A Business Person’s Haven, Lancaster County PA


by Dave Miller

Why do business in Lancaster County?

Rock and Roll Lititz

Labor

The culture in the county is of the hardworking type. You can expect that your labor field will have plenty of people looking for a reason to work extra hours rather than finding reasons to go home early. As one friend stated, “I work from “can till can’t”. If its daylight I can see, if its dark I can’t”.

Expertise

Outsourcing work or repairs is easy in this area because there is always an expert close by. If you need to have someone to do aluminum welding you have the option of finding not just a welder but a welder that is experienced and proficient and considered an expert in whatever specialty you need.

Taxes

From a Real Estate tax stand point Lancaster County holds the bragging rights when compared to its eastern and southern neighbors. Chester County, Pa and the state of Maryland hold some good jobs but a growing trend is for their workforce to live in Lancaster County and commute.

NY Times Agrees

Here is a quote from an article in the NY Times:

“There is just a formidable work ethic in Lancaster County, the hearty farmers who saw the Amish and the Mennonites around here working so hard. Then there is an innovative, entrepreneurial streak here, too. Finally, there is the loyalty. The owners want to give jobs to local people and keep them here forever.” – Barry Miller, Susquehanna Bank

The article is titled: An Unlikely Haven for Rock ’n’ Roll Entrepreneurs

It’s about why Michael Tait from Tait Towers say’s business in Lititz was too good to move elsewhere.

Read the rest of the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/28/business/smallbusiness/28sbiz.html?_r=1&

Published in: on December 14, 2012 at 8:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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I Gave Myself a Raise – $300 an Hour


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Did you ever catch yourself handling a high dollar client differently? I have. It seems easier to act efficiently professional in profitable situations.

A few weeks ago I hung Tim Miles’ blog article on my wall in front of my desk. It has not made me an expert in this area but I do see an improvement. That is my goal – improvement.

Here is an excerpt from his blog:

I decided – in 2012 – my time would be worth $300 an hour. I don’t mean necessarily charging $300 an hour. I mean – acting like it.

This year, fueled by my new-found mental wealth, I’ve watched two things radically transform:

  1. Who I decide to spend time with and how much of that time.
  2. How I carry myself to make sure I’m delivering $300 an hour to myself and to others.

Nothing changed. Except my mindset……… Read the rest of Tim Miles’s blog here

From this day forward, if you want to hire me for my services, I’ll provide you with $300 an hour service for much less than $300 an hour. Just ask.

Other articles:

Published in: on August 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm  Leave a Comment  
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How to Build a Kingdom Minded Company Through Mission, Vision and Values


Is it against the law for a company to say they are a Christian organization? May you have a Bible study in your workplace? These are just a few of the questions that were asked.

This morning I had the privilege of listening to Mark Griffin as he spoke about core values within an organization. He wrote a book called how to build a kingdom minded organization. After hearing him speak, this is definitely on the top of my reading list.

Mark specializes in human resources work for companies. As an HR person, he encourages the people to open their workplace to the gospel and share their beliefs  – a voice of truth that will serve as the pillar of the mission, vision and values of their organization.

In his talk today Mark clarified the differences between your mission, values and vision statements. Here is a brief overview of what he said:

  • Mission: This is what you do every day. This is what you sell. This is your occupation.
  • Core Values: This is how you do it. This is what your employees would tell their friends when they ask what it is like to work for you.
  • Vision: Where are you going? This is your plan or goal for the future.

Having a mission for your business is essential to its success. Otherwise, you or your employees will not be sure what direction you’re heading. Therefore your vision will be compromised.

That being said, it’s time for me to start working on my mission, values and vision statements. My preliminary strategy to build these statements is to read Mark’s book and possibly bring some outside help in to help me brainstorm. This may be another business person or two that is willing to help. And start brainstorming. Right now I think it is important that I do this and it is more important that I do this than to wait in order to try to do it perfectly. Perfect is nice but it is not as important as accomplishing the goal.

And my goal is to have a mission, values and vision statement.

Go here to buy Mark’s book, http://kingdommindedorganizations.com/

And here to visit Mark’s blog, http://inhisnamehr.com/category/blog/

Now back to the original question, yes you may tell the world that you are a Christian organization. Yes, you may have Bible study within your organization, just be careful, it is illegal to make it mandatory.

Other posts by Dave:

Published in: on August 28, 2012 at 10:07 pm  Comments (4)  
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I Dont Want To Fix Anything I Just Want To Sell!


Home staging tips for realtors and homeowners.

via I Dont Want To Fix Anything I Just Want To Sell!.

I’m waiting to see one of these in action.

Published in: on May 19, 2012 at 9:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Walk and Talk – How to Give Salesmen Your Time


by Dave Miller

A salesman called me and said he wants to stop by and present some new products. I was available and agreed to meet with him. The salesman was one I enjoyed and I did want to hear about his products yet I wasn’t sure I wanted to take an hour out of my day. How would I handle my precious time?

So I decided to make a proposal. If he wanted my time he could walk as he presented. If he presented something I didn’t have interest in, at least I’d get some exercise out of the deal.

I called the salesman and asked him if he was interested in walking as we talked. He agreed willingly.

He arrived dressed appropriately as it was a blustery day. We strolled up the road talking about his products and the benefits they provided me. It was cold and windy so we only walked about a half a mile. After we returned to the shop we finished up. As he was leaving he said how invigorated he felt. He appreciated the opportunity to get a bit of exercise while on the road.

I’ve done it and it worked out great, and I’ll do it again.

My new answer to the question, “You have a minute?” Is “Sure, Let’s walk”

Published in: on March 26, 2012 at 6:49 am  Comments (1)  
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Resolution Time – What’s the Difference Between a Goal and a Dream?


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by Dave Miller

It’s time for the age old tradition of making your New Year’s resolution. Do you really think it’s going to be different this year? Well it can be if you think about what you are doing.

What is a resolution?

It’s basically a decision, stating the solution. So if the resolution is merely the decision to state the solution then we need to look at the solution. We state what we want  to be. This brings us to the area of goals and dreams.

Goals vs. Dreams

Dreams are fantasy that we would love but realistically will never have unless God drops them into your lap. They tend to be unfocused and non-specific. To turn a dream into a goal you must on decide on a few things – how much, and by when, etc.

Goals are realistic and achievable. Goals are specific. Here is a list of values present in goals but absent in dreams:

  1. Goals are attainable
  2. They have a timeline
  3. You can break them into action steps
  4. They are specific

Turning Dreams into Goals.

A dream is a goal without legs. It is a wonderful thing to have, can be the guiding passion of your life, but unless you clarify it and give it the legs to move toward you, getting there is going to be very much a matter of luck.

To convert a dream into a goal you must make it tangible, provide the details, make it so clear that you can see it, feel it, know what you will feel like when you get there. Review the checklist.

Say it, Publicize it, Write it Down

Write down your goals to make you really concentrate rather than it being just a passing thought. Say it out loud. Say it to a friend. Get a mentor or accountability partner.

Post it on facebook.

I’m not joking. It works. After Matt Lapp posted on facebook that he is doing the Tough Mudder I brooded about it for a while. Then I signed up, and though I still could have hidden it from other people, instead I posted it on facebook. Now there is no backing out without public humiliation. Now that’s motivation. After talking to Matt he affirmed what I just stated saying he knew too that by posting it he would be held accountable.

Some people are not comfortable publicizing something. If that’s the case then skip facebook but make sure you have some other method of accountability. And remember, the more public it is the more motivation you have.

Action

You can do all you want but action is the key. And not just doing as little as possible to meet the quota. It takes hustle. You really need to put your heart into it or it will be a faded thought before the second week of January.

Make action steps. Things to be done this year and break it done to things to be done this month. Break down the weeks. Finally make a daily list.

Conclusion

So, am I going to make a New Year’s resolution? You bet I am. I’m going to get fit enough to run that Though Mudder. Will I stop with that resolution? No, I have a list of goals (some are a work in progress) that I’m working towards. Right now I’m breaking those goals down to what I need to accomplish by Jan 13th and also Jan 31st.

Bring on the New Year!

Related Posts:
The Transition  – Master Plan, part one
Stupid Excuses to Avoid Action, Master Plan, part two

Scrooge or Lazy – What Will You Be Next Week?


by Dave Miller

 

Christmas is fast approaching. The New Year is right behind it. If you don’t perk up it will hit you upside the head and you won’t recover till Jan.

What will you do in the last 10 days of the year?

I’ve noted a few areas of concern in my life and hope they can help you combat any year-end stagnation:

Winding Down

It’s very easy to look at the next few weeks as a winding down period. Somehow we justify a half speed attitude because the year and its goals are about petered out. We look at it as a great time to relax and then hit it real hard next year.

At the very least some serious planning should be done yet this year. It’s like eating one more Christmas cookie while telling yourself you’ll get serious about losing it next year. Don’t wind down to the point of floating through the rest of the year unenthusiastically.

Sandbagging

I have a few projects in the shop that I keep pushing into the New Year and not getting them done right now. I asked myself why. I discovered it was a way to have false security in the future. We are having a great year and so I start to question what next year will hold. Billing the job this year doesn’t seem like it will change much in the numbers for the year but would really give us a nice boost in the first 2 to 3 weeks of next year.

Maybe it’s a faith or confidence thing. Somehow I feel a sense of security knowing that I can do that work in January. What I’ve come to realize is that it’s okay having plenty of work in January but it’s pure foolishness pushing it into next year when it can be done this year.

Being Aggressive Enough

This really echoes the last two items but it is an area where I find myself slacking. In a sales approach I’ve discovered myself slowing down. Somehow I have all of next year for next year’s goals. I’m doing two things to combat this:

  1. Make very specific goals for the last week of the year.
  2. Have a plan formulated for the month of January

I know many people make goals at the beginning of the year. This is good. I recommend it. But I also highly recommend that the goal be broken into very specific action steps. Things to accomplish by today, this week, or by the end of the month. Or better yet, all of those time frames and more.

Conclusion

Am I advocating being a Scrooge and not enjoying the reason for the season? Nope. I’m checking to see if I’ve used the season as an excuse to be unenthusiastic about progress.

What will I do now that I have thought about it? I have a choice. Will I let the reasons to relax overtake the reasons to push for success? No, I will not sit by idle. As I wrote this article it prompted me to start a project I was unwisely sandbagging for January. I just called my father to come by and do some consultation on the building of this new mold. The project is now started and we are better off that for it.

You also have a choice. What will you do?

More posts on planning and taking action:

 

 

 

 

End of Year Checklist. (Business owners only)


by Dave Miller

The end of 2011 is fast approaching. Yet there are so many things to finish before the year fades. As a business person I make goals to accomplish, whether mentally or actually writing them down, then December arrives and I think of the things not yet done. I take a good hard look at a few things around this time of the year.

These are things that need to be done in this calendar year or they lose value or importance by next year. I raise questions like how will my tax return look next year and what can I do to improve my situation if I do something this year yet?

E Adrian Van Zelfden wrote an excellent article that every business owner should review it this year yet. Click here.

Here are some of the highlights on the list (for me anyway).

  • How to handle year-end, Christmas bonuses or gifts
  • Year end deposits, purchases and paychecks
  • Business meal expenses and travel expenses
  • Inventory
  • Bookkeeping tricks and traps
  • Credit card statements
  • Insurance

The list is thorough but not exhaustive. Print it. Read it. Add your own items.

December 31 2011 will be here in two weeks. Get done what needs doing before then.

Here is the link again.

Published in: on December 17, 2011 at 11:55 am  Leave a Comment  
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Money In Your Pocket – Or Out of Your Pocket


by Dave Miller

When was the last time you looked at your insurance policy? Do  you really know what’s in it?

This week I bought 3 houses and at the last-minute I thought about insurance. With a phone call and a scrambling agent I got the coverage I needed. The downside was that I did not shop around or really think through the details. This is a huge downfall to those of us who wait till the last-minute at times.

So now I’m thinking about insurance. Am I paying too much? Why do I have it? What’s covered?

Here is an article that has helped me.

One cost saver for me is my high deductible. I say insurance is not to cover every little thing rather it’s to keep me from losing my butt. I carry a $5000 deductible, but then I also have high liability coverage.

Check out your policy. Maybe you can save a few dollars. My agent said yesterday that by raising the deductible to $5000 it would probably save me 12%.

Ask your agent questions. Maybe you need better coverage. Shop around if you must but be aware. Be very aware.

Published in: on November 5, 2011 at 7:21 am  Leave a Comment  
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As Barren Ground Gets So Goes Lackadaisical Investing


by Dave Miller

The bare ground of the empty garden was being overrun by weeds in a short few weeks. So I tilled the ground last night and scattered the Jerry oats. With the dirt knocked loose and the weeds stunned the oat seeds I spread can find a hold and quickly overpower the weeds.

  The seed is planted and has a good chance to grow. No weeds to hinder the growth. Fertile ground to root into. At the sight of the greenness we will see the fruits of the labor, our toil combined with productive soil coming to fruition.

Is neutrality possible? The first law of motion says: The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force. So something at rest stays at rest. Unless an outside force affects it. It stays at rest if nothing affects it, but something is always affecting something.

To invest or not to invest. That is the question.

When I say invest I mean good investing, not the I’m-too-uncertain-so-I-will-stick-it-in-bank flavor of investing.

Good Investing; By making good investments of time, money and knowledge you will grow in confidence and intellect. When you see your seeds multiply, your heart will be happy and content. This is not always easy, it’s work, but it’s rewarding.

Bad Investing; When investments go bad they deflate the morale, they squash and humiliate. Your attitude and life will be affected, like it or not, it just will.

Neutrality; By not investing your money, holding it in cash or putting it in a savings account for ½% interest a year, you are not moving. As Isaac Newton said, a body at rest stays at rest unless affected by an external force. The external force is never at rest. If you are not investing wisely you can go backwards, but if you do not invest, you will also go backwards. Neutrality is not an option. The outside force is in motion and if it is going faster than you then you are going backwards.  

Here a few reasons why “neutral” money holding doesn’t exist.

  • If you invest at a ½% in the bank you are (1) not keeping up with inflation (2) your reward sucks so the incentive to save more is squashed.
  • When sitting on cash you (1) are not keeping up with inflation (2) are prone to spend more than needed because it’s visible and accessible. Money in your pocket has a way of disappearing.
  • Did I mention inflation? According to our government inflation has been around 2% to 3% but has jumped to around 3.75% last month. Now we could spend a whole paper on the inaccuracy of these government statistics but we will let it go for now. Nevertheless, they may be inaccurate but the experts agree they are pushed down, meaning in reality they are higher. So if you are not making in excess of 4% to 5% you are floating backwards. Your money will buy less in the future.

The ground does not like to be barren. It will cover itself. Its default is weeds. So if you choose to sit by idly it will cover itself with weeds. Do I want weeds?  No. I will work, till, and plant to create an environment that allows the ground the produce. Today it’s raining steadily. I smile because I planned and prepared.

Related posts:

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