Saturday, April 30, 2011

Latest Review by Carl Brookins

This review is from: Taking the Mystery Out of Business (Paperback)
The author debuted her first mystery fiction novel, "Second Time Around," in 2010. Now she's drawn on her years in business and training, as well as her understanding of the language and structure of genre fiction to put together a brief but complete handbook for almost anyone at any level of business activity.

Whether one is a COO, a CEO of a multi-layered organization, or a single entrepreneur, this slender volume has sage advice and clear understanding of both the limitations and the values of this kind of self-help effort. Written in a breezy direct style, the work offers frank direct ideas that, if taken in the heartfelt manner in which they are presented, can lead to successful business undertaking. Moreover, if it should be widely adopted, one might discover a plethora of business success driving our current recessionary circumstances into oblivion.

At first blush I didn't see how this slender book would be of much use to authors in the Crime Fiction community. But developments in publishing and rereading now lead me to suggest there are several fundamental aspects business here addressed which would be of considerable benefit to independent publishers and authors.
You can find Carl Brookins' other Amazon reviews here:

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rotten Apples

My word for the day is ROTTEN.

Why? Because that's the first "R" word I thought of. Not because I'm negative, mind you, but because it brings to mind something I said to someone today when we were talking about salesmanship.

I've been in sales practically my entire life. And one of the things a lot of salespeople think is absolutely necessary in sales is to quote "apples for apples" when trying to win a customer from a competitor.

Personally, I hate the theory and think it's a bunch of crap. Someone (I think it's Jeffrey Gitomer) has this to say about the apples-to-apples mentality: "What if the other guy's apple is ROTTEN?"

HELLO! If someone is unhappy with his service provider, and he's shopping, something is clearly wrong with the relationship. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean the service provider must be the person with the "issue;" we've all had customers we'd like to give away... But it's a red flag.

I believe in giving my customers what they're looking for and it's seldom the exact same thing someone else has given them. Apples are okay; rotten apples are not.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How do you like your training?

Workplace training is essential. Yet how can you conduct (or receive) training in a productive, efficient manner?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that people learn and communicate differently:
  • Visually,
  • Auditorally, or
  • Kinesthetically (hands-on).
How do you think it's going to go when a trainer communicates and learns visually and is responsible for training a newbie who communicates and learns auditorally? For example, the trainer will hand the newbie a procedures manual, a video tape (or video to be viewed online), and instructions to get back to her after the newbie completes his reading and viewing. Unfortunately, the newbie would rather get his hands on whatever projects he'll be tackling and jump right in, learning along the way.

I'm, primarily, an auditory communicator and learner. My second choice is to do things kinesthetically. I do not like PowerPoint presentations, brochures, charts, or graphs. I'm simply not visual. If you toss a bunch of pictures at me, I'm not going to enjoy my training--or learn as quickly or as completely--as I would if material is presented to me during conversation or a hands-on exercise.

If you're a trainer, don't make the mistake of believing your trainees will learn if they listen to you, or do things the way you do them. The primary responsibility for a learning experience lies in the hands of the trainer--the person with the superior level of knowledge in the area in question. In order to be effective as a trainer, you need to communicate in a style your trainee receives ... and understands.

What are some of your biggest challenges when it comes to training ... either as a trainer OR as a trainee?

Monday, April 4, 2011

How Friendships Affect Businesses

I've always been a believer that my personal and business lives should remain separate. On the other hand, I'll do business with friends and relatives and I'll be friendly with clients. But there are certain relationships and behaviors I've always avoided when mixing business with pleasure.

Why? Because once you allow your personal feelings to enter a business relationship, it colors how you think, feel, and act. And if, for someone reason, mixing your business and personal lives doesn't affect how you think, feel, and act--it darn sure will for someone else.

Everyone knows how office politics and relationships are affected when a failed romantic relationship between two co-workers ends. But what about the more subtle nuances of other relationships?

Over the years, I've trusted many people. I've also learned that some of those people weren't trustworthy. The major reason I've been surprised by my misjudgment of people in business is because my personal bias (i.e., emotions and feelings) blinded me to actual facts.

Seriously now, think back to any occasions where someone--in your business life--cheated you or did you wrong. Did you see it coming? Was it because you had a preconceived opinion about the person, i.e., he was a good friend, she was a long-time client you thought you knew, he was a relative, she was smart/held a prestigious position/was referred by a friend?

The Huffington Post published an article on the subject recently and offers some detail and resources that support my belief that it's usually better, professionally, to keep your business and personal lives separate.

You're thinking: But didn't she just say she'll do business with friends and relatives and be friendly with clients? And yes, that's what I said. When I do business with friends and relatives, I always have a business associate around to monitor conversations and transactions. And when I'm friendly with clients I'm warmer with them than I am with other clients, and I may see them socially (as in sharing a meal at a restaurant) but seldom personally (as in attending the wedding of a client's daughter or attending the clients 4th of July BBQ at his house).

Relationships, after all, are the foundation of our professional success. But allowing ourselves to make business decisions based on personal feelings is a no-no. What do YOU think about mixing business and pleasure?