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One of the greatest pieces of advice I got several years ago was to never try to blindly adopt any one idea, philosophy, or system, but to instead look warily at EVERY idea, philosophy and system with the goal of finding at least one thing that could be taken and adapted to my own situation. It gives you a wealth of ideas to pull from and avoids the pressure of trying to find a single solution from a single source.

This also turns the world around you into a remarkable learning laboratory! You’ll find ideas and inspiration exist all around you when you make a point of trying to take it all in. A good idea, too, is to keep some kind of “idea journal” in which to capture the ideas you discover here and there. That way, you’ve got a treasure chest of ideas you can choose from.

So don’t adopt, ADAPT!

Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought.”— Jonathan Swift: English author



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marketing employee teamA career in marketing is a blast. Yes it can be crazy at times, but when it all fits together and you get (or exceed!) the RESULTS you were looking for, there are very few things as satisfying just because you know in your gut what it took to meet such a challenge. My own observations suggest, and professionals I respect have consistently told me, to get to the spot where you’re the ringmaster in this amazing three ring circus requires a pretty basic, though not necessarily easy, approach; Simply put, you gotta pay your dues!

The most recent affirmation of this belief I heard from one of the  Vice Presidents of Marketing for McDonald’s. She graciously donated her time to a student conference hosted by the American Marketing Association. Her first slide was a picture of her in her McDonald’s uniform from when she was a teenager several decades back, and she passionately narrated the photo by saying that she didn’t get to start out at her dream job as vice president of marketing. She had to go to work and pay her dues.

She offered a lot of good advice in the time she shared with the group, but it all pretty much boils down to going to work every day with a desire to learn as much as possible about the job and to be willing to give back more value than you may at first receive from the organization. Do that and you’ll find that your skill set grows dramatically, which means that in turn you’ll be more promotion-worthy in your current company or have more to offer another company if you decide to make a switch.

So get used to the fact that no matter what you want to do, if you want to be successful, you’ve gotta first pay your dues, and you’ve gotta first accept the fact that you’re going to have to put in a lot of hard work.

But that’s not all bad news!

The plus side is, a good work ethic can be the best asset you have! Dedicated workers and dependable work ethics are in rare availability these days in the marketplace. Roll up your sleeves and go into any job with an eager-to learn, ready-to-perform attitude and regardless of what stage you’re in in your career, you’ll have a decided advantage. Like a lot of things marketing-related, it may not be easy, but it really is that simple.

“Hard work is the best friend I have ever known” – From The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason



holding the keyOften entrepreneurs think they are the owners of businesses, when in reality, they are merely self employed. They may be refugees from a situation they didn’t like such as a lousy boss. Or maybe they saw how in their capable hands an idea could be better delivered, so they went off and started a business to do just that. A noble intent, and that is what the free market is all about, after all.

But there is most definitely a difference between owning a business and just being self-employed. If the business can thrive without the owner having to be there all the time, that’s real business ownership and it’s a great spot to be in. If the “business” can’t easily run for any extended period of time without the person who owns it physically having to be working in the business, then they are actually just self-employed. They don’t have a business, they just have a job. A well-paying job, one would hope, but it’s far more like a job than true business ownership.

This is rather a sad realization that many entrepreneurs don’t like to make, but the good news is that it is very fixable! And the answer lies in the system! The entrepreneur must strive to build a business that is dependent not upon them, but upon a system! As author Michael Gerber said in The E-Myth Revisited, the enterprise should be process dependent, not people dependent.

Building a business like this is a lot easier said than done, but once that feat is accomplished, its value grows exponentially. Translation: It’s worth it! A business that is not dependent upon a person or a personality can be more easily replicated. A business that has systems in place can be expanded because others can be trained in its operation. And when a business can be easily understood, replicated, and run by others, it’s more marketable as an investment and thus is more easily sold to a willing buyer.

So the best thing an entrepreneur can do is realize that having a business that can function without them is the most valuable way they can secure their future, then get busy going about building that type of enterprise.

The system is the cause of bad quality, and since only management can change the system, they are 95% of the problem.” – W. Edwards Deming



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A lot of ugly family business breakups could be filed under the “Seemed like a good idea at the time…” heading. As Sam Wyly advised in his book, $1000 and an Idea, when the time came to choose a partner for his business, he chose the man he trusted most – his brother. That partnership worked. To be fair, there are plenty of family-owned businesses that have been very successful.

The great caution that needs to be exercised when even considering getting into business with family, though, is that a lot of things can go wrong, with long-term, deep-rooted emotional consequences. As Malcolm Berko said in a recent column,

Family members are the worst people in the world with whom to do business. So if you cherish your family, you must engrave the above sentence on the forefront of your mind and etch it on the cover of your checkbook.”


The quote by itself is worth considering, but if you’re still not convinced, you should read the whole article, which is compellingly titled “Home Loan to Brother-in-Law,”  here.

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” – Henry Ford


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