Archive for April, 2011

I Found It

April 29, 2011

I found it.  It’s called Husk and it’s on Queen Street in Charleston, South Carolina.

Husk is a bar that’s completely, utterly, devoted to bourbon.  Their bartenders know bourbon, I mean really know it….they’re fanatical.  When they’re not serving it, they’re making it; experimenting with honey, peaches, rosemary, rhubarb and beets, trying to come up with the some unique combination that raises a few eyebrows.

Want a skinny girl margarita?  This isn’t the place for you.  Prefer to watch the NFL draft?  Look elsewhere.  These guys do bourbon, and that’s it.

Husk is the type of place that makes you think:  You can try to be everything to everybody and wind up doing nothing well, or you can focus on one thing, and doing it better than anybody else.  Guess which one they’ll be blogging about the next day?

Don’t Tell Me

April 21, 2011

Tell me that you’re lazy.

Tell me that your priorities are in the right place.

Tell me you don’t care that much about money or recognition or reward.

Tell me any of these things and I’ll believe you.  I’ll accept your answer at face value.

But don’t ever tell me that the reason you’re not reaching your potential is because of your family commitments, your sick uncle, the city you live in, the industry you work in, the company you work for, or the product you sell.  Because that’s all bullshit, and you and I both know it.

A 12 Minute Speech

April 15, 2011

8 Hours.  That’s how long it took me to write, edit and practice a 12 minute speech.

I was recently asked to provide the keynote at a non-profit fundraiser here in Charlotte.  I agreed, and then immediately began to prepare…the fear of failure or embarrassment loomed large.  In total, I rehearsed that speech somewhere between 30 and 40 times over a period of two weeks – re-writing, tweaking, and adjusting until the day of reckoning arrived.  Oh, I certainly could have cut that time down to 4 hours, maybe even 2, but then it wouldn’t have been my best effort, and I would have looked back on that night with regret.

The speech was well received, but it wasn’t without effort.  Conventional wisdom might lead you to believe that public speaking is more of an art than science, but I’m here to tell you that it’s all about preparation.  Mark Twain once said “I could never make a good impromptu speech without several hours to prepare it”, and I can certainly relate to that.

In sales, public speaking (or at least presenting in front of a prospective customer) comes with the territory.  But just because you’re good at making conversation doesn’t mean you don’t have to practice.  That’s one part of the job that you can never work too hard on perfecting.

Barriers to Entry

April 8, 2011

When people talk about starting a new business or entering a new market, a common topic of discussion is barrier to entry.  Simply put, barrier to entry refers to how difficult it will be for you (or your competitor) to enter that market and what obstacles stand in your way.

Traditional business models determine barriers to entry by looking at things like capital requirements, government regulations (for example, you can’t practice law unless you have a law degree and pass the bar), or economies of scale (can you compete on price against Walmart?).  Indeed, these are serious hurdles to consider and prepare for when you’re writing your business plan.

But I think the greatest barrier isn’t any of these, and actually doesn’t reside in the market itself.  The biggest obstacle to moving into a market or creating a new business is the mental hurdle you must clear between coming up with the idea and taking action.  I can’t tell you how many people I talk to every day who have great business ideas that will never see the light of day because they don’t (won’t) act on them.

Think about it….once you make the decision to pursue your dream and move forward (or ship, as Seth Godin puts it simply), the rest of those barriers will fall like dominoes.  They’re no match for your passion, your resolve, and your will.

 

Thank You

April 1, 2011

Exactly 1 year ago, I posted my first blog entry, Second Best.  It wasn’t very good (many weren’t/aren’t), but it was a start.  Looking back over the past year (and 101 posts), I learned how important it is to be reliable, consistent, and relevant.

Since that time, my monthly readership has grown from around a dozen to several hundred, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to reach that many people. It has been hard work, but personally fulfilling and gratifying.

Going forward I’ll only be posting once a week, which I’m hoping will give me enough time to work on a book based on the same philosophies about sales, customer service, and the customer experience.

Thank you, sincerely, for your patronage, feedback, and support over the last 12 months.  I look forward to what this second year will bring.


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