June 18, 2018

How to Grow Your Business? Get Unstuck!

The dream of starting your own business dwells in the minds of many: being your own boss, working flexible hours, and feeling passionate about your enterprise are just a few of the appeals. Unfortunately, most are unaware of the steps necessary to achieve this goal, and aren’t prepared for the commitment and sacrifice required along the way. 
Jerry Jendusa founded EMTEQ in 1996, with the original workspace being his basement. Jerry and his partner, Jim Harasha, put in countless hours each week to get EMTEQ fully functioning and drive it to the success it has today. In Get Unstuck, Jerry details his pre-startup business plans, techniques, and experiences. He reminds others thinking of following the entrepreneurial path to take into consideration all the facets of starting a business, and offers advice on how to do so. This advice ranges from choosing the right partner, finding a demographic and marketable niche, to ensuring personal relationships remain intact during and after the process. The book serves to “get out the message to as many business owners as possible regarding starting, growing and exiting from a business.”

Jerry wrote this book intending to “provide a baseline of beliefs from which small-business owners can attain the success that other business owners enjoy.” Based on his story, Jerry wanted “to be able to help other small to mid size business owners think about their businesses perhaps in a different light as growth in business and in life requires a great amount of change and one cannot do it all alone.” His goal is altruistic; Get Unstuckis about helping other business owners on their path to prosperity. 

Since the success of his enterprise, Jerry has created a coaching and advisory business called STUCK, which provides the tools for making key changes to help a business grow and succeed. STUCK was created with the intent of providing tools, techniques, and tips to help business owners find solutions within their business. 
So far, Get Unstuck“has been a great marketing tool to spread our message.  It is a leave behind sample at speaking engagements or is dropped off for business owners that are stuck.” Get Unstuckhas given Jerry and his team at STUCK credibility and provides reference points for it. Jerry anticipates Get Unstuck to continue in popularity and growth, remaining a source of credibility and a resource of insightful business tips. 

Jerry wanted to give back and help other young entrepreneurs on their path to success. He finds it rewarding, the urge to give back was a major reason why Get Unstuckwas written. Jerry wanted to speak to his belief that “every owner at one point or another gets stuck.” 

Patient Centered Strategy: Using Lean to Overhaul the Healthcare Industry

In the world of healthcare, patients are a priority. However, many healthcare systems operate conversely: strategy and management are decided in a vacuum, usually based on the intuition of the CEOs. The lean approach is an entirely new method of strategy that involves rapid plan-do-study-act (PDSA) cycles, where the needs of patients are tested and immediately acted upon, creating a better patient experience. The lean approach was created with the patients in mind, aiming to enhance their healthcare. This differs from the previous approach on management strategy greatly, requiring immense amounts of effort to define and implement this new technique.
Jeff Hunter was a senior executive at ThedaCare when he first heard of an alternate train of thought regarding management strategy. This new approach to management was completely different to the practices being used at the time, and yet Jeff and his CEO, John Toussaint, pursued the knowledge and understanding of the lean approach. Jeff Hunter was hesitant about this initially, as the immense amount of inertia required to completely uproot and redo the current system was daunting. 
Through enormous effort and time, he mastered his understanding of this particular strategy and management practice and decided to write a book to help others on their journey to understanding and incorporating lean; explaining the many steps, successes, and pitfalls of his own journey. “I was writing this as I was further discovering and developing the system through experiential learning. The content emerged during the writing process,” Jeff muses.

Though ThedaCare already had great coverage in daily management, there was an existing gap in management strategy, and that was where Jeff’s content came into play.
 “The path is not linear, and I frequently had to backtrack. Lean takes time and energy, and there is enormous inertia to overcome. Healthcare systems are also very complex, and, currently, no one organization has completely centered its strategies on patients. But I have experienced enough success to believe it can be done.” Jeff attempts to describe this experience of rerouting the way he understood and thought about something as tacit as management strategy. 
Jeff wrote the book at the urging of the then CEO, John Toussaint, who wanted the book to complement other books on lean strategy. The primary purpose of the book is “to describe the strategic management subsystem that fits within the broader lean management system.” While writing it, Jeff says he often struggled with incorporating more of his story and often had to be pushed away from writing a strictly technical journal. This was useful for him, and he says the writing process made him better. “It made me question what I believe and why I believe it. It made me dig and substantiate. And it made me communicate it in a way that a reader would care.” 
The book has created a platform for both Jeff and ThedaCare from which they can continue to improve and grow. The book was only recently launched but the success of webinars done on the book’s content is an indication of the positive outcomes this book will have on their business. 

December 4, 2017

Book Beckons Retailers to Invest in Mobile Technology

Serial ecommerce entrepreneur Stephan Schambach not only invented the online shopping cart, but he also keeps reinventing it.

In 1995, Schambach created the first-ever standard software for online shopping.

In 2004, he offered the first ecommerce solution on the cloud.

In early 2014, he noticed an increase in web traffic coming from mobile phones that mushroomed to more than half of all customer traffic by the end of the year.

In response, Schambach founded NewStore, Inc., in early 2015. A short time later, he created the first Mobile Retail Platform software to solve the omnichannel problem facing so many retailers and brands. Its goal? To help them deliver an extraordinary end-to-end shopping experience for their consumers entirely from a mobile perspective.

NewStore might only be two-plus years old, but it’s expanding as fast as the mobile retail industry itself. With offices in Boston, New York City, and the German cities of Berlin, Hannover, and Erfurt, NewStore’s director of corporate communications, Casey Antonelli, says, “This start-up is on steroids.”

About a year ago, after considering his boss’s undisputed position as a thought leader in the mobile retail industry, Schambach’s chief marketing officer told him he should write a book. Never one to let grass grow under his feet, Schambach published Makeover: How Mobile Flipped the Shopping Cart (and What to Do about It) in June of 2017.

“Our CMO really pushed him to do this,” Casey explains. “The goal was not to sell books. The goal was to increase our account-based marketing, or ABM, to reach new retail clients. We have a very targeted outreach to specific retailers. Since publishing the book this past June, that outreach includes Makeover.”

While Makeover is available for purchase online, NewStore published the book to give it away to individuals already in the start-up’s sales pipeline and to potential new prospects.

For example, Schambach hosts quarterly dinners for CEOs of select retailers alongside a high-profile co-host. The purpose of these dinners isn’t to push NewStore’s platform but to share ideas.

Casey notes, “Wrapping up the incredible round-table discussions that ensue by giving each CEO a copy of the book is extremely helpful, given how much information there is to absorb regarding retail’s transformation to mobile.”

This volume of information and the disruption this transformation is causing led Schambach to approach a publishing services company and use the services of a professional writer to craft Makeover.

“Stephan is constantly traveling from Berlin to Boston to New York,” Casey reflects. “It was incredibly helpful to have a dedicated writer to help put the book together.”

She adds, “We knew what the content was, and the publisher and writer helped us figure out how to make it digestible. From there, we had a great marketing team at NewStore to help us execute. Our CMO and project manager worked with the publisher and did a huge amount of work to get it printed and created physically.”

Having all the content related to mobile in one highly readable place has also helped Casey communicate mobile’s transformation and NewStore’s Mobile Retail Platform software to the press.

She concludes, “Makeover is an incredible little bundle of Stephan’s knowledge and take on the industry and has become a powerful marketing tool for us. It has spawned articles and quotes and all kinds of interest, and we’re just getting started.”

October 17, 2017

Don't Give Up

Companies that invest in their employees know personal development translates into organizational success.

Not surprisingly, the list of corporate clients that have turned to longtime management consultant Dr. Kay Potetz for leadership training is vast. Think Cleveland Clinic, Marriott International, Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Rubbermaid, Kent State University, the American Lung Association, and more.

After hearing her speak, people within these organizations would ask Kay if she’d written her ideas down. For a long time, the answer was no. Kay had a huge barrier to overcome before she could publish the first two books in her personal leadership trilogy: her own self-described “stinkin’ thinkin.’” 

Negative self-talk in the form of “I’m not a writer; how can I do this?” gave her a decade’s worth of trouble. This experience was not merely frustrating, Kay reveals. It was the worst part of crafting and publishing her two books.

Yet Kay persevered. Eventually, like many authors, she found that the process of writing was in fact a creative one. She explains, “Now I’m always interested in seeing what emerges as I write.”

With the aide of a writing coach, Kay published the acclaimed Take It Back: The Personal Power You Give Away Each Day in 2012 and Don’t Ever Let It Go: Hanging on to Your Personal Power in the Turmoil of the Twenty-first Century in 2017. She expects to publish her third book, What’s Your Part in It?, in 2019.

 Kay explains that when she published her first book, she had no expectations regarding its impact. She merely wanted to be able to respond affirmatively to those clients who kept asking if she’d written any of her tips and insights down.

What she found was that being a published author promptly gave her presence and authority. She explains, “People think you’re brilliant if you’ve written a book. It gives you an immediate air and makes your business more acceptable.”
Now semi-retired but still in demand for her leadership training seminars and management expertise, Kay finds it convenient to sell her books at conferences and lectures, through her website at drkkp.com, and in eBook form on Kindle and Amazon.

She expects to begin her third book in early 2018, again with the help of her writing coach. She took out an ad in Psychology Today to publicize her first two books. This time, she’s considering hiring a marketing firm to help with promotion.

She muses, “People are thrilled to associate with those who have written a book. That’s why I tell first-time business book authors, ‘Don’t give up. Don’t let your own stinkin’ thinkin’ prevent you from putting your ideas down on paper.” She adds, “Like me, you might be surprised at what a difference it makes in terms of your credibility and in meeting the expectations of your clients.”

Kay’s advice to organizations—“Invest in your employees … Invest in yourself!”—are words she clearly takes to heart. 

February 24, 2017

Book for "High Potentials" Practices What It Preaches

The best business books address a compelling issue, and there’s a doozy of a problem making the rounds at corporations all over America: lots of talented people assumed to be “on their way up” aren’t paying attention to their growth or advancement.

High Potentials Boot Camp…The Ultimate Playbook for Winning at Work offers a cure. Having worked with executive leaders in the C suite of Fortune 100 companies for two-plus decades, author Chuck Berke contends that taking responsibility for their development and advancement is the single most neglected element in many executives’ work lives.

In fact, Dr. Berke explains that a surprising number of the most talented and determined men and women are too busy with work tasks to pay attention to their own growth. This can be catastrophic, because personal development is crucial to long-term satisfaction, fulfillment, and retention, not to mention the success and competitiveness of goal-driven business ecosystems.

High Potentials Boot Camp began as a general compilation of ideas related to common leadership challenges. After conducting a series of workshops emphasizing the collective struggles of mid- to early senior-level executives on the rise, Dr. Berke realized he wanted to target this specific group.

How great is the need for such a book? Dr. Berke says new clients began contacting him as soon as word got out that he was writing it.

“The topic resonates. High potentials seem to realize they’re good at tasks but don’t know how to manage their careers. CEOs may not be the target audience, but this easy-to-read guide can still help them understand some of the challenges common to people coming up now,” he says.

Even before he sold a single copy, Dr. Berke was using the book to create workshops based on specific chapters such as listening, work/life balance, reputation management, the art of saying no, and branding.

I’m thinking of the book as a business card in a lot of ways. As a thank you for some clients but also as a way to introduce myself in a compelling way to new businesses. It’s a business development tool.”

As an adjunct to High Potentials Boot Camp, Dr. Berke developed a Career Assessment quiz to highlight growth skills and gaps and provide insights on what individuals can do to promote themselves at work. He’s also thinking about creating an ancillary workbook for teams based on the book.

While it’s too early to assess the long-term impact, Dr. Berke hopes his book will help him become better known. He works closely with a number of companies, but he’s seeking opportunities to branch out. By all accounts, he’s well on his way.

 “Today I have a call with a prospective client who wants to create a leadership program for his entire company. To say I have a book that addresses some of these topics has given me an entrĂ©e.”

Dr. Berke is already considering writing an additional title honing in on the benefits of taking a systemic rather than a linear approach to problem solving.

“Human beings often fail to see context,” he says. “We may acknowledge it, but we seldom embrace it because we don’t understand the whole picture, the way things connect. My new book will tackle the many ways this issue shows up, such as in management.”

But for now, this nationally recognized leadership and career coach is content to help executives who hold themselves to relentlessly high standards take a practical and more intentional approach to their advancement.

He concludes, “Hard work and talent aren’t enough. You have to seize control of your professional growth and development. In a sense, that’s what I’ve done by writing this book."