December 30, 2013

free business tips, training in business, Robert De Niro actor, Michelle Pfieffer, The Family movie, best Christmas movies, New Years movieI rarely get to sit still long enough to watch movies.  But, for Christmas, we bought “The Family” DVD from Walmart.  This movie features Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfieffer.  It’s a really, really funny movie about a gangster who is in the witness protection program.  If you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend that you buy or rent it.

Robert De Niro plays the father and Michelle Pfieffer is his wife.  Well, the father decides to write his memoirs and outlines 10 rules he lives by.  If you following my blog articles, you know I love to cull business lessons out of movies.  I have written two (2) blog articles about lessons we can learn from The Godfather trilogy.   For fun, here are 10 business lessons we can learn from Robert De Niro’s character:

1. I don’t like to cause pain for no good reason because all of my sadistic urges are satisfied when I cause pain for a reason.

In business, there is no need or good reason to cause anybody pain (smile).  For example, there is no need to chase down your competitors’ clients and customers by pointing out negative things about your competition.  I have observed a lot of this ill will and bad behavior in the consulting arena.  Most of the people that behaved that way toward me in response to my entering the arena are now out of business.  Deliberately trying to hurt people in order to get work will rebound against you.

2. Anybody who doesn’t contradict me can expect nothing but good things from me.

This is actually a bad belief to embrace.  The best lessons you can learn will likely be from wise mentors and coaches that contradict what you believe and what you practice.  The good mentors and coaches will push you to think outside the box and to move outside your comfort zone.

3. When I ran the community, there was never a single robbery in the street.  People lived and slept easily.

Casting the mob boss role aside, it is indeed very important to be a part of the community and to try to make your community a better place.  Business owners can attend city council, county commission, and regional development meetings.  We can become active in civic groups like Civic Leagues, Rotary or Kiwanis.  We can also get active in church activities.

Read more!

By Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.


10 More Business Lessons from the Godfather

November 29, 2013

business, business development, business strategy, entrepreneuralism, female entrepreneurs, leadership, women owned small business

Yesterday, I watched the Godfather movies for maybe the 50th time (smile).  Here are ten (10) business lessons I gleaned from the movies:

  1. If a prospective business partner behaves badly, hold-your-cool.  Be kind, shake his hand, compliment him, thank him, and be on your way.  Never lose your cool. Besides the Godfather, my favorite character is Tom Hagan.  He never lost his cool.
  2. Insist on hearing bad news immediately.  I’m guilty of not wanting to hear bad news or negative feedback.  It is best to hear it and act on it immediately.
  3. Never ask for a second favor is the first one is refused.
  4. Build a supportive business family around you.  Have folks on your team that are loyal and supportive.  If there is any inkling of disrespect, ill will, or backstabbing, then get rid of them quickly.  Hire slowly and fire fast.
  5. Only see business prospects if they are serious and respectful.  Otherwise, do not take the meeting.                                                      read more

SWOT and Sales Activities – Plan for 2014

November 21, 2013

business development, business strategy, entrepreneuralism, female entrepreneurs, networking, sales, self improvement, small business, strategic planning, women owned small business, Macon Georgia

ac·tion  noun \ˈak-shən\

:  the bringing about of an alteration by force or through a natural agency

:  the manner or method of performing

ac·tive  adjective \ˈak-tiv\

: doing things that require physical movement and energy

: characterized by action rather than by contemplation or speculation <an active life>

ac·tiv·i·ty  noun \ak-ˈti-və-tē\

:  the quality or state of being active

:  vigorous or energetic action :  liveliness

:  something that is done as work or for a particular purpose

strategy in business; sales leads; sales prospecting; SWOT; strategic planning; strategic management; sales executive; business and strategy;I had big fun at the Greater Macon Women Business Owners meeting last week.  We had a great taste of Italy at the Buca de Beppo restaurant in Macon, Georgia.  I gave a short talk about activities that women in business can plan to pursue in 2014.  We also talked about the importance of conducting a Self SWOT analysis and having a facilitated SWOT analysis of our businesses done.  I serve as a facilitator!  Lastly, I gave the ladies a worksheet for tracking Sales Activities.

I think that all too often business owners that struggle look to others to rescue them.  The owners pout and justify their poor performance by saying it simply is not their time or season; or they are upset that someone did not bring them into some work.  I bet if you really looked at how active they are in business development, their level of activity would be pretty low.  Business development activities need to be performed daily – – rather than when the work runs out and it is too late.  The level of activity needs to be vigorous, energetic, lively, and with the purpose of achieving real, measurable goals.  Read more and Get the SWOT and Sales Activities Worksheet!


by Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.

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November 20, 2013

business, business development, business strategy, entrepreneuralism, small business I watched the movie X-Men last night on AMC. I love the character Wolverine! The wolverine animals are solitary small, ferocious bears that have more strength than they appear to have. I just love this because it reminds me of many small businesses.

At the end of the day, small businesses carry the US economy. We are small but potent.

Here are five (5) business tips we can learn from the X-Men movie:

1. Wolverine is one of the outcast mutants that Professor Xavier pulls together as members of X-Men. Wolverine has the ability to heal himself. He is resilient.

To be successful in business, business owners have to have a thick skin. They have to be tough and resilient. If we do not meet our goals or get burned by others, we should try to heal ourselves when we are wounded and move forward. I personally turn to God in prayer. Having the wherewith all to turn to God is a form of self-healing and preservation.

2. In the movie, the mutant Rogue was able to heal herself if she held onto Wolverine and transferred his healing powers to herself. However, this nearly killed Wolverine.

In my opinion, business owners can learn from this that while we may want to help and heal others, doing so may lead to our own demise if we let others pull us down and sap all of our energy. Read more at: http://lemongrassplanning.com/2013/five-5-business-lessons-from-x-men/

Sales Pipeline Lesson from Mad Men

September 4, 2013

sales pipeline management, mad men season, sales account managerMad Men is one of my favorite shows since it depicts a real start up business in motion.  One lesson I have put into practice is a good old fashioned way of seeing deals go from

See the photos from the Mad Men show where the firm lost a big tobacco account in a 2010 episode.  So, they regrouped to see what they had in their sales pipeline.  The account men and leadership used a good old fashioned chalk board to split their deals into 4 categories:

(1) Existing

(2) Likely

(3) Maybe

(4) Longshot

sales pipeline management, mad men season, sales account managerI used this to develop my own little visual tool that I have on a white board in front of my desk and in an Excel spreadsheet … read more

Don’t get Hung Hanging Out

August 14, 2013

Women in business, small business, business development, business travel, federal government contractingYears ago, a mentor told me that to be successful in business you have to be willing to simply hang out with folks.  You really do!

I started making deals once I started hanging out at:

  • prebid meetings
  • small business conferences
  • chamber meetings

… and just plain old-fashioned asking for face to face appointments and scheduling phone chats.

However, what start-up business owners are not told is to watch your expenses.

Trade dues, chamber memberships, parking and lunches can get expensive.   One year I spent $10,000 in trade dues and membership directory ads.

I recently talked to a small business specialist in a federal government agency.  Read more…

Quicksand and Business Failure

July 21, 2013

failure of business, failure in business, overcoming fearOne of my favorite scenes in the movie Replacement Players is where the Quarterback Falco (played by Keanu Reeves) tells the team that his greatest performance fear is “quicksand”.  He says that he feels as though he’s in quicksand when everything is going fine; and then one thing goes wrong; and then another; and then another.  He says that you try to fight back, but the harder you fight, the deeper you sink until you cannot move.

Many entrepreneurs face paralysis.  They may have some active clients and work, but not enough to make ends meet.  They may get work but cannot perform due to lack of competence or the lack of physical manpower.  Falco describes quicksand as a situation where you cannot breathe because you are in over your head.

In the movie Replacement Players, Falco was accused falling apart and choking whenever the game was on the line.  His coach tells the team to face their fears and overcome them as a team.  He tells them they need hear t and they need to play like winners – – because winners always want the ball.

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By Clovia Hamilton, President of Lemongrass Consulting

July 9, 2013

business development, business strategy, small business, judi dench, skyfall bond The Bond movie Skyfall came out on DVD back in February of this year. I did not get a chance to watch it until this weekend. I absolutely loved it. The entrepreneur in me made note of the following business lessons I gleaned from the movie:

1. Regret is unprofessional

The Character “M” played by actress Judi Dench was asked to show remorse toward a business decision she made which adversely impacted a former subordinate and sworn enemy. M replied, “regret is unprofessional”.

It’s a line that begs reflection. In my opinion, it is the truth. According to the Webster dictionary, to regret is to mourn the loss of; be very sorry for mistakes; or to miss very much. These are time wasters. M pointed out that as professionals, if we are professional, we make the best decisions and calls we know how at the time. That’s not to state that we should not learn from our mistakes. We learn and move on! To baste in regret is to be stuck and in business, there is no time for that.

2. Beware of Information Technology

IT is wonderful in that it can save time and money. But, it can also be very, very dangerous.

Read more at http://lemongrassplanning.com/5-business-lessons-from-skyfall/

By Clovia Hamilton, President
Lemongrass Consulting Inc.

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8 Public Relations Lessons from Sex and the City

June 23, 2013

public relations, corporate partners, be a starI know, I know.  The show no longer airs.  But, that does not keep me from watching old episodes on DVD.  One of my favorite episodes is when the character Samantha (“Sam”) talks to her young boyfriend Jerry Jerrod about his acting career.  Sam owns a public relations firm.  We’ve seen her on the job.  It’s just her and an assistant – typical small business.

Well, Sam offered the following eight (8) tips and implemented this action plan to catapult Jerry’s acting career:

  •  She remained Jerry to the name “Smith”.  Jerry was the business product.

Lesson 1: If your business name is not working, rename it.

  • Sam asked Smith if acting was really what he wanted.   She said, if it was “really” what he wanted, then she would help him.

Lesson 2: I have met a number of business owners and career professionals that are on the fence about whether or not they “really” want to sell the products and services they originally set out to sell.  If you really want it bad enough, you might be able to line up professional help.  Why should someone believe in you and help you if you do not really believe in yourself and want your own success?

  • Smith asked Sam, “you’ll help me be an actor?”   Sam replied, “No. I’ll help you be a star!”

Lesson 3:  If you go into it, go big!  Become a celebrity, star performer!

  • Sam turned Smith’s hum drum play into a red carpet event.   Sam gets a newspaper article about the play; she invites the press; she rolls out a red carpet; and she invites glamorous socialites.


Lesson 4: If we hold events, notify the local press.  Try to get a news article out of it.  Invest in advertisements.  Send out special invites.  Do it up in a big way!

  • Sam advised Smith of her performance metrics.  She said first he would gain the following of gay men; then girls; and then the industry.  Sam and Smith were in a bar and a group of gay men told Smith they were fans.  Later, a group of young girls ran to Smith in the street for autographs.  Sam then knew they were on their way.


Read more …

10 Tips for Professional Speakers – 50 heads is better than one!

May 30, 2013

brainstorming techniques, brainstorming ideas, using linkedinI conduct training seminars.  It can be ebb and flow.  I reached ebb and decided to reach out to my Linkedin connections and forge a massive brain storm.  Well, as great fortune would have it, I am connected to some of the most awesome, brightest minds in the world!  Out of 1,500 of my Linkedin connections, 50 had very dynamic ideas for me to try.  The response is not bad given the Memorial Day weekend.  Reaching out to your Linkedin network for ideas is a great brainstorming technique!

Although feedback is still coming in, so far, I have developed a 10 page checklist of organizations to connect with; people to contact; and things to do.  It’s very exciting!

My daughter complains that I am always looking for things to get into.   She says I am very, very good at creating work for us all.  Well, if you are like me and want to stir things up, just reach out to folks in your network for ideas and tips for business.

Here is an overview of my 10 pages of notes.  Many of these things I already do.  Some, I have to work on.   Here are 10 Tips for Professional Speakers:

  1. Have both a Speaker One Sheet document and a Speaker web page that is easy to view from mobile devices.   Be sure to showcase yourself as a really dynamic, entertaining speaker!
  2. Even if you can teach a variety of topics, develop an overall theme.  People like to categorize speakers into niches.
  3. Be ready to share video links of past speaking engagements.
  4. Join speakers’ bureaus and speakers’ associations.

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By Clovia Hamilton, President

Lemongrass Consulting Inc.