Webinar - Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive?

Just in case you missed our first webinar and would like to have a look, simply click on our link below:

Webinar #1: Why Just Survive When You Can Thrive? 


If you’ve ever felt like you are on an island, with no real connection to others that might understand what it means to be a small to mid-size business owner, you are not alone. This webinar is for you!

Millions of business owners wake up each day feeling like their business owns them. They struggle to scale, struggle to reap the full financial rewards of their hard work, struggle to keep good people and struggle to find a few minutes of free time to enjoy family and friends.

Join us as we share insights we’ve gained by working with over 1,000 entrepreneurs. We will share some “next and best practices” that form a solid foundation for any great business, but we’ll also share insights on what we believe is the real game changer for entrepreneurial success…addressing the “heart of the entrepreneur”.

Join us for this free webinar where we will begin to conquer your hidden fears that almost all entrepreneurs share, encourage you to focus on your unique strengths as a business leader and help you to create an actionable strategic vision for your future.

Presented by: UB School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership


I love Dr. Seuss, but I think he got this one wrong

Dr.seussIt appears to be the perfect piece advice... "The more that your read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."  Yet all too often we freeze in our tracks when we think we need to read one more article, earn one more degree or visit one more place before we are ready to act.  Trust me...you are already an expert at something.  You already have everything you need. It is time to step forward and start to live your dreams.  So please do go ahead...read more, learn more, and go more places until your hear is content.  But only because you want to, not because you have to. 






It only takes a little extra effort to stand out from average

Picture a busy Memorial Day weekend at Canalside Buffalo, lots of kiddie rides, two children under 2-1/2, four hungry adults and a torrential downpour all colliding at the same moment just as the clock strikes 12:30p.m.  An interesting vision in itself, but now add the desire to take a quick break hoping for a nice lunch at the only sit down restaurant in close range.  Enter lunch at the Liberty HoundLibertyhoundlogo

I know you are picturing a disaster waiting to happen, but quite the contrary.  The Liberty Hound impressed!  It took a friendly front desk staff that was unshakeable despite the busy lunch time rush (made even busier by an unexpected rain storm).  Friendly smiles, a clear expectation of wait time and a sincere interest in finding just the right spot for two hungry kids, one still wanting to be on the rides right outside the door.  They had us at hello.

Our short wait was followed by a great table tucked in the corner out of traffic with a window seat for the little one that overlooked the canal and the waiting rides.  A welcome smile from an attentive waitress followed by some creative menu making for the kids ("no we don't have any fruit, but I'm sure I can make something up for them"...and she did!) was the midpoint of a great customer experience. Great food followed, by continued attentive service and regular checking in from the wait staff.  Finish the experience with the front end manager checking in to see if we liked the "special" table he found just for us.

In short, we had an excellent customer experience when it could have easily been average or worse.  Quite frankly, given the conditions of the day, I would have been quite pleased with average.  All it took was a little extra attention, clear communication and some friendly smiles to turn average into outstanding.  The Liberty Hound left me a fan and loyal customer.  We'll be back!

The moral of the story is that it didn't take much to make a huge difference.  That is a sad reflection of what we've come to expect from our endless average or less than average customer experiences.  Bump it up just a notch or two and your business can quickly become a customer loyalty machine.  It doesn't take much!

Garbage In, Garbage Out - The Secret to an Exceptional Customer Experience

We live in a world of too busy.  Too busy to listen carefully, too busy to focus on things that are important and wayyyyyy too busy to pay attention to details.  Sound familiar?  It's a reality of our fast paced world.  Sadly, our fascination with being busy has crept into many of our businesses too.  We often focus on the big picture, forgetting about the details of the customer experience.  

Let me give you a quick example.  Recently I was in Denver, CO at a beautiful hotel.  Great room, decent front desk service and a friendly staff.  Unfortunately, one small detail left a bad impression that I can't get out of my head.  It wasn't a big deal...actually, it was a pretty minor detail, but it was big enough to make me think twice about the establishments attention to detail. 

It was a public restroom on the first floor of the hotel with a washroom attendant just leaving, having wiped down the counter and mirrors.  All sounds like great attention to detail until this... 

Attention to Detail Builds Customer Loyalty
Attention to Detail?

Yes, I actually took a picture of a garbage can in a restroom.  Really you say?  Forgive me, but it made an impression.  I watched the washroom attendant put all of his attention into the little details like wiping down the sinks and washing the mirrors, yet in his business and rush to move onto the next chore of the day, he forgot to pay attention to this little detail.  A little detail that wasn't so little.  Why didn't he empty the garbage or at least compress it?  He was too busy being busy.

So what's the point you ask? The point is that attention to detail matters!  Your ability to focus on detail can set your company apart, because your competition probably isn't taking the time to do that.

 Let me contrast this example with a recent experience that we had at the Buffalo Marriott Niagara.  Just two weeks ago we had an open house breakfast event for our CEL Core class. 

They paid attention to every detail.  Let me walk you through our few hours on site.  I personally arrived about an hour early.  The room was set from the night before and everything looked great.  I sat at a rear table to review some presentation materials.  Not one minute later, someone was offering a cheerful good morning greeting and offering a cup of coffee.  Did I need anything?  Did I want anything?  I can go on an on about this particular venue and the event, but let me sum it up this way.  ABOVE and BEYOND!  Above and beyond in every interaction from maintenance worker to server to banquet manager to hotel manager.  Every single person was focused on us, the customer and our clients.  I can't explain how they did it, but it is obviously part of their culture.  The attention was in the details and the positive attitude that every team member exuded.  It was obvious to us that the entire team was focused in serving the customer with a genuine sincerity that flowed seamlessly through their team. 

Why should you care?  Because this type of over the top customer service is so rare that if your organization has it, you have an incredible competitive experience in the marketplace and you can likely charge a premium for it.  Is the Buffalo Marriott Niagara the cheapest place to hold our events?  Absolutely not, they are on the higher end of the choices available to us.  That being said, we will gladly pay a premium for our team and our clients to experience that magic that happens when customer service is the focus and not an afterthought. 

A Legacy Worth Living - Planning Your Living Legacy

By Verne Harnish “Growth Guy” and Tom Ulbrich "Assistant Dean and Executive Director University at Buffalo School of Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership

Far too often we get caught up in the “busyness of stuff” and forget about what is really important in our lives.    We often engage in strategic planning to create alignment in our businesses, but fail to do the same in our personal lives.  When is the last time that you sat down and really spent some time thoughtfully engaging your personal plan and living legacy?

People often joke that the best moments of boat ownership are the day they bought the boat and the day they sold it.

There are similar punctuation marks in our lives—the day we’re born and the day we pass away. As busy executives, if we’re not careful, our personal lives can end up as neglected as those vessels, forever docked in the harbor (or parked in storage!).

I’m a big believer in building a living legacy. Your life will be more meaningful if you treat every day as if it was your last and, instead of rushing from one obligation to another, you proactively establish personal priorities and align them with your professional goals.

As readers of this column know, there are four decisions you must make to build a thriving company: People, Strategy, Execution and Cash. In your personal life, there are parallel areas: Relationships, Achievements, Rituals and Wealth. Commit to writing your goals in these four areas, just as you weave the Four Decisions into your business plan.  To guide you in creating a personal one-page plan, here’s a link to a “ME: Living Legacy” tool.


At the end of the day, what matters most in life are relationships.  The first step in using the Living Legacy tool is to list the key people in your life on whom you want to have a lasting impact.

In business, you have a tremendous opportunity to influence your employees or customers.  In your personal life, the important people in your life will likely include your family, your friends, and those in the various communities to which you belong. Limit the list to 25 people, so you don’t get overwhelmed. 58797_3761395994702_1171238792_n

At the same time, there may be some people in your life who are destructive and/or distract you from your higher goals. There’s a space on the form where you can note relationships you want to end.  Doing so is important, so you can free time for the people who matter most to you.


Many CEOs find that even when they reach critical milestones for growing their company, they feel they haven’t made a real difference in the world. The achievements section of the Living Legacy tool can pave the way to a more meaningful life. Think about the major ways you’d like to make an impact through your work beyond reaching monetary goals—perhaps by mentoring others or setting up a nonprofit organization or pro bono initiative—and set objectives in these key areas. File9751272655027

In your personal life, you’ll want to think about how you can make a real difference to the key people in your life. For instance, you might aim to have a happy marriage, instead of just staying married, as many people do.  Signing on to facilitate the 5-year strategic plan for our children’s school was something I enjoyed prioritizing this past six months. 


Establishing regular routines in your life will help you achieve your larger goals. Examples of rituals might include a weekly date night with your spouse and booking some “alone” time with each child once a week. For distant family members, you might build a regular routine, like taking a vacation together every two years.


You might also want to establish rituals with people whose presence in your life supports your bigger goals.  Meeting regularly with a workout buddy, for instance, can help you maintain good health—something that’s important to achieving any goals you set.   

Like destructive relationships, there might be some bad habits or behaviors you wish to stop – list those as well.


Rather than financial wealth being an end in itself, see it as a resource for supporting the rest of your personal plan.  Set goals for the amount of money you want to donate to causes that matter to you.  Decide what you need to set aside to support activities with your family and friends, investing in experiences that create lasting memories.  In the cash section of the Living Legacy document, you’ll want to make note of any financial goals you must meet to fuel your living legacy.  And when you let money flow through you to help those around you, it seems to appear more effortlessly.


It’s not easy to do this type of planning, but just getting yourself to think about what matters most is 90% of the battle.  You want to make sure that what you leave in the wake of your life as you sail along is a legacy worth living.

Emotional Intelligence and Entrepreneurship

Does emotional intelligence (EQ) play a role in an entrepreneur’s success?  Aren’t entrepreneurs just individuals that are driven to success at all costs?  There are plenty of studies that show a connection between EQ and entrepreneurial success.  Through personal experience and observation, I can attest to what I believe is a direct link.   ImpressarioBeing a successful entrepreneur requires a diverse set of skills, EQ forms that foundation.  The most successful entrepreneurs are experts at identifying opportunities that others can’t see.  How do they do that?  Is it a sixth sense or is it really EQ?  They have a keen social awareness.  They are constantly observing, outwardly focused on the needs of others in an effort to identify needs that have not yet been met.  Sounds a little bit different than the typical money hungry vulture that the media sometimes describes, doesn’t it?  The most successful are masters of the art of leadership and teambuilding.  They understand how to manage themselves and their own emotions, as well as how to manage the delicate balance of relationships with others.  The best of the best appear to possess a multitude of skills needed to navigate the chaos of a startup.  They have the innate ability to observe, react, coordinate and manage the many moving pieces required to build a successful business, much more akin to the impresario of an orchestra than the socially awkward, inwardly focused individual society sometimes associates with entrepreneurial startups.   Yes, I do believe EQ plays a significant role in an entrepreneur’s success.  What do you think?