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Lessons of Hurricane Sandy

Early this morning, after Hurricane Sandy ravaged much of the East Coast, my wife and I awoke to find our home unscathed. The power never flickered and not a drop of water found its way inside the house. No downed trees. No missing siding. Nothing but wet leaves.

We consider ourselves extremely fortunate and our thoughts are with those who find themselves without power or, worse, in temporary quarters waiting on a time when they can return to survey their homes and possessions.

The refrain is always the same:

“We should stock up on bottled water, canned goods, and batteries so we won’t be caught unprepared next time.”

“We should buy a generator.”

“We should increase our flood insurance coverage.”

All of these represent good, sound thinking. After all, most people aspire to be someone who can sleep through a storm. But the warning is rarely so dire and oft-repeated in business as it is on the home front. One could hardly check the internet or turn on the television without hearing about “the deadly storm’s imminent approach.”

In business the signs are more subtle and easily dismissed.

  • A key employee leaves. “Well, she never really fit in here.”
  • A large customer pulls its business. “Sure, he was upset. But you know, we really couldn’t help what happened. It was just one of those things.”
  • A contract bid comes up short. “Look, if you haven’t lost; you haven’t played.”

Make no mistake, each of the above situations is a storm of one degree or another. Are they all Category 5’s? Of course not, but some are. The sooner you recognize them for what they are the better off you will be when the next one appears on the horizon.

The question then becomes, what are you going to do now to make sure that, from a business perspective, you’re not one of those people in the Giant the night before wishing you had arrived earlier?