All posts by admin

Your 2015 Business Start Up Bucket List

What do you want to achieve in 2015?
What projects have you been thinking it would be great to finally take on next year?
What is that one big project you would want to tackle?  That one big client you have been meaning to try to land to prove you can compete with the big boys?
Have you been thinking how great it would be to FINALLY quit your day job and pursue that business idea you have been thinking about for ages?  Why not plan on making 2015 the year you move out of your home office and rent office space.
Perhaps you have been waffling on whether to invest in a web design firm to re-do your company website.  Have you been thinking how nice it would be to bring a partner or two into the business?  What about sub-contracting all of your administrative work?  Pursuing new product s?  Branching out by offering new services, or perhaps expanding your business into new markets?
Have you been thinking how great it would be if you could finally exhibit your company with a booth at your industry’s annual trade show?
Have you been thinking how cool it would be to teach a class at your local college, start a blog, serve on an industry panel, give a talk, start a MeetUp?
bucket list
Well…what is holding you back?   The answer isn’t time.  We ALL have time constraints.  That’s a cop out.
In my work as a business consultant and executive coach, I have heard every conceivable excuse.   That is exactly what the reasons are that people give for not pursuing their business bucket list.
The underlying factor preventing people from pursuing their dreams can be summed up in a SINGLE word. It’s called… FEAR!
Fear takes many forms.  There’s fear of the unknown, since we are all creatures of habit.  In these days of little/no job security a primal fear many potential entrepreneurs posses that I work on is a fear of falling without a safety net…aka.  a FEAR OF (BUSINESS START UP) FAILURE.
Well…perhaps you might fail.  But ask yourself this: “What if I didn’t fail?”
What if you swung for the fences, and hit the ball out of the park?
you can't hit a home run
So, this Thanksgiving be sure to be thankful for all you have.  Then file away that secret you won’t tell anyone else that you are going to pursue your bucket list of things you’ve always wanted to do, to start a business in 2015.
Make a list of all those long shot, pipe dream goals you haves.
Write down what you think it is going to take, to accomplish each bucket list item.  Be sure to set a start and end date for each project, then prioritize your business start up bucket list by percent probability of completion and the potential positive impact they will have on your (and your family’s) life.  Don’t forget to include the resources each will take to complete, including the people you will need to enlist to get those wish list items from dream to reality.  Once you finalize your 2015 project list, get into that runner’s crouch and prepare (using strategic planning) to sprint out of the blocks in 2015 on the sprint to complete your bucket list.
Here’s to your business start up success in 2015.
Follow me on Twitter.
Ethan L. Chazin, MBA
President & Founder
The Chazin Group, LLC
Tel: (201) 683-3399

Follow Your Passions to a Career in Franchising

Follow  Your Passions For Business Success…Pursue Franchising.
When was the last time you were truly HAPPY?
Not “Kid on a swing!” happy, but…
The truth is you can absolutely follow your passions to a dream career..with FRANCHISING!
Why should you pursue your passion for an ideal career esp. franchising?
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.   If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the hear, you’ll know it when you find it.”
– Steve Jobs
Start by revisiting your entire career. go back and think of all the things you’ve ever done.  Not just paid work but unpaid internships, volunteer work, donating you time to community events, tutoring…think back on everything. what did you LOVE to do? What did you absolutely hate.
The beauty of this RESUME FOREVER career assessment is, you will start to see patterns emerge of the type of people you love working with, the type of work environments you thrive in and the types of cultures within organizations that match your morals, values and ethics.
Think of the things you are passionate about. Now, all the things you are extremely proficient in.  Where those two worlds overlap, you have found the intersection of your short list of potential careers that fulfill you.
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born…and the day you find out why.”
– Mark Twain
And that is why franchising holds such appeal for people considering a career transition or looking for a great alternate career to pursue.
The benefits are many but there are a few key reasons why you might consider franchising.
Rather than struggle in entrepreneurship trying to find and then create an entirely new business model from scratch, franchises are proven business models that have been vetted in the marketplace. Their products and services have a customer base.
Franchisers have already done the heavy lifting for you!
They have built the business models, established sales programs and marketing, have available base of operations, provide you with matching advertising funds, etc…
Everything you need to launch your new business has already been developed FOR YOU when you pursue a career in franchising.
What exactly IS a franchise, you ask?
A franchise is a legal agreement that allows one business to be operated using the name and business procedures of another.
There are four primary types of franchise operation.
1. Trade Name Franchising:
Provides the franchisee with the right to use the franchise trade name and trademark.
2. Product Distribution Franchising:

Provides a franchisee with specific brand name products that are resold by the franchisee in a specific agreed to market (Ex. Coca-Cola, Goodyear Tires, John Deere).
3. Conversion Franchising:
Provides franchisees with a preexisting “umbrella” organization through which independent businesses can combine their resources (ex. Century 21)
4. Business Format Franchising:
The right to use the company’s trade name, products, business and marketing plans, and receive national advertising support (ex. McDonald’s.)
During the franchiser review process,you will receive TWO (2) documents from the franchiser that you MUST pay particular attention to:
1. Uniform Franchise Offering Circular: Standard franchise document outlining a business’s operations, procedures, costs and requirements; and
2. Standard franchise Agreement.
Find your ideal franchise to work for/with.
Narrow your search to 3-4 industries/sectors and find 6-8 franchisers in each. WHY 18-32 organizations all-told?
Research shows ideal job searchers and business searches can be maintained when you limit your search to no more than 18-32 organizations to pursue.
Ample resources exist, to help you in your search for the IDEAL franchiser for you.
There are many online resources available to help you in your search. Some of the more comprehensive (BEST) places to start searching:
1. Franchise Business Review: an annual list of best franchisers to work with, by industry –
2. –
Speak to franchisees.
The absolute best advice you can receive on how to successfully pursue a franchise business is to talk to franchisees who have gone into partnership/signed agreements and are working with the short list of franchisers you are thinking of working with. that is first-hand insight into the franchiser’s behavior, business operations, ethics, and how they treat franchisees.
I suggest taking it a step further…once you narrow down your list to 2-3 final candidates, why not work for one or 2 of them to see first-hand what it is like to be involved in their franchise organization.
Want to learn more?  I will be presenting: “Follow your passions to a career in franchising” this Saturday, November 15th at 1PM at the NY/NJ Franchising Expo at the Meadowlands, NJ Expo Center.  Attend for FREE as my GUEST:
Ethan L. Chazin, MBA
President & Founder
The Chazin Group, LLC
Tel: (201) 683-3399

What I Do And Why I Do It Business Coaching

After SIX years running my own business coaching and management consulting firm, even some people that know me really well say they are not entirely sure exactly WHAT I DO.
Given I am a lifelong marketer with branding and communications at my core, this is NOT a good thing.  So, today’s blog attempts to answer any questions folks may have about what I do and why I do what I do.
What I DO, and WHY I Do It.
It is my singular goal and life’s remaining ONE TRUE passion to help as many people as I can to find THEIR passion and strengths and combine the two into a successful career.
As for WHY I do this…that’s easy.  After spending 23 years in Corporate America helping organizations achieve record profits, I found a greater calling.  I had grown tired of toiling away in dysfunctional cultures reporting to people I didn’t respect and being forced to answer to Management teams that I did not trust.
So I chose the career path of going out on my own in 2009.
While every day is a challenge and there are certainly significant highs and lows running your own business, I have never regretted the decision.  Has it paid off?
Well, to date I have helped over 12,000 people and coached over 750 organizations.
For some people that means assisting them through career coaching to find their dream job, re-enter the workforce, or match their values, ethics and morals to organizations whose culture they would thrive in.
For Senior level executives and professionals this involves working one on one to carve out a career plan to achieve their goals.
For people looking to go out on their own I provide entrepreneur and start-up coaching to help people plan, launch and grow wildly successful businesses.
For existing business owners, heads of business units and/or leaders of non-profits my work can involve helping them to unleash their people’s collective full untapped potential.
I also provide business consulting, to help organizations improve their sales, become more disciplined and focused and go from “GOOD TO GREAT.”
I accomplish this in a number of ways, from giving motivational talks, to teaching at many colleges and Universities, to one on one and group-based career coaching and business consulting.
It may seem a bit long winded but at the end of the day I enable people from all walks of life to find their passions and strengths, figure out where those two worlds overlap, and leverage that knowledge to help them achieve all of their short and long term career and business goals.
So, if you or someone you know can benefit from any of this, send them my way.

Organizational Behavior

What the study of organizational behavior tells us about ourselves.
Ever since I began teaching organizational behavior to students at NYU Polytechnic, I have fallen in love with this enlightening field of study.
It combines all of my favorite fields of study, including: effective communications, teamwork, psychology, business ethics (not an oxymoron), cultural diversity, sociology, job satisfaction (also NOT an oxymoron), leadership, social psychology, employee engagement and conflict resolution.  OB can teach us all of these things while also providing us with a road map for achieving genuine transformational change and creating world-class cultures.  Almost ANY discipline that focuses on how people engage in organizational settings can be studied through the lens of OB.
So, what is Organizational Behavior (OB) you ask?
Organizational behavior is defined as: “actions and attitudes of individuals and groups toward one another and toward the organization as a whole, and its effect on the organization functioning as a whole.”  (
Here’s another great definition of organizational behavior: “investigates the impact individuals, groups, and structure have on behavior within organizations for the purpose of applying such knowledge towards improving an organization’s effectiveness.” (Organizational Behavior. Stephen P. Robbins, Timothy A. Judge)
I use the class to engage students in frank and sometimes intentionally confrontational discussions about those organizations that exhibit truly transformational cultures for lasting success, as well as organizations that struggle to function in today’s fast-paced, constantly evolving global business climate.
For example, check out this list of the best companies to work at for women and minorities, or this list of Top 50 companies for diversity.
Some examples:

• Zappos #1 CORE VALUE: “Deliver WOW Through Service.”
• Disney’s fundamental business imperative: “Create Happiness.”

Since the semester started, we have explored the behaviors of such institutions as Chik-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, BP, and the New York Police Department.  We use OB to discuss how people conform their ethics, values, morals and behaviors to the cultures of the places they work at.  I encourage my students to use OB to dive into their own past work experiences, and explore their own personalities as a means of assessing where they would be most engaged and fulfilled working at. I have shared with them the challenges faced by the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, the Catholic Church, Center for Disease Control, and ISIS.
OB teaches us how to think and act independently, to avoid the trap of failing victim to groupthink (blindly following the herd.)
As a career coach and business consultant, I strongly advise that in today’s global contract workplace EVERY person that wants to achieve career and business success brush up on this critically important and enlightening field as a means of understanding how to transform organizations.  Those organizations and individuals that are not CONSTANTLY striving to learn and adapt will go the way of Circuit City, Borders, Bear Stearns, etc.  If you have not had a chance to explore this fascinating and enlightening field of study I suggest you do so.   It is the single most IMPORTANT topic that I have come across over 20 years spent in Corporate America and 6+ years in management consulting.
A great starting point for reading up on Organizational Behavior
OB text cover
Here’s to your organization’s continued success.

Getting There From Here Requires…Business Planning

Getting Here From There, and There From Here.
In my work as an executive coach, career counselor, and business consultant, I often work with clients that are stuck in their business planning. Simply, they are unsure how to move forward.
This is true whether they are looking to advance their career, are considering going back to school or pursue a graduate degree, or identifying opportunities to change direction in leading the organizations they created or work in.
One strategy that I employ when I work with a client is to take a step back and revisit their past.
Call it hitting the “PAUSE” button, if you like.
We revisit how they arrived at the point in time in their careers that they currently find themselves stuck in.
Specifically, we identify the strategies they used in the past that worked for them.  We revisit their career/professional goals, or the business plans they created when they launched their business.   The driving force behind this effort to revisit the past is to see what goals they still have not achieved, and (equally important) to identify the goals they set in the past that are no longer relevant to their future plans.
Additionally, we look to see if their own personal life goals, ethics and values have changed over time. Changing values lead to changing aspirations, hopes, dreams…and GOALS!  It’s akin to re-visiting your life insurance policy,  health insurance, or your tax filing status.  Your life changes over time.  So should your plans.
Once you complete that look back, it’s time to look ahead over the horizon.
This is one part visualization, another strategic planning.  Ask yourself where you see yourself in the next 2 or 3 years.  Some call this document an action plan, career road map, or visual cue board.   No matter the title, the key point in this looking forward exercise is, you MUST write your plan down.
Because…a plan that is NOT written down is NOT a plan at all.  It’s a dream.
Otherwise, you’ll find yourself looking down the rabbit hole…
any road alice in wonderland quote
Once you document your short term goals, it’s an empowering process to identify the following:
1.) Measurable Tasks to Achieve: In order to set realistic goals, they have to be quantifiable, so you have to use numbers to tell a story. (ex. in next 3-4 months complete my 2015 marketing plan with associated budget of no more than $15,000 total spend.)
2.) Realistic Time Frames for Completion: Use specific start and end dates, with as many “WHAT-I F” scenarios.  You can call this contingency planning but you need to be able to hold yourself accountable to meeting key deadlines.  It helps to use the Steven Covey Time Management matrix guide of  assigning TWO variables into prioritizing each task.
One factor to assess is the degree of importance/impact for each task, the other is the mount of time you have to complete a task. for example, completing a national advertising plan to launch October 1st has a tremendously high impact and a VERY short lead time.  These tasks are all assigned a TOP priority.
covey time mgt matrix
3.) Required Resources: what will it take to complete this goal?  List any/all certifications, professional Association memberships, a bank loan, hiring contract or full-time staff, etc.  In order to achieve your goals you have to set aside the requisite resources in order to see them through to completion.
4.) Contingencies: Identify any and all foreseeable potential barriers, that may prevent you from competing your tasks and achieving your goals.
Once you have your revised forward-facing plan, you can begin implementing.  Remember, you MUST be sure to set aside the time needed to revisit these revised goals and future plan on a regular (daily, weekly, monthly) basis.
Good luck!

The Fallacy of Great Business Leadership

The Fallacy of Being an Effective Leader
Many times when I am coaching professionals and business leaders on how to lead an organization, the topic of leadership arises.  It is extremely ironic that many folks who are in a position to lead mistakenly assume they are LEADING when in fact all they are really doing is MANAGING.  Great business leadership is NOT synonymous with managing.
There is a significant difference between being an effective leader and managing.
Management is detrimental to strong relationship-building.
Leadership is absolutely critical for organizations to succeed.  What’s the difference, you ask?
Plenty!  Here’s the clinical definition for both, as a means of highlighting the difference:
“Management” (from the Old French ménagement is defined as “the art of conducting, directing”.  Management’s derivation from Latin comes from the phrase manu agere which literally means “to lead by the hand”.)
Thus, management characterizes the process of leading and directing all or part of an organization, often a business, through the deployment and manipulation of resources (human, financial, material, intellectual or intangible.)
On the other hand, leaders all possess a VISION, build consensus, guide, and/or inspire others, are generally in a position or office of an authority figure, have an inherent ability to get people to follow them willingly and create Team-based “buy in” to what they are attempting to accomplish.
There are many different types of leader. Which one(s) describe YOU:

  • Autocrat: rule with an iron fist, don’t tolerate opposing views, demand complete allegiance, and never seek out consensus.


  • Bureaucratic: Extremely process-driven, adhere to guidelines, rules, policies and procedures.  Can only function optimally in stringent structured settings and shut down when confronted with ambiguous roles, undefined roles, and drastically changing market conditions and circumstances.


  • Charismatic: the epitomy of the charming manipulator, have very favorable perceived socialization skills, are convincing, influential.


  • Democratic/Participative: Function best in situations in which they can distribute decision-making, engage their Team to play active roles, and love empowering others.  May prove problematic when quick decision-making is required, but benefit from gaining the broadest input from their members.


  • Laissez-Faire/Delegative: Very “hands off.” Spend lots of time huddled away in their offices with closed doors, allow their direct reports to operate with free reign have little issue delegating but take little ownership for Team performance and typically are quick to place blame on others when problems arise.


  • People/Relations-Oriented: Outgoing, affable nature and figuratively feed off of interactions with others. Extrovert personality types, are at their best when they are practicing “leadership by walking around” and need to be in the trenches working side by side with their teammates.


  • Servant Leader: these leaders are slavishly focused on serving others. They put aside personal needs (and gain) for the greater good of their team, their organization, and society.  You find a hue preponderance of these servant leader types in public office, leading non-profits and working in government capacities.


  • Task Oriented: Strive for task completion, need a literal and figurative list of projects, have to have work flow documented, processed, and structured, and tend to think in linear “IF…THEN” scenarios.


  • Transactional: Prefer to maintain the status quo, enjoy established routine, predictable schedules and work are extremely attractive to these types.


  • Transformational: Subscribe to the notion of “If it ‘aint broke…break it.”   These are the quintessential leaders in that they exist and operate best when they feel they can change the world.

For a classic depiction of Transformational leaders, check out Apple’s classic ad:”Here’s to the cracy ones” –
The Ethical (4P) Model is instructive for defining leadership values
Under the ethical construct of leadership, effective leaders are concerned about the impact they have on the planet, are motivated by a very clear sense of purpose, are most engaged when they are workign with others, and operate with a strong sense of ethical construct (they have a deep moral compass that guides them effectively from wrong to right.
Great quotes that you can use, that get to the heart of what a leader is all about:

  • “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”  Sir Isaac Newton


  • They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you make them feel.”  Carol Buchner


  • “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”  Thomas Edison


  • “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”  John C. Maxwell


  • “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.”  Malcolm Forbes 


  • “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence.”  Unknown


  • “To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.” Pearl S. Buck


  • “Outstanding leaders appeal to the hearts of their followers – not their minds.” Unknown


  • “Praise loudly, blame softly.” Catherine the Great


  • “Never doubt that a small group of committed individuals can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead


  • “A leader is a dealer in hope.” Napoleon Bonaparte


  • “The leadership instinct you are born with is the backbone.  You develop the funny bone and the wishbone that go with it.” Elaine Agather


  • “Do you wish to rise?  Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.” St. Augustine

Developing Great Decision-Making Skills is a significant precursor to becoming an effective leader.  Some guidelines on effective decision-making that you can (and should) work on:

      • Don’t make decisions that aren’t yours to make


      • Choose from alternatives, not “Right & Wrong”


      • Avoid snap decisions


      • Make decisions while you have time


      • Do your decision-making on paper

To become a great leader, begin with the basics of building a strong personal foundation:

  • Check Yourself…Who Are You?  Conduct personal exploration to understand your values, and what motivates you.  Remember…people have to WANT to follow you.


  • Possess Self Knowledge:Get to know your strengths & weaknesses by seeking out the opinions and criticisms others who know you well have about YOU.


  • Become a Role Model


  • Make Your Words Your Action: your actions should ALWAYS mirror your words.  In other words…”practice what you preach!”

Following is your Five Step Plan to become a truly effective leader.  Focus on these guidelines and you’ll be on your way:
Step #1: Plan. Have a blueprint for becoming a great business leader.
Step #2: Have A Vision. If you don’t know where you want to go, NO ONE will follow you (willingly.)
Step #3: Share Your Vision: Get those communication skills going!
Step #4: Takes Charge: Know the way…show the way…GO THE WAY!
Step #5: Inspire Through Example!
Okay, so you finally have people following you.  Now what do you do?

  • Serve People’s Needs


  • Listen HARD!


  • Keep Earning Their Trust


  • Pursue Change


  • Share Leadership


  • Build Teams


  • Leadership & Development

Finally, here are a bunch of GREAT resources you can begin using IMMEDIATELY to become an effective leader:










Let me know if you would like to discuss my training your management team on how to go from good to GREAT by becoming effective leaders others will follow.
Ethan Chazin, The Compassionate Executive Coach, Management Consultant, Business Coach
No Organization is Too Small to Plan BIG.