What’s That Sound?

If all you do is boast of your successes and never share your failures I’m not very interested in your successes. I call these “drive-by brags.” Someone you rarely hear from zooms in, tells you their latest great feat, and disappears. Down the road and out of sight they’ve probably crashed into a tree. Those are the people who, in the absence of an audience, tend to applaud themselves. Their voice mail is something like this: “I can’t answer the …


You May Be Wrong, But You’re Also Annoying

I asked a woman at a pro bono speech I was making what kind of value she provided. She stammered and then said something uninteresting. I suggested some ways to change her approach and mentioned four elements. “Oh, I don’t agree with with two of those,” she said, “I’m an expert in this field and those approaches don’t work.” It was clear she had zero idea of what she was talking about, yet her defensiveness was world class. She heard …


A Bight of the Apple

You’ve got to love people already complaining about the new iPhones without even having them in hand as yet. If you don’t like them, don’t buy them. But don’t sit there whining that Apple hasn’t made its new product exactly as you’d like it. People with this attitude allow it to pervade their lives. They don’t like the way the seats are set up in a concert, object to the rules about food on the beach, want the airlines to …


Keep Your Pets on A Leash

A pet is something that receives particular favor, as in “teacher’s pet.” A peeve is an irritation that one feels, real or perceived. Hence, a “pet peeve” is a particularly welcome irritation, giving someone reason to complain. If you have enough of them, sort of a “herd of pet peeves,” you’ll find yourself standing all by yourself with just your “pets” to keep you company. Nobody enjoys a chronic complainer.


DASM: Why Not Just Burn Your Money?

A sandwich shop franchise is usually between $200,000 and $400,000. The sandwiches are probably about $7 on average, and with drinks and chips figure about $10. If salaries, taxes, benefits, rents, utilities, insurance, supplies and so forth cost another $300,000, let’s say that’s a $600,000 total investment the first year (the franchise fee has to be funded somehow, even if by loan). That means you’d have to sell 60,000 sandwiches to pay that bill, or at least 30,000 to pay the …


See, It’s Called “Profit” and the Opposite is “Loss”

Many years ago my wife started a small business creating customer-designed exercise outfits and accessories. At one point she brought me a small piece of artwork she had been working on for an entire day. “Do you like it?” she asked. “I do,” I said, “how much will you sell it for?” “Two dollars,” she decided. “Houston, we have a problem,” I said. I’ve written in this space before about a Jersey Mike’s franchise that has good sandwiches, but the …



A Case for A SWAT Team?

On the outskirts of Providence, right next to Interstate 95, is a giant blue bug on the roof of an exterminating company. It’s a termite, 427,000 times larger than life. (I am not making this up.) The company which was once called something like “New England Exterminating”  officially changed its name to Big Blue Bug Exterminating. Traffic reporters use it as a landmark (congestion around the Big Blue Bug) and when Interstate 195 was rerouted at a cost of tens …


The Pain of the Dentist

I visit every four months. I haven’t had a cavity in ten years, my gums are in good shape, and thanks to the wonders of cosmetic dentistry, I have very straight, white teeth, which my parents couldn’t afford to provide way back when. Yet, there apparently is no business input into dental office management or experiences.   The receptionist doesn’t greet you kindly, simply says, “Okay, take a seat.” The appointment starts slightly late, no one apologizes or acknowledges it. …