Who is Your Client?

Red Zebra Define Your Target MarketThree Tips to Define Your Target Market.

A few weeks ago, I met with a prospect, who wanted consulting to increase sales.  “Bill” ran a boutique service business, which had grown from one (him) to a staff of 35.  His company had solid infrastructure and delivered a quality service to clients.  As we started to discuss his current sales volumes, I inquired how he sourced clients.  He sheepishly admitted he didn’t know.  I then asked him to describe his target client.  He replied, “Anyone who will needs my services.”

And therein was the source of the sales problem – Bill did not have a defined target market.  Continue reading

Managing Overwhelm at Work

Managing overwhelm at work - Red Zebra CoachingOverwhelm.  Margarita Tartakovsky describes it as “the feeling as if a 20 foot wave is crashing into you.  Repeatedly.”  As business leaders, most of us have been overwhelmed one time or another – feeling as if there is too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get it all accomplished.

Recently, I met with a client who was fighting a major case of overwhelm.  “Joe” ran a successful small business, which was about to launch a new product.  Everything was ready to go – except for Joe.  Joe was the roadblock to the launch.  He wasn’t able to complete the last few stages of the project as he was drowning in a sea of overwhelm.

As Joe’s colleagues grew increasing frustrated with him, I was sent in as the last ditch rescue operation. Continue reading

The Business of Blame

Blame GameThe Impact of Avoiding Responsibility.

Yesterday, I received an interesting bill – an invoice from my dermatologist for services rendered FOUR years ago. Yes, that’s right FOUR YEARS AGO. Moreover, half of the bill was for services I never received.

After I got over the supreme annoyance (to put it mildly), I called the doctor’s third party billing service. Thankfully, I was connected to “Jack” – a person with a sense of humor. As soon as I gave him the practice name, he said “Oh, yes. I already know why you’re calling. I’m supposed to read this statement to you from the practice.” Then in his best radio announcer voice, he read: “During an audit, Dermatology Consultants uncovered an error in which the billing system was not generating invoices for amounts under $20. We have resolved the issue.”

He continued, “I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that doesn’t answer your question.” When I said no, he laughed and said, “Yeah, it didn’t help the 70 people that already called today either…“ Continue reading

The Making of Leaders

 marin teen girl conferenceHow Failure Teaches Leaders What Can’t Be Taught.

On Saturday, I had the honor of speaking at the Marin Teen Girl Conference. Presented by the Marin Women’s Commission, it’s a conference for teens designed by teens to “a safe forum for Marin’s teenage girls to explore their place in the world, gain skills to create positive relationships [and] learn confidence to make good choices…”  It was an amazing experience that I highly recommend.

Drawing on the lessons I learned from facing cancer as a teen, I spoke on how life’s obstacles can translate into leadership ability. While I went there to ‘teach’ these young ladies, I learned so much more than I taught.  As I left the conference, I thought – what really makes a leader? Continue reading

Does One Bad Apple Spoil the Team?

Bad apple bombThe Impact of Bad Behavior on a  Team.

The old adage goes “one bad apple spoils the barrel.”

In our line of work, we see the best and worst of business and human behavior.  Recently, I was working with a company that reminded me of the old bad apple adage and got me wondering – can one bad apple ruin a team or a business? Continue reading