Thursday, April 29, 2010


How often do you take a client to lunch? What about your spouse or a family member? One of the things most evident in our culture is the premium we place on time. We are constantly moving from one activity to another. We obsess about work and shorten the time in which we eat. The very nature of meal time has become one of ridicule or speed - a power lunch, fast food, working lunch or the dreaded taking the boss to lunch.

We have to multi-task even our most basic needs - like eating. When was the last time you went to lunch with someone work or family related and it was a pleasure? Couldn't you do more of that? I think you can and should. The iconic image of the steel workers having lunch on a steel beam is one of clear cammraderie. Where else could you be indifferent to the height yet trapped in a world of solitude? Make an effort to build a relationship with clients beyond that of service provider. Work to find common ground with co-workers. Focus on spending time with your family. Enjoy meal time in a fresh, new way. Your life will be richer for it.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

An open activist letter

Last night I attended a very long council meeting with a study session about Title 11, the zoning code. What came out of it was a bit of a surprise, particularly from one Councilman. He has continually blocked all efforts of the Chamber to advocate for business, has worked consistently to throw up barriers to growth and he and his wife, under color of authority when he was mayor verbally assaulted and harassed me in the City Manager's office. Below is my call to action to fellow business owners. As a business owner and business advocate myself, it has become clear that only by backing up my reasonable requests with further call to action can we assert in a positive way our role in community.

Business is a vital part of any community and we should all be engaged with government, philanthropy, education and service in addition to our role in making a profit. If you live in Seal Beach and wish to know more, please leave a comment or reach out to me.

Fellow business owners and friends,

Well, last night we were blindsided and attacked by Councilman Antos. He
has done several things which are beyond the pale at Council and the
Title 11 study session.

* All special events on the beach, which are NOT City "sponsored"
are to be prohibited unless approved by the Parks & Recreation
Commission as "appropriate" for our community. This would add
60-90 days to the approval process and many events may be turned
down as "not appropriate." That means Easter sunrise services,
weddings, gatherings, sports events non-profit fundraisers, etc. .
.He doesn't want "those kinds of people" (not sure other than
"non-local" what that means) having events on our beaches. I
couldn't believe it. We currently have a functioning process
which is already costly and time consuming for special events.
All of this because he doesn't want Brazilian Sand Soccer on the
beach in May. I specifically brought up houses of faith and he
said NOTHING in support of them. Council approved that
recommendation 5-0. This may also be an item which is open to
challenge by the Coastal Commission, but in particular, I would
like the churches and non-profits to determine if this is ok with
* After 11 pm tonight in the Title 11 Study Session - He BLASTED
Main Street and every business that had an A-Frame sign or ANY
OTHER FORM of outdoor display. During this session with Planning
Commission, he personally attacked me, Main Street Cyclery,
Bogart's, the Sun, Abbey, Seal Beach Shoppe, Up, Up & Away Kites,
B.S. Pearce, Furnace, Subject, Main Street Wine Cellar and others
for their a-frames and / or clothing displays. He had huge blown
up photos of businesses and any display they might have including
benches, chairs or any goods out on display. This came as a
complete surprise and was a shock to everyone present.
* He also attacked all display signs for realtors which were in any
way stuck in the ground. He asserted this a-frame signs or
"staked" signs punctured sprinklers. He specifically attacked
Baytown Realty, First Team Realty, American Realty Brokers and others.
* He made multiple attacks on business and special events. This
signage issue would affect A-Frame signs EVEN ON PRIVATE PROPERTY.
Shopping centers and homes may also be affected.
* If you have an A-Frame sign, be prepared to have the City pick it
up and cite you shortly.

I am asking for a CALL TO ACTION from all of you. I will have a
petition ready for you to sign on for A-Frame Signs and a separate one
for special events on the beach. I will be coming by in the next week
for signatures and to answer questions. I would ask that you further
forward this email to anyone you believe would be supportive of our
business community and those beach activities. We will also identify a
council meeting in which your attendance will be meaningful. Other
council members - notably Mike Levitt and several planning commissioners
were supportive of business.

Antos has identified that he is an enemy of business, an opponent of
reasonable efforts by our businesses to flourish and simply a barrier to
nearly all that the Chamber stands for. We have worked hard for several
years to deepen and improve the relationship with the City. We provide
the engine of resources for most of the non-profit events and
fund-raising in our town. I ask you to make a commitment RIGHT NOW to
be part of the solution, but positively proving to all of the council
that we are a valuable part of the community and are not to be simply
dismissed. This affects all of us!

Please email the City Clerk, City Manager and Planning Director with
your concerns. Their email is below:

* David Carmany, City Manager -
* Linda Devine, City Clerk -
* Mark Persico, Director of Planning -

Your email should contain the following: your name, your business or
organization, your clear support of A-Frame signs and reasonable local
signage efforts, and your desire to NOT increase the difficulty of
special event permitting on the beach. We will keep you posted on the
call to action for a date to appear for Council and/or Planning Commission.



Monday, April 12, 2010

Benefits of the Chamber. How do your associations help you?

This is an article I wrote for the Chamber newsletter. Think about what you might get from various professional associations.

People regularly ask “What do you get out of your Chamber membership?” This really is a good question. Chambers of Commerce differ in the way they focus on providing value to their membership. Our Chamber’s mission is fairly simple and clear: to sustain, promote and grow business and to enhance the quality of life of the Seal Beach community.
With that mission in mind, the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce is the single largest event producing non-profit in our City. We produce many of the largest: the Classic Car Show, the Christmas Parade and the Summer Concert Series. Beyond this there are over a dozen other events. In addition to the opportunity to volunteer, network, and sponsor at these events, they fulfill the need to enhance the quality of life in the Seal Beach community. Special thanks are in order for all those members who participated and sponsored the recent USS Dewey events: Boeing, O’Malley’s on Main, Grace Community Church, Hennesey’s, Main Street Wine Cellar and the LIONS. It was an incredible event that showcased our town at a national level. Just ask Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chief’s of Staff, he was here!
Recently in partnership with Boeing and the Small Business Administration (SBA), we have launched the EDGE: Educate to Drive and Grow the Economy, business seminar series. These highly informative 2 hour lunch meetings bring real information and resources to bear for many of our small to mid-size firms. Mitra Novin, of Boeing and Doug Dare of the SBA are both instructors for the series. I was delighted to be the kick off session facilitator on business planning. If you haven’t checked it out, you really should! If you are interested in teaching a session, let us know. We are always looking for ways for our members to contribute.
Finally, as you may be aware, there has been a great deal of movement on the government front where the Chamber is working for you to help promote business. We are working through concerns in the Title 11 zoning code and also with position papers to not only our City Council, but also Assemblyman Jim Silva and State Senator Tom Harman. Erik Dryer-Goldman went to a meeting with the Assemblyman to work on some state issues. Steve Blount continues to represent us at the Regional Military Affairs Committee (RMAC) at the Joint Forces Training Base. We are also thankful for US Congressman Rorhabacher joining us for our April 8th meeting to give us a breakfast briefing!
Remember as always to shop, network, refer and spend locally. Join us at our next breakfast meeting or networking event and be sure to RSVP for an EDGE seminar. After all, what you get out of the Chamber is what you put into it!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The upcoming car show

It is that time again, for the Seal Beach Classic Car show! Now in it’s 23rd year, it is one of the longest running annual events in our community. What is in store for this year? Well, cars, vendors & visitors, as always!
This year on April 24th from 10 am to 3 pm, our Main Street becomes classic car heaven. More than 500 cars will begin to fill up our downtown around 6 am. From woodies to muscle cars, there is plenty for every gearhead to admire. We expect thousands of visitors to come and enjoy our community and show.
The car show takes months of planning and dozens of volunteers to pull off. Brian Warner, this year’s Seal Beach Car Show event chair feels the Chamber has stepped it up, “We have 30 judging categories and are particularly happy with our t-shirt which will feature two of our winners from last year and new styles for women and children.” He added, “We also have listened to participants, attendees, merchants and residents to make this the best car show ever!”
Brian has been working for the last several years on improving the judging system and quality. Participants really value that kind of focus. The expansion of categories from just 20 a couple of years ago to the 30 now, which makes divisions more descriptive and in line with other shows.
Other key improvements include enhancements to the parking process with seven points of entry into the show, more vendors and a smooth operating team. Currently, every leader in the show has been a part of it for at least a year. JoAnn Adams, a former president of the Chamber and chair of the show for several years, worked tirelessly to improve the entry process for the show. She along with major participants like Stuart Green, a new car show committee member, and his group of 51 entrants helped design the flow patterns to make the entry smooth and efficient. JoAnn shared, “We really wanted to make sure the cars don’t have to idle a long time and that they have minimal noise for the residents. By bringing them in from multiple streets they park faster and better.” Signage set up and barricades begins around 3:30 am and Bryce Turner and his team, including volunteers from the Naval Weapons Station, will be coordinating this inflow. This system eliminates back up on Pacific Coast Highway and along Seal Beach Boulevard.
The Chamber has continued to partner with the Seal Beach Lions and Leos for the Pancake Breakfast as it has been a part of the car show tradition for the last nine years. Long term Lion, past Chamber president and car show corporate sponsor Jim Klisanin feels, “We have always had good car shows, but this year we have made it even better. I have talked to a lot of the participants in years past and they almost always say this car show is their favorite.” The Lions will be continuing through lunch this year with their famous bratwursts so stop on down by the pier and get some!
Vendors are more expansive and focused in Eisenhower Park thanks to sponsorship chair Gina Phillips. More than twenty vendors will be in place up there, though the Big Red Bus will be make an appearance down by PCH.
There should be more to do and see this year in the park as the Pinewood Derby moves over into it. It certainly adds even more of a family friendly atmosphere to have the kids all racing cars too!
Car show central is located at the Electric and Main intersections and will be an information and registration hub. Judging begins at 10 am and wraps up around 1 pm. Our new PA system should allow Rick Paap, our MC and the 2:30 pm awards ceremony to be clearly heard. So invite friends and family to come down to Seal Beach on the 24th to help us celebrate classic cars, our community and our merchants. If you need more information, please contact the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce at (562)799-0157 or

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunrise Service

Getting a good start on the day is important for many of us. I was particularly moved today to attend a sunrise Easter service on the beach. It was a beautiful vista and helped me connect with some "universe" time first thing. The breaking of dawn and the great swath of Pacific ocean that I could look out upon reminded me of the importance of a positive mental attitude and spiritual centeredness.
Pastor Tia Wildermuth of First United Methodist Church ( during the homily reminded us all of the importance of believing without understanding. The disciples did not understand what had happened with the body of Christ, and yet once the message was delivered, they still had to believe without the understanding still. For articles of faith, this is undoubtedly true. For business - perhaps less so. Or is it?
When we first have a vision of success, we do not know it's certainty. We act on faith that the business will be profitable, enjoyable and filled with good results. We act on a belief not based on facts in evidence. We look to the sunrise, the opportunity and the promise of the day.
Easter is a time of renewal and hope. I hope that it is for you and your business as well.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Trip Planning

Business owners often find that they don't have much time for travel. Their business demands constant, unbroken attention. This photo is from a trip I was on a few years ago to Rehobeth, DE with friends. There were a bunch of us who were auctioned off at a fundraiser as strippers/models. I did bring in a nice price I might add. You can see me with the hat on in the back.

For all of us, try to book time to travel when you can combine business and pleasure. Meet with clients for a few days and when it is time to relax with friends, then enjoy that as well. You can often fit both in. What you don't want to do is NOT vacation. You really need to recharge your insights and perspective. So go ahead - plan a trip! I just did!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Detox Cleanse - Personal & Business Choice

Mid day Monday (03/29/10) I decided after much thought and reflection to do a detox. For those of you who know me well, this might seem kind of funny given my history! I really felt with news my mom gave me about her physican's concern over health issues (not to mention being a cancer survivor), my dad's battle with prostate cancer, my own age and my need to take a more natural approach to body building/sculpting, a cleanse and diet change seemed in order.

Following the guidance of my friend and tranier Barb over at Beach Fitness, I opted for a cleanse focused on vegetables (no white/starchy), a few nuts (mostly almonds and some pinenuts/cashews as sesonings in cooked vegetables), Macrogreens supplement drink and a high quality protein powder. I am still only drinking water outside of the supplement shakes. That has eliminated all dairy, meat, processed food, refined sugar, soft drinks, additives, gluten, grains and most fats. This is day 5, and I feel AMAZING!

Day 1 was very tough. I was hungry and unsatisfied most of the afternoon and evening. Did 30 of cardio in the AM and lifted legs in the afternoon. By Day 2, I was irritable and my sleep patterns were disrupted. My energy level was very low and training was hard, though I did 30 minutes of cardio, lifted chest and then took a 30 minute kettlebell class! Day 3 brought some feelings of change in my energy level for the better, but I was definately irritable and I only could manage cardio for 30 minutes. That night sleep was the worst of the week - I only managed about 4 hours and then was up around 3:30 am. Day 4 brought continued feelings of lastitude, though my attitude was better and my hunger was far more manageable. I worked a 16 hour day and then just had to collapse in bed. I did manage to lift back lightly.

Today was a shoulder day and I woke up after a full 9 hours of sleep feeling incredible and super positive. So THIS is what it is supposed to feel like! I like it - A LOT. I was able to train shoulders and I weighed myself - a solid 5 lb. drop with a + change in body composition. NICE!

What this week has taught me about business and life is the following:

1. Changing it up and forcing yourself to do what you know you need to do is the right thing.

2. We all could use a cleanse now and again - both personally and in our businesses.

3. The first few days of fairly radical change are hard, and Mother Nature is amazing, we adapt to the new lifestyle. We can do the same in business - we expand our efforts to inculde the optimal result if we only stay focused on it.

4. You have NO time to waste. If you are ready to make changes in your life, don't wait for New Year's Day, your birthday or your doctor(consultant) telling you to cut stuff(waste) out of your life(business).

5. Results are worth it. It produces a positive feeling of causality between effort and result.

You know what you need to do to produce positive change in your life. Just go do it!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fool's

Today is the day when we commit hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on a fool's errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. Traditionally, in some countries, such as the UK, Australia, and South Africa the jokes only last until noon, and someone who plays a trick after noon is called an "April Fool". Elsewhere, such as in France, Ireland, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Russia, The Netherlands, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S., the jokes last all day. The earliest recorded association between April 1 and foolishness can be found in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (1392). (Thanks Wikipedia for that overview!)

Do you ever feel that the day is April Fool's Day and the joke is on you? Well, today really is that day and you might want to be sure you are not a joke in someone else's book! A few keys to ensuring the joke is not on you with a client:

1. Underpromise & overdeliver - make sure you have what you say you will do and focus on delivering it.

2. Communicate clearly - use the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle

3. Be efficient - Don't waste the client's time. Most likely you are being paid by the hour as well.

4. Don't be a "yes" man - The client is paying you for results in their business. These results are usually tied to financial performance. Do not be afraid to tell her a "no" and why.

5. Respect the work - Remember it has your name on it. It better be good!

6. Thank the client for the opportunity to work with them.

So yes, all of those points seem obvious, but all too often we forget one or more of them at critical times. It can devestate your cleint/consultant relationship if you do.