• Have I got some ideas for you?

    Feb. 1, 2007
    Each year, I generally write a roundup of various issues and items for my February column because it's the first one that appears. (We don't publish in

    Each year, I generally write a roundup of various issues and items for my February column because it's the first one that appears. (We don't publish in January.)

    This year, I was mulling over the idea of using pithy business suggestions that might make a difference in your operation. So I contacted a wide range of experts and asked them to send along those pithy suggestions. After culling through dozens, here are the ones that are worthy of heeding. And just because you've seen or heard them before doesn't mean you should downplay their value. In fact, these tips provide a very good checklist for how you run or rate your business.

    • Instead of telling your employees, “You have to finish this important project,” tell them where, when and on what to start. Tell yourself, in fact, “Start at 1 p.m. on the Jones project and give me a rough, rough draft by 4 p.m.” This will stop procrastination caused by vague goals and perfectionism.

    • Tell employees you like your e-mails in bulleted, brief statements and not multiple paragraphs. Let them know you will not read long e-mails. If you get a hundred e-mails a day, you'll save at least an hour a day.

    • Ask about the goals and dreams of your managers and show how they can align their aspirations with the company's goals. You'll build a more effective, cooperative team.
      Source: Neil Fiore (www.neilfiore.com)

    • Reward the “doers” and fire the “resistors.” Every company has doers and resistors. The latter are poison. They kill progress, deflate motivation, drive a wedge between the forces for growth and their ability to make magic in the marketplace. Doers create ideas, encourage teamwork and drive business growth.

    • Be loyal to your good customers and say goodbye to the bad. Stop whining about the customers who make your life miserable; now is the time to let them go too. In most cases, the head case clients are the ones who gripe the most and pay the least. Let those people go!
      Source: Mark Stevens (www.YourMarketingSucks.com)

    • Institute a 360-degree appraisal system so that all key managers get a realistic idea of how they're doing.
      Source: Wally Bock (www.performancetalk.com)

    • The networking trick that will increase your business in 2007: Be a “Gatekeeper.” Once a year, compose a letter to your client database that lists qualified businesspeople in your personal network to whom you can refer your clients if they are ever in need of a particular product or service. By offering to make connections with other businesspeople in your community, you increase your visibility and establish credibility in helping clients obtain what they want before asking them to buy your product or services.
      Source: Ivan Misner, Ph.D. (www.carrotbooks.com)

    • Collaborate with manufacturers more for support on your marketing and training programs to relieve your costs and provide more support for your employees. This will help you be more unique in the development of your programs and stronger in their execution.
      Source: Linda Hanson (www.llhenterprises.com)

    • Get yourself small-business media-trained! Learn how to pitch monthly heating/air conditioning stories to your local news, targeting consumers. These stories profoundly generate your business like nothing else!
      Source: Shawne Duperon (www.shwnetv.com)

    • 2007 is your year to leap into the blogosphere. A corporate blog will: 1) turn your static website into a search engine magnet; 2) enable you to listen to — and learn from — your customers; 3) attract media attention. There's still time to be a first-mover in the corporate blogosphere!
      Source: Debbie Weil (www.TheCorporateBloggingBook.com)

    • Get a credit card backup on all accounts. Tell customers that they have 10 days to pay the bill by check OR you will charge their credit card. You'll know if there's a problem right away if you've got money issues with a client. Why wait until they owe you several months' worth of work to find out?
      Source: Scott Lorenz (www.westwindcos.com)

    • What one thing, if you and your people really focused on it, would make such a positive impact on your business that you would be negligent not to do it? Concentrate on this one thing in the coming year and get it done.
      Source: Wally Adamchik (www.beafirestarter.com)