Useful Tips for Choosing an Airport Taxi Service

Getting to the airport isn’t the easiest thing and can be more difficult for those travelling with a lot of luggage and family members. One option to forget about the logistics of reaching the airport on time is to make use of an airport taxi service. This can remove a lot of the stress and worry, but is still important to schedule the pickup to match the specific needs.

Here are a few tips to make sure the airport taxi service provides a prompt and timely package:

Plan ahead

A simple step that can make things go smoothly is to book the taxi well in advance. Make sure there is enough time to easily reach the airport without feeling rushed. Try to calculate the travel distance and add an extra hour or more in the event of heavy traffic. Also, if travelling during busy travel times, such as bank holidays, it may be worth adding a little more time.

Pay attention to reputation

Investigate two or three different companies and aim to identify one that is highly rated for providing a reliable deal in the local area. Use online reviews to get an idea of the quality and reputable of a potential company. Find one that has the courteous drivers and appreciated for providing timely pickups and drops-offs.

Most companies are quite similar, so it helps to ring around and get a price for the ride to the airport. Many quote a flat fee to travel from home to the airport, as well as any other pickups on the way. Also, make sure the preferred company has the necessary licensing and credentials to offer this particular type of service.

Amount of space

One of the important things to check is the amount of space for passengers and luggage that the vehicle can accept. The vehicles can vary significantly in size with a standard vehicle able to accept a couple with minimal luggage to the larger vehicle that can easily take six or seven passengers in comfort.

For those travelling with a lot of bags, it may be necessary to ask for a larger vehicle.

Call before pickup

Even if the airport taxi service has been booked and reserved in advance, it still may be worth giving the company a call a few hours before it should arrive at the pickup address to make sure it will be arriving on time.

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Growth Consultant: Giving New Direction To Your Business!

Earning substantial profit is the main objective of every business and for this it is imperative that your business grows in significant direction keeping pace with changing scenario. Because, if a businessmen continues to follow conventional methods of conducting business he might not be able to stay even in competition with his contenders and may lag in competition.

For the continuous growth of business it is indispensable to keep a strict eye on every change taking place across the business world. The relevance of keeping an eye on changing scenario increases more today’s age because today as an impact of globalization business operators are blessed with vast opportunities of exploring their business throughout the world in short span of time.

Days have gone back when business operators centralized their activities within a limited region, but now the time has arrived when they need to move ahead by eliminating cultural and demographic traits and transfer their orthodox business model into customer centric, best in its segment, broadening potentials of growth with feasible profits from business.

To assist the business owners in moving their business according to changing environment, growth consultants can play an incredible role in getting the infrastructure of their business keep changing in accordance to global market.

The growth consultants provide their expert advice and suggestions to business groups and may even help them in getting those suggestions implemented in organization in determined strategy. These consultants make business operators understand the drawbacks of orthodox business concepts and make them realize the changing role of not so recognized sections like women and youth in growth of an organization. They make business owners understand the contribution which they can make in exploring their business.

Moving ahead they also make them realize the changing nature of consumer behavior and how they can succeed in offering varied services and products to their multicultural consumers located in different regions of world.

The consultants of growth help business groups in:

1. Re-evaluating the core targets and models of their business

2. Identifying the gaps in their value delivery systems

3. Make them understand whether their strategies of VP communication are misfiring or not;

4. Generating the identity of their brand in accordance with values, beliefs and strengths of new worlds market place (NWMP)

5. Selecting and strengthening their value propositions and competitive differences

But sharing business details with an unknown person is not an easy task for any business operators and therefore it is necessary to get assured that information shared with consultant will stay restricted only with him and not affected by any kind of elusion. The selection of growth consultant should be done after proper research about his past experiences and knowledge.

As a general practice need of a growth consultant is felt when:

1. Growth of your business has stagnated

2. You are not able to make appropriate use of the available sources

3. When you are speculating to introduce a new initiative in market

How do growth consultants assist the business groups?

The growth consultants conduct an intensive study of every aspect related with your business on your behalf and then point out the pros and cons of your business comparing with your contenders.

After analyzing your business they find potentials of your growth keeping the changing atmosphere and making system approach for your business according to recent trends. They also help you in assessing the results and difference in your business after implementation of their recommendations. This strategy will help you in achieving desired success in your business in appropriate direction.

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Crony Capitalism – How Bad Has It Gotten In The US?

We all know the problem of the revolving-door in our political leadership and bureaucracy. Folks are in and out of government, keep their contacts and make a fortune from the known reality: it’s not what you know but whom you know. The problem with all this is exactly what Adam Smith warned us about; the incestuous relationship between government and business. Corporations in the US are large and powerful, and have and hire the best talent, retain and control endless resources – these corporations do not NEED government favors, nor does their executive leadership, they are doing fine.

To secure the most optimum efficiency in our economy, we must keep the free-market as free as possible, when we allow a skew due to political favors or inside information, or allow lobbyists to the run the table, often at the expense of the people all we do is prove the cynics correct that; the game is rigged. Perhaps this is why Donald Trump has promised to; Drain the Swamp. And, he’s human too, I have no doubt he will drain the left-side of the swamp first, but it’s still a good start. The trick is to set a new set of rules, lay down the letter of the law, and move forward.

In Harvard Business Review, December 2013 Issue, there was an interesting article titled; “Unwinding Inequality” and in that article was a quote by Angus Denton; “When people use their success to change the rules in their favor, that success is no longer to be celebrated.”

“Yes,” I say, “Indeed.” But let’s take this argument to a higher level shall we. First, I find it rather hypocritical to read of this in the Harvard Business Review, as most there believe in the concepts of Adam Bellow who wrote the book “In Praise of Nepotism” which might explain why all the Supreme Court Justices went to Ivy Leagues, Harvard or Yale, some both. Worse, look at the academic records of the last 5-presidents of the US, and a darn good many senators, and heads of major bureaucracies, corporations and NGOs.

Second, if we dissect that quote, it talks about “success” and the concept of changing the rules once one, a group or corporation gains in the synergy of their own success. Well, isn’t this really the same challenge with guerrillas or terrorists attacking the status quo, authority and government – if they succeed, they are then in control and then they inevitably seem to use the same so-called tyrannical methods of ruling that their predecessors had before they ousted them – thus, the word “revolution” as it just goes round and round as another group comes along to then unseat their new authority.

Now, one can see a similar process in business and industry. For instance, read;

1. “Rule Makers and Rule Breakers,” by David Garnder
2. “First Break All the Rules,” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
3. “The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business,” by Clayton M. Christensen

Once the company garners market share synergy, and industry status, it moves to change the sector’s associations to lobby to get the rules and regulations changed to its way of doing things blocking future disruptive competitors from coming along to change the industry just as they had to get to where they are today.

The easiest way to do that is through crony-capitalism, campaign contributions, public-private business partnerships, which also leads to selling goods and/or services to the government and secure a free flow of money to further continue their dominance by playing with the political elite – who all went to Ivy League schools. Thus, I find it so fascinating that HBR (Harvard Business Review) had the gall to even publish that article – due to the obvious hypocritical nature of the norm which comes from that elitist institution. Please consider all this and think on it.

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Useful Travel Tips About Seasons And Weather in Langkawi

Langkawi has the same type of climate as Thailand. It is known as a tropical monsoon climate. It can sometimes also be labeled as a “tropical wet climate” although that’s not always the case year round. It’s paradise climate makes Langkawi a great place to visit, but it’s wise to learn about the different types of weather before booking that perfect vacation.

For those that are accustomed to the usual four seasons of spring, summer, autumn and winter, Thailand may seem like a different planet! Its summers and winters may seem backward although It is usually warm all year round with temperatures ranging from an average of 27 degrees Celsius (81°F) during the coldest month of July to about 29 (81°F) during the hottest month of February.

With that said, rather than traditional seasons, Langkawi experiences only a wet season and a dry season. In terms of traveling, these are known as the low season and the high season respectively. This is because many tourists only prefer to visit during the dry season as to avoid the rain and possible monsoons.

Dry Season (high season):

November through March is the busiest time. During this time, Langkawi experiences the most traffic.

Following the heavy rains of the wet season, the plant life thrives creating beautiful sights.

Due to the high influx of visitors, many of the prices are raised to compete with demand.

Wet Season (low season):

July to October is when the Langkawi tourism business slows

The rain varies in levels of intensity. Sometimes intense flooding is possible.

On many occasions, the rain doesn’t last long but is very strong

During this time, boat travel is not always available

For those looking to hire a Koh Lipe ferry to Langkawi, it may still be possible to do during the wet season as long as the travel plans are made to be flexible. However, traveling by ferry from Langkawi to Phuket or even hiring a Langkawi to Krabi ferry is not recommended during the wet season.

During the dry season, it’s extremely common to find a ferry between these popular travel destinations. In fact, it is the preferred way to travel as many places in and around Thailand are too small to have their own airport.

In either season, wet or dry, it is usually possible to hire a ferry to KohLipe to Langkawi and vice versa without any problem. They offer very competitive pricing and have experience in transporting tourists and locals alike from island to island. There are also speed boats available as well for those looking for a faster ride.

It is important to choose the time of year carefully to get the best experience in Langkawi. Of course it all depends on of the preferences of each and every traveler, but usually, a vacationer wouldn’t want to spend their getaway avoiding a flood! On the other hand, some may be adventurous and find exactly what they’re looking for no matter the weather!

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How to Take a Vacation And Make More Money In Your MLM Business

Being able to make more money in your business when you are taking a vacation sounds amazing and it is possible. In this article, you will learn how to take a vacation and make more money in your MLM business.

There are 3 reasons that you will be able to make more money in your MLM business because of your vacation so get ready to pack your bags.

Shows the Lifestyle

The last thing people want to “sign up” for is another job but when you can show how network marketing allows you to travel and enjoy life, more people will be interested in joining your team and coming on board with your business. Show people the lifestyle by going out there and living life. Not everyone is impressed by your ability to be a shut in.

Sense of Urgency to Get Things Done

When we are getting ready for vacation we understand that we need to get things done. We often get more done in the last few days before a vacation than we have gotten done all month. This is because our brains are helping us work toward the reward instead of just trying to keep busy with mundane tasks.

Clears Your Mind

After you get back from your vacation, you are going to have a new drive and desire to get things done. You will be operating with a clear mind. It is kind of life rebooting your brain so that you can think clearly and be able to get things done in a much more efficient manner.

So, now that you know, get ready to take your vacation and reap the benefits. Grow your network marketing business and enjoy your life at the same time.

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5 Ways of How to Destroy a Business Partnership: Don’t Start That New Business Until You Read This

Let any one of these 5 situations into your business and you’ll ravage your entrepreneurial career:

1st – Stop needing each other:

There’s a considerable chance that the partnership power and responsibility structure will start to shift and will look very different starting anywhere from 3-12 months after inception.

In the beginning of any new venture, a dynamic and compelling new venture phenomenon, made up of fear, anxiety, stress and excitement, emerges and makes for an impressive personal barrier disintegrator. No facades and no charades are the hallmark of a new venture. The partners forget about their own needs and are on their best behavior. Everyone is madly in “love.”

“Needing each other” is a compelling power source in successful business partnerships. In most partnerships that “need” is the bond that keeps it all together. As time passes, especially after the 12th month of being in business, everything and everyone starts to shift, evolve and a displacement arises that will be unsettling and transformative for the business and all the players.

See #4 for more information on “not needing each other”

Solution: Accept the fact that the above information is valid. Discuss it openly with your business partners. Be vigilant and sensitive to your business partners and what they say and do and how they say it and do it. You don’t have to be “a touchy feely kinda person.” Think selfishly. Think protection for your future. Think protection for your business’ future. Communicating, openly and civilly, is the only preventive measure that will increase the chance for a favorable outcome.

2nd- Allow your significant other to point out all the expensive gifts your partner’s significant other is receiving and they’re not:

Significant others, and other family members, can be the source of great pain and distress when it comes to the relationship you have with your business partner.

Greed, jealousy, being overcritical, being generally resentful, tactless and being superficial are some of the flies swimming around in the business partnership ointment. Money and power sometimes brings out the worst in “significant others” and family.

Solution: There’s two parts to the solution:

a-It’s the smart business person who pays extreme attention to the health and tone of his business partnership. It should be the number one concern, above and beyond anyone else in your life. I know I’ll get a lot of Boos and Hisses but, if you take care of your business and the business partnership, it will always take care of you and the people you love and who love you. Everyone will be happy and satisfied.

b- Going to, or inviting in, a counsellor or therapist to meet privately once a month, individually and aggregately, with the business partners will always be money well spent. I’ve seen the wreckage that family members have created in some very successful businesses.

You will have partnership strife and discord. Bet on it. Prepare for it now and have the preventive and supportive resources at the ready and/or in play from the beginning. It will be a shame if one day you’re standing outside your padlocked office wondering what happened.

3rd – Have sexual relations with a family member of your business partner:

I “feel” the smirks already. Talk about destruction. This is an insidious act of extreme betrayal. It not only will leave your business ripped apart, it will destroy precious family and personal relationships. People will be crushed and devastated for a lifetime.

The reputations of all the partners will be tainted. You’ll be amazed and appalled at the same time to find out how many suppliers, banks and customers will turn their back on you. They know that with a soiled and stained situation like this, destruction and failure may be close by. No one wants to be part of this, especially if it hurts them financially. Something many people take for granted is that It takes years to build a reputation that’s respected and trusted. It takes 24 hours or less to blow it up.

Are you are going to make your bed and Lie in it, or not?

Solution: If you’re over 18, take a wild guess. Under 18? Talk to someone over 18.

4th – Do some self-talk about how you deserve more money than your business partner:

“I’m working so much harder than her.” “He was supposed to be the sales end of our business but…” “Our biggest customer can’t stand her.” “He can’t handle the pressure.” “I never realized how much she talks.” Do I need to go on? You may recognize one of these.

In the beginning of a new venture there’s “reality” and there’s “wishful and well-intentioned thinking.” The responsibilities and strengths that you bring to the new venture are not necessarily the responsibilities and strengths that will be in play when things get started and are rolling along.

Being aware of each partner’s powerful strengths and their ‘vulnerabilities’ will allow weekly partner meetings to be productive and allow for everyone to be open, honest and transparent. Staying flexible and being willing to adapt, not only leads to a sustainable business but what’s more exciting is, it leads to personal growth for all the partners.

Solution: There’s 3 parts to the solution.

a-Mandate, enforce and re-enforce up close and personal, respectful and empathetic communication meetings on, at least, a weekly basis. These meetings are confined to the partners only and are done behind locked and closed doors. Bring in food. Do not go to a public place to talk.

b- There are always 3 realities: Yours, theirs and the business’ reality. Work with the reality of the business only and adjust your life to the needs of the business. I repeat, make your business the priority above and beyond all others and the “others” will have a phenomenal life.

c- Accept as fact, that you may have to change your place and responsibilities in the business as time passes. Welcome it with open arms. If you have a problem with this I say, respectfully, get a therapist as soon as possible. Your reluctance is connected to, and about, ego, self-image and self-confidence. It pays to have someone help you disentangle your emotions and consequently save your entrepreneurial career.

5th -Start the new venture on a 50/50 ownership platform:

If you’re forced to initiate an equal stock partnership, then having or learning patience, empathy, and anger management becomes even more crucial and essential than ever before. A 50/50 is fine until the “cracks” start to appear. If you don’t follow the advice in step #4, it could be the beginning of the end for everyone.

Some interesting points:

a-In a partnership breakup your net worth is never, I repeat, never what you think it is. It’s always much less.

b-Banks, customers, suppliers and even employees will scatter when they get a whiff of bad news on the horizon. Your net worth could entirely dissipate in the time it takes you to say “Wait, I changed my mind.”

c-Make the partnership agreement as simple as possible (two pages is good) or you’ll find that the lawyers will make more than you.

d-You could make a 51/49 % stock ownership with a 50/50 % profit split. It’s worth it to give up more on the profit split in order to get 51% ownership of the company. In any event, no matter what you decide it’s always wise to have salaries, expenses and benefits remain equal.

Solution: See the solution in step #4

“Now go with your eyes wide open”… Good Luck out there.

A Personal Note:

I’ll be accused of being negative and shortsighted. My response: That’s Crap. This is reality. This is life. It’s raw, pure, up close and certainly personal.

You don’t like the article? I understand. The truth and reality have a way of making people feel uncomfortable.

Just do me one favor. Print it and put it in a drawer, in a sealed envelope. Open it 12 months to the day that you started your business. If I was right you unfortunately learned a valuable lesson and if your verdict is that I was wrong, please take a closer look and search for cracks in the partnership relationship. You may be in the “subtle stage.”

Partnerships are great when they’re solid and built on mutual respect. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world. This article is about possibilities that you must be aware of and in tune with. Consider this article a practice “fire drill.” Adapt now, because when the flames start to roar, it’s too late.

This article is about coating your business relationship with empathy. It’s about knowing that you’re not only responsible for your welfare and performance, but you’re also responsible for your business partners state of being. I’m not advocating that you become super-parent. I’m advocating for you, and this article is all about your protection and your financial and mental well-being.

Once again. Good luck out there and never, ever give up on your dreams.

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Financial Mistakes Business Owners Make and How to Avoid Them

Cash is the lifeblood of a business. No business owner wants to see their business struggling because of lack of funds or in debt due to mismanaged finances. What they want to see is a regular flow of profit but this is easier said than done.

With many years of experience as chartered accountants and business experts, we’ve seen many financial mistakes that business owners make. Here are some of the most common mistakes and how to avoid them:

Not having a business plan including clear financial goals

Business planning is very important. If you want to be successful in your business, you need a roadmap. It is also important to set clear goals and targets. In particular, you need to have financial goals that will help you measure how well your business is doing. Furthermore, your financial goal should be clear and realistic. Goals should be phased – weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. You also need to involve your whole organisation in your business strategy. Give your team goals to aim for.

With these plans and goals in place, you will have a clear view of how your business is performing which will eventually help you make important financial and growth-management decisions.

Not keeping proper financial records

This is one of the most common mistakes of business owners and also the most crucial. Most business owners are so busy focusing on managing their business that they neglect the importance of financial record keeping. If you don’t have time to update your financial records, hire an expert to do it for you, such as a Chartered Accountant. They can set you up with proper systems and help process your transactions accurately.

Combining business capital and personal finances

Some business owners, especially those who are struggling with their business capital or finances tend to merge their personal savings with the business. Business owners should avoid doing this, as it will only make it more difficult to track how much money the business is making. Also, it complicates IRD and tax obligations.

Starting too big

Starting a business can be overwhelming. You put everything in that you have before you actually start. You may rent an office or other space and hire employees thinking about the future. You want to start big. But you have to understand that starting big doesn’t necessarily ensure your future success. It may put undue pressure on you and your business. The best thing to do is to start small and once your business becomes financially stable, you may then consider expanding. Make sure that your expansion can be justified by your profits.

Not having an expert to assist you with your finances

Accounting, bookkeeping and tax compliance – these are just some of the financial responsibilities that you need to take care of when you start a business. These are critical and timely business processes. But some business owners are so busy managing their business that they often neglect these. You don’t have to stress yourself in thinking and doing everything. You can hire experts to do it for you.

Some business owners are hesitant to hire experts to do these things for them and only realise they need help when it is too late. So hire a trusted Chartered Accountant to help you with your finances so you can focus on your business, as well as having more time to relax.

These are just some of the common financial mistakes that business owners make. Make sure to avoid these financial horrors to ensure the success of your venture.

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5 Benefits Of Using Security Tags

If you go to most of big retailers, you will see that they have electronically tagged their expensive goods. It’s possible to tag all the products including beauty products and alcohol. Usually, retail stores use security tags to secure items that are most commonly stolen. As a matter of fact, security tags offer a simple solution for businesses to secure their stock. Read on to know more about it.

How security tags work

In simple words, security tags are designed to send an alert when products at a store are moved through a security barrier. These tags are put on the product packages. When a shoplifter tries to steal the package and passes through the barrier, the tag will turn on the alarm sending an alert to the security.

The staff at the store can detach or deactivate the tags for their customers. So, their genuine customers won’t face any embarrassing situation. The fact of the matter is that these tags prevent shoplifters from lifting stuff from retail stores. As said before, these tags can be used on any product sold at the stores. Given below are 5 major benefits of these tags.

5 Great Benefits of Tags for security

1. Affordable

Since security tags are sold in bulk, you can get discount when buying them. While they may cost you a good amount of money, you will save a great deal of money in the long run. The protection you will get is worth the investment. That’s the reason the product is an effective solution for small as well as large businesses.

2. Ease of use

The great thing about the product is that it is very easy to use. This means that you can use them on a wide range of products. While they are easy to apply, they can’t be removed without a special device called a deactivator. So, the shoplifters won’t be able to remove them.

3. Easy deactivation

With a deactivator, it’s easy to remove the tags in a few seconds. So, your customers don’t need to wait for the tags to be removed before they leave your store. Unlike other gadgets, security tags are not complex items.

4. Peace of mind

With security tags on each product at a store, the staff and customers will have a peace of mind. All the staff at a store will be able to focus on their jobs as they will have peace of mind that any attempt to steal the products will be detected. Moreover, the customers will also be satisfied that they are in a safe store.

5. Reliability

Security tags are very reliable as they can’t be removed without the special device known as the deactivator. Once the deactivator is removed, the tag won’t set the alarm off when the customer will pass it through the security barrier. So, the devices are 100% reliable. There will be no surprises.

So, if you run a store and want to improve the security system at your store, you may want to consider installing tags.

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Smart Leadership in the 21st Century

Although we may claim that the world has gravitates from authoritarian rulership and that most countries in the world operate under a democratic ambience, but in certain parts of the world and over certain organisations preside some leaders who still lord over their followers without giving them a say at all in the affairs.

Every nation and society has its own leader, but what distinguishes the smart leaders in the world today from the bosses and the not-so-smart leaders? Consider the following traits.

The first trait of the smart leader in the 21st Century is that the leader has to EVOLVE. He should keep up with the times, with the latest techniques and updated information. Knowledge is power and the knowledgeable leader is not one that can be easily deceived or pushed about. The societies that use the most advanced methods in everyday life are the ones that lead the pack in today’s world.

In addition, the SMART leader is:

S- Simple/Straightforward: The good leader has to mean what he says, and say what he means. He must not be deceitful. His followers must be able to trust him and take his word for it in every circumstance. What he does not intend to do, he should determine not to say it. Also, the smart leader in this century must be a man of simple ways, words and lifestyle.
Gone are the days when leaders were marked by 100-foot billowy robes, with twenty servants carrying the clothes from behind. This can be tolerated from a bride in a wedding ceremony, but not from the world-class 21st Century leader. He should not live a complicated lifestyle or be unnecessarily extravagant. Simplicity does it these days.

M- Malleable: As mentioned earlier, the smart leader must be malleable, not rigid. He must be able to bend his views when it is necessary. He should be able to lower his standards when it is necessary.
Compromising your views at certain times is not a trait of the weak, but that of the intelligent. He should not insist on the status quo, or cling to ideas just because “that’s the norm here!” The norm is usually dumb. He must have a teachable heart that can learn new information at every opportunity. He must be malleable enough to learn from both young and old, rich and poor, male and female-anybody.

A- Accountable: Aha! Did the smart leader expect I won’t add this? It is inescapable for the smart leader to be accountable for all the human and other resources committed to his care. He must not be corrupt. Every penny in his administration must be accounted for. He must guard his citizens and his domain with the same intensity as well.

R- Resourceful: The leader must also be one with a limitless river of ideas constantly flowing for the betterment of his organisation. He must be very creative and actually SMART. As in, really intelligent. If a dumb leader is put over a domain, he will mismanage and diminish it. The leader must be able to multiply the little he has been committed with, and multiply it. He must commit to being constantly trained in order to further equip his intellectual arsenal.

T- Technology Literate: Finally, in this Internet Age, many wars are won or lost on social media. The smart leader in the 21st Century must be one who is very much versed in at least some high-tech devices. He must not be an illiterate with the computer or with the internet. He must make it a point of duty to learn the use of one new technological gadget every six months. That will set him apart and make him the man/woman to beat by the other leaders. He will find out pretty soon that he is a trail blazer in leadership. It does not matter whether he is presiding over a family or over an entire nation, such person will be a trail blazer.

Emmanuel Sokefun is a freelance article writer, in addition to being a novelist, poet, hymnist, songwriter and a lover of the academia.

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Your 50 – Part 2 – The Keys to Starting Your Own Business Now!

In part 1 of this article series we met 3 individuals with unique backgrounds that left corporate and forged their own way. Here we illustrate 2 addition stories along with important strategies and tactics you need s you go forward in your own business. This journey of starting your own business is not for the faint of heart, but the success you will find will be life-changing.

Here is what you will learn:
1. Franchising is a good option for a business.
2. Doing your own business is very rewarding.
3. How coaching is vital to making your business a success.

First Entrepreneur

Our first entrepreneur, was a successful high-level executive first at Ford and then at Terex, a firm focused on lifting and material processing products (e.g. cranes), with all the associated perks and incentives. Meet Pete Gilfillan. He had the good life and no reason to change until one day…

Alan: I saw that your main business is helping people evaluate franchises (FranChoice). How did you get started in your own business? What triggered that decision?

Pete: I was a corporate executive, first with Ford and later with Terex and they literally owned my life. I was traveling all the time. I just decided one day I had had enough and I would be an entrepreneur.

Alan: Tell me more about what happened when you decided to leave corporate life.

Pete: In my last position, I was with Terex. I live in Chicago, but the Terex is headquartered in Connecticut and I was on the road 6 days a week and much of the travel was international. With all the travel I didn’t eat right, didn’t exercise and frankly I was miserable. I was in another country and I woke up in the middle of the night and I couldn’t remember what country I was in. I realized then I had had enough. When I got back to Chicago, I told my wife about the decision. At first my wife wasn’t keen on the idea of my leaving corporate. She saw the practical side of staying in corporate (financial security), but I knew I needed to make a change. I quit my job and I started working with a franchise consultant in order to find a franchise. After a few months we found Junk King and saw that it was be a good fit. I liked that it was a service based business and could be scaled up; such as adding trucks as the business grew and it had little overhead. Later, I started to work with FranChoice, where today I’m one of the top franchise consultants. I really like the way their business model works. There is no cost to individuals (companies pay FranChoice) and it gives me the opportunity to do what I love most, which is to help people find the business that meets their needs.

Alan: That’s great. You are able to do what you love. Let’s change gears for a minute. I saw that you wrote a best-selling book. Writing a book is a big step. How did you come up with the idea for your book?

Writing is a key way to demonstrate your expertise and build your business

Pete: Darren Hardy, who is pretty well known in the entrepreneur circles, is my mentor. I went to his High Performance Summit and Darren said one of the best ways to give back is through writing a book. Since I have a lot of knowledge about the franchise business, doing a book on it was a good fit.

Alan: How did you find the time to write?

Pete: There is many ways to write a book. I found a company that would write the actual words while I talked. I would put together an outline for each chapter and talk for a couple of hours with the writers. We would meet for 2 hours a week, either early morning or late at night. After a draft of the book was created, I had someone edit the book. Even then it took a year and a half to complete the book.

Alan: How did you go about publishing it?

Pete: I was able to find a publishing company through my business coach.

Alan: It had to be daunting to start your own business after being in corporate. What is one thing you wish you knew before you started your own business?

Pete: If I could have been able to keep my corporate job and invested in franchise and then make the leap instead of going in cold to my own business, it would have saved me a lot of angst. I may have done something different than Junk King. I could have started a franchise on a part-time basis, say 15 hours week. With Junk King there was no way to do it on a part-time basis.

Alan: What’s next for you?

Pete: Speaking engagements, so I can reach more people and continue to work with ExecuNet, which is a private community made up of over 750,000 CEOs, VPs and various leaders and influencers.

Alan: Any final words?

Pete: I would say that for franchising, people need to have an open mind. When people ask me about franchising, they have already made up their mind that it would be food (McDonalds, etc.) They have that in mind because they see a lot of people eating at those restaurants so they assume it is a good business to get into. I help them understand that the food business is very competitive; has high capital investment and a high cost of goods sold (the food). There are over 3000 franchises in every conceivable business that may fit their needs. It doesn’t have to be food.
But regardless of what business you go in, whether it is a franchise or not, you need to work hard. There is no substitute for hard work.

Alan: Good words to live by. Thanks for your time.

Second Entrepreneur

Our second entrepreneur was a successful telecom executive before going into his own business. He shares key ideas on making your business grow. Meet Rick Lochner.

Alan: How did you come to be an entrepreneur?

Rick: I’ve known for some time that I wanted to be in my own business and that it would be in the leadership area. I worked with entrepreneurial company and it was sold 2 years after I started. I went to another company and 2 years later it was sold. The turmoil of being at companies that are going through turnarounds is very difficult for everyone involved. It is very long hours, great stress and often the rewards of that hard work just aren’t there. I’ve been laid off 4 times in my career so I knew corporate has no security. I even negotiated my severance package before I went to work a healthcare company.

Alan: How exactly did going into your own business occur?

Rick: My wife and I were having brunch with a couple and we talked about how it would be great to start business and details on what that business would look like when it started in a few years. At the end of the meal, I said, “Why are we waiting; let’s do it!” It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Alan: What do you like best about being an entrepreneur?

Rick: The best thing is I get to do what I love. In corporate, there were many things I had to do that I really didn’t enjoy. Being an entrepreneur, being in my own business, enables me to live with purpose and that is very meaningful to me.

Alan: Is there anything you would do differently now if you were just starting your business?

Rick: I would have pursued the non-profit market right away. I didn’t because people told me there is no money in that business, but that is not true. That market needs to be approached differently than for-profit but they need my services just as much. Now non-profit is 25% of my business. But you asked if I would have done anything differently and the answer is no. The business strategy worked and I would have approached starting the business the same way.

Alan: What challenges did you have starting out?

Rick: I started the business in July 2008. The US was already in a recession and financial markets were in turmoil and little did I know things in the business world were about to get a lot worse. I had worked in telecom for many years as an executive and I had been quite successful. I had a load of contacts at my previous company, Sprint; there were many people that knew me well and respected me but I was not able to get business from them. They still saw me as a telecom executive and not as knowledgeable in leadership development, even though I had been developing leaders at Sprint. I had traveled a lot during me years in corporate and my connections in Chicago were no better than in Atlanta or any other U.S. city. I knew I needed to develop roots in the local community. I joined Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce and started to created circles of influence. In time the contacts I made developed into connections for the business. It wasn’t easy, but I went all in; 100% to make the business work.

Why having a part-time business is so important

Alan: What advice would you give to someone that is climbing the corporate ladder?

Rick: Every corporate employee should have a part time gig to provide a bridge to go into business for themselves or just to have a secondary income source. I started teaching leadership at Keller School of Business in 2004. Teaching helped in the 8 months transition to my business full-time. It provided income after getting laid-off; making it easier to focus on the growth of the business and not where the next paycheck was coming from.

Alan: What has been the biggest challenge in your learning curve as an entrepreneur?

Rick: Marketing was new to me; I had not worked in that area. So I put together my business plan and my marketing plan and discussed it in detail with my two mastermind groups. They both said the business plan was great and was going to work but the marketing plan was not good. So I was tutored in marketing from people that were 20 years younger than me and their advice was spot on. This taught me a couple of valuable things. 1) You have to know what you are good at and what you are not good at and find experts in the areas that you are not good. 2) Spend a lot of time with people 20s to early 40s in order to gain insights on trends.

Alan: What additional advice would you give to someone that was looking to start their own business?

Rick: Know what problem you are trying to solve and position yourself so that is clear that you are the only one that can solve it. Too many people get hung up on their product or service and less focused on the problem to be solved. If you are going to go for it, then you really have to go for it. At the core, you have to know how to solve the problem in a unique way.

Alan: How did your writing a book come about?

Rick: The business model I developed has been a work in progress since 1999. I used that model to align the business at every organization I led as an executive. Often we try to fix a problem in an isolated way which doesn’t work. The process may not be broken; it may be the people, so you need a holistic approach. I wrote the first book in 2012 to complete my initial business strategy and a book does that. I was advised by a couple of authors and self-published it. I needed to promote the business alignment method and the book helps clarify the model as well as promote the business. I asked clients what is perfect length for a book and they said a Chicago to Los Angeles flight, which is about 4 ½ hours.

Alan: You’ve actually published multiple books. How did you come with your ideas?

Rick: The second book was to help the individual leader and the third book was for the entrepreneurs. I write books that apply to the business areas I work in.

Alan: How do you find the time to write?

Rick: The secret to success is having a coach. I’ve had 3 accountability coaches so far and each one helped me in a different way. When I first started the business, I needed an accountability coach; someone that would keep me accountable and keep me encouraged. She was the type of person I needed at that time. Keep in mind, I was starting this business during the depths of the Great Recession and needed that support. The second coach helped me write the books, not from the standpoint that he had ideas for the book, but he was able to get me moving along on the development of the book. I actually wrote the first book while my wife was driving during vacation because I was on a self-imposed deadline and needed to get it done. The third coach has helped me grow the business and take it took another level. If I would have had her in the beginning, it would not have worked well. Now that the business is growing and I am at a different place in my thinking and my business, she is exactly what I need.

Alan: Any final thoughts?

Rick: I talked with 20 different coaches before starting out in leadership coaching and based on my research, billions of dollars is wasted on leadership that doesn’t work. I am on a crusade to change that one leader at a time. It will take time to undo the wrong things that leaders are doing today; takes time to unlearn. But I will continue to work with them, one leader at a time. It is my passion.

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