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Archive for October, 2017

Extra Points: What Goes Bump in the Night

October 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Halloween has always been one of my favorite days. From my first recollection of dressing up as Captain America when I was about five or six years old, to donning my Captain Jack Sparrow garb to hand out candy to neighborhood trick or treaters, Halloween never ceases to add enjoyment and fun to a crisp October evening.

Being scared of things that go bump in the night has an exhilarating effect for many. That’s why horror movies dating back to Boris Karloff in the 1930’s have been very popular; why contemporary television series’ like Netflix’s Stranger Things collect avid followers; and why many adults still like turning their homes into haunted houses for Halloween parties and festivities. The main attraction is buoyed by the fact that nothing wicked this way comes. Movies and television shows aren’t real, nor are the worries of impending doom to anyone in a fright house. If they were real, we’d all be deathly afraid. That’s why it’s fun.

What is frightening are those monsters causing bumps in the night for your business or career. While you shouldn’t hide from them, you need to know they exist. In fact, I suggest you face them with as much daring as you do the Halloween villains. Here’s how:

In your career, stand up to the monsters named fear, worry, and tentativeness. They creep around in smart and talented people’s heads telling them that they aren’t good enough; they’ve run out of time; they will be find out; they’ve run out of money; and they will be humiliated. These fiends are grown within our own heads and like the furry little creatures that turn into Gremlins in the movie, are cultivated by the water we nourish them with. Kick those monsters out of your head by standing up to them when show up and boldly exclaiming the trick is on them.

In your business, identify not only to monsters that are apparent (fire, theft, natural disasters), but also identify those that never send a warning and show up on your front step knocking on the door. These include loss of reputation; a cyber attack; a toxic employee culture filed with drama and selfishness; lack of leadership; no transition planning; and poor pre-planning of critical organizational knowledge and risk. You also can stand up to these monsters with some pre-planning and guidance from experts and employees. Don’t let those things that go bump in the night knock you off course for future success and increased business wealth.

My best wishes for a wonderful HalloWeedin (at least that’s what we call it at my house). Be bold, vigilant, and prepared to securely traverse the monsters in our way.

Quote of the Week:

“Courage is being scared to death…and saddling up anyway.”

~ John Wayne

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

P.S. I have a free webinar to help you pre-planning of critical organizational knowledge and risk. Click here to register for tomorrow’s free event to help you avoid monsters and successfully prepare your business.

Categories: Uncategorized

Shrimp Tank Podcast: Dan Weedin as Guest!

October 24, 2017 Leave a comment

I got to be guest on my own podcast. Watch the video wrap up or click here to listen to the entire podcast! Listen to questions that I get to answer on entrepreneurship, business, and Captain Jack!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: What Do You Smell?

October 23, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40I walk the dogs on the same route every day. While it may seem boring, it’s safe, lighted, and frankly about the only place that really works for us. I tend to either listen to music, a book, or sometimes even use the opportunity to think about absolutely nothing. It’s very therapeutic for me, and gives the dogs (and me) good exercise.
That being said, you’d think the dogs might get bored. On Saturday, I took the dogs extra early as we’d missed a few days and I knew we had a busy weekend with family and this might be the only opportunity. It was raining but they cared less than I did, so I bundled up without my phone and decided to simply clear my mind and seek out some “quiet.”

It never ceases to amaze me how eager the dogs are to uncover new opportunities in what would seem a mundane environment. With the rain and the few days off, apparently a cornucopia of new olfactory opportunities abounded. Both Captain Jack and Bella made sure that nary a new sensation wasn’t inspected or at least urinated on.

We humans don’t have the incredible sense of smell that dogs do. Rather, we use our visual cues. That’s why we get easily bored. Unfortunately, this easily happens with our daily lives. Boredom leads to many professional perils for a business: Miscues, inattentiveness, lack or production, apathy, complacency, and turnover. Effective leaders are able to sniff this out like Captain Jack on the trail of a squirrel. While we might think it’s the responsibility of an employee to keep motivated, I think that it’s up to the leaders to follow the example of my dogs to sniff out opportunities to improve the people in their influence.
Yes, if you’re an employee for someone, you’ve got accountability, especially to yourself and your family. My message today is to CEOs, business owners, and leaders to provide an environment that stimulates growth, development, and performance. While the work may all look the same, every day’s opportunity is unique and at hand for those that have their noses pointed in the right direction.
Quote of the Week:

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.”

~ John W. Gardner (American Educator)

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help creating a business continuity plan for your business? Call me and let’s schedule a meeting to talk. The time to act is before you need it. Email me at dan@danweedin.com.

Customers or Clients?

October 19, 2017 2 comments

20 Under 40 20_3My October column for The Kitsap Business Journal/Kitsap Sun

Do you have customers or clients in your business?

This might seem to be a question without distinction. Some readers might think there is no difference between the two. I’d posit that there is a clear difference and that at the end of this column, you’d decide which of the two you want for your business.

We should start off by defining – according to me – the difference between the two. To be clear, one is not better than the other, so this isn’t a judgment. It’s simple defining two types of “buyers.”

A customer is someone that purchases from you without regard to whether there is a long-term relationship required. Professional skills, talents, and differentiation are rarely required for customers. You find customers at grocery stores, donut shops, fast food restaurants, clothing stores, and outlet malls. There might be some loyalty due to ease of access or habit. But overall, if a new product or service came around cheaper or easier, the customer will go elsewhere.

A client demands a relationship based on trust, respect as a peer, expertise, and knowledge. Client relationships are built around the ability to dramatically improve the condition or experience of someone, which results in the client’s loyalty and evangelization of the provider. You often find client relationships with doctors, attorneys, insurance brokers, real estate agents, and IT consultants. However, you can tell from my own personal life that I am a client for the following providers: my barber, my shoe shine guy, my dry cleaners, my regular coffee shop, and my grocery store. There are more but you get my point. The difference between a customer and a client is the level of importance that buyer places on the relationship. Anyone can be a customer, but not everyone can be a client.

Why do I make such a big deal of this? Simple. The more you work off a client based model – including the use of the word client – the more likely it will be that your client does three things: One, will continue to buy your regular products and services; Two, will utilize and become early initiators of new products and services; and Three, proactively send you referrals and become an evangelist for your work. While customers have no emotional attachment outside of price and ease, clients have a strong emotional bond to doing business with you.

Let’s consider two examples, one professional and one retail. Professional: Insurance is marketed in an obnoxious way. For the majority of commercials and national ad campaigns, humor and celebrities are used to entice people to shop with them. The reality is that insurance is vitally important to the ability of individuals and companies to financially survive a calamity. It’s no laughing matter. Customers of insurance companies care nothing about anything other than price. Clients of sophisticated and savvy insurance brokers worry more about losing their agent’s expertise and knowledge to help them overcome adversity than what the bottom line cost is. While price is always a consideration, the truest value is a person.

Second example: Retail: While I use a couple different grocery stores, I’m a customer for all except Central Market in Poulsbo. Why? Because when I go to Central Market, my experience is far better than anywhere else. I acknowledge that I may pay a little more, however I actually enjoy the experience of the store. The variety and diversity of foods, the ability to interact with experts in each of the departments, the smiling faces, and cleanliness of the store exceed what I experience elsewhere. They turned a normal customer experience into a client experience and in return they created an evangelist.

While customers certainly pay the bills, clients add value, wealth and profitable growth to your enterprise. It may sound easy to make this verbal switch, but it requires a mindset not only from you, but your employees. Let’s start with a simple 3-step process:

Step 1: Require that your entire organization refer to the people that fund your business as clients. Define what a client is, why they are so valuable, and how they should be treated. When clients are considered more than a customer, the attention to detail on how they are served changes. Try it and watch!

Step 2: Focus on outcomes, not methodology. Methodology is what you do (e.g. sell insurance and groceries). Outcome is the value clients receive (e.g. peace of mind and a positive experience). When you focus on outcomes, clients keep coming back in!

Step 3: Encourage referrals frequently. In professional services, this is more common. However, any business can utilize social media and other promotions to encourage word of mouth evangelism of you and your company.

BONUS: Thank clients early and often, not just at the time of the sale. There are many ways to express gratitude. Become creative based on your industry and services. The more creative and personal, the more your clients love you and will tell others about why you’re so great.

Bottom line: Every business can easily gain customers, but that is a fleeting and fickle romance. You want to create a long-lasting symbiotic relationship built on tremendous value and respect. So reduce the number of customers you have and increase clients. Your bottom line and your clients will thank you!

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points: Comfortably Numb

October 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40This weekend, Barb and I were ordering lunch at a famous marketplace in the International District of Seattle. I’d just placed my order for a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich with egg and bacon. While I was waiting for my lunch to be prepared, we were in line to order her a Thai lunch that she loves. Then it happened.

The fire alarm went off. It was evident by the ringing and flashing box on the wall labeled “fire alarm.” This place is huge and we, along with hundreds of other customers, simply listened to the blaring alarm as the the light strobe kept going. After what seemed to be about 15 seconds, we were ushered out by employees beseeching us to get out of the building. We all stood mere feet away from a building that potentially could be on fire! Even my lunch order got put on hold as the cooks sheepishly shuffled out into the street. All ended well with the fire department allowing  us back in after a short delay.

I remember vividly in grade school being taught what to do when a fire alarm sounds. You get out. Now. My wife, fellow customers of the market, and myself were basically all numb to the alarm. We’d become too comfortable thinking that it couldn’t be really dangerous. It would soon stop and we could go about our normal business. While fortunately in this case it wasn’t serious, what about the next time?

I suggest we’ve all become comfortably numb (apologies to Roger Waters and the Pink Floyd gang). A fire alarm not immediately heeded is just the tip of the iceberg. How many of us will numbly start our work week today bemoaning the start of a new week; mindlessly repeating tasks from the week before (same old, same old); and “ticking away the moments that make up a dull day, fritter and wast the hour sin an off-hand way…?” (Okay more Pink Floyd…I will stop…maybe)

Many of us are guilty of wasting days by being anxious, stressed, complacent, and maybe worst of all, bored. Regardless of whether we own, manage, or work in a business, each day is rife with opportunity. I got the chance to both hold and simply stare at my beautiful three-week old granddaughter. That time, that moment won’t come again. I soaked in every second of it. While more may be like it; that moment is singular. I’m ready for the next one…

Your moments are singular. Don’t waste them with worry, regret, or boredom. Find a way to embrace the day, honor the struggle, and find opportunity that won’t come this way again. The rinse and repeat with eager abandon.

Quote of the Week:

“Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…”

~ Pink Floyd – Lyrics from the song, Time

Don’t miss the starting gun.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

 

Extra Points: Respect Is Your Responsibility

October 9, 2017 Leave a comment

Dan Weedin Unleashed-40Harvey Weinstein. Fired by his own company’s board of directors for allegations of sexual assault on many women – his employees – with whom he had power over their careers in his hands.

Cam Newton. Lambasted over social media for his callous comments to a female beat writer for his employer, suggesting it was “funny” that she was asking football questions of football players. His embarrassed employer, the Carolina Panthers spent the next couple of days trying to put out that fire.

These are two high profile situations this past week around the topic of discrimination. While the former is certainly more heinous and likely criminal, they both speak to responsibility employers have when dealing with employees and the potential consequences. These two cases made the headlines; the vast majority of them end up hidden inside the walls of small and medium-sized business around the country. These employees damaged by discrimination, harassment and bad behavior don’t get the same press, yet deal with the consequences of it.

Here’s the deal: Discrimination and liability for actions happens to all genders, to all races, to all religions, and to all ages. What your employees say and how they behave around each other is your concern as a leader. I’ve seen situations where lawsuits came up out of the blue and employers literally had no idea because they didn’t see the signs, or even because they were the problem.

Disaster recovery is often thought of as the steps taken by an organization after a devastating fire or natural disaster. Just as deadly to your company’s brand, reputation, and bottom line is a bad culture that doesn’t recognize the rights and respect of its employees. How your company treats, respects, hires, promotes, and manages conflict with your employees is paramount to your ultimate success. For starters, it’s the right thing to do. After that, it’s going to be those companies that create growth and prosperity for themselves and their employees.


Quote of the Week:

”Go after what you really love and find a way to make that work for you, and then you’ll be a happy person.”

~ Tom Petty

I’m so glad Tom Petty took that advice and made music for the last four decades. We never met, yet his music holds a large segment of the soundtrack of my life. Thanks for running down your dream, Mr. Petty…

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Do you need help creating an emergency crisis plan for your business or family? Call me and let’s schedule a meeting to talk. The time to act is before you need it. Email me

Shrimp Tank Podcast: Rachel Young

October 3, 2017 Leave a comment

Our last guest on the Seattle Shrimp Tank was Rachel Young of Miss Moffett’s Mystical Cupcakes. Rachel’s business took off after her appearance on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars. Listen to Rachel’s story and learn why her cupcakes are out of this world!

To hear the entire podcast, go to our website.

© 2017 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved