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TO THE BOSS:  12 Daunting Statements That Your Employees Are Afraid to Say to Your Face

TO THE BOSS: 12 Daunting Statements That Your Employees Are Afraid to Say to Your Face

Being the boss has its perks. Usually you have a good parking space, you can set hour own hours (which basically means that although you are ALWAYS working no one is tracking how long your lunch is, etc.), and you have a position of authority and purpose. Before you go feeling too smug and comfy, grab yourself a cup of coffee, kick back, and prepare yourself… You are the boss, and there are things you need to know. This isn’t about time management and sales goals for the upcoming year. NOPE — this one is about you. If you are sharp, you are cognizant of the invisible wall which separates you from the rest of the staff. There are jokes you won’t be in on, certain things that you won’t understand, and a lot of words which will be left unsaid. It is time for you to hear those words. This is not a comprehensive list, and not all will apply to you. If the shoe doesn’t fit, pat yourself on the back and move on. Check yourself as you read these, and try not to be oversensitive to the ones that do apply. 1) “Your breath smells…and you have body odor”. YIKES. We can’t say this one easily to a co-worker (maybe we can hint and hand them a breath mint), but it definitely won’t be shared with the boss. Did you have sushi and catfish for lunch? Did you catch a whiff of yourself as you’ve been stressed out, nervous and sweating up a storm? If you smell it guaranteed they do too. You’ve got a big...
From A to Z… 26 Ways to Shred the Competition

From A to Z… 26 Ways to Shred the Competition

Just getting by isn’t enough in today’s business world.  If you plan on succeeding, you need to come prepared for battle.  You chose this, so grab your sword and shield.  Entrepreneurship isn’t for wusses…  Looking for ways to shred the competition?   Here are 26 tips and tricks from A to Z to give you the winning edge: Amaze your customers.   Keep them wondering how they ever managed without you. Bring something new to the table all the time. Call clients just to check in.  They will like the personal attention. Don’t avoid phone calls. Examine how you are doing things.  Is it still practical? Finish up projects.  Don’t leave assignments hanging. Get organized.  It will benefit EVERYBODY, including you. Help your customers strategize so they can be successful. Impress with outstanding customer service. Join networking clubs to gain new insights. Keep trying to better yourself. Learn and grow from your mistakes. Make sure you always show your appreciation. Never lose your drive…your clients will sense it. Open your eyes to better ways of serving. Prepare, Plan and avoid Procrastination Quit making excuses if something goes wrong. Remember why you became your own boss.  FOCUS! Stay the course.  Hard work and perseverance will pay off. Talk to your clients often and make sure you’re still on track. Understand that not everybody will like you, and that’s okay. Value your employees… they will help you succeed. Work on keeping relationships strong. X-ray vision and a crystal ball would help!  Ask clients for clarification. Yearn to always keep that spark. Zero in on your clients’ needs always. There are many ways to...
Do These Jeans Make My Butt Look Too Big?

Do These Jeans Make My Butt Look Too Big?

– Aka “The Enlightenment of Customer Reviews” NOPE, this is not another BLAH BLAH blog about weight loss, self-image or body shaming.   Actually the title above simply suggests that if you really don’t want to know the truth, then don’t ask the question!  If you are a business owner, however, you can’t bury your head in the sand.  You better want to know if your customers are satisfied, if they would come to you again, and if there are things you could have done better.   The best and most consistent way of achieving this goal is through customer reviews. Keep in mind, although reviews are imperative it’s important for you to understand that your client’s time is valuable and the last thing they are thinking about is the impact this will have on your business.  Most have no clue how (or where) to leave such testimonials so it’s best to develop a system that is efficient and easy… for both of you! If you follow these simple tips, obtaining reviews from your clients will be relatively painless: Streamline the process to keep it fast and simple. They don’t owe you this courtesy, so don’t make it a chore for them. Use links with few and specific instructions. Make sure the process is cell phone/tablet compatible. The entire thing should take no more than a few minutes. Try it yourself to see if it is quick and easy.  Re-do the process if it is not painless. Decide which review sites will have the biggest impact on your business. Ask for the review promptly after you have completed your service to...
Trapped In A Time Warp?   12 Signs that You Are Stuck & Will Lose Your Butt to the Competition

Trapped In A Time Warp? 12 Signs that You Are Stuck & Will Lose Your Butt to the Competition

Once upon a time we all lived in small towns, or at least tight knit communities and neighborhoods.  If you needed your hair cut you’d go to Hank’s Barber Shop, you bought your sandwiches from Sidoti’s Deli, and the pharmacy on the corner didn’t belong to Walgreens.  Businesses didn’t have to market, network, advertise, tweet or blog about their services to get and keep their customers.  They offered their goods and services, and people came for them.  It’s how business was done. That was then.  Welcome to the modern world!   If you think you can rely on your business surviving the old fashioned way, where people buy from you because they always have, stop and think again!  Even if you’re located in a sparsely populated burg, the town folk now have the internet, Iphones and all kinds of other techy gadgets… they can find it cheaper, better and quicker on Amazon if you don’t get your head in the game and convince them they want their money flowing in your direction. Are you going to just trust fate?   You basically have two choices:  To be passive or to be proactive.   Obviously choosing to do nothing is about as passive as you can get… might as well throw in the towel now and save yourself the hassle and grief.  If you are immobile and stuck, you are in serious trouble.  The protective bubble you are wrapped in may feel comfy, but this cloak is indeed deceiving.  You are trapped in a time warp and will eventually lose your butt to the competition.  Make sure these obvious issues don’t apply to...
Most Unhappy Customers Don’t Complain; They Just Never Come Back

Most Unhappy Customers Don’t Complain; They Just Never Come Back

The important thing to remember about giving mediocre customer service to your clients is that most people don’t complain… they simply spend their money somewhere else.  We can all think back to a time when we went to a restaurant and the food was cold or overcooked, the waiter gave horrible service, and the whole overall experience was expensive and lousy.   Occasionally (and only if we are feeling a bit bitchy maybe) we’ll complain to the manager, but typically we pay our bills in silence…and the next time we meet our friends for dinner we choose one of the other 55 restaurants within that two-mile radius.  When the competition is many, it’s easier to move on to a new provider than to get in a tizzy about the current one.  Life is stressful enough… who needs the conflict?  OUCH.  This doesn’t just hurt a business; it can kill it. What if you aren’t running a restaurant?  With some businesses it’s not quite as transparent.  A good manager or maître de will pick up on the customers sputtering under their breath, moving the food around with their forks in little piles on the plate, uneaten.  If you are a Realtor, a computer programmer, a service-oriented business however… well, how do you even know?   Maybe it’s time to do a little self-evaluation. Do you ask if your customers are happy? Even longstanding clients will appreciate the effort in a quick follow up phone call asking if they are satisfied.  If you are too busy to call then email… or have your assistant make the call.  How you communicate isn’t important, but...

10 Ways to Keep Your Customers Happy…and Keep Them!

In 2010 the television series Undercover Boss had a segment where the President and CEO of 7-Eleven, Joe DePinto, traveled to Shirley, New York.  He wanted to see why this store was the biggest seller of coffee in the 7-Eleven system with over 2,500 cups of coffee guzzled down every day.  He discovered that the manager of this high volume store was a sharp lady named Dolores who knew all of the customers by name.   WOW.  Can you imagine?   Some would say this is customer service at its most extreme, but it goes much deeper than that.  Certainly there must be other places to get a cup of joe in the morning, but something about Dolores and her personal attention kept the customers going back…they needed to see her when they stopped.  It wasn’t just about the coffee.  They wanted someone to ask how the job interview went…how it was going at home with the sick kids… In fact, eventually it wasn’t about the coffee at all.  It was about validation. Some would argue that the example above is a little over the top… that it has a ring of “sucking up” to one’s clientele.  That isn’t true at all.  There’s an old saying, “Keep your customers happy or somebody else will.”  This is true today more than ever.  Competition is everywhere, and there are computer programs which allow people to do many of their own tasks if they have the time (and skills) to learn the software.  It comes down to how you want to spend your minutes and money, but who doesn’t like to feel appreciated and...

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