Staying Friends, Regardless

Staying Friends, Regardless

Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap of not staying connected when a particular service is completed or comes to an end. Over the years, I have found it pays to stay friends with customer relationships, whether they are high or low in the cycle. To stay invested. I was reminded of this recently [Read More]

When Subtraction Becomes an Add

When Subtraction Becomes an Add

This week, I did something every contractor doesn’t like: I turned down two nice soon-to-start projects. It was painful for me, but the right thing to do. Because of circumstances during the past week, I determined we did not have proper management in place to do a good job for our customer and called the [Read More]

Networking 101, For Conventions and Beyond

Networking 101, For Conventions and Beyond

I’m going to a national convention next week with 30,000 of my closest friends. While preparing, I started thinking about whether I’m selling upstream or working downstream. Whether at a convention or in regular conversation, these are a few things I’ve learned over the years: Make Eye Contact. There is no substitute for this gold standard. Sincerity [Read More]

Stay Tuned

Stay Tuned

All things being equal, attracting new customers is normally harder than keeping an existing good one. That makes retention one of the most valuable components to any business’s success. This week, I got a wakeup call about just this subject. We received an unsolicited proposal for our voice and high-speed data service. The price was [Read More]

Thankful 365

Thankful 365

  This is a popular week to say “thank you.” To me, we’d do better to let our attitude of Thanksgiving spill over into the remaining 51 weeks.What if the rest of the year (and our lives) we considered saying thank you in different ways?  Quietly sharing our gratefulness to friends and others as often [Read More]

For Problem Solving, Turn it Upside Down

For Problem Solving, Turn it Upside Down

In the construction industry, one usually finds “left-brained” thinkers, people who tend towards the analytic and objective. Bruce Adams, a part of our senior management, is one who also exercises his “right brain,” being a talented artist. Recently, he was telling me a process he uses for still life paintings. When he finishes his sketch, [Read More]

Trading Cars for a Bike.

Trading Cars for a Bike.

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the Twin Cities visiting some customers. While there, my friend Randy Manthey and his wife Christine invited me to their new flat in downtown Minneapolis. Vélo North Loop, in the Warehouse District near the M River, caters to an active lifestyle, particularly those who bike. They have street level [Read More]

Delays Will Happen.

Delays Will Happen.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a feeling that reminds me of flight delays. We have two different projects where the end date will be missed (not by much) because of circumstances beyond our reach or tightened delivery dates. Nevertheless, it is important to our customer. To me, it is the human nature [Read More]

Why a Personal Brand Matters

Why a Personal Brand Matters

This year, we celebrate 3 decades. Over these years, I have learned that people typically feel “sold” by a company or service provider. But people naturally trust and connect with one another as well. It is equally important to the service or product to grow a personal reputation, then let it precede you. If done [Read More]

Finding a 2-Way Fit

Finding a 2-Way Fit

  A few months ago, I was at a lunch with a prospective customer, discussing a new project. Partway through our meal, I said, “Jim, you know if this is going to be a well-built project, we need to be a fit for you, and you for us.” To say he was taken aback is an understatement. I [Read More]