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How to beat inflation

If you are a consumer, you may not want to read what I’m about to tell you. But if you’re a business owner, this is imperative to staying solvent in business.

You must raise your service rates or product prices annually.

As your costs rise, you must pass this along to your customers.

Here is the advice I’m offering business owners on Ruth King’s Internet in my weekly Essential Entrepreneur Business Tip of the Week.

These tips are based on my new “Doing More With Less: 73 strategies to get you and keep you out of the red” at my website

If you’re a retailer, do it at the start of the fourth quarter when consumers are in a buying mood.

If you are in a service industry, do it at the start of your busiest season. For instance, pool installers and landscapers should do it in the spring.

Gift shops should do it before Mothers Day, one of the busiest gift giving times of the year.

Mom’s worth every penny. Sorry, make that dollar.

On Friday, we’ll talk about how much to raise prices.

Creating giants

Here’s a great leadership thought passed along by our friend and fellow editor Bill West.

It’s from Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish.”

Think about that in terms of what the Kansas Jayhawks did to what may have been a more talented Memphis team in the NCAA finals last night.

Despite 17 turnovers and trailing by three huge points in the last 2.1 seconds, the Jayhawks believed in themselves, did not give in and came back with Mario Chalmers’ clutch three-point shot to drive the game into overtime.

Was this just another example of the game’s unpredictable nature?

I don’t think so.

In the locker room before the game, Kansas Coach Bill Self told his players that for the rest of their lives, wherever they went and whoever they met, they would be reminded of this night and how they performed. He did not need to say more.

Look what this simple philosophy of leadership did for Sam Walton and his people who were running what is basically the old Five & Dime store on steroids.

It made Sam and his family one of the wealthiest in the world and Wal-Mart into a giant among businesses.

What kind of giants might we create when we help our people believe in themselves and that nothing — I mean nothing — can stop them

A winning chili recipe

How long does it take to win anything?

Frankly, I don’t know. But I do know that persistence counts. We’ve competed in the West Metro Rotary Club Chili Cookoff for three years. The first two years we didn’t even place.

Mark and I figured something had to be wrong with the judge’s taste buds. When we cook chili for our newspaper staff, everybody goes back for seconds. Family and friends rave about our chili. Could they be prejudiced?

This year we started with our basic recipe but added a twist. Did that do the trick? Wait and see.

Here’s our chili recipe if you want to try it:

Chronicle Chili Masters’
Award-Winning Chili
5 lbs. lean ground beef
3 lbs. bulk pork sausage
3 large cans crushed tomatoes
6 16-oz. cans chili beans drained
2 16-oz. cans black beans drained
4 large heads garlic peeled and halved
Chili powder to your taste
Ground cumin to your taste
Cayenne pepper to your taste
3 cans beer (your choice)

Here’s what you do with all that stuff:

1) Brown pork sausage in large Dutch oven or stew pot. 2) Add ground beef and brown. 3) Lower heat to simmer and drain most of liquid into a large cup. 4) Place in refrigerator or freezer until fat hardens. 5) When fat hardens, remove fat and pour remaining meat juices into pot. 6) Add tomatoes and beans to meat. Raise heat to medium. 7) Add peeled and sliced garlic. If you are not a big garlic lover, cut garlic to your own taste. Don’t be afraid. As the garlic cooks, it turns sweet and soft as butter. 8) Add chili powder, cumin and cayenne pepper. We use 4 oz. chili powder, 3 oz. cumin and 1/2 oz. cayenne. 9) Pour 3 cans of beer in the chili. Pour the other 3 cans in the cooks. 10) Bring heat up to cook off alcohol and some of the liquid so the chili isn’t soupy. Serve with a dressed green salad, hot garlic bread and sweet iced tea.

Now, back to the chili cookoff… It rained monsoon rains. I know all about monsoons; I spent 16 months in the Far East where it really rains. Standing ankle deep in water, we heard the judges’ decision.

The Chronicle Chili Masters had won the Civic Class. People flocked to our booth. The chili started going fast.

How long does it take to win anything?

This took three years. Next year, we have to defend our title.

Keeping love of your mission alive

Terry Dozier was telling me about his new job last Saturday.

We were at the West Metro Rotary Club’s annual Lexington County (SC) Chili Cookoff. Terry was one of our judges. My son Mark and I were competing for the third year.

Terry, a former star basketball player at the University of South Carolina and for the NBA Charlotte Hornets, has joined the Columbia (SC) Recreation Department. Terry said he is working with young people to show them options to gang life.

“I’m excited every morning about going to work,” Terry said. “I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this.”

What a wonderful way to live. Terry is having fun and making a difference in the lives of young people.

No telling how many will live successful lives instead of becoming career criminals.

Whatever you’e doing in your life, I hope you feel the way Terry and I feel.

Every morning is a great new experience. Get out there and make a difference in someone’s life. You’ll be making a difference in your own, too.

Dealing with potential enemies


Think of being thousands of miles from home.
Native Filipinos tell you there’s trouble brewing.
The communists are coming to interrogate you.
You are physically defenseless against them.Peace Corps volunteer Karin Muller faced such a test.
She gathered all the coffee and sugar she could find.
When the Communists arrived, she invited them in.
“Thank God you’re here,” she said. “I’ve waited all day.
“Have some coffee. Leave your guns at the door.”
The puzzled leader took off his guns and sat down for coffee.
This way she avoided interrogation – or worse.
You can’t interrogate someone you’re having coffee with.
Who dares think women are the weaker sex?

Some time ago, I took one of our elected officials to task.
He was making a mistake and I said so in a roomful of his peers.
He did not speak to me for five years. Actually shunned me.
I thought it was humorous. But the acid was eating at him.
Finally a mutual friend arranged for us to clear the air.
He spent an hour at our kitchen table justifying his actions.
Over coffee, I patiently listened and did not argue with him.
But neither did I agree that he was right and I was wrong.

He was diagnosed with cancer a few months later.
We talked on the phone several times as he underwent chemo.
He’s the hero of this story. He initiated the meeting.
He welcomed the continuing dialogue. Then cancer took him.
I had the last word – and made it a good one.
We published a tribute to him and his achievements.
A little coffee and empathy can go a long way.

Guy Kawasaki tells Karin Muller’s story in his new book.
It’s entitled “Enchantment”. You will want to read it.
For a copy go to and type in Enchantment.
It’s well worth a few dollars and your time to read it.
More on his book later in my Million Dollar Ideas newsletter.

The price of freedom


I’ll bet you don’t know Memorial Day’s origin?
That’s OK. Not a lot of us do.
To some it’s just another day to shop or play.
Historically, it was started by freed slaves.
They honored the Union troops who freed them.
The last Monday in May has become a holiday.
It is a time to reflect on the sacrifices of others.
Those who paid the price for our freedoms.I recently visited Arlington Cemetery – again.
This time it was with 100 World War II veterans.
These men had made countless sacrifices for all of us.
It was a memorable experience.
Just listening to them talk about the war.
Seeing tears in their eyes for fallen comrades.

I watched a movie Sunday about World War I.
The story was from the German side of the lines.
Soldiers on both sides of any war pay high prices.
This should not put us in sympathy with the enemy.
The jihadists are determined to end our way of life.
To take our freedoms and impose their ways on us.
It should strengthen us to know they are only men.
Deceived men whose leaders mislead them.
That is their weakness and our strength.

You see what is going on in the Moslem world today.
The idea of freedom is stronger than ever.
Let us commit to preserve that idea, to nurture it.
That is my Memorial Day challenge to you.
Remind your friends why we are as free as we are.

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