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.

    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?

    How Female Entrepreneurs Can Thrive In Biz And Life

    How Female Entrepreneurs Can Thrive In Biz And Life

    It is still pretty much a fact of life that female entrepreneurs who are also moms do take on more family-centric roles, especially when they work from home. How female entrepreneurs can thrive in biz and life is something we talk with our coaching clients about. It is easy for any work from home entrepreneur to be drawn into non business growing activities like mowing the lawn, doing the laundry, running the children to activities, cooking dinner… you get the idea.

    Juggling motherhood (and fatherhood) and a business while working from home can be challenging. We have some tips for helping entrepreneurs thrive in business and in life because what is the sense of “having it all” if you can’t enjoy it all?

    How Female Entrepreneurs Can Thrive In Biz And Life

    1. What are you committed to doing for your business? Focus on the commitments you’ve made and the commitments you have to fulfill. Don’t focus on motivating yourself to fulfill those commitments — motivation can be fleeting. You need to focus on your long term goals and how you will meet them. If you’re not motivated, you may not thrive as an entrepreneur. Your commitment will drive your motivation.
    2. Are you keeping up on your personal and professional development? It is easy to work from home and lose touch with the outside world and even current trends in your niche. You need to focus on your personal and your professional development and your business results will follow. Schedule time for personal and professional development.
    3. “I just can’t do it/have it all.” If you think that you will live that. Don’t hold onto limiting beliefs. If you want to have it all and you plan to have it all and you ask for help, you just might be able to have it all.
    4. Be creative. You may need to have more flexibility with time and resources when you’re working from home. Be creative and learn to go with the flow. Your home office may not be perfect or have a room with a view, but believe you will get there eventually and be creative with your current space.
    5. Don’t give into distractions. If there is someone there with the kids, close your office door. Let the children know that you’re working and cannot be disturbed. If the kids are at school, but the floor needs to be mopped or the lawn mowed, close the door or pull the blinds. Don’t be distracted by chores during your working hours. If you simply can’t let it go, give into your distractions on your lunch hour.

    Have fun. If you’re not having fun as an entrepreneur, why are you doing it? Sure, there are times when being a business owner simply is not a great time, but those bad times will pass. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and the fun may just flow back into your day.

    Don’t forget to practice self care. You cannot run your business and care for your family and give no thought to yourself and your self care. If you get ill or burned out, who will run your business and your life? The time you take to go to the gym, walk the dogs, lift weights or run on the treadmill is time well spent!

    What are your limiting beliefs? What is holding you back in your entrepreneurial endeavors?

    Use Life Lessons In Your Business Practice

    Use Life Lessons In Your Business Practice

    Life imitates art. Chances are you have heard that phrase before. Life also imitates business and vice versa. How can you use life lessons in your business practice? There are myriad ways. Whether life and business have thrown you a curve ball or if you’re crossing the finish line in life and business ahead of the pack, use these lessons, wins and losses to help your business thrive.

    The way in which you handle curve balls reflects on your resiliency and attitude. A positive attitude and a tendency toward resiliency will help you roll with it and get back on your feet. Finding a way to bounce back from a loss will also go a long way in growing your business and sticking it with it when the going gets tough.

    Use Life Lessons In Your Business Practice

    Here are life lessons to remember when things aren’t going the way you planned:

    • Take a chance. If you don’t put yourself out there, you may not be considered for a promotion or a project. If you don’t let family members know you’re interested in something, chances are they won’t ask. You need to be present and you need to speak your mind.
    • When you’re dealt a devastating blow in life or in business, the way in which you face it and take stock will help you grow and get back on course. No one is saying that you can’t take some “you time” to regroup or lick your wounds or grieve, but you don’t want to let that cloud shadow everything you do. Ask for help. Don’t go it alone. Be human and vulnerable.
    • Know when to give up. There are relationships that will never materialize. There are business projects that never move forward enough to your signing a contract. You need to know when to just throw in the towel. If you know you have done your best and done all you can, you can walk away knowing it didn’t materialize due to your lack of perseverance.

    How do you handle wins? Are you humble? How do you face challenges? What do you do when you’ve suffered a loss?