It's time to ask better questions
By Jacki Hart, CLP
Program manager, Prosperity Partners

While sitting in my comfy chair with a cup of tea, wondering what stroke of genius I was going to put on paper for you this month, I came to a realization. I understood that the REAL gap faced by many business owners in this industry is quite different from our original thoughts when creating the Prosperity Partners program.

Let me back up for a second to the roots of the Prosperity Partners program. Essentially, a group of mentors led by Bob Tubby came together two years ago with the best of intentions. We brainstormed ideas on methods to help businesses at all levels of our industry to grow and become more professional and prosperous. From that seed grew a wildly beautiful vine that has entwined people from all walks and stages of business, with peers, mentors, instructors, suppliers, information, new skills and resources. This vine is maturing quickly, and hasn't stopped blooming in over a year.

The real gap, I am discovering, is not the obvious fact that people don't have all the necessary tools and skills to run their businesses. The gap is made even wider because many of them have no idea that they need business tools, and not just the ones in the shed, to run a successful business. It's frustrating to think that so many hard working landscapers, retailers, installers, etc., won't come within reach of this Prosperity vine, because 'they don't know what they don't know.' What they don't know is that they NEED effective business skills to run a business. And, most of them don't have them.

Still learning at 90
In a way, this brings to mind my friend Herta. She is in her 90s, independent, witty and as sharp as a tack. I call her Queen Google. Believe it or not, she spends hours at her keyboard, learning about things in the world she didn't even know existed. She keeps discovering new things, because they are there to be discovered. And, she makes sure she learns every term and new thing in the four languages she speaks. "Just to keep my mind sharp," she says. And, what an incredibly inquisitive mind she has. She Googles plants, plant care, bugs and slugs. It's all to learn how to 'do it better.' She wants to understand everything.

I know, you say she has lots of time on her hands. Maybe so, but look at what she does with every minute she has in every day. If I focused on learning as much as she does — even a fraction of it — well, I think you would have to catch me if you can.

So, my point here (finally) is that in order to move forward and change your life experience, you must do something differently and ask better questions. Doing things differently always requires effort to 'stop doing' some things and 'start doing' others. Asking better questions can be as simple as, "Is there a better way to do this?"

If you have a business and feel you are working really long hours and not making enough money, or making enough time for family, then STOP DOING THAT and start working smarter. One easy step to get started is send me an e-mail at

Prosperity Partner seminars may be presented at any chapter. Simply find ten interested businesses to sign up, and we will bring the program to you this winter.

Jacki Hart is available by e-mail at