Archive for August, 2009

Recommended Reading – Updated

Posted in General Management, Recommended Reading with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

On Becoming a LeaderEvery Saturday, I update my Recommended Reading list. I think you’ll find my suggestions thought-provoking, inspiring and educational.

To see the Recommended Reading list, please click on the link. “Recommended Reading

*For your convenience, if you want to purchase any of the books, I’ve linked all the covers directly to Amazon.*

If you have any questions or comments, or interested in a consultation,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Growing Your Business (Part 5) by Robert Finkelstein

Posted in General Management, Grow Your Business with tags , , , , , , , on August 28, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Grow Your BusinessMoving right along, our list of ways to grow your business continues to…for lack of another word…grow. Locations, franchising, licensing, diversifying…what’s next you ask?

Other markets
BusinessDo you have a brick and mortar? Are you an e-commerce business? Perhaps my question should be, “What type of business are you not?” The answer to that question might be your next area of expansion. So many options here – Online, storefront, domestic, international, call centers, conventions, sales representatives, and on and on. Then of course you can consider focusing on a different demographic – adults, college kids, teens, special interest groups, baby boomers, elderly, and on and on. Who have you not targeted? The posibilities here are vast…or re-read Growing Your Business (Parts 1-4) for other suggestions.

Government contract
Government contractsRegrettably, I don’t know too much about this, but what I do know is that the US government is that largest buyer of goods and services in the world – to the tune of about $250 billion. Get in good with them, and you’re expansion might be locked and loaded. Now it’s not easy. Lots of paperwork and regulations, but again, worth it. Once you’re granted a government contract, there’s little competition from outside marketplaces. Check it out. Uncle Sam might want what you’re selling.

Still more ideas to come. Hope your entrepreneurial ideas are flowing.

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Grow Your Business (Part 4) by Robert Finkelstein

Posted in General Management, Grow Your Business with tags , , , , , , on August 26, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Grow Your BusinessSo, my entrepreneurial and expansion conscious readers, what method of growth attracts you – Multiple Locations, Franchising or Licensing? Not sure yet. Read on. There are plenty more options available. Today’s topic – Diversify.

Diversify
DiversifyFor many, diversification is the best approach to innovation and sustainability, but strangely, many oppose it because we’re told to stick to our core competencies. Diversifying adds risk when you’re doing business outside that which you’re most familiar. Learning about new products and services, and attracting new customers is not always easy. The other perspective is never have all your eggs in one basket. I lean toward the latter philosophy, but like I always say, do what’s right for you, your business and your comfort level. I would explore this methodology when you feel that your products have grown about as far as they can. It’s believed that diversification can also work very well for newer businesses that have a solid cash flow and are in seasonal, low-growth and low-margin industries.

Low hanging fruitBottom line here that you need to be sure you’ve really maximized all the low-hanging fruit before you start taking this on. Take your time and do it right.

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Grow Your Business (Part 3) by Robert Finkelstein

Posted in General Management, Grow Your Business with tags , , , , , , on August 25, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Grow Your BusinessWe’re exploring options for growing your already very successful business. Thus far, we’ve tackled two distinct possibilities – Adding another location and franchising. Both are great options, but you need to make that determination. Now on to one of my favorites – Licensing.

Licensing
Superman lunchboxIf you have a product, whether it be branded or service, this might be the way to go. And what’s particularly nice about this route, is that it tends to be less costly than our previous two methods of expansion, and yet very effective. Unlike other ways of growing your business, you can receive money and royalties upfront, with much less risk than would be associated with launching your own company, manufacturing and selling your products.

Idea protectionIf this sounds appealing, start doing your research. You’ll be looking for companies that provide similar services or products as you do or are considering doing. Before you get overly ambitious and start calling all your hot leads, take it from one who had an idea stolen from him (turned into a motion picture), talk to an attorney who specializes in intellectual property rights, trademark and patents. You’ll want to make sure you’re fully protected.

What makes sense for you and your business? Lots more ideas to come.

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Grow Your Business (Part 2) by Robert Finkelstein

Posted in General Management, Grow Your Business with tags , , , , , , , on August 24, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Grow Your BusinessSo you want to expand your business? There’s lots of ways of doing it. The first option we discussed was opening a new location. No matter what you decide, make sure you’ve done your homework. If you’re running a successful business, I’d like you to keep it that way. Next up…franchising.

Franchise
FranchiseIf you’ve created a terrific brand and a very thorough operating systems…I mean, you’ve got it down, literally…on paper…this might be the way to go. Have you had experiencing with franchising? Ever owned one? Know someone who does? I would recommend networking with people in the franchising community. Find yourself a mentor, someone who’s successfully done what you’re considering doing now. You’ll want to become a member of the IFA, International Franchise Association. You’ll want a good franchise attorney, and probably a franchise broker too. The latter is used by more than half of all franchisers, and account for more than 10% of all sales. In other words, you’re going to need to do some research.

FranchisesSo if this seems like the route you want to take, you’ll need to streamline all your internal systems and marketing materials. Look at as if it was your company in a box. If you gave it to someone, could they open it, find the instructions and get started. Kind of a plug-and-play system. The more complicated you make it, the less appealing it becomes.

In order to successfully franchise you’re busy, you need to be ready, willing and able to grow your vision, remain a strong leader of the company and brand, and keep a keen focus on your goals.

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Sunday Observations – Can I have your signature?

Posted in Life Management, Sunday Observations with tags , , , , , on August 23, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Autograph bookAugust 23, 2009. Can I have your signature? Why do we collect autographs? Someone’s signature? I’m not sure I really get it. That being said, as a kid, I collected autographed baseballs. Through my step-dad’s connections, I amassed quite a collection, and valuable, I might add. So many of the greats, like Hank Aaron and Willie Mays….

To read the rest of this of blog,
please click on the link. “Sunday Observations

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Recommended Reading – Updated

Posted in General Management, Life Management, Recommended Reading with tags , , , , , on August 22, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Winning At RetailEvery Saturday, I update my Recommended Reading list. I think you’ll find my suggestions thought-provoking, inspiring and educational.

To see the Recommended Reading list, please click on the link. “Recommended Reading

*For your convenience, if you want to purchase any of the books, I’ve linked all the covers directly to Amazon.*

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Grow Your Business (Part 1) by Robert Finkelstein

Posted in General Management, Grow Your Business with tags , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Grow Your BusinessIf you have a successful business, you survived start up and now you’re looking to grow, I’ve got some great suggestions for you. Which of the following ideas is right for your business is up to you. It probably took a lot of blood, sweat and tears…and money to make the business a success so far. Choose your method of growth wisely, based on your resources, money and time. Do your homework!

Location
Business analysisUsually, the first idea for growth is to open another location. If that’s right for your business, go for it. If you’re an entrepreneur, having multiple locations is a very exciting proposition, but physical expansion takes a lot of research and planning. Before you even consider it, create a business plan. You’ll want to do a thorough analysis of where your business is at and the new one you’re looking to create. I trust that if you’re considering expansion, you’re business has been maintaining a consistent bottom-line profit and you’ve shown steady growth for quite some time. If you haven’t, what are you thinking. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Read my series on improving bottom line profitability. We’ll just assume you’re in good shape. Make sure the market trends, both economic and consumer, support the growth of your business. Know where the financing is coming from and how long the resources will last. You’ll want to make sure that all indications are you’ve got great staying power.

Rodeo DriveWhen it comes to choosing a location, location, location…unless you’re an established name or franchise, you’ll want to give yourself a fighting chance by picking one with great foot traffic. Know what the demographics are in the areas you’re considering. Are there locations available near non-competitive businesses that already have a steady stream of clients? Getting some of the overflow is a nice place to start. Convenience to your home should have nothing to do with your choice. Don’t compromise location because you can’t afford it. Find another one, another area that still shows great promise. Personally, I’d rather drive another 20 minutes a day and spend $10 on gas to do $1000s more in business.

If your business is seasonal, plan ahead so that you’re open in time. But keep one thing in mind: Don’t rush into ANYTHING! The right choices will yield the right results.

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Tips For A Successful Interview (Part 7)

Posted in General Management, Tips For A Successful Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 19, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Interview tipsThere it is, the finish line. Winning that job is just steps away. A few more “finishing” touches and you’ll have all my tips and techniques for a successful interview.

Notes
Taking notesIn addition to your resume, I’d recommend bringing a nice notebook. Even a notepad will work, if it’s in good condition. Just don’t let them see the notes you took at the last interview. Keep it looking clean. So what do you write down? I’d start with the names of the people you met. You don’t want to get them wrong when you thank the interviewers on the way out or in the ‘Thank You’ notes. Assuming all is going well, you’ll want to write down whatever steps occur next in the interview process. If you’re working with a recruiter, the details will probably be given directly to them to pass along to you. Very important, make sure that whatever you choose to write down doesn’t interfere with your focusing on the discussion.

Follow-up
Follow-up callIf you got the job through a headhunter or recruiter, give them a call to review the interview. Don’t call the company directly. If you’ve been given the interviewers’ business cards, you can send them ‘Thank You’ notes…and you’ll also want to send one to the recruiter.

You did all your preparation and you aced the interview. Now it’s out of your hands. Try not to put all your eggs in one basket. Keep looking for other opportunities. Continue to use all the tips and techniques, and the odds will be in your favor. If all goes well, you’ll receive more than one offer. Now there’s a problem worth having.

Good luck!!

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.

Tips For A Successful Interview (Part 6)

Posted in General Management, Tips For A Successful Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by Robert Finkelstein

Interview tipsWe’re rounding the final turn and in the home stretch. Landing the job is now in your sights. We’ve covered all the necessary Preparation – research, logistics, what to bring and what to wear. Then we moved into the Interview specifically – demeanor.

Let’s head toward the finish line, shall we.

Interview discussionDiscussion
I mentioned before, stay focused. Keep your goal in mind. With that said, make sure your comments are very much oriented toward what you will bring and add to their organization. In Part 1, I recommended preparing for the inevitable questions. Have a few of your own as well. They need to be well-thought out and relevant. They need to show your understanding of the responsibilities, interest in the position and excitement for the opportunity you’re being given.

I highly recommend you don’t do the following:
Do's and don'ts1. Don’t ask TOO many questions. Although you are, to some degree, interviewing them as well…that’s not how they see it.
2. Don’t bring up salary and benefits, until they do. If they’re ready to talk about it, you’re doing great. If they’re not, don’t get discouraged. But you might as well wait until they are. It really serves no purpose discussing it prematurely.
3. Don’t answer questions with only a yes or no. Elaborate, with clear, concise explanations and examples from your experience.
4. Don’t joke around too much. Show your personality and enjoy the interview process. Keep it light. But if you used to be the class clown, this isn’t the time or place to prove it.
Don't lie5. Don’t, and I repeat, don’t lie or misrepresent your qualifications. It’s all part of having integrity. You are who you are. I promise you, if not today, then someday, lying during an interview will come back to haunt you and your reputation.
6. And while you’re not doing any of these five things…don’t chew gum…no matter how much it calms you.

You’re pulling ahead of the pack now. No photo-finishes here. Tomorrow will be the last chapter in this series. I’ll meet you in the winner’s circle.

If you have any questions or comments,
please write them below or email me at Robert@RobertFinkelstein.com.