RHONDA ABRAMS: STRATEGIES
Rhonda Abrams has
written several books
For more tips from
Rhonda, see www.
make you a bad person; it’s OK to throw out old
birthday cards you’ve received without guilt.
Ask yourself, “If I'm going to get rid of it
someday, why not today?” You know that box of
envelopes printed with an outdated address you plan to find a use for someday? Deal with it now Try SCORE
or put it in recycling. I gave a box of old sta- GOOD BUSINESS advice
tionery to my niece, Kayley. She was excited to from a consultant can cost
have the same paper as Auntie Rhonda and gave an arm and a leg—more, if
Digging out from me a big hug. How’s that for recycling? I turned you need it outside of normal
bond paper into a much better kind of bond. business hours.
under stuff If you can’t bear to part with something, But small-business own-
turn it into “milk.” Put a “Use By” date on stuff ers have a helpful alternative
you’re not ready to toss yet, and next time on the Web through SCORE
( www.score.org). The organi-
STUFF, STUFF, STUFF! My desk is piled with it: mail, you're on a cleaning binge, if the stuff’s turned zation, a resource partner
notes, files, articles I plan to read someday. I’m sour, throw it out. with the U.S. Small Business
drowning in stuff, so I’m hereby declaring April to The ideal to strive for is to handle papers just Administration, offers an
be “Rhonda's Official Spring Clean Your Desk once. So don't think of yourself as “reading” your online advisory program that
Month.” Care to join me? mail, think of it as “processing” mail. Keep every- taps into a huge network of
First, we’ve got to end our addiction to hang- thing you need to deal with it handy—file folders, volunteer executives. The
ing on to stuff. Let’s start with a pledge. Raise envelopes, stamps, Post-it notes. And don’t for- price: free.
your hand and repeat after m e, get that recycling bin! Using the SCORE site is
"I vow to throw out stuff as Let’s end our spring-cleaning easy. You can select a volun-
soon as I'm finished with it." with another “Pledge”—the fur- teer consultant by area of
expertise or by location. You
To get rid of stuff, you niture polish. With a glow of type in your question, and a
have to be decisive, even self-satisfaction, let’s wipe SCORE volunteer responds
ruthless. Start by reading our newly cleaned desks. within 48 hours.
mail over the recycling But don’t stand there gloat- The organization has a
bin, making it easy to toss. ing for long—here comes pool of some 1,300 volunteers
Being ruthless doesn't another batch of mail ... C across the country who re-
spond to online questions.
With so many people, virtu-
ally any conceivable business
Happy workers, happy profits topic can be covered, says
Michael Keaton, SCORE
CONFLICTS IN the work- cates that you recognize the Questions from entrepre-
place usually don’t get the person is frustrated and can neurs can range from writing
same attention as other empathize with him or her. a business plan to creating a
problems, such as losing a Stay off anger moun- smart marketing plan to set-
key client. Yet disputes tain. The best time to effec- ting up an e-commerce site.
among workers can be just tively discuss issues is SCORE’s volunteers can help
as detrimental to a com- either before anger reaches anybody from start-ups to
pany’s bottom line. its climax or afterward. established firms learning to
Smart bosses can take Think of rising anger as a do business overseas.
simple steps to defuse hot mountain. Studies suggest SCORE originally stood
spots in the office, advises that humans lose their abil- for the Service Corps of
Dina Beach Lynch, a Costco ity to reason or communi- Retired Executives. But while
member in Boston who cate effectively at the peak like to see happen?” identify some volunteers are retired,
founded Work Well Together. of that mountain. hidden concerns that are a growing number of them
com, a coaching and consult- If someone seems too easily overlooked during a are still in the workplace.
ing company specializing in angry, you can say, “I’d like conflict. Once known, these “They either owned a small
resolving internal disputes. to talk more with you about interests form the basis of a business, were executives or
She offers these three tips. this. You seem upset now. workable solution. are still in business and want
Spot the pink elephant. Let’s pick this up after we’ve There’s a real payoff to to give back,” says Keaton.
Acknowledge when some- calmed down a bit.” resolving conflicts, says “They’re people who have
one is upset by saying some- Peel the onion. Ask clari- Beach Lynch: “Small compa- ‘been there, done that.’ ”
thing as simple as “You fying questions to determine nies that master these con- SCORE is always look-seem very angry” or “I see underlying interests. Ques- versations and can skillfully ing for more good volun-you’re crying. Are you feel- tions such as “Why is that develop creative solutions teers. See the Web site for
ing hurt?” While it may feel important to you?” or “In an will be successful in all mar- information. C
awkward, this communi- ideal world, what would you ket conditions.” C