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Feedback 01/05

Ad Overload

After reading the "Seeing Greens" article in your November issue ("Smart Ideas"), I became ill.

Imagine placing ads on golf carts, flags, banners in the locker rooms. What's next? Ads on golf clubs, balls, caddies' hats and jackets? And what about a short commercial when the ball is lifted out of the cup?

I'm an avid golfer and consider the golf course a pleasant site of recreation and an escape from the blatant ads you see in newspapers, magazines and on TV and radio.

Where does it all stop?

I suppose it's only a matter of time before advertising will work its way into the cemetery. Just look at all that space on the cemetery fence going to waste. And then, of course, there are the tombstones themselves.

All's fair in love and advertising.

Lawrence Mak
Owner
L&M Publications
Paradise, California

Value Added

Although the article "Hire Learning" was of immense value, I would like to address issues pertinent to the core of the article, and also to Kathleen Miller's advice.

The biggest mistake many entrepreneurs make is not understanding the real reason they are hiring their first employee, or [not] recognizing the person as the most important asset they will ever have. Many of my newer clients are so focused on timing their products for entry into the marketplace and creating a buzz around [them], they end up hiring their first employee out of a sense of urgency rather than as a conscious long-term investment strategy.

I advise my newer clients to create a list explaining not only the need, but [also] the benefits their first hire will provide. I ask them to think not in terms of longer lunch breaks or more time with the family, but in terms of a person who will provide the necessary balance to the entrepreneur's strengths and weaknesses. My clients have learned that finding balance in a small business equates to each person having respect for the contributions of others, no matter how large or small.

Having cleared these hurdles, my clients explain to me what their new employee will be doing. We then work on assigning each task, no matter how menial, a real value or a degree of significance as it relates to the overall success of the business. By doing this, entrepreneurs gain an understanding of the overall importance of the task and can communicate this to the new employee when the eventual question of "What am I doing this for?" arises.

Out of professional respect for Miller, although her advice is quite sound when she talks about "distilling information in levels," my decade-plus of experience in dealing with entrepreneurs and startups has taught me that information [given] to any employee, especially a new hire, [that] is not appointed a value or significance to the overall quality or integrity of the product/service will only lessen its value or significance to all parties involved. Soon, no one will want to perform the task, and it will quickly become a quality or production issue of a much larger magnitude.

When I have clients like Mike Wilson, featured in the same article, who are time-challenged and preparing for their first hire, I have asked that a family member, loved one or friend observe them while they are working. My clients later review their notes and can then provide answers to the "whats" and "whys" and begin assigning them a value or significance. Although my clients have complained about having to do this extra work, never once did any regret the successful results.

Rich Keller
President
The Healthy Business Doctor
Ocala, Florida

After the Makeover

We are so happy to have been chosen to win our wonderful prize ("To the Rescue," November). Our offices are beautiful, efficient and so much nicer to spend 45 to 55 hours a week in. We appreciate all that you have done. We are really moving ahead this last quarter at a bigger, faster, greater pace than [in] previous years. This has made Mad Science of Scottsdale a stronger, more productive and efficient business.

Jack and Kathy Hamlett
Chief Mad Scientists
Mad Science
Scottsdale, Arizona

Sowing the Seeds

Thank you for continuing to provide inspiration, tips and tricks, and great articles for this small-business owner! The November issue flooded this entrepreneur's brain with great ideas and, more important, reinforced what I should not do in business. In addition, your website is a daily stop on my web activities.

Thank you for continuing to plant the seeds of inspiration.

Lori Davis
Director of the Future
Davis Virtual Assistants

Starting Young

I'm a college student attending Westminster College. I am self-motivated and feel there must be a way I can start a small part-time business and get my studies finished. I enjoy outdoor activities, computer work, photography, graphic design and advertising, but am clueless as to which of these skills could produce revenue. The hourly jobs I've been working take too much time and seem to get me nowhere. Is there any way you could include an article about college students in Entrepreneur?

Christian Polleys
Salt Lake City


Editor's Note:

In response to this kind of interest, we have launched a new column focusing on college entrepreneurs. Look for "Biz U" in the February issue of Entrepreneur.

Corrections:

The Brain Alchemy Master Class ("Biz 101," October) is not a company, but a product of PsychoTactics Ltd.

The website for Global Wine Partners LLC ("Wine Businesses") is www.mkf.com.

Like this article? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kindle Fire.

This article was originally published in the January 2005 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Feedback 01/05.

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