Whatever you can do, or dream you can, Begin it. Boldness has Genius, Power, and Magic in it. Begin it Now! (Goethe)

I do not think that there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything. (Nikola Tesla)

The IdeaGrinder™


Some people have a lot of ideas.

That's the good news.




The bad news is that they have difficulty
deciding which ideas are best.
There are so many variables involved.

That's why I came up with this little gadget.
It helps you by giving some structure
to all the things going on in your head.
You get a SYSTEM for dealing with ideas
and comparing them to others.

It runs as an Excel spreadsheet.

Download the IdeaGrinder

You should be able to figure it out easily enough
if you have some familiarity with Excel.
Pay close attention to cells B9 and B10
and mouse over the red triangles (comments)
and study the examples and you'll do fine.
If not, email me with questions.
Enjoy!





Post It Power




Here's a little something I've been wanting to do:
A customized Post-it note to deal with the stuff
that comes across my desk in a non-stop blizzard.

The trick is to handle each item only once,
and to move it out of the In pile to the Out pile
as quickly and efficiently as possible,
thereby leaving absolutely nothing hanging about
to make a complete mess of things.

This is a general purpose note to my assistant
that saves me countless writings of the words
thank you, file, donate, etc.
I especially like the yin-yang graphic,
which is a little Zen island of calm
in what can sometimes get to be a high-energy day.

I designed this little critter online at iPrint.com
I could get a low-volume at a low price for this prototype.
("Do Good Now, Make It Better Later")

The System for Revealing Secrets (NDA)


Everyone is concerned about revealing secrets.
Can you trust the person who needs to know more before they can help you?

This challenge has been solved long ago
with a document called a non-disclosure agreement (NDA).

Click on the link below, and modify it to suit your purposes.
Just remember to get your own legal representation.
I'm not a lawyer and I'm not giving legal advice.
That's the job of your lawyer.

Non-Disclosure Agreement (Bi-lateral) (MS Word .doc file)

This piece of paper will never
keep people from stealing your secrets, of course.
But it puts people on notice that you are serious
and will use the law to protect your interests.

My take on "ideas" is that they are really worthless.
It is only by the hard work of making them real
that they have any value at all.
Most people will never be interested in stealing your ideas.
They have plenty of their own to deal with.
Further, if someone was really so dim-witted that
they needed to steal someone else's ideas,
then you can probably rest assured that they
are dim-witted enough that you could easily win in the market.
And, could they ever match your passion for the idea?

For a system for protecting your inventions, see
Inventors' Assistance League, Inc.
Watch the video, then contact the top guy there.
His name is Rusty Ruscetta and he has been
a good friend more than 15 years.

System for Financial Reporting (guidelines)



A System for Financial Performance Reporting (draft of guidelines)

When you meet with your advisors, you will want these reports:

1. balance sheet as of the last business day of the last month with comparison to the same period last year.

2. profit and loss statements
a. for the full prior month, with comparison to same month last year
b. for the year to date, with comparison to same period last year.

3. you will want to have these items graphed:
a. actual sales by month, last year and this year, with target sales
b. net profit by month, last year and this year, with target net profit

4. also, you will want to have several key ratios calculated to summarize the financials:
ideally, these numbers will be graphed, by month, last year and this year,
a current ratio,
b. net profit %
c. gross profit %,
d. inventory turns,

5. you will continue to add ratios and reports as needed for our meetings, and other reports for various departmental analyses (marketing, sales, inventory, etc)

6. you will want to review these reports in detail prior to sharing them with your advisors, and if there are any numbers that you find to be inaccurate, then you will want to get them corrected and fresh reports printed, or you will want to make manual corrections to the reports on the copies that you share.

7. you will want to share these reports several days in advance of meeting with your advisors so that they will have sufficient time to review them in detail and possibly get questions answered before the meeting, but in any case you will have much more productive meetings.

8. if you prepare this way for your meetings with advisors, you will put yourself ahead of 95% of small business owners, and very favorably impress your advisors to give you their best support.





Difference between Success & Failure


Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one's ideas, to take a calculated risk - and to act.

Maxwell Maltz
Author of Psycho-Cybernetics

The System for Mass Communications



Here's a draft of a System for Mass Communications
(MS Word .doc file)
which can solve some big problems before they happen.

Deconstructing FICO


In The Ten Commandments of Managing a Young, Growing Business, Commandment #8 speaks clearly: "Let There Be Cash". And goes on to treat the closely related issue of Credit which is essential to having the cash needed to survive.

Credit-worthiness is determined by your FICO score. If you are still breathing, you have a personal credit score developed by the Fair Isaac Corporation ("FICO").

Research shows that FICO is a better predictor of guarantor repayment than either net worth or liquidity. Because of this, it is important to understand how FICO scores are constructed.

In general, a FICO score breaks down as follows: 35% of the weight is from paymenthistory, 30% is from amounts owed, 15% is from length of credit history and 10% each come from types of credit in use and new credit lines extended. While these percentages are general guidelines, the importance of any single factor depends on the overall information in the credit report, so different credit histories can change the importance of a given factor in determining the score.

Payment History. Since payment history is such a big component of the score, it is important to understand how it is used. Information is collected on credit cards, retail accounts, installment loans, finance company accounts and mortgage loans. That data is then augmented with information on bankruptcies, foreclosures, lawsuits, wage attachments, liens
and judgments. Finally, this portion of the score then incorporates late or missed payments and considers how late they were, how much was owed at the time, how recently they occurred and how many there were. A 60-day late payment made a month ago will affect a score more than a 90-day late payment from 5 years ago. In short, delinquent payments and collections have a major negative impact on the FICO score.

Amounts Owed. For this portion of the calculation, the score takes into account the total balance owed in the last month, amount owed on specific types of accounts, the number of small balance accounts with strong payment histories, total debt outstanding as a percentage of the original loan amounts, how much of the total line available has been used up.

History. This piece of the score takes into account the age of the oldest account, the age of the newest and the average of all accounts. New Credit – This component takes into account the number of new accounts opened; how long it has been since a new account was opened; the number of requests for credit made in the past 12 months and the length of time credit inquiries were last made by lenders.

FICO True & False. It is true that the score only looks at information in a person's credit report; that late payments lower it; re-establishing a good track record raises the score; keeping outstanding balances low increases the score; and opening new accounts negatively impacts the score. It is false that the score includes age, salary, occupation, title, employer, date of employment, geography, specific interest rates charged, any information not found in the credit report, any information that has not been proven to be predictive of future credit performance.

Scores can range between 300 and 850. A score over 750 is considered 'excellent', 720 to 750 is 'very good', 660 to 720 is 'acceptable', 620 to 660 is 'uncertain' and anything less than 620 is considered 'risky'.

Take real good care of your FICO score. Odds are you will need a good one.

Laws of the Universe: The Golden Rule


There are some basic Laws of the Universe
which have been known for thousands of years
and which apply to all of us equally.

A wise person lives in harmony with these Laws,
and seeks to use these all-powerful Laws to their advantage.

Some of these Laws are well known, and we would be fools
to try to violate them. For instance: Gravity.
Violate that law and you will be
immediately and severely punished.
However, there are other Laws of the Universe
which are not so obvious, and/or
which do not punish violators so severely in all cases.

One of these is the "Golden Rule".

The Golden Rule states:
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

It is a fundamental Law of Success
for all people, team members, and,
of course, business owners.

One corollary of this rule is to
"Do what you say"
for surely we would want people we know to
keep their commitments to us.

Therefore we must keep our commitments.
Or we run the risk of being considered
a person whose word is in doubt.

This is one of the worst things that can happen to you.
Above all, we must safeguard our reputation.
We must be known as a person who can be counted on
to do exactly what is promised.

If we occasionally take some easy path
which results in our not keeping to our word,
and we get away with it (we think),
we tend to do more of that until we will either
have nothing at all left of our good name,
or until we absolutely do not get away with it,
and the consequences are highly undesirable.

Doing what we say is a habit,
and like most good habits requires you to nurture it
over time, and with focus.
Soon enough, it becomes our natural reaction.
But we must always be cultivating this essential habit,
and look for ways to stay true to our word
especially in the little things,
for it is the little things which offer the
essential frequency so important in habit building.

Another great law works in concert with the Golden Rule,
and that is the Law of Karma, which says that
you will get what you give, or,
stated as the inverse of the Golden Rule,
"others will most certainly do unto you
as you have done unto them".

In the Law of Karma, however, it is not necessarily
the people you screwed over who will pay you back,
but it will definitely come from somewhere!

There is also an interesting thing that happens
when you do not do as you say you are going to do:
you give implicit permission for the other person
to not do as they had committed to you.

For example, if you say you are going to be late
for a meeting, then you are implicitly giving
permission for the other person to cancel the meeting
without penalty, of course, because you started
the reaction process.
And, that reaction process is the one we all know:
"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction."

Consider this lesson well.
It is a cornerstone of the foundation for
Success in Business.

The Net Promoter Score


The Net Promoter Score is one of the simplest
and easiest to implement management metrics.
And it will give you the best indication
to that age-old question: "How are we doing?"

Read more about The Net Promoter Score.

The System for Meetings



Success in business requires communication.
Communication requires Meetings.

The effectiveness of Meetings
can have a lot to do with our
speed and quantity of success, or failure, in business.

Therefore, let us look at Meetings,
as a basic building block of corporate culture,
a place and time where we do our best work,
where we grow together as a team,
and where we build the company.

Let's create a System for Meetings
as one of our major competitive advantages.

This system was designed about 6 years ago,
with the assistance of Kat and a clean sheet of paper.

Click here for The System for Meetings (Word format).

Remember, although nothing of man is perfect,
"any system is better than no system",
as long as it has the self-optimizing feedback loop.

And, on that note, you will see the feedback form
at the back of this document, so please be kind enough
to give us your feedback on the use of this system.
Thank you.