TGIF: A birthday celebration

We’re celebrating my birthday next week.
We’ll be cooking one of my favorite meals.
It’s a northern Italian dish: Veal Scallopini.
The Italians say the French copied it from them.
We don’t care who created it.
Veal Scallopini is a simple but expensive dish.
Due to the price of veal, you may substitute chicken breast.

Veal Scallopini (for 4)
1 thinly sliced green bell pepper
1 thinly sliced red bell pepper
8 large mushrooms sliced
4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp dried parsley flakes
1 lb veal, thinly sliced for scallopini
1 cup beef broth
1 tbs corn starch stirred into 1 cup water
1/2 cup dry sherry
Olive oil as needed
16 oz cooked angel hair or thin spaghetti
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat water in large kettle for pasta.
In large skillet, lightly saute peppers, mushrooms and garlic in olive oil. Remove from pan and keep warm.
Dredge veal in flour mixed lightly with salt and pepper.
Saute until golden brown on both sides.
Remove from pan and keep warm.
Stir corn starch in water.
Add with beef broth and sherry to pan.
Stir to thicken and loosen brown bits stuck to pan.
This makes a fabulous dark gravy.
Return veal to pan with gravy.
Cover with peppers, garlic and mushrooms.
Cover pan and simmer 15 minutes while you cook pasta.
Drain pasta and serve with scallopini and gravy.
A green salad is a good accompaniment.
You don’t have to wait for your birthday to try this.

Can you pass the 30-day challenge?

Our friend Charlie Farrell has a challenge for you:
Go 30 days without whining or complaining.
When you whine and complain:
• 88% of the people who hear you don’t care.
• Another 7% are glad it didn’t happen to them.
The only ones who care are those who love you.
Why make them miserable with your problems?
Staying positive is a challenge.
Charlie says the world record is 19 days.
Here are six strategies:
1. Recruit an accountability coach at work.
2. Recruit another one at home.
3. Tell them about your challenge and your goal.
4. Ask them to stop you if you act negatively.
5. To compliment you when you act positively.
6. Offer to do the same for them.
You will be amazed at what happens.
Your positive attitude will attract others to you.
Think about it.
Who are the truly positive people in your life?
Aren’t they great to be around?
You might be interested in similar strategies in
my book, “Lead People, Manage Things”.
It’s at
Tomorrow: Our favorite Veal Scallopini recipe.

Sales & Marketing: Tracking results

How many sales calls does it take to reach a decision maker?
How many calls on decision makers does it take to make a sale?
How many sales must you make to gain long-term agreements?
If you don’t know, you should. Here’s why:
Lets say it takes 10 calls to get to the right person.
And it takes five interviews to make a sale.
Why would knowing that help you?
Lets say your goal is to sell two new prospects a week.
Then you need to know how many prospects you must call.
You need to know how many times it takes to talk with them.
You need to know how much time all this will take.
Most sales people keep no records. They think It’s tedious.
Yet it can be highly rewarding.
With a record, you know what you have to do to reach your goal.
If you were running a retail business, wouldn’t you want accurate records to plot strategy, set goals and grow your business?
Starting this week, why don’t you:
1. Set clear, specific, measurable goals for yourself.
2. Track your calls, your goals for each call and the results.
It will take an extra 15 minutes a day.
That’s all it takes me when I’m selling.
Want a copy of my daily sales worksheet?
Please put “Sales worksheet” in the subject line.
You’ll quickly see a difference in your sales

Heading Time Bandits off at the pass

Three of the worst words in our language are “Got a minute?”
The Time Bandits use those words to waste hours of your life.
Some simply want to gossip or chat.
Many have no purpose other than to hog your time.
They have nothing better to do with themselves.
What can you do about them?
Strategy #1. If you have an office door, close it.
Some of the less astute may ignore this subtle signal.
If they do . . .
Strategy #2. Stand up when they enter.
Do not offer them a chair.
Most will get the message and leave.
For those who don’t . . .
Strategy #3. Ask what you can do for them.
If there’s nothing they need, thank them for stopping by.
Suggest you get together after you’ve finished your big project.
Let them know that may be some time next week.
For more Time Bandit strategies, go to
Scroll down to #19, “Dealing with Time Bandits”.

Tip of the Week: Rewarding loyal customers

Here’s our Essential Entrepreneur Business Tip of the Week.
This week we’re talking about incentives for your loyal customers.
For retailers, sticker prices are what one-time customers pay.
Customers earn discounts based on their volume of business.
For service providers, utility companies are a good model.
Offer savings to your customers with a 12-month agreement.
This evens out their monthly payments.
It lets you perform the services as needed.
If you’re in landscaping, you work hard for the money in the summer.
While you’re in the Bahamas in January, the money keeps rolling in.
You’ve guaranteed your business a steady cash flow all year round.
If you have questions, contact me at
For more tips, see our new “Doing More With Less” workbook.
It’s available at
For a video Tip of the Week, go to
Next Monday: How to track loyalty.

Cooking with someone you love

Our son Mark and I like to cook for our newspaper team.
One of our team’s favorites is our lasagna.
It takes us a Saturday afternoon to make it.
We always make extra for Saturday night dinner.
This is a simple dish but takes time to prepare.

Lexington County Chronicle Lasagna

(to feed 16 people)
2 lbs sweet Italian sausage
4 lbs lean ground beef
2 large heads peeled, crushed garlic
2 28-oz cans crushed tomatoes
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
2 14-oz cans tomato sauce
4 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tbsp salt
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
18 lasagna noodles
32 oz ricotta cheese
2 lbs shredded mozzarella cheese
1-1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
In a large pot, brown sausage and beef over medium heat.
Drain fat from pot.
Stir in garlic, tomatoes, seasonings and parsley.
Cover and simmer an hour.
Stir occasionally to keep bottom from scorching.
Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C).
Spray cooking spray on bottoms of three 9×13 inch baking dishs.
This makes cleaning up easier.
Spread a layer of meat sauce on bottom of each baking dish.
Next a layer of uncooked noodles over sauce.
Add a layer of ricotta, layer of meat sauce and layer of mozzarella.
Sprinkle each dish with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese.
Spray 3 sheets of foil with cooking spray to prevent sticking.
Cover and bake for 60 minutes. Remove foil and bake 15 minutes.
Set aside for 5 minutes to cool before serving.
Open bottle of Chianti Classico Reserva. Celebrate.

Best advice: Cook with someone you love.
It’s a great bonding exercise.

Learning from the Marines

Retired Gen. Tony Zinni knows what makes the Marines elite.
The U.S. Marines often draw the toughest duty.
They make up with brains and guts what they lack in numbers.
In Gen. Zinni’s “Battle Ready”, you will be struck by how Marine values apply to any team that wants to develop pride, professionalism and a competitive spirit.
Our son Mark gave me a copy.
It made me examine my own values.
Marines realize they are not vital to the nation’s existence.
Yet Marines offer unique values we admire and respect.
Values we can’t afford to lose.
Does that describe your team and the role you play?
Does your team represent values people admire?
Are these values we respect and can’t afford to lose?
We believe our little newspaper does.
We’re glue to hold our community together.
We celebrate the best and uncover the worst.
We allow citizens to keep an eye on their government.
We show if our officials are good stewards of our money.
We alert residents to crime and other threats to security.
We report on how well our children are schooled.
Gen. Zinni cites eight values the Marine Corps offers.
Would you like a copy of all eight?
Email me at
I hope these values will inspire you and your people.

How to Reach Peak Performance

My father encouraged me to practice the piano by telling me stories about the virtuoso Ignacy Paderewski.
“If I miss a day of practice,” the great pianist said, “I can tell it.
”If I miss two days, my colleagues in the orchestra can tell it.
”And if I miss three days, the audience can tell it.”
Even a nine-year-old child, struggling to master the keys with tiny but growing fingers, understood that story.
Of the gifts my father gave, among the best were his stories about successful people and what they demanded of themselves.
All of us have seen exceptional people achieve exceptional results.
In truth, they are all fairly ordinary folks like the rest of us.
Michael Jordan practiced at the arena hours before a game.
Tiger Woods, even after a tournament, was on the practice green.
Top performers put in hours of “deliberate practice”.
They set specific goals for themselves.
They solicit immediate feedback from coaches and mentors.
They constantly push themselves, stretching to reach higher levels.
Where does your passion lie?
Where do you feel compelled to excel?
What price are you willing to pay to reach that summit?
How committed are you to making that happen?
For more on reaching peak performance, go to:
Click on “Reaching Peak Performance”.

An underdog becomes a big dog

Myelita Melton thought she was headed for the big time in TV.
Then she lost two TV jobs, one after the other.
It wasn’t her fault. It was the economy.
Her no-count husband turned to drugs and crime.
She moved him out of their house. Changed the locks herself.
She filed for bankruptcy protection from his creditors.
Because she was bilingual, she had trouble finding a job.
Employers told her she was “over-qualified.”
Relax. Her story has a happy ending.
Using her language skills, Myelita started her own business.
She called it Speak Easy Communications.
She taught health care workers to speak Spanish.
She taught construction foremen to speak Spanish.
She taught professionals who needed it to speak Spanish.
She published Spanish language tutorials.
These books and CDs have turned Myelita’s life around.
They have made her a successful business owner.
What skills do you have that could turn your life around?
What skills might you acquire to make you successful?
For more about Myelita, go to
For more about Success Strategies, go to

How much should you raise prices?

Raising prices on your products and services is necessary if the economy is inflationary or your suppliers have raised their rates.
For instance, in newspaper publishing, the paper mills have hit us with a series of price increases over the last six months.
That’s bad for our bottom lines.
Our subscribers and advertisers have to underwrite this added cost.
Your customers, clients and patients must do the same for you.
Unless you raise rates, added costs will erode your profit margins.
That could kill your competitive position and your business.
Ask your tax counselor how much he or she advises in raising rates.
Your counselor should figure this using the latest government-researched cost of living increases and your other costs.
Ask how much he or she is advising other clients to raise theirs.
For more on this, contact me at
Next weekRewarding loyal customers.
For advice on lowering costs and raising revenues see “Doing More With Less: 73 Strategies to Cut Costs and Boost Revenues