Tip for Changing a Squirming Baby’s Diaper

From time to time I figure out or, more likely, somebody shares a tiny bit of wisdom or a tip that is really, really helpful to me. Those nuggets are the kind of things I don’t want to forget and I want to share with others so they can benefit also. Here is one such tiny tip that has helped me lots with changing diapers on a squirming baby, especially a baby who wants to “help” me change the diaper by reaching down there.

Newborn babies may cry and kick (and occasionally “leak”) but that’s about all the trouble they make during diaper changes.  As babies grow, though, they become more curious and more wiggly and that’s when diaper changing becomes more challenging, especially for those really dirty times. And that’s exactly when the reaching problem becomes very apparent and leads to dirty hands and then dirty clothes and then a dirty changing table and so on.

I wish I could claim this tip as my own, but no, I learned it from my wife who has changed far more diapers than I have. I was changing a squirmer one day and she warned me that he had moved to the reaching stage. She suggested I give him something special to hold during the diaper change. I was amazed at how well it worked. He was so fascinated with the new thing to hold that he completely ignored reaching into the diaper.

Now I try to keep something near the changing table that I can hand him. This trick seems to work especially well if the Continue reading “Tip for Changing a Squirming Baby’s Diaper”

Seven Sales Lessons from Mark Stevens

Today I read a very interesting article by Mark Stevens entitled Sales Lessons From a Fly Fishing Master and found at Entrepreneur.com. Mark Stevens is a bestselling author and the CEO of MSCO which is a management and marketing firm. In this article, Stevens offers seven lessons about sales and being a salesman which I found very valuable. I quote these nuggets below:

1. If there are two versions of you, the salesperson and the civilian, people will see you as disingenuous. There must be only one you.

2. Relate to people exactly as you are. Imperfections are not seen as reasons not to do business with you. Just the opposite, your willingness to be transparent is seen as vindication that you are the genuine article — a trustworthy individual one can reliably do business with.

3. Tell your clients and prospects what they don’t want to hear when you believe that the painful medicine will be in their best interests. They may be upset with the messenger in the moment of truth, but you will stand out from the yes-men when the dust clears.

4. Always carry yourself with great pride, knowing that a salesperson is a “prince of the company.” Others can work the books and make the factory hum, but as IBM founder Tom Watson said, Continue reading “Seven Sales Lessons from Mark Stevens”

5 Tips for Beating a Sales Slump

I recently read a helpful article on advertising, sales and marketing. It was written by Adrian Miller and entitled “How to Beat a Sales Slump.” In this article, Miller offers five pieces of advice for digging oneself out of a sales slump.

Since slumps seem to be inevitable and affect virtually all entrepreneurs, I felt these thoughts were noteworthy. I also wanted to share them so I (or you) will remember them next time either of us experiences such a slump.

1. Go After the Low Hanging Fruit.

In essence, this means setting attainable targets for the short-run by going after proven prospects that can produce revenue now. Now is not the time to go after the long-shots that have a high probability of failure.

2. Get Critiqued.

In short, we all have blindspots and can all use some good advice. It’s wise to seek out an honest evaluation of your abilities from an objective source. Ask somebody you respect who is knowledgeable of your industry or marketing needs to evaluate your performance and to suggest ways to improve.

[An objective evaluation (with both free and paid options) along with other resources can be obtained online at YourPitchSucks.com. I know the founder Jim Kukral. He offers a wealth of information that can improve your marketing and help fine-tune your sales message.]

3. Read Up.

Take time during the slump to improve yourself. Read and learn from others. Look for ways to be more innovative. Learn new techniques.

4. Stop the Blame Game.

Whether the fault is your own or that of others, the bottom line is you are in a slump and must get out of it. Don’t focus on placing blame but instead on finding answers (solutions) that address why you got into the slump and how to get out.  Focus on developing strategies that will improve your situation.

5. Try Something New.

If you repeat the same thing that failed the last time then chances are it will fail this time also. Don’t repeat failures. Explore new strategies, methods and options. You just might find something that is much better than you ever dreamed possible.

So, with thanks to Adrian Miller for spawning the above tips, I challenge everyone to look for ways to do more with less. Identify the time and resource wasters and eliminate them. Focus on what works and produces success now and do more of it now. Then look for ways to innovate and grow that success into more and bigger successes down the road.

The bottom line: You can get out of a slump!

5 Tips for Hiring Good Employees

I recently read a great blog post by Bill Flaggs of RegOnline about strategies for hiring good employees. Bill laid out his 5-step process and some very useful suggestions for finding and hiring great employees. As an employer, I think his advice is worth remembering and personally employing (pun intended).

In a nutshell, Bill Flaggs’ five employee selection steps are as follows:

1. Write a job ad that is standout and personable.

Flaggs uses Craig’s List for this. The example he offered is “Support SuperStar: looking for people to knock the socks off our clients everyday.”

2. Link the job ad to a strong landing page.

Since the ad is online, link it to an interesting and personable landing page (see a screen capture of the RegOnline landing page) that tells prospective employees why they would want to work there.

3. Show why people like to work at your company.

Use a video, letter from the CEO and other interesting details (RegOnline even linked to their Continue reading “5 Tips for Hiring Good Employees”

Negotiation Tips & Suggestions

Today I had the privilege of hearing a presentation entitled “Negotiation for Community Leaders” by L. Steven Smutko of NC State Universtity. Several points struck me as particularly valuable and worthy of being added as life skills.

Smutko defined negotiation as “any communication between two or more people with the intent to influence or persuade.” One important trait for a negotiator is to recognize that possibilities for mutual gain often exist and, when possible, to identify those areas where such gain can occur. As such, negotiation does not have to be a competitive process but can instead be used to create additional value (a “pareto optimal solution“) through mutual gains.

The purpose of negotiation, according to Smutko, is “not always to reach agreement. Agreement is only one means to an end, and that end is to satisfy your interests. The purpose of negotiation is to explore whether you can satisfy your interests better through agreement than you could by pursuing your Best Alternative To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA).”

Interestingly, the party with the best BATNA has the most power and best position from which to Continue reading “Negotiation Tips & Suggestions”