Recent Posts

Owners want committed employees

“My team just isn’t as committed as I need them to be. It feels like they just don’t give a crap about the business, or the work, or anything…” This is how the conversation started when I went to meet with a client this last week. His business is successful, but he feels like the performance of his staff is uneven. “Sometimes they really wow the customer. Other times they deliver stuff that’s slapped together and not thought through.” It keeps him up at night – he feels like he has to review everything so that one of the “slapped together” items doesn’t reach the clients. “Why don’t they … Continue Reading »

What if there is no “right way” to grow your business?

Jason Fried is a terrific entrepreneur who has been incredibly generous to the Chicago entrepreneurial community. I love the product that he’s created (Basecamp) and I’ve enjoyed his writing over the years. But I also really dislike Jason Fried. His company is a —*no doubt*— success; and he worked hard to make it a success. But way too many folks in Chicago (and likely all over the place) see his success and think, “If I could just make my company like Basecamp, I’ll be a success.” And so you see folks who’s homepage looks like the Basecamp homepage, and their pricing page looks like the … Continue Reading »

When is it OK not to make money?

“A ‘not for profit business’ is a tax designation, not a business strategy.” Not everything that we try to do is going to make money for us right away. Most of the time, when we start something new, we have to make an “investment” (in working capital, in equipment, in training, etc.) before that effort starts to make money. In most cases the learning curve on a new business (or even a new product within our existing business) is longer than we want it to be. We get to a point where we start asking ourselves, “Should I keep doing this?”. Or, you might have a line of business that you’ve … Continue Reading »