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“Quick kid, make up your mind!”

High school graduation is almost here and Career Days are upon us. This is when young people are expected to focus on college, career, and beyond.
It seems like parents, relatives and other adults are always asking young people, “What are you going to do when you graduate?” This of course means, “Are you going to college?” and if so, “Where are you going? What will you major in? What will be your profession?”… Read More

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The 9 Essential Elements of Mentoring

We’ve all had mentors who, one way or another, have encouraged us to live up to our potentials. Perhaps they recognized a natural talent in us that they wanted to help elevate. Perhaps they wanted to see us get ahead. We may have lost touch with our mentors, but we can certainly show our appreciation by passing it on and helping others the way they helped us.
As the principals of a successful start-up that became a well-known… Read More

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Wine Industry Expo

Ideas, information and predictions will be presented by some of the most experienced members of the wine and grape industry at the Wine Industry Expo on Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Stay current on the latest developments in production, sales, viticulture and marketing so you are ready for 2013 and the years ahead.
Michael Houlihan will join the line-up and present “The Pros… Read More

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7 Lessons Taught in College but not in the Curriculum

If you are thinking about running your own business, stay in school. Many of the skills learned surviving the college experience can be just as important as what they teach you in the classroom.
Just to get through 4 years of college requires disciplines and mindsets that are essential to self-employment and building your business. Yes, college is expensive and there’s no promise of a job. But just going through the… Read More

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7 Keys to Advice Management

We have always recommended seeking the advice of experts, but your approach will make it either affordable and effective, or expensive and unproductive. Most advisors work by the hour, so be careful you don’t run up the bill unnecessarily. Make sure you are paying for their expert advice and not for listening to your vague ideas. We call it “Advice Management” and it is made up of essential rules to follow if you… Read More

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Put Your People on the Same Team

No matter what kind of business you think you’re in, you quickly find out you are in the personnel management business. With careful hiring, mentoring, recognition, and compensation plans, your people can be your greatest asset.
Recurrent, personnel issues can be a distraction to you and your staff. Some react to personnel problems by firing the offending parties. Occasionally this may be necessary, however the… Read More

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Your Business Can Improve by Admitting to Mistakes

You and your company are not judged by how well you do when you’re good, but by how well you do when you’re bad. To err is human, but denial can exacerbate and magnify an awkward situation. It can add an air of insincerity to an already regrettable occurrence. This can hurt your reputation much more than owning up in the first place.
In fact, admitting to the mistake may actually diffuse the matter. What people remember… Read More

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Find Good People – Make Great People

People always ask us what we look for in a job applicant because we had such a great staff. Sure, we looked at qualifications, but we looked beyond that.
We wanted people who were not only qualified, but also had foundational qualities we could build upon. We wanted to see our staff achieve the highest and best use of their talents – many of which did not manifest for a year or so.
We looked for enthusiasm, confidence, honesty… Read More

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Kindred Spirits, Fellow Travelers, and Strategic Partners

One of the most effective and often over-looked resources to build and grow your business  is strategic alliances. “Partnerships” with other businesses and organizations who benefit by your success can help you meet your bills, get the word out about your company, and improve your image.
Who succeeds if you succeed? As your business begins to grow and gain traction, you may find new allies you didn’t know you… Read More

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5 Ways to Increase Your Service Business

In this two part series we are addressing service businesses. Last time we identified a way of classifying your clients and customers. This time we will offer some ways to increase your business.
Your goal is to get more referrals. These are new customers who were sent to you by your existing customers. They will only do that for you if their first experience was beyond their expectations.
How then can you ensure that their… Read More

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