Showing posts with label Business Success. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business Success. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Don't Fake It

I despise the saying, 'Fake it till you make it'.  And I have no respect for the people who say it.  Let's break it down.

The first two words, 'Fake it' mean that it's OK to lie about your skills, aptitude or talent.  That mean that the foundation is weak.  I think it is much wiser to actually acknowledge that you actually don't know something and ask questions to learn.  I'd hate for my Dentist to use these words on me.  And it would be truly be worrisome if that was her attitude on her first day of dental school!

'Till you make it', the second part of the saying implies that you can build something real and lasting on the lie of the foundation.  I'm pretty sure that if the foundation is weak, the structure on top will not stay up for very long!  And to use another analogy, when I board a ship, I want to be really confident that the people who assembled it weren't 'faking it'!

'Fake it till you make it' is one of those cliché's that play to ignorance.  We don't have to look far for examples...Provincial Politics in Ontario...and to see the damage faking it has wreaked on us.  

But the joke may be on us:  We follow fakers of all types and get caught up in emotional hysteria despite our rational inner voice screaming out, 'Stop!'  Look how we as individuals and as societies have behaved throughout the COVID pandemic.  

Let's call it for what it is:  A crude, cheap panacea to bulldoze the masses.

I'm NOT faking it till I make it...

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Decency Matters

When did decency stop mattering?  When did it become OK to treat others badly?  When did 'me, me, me' become the rallying cry?  

Decency stopped mattering when we chose to put ourselves first. Decency stopped mattering when we blatantly thought we were superior to someone else.  Decency stopped mattering when we chose to ignore it!

On my way to the office this morning the driver of a massive pickup truck urged me to move over!  She was obviously in a hurry. And to make her point, she attached her front bumper to the back of my car.  At least it felt that way...for almost 2 kilometers!  I need to point out that I was in the right lane of a two lane road already travelling above the posted speed limit.  Vehicles were ahead of me in both lanes.  My 'pull over' options were severely limited unless I jumped the curb!  High up in her jacked up pickup, she could clearly see the vehicles ahead over my much lower car.  Never mind, I was holding her up and she wanted to make sure I knew.  Decency died at 7:05 am.

Lined up 6 feet apart to checkout at the grocery store last Saturday, a man jumped the queue right in front of me because I was a second too long to advance in the line.  I held my tongue.  Even though I wanted to call him out!  Decency died at 11:35 am.

Decency dies every time we forget that we live in an interconnected society and forget that every individual action affects someone else...and in most cases, many other people.  I live in a condo apartment building and every time a person chooses not to wear a facemask inside, decency dies.

I'd like to bring decency back from the dead.  My plan is simply to be even more decent to everyone I meet and deal with.  My theory is that if  I'm decent to you, perhaps you will pay it forward.  I know it's not much and some days it feels like a loosing battle.  Those days are especially tough...I feel it's pointless.  But I'm a preserving guy and as long as I have a choice, I'll choose to be decent.

Until next time...

Chris Morales

Chris Morales, Toronto


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

How To Start Your Small Business

One year ago we went into lockdown in Ontario.  Businesses shuttered and non-essential workers went home.  We were all thrown into uncertainty immediately!  At the time I had 3 classes to go in the Winter 2020 Starting A Small Business Continuing Education course at George Brown College.  With all schools closed for in-person classes, I immediately opted to move online.  It was a scramble but it worked out.  My students finished the course successfully!

Fast forward a year and we are now fully online.  Again this Spring, starting Thursday, May 13 and running 12 weeks until August 5, Starting A Small Business will be offered online.  

This is a practical course that teaches prospective business owners everything they need to identify, evaluate, position, start, operate market and sell their own small business.  Full-time bricks and mortar or Online;  Gig Economy or side-hustle.  We cover what you need to give you a leg up on being a successful small business owner.

You will evaluate your aptitude for running your own business;  Complete a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis; Write your own business plan.  Within all that you'll hear from a variety of small business owners who will share their experience and offer tips on marketing, financing, operating you own business.  Here's the official information from George Brown College:

Starting your small business, Chris Morales, Gig Economy, Side Hustle

Register now at this link:  Starting a Small Business.  See you May 13!

Chris Morales, Instructor

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

COVID-19 Changes Business Behaviour

We are in Normal.  There is no 'new normal' and we are certainly not going 'back to normal'.  COVID-19 has changed business behaviour.

That's the hard truth. The business owners I've spoken to over the past year have worked hard to adjust.  The most successful ones adjusted some cases, pivoting completely away from their core business system in order to survive.  They quickly reset their normal.  

What do business owners need to focus on in this pandemic? 

  1. Cashflow:  Know your revenue in and expenses out.  Pay a very close eye on your forecast sales, look for risks;  Know what your fixed and variable expenses are with a focus on what you can cut and what you must have.  
  2. Response:  Run multiple scenarios on revenue and expenses.  Do the 'worst-case' scenario exercise. Act quickly.
  3. Reserve:  Set up and keep a reserve cash fund to use to fund your business for a period of time...the longer the better.
  4. Adapt:  To your business situation;  To your employees;  To your customers.
These are things every business owner should do pandemic or not.  But driven by the rapid changes in buyer behaviour, it is even more urgent!

COVID-19, pandemic, business, consumer, small business

This Infographic cites US data but it applies to Canadian consumers as well.  We are all anxious about our inability to forecast and predict confidently.  We are in survival mode. We all feel caged.  Yes, COVID-19 has changed our behaviour...for good!

Until next time...
Chris Morales, Toronto, Small business, Marketing

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Coping with COVID

Covid, Covid19, Pandemic

When my Grandma was asked the question, 'How are you doing?', she always answered, 'Coping'.  This was well before 2020!  Now when I ask my business owner friends how they are doing, that's the answer I get.

2020 was a heck of a year.  Because we live next door to our largest trading partner, we've been caught up in their political and economic drama.  Try as we might, we have to pay attention to what's going on because decisions down there affect us up here.  

COVID gave us a reminder that despite what we plan, sometimes we will get punched in the stomach.  That has been the reality for many small and mid-size businesses who have had to close or reduce service due to lockdown rules.  We can't predict future government policies but it would be a safe bet that we'll be living with rapidly changing and seemingly arbitrary policy changes well into 2022.

We can whine or we can cope...

Here are the things I share with the budding entrepreneurs and small business owners in my Business Class at George Brown College:

  1. Be prepared.  Now more than ever it is important to plan for the absolute worst!  Months without revenue, additional months with reduced revenue, increased COVID compliance expenses.  I suggest they run multiple cashflow scenarios to show these worst-case outcomes in their gory detail.  
  2. Stay agile.  Make your plans, crunch your scenarios.  Then be ready to change on a dime.  I use the Business Plan Canvas Model in this course.  It's a simple one page document to look at new opportunities quickly.
  3. Keep connected.  Talk to your friends, mentors, advisors, partners.  Share both your fears and your ideas for coping.  
  4. Look for opportunities to solve problems.  This is the heart of every business.  The key is to evaluate the idea quickly to see if you can make money from it.  I use the tried-and-true SWOT Analysis:  Look at the strengths and opportunities;  Analyze the weaknesses and threats.  
Coping with COVID is the world we live in now. This IS normal! Start coping.

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Chris Morales Toronto

Monday, May 25, 2020

A Peek At New Normal

New Normal will look and feel different.  We'll think more consciously about personal hygiene at home and in public;  We'll think about personal space;  We'll change how we shop for goods and services.  It won't happen all at once and it will occur across a broad spectrum.  Here are some other things to look out for as we re-normalize:

Until next time...
Chris Morales

Monday, April 13, 2020

Adapt to Succeed

Change is all around.  Climate, technology, economic, business. The pace has quickened.  What used to change in 18 months now can change in 18 weeks.  It is daunting but doesn't have to be overwhelming.  Here are 7 things a small business owner can keep in mind to keep up with the changing times:

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing

Monday, April 6, 2020

Adapt or Die

Adapt or die!  Brutal but true.  

Business owners are facing this reality now as they cope with the COVID-19 crisis.  Closed businesses wonder if they will be able to re-open;  the remaining open businesses are dealing with significantly reduced revenue.  There are no easy answers. 

I had a conversation with my Cousin in Kingston, Jamaica recently.  Jamaica is currently in a heavy lock-down:  The International airports are closed to all incoming traffic;  All the hotels are closed.  In a country heavily dependent on tourism, this is catastrophic across the entire economy.  

My cousin is a business consultant and I expected the worst.  I was pleasantly surprised when she said that local businesses had already adapted to this new reality:  Grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants were now delivering direct to their customers.  "They adapted quickly because they knew no help was coming".  

Here in North America we are not used to that.  We're not used to this sudden change in the business landscape. In Jamaica they are used to frequent upheaval.  People have to adapt quickly to the changes.  It's a lesson we are now learning here in North America.  How do we start?
  1. Stop referring to this as 'living in challenging times'.  Life is always challenging...we've been lulled into complacency.
  2. Adapt now.  Aggressively look for ways to satisfy customer's changed needs
  3. Move your business online, particularly mobile
  4. Stop waiting for 'new normal'...this is normal
Adapt or die.  Thanks for the reminder Cuz!

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto, Marketing, Author

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Growing Up: Canadian Jamaican

Chris Morales, Growing Up Canadian Jamaican
'Growing Up:  Canadian Jamaican'. These are stories from my life: From my earliest years growing up in Jamaica, to growing up again in Canada as a teenager. Looking back on my journey, I can now say that I loved my my hybrid upbringing. But there were times when I resented being caught between two cultures. 

I wrote this book to help young people, particularly those recently arrived in Canada, navigate their own journey. But the stories apply to anyone at any age who is struggling with their personal identity. I hope you find one or two that resonate with you. If you do, please share with someone who could benefit.

I got stuck at age 12 growing up in Jamaica. Two years later it began again in Canada. Mentally and emotionally I tumbled between honouring my Jamaican heritage while fitting into my Canadian world. “Who are you?” we were asked repeatedly. “It depends…” was my answer to that question. 

With my upbringing, I didn’t identify with the typical ‘Jamaican’. In Jamaica we lived in the affluent suburbs outside of the capital city of Kingston. We went to Catholic private schools. We played and partied behind gated and walled yards. We travelled in comfort between these compounds. Looking back, it was an isolated and privileged upbringing. The crack was working with Dad at his Gas Station on the edge of Trench Town, a world class ghetto! 

In Canada we were jolted into middle-class life in the suburbs of Mississauga far from the Jamaican Hood. We visited family and friends in their homes in Brampton and Markham. We didn’t attend any of the traditional Caribbean or Jamaican events or activities. Actively stayed away! It was working class more than the upper class. 

And we were different. We could ‘Pass’ until we spoke. Then the Jamaican accent gave us away.I’ve grown into a Canadian Jamaican accepted by friends and business associates. 

Along the way I found my inner strength. I’ve used it to help myself and others. This book pulls together a number of stories from my journey. I hope you find one or two that resonate with you. If you do, please share with someone who may need help on their growing up journey.

Click this link to buy a copy of 'Growing Up:  Canadian Jamaican' Both eBook and Paperback available.

Until next time...
Chris Morales, Growing Up Canadian Jamaican

Thursday, October 3, 2019

A Guide for Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs...Solo Entrepreneurs...Small Business Owners...Call it what you will, here's a guide to help with the day-to-day:

Until next time...

Chris Morales, Toronto

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Summer School at GBC

Summer school at George Brown College and class is in!

Two GBC classes are approaching their final stages this summer:  Professional Selling and Starting a Small Business. The students both classes have been involved, interested and enthusiastic in both courses. And that's made it special.

The Professional Selling course focuses on improving selling skills through building long-term relationships.  The premise is that a customer-for-life relationship begins by qualifying a prospect properly.  Then by asking the right questions, build trust in solutions that add value for the customer. Many of the concepts covered can be applied to jobs that are not primarly sales positions and that's what makes this course valuable.  Anyone looking to improve their understanding of how to perform better in their current job, look for a new job or change careers will enjoy this course.

The Starting a Small Business course winds up this week with our final class, a Field Trip for ice cream! One of the students opened an ice cream shop in the west end of Toronto and we're holding our final class at the shop to see a small business in action.  In this class, we've been through a complete assessment of each student's business idea covering market assessment, marketing plan, financial planning and culminated with a finished Business Plan.  Each student completing the course learned the key concepts on how to start and run their own business.  

Both courses are on again this fall at George Brown College Continuing Education.  You can register now at these links:  Professional Selling Fall 2017 and Starting a Small Business Fall 2017.

Chris M Morales
647 393 3855

The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not associated with any other group or organization

Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Art of Business

The Art of Business...The Art of War.

In the Art of Business, it comes down to these 3 things:  Objectives, Strategies and Tactics. Objectives:  What customer problem do you want to solve.  Strategies:  How you will deliver those solutions.  Tactics: The specific steps in the solution process.

Put another way, if you are a Travel Agent and your client's objective is to get from Toronto to Montreal, you can suggest strategies such as taking a plane, train, or driving. If they have to be there in 2 hours, you sell them a plane ticket.

On to the Art of War.  If you've read the book you know the Sun-Tzu pulled no punches.  If you haven't, know that he pulls no punches!  There is one point that resonates strongly: "Opportunities multiply as they are seized".  

Chris M Morales
647 393 3855

The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not associated with any other group or organization

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Succeeding in Business is Simple

GW, A good friend recently shared this story with me about why he has purchased 4 new vehicles over the past 6 years from the same Dealership:  "I love the Service Guy!  Don't get me wrong, the Salesman I've worked with always gives me a good deal but the Service Consultant takes care of me and my vehicles".  
That simple truth to success in the automotive business as it is in all businesses.  

I'm was reminded of this as I sat on hold waiting to talk to a real live person on the 'Help Line' of a company that shall remain nameless (Hint: Telecommunications industry).  I chose to call even though it was 40 minutes of my life I wasn't going to get back. I may be old school but I prefer to talk to a person.  In my business if a customer has a problem, I prefer to speak with them about it directly than text/message/email back and forth.  Have you seen how long the email train can grow?

In simple truth, the first sale is only the beginning;  Servicing the hell out of them keeps them coming back. Everyone in the selling business would be wise to pay heed.

GW added:  "My Service Guy...he's the reason I keep coming back".

Chris M Morales
647 393 3855

The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not associated with any other group or organization

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Did he really say that?

What did he just say? Did he really say that?  I can't believe he said that?  Must have been his inner voice.

"My thoughts are in parallel with yours" is the classic response in a corporate meeting room when you've not follow along with the discussion.  Smirks from fellow team members who wished they had thought of it; frowns from seniors who know you one-upped someone.  It's a witty retort..."Why couldn't I have thought of that?"

I couldn't have put this together without the help of my Advertising Agency friends and associates.  All still work in the business and wish to remain anonymous.  You know who you are!

Since this book was published I've received numerous emails and text messages asking when the follow up will be coming out.  And that's where you can help.  Send me the one liners and crazy things that you hear and if you want credit when Part II gets published.
Chris M Morales
647 393 3855

The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not associated with any other group or organization


Sunday, February 12, 2017

What an Entrepreneur Looks Like

'Entrepreneur".  A word used so commonly now that it has almost lost meaning.  In the workplace, 'Entrepreneural Thinker" is an cliche...dare I say oxymoron:  Companies way they want their employees to solve problems but really don't want 'free thinkers' who don't follow procedures.

"Startups" are started up by Entrepreneurs.  Most don't make it for one reason:  They don't clearly have a scalable venture that solves a real customer problem.  Or they run out of capital.

So what does an Entrepreneur look like?  The best picture of an Entrepreneur is of the young person hustling from a young age...they are unafraid of failure, in fact learn from provide solutions to problems:

Chris M Morales
647 393 3855

The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not associated with any other group or organization

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The secret to success

I've been reading a book on winning by Dr. Saul Miller, "Why Teams Win".  I came across a saying I've kept close to heart that's attributed to Calvin Coolidge:  
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.  Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.  Education will not;  the world is full of educated derelicts.  Persistence and determination are omnipotent.  The slogan, 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race".
I stopped reading and went to my wallet to find a well worn slip of paper folded over multiple times.  I got if from my Grandfather over 30 years ago when I was talking to him about how to advance my career.  He was quite blunt, "People succeed by never EVER giving up". Then he gave me the quote from Calvin Coolidge that I've kept ever since.

"Persistence". "Perserverence". Each of us is talented...Winners never EVER give up!


Chris M Morales

647 393 3855
Linkedin:  Chris M Morales 

The opinions expressed on this blog are my own and are not associated with any other group or organization