Tuesday, December 27, 2005

When is Slow Play a Deterrent to Playing Golf?

When  it is 81 degrees the day after Christmas, golfers are going to play golf…  And that is exactly what I went to do… After a full day of festivities with the family and with all of the food, drinks and sweets, it made sense to want to get out and play a leisurely round with family and friends. 


You would also think that since it is the Holiday season everyone on the golf course would be in a jovial mood.


But, I guess that is too much to ask at my club….


What is with people who think just because they pay a membership that the rule of the club do not apply to them.  I guess a better question is, why does the management of a four star country club allow the course to open but not properly staff the facility so the club rules can be enforce?


Now if you ask the management of the club these questions their answer is going to be they want the members to enjoy their membership and the Holiday season.  And whatever explanation they felt would make it sound like they are opening the club for the member’s enjoyment. 


I guess ‘members’ enjoyment’ to this club  means the rules of ‘no groups of Five, or larger, being allowed to play together on the golf courses’,  will be waved.


As I see it, and I see it the way the game of golf was meant to be played, the only place a group of five golfers should be allowed together  is in the Bar… There is no place on an OPEN golf course for a group of five golfers or more to play together.  Now, if the course is closed or  the day is slow with no tee times for at least an hour behind the group, then I can see a Fivesome being allowed. 


BUT, not on a day when every junior golfer who go new clubs for Christmas, every Grandpa and Grandma who gave their grandkids clubs for Christmas and every other member who wanted to play a leisurely round of golf after Christmas all converge at the same time on the club…


Fivesomes and Sixsomes have no place on a course that is packed with golfers.  Just the safety issues only are enough for the Club Management to have had some concern.  And with no Marshall’s or golf professionals on the course to enforce pace of play or unruliness, this made for a lawsuit waiting to be filed…


Now, this was a leisurely round of golf, just think if you had brought a client out to your club where the forming of Fivesomes is cultivated.  How would that impression effect your business relationship building?  Well, I can tell you if I had been asked to join someone for a round of golf and was placed behind a Fivesome I could only think that this is normal procedure and the impression I have on my Host for inviting me to round of torturous waiting after each shot would not be favorable.  Thus, it could effect how I do business with that person.


I don’t want to get into all of the ramifications on how fivesomes place a negative spin on Business Golf.  Lets keep the game of golf as it was meant to be played as ‘a Four Square of gentle men or women makes for a proper golf group’….  Hope your day after Christmas went better than mind.


Innovative Business Golf Solutions © 2005






Friday, December 23, 2005

Business Image: When Casual Friday becomes 'Friday the 13th'

If you have been in the corporate world for more than five years you have heard of ‘Causal Friday’.  And, over the past five years small businesses have been hearing  about the need to develop a professional ‘Business Image’.  So, what does Business Image mean and what does it have to do with Casual Friday?


Business Image is something every business needs to pay more attention to in this world of multiple levels of competition.   Simply put, how you, or your employees, look, and act, is your business’ image. 


If you want to know what your Business Image currently is, take a close look in the mirror just before you step out to go to work.  What you see is your business image.  Is it good or is it bad?


Gentlemen, if you have to coat and tie on you are heading in the right direction.  Ladies, if you have the business suit on you are on track.  IF you are going to meet a customer and you have on your sweat suit, you may want to think how this image will come across to your client.  Now, if you were meeting them at the health club, then you might be dressed appropriately.  But if you are meeting them at a restaurant or in the office, your business image will not be too good. 


Writing it off that it is ‘Casual Friday’ will not repair the damage done to your business’ image.  Causal Friday has become a cancer to a business’ image.  But fortunately there is a cure…


Your employees play a big part of how your business is portrayed in the marketplace.  What your customers see when they see your employees is your business’ image. 


The adage of the ‘first Impression being the most important impression’ and ‘the taking a first step towards building a solid business relationship’ is as good today as when it was first mentioned many years ago.  In today’s marketplace, Business Image is looked at very closely when it comes time to choose who someone is going to spend their money with, or do business.  The first impression may become the last impression a potential customer may have of your business if you, your employees or business has a less than professional image. 


Simply put, if you were looking for someone to service your business’ needs would you pick a business that takes a casual approach to their appearance or whose appearance does not reflect any level of professionalism.


What has taking place over the past five years is that Casual Friday has gotten totally out of hand.  Look around you today and you will see the effects of an entire generation who is a product of the Casual Friday.  Causal Friday is now Casual Everyday.  The influx of the .COM’s in the 80’s where billionaires were made overnight substantiated that dressing to ‘not impress’ can be profitable.  And the fashion industry dug in by creating an entire line of apparel making it acceptable in the workplace to look as if you just got out of bed.


What started as a way for the stuffy three piece suit executives to portray an image of being ‘one-of-you’ in an attempt to promote morale amongst the employee base has now become a game of ‘how casual can you go?’.   In the beginning there were rules put in place that outlined what could and could not be worn on Casual Friday.  But as is the case of today’s society the need to be different tested the rules.  Again, not wanting to be the ‘bad guy’ the executives would lessen the rule to a point of not enforcing the dress codes to avoid a morale deflating conflict in the workplace.


Regrettably, the Causal Friday’ dress code also has produced a by-product of causal production.  What was suppose to boost production by improving moral backfired to produce an attitude of ‘if I can dress casually, this most mean I can take a casual approach at doing the work I am paid to do’ amongst the employee base.


The causal dress of the last 25 years cannot be blamed entirely on the dismantling of large corporate workforces, but the massive layoffs in the late 90’s and early 2000’s is the result of lower than expected productivity.  And, these layoffs filled the unemployment lines with thousands of men and women who never learned, or had to learn, to dress professionally. 


As a result, these well trained executives, managers and production workers have been let loose into the small business world to dig-out a living.  Small business owners who are wanting to capitalize on this large skilled workforce are now having to deal with the ‘business Image’ problem left behind by the companies that went under partly due to not having a good ‘business image’.


The casual image is still with us to day and there is a place for casual appearance in a business’ image, but  there is a fine line that separates appropriate casual and sloppiness.   Once that line is crossed the professional business image tanks.  And nobody wants to do business with someone who appears to not think enough of themselves to dress appropriately.


Business Imagery is not limited to the small business.  In today’s large corporations, dressing sloppy can effect productivity.  Usually the large employee base of corporations has to work as a team to get the job done.  When one, or more, of the employees dress extremely casual it sends a negative message to the rest of the team.  The message sometimes is interpreted as being ‘not caring’ about the results the team is to achieve as a whole.  This starts the disdain that results in hours of extra management of the situation.


There are simple solutions to maintaining a proper Business Image.   Step one is to set an example and make looking in the mirror each morning part of your business day.  If when you look into the mirror you do not see someone you would want to do business with, you better make a change.    Step two is to clearly outline the business’ expectations of the image to be portrayed everyday.   This can be done by establishing a dress code and sticking to it.


Over time, and with diligent management of the image you demand of yourself and employees, the professional business image will be what every customer and business client sees when they see you or your employees.  It starts with you and ends with increase productively that lead to greater profits in your business.


Remember, the steps you take today to establish Business Image will help to keep you in business.


(Above is an excerpt from the soon to be published article from CS Duke)


Innovative Business Golf Solutions © 2005




Thursday, December 22, 2005

Business Networking: Is it Working?

Business Networking           


I get asked frequently about Business Networking and what my take is on it.  Is it worth it? or is it a waste of time and money.? My answer is yes!


I have an article that will be released soon on Business Networking that outlines my views on Business Networking.


Basically, I think Business Networking should be 80% of a small business’ marketing plan.  You can put more networking in and it will take away from getting the work done, or you can put less networking into your plan and you will no achieve the goal you have set.  And that goal is to put you business in front of more people.


There is no better way to do this than using word-of-mouth networking. 


Now, there are good networking groups and there are bad networking groups.  I say this factually because I have been to networking groups that welcome you as an associate and not as a walking Rolodex of connections.   And I have been to many bad ones that stop you at the door to tell you the rules and the rule is that you have to furnish each person a lead to a solid sale, or you cannot return.  That pretty much describes the entire spectrum of the type of networking groups that are out there in America’s business world.  And there are many, many different groups between the best and the worst groups.


Some of these groups are grass root start up businesses testing their presentation skills and cutting their teeth by pitching their business in a 30 second commercial.  Other groups are national franchises that try to cookie cutter their method all across the nation of sharing business connections.


What is wrong with either of these groups?  Neither is doing what is right to market their business. 


The correct way to promote your business is to build a relationship with a person, or in this case, a group of people.  And make your own Network of people…


In whatever group you want to get involved with make sure to spend time with each of them to find out if you want to do business with them.  Many times after meeting a person at a Networking function I find out later that they have the worst business ethics imaginable and I would not refer them to anyone I knew, much less do business with him.  But it wasn’t until I sat down and got to know the person before I found this out.



There is more to promoting your business than just standing up and giving a 30 second or 15 minute presentation.  You have to deliver.  You have to build trust…  and that is all about building a relationship.



The best Business Networking groups are the groups that first  are interested in you and want to get to know you, the business owner, or company representative.  And focuses on sharing what each other is interested in before finding out what business the members do.  Doesn’t it make sense  to sit down with someone and find out about them before you pitch them on doing business with them? 


Think about the time you would save if you knew that the person you just met was blind and did not need the Televisions you were selling…  Three simple questions asked is more valuable to you than a one minute presentation.


My suggestion to anyone who is wanting to know what Networking Group to get involved with is to go and ask questions.  Thee is a group out there for everyone…


Innovative Business Golf Solutions © 2005





Sunday, December 18, 2005

Busienss Golf for the New Year.

Happy New Year,


Before you know it, it will be 2006 and with it comes a fresh chance to start making golf a part of the way you do business. 


Yeah, you have probably started off every year saying I am going to do something to improve my game or I am going to play more golf next year…and you end up sitting in the office looking at reports showing your customer base eroding away, your sales force not meeting objectives and office morale hitting the deck… And then feeling you just can’t justify going out and playing golf with the ‘sky is falling’. 


If this is the case, believe me, I totally understand.   I have seen sales reports that looked like a deficit report and I have had to deal with the consequences of cutting operations costs and payroll to keep things a float.   Not just once, but about 6 times in my 31 years in the corporate America…


If all of this is what is keeping you off the golf course, I can tell you this, an take me very seriously when I say it  …go play golf….


Now, before you go running off thinking that what I am saying is all lunacy, a complete waste of your time, or I am not taking your problems and challenges for 2006 seriously, just hear me out.  I hope to tell you how you can turn your challenges into increased productivity, which means increase in profits, if you do the right things. 


Now, if you truly are in a world of hurt and your business problems are not the result of poor marketing, declining sales and low productivity, then you probably need to be reading blogs on the specific problem you are having and seeking advise from one of my business associates who I can turn you onto that handle those heavy weight problems. 


But, if you are lacking sufficient marketing, losing loyal customers and your employees are just not giving you their all, then here is one of the Right Things to do…


Plan on taking a client to play golf the first day after the New Year when your weather will allow it.  Not just any client, take your top client out.  Even if he does not play golf, ask him to join you on the course.  Or, invite an employee out to play golf with you.  Again, not just any employee, ask the person who is always calling in sick or is always tardy to join you for a round of golf… or ask your sales manager to invite the potential client he is making a call on to join you and him on the course…  Have not expectations of trying to do any business with any of them while playing golf,  Do not talk to your VIP Client about anything business related, do not talk to the employee about his or her attendance, and do not let your sales manager talk about the products or business with the potential client….


Now, keep in mind  you are going to be taking them out to play Business Golf.  That will be your start to getting a New Year off to a solid start.


What the heck is Business Golf?  If I can’t talk business how can it be Business Golf..  Believe me, if you take a purposeful approach to setting up the business golf during your invitation and leaving the business to after the golf, I know you will find you will start to see much improvement in how your clients and employees see you and then way your do business.  These are the people your clients want to do business with and your employees want to work for…


Take it from someone who has spent 31 years dealing with the challenges every business person will deal with…


Even if your business had its best year ever, Business Golf fits into securing your businesses success and placing profitability as a norm instead of a challenge…


So what do I recommend you do to start playing Business Golf in the New Year?


I outline in my book How To Play Business Golf some very good ideas on how to purposefully go about using golf to do business without making it look like you are trying to work your golfing partner out of more than a $5 Nassau.  I think you will find that it is easier than you think to accomplish what you want and need to do in 2006 if you plan on playing more golf…      It IS worth the time and effort..


Have a Happy Holiday and a Very Happy New Year…


Innovative Business Golf Solution © 2005






Friday, December 16, 2005

Golf: Business Golf in Vegas...

How many times have you seen this happen?

I was out at Bear’s Best in Vegas in early November an while I was getting ready to get in line for the first tee, the group in front us was lead by this short Mega-Calorie-Challenged individual who was clearly trying to close some sort of deal with one, or all ,of the guys in his group. Loud mouthed, obnoxious, always two inches from the face of the person he is talking to, making sure he has every second of your attention towards him… I think you get the picture.

You have seen these guys and you can probably expect what takes place next…Yep, he strolls up to the Back tees (at Bear’s Best you are talking 7300+ yds) and with the most awful golf swing you have ever seen systematically topped one up to the front men’s tee and angrily flushing another all the way up to the ladies tee (about 150yds). And if you are tracking along with me on the type of guy he is, Yes, he was talking trash the entire time. (Note: If you have not been to Bear’s Best you are furnished a Forecaddie for the group. Their main purpose is to take care of the foursome by telling them where to hit, clean their clubs, and find their ball. You have to play Bear’s Best. It is one of the best courses I have ever played.) By the time the next guy got up to the tee you could see by his wobbling knees he was not up to hitting from that far back. .so he and the others told the ‘talking fire-hydrant’ they were going to play the middle tees. The other three guys could play and drilled three perfect drives to the middle of the fairway.

To fast forward a little…, this went on for four holes and I got some really unwarranted opportunities to see the most grossly misused attempt of someone who was trying to do business on the golf course. The ‘profane spewing dwarf’ was obviously out classed by the guys he was playing with, but was really thinking he was impressing them. On the last tee box we got to see this display of absurdity the ‘squatty-body’ of a businessman took out a folder from his briefcase and was showing some charts an graphs while their were standing on the tee-box. This guy went so far to follow one of the guys to the cart to layout the entire portfolio on the seat of the cart. The guy forgot he was playing golf and that it was his time to hit. One of the guys yelled at him that it was his time. About that time the Forecaddie insistently instructed the ‘Troll’ he was going to have to move forward to the tees the others were playing or he was going to have to move the group up a hole to get out of our way. Needless to say, our group took up a collection for that Forecaddie for him putting us out of our misery. From there we got to enjoy a perfect day on a wonderful golf course with one of the best Forecaddies (Jason) any of us had ever had…

But unfortunately, the story does not end there… When we got up to the turn there they were and by now the other three guys in the group were getting a little more aggressive with the ‘Munchkin’ and was taking him by the arm to get in the cart, but not until he bought the group hotdogs and hamburgers and demanding the attendant bring out a six-pack of beer and six cigars to them… To be perfectly clear, and so you don’t think Bear’s Best takes likely for this type of behavior from guests, I have to tell you that the forecaddies at Bear’s Best are supervised by a very good Caddie Master, who we tipped very lavishly for the action he took at this point.

The Caddy Master drove up to the 10th tee and asked the gentleman the ‘short loudmouth’ was riding with to put his clubs on the cart and drive as a single. The Caddie Master then got in with ‘the lunatic from Shortsville’ and was now this obnoxious guy’s personal driver… After that, we never say the guy again and we had a very good time…

I did, however, see the other three guys in the 19th. I happened to stroll by while my group was getting settled in and asked how their round went and introduced myself as the guy behind them. They profusely apologies and asked if they could buy my group a drink for what we had to go through. I asked for a rain check since I was wanting to meet with my group for a moment before I had to leave, but I did want to know what took place.

So, here is what you have been waiting for… The short guy was a CEO of a marketing group that helps construction and engineering groups get in front of businesses who are needing their services. These three guys had never heard of the guy until he asked if they would meet him in Vegas. The guy asked if they would meet him at Bear’s Best for a round of golf. They had just met the guy there at Bear’s Best and had no idea what type of guy he was until the first tee box. When I asked what it was he was showing them in the folder, the leader of these three guys said he was showing him the fine print in the contract he was wanting him to sign right there. After the turn the guy again approached them on what they think about the contract and if there is anything in it they need changed. By that time the Caddie Master came up to the other three and asked if the guy was bothering them. When the gentleman told the CM that the short guy was trying to get him to sign a contract, the Caddy Master said ‘enough said’ and radioed in to have two more forecaddies meet him at the next tee-box. From there, the ‘vertically challenged’ individual who thought he was doing Business on the golf course, was escorted off the course with no deal and leaving a bad taste in some very dumfounded businessmen who will not be doing business with that company..

What this boils down to is that there are a bunch of guys out there who are using golf the wrong way to do business. And, probably more important, are putting a bad name on the game of golf… Hopefully they will get my book on How To Play Business Golf and learn the correct way to get the business they are going after. Thanks for reading my story and hopefully this never happens to you, or at least doesn’t happen to you again.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Business Golf: Why use it

I have been writing about Business Golf for more than three months now and did not know it. Now I am about to launch an E-book that brings to light to golfers and business people alike on How To Play Business Golf.

Since entering into semi-retirement almost a year ago I have averaged receiving at least one invitation a week to play a round of golf with someone who want to talk to me. Coming from corporate America with more training in operations management that some of the kids with MBA, people want to spend time with me to get my take on how businesses should be run and products should be marketed.

Most of business people I have problems with are the ones who want harvest my list of business connections and personal friends I have gathered over the past 31 years. Then there are a few who want to consult me in one direction or another. The bottomline is none of them, that is right, none of them have a clue on How To Play Business Golf.

I will leave it to you to read the details in my upcoming book, but overall the biggest mistake these men and women are making is trying to make the Hard Sale on the golf course. It does not make sense and is probably the worst thing anyone who is trying to improve their business can do.
I’ll get back to you with more on how to improve you business bottomline, work towards a more profitable approach to doing business, Business in general, Golf and, my very favorite subject…. Business Golf

Have you heard about 'Business Golf'?

I think I will start off my first blog with the first words Tiger Woods used to start his professional career. “Hello World”..... Like so many of you, I love Golf. I love to play the games of golf and almost everything that is involved with Golf. Now that I have the chance, I want to tell everyone about how Golf can improve your life and your business… Let me get my feet secured on the ground with Blogging and I will be back to tell you more… Duke