Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Business of Unprecedented Change

We are living in a time of unprecedented change. And this means that each of us is also faced with unprecedented opportunity.

The dictionary defines unprecedented as "without previous instance; never before known or experienced; unparalleled." Our current experience - a collective swimming in unchartered waters - was brought about as technological advancements, which continue to occur at lightning speed, met and coupled with the new economy. Additionally, for many entrepreneurs, industry specific factors may also be at play.

I have been talking to business owners about these unprecedented times and I am finding that smart entrepreneurs know that keeping their eyes open to the emerging trends in our culture, our communities, and our industries is critical. In fact, this is the perfect time to ask ourselves what unprecedented changes and opportunities are facing me and my business. Here is how some smart and savvy professionals answered this question. As someone fascinated with the concept of emerging trends, I would love to hear your answer.

Dr. Ralph Bourjolly is an Optometric Physician in Pompano Beach, Florida. Dr. Ralph saw an unprecedented opportunity when a technological advancement allowed him to incorporate a digital camera that takes pictures of a patient's retina, into his practice. He is now able to take clear pictures of a retina without dilating the patient's eyes and email the photographs to a retina specialist, saving time and raising the standard of care.

Jay Ghanem, of Auto Tech and Body in Pompano Beach, Florida is an entrepreneur with a unique ability to sense industry changes and opportunities. Jay is currently working on ways to power cars with waste cooking oil. And, he recently became a distributor of Xenon headlights. These lights can be installed in any car, reducing energy consumption while significantly improving visibility.

Massage therapist Marie-Josee Berard of the Infant Massage Institute says that an emerging trend in her industry is using massage during pregnancy to avoid colic and other common problems. Amazingly, Marie-Josee is able to use massage to help mothers take care of their babies while the babies are still in the womb.

According to Michael J. Maynes, a Financial Advisor and Certified Financial Planner, "the financial services industry is going through a pruning process and this trend will probably continue so that broker dealers with poor balance sheets and high risk portfolios will be acquired and stronger firms with less debt and lower portfolio risk will gain market share." Mike has found that the current economic mess has caused his role to evolve so that he has become more of a helper, assisting people in developing or revising their budgets and managing their finances after a layoff.

Danielle Zimmerman of Abi's Place, a school that specializes in teaching children with moderate to severe developmental disabilities, says that recent cuts in Medicaid funding and school budget cuts have provided her with a unique opportunity. Because Abi's Place is a 503© they are able to raise funds with creative fundraising events and provide the services that her students need.

The bottom line is this. If you are a dentist, you need to be taking digital x-rays. If you are a psychotherapist, you need to expand your tool box beyond Woody Allen style long-term therapy. It's that simple. Those who are able to turn their challenges into opportunities will weather the economic storm.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Resolutions For A Happy Marriage

While cleaning out my e-mail-box I came across this list. Yes, chronologically, it works better for New Years then Thanksgiving but this is good advice at any time of the year. So, please consider these resolutions for a happy marriage.

1. Resolve to clean-out the clutter. When you clean up your house you are honoring your home - the temple for your relationship.

2. Resolve to have the difficult conversations. Talk to each other. And, if that's too hard, write each other letters.

3. Resolve to live within your means and clean-up your credit. You already know which one of you is "the saver" and which is "the spender." Put "the saver" in charge of all funds. You may need three accounts - yours, mine and a joint account to insure that everyone is comfortable with the arrangement.

4. Resolve to put each other first - before your kids, parents, friends, or jobs.

5. Resolve to work together as a team. Marriage works best when the partners don't see things in terms of win-lose against each other. A sports team is most successful when everyone pulls together for the common good - so is a marriage.