Never over-promise and under-deliver

Here’s a quote from yesterday’s Boston Globe article on how Massachusetts was gearing up to dole out its portion of appliance rebate funds provided as an economic stimulus by the Federal government: “We overbuilt the system to accommodate what we believe the demand will be,’’ said Robert Keough, assistant secretary for the MA Office of […]
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Thank you: Two powerful words that aren’t used enough in business

When was the last time you thanked a customer or client for their business? No, I don’t mean saying a perfunctory thank you at the end of a meeting or phone call. I mean really thanking someone for continuing to choose your company to do business with out of all the other possibilities out there? […]
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CPSI: A great training ground for innovation

Back in the mid-90s, a client, Katherine Catlin of the Catlin & Cookman Group, and a friend, Kathy Leydon-Conway, both suggested I might enjoy attending the Creative Problem Solving Institute, the oldest and longest running conference dedicated to the teaching and practice of creative skills. They were both veterans of the conference and thought I’d […]
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Patriots Day lessons: Branding

Today is Patriots Day in Massachusetts. Maine is the only other state to celebrate this day, which commemorates the Battle of Lexington and Concord that started the American Revolution. (Fun fact: Maine celebrates the day because Maine was once part of Massachusetts.) The holiday and the Boston Marathon that is held on it are part […]
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Ack! There was a hack, but now I’m back!

A week ago today, I was set to write my daily blog post when, horror of horrors, I discovered my blog had been hacked! This made no sense; why would someone go after my little blog, which was only two weeks old? Then I learned that hundreds of blogs hosted on Network Solutions and at […]
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3 books every business owner should read

The three books I’m going to recommend that every business owner–actually, every business person–should read are books about grammar. That’s right, grammar.
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What don’t you know that could kill your business?

So what’s happening in your industry that is changing how things are done? What don’t you know that could come back to bite you? No matter how long you’ve been in business, continuous learning is still a must. To think you know it all is a recipe for disaster. New opportunities are always popping up, and your competitors are ready to take advantage of them. Don’t assume you already know everything you need to know. Because you probably don’t.
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HARO: A great publicity tool for small businesses

Help a Reporter Out (HARO) is a service where you can receive three daily e-mail feeds (Monday through Friday) with queries from media members who are looking for expert sources. The range of topics covered is quite amazing. And best of all it’s FREE!
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Is MLB going the Toyota route and, if so, what lessons it can teach us

As your small business pursues growth, do not lose sight of what makes your company special to its customers. Don’t be guilty, as MLB and Toyota have been, of slowly stripping away bits and pieces of what makes your company special. Little decisions can slowly add up over time, leaving your most loyal customers puzzled as to why the company they adored years ago no longer is that great. Don’t become Bud Selig. Know what your brand stands for and honor it, always.
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Collections 101: Getting paid

• Always follow up immediately if a bill goes overdue. If a client doesn’t pay within 30 days, on day 31, I send an e-mail gently reminding them that the bill is past due and asking when I can expect payment. I know from talking with colleagues that many people do not do this. They wait and wait, hoping they won’t have to actually confront the client about the overdue bill. Or they fear they will offend a client by reminding them that they need to pay.
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