7462 Old Hickory Drive, Mechanicsville, VA 23111
DO YOU LIVE BY THE CODE? Unspoken Rules Every Entrepreneur Should Follow
business, it’s your duty as an upstanding entrepreneur to look them right in the eye and say, “No!” (If that’s something you struggle with, read more about how to say “No” to bad business proposals on Page 3.) A Lose-Lose Situation There are two good reasons for this. First, if you say “yes,” then you’re stabbing the company you work with in the back and ruining the relationship for good. It hurts to lose a client you thought was loyal to an upstart competitor, and if they’re smart, they won’t forgive you or take you back if this new venture doesn’t work out. Second, you will be setting this new entrepreneur up for failure. Poaching is no way to start a business. Entrepreneurs who build their companies on stolen clients are cheating the system. Instead of learning the ropes, they dive in as though they already know everything, and it inevitably comes back to bite them!
Here at Sklar Technology Partners, we employ a landscaping service to keep the lawn around our office pristine. I’ve always been happy with their work and thought the company was run well, which is why I was floored when one of the employees who handles our account came into our office and asked to speak with me.
left my office on the verge of tears — not because I yelled at him, but because I asked him questions he was ashamed to think about. The Exception to the Rule In my view, there’s only one exception to the don’t- be-poached rule. You can and should leave your current company if they mistreat their employees or are terrible to work with. But in that case, you actually shouldn’t wait to be poached. Just say goodbye! When the lawn care employee left my office, I immediately picked up the phone and called his boss. I told him his team member had just solicited me, and he was completely blown away. He had no idea the guy was working behind his back! I’m not sure what happened to the employee. Maybe he was fired, or maybe his boss took him back (if you’re wondering, “Why the heck would he do that?” turn to Page 2). Either way, I felt like I did my due diligence as an entrepreneur. I upheld the code. I hope you would have done the same.
“I’m leaving this company and starting my own lawn care business,” he said. “Will you come with me?”
I invited the guy into my office calmly to discuss the situation, but inside, I was seething.
The Entrepreneur Code Here’s the truth, folks: There are rules in this life. You don’t eat another man’s french fries off his plate, you don’t wear another man’s hat, and you don’t ride another man’s tractor! And if you’re an entrepreneur, you absolutely don’t steal your boss’s customers. This isn’t the only rule in what I like to think of as “The Entrepreneur Code,” but it’s one of the biggest. Entrepreneurs also shouldn’t lie to, cheat on, or steal from each other. These “codes” are obvious, but you wouldn’t believe how many business owners and wannabe business owners — like the lawn care employee — don’t follow them. If Rule No. 1 is “No poaching,” then Rule No. 2 is “Don’t let yourself be poached.” If an employee of a larger company you work with tries to steal your
When I sat down in my office with that lawn care employee, I laid those things out for him.
“What are you going to do when you’re done stealing your boss’s business? How are you going to keep growing your company?” I asked, then,“Howwould you feel if someday one of your employees did this to you?”
The conversation ended when I told him no, I would absolutely NOT follow him to his new venture. The guy –Randy Sklar Security. Availability. Support. .................................................................................... 804-730-2628 • 1 A REFERRAL IS THE HIGHEST FORM OF FLATTERY. WHEN A CLIENT REFERS FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES TO US, IT REPRESENTS AN APPRECIATION OF A JOB WELL DONE. IF YOUR FRIENDS OR ASSOCIATES COULD BENEFIT FROM OUR SERVICES, I’D BE HONORED TO HAVE YOUR REFERRAL!
Your business might be doing well, but if your workforce doesn’t feel any sort of personal connection to your business’s mission, that could prevent lasting success. You want to boost employee morale and make them happy about their work. To reinvigorate your employees’ passion for your business’s mission, try a few of these tips. Walk the talk. Patagonia CEO Yvon Chouinard decided to make his products out of organic cotton after he saw how industrially grown cotton was hurting the environment. It cost more to do that, but he stuck to Patagonia’s mission of creating environmentally friendly products. If you’re not willing to sacrifice for your mission, then it’s not your mission — and your employees will know it. Make it clear. Make sure everyone at your company knows exactly what your mission is. Only when employees have a clear understanding of the goal can they actually abide by it. If your mission statement can be interpreted in multiple ways, clarify it throughout all levels of your business. Speak passionately about it. While you want the mission itself to be exciting, even the most intriguing of mission statements will be DOA if your delivery doesn’t convey your excitement. Humans are emotional creatures, so connecting with your employees emotionally in regard to your mission is just as important as the mission itself. Make it personal. While you might think tying your personal story to the company’s mission seems narcissistic, the truth is that your team wants to hear your story. People like stories, and if you can convey yours with honesty and humility, no one will think you’re an egoist. Re-work it. If your mission doesn’t seem to be inspiring passion in your workforce, then maybe it’s time to tweak it a little bit. Whether you’re just starting in business or have had the same mission statement for 10 years, a new mission lived out, made clear, and made personal by you can spark a newfound appreciation for your business among your employees. CONNECTING YOUR EMPLOYEES TO YOUR MISSION Making Your Passions Their Passions
DON’T LET FEAR DICTATE YOUR
When you find success and make a bit of money, suddenly everyone wants a piece, and they’ll use intimidation to get it. This includes your employees, customers, and partners. One of the biggest challenges of running a business is learning to handle confrontations without letting fear dictate your decisions. Consider the scenario presented in the cover article. Imagine you’re the owner of the lawn care business, and you’ve just learned one of your employees is poaching your customers.What should you do? “Fire him” is the logical answer, but logic often takes a back seat to fear.What if the backstabbing employee is your best worker, and your company will suffer without him? What if he threatens to take more staff with him unless you keep him on, or worse, give him a raise? In either of those scary scenarios, many business owners would give in and let the employee go unpunished. When you let fear win, you become a washrag. You set a precedent that anybody can come in and wring you out. Give in when an employee demands a raise or a customer pressures you for a discount and they’ll keep coming back until they’ve wrung you dry. To solve this, you need to learn how to control your fear. As Warren Buffett said, “You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.” BUSINESS DECISIONS! Run Your Company Like a Honey Badger, Not aWashrag
When you’re facing a confrontation, take these three steps:
1. Identify your emotions. The first step to overcoming your fear is recognizing it. Once you do, you can check yourself before reacting on impulse. 2. Breathe. During a confrontation, never speak or act out of emotion. Instead, take a deep breath and count to 10 before you respond. 3. Outlast the opposition. You can control the situation if you simply refuse to play ball. Let the other side threaten, beg, and bully you until they run out of ammunition. Then, make the logical decision. Randy uses these techniques, and his friends have nicknamed him the Honey Badger after the most fearless critter in the animal kingdom. Next time someone confronts you, channel your inner honey badger to take them down.
“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.”
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THE ART OF SAYING ‘NO’ How to Turn Down Proposals That Are Bad for Business
2. Prioritize the numbers over your emotions. Just because you like an employee or trust a business partner doesn’t mean that the raise or buyout they’re proposing is a smart move. Remember, a deal shouldn’t just make you feel good or increase your revenue — it should also increase your profit. Run the numbers, and make them your top priority. It will be easier to say “no” if they don’t add up.
Have you seen the movie “Yes Man” with Jim Carrey? In it, Carrey plays a bank loan officer named Carl who turns his life around by vowing to say “Yes”
to opportunities instead of “No.” At first, this is a positive thing. But then, the yeses catch up with him. By the end of the movie, Carl realizes that some proposals — like the offer to sleep with his ex-wife — absolutely deserve a “NO.” Unlike Carl, most of us are born “Yes Men.” Psychologically, “no” is one of the hardest words to say in the English language. We’re taught from a young age to do what we’re told, and that instinct can be tough to turn off. You would be amazed how many business owners take money-losing deals just because they can’t say “no” to their friends or employees.
3. Remember your self-respect. You don’t owe your clients, employees, or partners the opportunity to walk all over you. Even if they use scare tactics (see Page 2), you CAN take control and say, “no,” and it’s far better to put your real opinion out there, for you and for them. As author and psychology professor Dr. Hank Davis once said, “Sometimes ‘no’ is the most honorable and respectful thing you can say to someone.”
Are you a “Yes Entrepreneur”? If you’ve given in to bad proposals in the past, take these three steps when negotiating your next deal.
Want to learn more? Check out “The Book of NO: 250 Ways to Say It — and Mean It —And Stop People-Pleasing Forever” by Dr. Susan Newman. It might just revolutionize the way you do business.
1. Go in prepared to walk away. If you’re not willing to walk, then you don’t really have a seat at the negotiating table. You’re setting yourself up for “yes” from the outset.
Easy & Healthy Green Rice Inspired by 101Cookbooks.com
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1/2 cup yellow onions, finely diced 1/2 cup green peppers, diced
1 cup tightly packed spinach leaves
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1 cup tightly packed kale leaves, stems removed
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock 2 tbsp full-fat coconut milk
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 cup long-grain white rice
1 tsp kosher salt
Directions 1. In a blender, purée spinach and kale with vegetable stock, coconut milk, and salt. Set aside. 2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, sauté onions and peppers in olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. 3. Stir in rice and cook and toast for 1–2 minutes before adding the blended mixture. Increase heat to bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until liquid has evaporated, 15–20 minutes. 5. Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Security. Availability. Support .................................................................................... 804-730-2628 • 3
7462 Old Hickory Drive Mechanicsville, VA 23111 www.sklartechnology.com 804-730-2628
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Inside This Issue
Do You Live by the Code?
Connecting Your Employees to Your Mission
Run Your Company Like a Honey Badger
The Art of Saying ‘NO’
Green Rice Recipe
99-Year-Old Betty White’s Secrets of Longevity
BETTY WHITE’S SECRETS OF LONGEVITY How to Live to 99
over the years, but she’s not just playing it up for the camera. Laughter is part of what keeps her young. Be Optimistic White says a good sense of humor also helps her keep a good attitude and look for the positive rather than “dwelling on the downside.” Avoiding negativity also gives her energy. “It takes up too much energy being negative,” she told People magazine. Stay Busy With nearly eight decades of acting under her belt, six Emmys on her shelf, and over 120 screen credits to her name, White is no stranger to hard work. As she told Parade in 2018, “I just love to work, so I’ll keep working until they stop asking.” Exercise Your Mind In addition to her busy work schedule, what keeps Betty White sharp? Crossword puzzles!
She told Katie Couric in an interview, “I’m addicted. An admitted addict. I just can’t put ’em down.” Find a Cause White is a lifelong animal lover. She calls her golden retriever, Pontiac, “the star of the house.” While pet ownership itself comes with proven health benefits, White has channeled her love for animals in bigger causes. She’s been a trustee and board member of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association for over 40 years and has done work to help protect endangered species in the wild. Funds raised from White’s official fan club, Bet’s Pets, all go to support animal charities. Embrace Your Vices White told Parade she loves vodka and hot dogs “probably in that order,” which just goes to show that you don’t have to forgo your treats to live to 99.
Beloved “Golden Girls” actress Betty White is still enjoying her golden years. The famed actress celebrated her 99th birthday this January. While she told People magazine that she’s “blessed with good health, so turning 99 is no different than turning 98,” she also had a few tips for folks looking to make it to their centennial birthday. Keep Laughing “Don’t take yourself too seriously,” White says. “You can lie to others — not that I would — but you cannot lie to yourself.” White has undoubtedly provided many laughs to viewers
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