The Biz of Pacelinebiz

Turning things on end to achieve results!

Archive for December 2012

Measure Twice, Cut Once

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Measure Twice

Note: Did you ever feel skeptical about unreleased material from your favorite band or artist that appears out of nowhere for sale around Christmas?  It is always touted as a treasure trove of studio outtakes and leftovers from previous recording sessions.  Today’s blog is somewhat like that.  I wrote this in October and somehow it got lost in my blog folder until now.  I am a little wary about ending the year with this but I feel the quality is acceptable.  Forgive me if it should have stayed in the vault.

No, this is not a blog about carpentry or woodworking.  It is about doing things right the first time.  An adage I heard a lot when I was working for a CPA firm was “there is always time to do it right the last time”.   That was a warning to avoid doing things over until you get it right and eating up all the allotted time in the budget and making the engagement less profitable.

How can we apply this advice to our businesses and how does it help besides avoiding wasting time (and money)?  I think we need to have a process in place for our work so we do it systematically in a way that is focused on efficiency.  If at all possible develop a step by step plan on how and what you do in the order it is to be done.  Break this down in to the smallest segments possible.  I would recommend this to any significant activity that you do on a repeated basis.  I will let you judge what is significant and what is repeated.  If I may offer a suggestion, I would say that if the activity accounts for 10% or more of your work per year, I think you should consider going through the trouble of making a plan.  Another way to look at it is; how long would it take to document the process?   If it takes a couple of hours, and you spend 200 hours a year doing it, the 2 hours spent is only 1% of the time and I believe you could save more than that amount of time in process improvements and having a documented plan of attack. 

The other benefit is the level of professionalism that you have when you are known for getting it right the first time.    I suggest that is very valuable and can translate into higher fees or prices for your service. In the end you may have differentiated yourself from the competition by doing this.  No one enjoys competing on price. 

Have a great week and a Happy New Year getting it right the first time.

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December 31, 2012 at 8:51 am

Christmas Eve 2012

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Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is upon us. I have many childhood memories of the excitement that hits a crescendo on Christmas Eve. I can remember one Christmas Eve when I tried to go to bed at about 7 O’clock just to hurry things along as I would sleep – time traveling so to speak. My parents would not allow me to do it but I survived until Christmas morning.

My parents always did well with my Christmas gifts.  I can’t remember being disappointed with what Santa brought me. I always reasoned that I got such nice gifts because I was such a good boy. You might want to check with my parents to see if my reasoning was faulty.

In addition to the awesome gifts, I also was blessed with many extended family members who would visit. Having family visiting was a lot of fun for me.  My motto back then was “the more, the merrier”.   Read the story of my rock star Uncles here.  In addition to the circus atmosphere that having visitors produced, there was the food.  So much good food and I didn’t have to worry about my cholesterol or my waistline.  Many baked goods and delicious desserts too numerous to mention as well as a spread that would make any buffet line look skimpy.  Back then my mom cooked the old-fashioned way.  The way Mom’s around the country did before we found out that eggs and butter were bad for you.  Bacon was a staple for breakfast too!

As I look back on it, what I remember most are the good times we had with each other as a family.  The toys were nice but they are long gone and some are forgotten.  The memories I have with my family are still with me and will remain for as a long as I have a memory.  Try to buy the best gifts you can but don’t ever cut corners with the time you spend with your family this Christmas.  You can never make more time – spend it wisely.  Have a great Christmas week.

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December 24, 2012 at 8:43 am

The Gift No One Can Buy

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The Best Gift Of All

I have written about Christmas foods (last week), Christmas songs click here to read, Christmas gifts and next week it will be Christmas Eve memories.  This week I am writing about things we can do that do not cost anything – except time.

The best gift of all is time. Time spent with a widowed neighbor, helping out a single mom, visiting a shut in and brightening their day. A variety of small, kind gestures can make all the difference in the world and it won’t cost you a dime. Another thing you can do is offer an encouraging word to someone. That is even less time consuming and can still make someone’s day.

This topic was inspired by some kind words a business associate said to me recently and it reminded me that everyone, especially a small business owner can use a little encouragement.  Whether it is a fellow business owner or someone else in your life try the gift of a kind word.  I know it worked wonders on me. 

As the Christmas rush is reaching its peak, consider shifting your focus to less material things. A little good goes a long way. Have good week, making someone else’s life a little better.

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December 17, 2012 at 9:04 am

Christmas… And Food

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Good Mood Food

In case there are some new readers to this blog, I need to let you know that every year in December, my topics all have a Christmas theme.  I will resume the regular pattern of alternating between business topics and non-business topics in January.  I have linked a few favorite Christmas topics from years past below that you may want to read or re-read.

2011

2010

2009

Today’s topic is food associated with Christmas.  The first thing I think of is fruitcake.  I suppose many people think of that too.  Most people have a negative opinion but mine is neutral.  It is not my favorite but I don’t believe it deserves the bad rap it gets.  Another “food” that I recall is our family tradition – Christmas cookies.  My mom would make about 27 different varieties every year when I was a kid and I miss them just thinking about it.  Speaking of sweets, the next thing that readily comes to mind is nut roll.  My mom makes the best nut roll in the entire world and you could argue that someone else does but you would be wrong.  You may think I am exaggerating but anyone that has ever had it has agreed that it is the best in the world.  She is also prettier than your mom too but that is a topic for another day – perhaps Mother’s Day 2013?  The rest of my list is composed of foods that aren’t desserts.  Can you tell I have a sweet tooth?

  • Ham – a large one, maybe even spiral sliced and coated with a sweet glaze usually served with scalloped potatoes
  • Turkey with all the trimmings, including the carbohydrate overload combination of potatoes AND stuffing.
  • Homemade, smoked, hot sausage.  This is a long gone tradition as it was made by my Great-Uncle who died in 1977.  I have never had better sausage than what he made.
  • Crusty, fresh-baked bread and rolls.  My mom made homemade bread frequently throughout the year but went all out around the holidays.  Warm bread from the oven and some butter is worth the hit to your cholesterol level!

That is all for now because I am too hungry thinking about this to write any more.   Have a great week dreaming of your favorite holiday feast.

Written by pacelinebiz

December 10, 2012 at 9:05 am

Good Enough Is Not Always Good Enough

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Every once In a while you get a pleasant surprise that helps motivate you and today (as I am writing this)  that happened to me and of course I had to write about it.  I was at a business function and the lunch speaker was very entertaining and spoke about the key to winning versus losing was the ability to recover from adversity.  Another very simple thing that he said was to get up with the attitude of winning today not just treading water or holding on.

That was the one thing that really hit home for me.  It made me think that if my attitude was telling me to be happy to just make it through the day then I was probably going to meet that goal.  Why should I be happy with that as a goal?  The fact is I should not be.  If you set your sights on an achievable goal you are sure to hit it but how will that make you a winner? 

The message I am sending is aim high and if you miss the mark you will be better off than treading water.  This is very simple but sometimes simple things make all the difference.  We all get stuck in ruts but if we can develop a habit of getting out of bed thinking like an athlete striving for a win then we will lift our performance to higher level.   If we are just a fraction of a percentage better every day then over the long haul we will be far better.  Going for the gold we may have to settle for silver or bronze but that is better than being happy by just being in the race.

Go out and win one today.  Not for the Gipper but for yourself.  Have a winning week.

Written by pacelinebiz

December 3, 2012 at 8:59 am

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