Shrimp Tank Blast from the Past: Monica Blackwood

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In a new series of blog posts, I will be sharing past episodes of Shrimp Tank interviews with our terrific guests.

We are starting with our Shrimp Peeler Sponsors. Today, we flash back to Episode 50 on October 13, 2018 with Shrimp Peeler Sponsor, Monica Blackwood, CEO of Westsound Workforce!

Listen to Podcast

Commercial Sponsors:

First Underwriters Insurance Brokers  / Ideal Life 360

Shrimp Peeler Sponsors:

Kitsap Economic Development Alliance / MD Design Group / Westsound Workforce /

Port Ludlow Resort / Symetra Life / Brenda Wall – LegalShield/IdentituShield

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Neighborhood

Dan_Weedin_022We are in the middle of a snowstorm. For us in Seattle, it’s a significant deal for three reasons. First, we don’t get these enough to allow us to be as prepared as other neighbors in the country. Second, we get an inordinate amount of melt that turns into ice. Third, we have a lot of hills; and ice and hills aren’t a good mix.

At home, I’ve done all the normal things to prepare, but as with most of my neighbors, I hadn’t picked up any ice melt. We had a neighborhood text thread going on to see if anyone had some to share. Saturday night, I went to take the dogs out and found a humongous bag of ice melt on my porch. Of course there was no indication of who it was from, but I have my suspicion among a couple of neighbors. Nobody is confessing.

We have an “old school” neighborhood. We all know each other; like each other; help each other out; and hang out together regularly (as I write this, we are preparing to host a Snowmageddon get together). We are fortunate to be around neighbors that altruistically are always ready to both help and have fun.

Is the company you own or are a part of neighborly?

On one hand, your employees may have developed the culture of many neighborhoods in this era where people isolate themselves, with head down, staring at monitors and head phones, walk by each other with little more than a nod, and then go home as quickly as possible. The OTHER hand is the one I suggest for improved company culture, better performance, reduced risk, and more fun…

A company that picks up for each other when someone is out (without being asked); that collaborate, engage, and laugh with each other; that encourage and support each other; and that demand a culture where anyone new coming in be onboarded properly to accelerate that culture. By accomplishing this, you will realize reduced turnover and increased profitability. Plus, your employees will become evangelists for your company.

Here’s your challenge for the week. Rate your company on a scale of 1 to 5, with one being completely isolated to 5 being Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. What do you need to do to improve your score and who can help you? Answer that question and get started with just one step. Share with me the step you took and you will get a complimentary 15-minute conversation with me and I will give you my three steps to assure success.

By increasing that neighborly spirit, the results will be remarkable.

Quote of the Day:

“The more we can be in a relationship with those who might seem strange to us, the more we can feel like we’re neighbors and all members of the human family.”

~ Fred Rogers

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Shrimp Tank Blast from the Past: Diana Smeland

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In a new series of blog posts, I will be sharing past episodes of Shrimp Tank interviews with our terrific guests.

We are starting with our Shrimp Peeler Sponsors. Today, we flash back to Episode 11 on March 6, 2017 with Shrimp Peeler Sponsor, Diana Smeland, CEO of Port Ludlow Resort!

Listen to Podcast

Commercial Sponsors:

First Underwriters Insurance Brokers  / Ideal Life 360

Shrimp Peeler Sponsors:

Kitsap Economic Development Alliance / MD Design Group / Westsound Workforce /

Port Ludlow Resort / Symetra Life / Brenda Wall – LegalShield/IdentituShield

 

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: The Flash

Dan_Weedin_022As a kid, I loved comic books, and some of my favorites were of super-heroes. I was mostly into DC Comics which featured Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. My favorite was a guy who had the super power I most wanted. The Flash. The fastest human on earth wearing a cool red suit with a lightning logo on his chest. I wanted to be fast and The Flash was the guy.

Speed is a great super power for a super hero like Barry Allen (aka The Flash). It’s also a super power for those heroes called entrepreneurs. If you’re a CEO or President of an organization of any size (including just you), then you should be striving to wear that lightning bolt on your chest. Because in business, speed is everything.

  • Speed to market gets you to your target market first, so you can optimize your brand and value proposition. If you’re there faster and with more fury, you become the thought and brand leader.
  • Speed to cash in the bank is crucial to cash flow management. I’m always amazed when a business eschews taking credit cards (or charges the fee). Getting money in your bank account fast is more important than ever to surviving and thriving.
  • Speed to respond is often curiously undervalued by entrepreneurs. The “I will call you back at my earliest convenience” line is time-worn and transmitter-biased. With today’s technology, if one can’t respond to a voice mail within half a day, or an email within 24 hours, then they either are time management challenged or don’t care. Current and potential clients care.
  • Speed to recover means the speed to bounce back from a crisis. I’m talking to two potential new clients this week about creating or improving business continuity plans because they want to be able to reduce their “recovery time objectives.” The per minute improvement can result in tens of thousands of dollars…per minute. That’s real money.
  • Speed to human recovery. Yeah, this is different. Bad stuff happens to us all the time. Personally, we have to recover to crises both professionally and personally. How do you respond? The faster you can find your emotional and mental “sweet spot,” the sooner you return to peak performance. This is critical to how your business and company perform.

Here’s your challenge for the week. Pick one of these “speed,” or find one of your own. Then become The Flash. Work to accelerate your speed to improve your business, your profitability, and your lifestyle.

Quote of the Day:

“Kites rise highest against the wind – not with it.”

~ Winston Churchill

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: What Do You Value?

Dan_Weedin_022This past week, I was honored to be the keynote speaker at the NAPA Western District Conference in Seattle for over 200 owners from Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii. I’d like to share the concept shared with them with you…

In 2003, I was in the midst of legends, at least for me. At a Nike Basketball Coaches clinic in Portland, I was in a room with speakers Jim Calhoun from the University of Connecticut and Lute Olson from the University of Arizona (both National Championship winners). I hung on every word!

Coach Calhoun gave advice that I’ve used throughout my career with clients and colleagues. He said, “I should be able to walk into any one of your practices – regardless of the day of the week or the time in the season – and know what you value. If it’s rebounding, then every drill will have a rebounding component; if it’s defense, the same. If you truly value a part of the game and the culture of your team, anyone should be able to see it in your daily practice.”

I challenged my audience on Friday with this statement that I also challenge you with – if I walked into your business today, would I be able to tell what you value?

Organizational culture can be an overused term, yet the behavior and attitudes shown by your employees in how they discharge their duties will always be critical to your viability and sustainability of operations, revenue, and profit. The values that are modeled by business owners and leaders will be apparent; the question is if they match what you want to see.

The key to developing and growing a thriving business culture is by identifying your values (what do want your business to look like to others), objectives (how will we measure our progress) and action (how will we assure we actually get it done). This requires investing time in the process, communicating well with everyone, modeling the actions, and maybe above all else, displaying the discipline needed to do those daily activities to get you to where you want to be.

If a basketball coach wants to be a great rebounding team, every drill of every practice must have a rebounding component. That takes discipline from the head coach, the assistant coaches, and the team. If a CEO wants a company that creates a culture of putting the client first (and in a recipient-biased mode – see last week’s memo), then the daily activities and behaviors should all be guided by that value.

So let me ask you again, if I walked into your business – whether or not you own it – will I be able to tell what you value? Your mission this week is to start the process of making sure of it.

Quote of the Day:

“You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.”

~ Unknown, but I heard it from my Shrimp Tank podcast guest Aaron Murphy

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Receiver-Based Engagement

Dan_Weedin_022Client engagement is critical to thriving in business. While that’s as obvious as a ham sandwich, what isn’t so obvious is how a company engages. There are two options – transmitter-based and recipient-based. Guess which one is best?

When companies make it difficult for clients to engage with them out of fear, apathy, or laziness, they engage in transmitter-based engagement. In the 21st century, that’s deadly for business. Examples: A caller to a small business is forced to choose between seven different options to find a human (and none of the seven is what they want and when they push one, they still get no human); a website visitor can’t easily find a way to contact a human directly; a voice mail tells a client that they will receive a call back “as soon as possible,” instead of offering a time limit or alternate quicker options.

Receiver-based engagement puts the client or prospective client first. Examples: They make social media engagement easy and fast; they make phone call engagement easy and fast; they anticipate the easiest routes to communication – things like online chat. Bottom line, the current and certainly future clients in your business expect receiver-based engagement or else they will seek it elsewhere.

My colleague David Mortimore has created a fascinating case study based off the recent challenges faced by Johnson & Johnson. While J&J may be a corporate mammoth, the concept applies even more to small and medium-sized businesses. David has kindly offered this case study for your review. Ask for it below and you will be emailed the case study..

Bottom line: If you want to build a brand, to acquire new clients, to grow, and to thrive, then creating or enhancing a receiver-based engagement should be job #1 for 2019. Check out David’s case study and get started today!

Quote of the Day:

“Failure is a success, if we learn from it.”

~ Malcolm Forbes

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Competition

Dan_Weedin_022I’m watching a new Netflix original documentary series titled, “Dogs.” It’s a poignant look at how dogs relate, partner with, and impact humans so being dubbed man’s best friend. I highly recommend it, especially if you like dogs.

That being said, I have to make revisions to my viewing of it based on my BFF. I’m forced to watch it on my phone with head phones. You see Captain Jack hates dogs on television. They can be real dogs or cartoon dogs; it doesn’t matter. He watches TV intently and when spying a dog, he becomes enraged at the competition. He races to the TV with hopes of jumping through the screen to get these celluloid canines. He even knows the theme song for the classic television comedy Frasier, as he particularly doesn’t like his fellow breed brother, Eddie. Ironically, he has no issues with the real dogs he encounters in the world. He wants to be friends and to play with them (they on the other hand are pretty wary of him). His competitive bent is relegated to television.

Bella is the opposite. She doesn’t watch TV; thus doesn’t even know that other dogs exist in that medium. She’s busy with other important tasks, like sleeping. However, she loses her mind when she sees real dogs on her walk, to the point that I have to take the dogs separately as she will attack Captain Jack at the sight of a “competitor.” She is keenly aware of every rival for her position as Queen of the Neighborhood.

While outside competition brings out the inner beast in my dogs, it should bring out the inner beast in you in a different direction.

Many business owners chafe at competition; they fear it leading to anxiety, stress, and often rash decisions on how to avoid losing business. On the contrary, competition is a good thing. Why? Because it forces one to stay sharp; to remain focused; to improve skills; and to constantly innovate. In fact, outside competition should actually fuel an inward competition with one’s self. Here’s how…

Compete every day with yourself to improve. These might involve skill sets, mindset, leadership, communications, creativity, patience, empathy, knowledge, brand, and personal health. Every day we can focus on one or two things to be better at. Over time we become better because of that competition. Ask yourself daily, “how will I grow and improve today?”

Dogs look at competition as a negative as their place in the pack is being challenged. As humans, we should be looking at how competing with ourselves will ultimately bring out our best selves both professionally and personally. And that is something to bark for.

Quote of the Day:

“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me.”

~ Carol Burnett

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Register for our Shrimp Tank Podcast / iHeart Radio Launch Party this Wednesday!

Extra Points: Workarounds

Dan_Weedin_022This past week, I attempted to purchase a business license for a new LLC we formed as part of our insurance brokerage practice. I thought it would be pretty simple. I was wrong.

First, I was forced to wait two weeks because the state doesn’t allow me to get a business license on an LLC prior to it’s formation date (although they were happy to take my money and form the LLC in advance). Seemed odd, but I played along.

On January 2nd (LLC formed effective January 1), I went online to finalize the business license. To my frustration, the system still didn’t recognize the UBI number and wouldn’t allow me to proceed. I called and spoke to someone in the Department of Revenue to get help. She determined that it was a system glitch and would call me back, which she did promptly. She told me that the only way to fix the situation was through a workaround. Those of you familiar with workarounds know this is a secondary method or process to use (often in technology) when the primary way has an issue.

The workaround suggested was using paper. That’s right, paper. She wanted me to print out an application, fill it out, stick it in an envelope, mail it, and then wait for six weeks for approval (online applications take a few days). This isn’t a workaround; it’s a failure. Ultimately, we were able to contact someone that was able to help me deal with this more mercurially. But the point was made…

I had knowledge of the process, as I’ve done it before. I feel bad for those who are attempting it for the first time and don’t know who to ask, or merely succumb to a failed workaround.

Primary methods and processes will fail; sometimes for reasons outside of your control. How effective are your workarounds? If they are as bad as the one I shared, then you have a problem. Your employees will waste time and effort, and consequently lead to lost profits; your clients and customers will become frustrated and ultimately may leave; your brand and reputation will be tarnished as others might think you’re ability to deal with crisis as ineffective, undisciplined, or antiquated.

Here’s the deal – crises happen. They may not seem enormous but when a calamity that impacts your operations in some way rears its ugly head, you’d better be prepared with a good workaround. Regardless of whether its related to technology, employees, or any other critical business factor, your ability to manage workarounds is crucial to your success and viability.

Quote of the Day:

“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”

~ Henry Ward Beecher

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Happy New Year

Dan_Weedin_022Today is my birthday and I’m often asked, “How close were you to being a New Year’s Day baby?”

There’s a story to that…

The fast answer is, not close. The story is that my mother was all of 4’10” and 90 pounds, which in 1964 made me an automatic C-section candidate. My mother asked the doctor if there was any way she could move the scheduled date from January 3rd to December 31st. The reason? True to her Colombian roots, she didn’t want to miss her glass of champagne when the clock struck midnight on a new year. She had no qualms with drinking her toast from a hospital bed; she had no intentions of missing that ceremonial libation. The doctor, likely knowing what was good for him, agreed. So I was born at 9:30 in the morning, with plenty of time to recover. And I’m certain Dad didn’t object to the new tax deduction!

Here’s the moral to the story…

Take time to enjoy the year that just finished. Regardless of the adversity and challenges, all of us have something to celebrate. Focus on the thrill of victories, the lessons of defeat, relationships grown with with family and friends, and whatever else you value in your life. If you’re receiving this missive, I’m pretty sure you (like me) have been greatly blessed with the opportunities provided for success and happiness.

So take some time to toast and celebrate 2018, and get ready for a fantastic 2019.

On behalf of my wife, Barb and our two canine companions Captain Jack and Bella, here’s hoping you slide in ahead of the tag in 2019.

Quote of the Day:

“The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.”

~ Madeleine L’ Engle (20th century American novelist)

© 2019 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

End of the year opportunities available for one week only. Grow your business and career and save by investing this week for next year. See below for more information.

BIG NEWS!

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We are pleased to announce that The Shrimp Tank is going to be joining the iHeart radio network in January.

RSVP for our FREE Launch Party on January 16th at Ocean5 in Gig Harbor! Space is limited so reserve your spot today!

The iHeart radio network is the #1 commercial podcaster in the United States receiving more than 147,000,000 monthly downloads on its network.  Although most famous for its overall radio and music content, the podcasting platform is the fastest growing segment of iHeart’s business.

We will be combining our podcasts into one simple, easy to click format so we can leverage all of the amazing work we have done in our respective cities.  In addition, iHeart will be serving up small banner ads in our cities for those that listen to iHeart that will be directly driving them to your podcast.  This is really exciting news to help increase our presence both in the Greater Puget Sound area but also nationally.

iHeart shared with us that over 2/3rd’s of people who listen to podcasts on their network listen to 3 or more every week, so we will be prominently featured in the business and entrepreneur sections on their podcast format.

Here’s OUR big news to go along with that….

We are holding a Seattle Shrimp Tank Podcast Launch Party on January 16th at Ocean5 in Gig Harbor. The party will run from 4:40 to 7:00 pm. This will be our time to celebrate with you and share exciting ideas.

The party is FREE and open to all our community. Space will be limited, so we ask that you RSVP and reserve your spot. If you have multiple people coming, we ask that each person register individually. Once registered, you will receive more information about the event. Click below to today and share the good news!

RSVP for Launch Party