Monday, June 6, 2011


It is amazing, in nine years I have rarely been asked our competition is. However, in the past month I have been asked it numerous times. From friends, attorneys, our bank, our finance company, and so on… So it really got me thinking. My answer, while it may sound cocky, was simple. We don't have competition. Let me follow that up by saying it was the furthest thing from a cocky comment. It is just how we have managed to build the UNCS culture. We have built UNCS on relationships. Be it with our vendors, customers, banks, trucking companies and anyone else we come in contact with. Each and every person in our company strives (at least they appear to) to show the people we come in contact with the UNCS difference, which is the value of a relationship. I was not insinuating that there aren’t other companies out there that do what we do, and some do it even better than we do. However, they are not competition. They are potential suppliers, vendors, teachers, etc. All with something we can learn from.

If you can take your competition and turn them into allies you will be way ahead of the game. If there is a supplier you buy from, perhaps you can also offer them product. If there is a customer you sell a lot of goods or services to, perhaps they could sell you merchandise. Even more important than the all might sale is the connection you make. If you build your business focusing all your attention on the deal, and lose sight of the big picture, you are doing yourself a great disservice. As a deal will only get you through the day, a relationship has the ability to last a lifetime.

Short and sweet this week. Moral of the story, be the kid on the playground that gets along with everyone! As he is the one who always ends up on top!

Until next time……

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The advice of others….. when asked for or not!

Growing up in a large ethnic family we were always given the opinions of those around us. Be it solicited or not, I got it! As I grew up, it seemed to happen more often, this time from EVERYONE! Friends, family, co-workers, the guy at 7-11 who I see everyday - advice was free flowing like a hose. However, I noticed something as I got older, mom was not always wrong. My sisters two cents was sometimes pretty valuable…. You get the point, right? 

I have gotten to the point where I seek the opinion of others numerous times throughout the course of the day for many different things. The internet is an amazing thing, but those around you are an amazing resource on just about anything. Utilize them! I often get asked by people starting a business for advice. It is an easy question, the best advice is ask for advice. When you meet someone and they have an opinion to offer, stop and listen to it. People around you have experienced things you have no idea they did. Use the things they have learned along their journey to help you steer yours.

This doesn't mean that everyone is right all the time. Although I am sure you know a few people who will beg to differ. But listen closely to what people have to say. While it a lot of the time it may not have anything directly to do with the situation at hand, you can be pleasantly surprised at the value of the knowledge they have to offer! Remember, just because you didn’t do what someone suggested, or took the advice directly, you will always learn something from it!

Until next time….

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What gets you going in the morning?

Motivation is an amazing thing! Some are motivated by money (although I truly feel it is a short term motivator), others get fuel from the thrill of closing the deal, maybe juniors college education is your motivation, a new car, a bigger house, and a plethora of reasons. What is it that motivates you? Personally, I think I find a different reason almost daily. Not always intentional but something's just appear (mentally that is J). I am in the middle of redoing my house from the roof to the floor and everything in between. Amazing how a contractors bill can become a motivating factor for a day or two. But as I dig deeper I find my motivation to be something of bigger meaning. Now don’t get me wrong, like most, I want to better myself and my family. There aren’t many people who will tell you they don’t like the smell of a new car or be able to buy themselves things they want, but how much fuel does that really give you? At what point do you have all you want and material things no longer get you going in the morning? I had 2 very close friends, one was extremely wealthy and the titan of his industry (who we will call Tony), the other was a music teacher and made a modest wage (who we will call Seth). Tony was always depressed and truly unhappy with everything in life while Seth loved life and truly enjoyed going to work in the morning. As a young kid just starting off in life I could not fathom why Tony, who had big houses, fast cars and a large boat could not be happy. How could someone with so much be so unhappy. Then I realized he truly didn’t have what I thought he did. Seth, who didn’t have as many material possessions as Tony, had things of even greater value. A family that loved him, friends that mattered and a job that he loved. All these things were Seth's fuel.

This blog will be short and sweet. In the end, whatever your motivation is, find it. Make sure it has meaning to you and be sure you are motivated for the right reasons.

Until next time……

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Blurry Lines

My apologies for my lack of blogging! (would it be narcasistic to think anyone noticed other than my mom?!) Life gets away from us all sometimes, doesn't it? Amazing how the minutes fly by. It appears the busier we get the shorter the days. Juggling life and work is a difficult task for anyone. But for a CEO, or anyone who loves what they do, the lines become blurred. Where does one start and the other stop? To some the line is clear. Work at 8:30AM and home at 5:30PM. I suspect most who read this, much like myself, don’t have such a clear line. Is that a bad thing? Depends who you ask. I had the privilege of going to Rome last year. As we were taking a tour of the Vatican I snuck outside and started to check my Blackberry. Unbeknown to me, Jerry snapped a picture in front of St. Peters with me sending an email. Some look at the picture and think I am nuts and other look at the picture and pat me on the back.

The day you start your own company or become passionate about the company you work for you erase that line. There is no “leave it at the office”. The balance is how to manage that without stressing yourself out and effecting those around you. Personally, I don’t think there is anything wrong with catching up on some work, reading the occasional (very vague word J) email while on vacation, etc etc etc. I am fortunate enough to be with someone who understands what it is like to be with an Entrepreneur. The guy who rolls over at 3AM and checks his email, which puts me at ease. I think I would be more stressed if I was unable to read that email or take that phone call.

How do you balance life and work? Are you able to deprogram every now and then?