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Small Business Owners: Tips to Help You Avoid a Lawsuit

March 21, 2012

We live in a country where lawsuits aren’t hard to find; and they financially drain small businesses, regardless of whether or not a business is guilty or not.  As such, small business owners should take every precaution they can to avoid any legal confrontation because just one could mean the end of their business.  Here are a few ways to go about avoiding them.

Be Cautious of Copyright, Patent, & Trademark Infringements

When establishing your company’s name and logo, do research on whether someone else has copyrighted or patented either.  The same goes as far as trademarking any of your products or services.  Then have an attorney double-check that you won’t be guilty of infringement.

Draft and Sign Attorney-Reviewed Contracts

When entering into an agreement with another person or company, always draft a written contract that specifies what the agreement will entail, each party’s responsibilities in that agreement, and what should happen if a party doesn’t uphold that agreement; also include a liability waiver if applicable.  Next, have an attorney review the agreement; once it is complete, have every party in the agreement sign it.

Know Where You Are Susceptible to Lawsuit

Do not let a lawsuit sneak up on you.  Know which areas of your business are susceptible to lawsuit, take preventative measures, and implement a plan for lawsuits that could arise from those volatile areas.  For instance, if you own a trucking company and know your employees may sustain injuries as a result of driving or moving heavy equipment, the last thing you want is to get a call finding that an injured employee has hired a personal injury attorney.  Provide employees with protective clothing and safety training.  If you own a business that requires certain environmental conditions to complete work, include a liability clause in your contracts that states that you cannot be held responsible for delayed completion dates given poor weather conditions. 

Take Complaints Seriously

Those who file suit against a business do not always do so purely out of the pursuit of financial gains or compensation; many also file suits when they feel they’ve been treated disrespectfully or been taken advantage of.  Therefore, it is imperative that you not only treat both customers and those outside parties you work with respectfully, but that you listen to even the smallest of complaints and react to them appropriately.  This isn’t to say that you should allow those around you to walk all over you, but being courteous to others will not only protect you from lawsuits, but will help you run a good business. 

You should also know when to say when, even if you are right.  Attorney and court costs are very expensive, especially for small business owners, and many times it will be easier and financially responsible to give someone what they want. 

This guest post is brought to us by Sara Witt, a guest blogger and writer.  Horrified by the way some attorneys hoodwink citizens in need of council, Sara set out to provide laypersons with a resource to help them with the legal process.  As such, Sara provides citizens with educational articles detailing everything from how to deal with a personal injury case to what to look for when researching car accident attorneys.

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Techniques to successfully engage CEOs and Executive Directors (Part 5)

December 21, 2011

My last posts shared four of the five techniques to successfully engage executive clients: Preparation, Meeting Executives,  Engaging Executives and Negotiating Value-Based Fees.

Step 5 is the final technique. It is Relationship Development. There are seven tactics for optimum growth. They include:

  1. Make it personal – never a group
  2. Send emails: individuals en masse
  3. Pick up the phone
  4. Make office appointments
  5. Send gifts and thoughtful pieces
  6. Drop by for conversations
  7. Initiate events of mutual benefit – for example, treat them to a meal or drinks to discuss issues they are facing and how you can help them.

This concludes my series on tips to successfully engage executive clients. I hope you find it helpful in growing your practice. Looking for additional resources? Visit my site for audio interviews, my mentor program and more: www.visionaryleadership.com

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Techniques to successfully engage CEOs and Executive Directors (Part 4)

December 19, 2011

My last posts shared three of the five steps to successfully engage executive clients. They include: Preparation, Meeting Executives and Engaging Executives.

Step 4 is Negotiating Value-Based Fees. There are three rules to do this. If you do it right, you have the capacity to move from mediocre to exceptional in your ability to generate value and charge for it.

  1. Start and end with outcomes
  2. Mutual agreement of result(s)
    – be clear
    – to the point
    – make it a shared responsibility
  3. Value-based fees

Put these tenets into practice by creating an action plan for raising your fees, zeroing in on value your clients will gladly pay for, and taking your practice to the next level in the fee progression strategy.

Need help to accomplish this? Consider attending my January 12 one-day workshop for a full review, How to Acquire Clients/ Value-Based Fees.” The program will run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in Washington, DC. Get details: www.sethkahan011212.eventbrite.com/

And check into my next post for my final thoughts on how to engage executive clients. It involves relationship development. Tune back in for details.

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Techniques to successfully engage CEOs and Executive Directors (Part 3)

December 16, 2011

My last posts shared two of the five techniques to successfully engage executive clients.

Step 1 is Preparation
Step 2 is Meeting Executives

Step 3 is Engaging Executives – there are seven guidelines to win leaders attention. They include:

  1. Do your homework
  2. Put yourself in their shoes
  3. Treat them with professional respect
  4. Identify value
  5. Co-create value
  6. Respect time
  7. Talk outcomes

It’s a straightforward approach. Give it a try. Start the conversation about how you can help them achieve their goals. And tune into my next post for tips to negotiate value-based fees for your services.

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Techniques to successfully engage CEOs and Executive Directors (Part 2)

December 14, 2011

My last post covered one of the five steps to successfully engage executive clients. Step 1 is Preparation.

Step 2 is Meeting Executives – there are four rules to attract leaders who are ready to act. They include:

  • Only attend events where your position is favorable (for example, you are featured as an expert, or you are participating as a peer)
  • 90% of CEOs only show up at CEOnly Events
  • You can die from exposure
  • Be a force of nature – create your own events

I’ve created a number of CEO events to address today’s issues — leadership during economic uncertainty, global expansion & international partnerships, engaging Hispanics, association trends and two 1-year long CEO leaders forums that included 4-8 participants.

How did I attract them? My ingredients are simple. They include sending an exclusive invitation, holding the event in an exclusive location (for example, at The Willard). Creating a PowerPoint with well-developed content and powerfully delivering my presentation.

What event could you offer executive clients to help address their needs? Try my approach to get a foot in the door. And read my next post for tips to engage them.

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Looking for techniques to successfully engage CEOs and Executive Directors? Get it here. (Part 1 of my 5 part series)

December 12, 2011

I have had the privilege to successfully consult on change leadership with CEOs and executives in over 60 world-class organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, American Society of Association Executives and more (see my client list). As a result, my experience has helped me narrow down tips to attract executives of this caliber. Read my series for the lowdown.

Five Steps for Acquiring Executive Clients

Step 1:  Preparing, A Fourfold Foundation

1. Support on the home front
2. Mentoring to accelerate the return on your efforts
3. Participate in a community of peers
4. Cultivate self-compassion

Preparation includes creating amazing results that turn executive heads. To do this, you need to focus on value. Not the process, not the time, nor the outcomes. It’s critical to develop, practice and deliver intellectual firepower that exhibits a public persona of professional interest. Back it up with collaterals which impress and deliver actual value.

Some examples in my line of work include authoring Fast Company’s expert blog, Leading Change; being a contributor to the Washington Post, On Success and the American Express OPEN Forum. I also author a weekly newsletter, Monday Morning Mojo on executive intelligence.

Put your collaterals to good use. It’s your opportunity to impress, deliver and attract leaders.

Tune into my next post for the second step to acquire executive clients. It involves meeting execs.

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Breakthrough business leadership: 3 growth strategies for independent firms (Part 3)

December 9, 2011

This is the final post in my series to create breakthroughs in business leadership. 

There are 3 major growth strategies for independent firms to achieve breakthrough business success. They include:

  1. Create dramatic new value for existing clients
  2. Expand your services while narrowing your scope to increase brand intensity
  3. Move out to cover a broader region for greater impact

Make these efforts and you will successfully engage clients to grow your business. Give it a try!

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