Archive for September, 2008


Sunday, September 7th, 2008

“Almost everything we do involves making a sale.”

This point I make in Fortune and Freedom is never challenged. Interviews, presentations to supervisors, employees, parents, and community groups all require us to articulate a message and present benefits of doing something within a specific timeframe.

Yet selling to potential customers frightens people more than death.

Many firms have even decided that sales departments should not be referenced on their respective org charts.

“Business development” and automated systems designed to avoid contact with other human beings are popular. I find the most successful companies and business leaders still acknowledge that sales is a learned skill. Respect for this skill usually follows.

Jim Hirshfield


The Silent Partner

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

As the political season heats up I find it helpful to address the connection between politics and business. In Fortune and Freedom I refer to government as an entrepreneur’s silent partner. I discovered this early in my career as I encountered a series of political partners that had a sizable financial interest in my endeavors.

All business owners discover over time that governments generally take more from your business in dollars than you make after taxes.

Of course regulations that demand experts like attorneys and accountants sometimes cause even more headaches.

How should one deal with the overwhelming task of understanding how government works?

My recommendation is to volunteer your time to a campaign. Few people offer their time and they miss out on the strategy sessions and perspective that political candidates and their handlers showcase.

You might come away jaded, confused, or excited but at least you will have the opportunity to learn about the process and how politicians perceive their “partners” in the business world.

As a close friend of mine once said: “Politicians and regulators find it much easier to nail people they do not know rather than to nail someone who is a friend.”

Jim Hirshfield