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Month: October 2018

Is Business Just a Transaction For You?

Posted on October 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

Despite the recession, I experienced quite a few business transactions this holiday season.

No matter what store I found myself in, it was crowded and busy. Those cash registers were certainly ringing!

Having the memories of the holidays behind us and some credit card bills yet to pay, I have thought about these transactions as a reminder for how we may not want to conduct business in the New Year.

Shopping during the holidays is often a thankless experience. But all transactions don’t have to be like that.

It reminds me why I used to like staying at the Ritz Carlton versus the W. Both are great hotels, but that extra personal connection I received at the Ritz made all the difference in my experience.

“Welcome back Ms. Lopez, would you care for a non-smoking room again this time?” And, they would come around from the desk, look into my eyes, give me a handshake and say “it’s nice to have you stay with us again.” They handed me my room keys and other information as they asked if they could be of further service. I felt their genuine concern and care for me as their customer.

There is a reason I believe connection is the key to achieving results in life and at work. It’s the same reason that explains why people who achieve long-term success know how to build committed connections with their customers.

Here is the reason: Business is NOT a transaction, it’s PERSONAL. Business requires connection.

The minute we think it is just the transaction, it’s the minute we lose our ability to influence, guide and lead. We lose the opportunity to connect in a meaningful way.

Now, this concept may be easy to understand when you think about customers, but as a leader you need to broaden your definition of who your customer really is. As leaders, our teams, colleagues, suppliers, bosses and subordinates are all our customers. Leaders serve others.

Generation Y has it right, this is the generation that is taking connection to a whole new level in business and in their lives. They expect business leaders to connect emotionally with them and they are changing the shape of business today and forever. Just to put in perspective, Gen Y changed the face of this past year’s presidential campaign. They had direct connections with President Elect Obama. They felt his genuine concern and care for them as his customers. In doing so, President Elect Obama was leading them.

Gone are the days of command and control hierarchies. If you think you or your position are “above” the connection and you revert to doing business as a transaction…beware. Business today is about committed relationships built on a foundation of transparency, trust and connection.

Is your leadership mindset stuck in yester-year?

If you are looking at business as a transaction where you “just get your work done” and get on with the rest of your life, well you are in for some eye-popping reality when dealing with the expectations for the 21st century.

Just yesterday, an airplane came crashing down in New York’s Hudson River. I saw a few recounts of the episode told by survivors. They each had amazing things to say about the pilot. Many believe he is a hero, a leader amongst leaders, not just because he did his job the best he could and they all survived, but also because he fulfilled his role by connecting with those around him.

He was one of the last to leave the sinking plane.

For him, his job was not just the transaction: take-off, fly and land safely, but it also encompassed a responsibility for his passengers. A connection to those he served. He had an authentic and genuine concern and care for his customers.

He risked his own life for the sake of others. This is the ultimate demonstration of connected leadership. He walked the talk; he didn’t just pay lip service to the idea.

When we connect, there is a real and genuine exchange. One that builds success to an even-higher level because it builds trust and loyalty. Connections are not one-sided; they allow both parties to benefit from the exchange.

So what about you? Can you begin to think about changing your mindset about your business transactions and connecting with those you lead? Do you have a genuine concern and care for your customers and for those you serve?

Let’s Talk Tech Tools – Businesses Just Run Better With the Right Tools

Posted on October 25, 2018 in Uncategorized

Running a business can be difficult; we all know that. But one thing which can make it so much easier is to take advantage of the many tech tools available today. So many believe it’s just too difficult to learn new things and so they just don’t do it. But truly nothing could be farther from the truth (well a few things, but for this let’s go with nothing!) Many of these tools are not only easy to learn and use, but can save you an enormous amount of time and money as well. Now I’ve got your attention!

Here are the top three tech tools we recommend:

Skype – This tool is so much more than a long-distance alternative and inexpensive way to connect with others. Yes, the capability to call anyone anywhere for free is GREAT, but that is only one of the many benefits you can enjoy with Skype. Perhaps one of the most utilized benefits for small businesses is the ability to instantly connect with your clients and others anytime you need them. Think about it; how often have you needed a quick response to a question, but had to wait hours for a return email or phone call? With Skype you can instantly message someone and get the info you need within seconds. Now instant messaging isn’t new, but one benefit to Skype is say you discover you need to talk in more detail with the person, with a click of a mouse and your trusty headset; you can be talking to that person within seconds. (Take that Facebook!)

Skype has also become the norm for business meetings, interviews, events and other opportunities where a personal connection is needed. As an example, look at TV and notice how often you see guest appearances via Skype. Guests no longer have to be flown in for an interview. Thanks to great technology and the use of webcams, it’s as if they are right there with you. That’s money in the bank if you normally host numerous events.

Another huge benefit for many is the ability to share your screen with someone while on a Skype call. Coaches especially appreciate this feature and the ability to walk someone through the steps they are teaching. It is also priceless when a problem arises as well. Having the ability to show someone exactly what is happening enables you to find quick solutions. (Just remember you share the screen throughout the call until you tell it to end. You don’t want to be embarrassed by checking email while Skyping because you forgot the share-screen feature was on.)

Basecamp -If you aren’t using Basecamp for your business, why not? It makes everything so much easier and streamlined. Basecamp is a project management and collaboration software that is not only convenient and so easy to use, but is also an excellent way to easily organize your projects and collaborate with your team and clients.

One of the best advantages of Basecamp is perhaps its unique method of keeping everything in one central location. This allows you to monitor numerous team members in one primary location and for coaches and speakers, offers a centralized location for your students to ask questions and keep their materials. Individual logins and passwords are provided, which allows easy access to files, notes, messages, etc. Think back to how much time you have wasted sifting through Outlook to find an email from previous months. With Basecamp, you easily follow the thread and have all that correspondence in a flash. Again, this can offer you a huge savings of both your time and money. And that is just a few of the benefits to Basecamp. There are so many more (including their whiteboard feature), so make sure to check it out ASAP.

Dropbox – This is a file-sharing and storage tool utilized by many businesses. The beauty of this resource is that it enables you to work with large files effortlessly. But there is so much more to it than that. You have the ability to share multiple files in one location, create and share folders, and best yet, numerous people can have access to these files through a simple invite. It is also beneficial for the on-the-go entrepreneur because of its ability to sync files and share folders among your many electronics such as your iPad, smart phone, etc. Since Dropbox is an online tool, you can access it from any of your devices.

With the paid versions of Dropbox you can even utilize it as a back-up system. Not only will it keep your files safe and sound, but if something were to happen to your computer or back-up in your home or office, you would still be protected.

Trying to run a business these days without utilizing some of these great tech tools is like trying to dig a ditch with a spoon. You might eventually get it done, but you’d be asking yourself the entire time-“Isn’t there a better way?” Using the right tech tools can increase your productivity, which of course, will affect your profitability. Start using these today and you’ll see what a difference having the right tools can make in your business.

Don’t Be In Business Just For Yourself

Posted on October 24, 2018 in Uncategorized

You shouldn’t be in this business just for yourself. Instead, be in it for the company, your family, friends and staff. You should regard people as the most important element of your business, because they are.

There’s something that never shows up on the profit-and-loss statement that I call the emotional side of the business. You feel it when you surround yourself with people you really, truly care about. They’re more than just people you work with; they’re people you feel emotionally connected to, and you come to enjoy them. It’s even better when you can create an emotional connection with joint venture partners and work with them for years. Ultimately, running a business well and enjoyably is about a whole lot more than just making money — but here’s how the money comes into play.

When you’re looking out for people you really care about, and you’re trying to serve them and contribute to their lives because they’re contributing to yours, you’ll come up with ideas for making more money that you would never have come up with had you not had those relationships. These people will spur you on. You’ll find yourself doing more because you’re committed to them.

This is one of those things that’s hard to talk about; I know for sure it doesn’t show up in traditional business classes, and you won’t find it in most books about business, but I also know it’s true. Working with people whom you truly care about and who care about you can make you a lot of money that you won’t make if you try to isolate myself and do everything on your own.

It’s a good idea to look at your best customers in much the same way. Learn to enjoy yours, and especially enjoy spending time with them whenever you can. You’ll feel the connection grow. Now, you may occasionally get upset when you’re really trying to help them, and you wish you were able to help them more than you do. Personally, that’s one of my biggest frustrations. Sometimes, although you’re trying your best to help them, your prospects don’t get what you’re doing, they don’t understand the value of it, or for some reason you haven’t connected with them properly.

Let’s face a hard truth about marketing, especially in my business, the opportunity market: Most customers want to achieve their desire-whether it’s losing weight, becoming healthy and fit, repairing their car, or getting rich-without doing a single thing, This is just part of the reality in most markets: people want it all done for them, so they don’t have to do a thing. In the opportunity market, for example, they seem to think money is going to come right out of the sky.

But even when you do everything for them, it’s those with a work ethic who succeed the best. The rest are looking for something for nothing-and I don’t mean that as a judgment call. Again, it’s just reality, and you have to care about those people as much as you care for any of your other customers… even if, by their own admission, a they’re too lazy to accomplish anything.

Take a hard look at your business prospects. Realize that, in whatever field you’re in, they want somebody else to do everything for them. Sometimes it’s a necessity, because it’s not something they can do under normal conditions. If you sell milk, how many of your prospects would ever even have the opportunity to milk a cow themselves? But many businesses consist of providing services and produce the customers could accomplish themselves if they wanted.

So do it all for them, as often as you can. Make you business all about them. In many cases, those are the promotions that will work the best for you, because you’re truly helping your customers-not just yourself and your business.