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Integrity & Awareness by Paul Burnstein

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!!!

Reflecting on the past year, I am amazed with how much has occurred. Looking back, the changes that have taken place were both planned and unexpected. Looking forward, I can plan my goals and intentions for the future, but I also am aware that there will be unexpected changes and events in the future, just as there have been in the past. I go into 2008 with the intention to make myself a better person and to do my part in helping the world around me.

The awareness for this New Year's Eve is to set goals and intentions for the future, but to be conscious of the reality of change and impermanence.

Wishing you and yours a fantastic end to 2007 and a prosperous and healthy 2008!


Friday, December 21, 2007

What Type of Business to Start?

I recently read on a forum, someone sharing that they would like to write a business plan and start a business, but did not know what type of business to start. They then went on to ask what type of business is most profitable.

First off you need to know the type of business you want to be in before writing a business plan. Otherwise, it is like fueling up the car and packing your bags and saying you want to go on a road trip, but need to know the best place to go. Many more factors need to be taken into consideration: budget, timing, necessary clothes, what sort of activities or accommodations you are looking for and on and on.

There is no point in researching and writing a business plan unless you know what the business is. Now that is not to say that it cannot evolve over time, but the basic business idea should remain the same. I highly recommend talking to friends and family about the businesses they are involved with and doing informational interviews to speak with other business people; when doing informational interviews, always ask for a few more contacts from each person you speak with. Do your research and make a decisions based on the information you have gathered.

The awareness for today is to not jump into anything blindly, but rather take your likes and dislikes into consideration and find the right fit for yourself.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Retro Season's Greeting

Today I wanted to share a fun holiday card that a company I am working with created. The company is Engaging Media, Inc. ( Enjoy the video!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Bah, Humbug!

This has been a very busy week as I am trying to wrap things up for the year and there seems to be quite a few loose ends. I will be more consistent in my blogging next year, but for today, I have a bit of a rant to share.

It has been raining in Portland; no big surprise. I was at the post office this morning and once I reached the door, there were two women five to ten feet behind me, both holding multiple packages. I happily stopped to hold the door for them so that they could get out of the rain with their packages. I had a quick envelope to mail, but because I let the women walk in the door in front of me, they both took their place in line in front of me as well. It would have taken me less than a minute to be out of there, but because I was courteous and attempting to be helpful, I had to wait in line for over fifteen minutes for the two in front of me to take care of their business. For what it is worth, I never even received a thank you from either of the woman.

I know that during the holiday season we should be generous and giving, but I was pretty frustrated by this.

The awareness for today is to be tougher than me and just smile during the holiday season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Consistency is Powerful

I was told the other day that I was sure tough on specifics. Yes, it is true, I believe that consistency is extremely important in a business setting for staff. It is not fair to allow one employee a free sick day while charging another for missing the day. Therefore, rules and policies need to be set in place and followed. The more that is left up to interpretation, the higher the chances of creating problems.

I do not like that I fall into the role of the stickler, but I do it for the bigger picture in looking out for every one's interests.

The awareness for today is to appreciate those defined rules that create consistency and to recognize that while they may not always be in our favor, over time they create less confusion and a more stable environment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Business Intuition

Intuition is defined at here. The first listing is "direct perception of truth, fact, etc., independent of any reasoning process; immediate apprehension." (Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.)

Recently, I have been working on listening to and trusting my intuition. I have found that if a person rubs me the wrong way upon my first impression, even if they have done nothing overtly to cause it, I should listen to my gut...much more than often it is right. I have noticed my reaction to business ideas, potential employee interviews and even involvement with a board of directors. I cannot always explain it, but when I have not listened to my intuition, or a client has not listened, a lot more damage is done than if Paul's gut had been adhered to.

I have been working on finding a way to incorporate intuition into my business practice. While I believe we also listen to our guts, I don't believe that I do enough and would like to change that. I am going to experiment with this a bit.

The awareness for today is to trust your intuition and find a balance to see how that helps improve your business (and other) decisions.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

This Blog, like Life, is a Work in Progress

I try to keep up with blogging technology, but I am aware that I am a novice in this arena. I am consistent with maintaining fresh content throughout the week, but I do not have all the bells and whistles set up, nor do I even know what they are.

Funny enough, some of the most popular blogs out there are on blogging and how to make money doing so. I read some of them and I pick up tips here and there. Everyone once in a while you (the reader) may notice some formatting changes on my blog; I just added video at the bottom today. Please let me know if you do or do not like a particular element of my blog as I want it to appeal to my readers.

The awareness for today is that life is always a work in progress. While being as present as possible, we are always moving into the future and need to adjust our present accordingly as we go.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Picking and Choosing Websites to Join

It is difficult to keep up with the Internet. There are always new blogs to read, websites to join, articles to read, etc. I wrote about some of the networking sites a few months ago here. Recently, I have been receiving invitations to join new social/business networking sites from people I am already in contact with. Many of these sites are still in beta or simply do not have many registered users yet. Personally, I just do not want to join every site and every group that is out there. I am happy to register for proven sites that I believe my business will benefit from.

Today I even learned that a site I was debating joining (I had been sent an invite from a colleague) has closed. Everyone I know has a great idea. Generally, that is all they are...great ideas. It is actually executing the idea into a sustainable business that is the trick part.

The awareness for today is remain focused on our goals and not spread ourselves too thin by "needing" to be connected with every website out there (obviously that is not even possible). Take some time to choose where you want to participate and be active with your time.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Billing Like Mechanics

What if management/business consultants charged prices like mechanics? I thought about this as I took my car in for some minor work and more and more problems were found.

If a consultant's time were billed like a mechanic's, I imagine it would go something like this, Mr Consultant, "Well, Bob, I can't give you an exact price until I really get a chance to look at your financial statements and get a sense of how your business operates, but we are looking at anywhere from $300 to $5000 depending on the shape of your business. What year was it founded? Oh, 1984...that was a tough year and I am sure there is quite a lot of build up that has occurred over the last twenty-three years that we will have to work with. I wouldn't recommend staying in business without getting the work done that I have to offer. I'll tell you what, I will charge only $1000 to look for problem areas and if I need to work on your income statement, I will throw in the balance sheet for free."

Not very likely that this would happen, but it sure was fun to think about. For what it is worth, the mechanic I went to was very trustworthy, but could not give me an accurate estimate.

The awareness for today is to look at yourself and see what stereotypes you are filling and how you can shift them.

Thursday, December 6, 2007


Today I returned a call from a colleague in London and I felt that I left a curt message; I was swamped and running in many different directions and I believed that that had come across in my message to him. About ten minutes later, I called him back to apologize for being short on my message to him. He answered the call and had had no issue with my message. He had understood that I was busy and felt that I had conveyed that appropriately to him.

I learned that I am more sensitive to how I treat others than they may be themselves. Interesting thought.

The awareness for today is that while we may at times rub people the wrong way, when we are conscious of it our true intentions can shine through.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Calling in the Rain

Yesterday was a very rainy day here in Portland. I had a meeting in the evening and when I returned to my car, the battery was dead. I was able to get a jump from someone, but it took me standing in the rain for a short bit. That short bit was enough to soak me. Once I was back in the car, I had some calls to make and I guess my hair was wetter than I realized because it shorted out my phone.

This is the second time my phone has shorted due to the rain since I have been in Portland. I guess I am not used the rain and the ramifications of it to my electronics. I better start being more conscious around it.

The awareness for today is to notice when we have the same problems occurring over and over again and to put measures in place to prevent those cycles.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A Funding Deal on the Edge

I may have already written about this and if I have, forgive the repetition, but I did want to vent a bit and this is a great medium for me to do so. About two years ago I met a very nice, sharp business consultant, I will call him Frank. He was very interested in the connecting that I do for debt financing and we have tried to work together several times.

Frank sent me a deal to look at in April of 2006. The deal was not strong enough for my sources, but the seed was planted. Frank and I kept in touch over the years and just checked in with each other every so often. After some major modifications to the business model and plan, Frank came back to me in August with a very solid business plan. I shared it with a few of my connections and there was interest immediately.

By the middle of October, one of my contacts had provided Frank and his client with a loan package and simply needed the client to submit the application. Nothing has happened yet. I check in every other week with Frank and he keeps trying to push his client, but the client has just sat on the paperwork.

Today, the lender contacted Frank to see if there was still interest and I sent over my own e-mail to Frank. Frank is as frustrated as I am. He put in a lot of time and effort, yet he cannot get his client to follow through with the application. To add to the situation, Frank has shared that the client needs the money at this stage to stay alive, yet he isn't doing everything he can.

All I can do is keep in touch with Frank and hope that his client will submit the paperwork so we can get this deal closed.

The awareness for today is that sometimes it eases frustration to write out the situation...just as I have done here.