Fight, Flee or Just Plain Panic!

Rome was not built in a day. Yea I know…so cliché, but so true. No matter what kind of business you plan on starting, the beginning is not going to go smooth. It never does and it never will.

Whether it is a restaurant or a dotcom, things just pop up and cause headaches. The only thing one needs to remember when this occurs is to stay calm and find solutions.

We unveiled our new menu tonight at my restaurant and it was chaos! It reminded me of our grand opening two years ago. Food was flying in all directions in the kitchen, customer wait times were exceeding 40 mins (yikes!), employees were getting into fights with each other and numerous other problems occurred. But as a seasoned entrepreneur, all I did was observe and learn.

Don’t try to fix all the problems at once. You’ll have a heart attack or your head will explode (seriously). Begin fixing problems or as I like to call them “inefficiencies” one at a time.

A clipboard and a calm demeanor can do wonders when observing your business (that not so well oiled machine) in action. I’ve noticed time and time again that many business owners get caught up in quickly “band-aiding” the problem instead of trying to understand why the problem occurred in the first place. That’s a total rookie move, and it took me 10 years to figure that out.

So when the sh%# hits the fan, just step aside, plug your nose and endure. If you keep a cool head and fix the cause of  the problems, everything will be just fine.

 

Social Media Marketing – No One Way Streets

There are no one way streets in a successful social marketing campaign. Remember that.

Lately, I’ve noticed a lot of businesses trying to harness the power of social media. They register their Twitter accounts, start fan pages on Facebook and maybe even create their very own blog. That’s definitely a step in the right direction. However, that’s only the beginning.

Many businesses think this is enough and simply start blasting away with ads and bulls%@$, as they did “back in the day” through more traditional channels. A TV commercial is a one way street, as are most radio ads or billboards. Marketing via social media is not.

All one has to do is look at the phrase “social media,” social being the keyword here. It’s all about interacting with your customers. Not by simply posting events, alerts and ads (dare I say spam) on social media sites, but by seeking out and responding to customer feedback. Empower the customer, give them a sense of belonging and they will love you.

If a user comments on your Facebook fan page, respond to it. If someone new begins following you on Twitter, acknowledge and thank them. It can be that simple.

For anyone that still can’t grasp the idea of social media marketing, here it is in a nutshell: Interaction with customers, or perhaps we should now call them fans or friends, on a two way street, where communication flows back and forth.

That’s it! Now go forth and start building a fan base.

-Mike Mulhall

My Boy Patton

One of my idols is General George S. Patton. Not just because he was a great general, but because he was a very capable man faced with a vexing dilemma. He felt strongly that if he did not seize his destiny by force, it would pass him by. And that kept him up at night. I can relate to his worries.

He was a brilliant, strong, hard headed, cursing, bible reading son of a bitch (those are his own words). I wish I could have met him.

His motto was “Always take the offensive…never dig in.” Now THAT is a motto all entrepreneurs should live by.

I have spent a lot of time reading and studying war strategy as it relates to business. Patton, along with Von Clausewitz, believed that the general most willing to dispense with all things not related to war and just attack, with no thought of stopping, was the general who always prevailed. This type of strategy can also be applied to business and life. Patton lived by that rule.

If you are further interested in this kind of stuff, check out these books:

  • War As I Knew It – By George S. Patton
  • On War – By Carl Von Clausewitz     (Very heavy reading, but a great book)
  • Art of War – By Sun Tzu    (Everyone knows this one)

Visualize and Achieve

It seems like the new buzz word these days is visualization. In the books, magazines and blogs I read, everyone is talking about the power of visualizing your success.

One book in particular said that visualizing your goals in your mind is one thing, but creating a tangible visual aid is even more powerful.

I always tell colleagues that one of my ultimate goals is to be on the cover of Wired magazine. I think about that every day. So I made the above picture last night and taped it to my wall. I stare at it constantly, and deep down, I can see it happening! It’s a great feeling.

I used Adobe Photoshop, but I found some great sites that will help anyone get on a magazine cover. Let’s face it, if you make it onto on the cover of your industry’s magazine, you’re doing well. The sites are:

And it doesn’t have to be a magazine cover. Get creative and try having fun with it. Maybe your goal is to buy a new car or a house in the near future. Follow my examples and see what happens.