Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Know When To Hold Em' - Know When To Fold 'Em - Touche Caroline!

Know when to hold ‘em – know when to fold ‘em. This is great advice in poker, life and also in business.
As I was thinking of writing a blog about the importance of knowing what NOT to do and how it is just as important as knowing what to do, I got this post from a very sweet friend and business woman who has made a life changing decision. She is going to close the retail sales of her product at the end of the year, take a break and re-strategize the business model. This take guts ladies and gentlemen. And as a consultant and executive in SMBEs to Fortune 500 businesses, this is seldom done, when often it should be.  
As those of you who have worked with me or know me from my blog(s), I  consult in three areas: marketing, operations and business strategy. The very easiest thing to do is tell a client that most things are fine but if they do “this” and/or “that”, their business will rebound, survive or grow. The MOST difficult conversation (remember this is often with the person who is paying you) is to tell the client that it is time to pull up the tents and go home.
Now, don’t get me wrong, most businesses still have life left in them, but some have run their course or LTV (Life Time Value). You see LTV not only applies to a singular product, but it applies to a complete business model sometimes. The ship has sailed – as they say. Some businesses have a short life span and others longer ones.  I’m sure that you can think of products (which entire businesses were set around) that no longer exist. Let’s do some easy pickin’ and call out beta and vhs. They had their time. There were businesses (especially manufacturing niches) that were built around them and now they are gone. Some of them were able and had the capital to retool for newer technologies, but some did not and had to see the handwriting on the wall and do the unpleasant but necessary action of closing the doors.
 I applaud the ones that ask for help (like from someone like me) when they see things declining and call for help early enough to get help and an outside and unbiased opiniom. (Yes, even though they pay the bill, I am honest and tell them the bad news too! –I’m not saying it is easy ;) – but I do it.) And if called in early enough, often the business can be saved with minor, sometimes major tweaks. The exception to this is when the news of change is met with resistance.
There are organizational structures where staff resistance can put you right out of business and it is so unfortunate, because those employees don’t see that they are resisting themselves right out of a job! In this volatile environment a “go with the flow” attitude is best for everyone. The worst scenario is when the resistance to change comes from the top. When this occurs, the best advice is an introduction to a good bankruptcy attorney and inform the client that this is the Option B to change. Most choose change. Unfortunately, some don’t and I wish them the best and leave a detailed change strategy in their hands (along with the BK attorney contact info) and leave. I’ve watched ships sink and it isn’t fun. So unless I am hired specifically to close up shop, which I have been several times, then I prefer to leave it in the hands of its leader and wish for the best. After all – miracles do happen! Although there wasn't a huge resurgence and demand for vhs, there could have been, right?!
So enough about my views on this and onto a real life example of a leader taking an extremely bold step and closing shop to take the time to re-strategize. Bravo to you, Caroline! I know you will reemerge with greatness –whatever that may be for you in the future.
Here’s a repost of her blog. It is boldly written with heart, brains and thoughtfulness and I commend the decision. (I also happen to love the product – which leads me to make a small plug for the DEAL you can get on it now as they sell off inventory. The product is a t-shirt with a positive affirmation written backwards. So, as you look in the mirror—as those of you who do affirmations and follow law of attraction concepts know you are to do – you can read your affirmation to yourself. It is brilliant, creative and fun and I do hope to see the product return sooner rather than later.
So please take a moment and read this repost and if you like affirmations, you will find one that speaks to you or perhaps will help an ill friend or loved one and snatch 1 or 10 up at these blow out prices and give freely to friends, loved ones and don’t forget yourself! They make fabulous birthday gifts and as the holidays approach, they are a fabulous gift for that special someone who may need a lift in their spirits and I tell you, wearing one of these shirts will do it!
Happy Thanksgiving and remember to be Thankful, Gracious and Share Your Abundance.
This has been such a very difficult year for so many. We all may think we have been “hit hard”, but trust me, others have it worse. Please visit a local food pantry and even if it is a canned item –drop something off with thankfulness for all that you have.
Repost from:  www.reflectmylife.com

Listen to Your Heart  - by Carline Yacu of  www.reflectmylife.com

Listen to your heart. This concept is so simple and so powerful, yet it’s application is often times so difficult.
There are several concepts in life like this…though simple in theory, they are incredibly challenging to execute.
Losing weight for example.
In order to lose weight, this must occur:
Calories consumed < Calories burned
Simple concept, yet not so easy to do.
Saving money for example.
In order to save money, this must occur:
Money spent < Money earned
Simple concept, yet not so easy to do.
I believe we struggle with these concepts because there are so many other things that play a role in our decision-making. We have been trained to seek immediate gratification, which is why we are so easily swayed by external factors. Our desire for instant pleasure blinds us from focusing on our longer-term goals. Well, I suppose I should speak for myself!
Have you ever had a very healthy day, and just when you were getting ready to pat yourself on the back for being so disciplined, your co-worker or roommate walks in with a piece of rich, delicious, moist, succulent chocolate cake?
UGH! The temptation!
Have you ever been so diligent about your weekly spending and then, just when you thought you were in the clear, an opportunity comes up to go to a killer concert or have dinner with out-of-town friends?
UGH! The temptation!
It’s all around us, all the time. Which is why these simple concepts are often SO hard to abide by.
Well, the same is true with listening to your heart. The concept makes sense and sounds so simple, but I have found that even its application is challenging to live by.
In fact, I have found that it takes more courage to listen to your heart, than not.
Why? What temptations keep us from listening to our heart?
• Temptation to do what’s easy?
• Temptation to do what other’s expect you do to?
• Temptation to put on a happy face, when deep down, you know something is wrong?

As I started thinking more and more about this, it became crystal clear that we don’t listen to our hearts because of fear.
• Fear of getting hurt
• Fear of failure
• Fear of what others might think
• Fear of succeeding
• Etc

(well, at least for me!)
I realized a fear that has managed to weave itself in and out of my life is not having the approval of others, essentially not being seen as a “success.”
So, I have decided not to allow my fear to own me. Instead, I am going to dance with my fear. As I acknowledge its existence, I will lead the dance.
I think you will be shocked with what I am about to tell you. I have been wavering on this decision for a while and in the end, I have decided to follow my heart…despite what others may think.
After a lot of sleepless nights, tears, tangled thoughts, and deliberation, I have decided to stop selling Reflect products and services in 2011.
This decision has not been easy as I genuinely love our products and services and believe whole-heartedly in them. The reality is that it has been a challenging market and I need to make a decision that makes sense for everyone, including myself.
My heart has been telling me that there needs to be a change to our product offering, but my mind has been pushing me to make more sales calls, network more, add better functions to the website, and keep persevering.
I have accepted that I need to listen to my heart.
I am still committed to our mission and vision of helping people live a better life. My personal purpose is 100% aligned with Reflect’s purpose, so Reflect is not going away; it is just going to re-emerge in a different light, and potentially through different vehicles.
I don’t have those answers right now, but I know that in January 2011, I will be taking time to reflect (pun intended!) in order to better serve my amazing customers and the world. This is what my heart is telling me to do.
Although I didn’t have a home-run with Reflect from a business/financial standpoint, I know that I hit the ball out of the park when it comes to building relationships with my customers and other friends in the personal development field.
Because of you, this journey has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Thank you. My journey is not over however; in fact, there is a part of me that believes it is only beginning!
The Reflect Blog/Facebook/Twitter pages will still exist as I’d love to share my adventure with you and communicate with you on a regular basis! I plan to deliver valuable content and stories that you can hopefully relate to and benefit from.
I have an amazing mentor, Pete, who has been by my side from the inception of Reflect. When I told him my feelings, he recited this quote to me:
“…if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Teddy Roosevelt
So, like I have, I challenge you to listen to your heart, dance with your fear, and step out of the stands and into the ring. Though the journey can be emotional and uncertain, it is empowering and remarkable all at the same time.
Thank you so much for understanding and I look forward to hearing from you!

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