How to Read Your Customers’ Minds

The System I Use to Ensure My Products Succeed

Over the years, I’ve coached thousands of online entrepreneurs and aspiring business-builders. Whether they’ve already started or they’re hoping to make the leap, there’s one concern they all have in common: How do I know people will actually buy what I produce?

You see two distinct scenarios in your mind’s eye. The first involves your product thriving—transforming the lives of your customers, generating revenue, and creating opportunity for you and your business. But in the second, your product crashes and burns. It generates few or no sales and all the time and money you invested creating it goes to waste. Sound familiar?

Why Great Customer Service Is So Important

5 Ways We’re Focused on Making Ours Great

Customer service is a double-edged sword. Get it right and you can make loyal, lifelong customers who sell your products for you. Get it wrong and you can find your business in real trouble.

The Wrong Way to Do It

My friend Frank gave me an example of the exact wrong way to do customer service. He saw a t-shirt he wanted for his brother at JCPenney for $6. That branch didn’t have the right size but a sales clerk said the right size could be shipped to the store if he paid for it in advance.

Frank had to travel unexpectedly. The store left a message on his answering machine saying that it was in and he had only a few days to pick it up. He accidentally deleted the message and didn’t know if the store still had the shirt available. He called the local store to find out, and there the troubles began.

How to Push a Major Organizational Change Without the Backlash

6 Ways to Pluck the Goose Without Ruffling Feathers

When I first joined Thomas Nelson, communications with most of our staff were not where they needed to be. There was a joke at the time that was all too accurate. If you worked at our publishing house and wanted to know what was coming next, you’d just have to find out about it in The Tennessean.

Our CEO did not get along with the reporter for the state’s biggest newspaper who was breaking all those stories before he broke the news to his own employees.

When I took over the company, I took a different approach. I invited that reporter out to lunch and established a working relationship with him. It was a good step, yet that was only one small part of what changed.

What Ike’s Secret D-Day Letter Shows Us About Leadership

3 Things Eisenhower Got Right About Storming the Beaches

D-Day is known as a great victory for the allied forces, the beginning of the end for the Nazis as over 150,000 troops pushed into Europe in the first wave of an invasion by sea. But it easily could have gone the other way. We can learn a great deal from the difference.

A draft letter by Supreme Allied Commander Gen. Dwight Eisenhower shows us what kind of leadership it took to invade at Normandy on June 6, 1944. He didn’t take victory for granted and was fully prepared to take the blame if his plan failed.

5 Reasons You’re Still Procrastinating

How to Get Over It and Finally Get Things Done

At work, you feel stuck in the deepest rut of all time. You try to move forward but the groove is deep and you’re wedged in there pretty good. Sound familiar?

It happens to most leaders at some point. I’ve found the best way to get yourself out of the rut is to understand the reason you’re there in the first place. There are 5 big reasons that people get stuck along the way.

When Aptitude Is Not Enough

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Shake Things Up

I’ve said before many times that the key to job satisfaction is moving away from your Drudgery and Disinterest Zones and toward the Passion and Proficiency of your Desire Zone.

Some readers have raised a good question about this shift. “It’s easy to tell what I’m passionate about,” they tell me, “but how do I determine if I am proficient at something?”

How to Get More Cash Cows

4 Ways to Separate the Milk From the Dogs

It’s one of the toughest questions in business: Who should you be working with? Several years ago, when I was CEO of Thomas Nelson, I had one of those moments of clarity that has broad application for organizations.

The “aha!” moment came when I was thinking about our professional relationships with authors and agents. Some relationships were highly profitable and enjoyable. Others were also quite profitable but a constant drain on our staff and resources.

Still others were enjoyable but not very rewarding financially. And of course there were the worst kind of relationships from our perspective: unprofitable and annoying.

How to Fire a Monster Client: The Steps

4 Ways to Let Go and Move on to Greener Pastures

When I wrote recently about firing monster clients who eat up disproportionate time and resources, one reader replied, “Great idea. Do you have a guide for how exactly we should do that?”

It was a good question. A guide like that would have been useful to me earlier in my career. I have had to let many clients go over the years, and it hasn’t always ended well.