Gazing into the crystal ball to prepare your business for the future

Businesses must always look to trends and trouble spots on the horizon. Here are some things to watch for in 2019 and beyond

Gazing into the crystal ball to prepare your business for the futureThis is the time of year when many business owners turn their thoughts to the future. We wonder if our sales will hold in the coming year and whether our expenses are going to rise. We try to predict whether we have the right team, right strategies and the ability to face the future. Larger…

When customer service isn’t enough

Lack of clarity, training, measurement, accountability and rewards all impact sales

When customer service isn’t enoughI’m sure that you’ve suffered through an experience of poor customer service. You don’t have to look far these days to realize that many businesses put low value on treating customers well. Recently, however, I was working with a company on improving their customer service. It quickly became apparent that their customer service was great…

What businesses can learn from an election loss

Running a campaign is similar to running a business. We’re in business to win. Here's how I lost and what you can learn from that

What businesses can learn from an election lossI write this article eating my humble pie and managing my political hangover. I just lost a local city council election, coming ninth in a bid for one of the eight council seats. I was told by several politicians going into the municipal race that I might lose the first time. However, I thought differently because…

Is your business slowly dying?

When faced with pressure on their business model, most leaders simply focus on reducing expenses. That's not nearly enough

Is your business slowly dying?My dog died last week – but the truth was that she had been dying for several months. Last winter, she had a couple seizures in my driveway and I considered having her put down. But after a couple weeks she revived and had a great spring and summer. In the last month, she definitely…

Why the shotgun marketing approach is failing your business

How to come up with strategies that entice your ideal customer to reach out to your business

Why the shotgun marketing approach is failing your business“Our ideal customer is anybody who’s breathing,” was the response to my question of who this businessman’s ideal customer was. “Really?” I said. “Are you serious?” Unfortunately, his reply was “Yes.” That affirmative answer was probably the reason this business owner was turning to me for help with his company. Many businesses are only marginally…

What every business can learn from Alberta’s failures

Add value, diversify, take control of your destiny, do long-term planning and be fiscally responsible

What every business can learn from Alberta’s failuresIt should come as no surprise to anyone that the failure of the Alberta government over the past 40 years to protect the interest of its citizens has resulted in a province that’s up to its neck in debt. The woes of the province cost the Progressive Conservative Party its reputation, future generations their Heritage…

How running a business is like getting married

Big weddings don't happen without planning and attention to detail. Successful businesses require the same focus, plus strategic plans

How running a business is like getting marriedI’m told that a lot of planning goes in to weddings. Twenty years ago, when I got married, I don’t remember there being so much planning. Yes, I had to go here and there and look at stuff. But as far as I was concerned, I was planning to show up on the day and…

When a culture of fear dominates, organizations crumble

Without accountability within our organizations, we lack credibility. Without credibility, we lose our respect and become irrelevant

When a culture of fear dominates, organizations crumbleThe Catholic church has faced increased – and justified – criticism of its handling of abuse cases. There are allegations that the highest authorities of the church turned a blind eye to the misdeeds of some of its leaders. The results were catastrophic at so many levels, especially for those people who were abused by…

Does reading financial statements scare you?

Knowing how to read your monthly report card is essential for keeping your business profitable

Does reading financial statements scare you?My brothers and I would sometimes get into trouble, both at school and at home. Though we generally had good grades, my mother would always make a point of reading our report cards as soon as we brought them home. Walking home from school on that warm day in June, when I was in Grade…

Why has WestJet lost its fun (and competitive advantage)?

When we value minimization over people, morale begins to suffer because nothing is rewarded except saving money

Why has WestJet lost its fun (and competitive advantage)?There was a time when you could take a WestJet flight and walk away from the experience wanting more. Ticketing staff, flight attendants and even pilots seemed like they really enjoyed working there. There were jokes on the flights, gags and laughter. That sense of fun made you want to fly with them. It was…