Outsourcing: The British Are Coming! | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System…If this had been an actual emergency…Attention…This…Is…Not…A…Test!

Outsourcing: The British Are Coming! | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

I mean the Indians (India). I mean the Chinese. I mean anyone willing to learn English, meet quality standards, and save corporate America/Europe money. So the entire competitive-developing world IS coming. They are not coming by horse, by boat, or by plane; they are coming by fiber optics. They are not coming. They are here.

Put down your television, iPad, iPhone, video game consoles, and get out your books. Not for you, it is too late for you. Get them out for your kids. Your kids are competing in a flat world. Competing for traditional American-middle jobs, that are no longer American. Teach your kids science, math, language, manners, customer service, leadership, business, anything. Teach them anything. Traditional middle jobs are shifting up and down. What this means is the traditional middle jobs that many middle class Americans use to be able to obtain with little to moderate skill are disappearing overseas. What is left is the even less technical jobs below and the slightly more technical jobs just above. So this new middle is shifting. Your kids have to be smarter, faster, more educated, and slightly more ambitious than you were to capture the higher middle. This will not happen without your help.

All cultures are built by the behaviors that are awarded and punished. The American culture does not award hard work, intelligence, and delayed gratification nearly as much as it does their opposites. It is so much more appealing in our culture to work hard at keeping up with “the shows,” your video game castle, and have intelligence in all the wrong areas. The great thing about Americans is they have incredible powers of concentration. Unfortunately, Americans so often concentrate on the wrong things. The elephant in the room is that the ratio of American achievers to the rest of the world’s achievers is changing. The playing field is leveling, because the world is flat. These other achievers are competing for traditional American jobs and the competition is heating up while Americans are sitting in the “pot of past success” like a slow cooking frog. A perfect storm is brewing and it does not bode well for Americans. Extraordinary companies are built on a critical mass of extraordinary people. The same goes for families, communities, cities, and countries. This education and ambition gap that is emerging is a quiet crisis, like I said it is a perfect storm. If America does not make fundamental value changes in regard to education it very well could be the next Rome.

America’s collective eye has lost the plot. It is time for a sense of urgency and commitment to educational excellence that will see America into a third generation of success. America will burn like Rome, metaphorically speaking, if its human capital does not improve. I know this sounds harsh, but it will be even harsher if it comes true. Home, school, neighbor, community, reduce your electronic connectivity consumption and get back to your grass root hardworking, always improving selves. If America does not improve its human stock over the next 20 years, there is no contingency plan, the gap between rich and poor will become a gulf; social, and political rest will inflame. To avoid this we need to change our global footprint fast. For starters, we need “new middle” in the pipeline, STAT.

For an online business solution check out Thrive15 or for more business articles by this author check out www.harpershutshavedice.me

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Startups: Know When To Exit | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Startups: Know When To Exit | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

How do you know when to enter a specific field, venture, or partnership? I think it is that personal knowing, that you can make whatever it is that you are undertaking, work. Jumping from ledge to ledge is scary, energizing, full of unknowns, fulfilling, and dangerous. What a mixture of emotions an entrepreneur navigates to get from point A to point B. The internal management of this “sauce” propels an entrepreneur like a sling shot. The pay off is fulfillment and of course greater earning potential. It has risks. You might land back at square one, in bankruptcy court, or even worse. Once you have taken the plunge and given business both hemispheres of your brain it does not get easier. Markets change, products are duplicated, customer-needs change, smarter competition enter the sector, assumptions become invalid, and pain points evolve. Not only do you need courage to start, succeed, and then thrive, you also must have courage to exit.

You made the jump, maybe not your first try, who cares, none of us do. Some do. You created a beautiful business, a great product or service. Outstanding. Or maybe you got lucky and built a mediocre business, product, or service. Either way, you connected the dots, found a product-market-fit and succeeded; profited. But it was not your love or you got bored, so you took those skills that helped you elevate an unknown business to profitability and you built other businesses. Say you bought a franchise and created another service company. You transcended from business owner to investor. This can work, does work, should work. If you have replaced yourself with leaders. If you have not, how will you track the market, innovate, iterate, improve, and exit when the time comes? You will not.

If your first business was a stepping-stone to businesses with greater volume or profit margins, great. You could be a serial entrepreneur, very different from a typical entrepreneur following the Hedgehog Concept. Regardless, businesspersons in your sector watch and learn from your wins and losses. Not only are you paying for your own education, likely, you are paying for the competitions as well. Without a true leader or innovator involved in the venture your market share is unprotected from wolves, vultures, and companies that are passionate about the segment. Capitalist markets turn this way. They churn. Sears was once the largest retailer in America. I have not shopped at sears since the 80s. A great philosopher once said rarely are things created from whole cloth. Certainly, your competition is one or two steps behind you. If you no longer are engaged in your business or have minds that are, exercise your genius and know when to exit.

Check out Thrive15 for an online business school Promo code E2E. For more business articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me.

Entrepreneur: Move Without The Ball | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Entrepreneur: Move Without The Ball | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Eager to start your own business, read on. Remember Pete Rose? Most hits in MLB history. Guess who has the most at-bats? Pete Rose. Much of business is trying, failing, re-calculating and trying again. Iterating. People say all the time, if I had a million dollars I could make my idea work. Very bad idea starting with a million dollars, before you have moved without the ball. This country is ripe with reasons and excuses of why we cannot develop our ideas. Yes the spotlight is on the ball, but every entrepreneur moves without the ball.

Before money benefits, movement is essential i.e. a business plan, seeking applicable knowledge, networking with potential team members, founders, and investors, identifying potential pain points and customers, deciding if you are building a business, a feature, or a product. These actions are steps that set about a chain reaction, very similar to how enzymes cascade into reactions in the human body. Many of these steps are precursory and do not interface directly with the outcome, yet without them there would be no outcome. Too often Americans over emphasize the true downside of blowing it. Think of Pete Rose, or all the game winning shots by NBA basketball players that did not win the game. Think of every entrepreneur that has tried something and failed. I guarantee an internal note was made, a calibration took place, a lesson was learned inside each person that tried and failed. An iteration. Each action (good or bad) is movement toward your dream, company, or product. These movements, motions, patterns, strategies, routines are rarely noticed, well, until the company is viewable through a rear-view mirror and well before money enters the picture. It is impossible to guarantee whether a product will thrive or die (product market fit), the only thing you can guarantee is that you do your part with what you said you were creating. Swing the bat, strike out even, just get up and swing the bat as you said you would. Do not sit on the sideline and talk about how and what you would do if you had the team, resources, opportunities, or trust fund. Talk is cheap, just start moving without the ball. On a side note, some ideas do require millions in seed funds to activate them. If that is your idea, then move to Silicon Valley or another community that supports those size ventures. Many technological or biological ideas require significant start up capital. Most other verticals allow entrepreneurs to activate with significantly less.

Movement instills trust in your networks and gives you an opportunity to take a shot. We have all failed; failure is not to be feared, standing still when no one is passing you the ball is. Each failure is like a key on my key ring. And inside my mind is how each key turned the lock. Movement without the ball is the color of survival, it is the color of entrepreneurship, and it is the color of success. Every competitive advantage that leads to success at the individual level is fungible, except, moving without the ball. Flip a coin three times and you do not know if you have a fair coin, flip a coin 1000 times and you do. What is an ingredient in the secret sauce? Move without the ball.

For an online alternative to business school check out www.thrive15.com Promo code E2E. For more E2E articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me.

Customer Service: The Last Outpost | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Customer Service: The Last Outpost | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

First impressions may be last impressions.

Someone once said your only competition is anyone that improves customer service. So let’s assume this is in the Business-Bible. Let’s create some additional assumptions for the sake of an argument. First, price does not matter up to a certain asymptote. Obviously value, supply chaining, competition, among other things define price in the real world. Secondly, all businesses in a specific vertical are equally matched on everything (no comparative advantage exists i.e. All businesses are innovative or not, location doesn’t matter, etc). This leaves customer service as the last outpost

Other advantages aside, customer service, price, and innovativion are outposts. How you manage and value these outposts differentiates your business. “The times, they are a changin.'” In ten years, outsourcing, supply chaining, and technology have created global competitors that can beat your price and innovation outposts. Plus, price and innovation are effected more so by external forces than customer service. Minimum wage, insurances, property costs, etc., effect price, and we can only create what we know how i.e. other industries create innovations that positively or negatively affect our innovations.

In any case, we must err on the side of customer service. Customer-service-savvy professionals will dominate industries that once had zero need for the competency. The day of the highly skilled, but deficient in customer service professional is fading; more valuable are the moderately skilled with appreciable customer service skills. Employees must view customer service through three lenses: the  customer, the business, and the market, in order to be worthy of competitive wages. Anyone that improves customer service in your vertical is a threat, so, Without these lenses how will your team see them coming? The last outpost is customer service.

For more Entrepreneur to Entrepreneur (E2E) business articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me.

Leadership: What Is The Role Of A CEO? | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Leadership: What Is The Role Of A CEO? | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

To bring the outside to the inside and then to maximize the insides’ performance to cope with the outside.

To attract buyers and visibility a CEO orchestrates teams that define, innovate, position, re-position, create value propositions, competitive advantages, and comparative advantages. Through processing, supply-chaining, outsourcing, insourcing, in-forming, etc., evolution of an inside occurs. Something with walls, ceilings, and floors. A distinct inside and outside air. This service/product is introduced to the world through press releases, marketing, branding, advertising, public relations, networking, & sales. The CEO must first have an inside and then find a way to bring the outside to the inside.

We have built it and they are coming. A CEO manages processes, vision, mission, & values in order to steer the ship toward its specified target. Planning, re-planning, burning plans, flattening, correcting, directing, coaching, hiring, re-hiring, winning, losing, analyzing and learning in order to maximize performance. Two simple tasks of a CEO bring the outside in and maximize performance in correlation to external demands.

The Multiplier: Teamwork | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

The Multiplier
William Nozak CEO of Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, get on up, it’s bobsled time.” – Cool Runnings (1993).

The power of team cannot be overemphasized in a culture where autonomy is celebrated and community is criticized. Eighteen hundred years ago, Aristotle said “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” and the Bible eludes to this mystery with “How could one man chase a thousand, or two put ten thousand to flight…” and “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Gandhi recognized the power of team saying, “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.” So what is with this teamwork thing?

Just like parents, leaders, managers, teachers, and preachers, some diminish and others multiply. We will consider only when a team is functioning as a multiplier and view teamwork through the lenses of synergy. Google defines synergy as “The interaction or cooperation of two or more organizations, substances, or other agents to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.” Not very different from what Aristotle said in 300 B.C. Although culture occasionally reminds us of the power of teamwork, it is more so the exception. Where Simon and Garfunkel gave us, “I Am A rock I am an island” Tenth Avenue North reminds us “No man is an island.” Where professional musicians and television largely teach me, my, and mine, professional sports teams remind us winning and teamwork are never mutually exclusive AKA 2015 New York Nicks. When the business community glorifies the king-type entrepreneur, President Obama weighs in on the theory of a self-made man reminding us that none exists. Beside a few voices in the wilderness, classroom projects, and team sports, who is championing “Team?” You must champion team.

All I want is a successful small business; I do not need a team I need employees.
So you did not graduate from Stanford, major in social science, and do not plan to move to Silicon Valley with your billion-dollar-idea web application requiring hundreds of brilliant programmers, venture capital, and then an IPO? Well, that is the majority of entrepreneurs. It’s different in the Midwest the verticals are oil, oil, or oil. Where have all the cowboys gone? If you are not moving to California, joining the oil racket, or the billion dollar vertical in another state, what do you do?

I cannot tell you but you will need a team. No matter if you take every class at your Alma mater or pull a Kobe Bryant and go straight out of high school to your chosen field you will need supportive friends and family. You may need co-founders or investors. You need mentors, colleagues, a professional network, peers, and support in general. Every successful person has non-paid team members. I use the term team members loosely as anyone that imparts something of value. You will not have team members if you first are not friendly. Sure people can be successful with very little teamwork. Entrepreneurs do not get this luxury. In the CASHFLOW Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, he reminded us to live on the right side of the quadrant. Build a system so that people can work for you and/or make investments where your money works for you.

How do I become a better team player?
Start by practicing friendliness and giving of your time to others dreams and projects. Be mindful when your actions diminish others and multiply self. Read Winning Friends and Influencing People by Dale Carnegie, read The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman. Expend energy in the pursuit of knowledge about communication, body language, and interpersonal skills. See where this is going? Learn how to energize those around you, become a multiplier, reduce your diminishing actions, practice at it, be vulnerable to the team, set goals larger than you set for yourself, and never stop growing. Before you know it, a spark of teammate will grow inside of you and smart people will gravitate toward you, doors will swing open in front of you, projects will appear tailored for you, and at those moments, you will have the skills to find the team to make the dream work. Even Michael Jordan needed a team to win six NBA championships. Teamwork is the multiplier. For more business articles by this author visit www.harpershutshavedice.me or Harper’s Hut Blog.