In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season — which for many people starts on Thanksgiving Day and goes until the second day of the new year, it’s time to count your blessings. As an entrepreneur, I count on my positive attitude to get me through the day and to power through challenges.
It’s not every day, though that we do stop to count our blessings. We don’t often enough stop and think about all for which we have to be grateful. Attitude colors everything and it can make it bright or it can make it dark. This is true not only at the holidays, but year round.
It’s Time To Count Your Blessings
I love this thought: “A person is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.” If you wake up and think, “I have to go through so many horrible things today… it’s going to be a bad day.” Then, chances are it will. Even if you’re facing a challenging, or bad, day you can wake up and think, “It’s going to be a challenge. I will, however, come out the other side and my day will be better after I get through XYZ.”
Dread is natural, but you may be able to turn it on its head and wake up in a better frame of mind. The challenge you’re anticipating may not be as daunting as you’d imagined. Even if it is, having a more positive attitude will help you recover from the challenge more quickly.
Picture this: If you’re a negative person and if you’re unhappy, negativity and unhappy people will follow you. Your attitude will impact those around you. Like brings like. If you’re happy and if you surround yourself with like-minded happy people you will be happier and your attitude will soar.
What can you do to adopt an attitude of gratitude? You certainly don’t want to look at others’ suffering as your blessing, but you can stop and look at your “suffering” through a different lens. If, for example, you’re angry about work — think about those people who don’t have a job and would love to have one. If you’re unhappy with where you live, think about those people in Alaska or Hawaii who have lost their homes — they would likely trade places with you in a heartbeat.
I urge you to take a moment today to count your blessings. Write them down so you can see all you have to be thankful for. Think about your blessings before you fall asleep at night. Face each day with a smile because there are many people who will not be given the gift of a new day.
Happy holidays to you and yours.
If you’re continually telling your employees or the vendors with whom you work that the customer is always right, you need to stop saying ‘the customer is always right’ and there are many good reasons to stop that right now. Some of them you may never have thought about.
We truly think that believing the customer is always right leads to poor customer service because your employees won’t care how they treat them because if they offer stellar service or poor service, the experience for the customer is always the same.
Stop Saying ‘The Customer Is Always Right’
However, I think businesses should abandon this phrase once and for all — ironically, because it leads to worse customer service.
Here are the top five reasons why “The Customer Is Always Right” is wrong.
- If your employees are NEVER right because the customer is ALWAYS right, why should they give it there all? There’s no reason. You should be loyal to your employees and if you are, they will probably offer better service to your customers simply because your employees are feeling heard and valued. You certainly don’t want to reward poor service, but it’s more expensive to a business to replace employees than it is to treat them well and in turn they will perform at higher levels.
- This mantra gives horrible customers carte blanche to be rude to your employees and to complain no matter how high a level service you offer.
- Some customers, no matter how well you treat them will still complain and will also think they have you over a barrel and you will be forced to give more and more away to a customer to whom you should show the door.
You’ve been there yourself.
You KNOW there are sometimes that customers are just plain wrong and they will holler to the rooftops that “the customer is always right.” Your customers need to know you value your employees and that you welcome their input and that you trust your employees’ opinions on a customer interaction.
Make your employees feel valued and heard and you won’t have to worry about whether the customer is right — you know they will likely be happy and you know your staff will be happier. What measures do you have in place to show your employees they are valued even in light of a yelling customer?
Are You Smart About Tech For Your Business? Tech can be our friend or tech can be a bane of your business’s existence. Whether you’re bogged down in email or if your site gets hacked or your website or computer get hammered by ransomware, technology can make running your business easier and more effective if you have a plan in place.
Here are a few things you will want to look at right now and take care of so you’re using tech to its best effect for your business.
Are You Smart About Tech For Your Business?
- Make sure your social media pages, website and domain name are in your name. Don’t hire a company to build your site or your pages and have everything in their name you need to own it from the get go even if you’re hiring a pro to build and monitor it.
- If you have tech — social media pages or a website or a cash register, learn to use it. If your entire staff doesn’t come to work one day would you know how to keep your business operational? You need to know how to do it all, even if you don’t always have to.
- Make your passwords safe and don’t keep them in a location that’s easy to get to. Also, don’t keep a file on your computer that reads, “passwords.” Use a password program like Dashlane or Last Pass to generate strong passwords and store them for you. Make certain your password for the password program is extremely long and strong and keep it in a location that cannot be easily accessed.
- Keep documents and information off site. You may want to upload documents and other items to the cloud and make off site backups. If you’re a paper heavy office, scan that information in and take a copy of it all off site.
- If you have an employee leave the company, make certain you immediately revoke his or her rights and access to your website, their email and any other sensitive information. Change the passwords on social media and keycodes on the doors.
Technology is great. You just need to use it correctly and safely!
Working from home. It sounds like a dream! You can stay in your pajamas, have meetings in bed and generally be relaxed, right? Well, maybe. Many entrepreneurs find that when they are working from home they need to get dressed — even if it’s jeans and a t-shirt, comb their hair, brush their teeth and act as though they are going to an office. How to set up a successful home office is something not too many new entrepreneurs consider.
Sure you can work from the corner of the kitchen table, but do you want to? Can you have client phone calls in the middle of dinner chaos? To truly feel as though you’re running your own business you need to treat it, and yourself and your workspace as viable entities.
How to set up a successful home office
Set up a work space that is yours and yours alone. It is all right to grab an end of the kitchen table when you’re just starting out, but when you claim your own space you are on the path to taking your business more seriously. Find a space — even the corner of a spare bedroom, set it up to feel like an office and work from there.
Meet customers outside of your home when it’s required. Don’t bring a client or customer into the chaos of your home or into your cramped spare bedroom office. Rent a co-working space for a day. Ask a friend who owns an office if there is space you could use for the occasional client meeting. Meet at a nearby coffee shop.
Set work hours. If you don’t want to be working 24/7 you need to establish office hours. Let clients know when you will be available. More importantly, let your family and friends know when you’re working and that you don’t want to be disturbed. If you don’t establish hours and guard them, no one will respect that you have office hours.
Hire a sitter. You can’t run a business if you’re hoping to schedule client calls when your children nap. What if you schedule a call and that is the day your child won’t sleep? Even if you only claim one day a week as child-free you need to do this in order to get your work done. Same goes with pets — you don’t want dogs barking in the background of an important client call, either.
Know yourself and know what will make you feel like a “real” business owner — because you are one! Claim your space and set up a successful home office.
Do you consider your home office a success? If not, why not? If so, what makes it that way?
If you’re an entrepreneur operating in a vacuum, chances are you’re feeling stagnant. No one, especially an entrepreneur, should work alone. Entrepreneurs need someone to bounce ideas off of. They need to have someone to whom to be accountable. Should you have a business partner? Maybe you don’t need a partner, but you may want an accountability partner or referral partners.
You probably started your business because of a particular area of expertise and have and a niche at which you’re extremely skilled. Do you know how to do everything required to run a successful business? If you don’t or if you’re not sure, you may need to find a referral partner or an accountability partner.
What do you do with the tasks at which you’re not skilled, like marketing, design or bookkeeping, for example? If you try to do it all, without relying on the strength of trusted partners, you will spread yourself too thin. Look at those items that are not within your core competency that are taking you away from your business and find a way to outsource or partner with someone who can help you with what you aren’t great at and who would benefit from your expertise.
Should You Have A Business Partner?
- What do you need in a business partnership? What skills do you want your business partner to bring to the table? What do you have to offer in return?
- Spend time getting to know your potential business partner. Don’t just jump into a relationship simply because you feel the need to find someone, anyone. A business partnership requires mutual trust.
- Virtual or face-fo-face partnership? With today’s technology you can certainly find a business partner who doesn’t live in your city or state. You do need to have expectations for communication — how often, for how long and an agenda to make the calls mutually beneficial and useful.
Do you need a business partner? What are the pros and cons to you and for your potential business partner? Determine that and move forward.
Many entrepreneurs look at the day after Labor Day as the “second New Year.” When the kids go back to school and you’re staring down the barrel of the last quarter, it’s time to re-evaluate your goals and take steps to make sure you meet your 2018 goals. End the year strong and profitable.
Goal setting isn’t just a January 1 option. Goal setting is something entrepreneurs need to do regularly. Your goals are a living, breathing entity that need nurturing and regular check-ins to assure you are on track for meeting them.
How close are you to ending the year strong? How close are you to achieving what you’d set out to do on January 1?
Meet Your 2018 Goals
How can re-invigorate the goals you’d set in January? Don’t tell yourself, “I only have three months until the end of the year, I can’t make it happen.” Instead, tell yourself, “I have three months until the end of the year and I CAN make it happen.” Attitude is everything.
Let’s revisit your goals
- Were your goals concrete? If you look at them now, were they vague or did they give you a clear cut path toward completion? Don’t set goals that set you up for failure.
- Were the goals written down? If you’ve just been “telling” yourself, I need to finish XYZ, but not writing down XYZ, chances are it won’t get done. A goal that is not written down is just talk and other items will step into your life and take precedence.
- To whom are you accountable? Announce your goal to others. Find an accountability partner to whom you can connect and discuss your progress. Be accountable to someone other than yourself if that’s what you need ot help you achieve your goals.
Work it. If you’re writing down goals and looking at them regularly but not making any progress toward complete, what are you waiting for? Get to work now! End the year strong so you can face 2019 feeling like you’ve scaled that once seeming insurmountable mountain.
What goals should you focus on to end the year strong? If you’re not sure what to prioritize or how to prioritize, reach out and I can walk you through the goal-setting process.