I recently went on vacation and used a tour company.  The trip started in Paris, the first time I have ever been there and I wanted to make the most of it.  According to the brochure the hotels were, “handpicked” and in central locations.  Paris has 20 different neighborhoods which are called arrondissements.  The tourist locations which are ideal are between one through eight.

My hotel was in arrondissement 19, which means I was in the middle of nowhere.  It would take more than 2 changes on the metro to get into Paris proper and over 30 minutes.  The distance was not the only issue.  Two words: powdered eggs.

In a country that is home to the omlette, breakfast was a continental one with breads and meats and scrambled eggs. The scrambled eggs were suspiciously runny. It was then that someone in our group identified them as being powdered eggs.

Sure, I understand that the hotel is trying to make a profit and a way to save money is to buy powdered eggs and add water. Voila! Let’s fool the travelers.  (I am not going to talk about the dirty sheets.)

In the end, the tour company stressed completing the feedback form because, “we do listen.”

I have not heard from the tour company.  Actually, I did. They sent me a brochure.

If you are going to ask for feedback or ask for a completion of a survey, then you need to do something with that information.

1)    What are the questions you are asking and why?  For example are you looking for age information, what are your popular products or the value you provide?

2)    What are you going to use to gather information?  There is survey monkey online, but there is also social media or you can provide a mailing.

3)    How will you collect the statistical information?  Once you have the info then you need to set up interpreting the information.

You have collected this information so now what? Are you willing to change? Are you going to put this in your best practices? Will you reply?  Surveys and feedbacks can be great as they can bring to light legal issues and management issues along with marketing opportunities.   However, this can only happen if you do something with the feedback. Bonne chance!

The third time was the charm when it came to purchasing a new washing machine and dryer after the appliance revolt of 2016. For two weeks since the washing machine died, and the dryer decided to follow, I have learned a lot. I want to share that knowledge.
1) High efficiency top loaders washing machines require you to be either a) above 5’7” or b) have a long arm span to be able to reach into the washer.
2) Items that you want to clean must be placed in a circular pattern where you can always see the middle.
3) You cannot wash water resistant jackets or sneakers.
4) If you have anything in the pocket you are doomed.
After two deliveries of top loaders, I went with the front loader BUT without the pedestals. Of course you ask, why not the pedestals?
Pedestals only come in one height, which was too tall. In addition, they cost as much as a dryer.
I was a client of big box nameless store who did not provide me with any of this information. It was the second big box store that provided me with more information that helped me make the decision. No one mentioned these issues to me prior to my purchase, and I thought I had done my homework.
Recently I got a call from a potential client about a restaurant idea. Without any definite plans, I decided to send him home to do some thinking.
1. He was in a partnership with no formalized agreement. A delineation of responsibility was needed, and the partner needed to be a part of discussions.
2. Unsure of investment amount which made it difficult to:
a. Find rental space.
b. Or decide to buy an already existing restaurant
c. Look into franchising
That potential client was ready to become a client. I thought I was ready to buy a washer and dryer, but I was not. I needed more information.
A prepared client is better than one who is not prepared. The client will also save money, which is always a benefit.

I am snow weary. Usually this condition does not hit me until the end of February, but with two storms the feeling started early.

“The snow brings out the worse in people,” said a plow driver.

This is true- patience is lost.   Here are some other issues that the snow brings:

  1. Timing. If you have contracts or due dates on projects then be advised to make sure you have an understanding about date flexibility. The postal services are not running on time, in fact a form I sent to the court was delayed. I called until I was told it was received and recorded. If date and time is important, then you may want to consider a courier service.


  1. Liability. Yes, sidewalks, parking lots and common areas should be clean, but please recognize that in many locations there are 30+ inches of snow with no place for the snow. Think about using technology to avoid driving or at least to be understanding.


  1. Prepare. I do have the ability to work from home, but this means in order to do so I must back up my computer files. This is important for not only security reasons, but so that you can complete your work as seamlessly as possible, especially if due dates are immovable.  As an adjust professor, I have noticed that my students have not kept up with the reading on missed classes, but the classes will continue and with online classes they will be made up with many students behind.  No need to get behind if you keep up with the work and remain prepared.


Most importantly, it is a time to be able to use collaborative negotiation in order to solve issues, looking past positions to find out what truly are the issues, keeping in mind it is usually timing, liability and preparedness. Do not be stuck in your way (in ice or snow), but collaborate to find a solution. It will not melt the snow faster, but it will make it bearable.



A snowstorm is a good reason to stay in and I can always find something to do.  This time though I caught back to back episodes of the Property Brothers.  If you have not seen this show on HGTV then you are missing out on Jonathan and Drew, twins that help find and remodel homes (in Canada).  In each episode there is doubt by the buyers that the house can be remodeled to the way they want it—they cannot see what Jonathan sees.


It is the same with mediation.  Unless you have been involved in a mediation, then it is difficult to understand and see what is going on.  Most people are familiar with courtroom dramas and judges making a decision.  Most cases settle using mediation or negotiation where you are part of the decision, have more of a say and can usually keep the business relationship intact.


For the new year why not try a new perspective?  Think about using mediation for your disputes or before entering a contract negotiate and get negotiation coaching from True North Business Consulting.  I understand that you know your business, but I frequently see that people do not know the legalities of their business. Take the time to take a new look and avoid problems later. I also offer a UDEMY class for those who want more information on alternative dispute resolution, which is the opposite of litigation.


The most popular True North Business Consulting newsletter  and video is on the topic of charities.  The holiday season is a good time to revisit the topic and update it.  First, as a business you may want to choose one or two charities to support- a local food bank, a larger organization or something personal.  When you choose a charity to support you want to do some homework.


First, check the grade of your charity.  Charity Navigator (http://www.charitynavigator.org) provides information on where funds go in each charity.  For example the American Red Cross gets 3 out of 4 stars versus Feeding of America gets 4 stars.  Why the difference? Possibly expenses or salaries could be an issue.


Second, make sure you agree with the mission of the organization.  You may be a pet lover and want to link to an animal shelter, but you should see if it is a no-kill shelter if you believe that is important.


Charitable giving can also be to your benefit.  Not in the way that is makes you feel that you are helping others, but it may help your business. Try to choose a charity with an active website or social media program that is willing to recognize your business as a contributor (a link back to your webpage would be great).  If the charity has a newsletter, then ask to be featured. This may be easier with a smaller organization than a larger organization.

It was time for an update at True North Business Consulting.  We are still providing contract review and creation, mediation services and educational seminars on business topics.  Is it time for you to look at the legal side of your business?

A Perfect Example:

Partners in a business recently came to me.  They have been in business for 10 years and are in debt.  They do not know if they should continue.  They had created an S-Corporation, which means they created a separate legal entity with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  They did this to protect their personal assets.  However, they never created a partnership agreement, which would give them guidance on what to if they decided to split up. A contract of this kind should have been the first step.  Instead they are confused and do not know what to do.

Clients Are Impacted:

Whether the business continues with one person, the partners or is dissolved, there is going to be an impact with their clients.  They had not changed their client contract since they started their business.  There was some updating needed but their main issue was they cannot assign the contract to another business who may buy them.  This means that they have to honor each of the contracts, even though they may sell the business!

Mediation Can Help Them:

Are they heading for court? No.  They want a quick resolution, and most civil cases can take up to two years to get to litigation.  This is after a large investment of money, which neither can afford.  They also may not be happy with a judge or jury’s decision. Mediation provides an alternative where they can come up with their own solution, and still remain good friends.

When was the last time you updated your contracts? Are you involved in a dispute and it is heading to court?  True North Business Consulting can help you.

Need a place to start, then start with our free videos at:  You Tube Channel  or browse through this  blog  for helpful hints.

Like me when you download or sign up for something on the internet you do not take time to read the fine print. You scroll to the bottom and check off the box that says that you read it. You didn’t though and everything is fine until there is a problem. The problems may be minor, but may also result in a lack of privacy or your content being owned by another company.

If you treat your contracts with vendors or clients in the same way that you treat your online ones, then you could eventually affect your livelihood. Here are five tips when reading over a contract:

1. Money- how and when will you be paid?
2. Time- how long is the contract for?
3. Talk- if you talked about it, then it needs to be in the contract or it doesn’t exist.
4. Risk- what happens if you do not perform or the other party to the contract doesn’t perform?
5. Where- if you have to go to court (and you should think about alternative dispute resolution) then what state will it be in?

As always, you should have contracts reviewed by an attorney. At True North Business Consulting we create contracts and review them to fit your business needs.

If you’ve done some flying, then you’ve heard the request, “Is there a doctor on board?”

I always think they should be more specific because they are looking for someone with medical training, not a Phd.

It really is all in the title.

As a business professional you need to be concerned with your credentials. Many professions have licenses.

  • Attorneys
  • Acupuncturists
  • CPA
  • Massage Therapist

These licenses usually involve requirements of education and examination. But, there are many professions that do not require licenses or have any requirements. So what is that business person supposed to do?

Get involved in your local and national organization. Life Coaches have the International Coaching Federation (ICF). Organizers have the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO). These organizations are working on creating standards in these industries for coaches and organizers to meet and exceed. Plus there are opportunities to network and share information.

Pursue educational opportunities to certify your actions. There are many online programs where with an investment of time and money you can be recognized as a leader in your profession.

In working with many of my clients this is a topic that comes up frequently and True North helps them understand the need to provide honest and clear wording in all their materials to protect themselves and educate consumers.

Contact True North Business Consulting at 781-729-0481 today and comment below.

A Holistic Approach
By: True North Business Consulting

Each month True North Business Consulting, LLC presents a different topic to help you in your business.

The idea behind holism is that all the parts must be taken into account, not just the whole. In the health and wellness community it is known as alternative medicine, taking into account social, physical, and other components to help those with illnesses. It has been successful, so why not apply the same idea to business?

What this means for businesses is that it is not just about reaching the end goal, but how you get there. All the businesses I work with want to be successful, meaning they want to make money. But, there has to be thought given to all the dimensions.

When advertising are their truthful statements being made? And where did the statements come from? So many times people use written information from websites as if it is open to the public. It’s not. Someone wrote that copy and it should be respected. Ask permission, if you want to use their words.

Part of managing a business is the everyday dealings. Those dealings are with clients and with employees. Each should be treated with respect. No one wants to do business with a practice that is not well run.

As employees we spend a lot of time at work. There needs to be benefits, even small ones like sharing a meal. Never take employees fore granted.

Make sure the contracts are fair to both sides, that all of the ramifications and risks are understood. Too many times one party takes advantage of the other party. Even more so, there is a vindictive nature that seems to come out to destroy each other. I am sure that was not the primary intention of dealings, and all of the ramifications- more than loss of money are not being considered.

A holistic approach to business takes into account the social impact of business decisions, not just for the sake of business. There is an understanding that people are humans, and that there is an end ramification, trying to be holistic will leads to more satisfaction in your business dealings.

If you want more information on this topic or wish to make a consultation appointment, please go to truenorthbusinessconsulting.com

Welcome to TrueNorth Business Consulting’s presentation of a Business Makeover. Each month will feature an idea that can help your business. True North focuses on helping businesses, especially health and wellness practitioners, maintain and grow their business using the areas of business law, marketing, insurance and project management.

Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) where a third party neutral, or mediator, facilitates so the parties can come to a mutually beneficial resolution. Mediation is not binding, but a contract or an agreement can be the end result, which is legally binding.

One reason small businesses fail is because they cannot afford litigation, fear losing the business relationship with the contracting business, or misunderstanding of contract terms. The small business owners are experts in their own profession, but lack resources in conflict management. In normal business circumstances, conflict arises, and usually there is litigation. Mediation is less expensive and can preserve the business relationship.

Most businesses are not familiar with mediation or mediators. To be a mediator the neutral must complete a course, which is usually a 30 plus hour class. Mediators have all different backgrounds- law, psychology or industry experience. In choosing a mediator you want to be aware of their background so that you can have confidence in their ability. Family disputes would be better with a mediator with a psychology background, while business disputes may need a lawyer mediator.

However, the mediator does not make the decision for the parties—that is up to those involved. The idea is that when that happens, the parties will stick to the decision. In order for there to be mediation, a clause should be added to a contract which states the parties will use mediation along with naming a local mediation service or mediator. TrueNorth Business Consulting provides business mediation in Massachusetts.

The importance of good conflict resolution skills along with access and recognition of mediation services is critical. Many fiscal opportunities are lost, resulting in impacts to the community at large. Businesses strengthen a community with jobs and contributions when they are successful, businesses closure brings with it an increase crime rate and population decrease. Therefore for conflict resolution you should look into mediation first.