Running your own business during a home renovation

We just completed a renovation on our house and I wanted to share some insights on how to run a successful business while you are in domicile limbo, especially for those of us running our own businesses.

  • Create a space that is your own. That may be in a coffee shop or a friend’s basement or renting a small office temporarily, but find a place where you are comfortable and can be productive.
  • Cut yourself some slack, but don’t make excuses. It is more difficult to run a business when you are working from unfamiliar surroundings, but don’t use that as an excuse for not being successful.
  • Figure out what you NEED to run your business successfully and travel with those things. It’s amazing what can be done with a cell phone, a printer/scanner, a laptop and an Internet connection.
  • If you don’t have one already, invest in a good laptop. It makes it easy to work from anywhere.
  • Look at this as an opportunity to reduce infrastructure and overhead.
  • Hire strong people to oversee the other parts of your life and your business (house contractor, web designer, accountant, lawyer) so you can focus on business growth.
  • Take mental breaks. Find a new hobby, take the dog for a walk, exercise….find something you can do regularly to alleviate the stress.
  • Lean on your support system. Being removed from your comfort zone is never easy, so lean on the people around you for support and guidance.
  • Don’t be any different with clients and customers. They don’t care about your living arrangements or personal situation, so don’t look for sympathy. Maintain a positive outlook and continue to help them generate amazing results.
  • Embrace the situation. Life is full of curveballs and getting through this will make you a better and more resilient person. Remember why you decided to do this in the first place.

Going through moves and renovations and house changes is never easy, but there are ways you can mitigate and reduce some of the stress. I hope you have found these helpful.

Operational Excellence Global View – The Obama Campaign

podcast-sleeve1Andrew shines a light on the tremendous efforts used by the Obama campaign to engage voters and ultimately win the race for president.

The problem with customer satisfaction metrics, part 2

I just received a call from my bank asking if I had a few minutes to take a customer survey about my most recent branch visit. Except that it wasn’t my bank calling. It was an independent research company hired by my bank to call me. This strikes me as somewhat strange.

If my bank wants to know about my recent branch experience, why not have the teller ask me while I was at the branch. Having some faceless company call and ask for a few minutes of my time is intrusive. Not to mention the fact that I have no idea whether or not this company is legitimate.

I understand that the bank is trying to improve the customer experience (assuming that they did actually hire this company), but the way you do that is to engage the customer at the point of contact. Not have some faceless phone service disturb them. If you want to know about my experience at the branch, ask me directly when I’m in the branch.

“Is there anything we could have done to improve your experience, Mr Miller?” That’s all that they needed to ask. One simple question. How complicated are you making your customer feedback process?

Miller’s Monday Morning Message

Andrew MillerMiller’s Monday Morning Message
presented by ACM Consulting Inc.

Andrew Miller on operational excellence, strategy, life balance and everything in between

Toronto – September 9, 2013
As a consultant, it is easy to fall into a trap where you find a client’s pain point and help them solve it. This is how consulting has been done for years, with the term “Find the pain” being prevalent. But finding a client’s pain is not always in the best interest of the client and leads to very short-term thinking. It is problem-solving, not innovating.
When you only focus on solving the problem, you limit an organization’s ability to grow and innovate, because the only focus becomes solving the problem. Once the problem gets solved, your organization has only been restored to where it once was, but has not progressed.
If you have a back problem and you receive treatment, the pain goes away temporarily. You have fixed the short-term issue. But as those of you with back problems know, the issue tends to come back. Conversely, if you begin a regimented program that combines different elements like strengthening your core and losing weight to take pressure of your back, you have improved your overall health. Organizations need to think the same way. They are better served focusing on what they are good at and leveraging those strengths to make dramatic strides away from their competitors, and not just on solving the problem of the day.
To request an interview or more information, please contact:
Andrew Miller
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© Andrew Miller. All rights reserved. 2013.

Companies Using Technology to Engage Customers


Andrew shares an example of a company that uses a creative way to engage their customers.

Technology and Operational Excellence


Andrew discusses technology’s role in the quest for operational excellence.

Achieving meeting excellence

We have all sat through endless meetings that go nowhere, but we never question why this happens consistently. In order to achieve meeting excellence, here are some tips:

  • Have a clear objective for the meeting – How can you expect to accomplish anything if you don’t know what needs to be accomplished?
  • End the meeting when the objective has been achieved – There is no need to continue the meeting once you have achieved what you set out to achieve.
  • Limit the number of people who are invited – The smaller the group, the more productive you can be. Let each attendee be responsible for bringing the outcomes back to their department.
  • Meeting participants lose interest after an hour – Meetings that take longer than an hour are normally no longer productive.
  • Have a clear agenda – Confirm the objective of the meeting and the agenda before getting started so everyone is focused in the same direction.
  • Have clear action items – After the meeting, send out the action items, who is accountable for their completion, and by when.