Friday, December 29, 2006

BUSINESS ETHICS

According to Wikopedia; "Business ethics is a form of the art of applied ethics that examines ethical rules and principles within a commercial context, the various moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business setting, and any special duties or obligations that apply to persons who are engaged in commerce. "
Business ethics is a huge issue these days, and has become part of the required curriculum at business schools. Most religions outline rules to follow in a business setting. While it is relatively simple to know the legal aspects of business, ethics is not always so clear cut.
There are many resources and discussions available. The Markuta Center for Applied Ethics of the University of Santa Clara has a page of links for organizations both nationwide and international.
Business is not just about making a profit. Ethics in business, as in life, are an extremely important part of human existence.

Thursday, December 28, 2006


A GOOD YEAR

Here we are at the end of the year. So, how was it? If it wasn't so good, why? If it was great, why? It's always a good idea to crunch those annual numbers to complete the business puzzle. These days, just the fact that you're still in business is a positive statement. A common answer to the question is, "Ok, but it could be better. " Absolutely. How do we make it better?
It's like history; you can't know where you're going unless you see where you've been. What kind of mistakes were made? What products were your most profitable? Where can you cut some overhead? Should you add more equipment or find a supplier who can do the job better? Can you add lines and take the business in a different direction?
There are many more questions, of course, but you probably know what they are. Finding those answers are paramount. Your numbers don't lie. It's how you interpret those numbers that will make your business more successful.
Here's to a new, exciting and profitable year. Keep asking those questions and find the answers you need to be in the black, and green.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006


WHERE'RE WE GOING?

There's an old joke that starts off, like many others, "I've got some good news, and some bad news. The good news is we're making great time. The bad news is we're completely lost."
Many businesses are like this joke. They start off with a business plan, but don't revise it. I relate a business to traveling because there are a lot of similarities. If you see traffic on the highway coming to a stop, do you take the service road and keep moving, or stay with the traffic?
Look at your business plan. It's difficult to plan ahead, but don't stay the course if your plan is not working. Sometimes a few adjustments are in order; maybe a complete overhaul is necessary.
If you don't keep your business current, it will become history.

Monday, December 25, 2006


MERRY CHRISTMAS

I've spoken about the Holiday Season in a business sense, but today is Christmas. Personally, I don't celebrate Christmas, but to most Christians it is an important holiday. It's a time for families to come together and for some, a deeply spiritual time.
I have no problem when people wish me Merry Christmas, or wishing them the same. Political correctness may have its place, but I can understand why some folks are upset with the Happy Holidays greeting.
Separation of religion and government is, and has been, an important part of our constitution. Without this freedom, we could become like the Taliban. Of course, that's an extreme point of view. Is it possible to take it too far in the opposite direction? Absolutely!
Sometimes we need to lighten up. Merry Christmas to all.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Every year my company, Merrick Printing, closes for the holiday season. We send out postcards after Thanksgiving annoucing the closing and adding a line about a new or interesting product. We follow up with calls to our customers so that they can get their orders done before we close. It's a busy, hectic time this month, but the time off is well worth it.
For our employees, it's a paid vacation. For my partner and me, it's a time of renewal. We have already discussed some ideas for next year, and I've already crunched some numbers in support of these new ideas.
There are many places that open for the three or four days this week, but we made the decision to close for the whole week over twenty years ago and find that it works for us and our customers.

Monday, December 11, 2006


CUSTOMER SERVICE

A prospect called me today to find out about calendars. I gave him my website address and told him where to find samples and prices. He called me back five minutes later to tell me there was no website. My website was down.
I was on the phone two minutes later trying to get in touch with my rep at Verizon. I got his voicemail, and his manager's voicemail. Undeterred, I got in touch with another manager who attempted to help me. He promised that he would check on the problem and call me back in ten minutes.
Nine minutes later he called me back to explain what the problem was. Evidently, my rep had made an error and had entered the wrong code for my site. I was told that I would have to wait until tomorrow to sort it out. I started to flip out and told him that that was unacceptable. He tried to soothe me and replied that he would make some inquiries and call me back within an hour.
Forty minutes later he called and asked me if I was by my computer. Sure enough my site was back up. I thanked him profusely, and even apologized to him for flipping out. He explained that he was happy to put a smile on my face.
Samuel from Verizon exhibited excellent customer service. He turned a dismal situation into a great recovery. It's good to see that there are people out there like Samuel who care about clients, and keep their promises.
This blog is my salute to Samuel, and people like him that stoke the fires of good customer service.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


JUST DO IT!

OK, this is not a Nike ad, but all work and no play....
You have to do something physical. Play softball, touch football or basketball. If you don't like team sports, play golf, ski, swim or ride a bike. If you don't like sports, go for a walk and lift some light weights. There is something for everyone.
If you need to get started there are DVD's and websites to help. Men's Health is a great place to go for information on working out and nutrition.
A body is like a business, if it suffers from poor management, it shows. If your body is not performing at its best, your mind will not do as well either; and your mind comes in handy sometimes.
To paraphrase Woody Allen, "My brain is my second favorite organ."