advice:

  • Be NOT one of these people
  • Pay no attention to the rumor mill and certainly don’t contribute to it

Bottom-line: There is ONLY one constant in life (personal or professional) and that is change. Realize that change is good! And, things ALWAYS work out for the best!

Prior to discussing possible outcomes, at the individual level, let’s talk about the why. Why do acquisitions take place?

The objective of an acquisition is to create a whole (company) that is greater than the sum of its parts.

This could include the acquiring firm achieving one or more of the following, as a result of the transaction (a.k.a., the nature of the acquisition):

  • Increasing revenue / decreasing costs, since both companies are typically in the same or similar business, performing similar activities, often calling on the very same customer.
  • Bringing together complementary products/services to augment their existing offerings in the marketplace (i.e., providing one-stop shopping for the customer for similar / related needs, integrated solutions, etc.).
  • The larger fish (I mean firm) eating the smaller fish (I mean its competition), thus gaining its customer-base and potentially killing off the acquired firm’s offerings altogether.

Know that, at the time the pending acquisition announcement is made to employees, many weeks (or months) have gone into the up-front negotiations and (hopefully) planning for the transaction. And, these announcements typically go out several weeks prior to the deal actually closing. During this time there will be many closed-door conversations as management from both firms discuss what things will look like (post acquisition) and how they will get there (strategy and execution).

At a top-level, I’ve seen these go a few ways (listed below in the order of frequency). The acquiring firm may:

  1. Aggressively strive to fully integrate the acquired firm to, as quickly as possible, present a seamless (one-company / brand) face to the marketplace. And, achieve the revenue gains/cost efficiencies that the acquisition was based upon.
  2. Pull the acquired firm under its umbrella, while leaving the majority of things (people, organizations, brand) in tact, and methodically integrate where it makes sense, over time.
  3. Continue to let the acquired firm operate “pretty much” independently (for a while…)

Now, back to what this could mean to me.

In ALL cases, there will be some form of redundancy. That is, specific roles being performed in both firms which, when combined, can be performed with fewer people.

Put it this way (and to be perfectly blunt)…“If” you are VERY good at what you do, have a great attitude, work exceedingly well with others and are a key contributor to the products/services offered, then the acquiring firm is “very likely” to keep you around.

And, if you fit the above profile, it is quite possible that you will be given a “stay bonus”, as the firm wants to make sure you hang around through, and for some period of time after, the actual integration.

A great place to be 🙂

That said, the math (cost efficiencies to be gained) may simply not work out with the redundant roles remaining in the firm. In this case you will be let go (typically with a parachute commensurate with your years of service to the firm and potentially an appointment with an outplacement counseling agency).

I should also say that I’ve seen the above scenario go the opposite way. That is, the redundant role is filled by the person in the acquired firm because s/he is a higher performer than the one holding the role in the acquiring firm.

Also, a great place to be 🙂

And, “if” you are VERY good at what you do, you will easily be able to land another (often more rewarding) opportunity at another firm.

Have no fear! You have looked for a job before. And, if you need a refresher on doing so, click here.

That said, I should reinforce the fact that, “many” employees will be in “non-redundant” positions and may very well feel little to no impact during the integration.

While you are (I won’t say “waiting”, but) working as details of the upcoming integration unfold, a few good steps you can take include:

  1. Continue to work your tail off (exceed expectations) at your job!
  2. Manage your LinkedIn presence – Establish connections with EVERYONE you work with (in and outside the company), have a good relationship with and, most importantly, respect.
  3. Take inventory of your contributions as they are good resume builders.

Note: Do NOT do the last 2 items at the expense of impacting your performance “on the job.” Remember, now is NOT the time to be observed as someone who is easily distracted.

Your goal is to have others observe you as a rock-solid performer who is not swayed by the winds of change. On the contrary, you are happy to usher it in!

Why? Because, you KNOW you will survive no matter the outcome!

Again, I’ve been through a few (dozen?) of these, and in many of the seats involved. By being intelligent and aware of the nature of integrations, and remaining a high performer on the job, you will sail smoothly through whatever transition this business “event” takes you.

In closing, if you need more inspiration or strategies to continue to improve your performance or attitude, feel free to scour this blog site. There is plenty of content to serve you!

All the best!

p.s. – As promised, following is a list of articles my company published on acquisitions that you may find helpful.

  1. It’s All About The Customer Base
  2. Growth by Acquisition
  3. Goals and Necessities
  4. Setting the Stage for a Successful Acquisition
  5. Building the Integration Team
  6. Establish Key Assumptions and Planning Parameters
  7. Achieving Success with Post-Merger Integrations
  8. Post-Merger Integrations – The Arrogant Cowboy and the Indecisive Tortoise
  9. Post-Merger Integrations – The Importance of Thorough Planning
  10. Achieving Decisive Execution