Don’t complicate things

Don’t complicate things

Most great businesses started with a simple idea.

Henry Ford wanted to improve transportation.

Phil Knight, Nike founder, wanted to make a better running shoe.

Jeff Bezos wanted to sell an easy to ship item online. He chose books to be that item.

Walt Disney wanted to make a cartoon.

Tony Hsieh, Zappos CEO, wanted to give great customer service.

Warby Parker, the eyeglass company, wanted to sell affordable eyeglasses.

This list could go on and on. Today, everyone wants to be the Amazon of this or the Warby Parker of that. They want to build the next Facebook or Uber. It’s important to remember that these great billion dollar companies didn’t appear out of thin air and immediately dominate every industry. They began, like almost all companies do, by trying to solve one problem. Over time they solved another problem, then another until they got where they are today.

In business as in life, it’s important to not complicate things.




One of the most important skills I’ve discovered is the skill of learning to ask good questions. It doesn’t matter your position. If your able to ask good questions then you’ll stick because the ability to ask good questions is a necessity to getting important work accomplished.

Never be afraid to question something. A good question is something that should never be frowned upon. If your organization, or boss, doesn’t appreciate good questions then you should seriously think about finding someplace that does care. 

Asking good questions are not only how you learn but they also help the people around you by clarifying something for everyone in the room. Typically, if you feel the need to ask a question then the chances are that someone else in the room also wanted to ask the question but were too afraid to ask. Never be afraid to ask. 

Learn how to ask good questions. It will be one of the best career decisions you’ll ever make.

Photo Credit: chelle

Nickel & Dime

Nickel & Dime

It’s amazing how many companies have what seems to be a corporate agenda at trying to ripe you off by deceiving you to pay extra fees. I guess an extra fee here and there adds up to some substantial amount at the end of the quarter. In the long run, I believe these tactics will have an even larger negative impact on their customer loyalty.

That’s the question every leader needs to ask themselves. Are short-term gains more important than long-term success? If my company’s compensation was mainly linked to the company’s performance in the next quarter, or the year, then I’d focus on the short term because my compensation is tied to short-term results. How you incentivize your employees will be the way your results and reputation will develop.

If you play the short-term game, then your company will benefit in the short-term. If your the CEO, that might be enough time to cash out and move on to something else. Though in the long run, your focus on short-term gains could impact the company’s reputation and damage the viability of the business in the long-term. Who benefits in that scenario?

Not your customers, your shareholders, or your employees. Those are the three groups of people every leader should be trying to satisfy.

Photo Credit:krosseel

What do you recommend?

What do you recommend?

Recommendations. When I go to a restaurant I like to ask for recommendations. I don’t always except them. It really depends on the place. If I go to a nice restaurant I usually do accept the recommendation because they’ve earned my trust. That’s not to say that trust can’t be broken. It can be broken in an instant.

I’ve been thinking about the power of recommendations. They simply come down to offering value. I’m not a food connoisseur. There are many things I can’t imagine eating them. I like trying new things so I’ll never try anything new if I stay within my comfort zone of what I know I like to eat.

I I would have kept that mentality than I would have never tried sushi, pad thai, hummus,  or pretty much any kind of cooked vegetable.

Ask for recommendations. More importantly, don’t be afraid to accept them from people you trust.

Photo by jackiebabe at

Give me an idea

Give me an idea that jump starts our sales, a product people can’t live without, or a marketing campaign that captures more attention. That’s also what all employers, investors, and customers really want from the people they hire.

Anyone can perform a task. Anyone can perform a job were you are told exactly what to do. Yes, employers will pay you to do those kinds of job, but is that the kind of job you want? A job where you’re a cog in the wheel, where you take the salary that is given, and you’re stuck trying to find the carrots while avoiding the sticks.

What employers want, what they need, and what we all need our people who can create ideas.  If you can produce ideas on a regular basis then, not surprisingly, people will pay for them.

How many people do you know who complain about not having any ideas? Are you one of those people?  I know I was at one point in my life.  Not anymore.  Now, I’m going to be the guy with the ideas but it’s won’t be through shear luck.  It’s from putting in the work everyday.  I’m building the Idea Machine everyday.  You don’t end up looking like, The Rock, by going to the gym once every few weeks.  That’s why I’m writing lists, blog posts, and speeches.  I want to be the guy everyone calls for an idea.

I want to be the idea guy. The idea guy never takes what is given because everyone wants his services.  The idea guy has to be able to turn down opportunities.  That’s the hardest part of his job. Deciding what is worth his time. Everyone wants time with the idea guy because finding someone who can produce regular ideas is so rare.  Once someone has established that they have the ability to create ideas then companies are willing to pay for it.

Good news is that, though we might not be able to all look like The Rock, we can all become our own Idea Machines by simply practicing everyday. But that’s the key.  Are you willing to practice everyday? Most people are not.

Why am I listening to an audiobook on selling?

Why am I listening to an audiobook on selling?

We’re all selling. It doesn’t matter if we’re selling products or ourselves. For the past week, I’ve been listening to Zig Ziglar’s audiobook, “Sales Mastery Academy.”

I’m not a salesman. I never wanted to be one when I was going to college. Actually, I never even wanted to get into Business because the only people I knew who majored in Business were salesman. It always sounded like an awful job. When I first started college, I wanted to major in Biology. I loved science and I still do but at the time I couldn’t imagine going to school for about seven more years so I could earn PhD. That’s when I decided to take a more practical choice and I majored in Finance and Economics. Part of me still regrets that choice.

The funny thing is that it probably wouldn’t have mattered. I majored in Finance and Economics with the goal of never becoming a salesman. I could have majored in Biology with the goal of never becoming a salesman.

Today, I find my self selling all day long. I’m Anaylst for a large bank where I do a mix of financial analysis, business analysis, and data analysis. I don’t sell a product for a company. I sell my services. I sell myself to my boss, their boss, my employer, coworkers, perspective employers, and really everyone I come in contact with on a daily basis. Call it growth, call it networking, call it whatever you want but what it all really ends up being is selling.

The surprising thing I’ve been thinking about is how this wouldn’t be much different if I would have stuck with Biology. I’d still be selling myself. I’d be selling myself to a college or Dean to earn tenure. I’d selling to get grant money, find sponsors, inspire my students, sell books, deliver talks to have people believe in my work.

We’re all selling everyday. It doesn’t matter your profession, you are selling. That means you should probably take an interest in how to sell because most of us never take a course in it during all our years of education.

That’s my I’m listening to this audiobook. I’m trying to sell myself through this blog, to potential employers, to my boss for promotions,at networking events, and to my coworkers so people want to work with me.

In my Toastmasters’ manual, I need to conplete a speech about selling a product or service. I’ll be trying to sell my services. If i can sell a product or service so why don’t i sell my services. Plus, it’s a great way to write a resume, a LinkedIn Summary, or an about me page. 

No matter what your profession, always remember your ABCs.

A – Always

B – Be

C – Closing

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