Is The Customer Always Right?

    Is The Customer Always Right?

    The mantra in business has long been, “the customer is always right.” Is that still true? Is the customer always right? Maybe, but again maybe not. Today, a customer is more likely to complain, cause a fuss or demand changes and make unreasonable demands. A disgruntled customer is also more likely to jump online and leave a bad review.

    In light of this, why isn’t the customer always right?

    Is The Customer Always Right?

    Here are some reasons you may want to give your employees, and yourself, more support and not give in to the customer and his or her demands.

    1. It diminishes your employee’s power and autonomy. If you have hired and trained your people and contractors well, you need to trust that they followed your policies and procedures and that the customer just might not be as right as he or she thinks they are. You will have unhappy employees who feel you don’t value them — and just may leave.
    2. It gives a customer the upper hand and may make an angry customer even more abrasive. This may mean the squeaky wheel is getting the grease and bad customers may receive better treatment (simply to shut them down) than does a good customer simply because the bad customer is angrier and louder.
    3. Maybe you don’t want that customer. How will your business suffer if you tell that bad customer, “we appreciate your business, but we don’t want to do business with you any longer?” Will you have to close the doors because of this one customer? Will you get more customers if you kick the bad one to the curb? You just might.

    If you’re still operating under the adage that the customer is always right, you may want to rethink that. You need to talk with your employees and see what the situation is with the customer who is always unhappy. How can you support your employee — the lifeblood of good customer service?

    Have you ever bid a bad customer adieu? Did your business suffer?

    How To Grow Your Business Community

    How To Grow Your Business Community

    Networking is what many new entrepreneurs are told they need to do to grow their business. I believe that your community, your group of “raving fans” are your best way to grow a thriving business. How to grow your business community is something I talk about a lot and it’s something I believe in and use in my business regularly.

    Why is a community crucial to your success? A community feels connected to you and you to them. A community is there for you in good times and bad. your community — whether they are your clients or those with whom you interact regularly, colleagues or friends — helps your business in many ways.

    To have a sustainable business you need to grow and nurture your community. It’s not enough to hand out a business card and leave a meeting; you want to truly connect with a potential client or colleague. Invite them out for coffee, ask them questions about themselves… truly connect.

    How To Grow Your Business Community

    What does it take to build a business community? Here are three ways to get started:

    • Engage with people. Don’t attend a networking meeting and hand out business cards and run. Stop, engage with people. Comment on something they’d said at the meeting, comment on something they’re wearing or have with them. Let them talk.
    • Don’t hide behind social media. Yes, it’s easy to think you’re growing your community on social media — and you are, after a fashion. Nothing beats a face-to-face — even if you’re in a different state or country you can connect. Fire up a video chat such as Skype and get to know the person face-to-face, even if it’s virtually. Quality over quantity when it comes to social media numbers.
    • Get involved. If you’re a member of a professional organizaion, trade group, Chamber of Commerce, get involved. Volunteer on committees. Support the group you’re a part of because it mirrors your business’s mission and values. The more you get involved, the larger your community will be and the more people you will meet.

    What can you do today to build your community? What have you tried that has been wildly successful in building your community? Are you still struggling to find and nurture your community? Let us know. We can help.

    How To Stay Motivated

    How To Stay Motivated

    Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs sometimes have a hard time staying motivated. You don’t have a boss to stay accountable to, but you do have yourself to be accountable to/for. If you aren’t moving your business forward and finding and nurturing clients, you won’t have a business. Do you ever wonder how to stay motivated when it seems you’re going no where?

    When you work in your business each and every day — many times doing the same tasks over and over — you could feel like you’re just banging your head against a wall. How can you stay motivated and engaged, even when it feels as though you’re not making progress?

    How To Stay Motivated

    I’ve put together my top three ways to stay motivated even when you feel like throwing in the towel! Keep in mind, at the end of each day, your success wiull be measured by the time you put in (and by the dollars in your bank account and the satisfaction you feel):

    1.  Write down your goals. If you don’t have goals written down, you won’t truly be able to measure success. If you don’t know what you’re striving toward or for, how will you know when you arrive? Set goals that are realistic and attainable. Don’t set a goal that is simply too difficult, or impossible to meet. An audacious goal is ideal IF you chip away at it. If you set this huge goal and cannot achieve it, you will suffer setbacks that will emotionally grind you down.
    2. Failure is inevitable. No matter if you fail small or if you fail big, chances are you will fail. Plan for it. Prepare for it. When it happens — it probably isn’t as epic as you imagine it is — pick yourself up and start over. Look at your failures as an experiment — scientists don’t give up when an experiment fails, do they? No.
    3. Get into your groove. What I mean by this is set up a routine — whatever works for you. When you set up a routine and set up habits you will be better prepared for the day and that will be motivating. One small thing you can do as part of your routine is to write down your to-dos for the following day before you close the office door at night. This helps set you up to jump right into work the next day and it also helps you focus and make progress toward your goals.

    Are you motivated? What makes you lose your motivation? If your motivation is flagging, leave us a comment — we can help.

    Where Is Your Money Going?

    Where Is Your Money Going?

    Business owners probably lose more sleep worrying about money than the average person. Where is your money going? It’s a question that an entrepreneur needs to be able to answer with clarity. Knowing where your money is going will also help you sleep at night and will help you realize whether you need to make changes, where and how quickly.

    Businss owners need to understand income and expenses. You may not need to do all of your own bookkeeping, but you do need to know your profit margins and you need to know the bottom line on income and expenses. You should never be clueless as to how well — or how poorly — your business is doing.

    Where Is Your Money Going?

    You need to be fiscally knowledgeable. Ask your bookkeeper or accountant to explain your business finances to you and understand it — even if only on a surface level.

    Here are items you need to know inside out to be a successful entrepreneur.

    1. Who is responsible for your finances? Have you spoken with your bookkeeper or accountant recently? If not, you should make a plan to do that as soon as possible. You need to know who has his or her hands in your bank accounts, what is going on, who is being paid, who is paying you and whether you’re profitable.
    2. Do you have a financial cushion? If you suffered an income shortfall, could you bounce back? Do you have the financial resiliency necessary to continue forward in a difficult month or two? Do you have a financial advisor who will alert you if you need to course correct in the event of a financial crisis? How will you keep the lights on?
    3. Spend time monthly reflecting on the previous month’s income and expenses. What is your cash flow? Do you need to drop prices or increase prices to keep up with increases in costs from your vendors? Is your budget too tight for comfort? If one bad month will lead to your business’s demise, you need to make some changes as soon as possible. Your budget is a living, breathing entity into which you need to have clear insight.

    Bottom line: You are responsible for your business and its success and its income and expenses. This means you need to know what is going on. Don’t shut your eyes to your financial responsibilities.

     

    6 Leadership Skills You Need Today

    6 Leadership Skills You Need Today

    Are you new to entrepreneurship? Do you want to up your leadership game? Are you a new graduate seeking your way in the business world? Is standing out in your own business or in your employment something you’re seeking as a way to advance? If so, you we have 6 leadership skills you need today.

    There are many ways in which you can learn to be a leader –books, a mentor and others, but here are our favorites to get you started.

    6 Leadership Skills You Need Today

    Know how to converse. If you’re meeting new potential clients or interacting with colleagues, you need to have the art of conversation. You need to know which topics to avoid (politics and religion usually fall into that category) but you need to know how to converse about more than the weather. Listen to what the person you’re speaking with is saying then react. Find current event topics and sprinkle that into conversation. Talk about a best selling book. Ask the other person what he or she is interested in.

    What does your body language say? Body language says a lot about you. If you’re crossing your arms across your chest or standing with your hands on your hips you are sending a clear — I am not approachable — message. Look at the person with whom you’re speaking. Practice your handshake. Be relaxed. Mirror how the other person is standing or placing his hands.

     Hone your business writing skills. When you send a business email you are not texting a friend. Don’t use shorthand text speak. Understand that professional writing and punctuation and spelling is a must. If you’re professional in your writing you will make a great first impression.

    Have an opinion. If you’re asked a question or to give your opinion on a business matter in the workspace. Have one. Be informed and state your thoughts in a reasoned manner.

    Know your tech. Many of today’s college graduates aren’t using Microsoft Word or many of those other traditional platforms. They may not even know how to use any keyboard other than the one on their phone. You should learn to type. You should learn to use a Word, or a Google. document or a spreadsheet. Know the hardware and software your employer uses and know which hardware and software you will need in your own business.

    Be a lifelong learner. Entrepreneurs know that they need to never stop learning. They learn outside their industry and they keep up with industry trends within their niche. Take classes. Attended conferences. Read books. Watch videos. Speak with colleagues. Stay informed.

    How are you planning to hone your leadership skills this year?