Everything you need to know about setting up, managing and growing small businesses. Veterans, as well as newbies share their stories and valuable lessons.

If you knew you were going to get a big influx of business would you be more likely to hire people. If you had a handle on where interest rates were headed might you think about getting a loan for new equipment? If you thought the economy was going to improve would you launch a new product line?

Both the CFO and the CEO stuck their hand into the air as I concluded my keynote and called for questions. “Why don’t employees communicate up in an organization?” There was a little more than a twinge of frustration in the CEO’s question.  The CFO added his nod of dismay.

It’s a common conundrum in the C-suite—even from the brightest leaders in the boardroom.  The issue deserves serious thought because when downward communication dominates, problems go unresolved and innovation stalls.

The owner of an insurance agency I know did an experiment. Sheila VanZile of Watermark Insurance printed business cards with two different titles: President and Queen. Over the course of time, she used both… and Queen won out. That title engaged people, helped start a conversation and gave them a glimpse of her fun personality. Her business is all about building relationships and being able to connect with customers to identify needs. She said those who were not amused at the title of Queen were actually not people she wanted as clients.

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