Tag archive for "attitude in business"

Are you an inspired small business owner?

Attitude and Success, Inspiration, Small Business, Small Business Marketing, Work Life Balance

Are you an inspired small business owner?

No Comments 21 August 2010

How do you stay inspired as a small business owner? Do you even care to be inspired as a local business owner? Does your marketing and customer experience convey your inspiration – or does your own lack of inspiration pass along to your customers and employees and leave your small business falling flat? Is your attitude costing you sales?

I know that when I get in a funk about my business – everyone else does, too. My clients aren’t excited, my employees are grumpy, sales slow and I teeter on the brink of the all-too-familiar “life’s too hard, this isn’t fair, I’ve lost my passion” PITY PARTY.

I do not recommend succumbing to this ugly beast… It’s true that life is hard – and work is harder. But avoid the Pity Party at all costs. It really doesn’t feel as good as you think it will – and it can cost you a lot of money in the process.

Instead, focus on the positive and look for great ways to stay inspired and refreshed about your small business and local marketing.

For some people, this is finding time alone (maybe to read a book, write, or pursue a non-work creative hobby) – for others it’s refueling in a crowd (maybe a networking event or a social occasion). Exercise (with inspiring music, friends or co-workers) should be part of every business owners’ inspiration – without it you simply cannot maintain the stamina required for success (but that’s another post altogether). Maybe music inspires you. Maybe it’s art or well-written prose. Maybe it’s time outside – gardening, watering the planters in front of your store, walking down the street to say hello to a fellow business owner, helping a customer load their car, or just breathing fresh air. There are all sorts of things that inspire us – just make sure you find inspiration and consume it regularly.

How do you stay inspired and passionate about your small or local business?

Photo Credit: Seth1492

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Stop Sniveling

Attitude and Success, Networking, Small Business, Success in this Economy

Stop Sniveling

2 Comments 31 July 2010

So I decided I’ve had it. I’m done. I’m not putting up with it any longer.  I’m quitting. What, you ask am I quitting? Whining, and hanging out with whiners…

Recently at a business function I couldn’t help but hear multiple people complaining about how bad business was. Really, I thought this was networking not a support group.

Let me be clear, I’m sure it’s harder to make a dollar right now than it was a couple of years ago. But I’m working with a lot of folks that are doing PRETTY darn well this year and I’m not going to be out there whining about how bad it is. Think about it. Who wants to do business with a guy who’s about to lose his shirt? Not me. But the guy who’s fighting, I’m gonna go out of my way to give him not only business, but a little extra if I can help it.

Your attitude is everything. If you don’t believe it, you might want to check with the facts. Complainers have fewer friends, and do less business than positive people. I’m sure I can google up a study that talks about that somewhere, but it’s common sense. No one likes a whiner.

But it’s so bad out there, haven’t you seen the numbers? Yes, I have and here’s the rest of the story.

It’s a better time to own your own business than ever before. The workforce is ripe with talent, and they’ll work cheaper and harder than you could have dreamt 4 or 5 years ago. Bright folks are waiting for good ideas. Property prices are down to record levels, and while that’s lemons to some, that’s cheap rent to those who have a little sugar and some ice… I can sit down and have a sip of that.

What about our business, we are down 50% from last year? I’m sorry to hear that. Have you changed your strategy?

What we did last year doesn’t work this year. It’s not your customers’ job for YOU to stay competitive. But I can promise you this—If you’ll dig a little deeper and talk to your customers, you can probably figure out what they NEED and turn that in to a profitable business.

Yes, it’s a jungle out there… There are loads of pitfalls and tough times and you may be having some. But keep your chin up, dig a little bit and figure out how to make someone else happy with your product or service. Some folks are having record years, and I’m not just talking about the RepoMan… There’s plenty of money circulating around here—but it’s being spent with winners, not whiners.

Your attitude rubs off a little on everyone you are around. Don’t come see me if you are going to whine.

Photo Credit: zzzack

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For Main Street or Downtown Programs, Professional Service, Restaurant & Food Service, Retail, Wholesale Products

No King Ever Ordered a Revolution

No Comments 29 October 2009

VivaLaRevolutionI’m a nerd. It’s official.

Here’s the proof: Just picture me. Sitting in paradise this past weekend: Key Largo to be specific. Reclining oceanside in the privacy of a mangrove tree dappled beach. My toes are nestled into the rocky sand and the clear water is gently swooshing in over my feet. I can see the coral below the surface a few feet away and see folks snorkeling off shore in the distance. I’ve got my beach read in hand… Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith.

(That’s the nerdy part.)

We’re writing a book – Andy and I. The book leans heavily on the analogy of teaching a child to ride a bike to communicate the process of “learning” how to assimilate to the social media/new media world. At one point in his book, Chris used my analogy. He stole it. I’m sure he’s stalking me. I gasped and almost dropped the book in the water. But it was too good, so I didn’t. (And no, I really don’t think he stole it or is stalking me. But I think he’s REALLY smart. *wink*)

So, after another hour or so, I finished the book. I know it’s really bad form to give away the ending of a book, but hey, who am I to do things the way they’ve always been done, so here I go (sorry, Chris). Last three sentences of his book:

“Try something new today. It may just REVOLUTIONIZE what you do. Trust us.”

Did you see that? Again, I almost dropped the book. But since I had read all the way to the end, I had filled the margins with notes, my own ideas and analogies – and lots of underlining, stars and arrows…I really didn’t want to feed my notes to the sharks. So, I held on to it. I mean, WE are HOME of the Results Revolution. (I’ve had the domain name for a long time – like more than 6 years a long time: resultsrevolution.com – being reworked right now for a cool 2010 project.) Brogan stole my word! (Again, spoken in jest.) I’ve been giving the Webster’s definition slowly and carefully in speeches for more than nine years. I sign my e-mail newsletter with two words: “Be Revolutionary.” But I’ve also been raising babies and running carpool lines and generally doing this life thing at a pretty hectic pace the last few years. That is very good work – the best work in fact. But maybe now it’s time to finish that book, to really demonstrate “revolutionary.” That’s part of what this weekend in paradise was all about. Refocusing, rejuvenating, writing, learning, listening and thinking – about nothing in particular – just letting the creative juices flow with no pressure induced. I’m so fired up.

(In case you missed it, Webster’s says that a “revolution” is “a drastic and far-reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving.” It’s really a revolutionary definition all by itself, if you stop long enough to unpack it.)

So, today, I’m plugging back in and reading some past Brogan e-mail newsletters and ran across one titled the same as this post: “No King Ever Ordered a Revolution.” Made me stop and think over this revolution thing one more time.

How about you? Are you willing to take on the status quo, to be the leader that sticks his neck out for the sake of the cause – even when the cause doesn’t think it’s the right move? Are you the lone voice in the wilderness thinking that social tools and networks might just give your business a chance to connect in a whole new way – even survive? What would a revolution look like if it happened in your business? Isn’t it time you pursued your own personal or professional revolution? No one but you can order it. It’s you against the world – go do big things, different things, far-reaching things.

I’d love to talk about what that means for you. What say you?

P.S. If you haven’t read it, it’s a good read. And if you don’t, follow @chrisbrogan. He’s smart, keeps it all real, and you will benefit from him and his network.

Photo Credit: chris.corwin

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Professional Service, Restaurant & Food Service, Retail

Does Your Experience Make Customers Feel Like Insiders?

2 Comments 06 October 2009

A few weeks ago, I wrote the following for my weekly E-mail letter (Want to get this letter? The content is current, relevant and behind the scenes business owner information. Sign up here):

Sometimes a project comes along that just warms the soul. Right now, Andy and I are working with the new owner of a historic soda fountain as he seeks to share the nostalgia and heritage of this landmark with a new generation – using New Media and Social Media tools. Recently, when meeting with the new owner, I found myself saying something that I say a lot: “Customers are more loyal when they feel like an insider, and prospects are more likely to convert when they have ‘insider’ information.”

Similarly, several times a week, without fail, folks ask us about our lives… Usually the question goes something like this: “It seems like you are on the road ALL THE TIME… HOW do you do it?” Or, “How do you have time to do all of this?”

Really, the bottom line is that folks want insider information – they want a peak behind the scenes. And your customers want the same from you. As strange as it may seem, in this age of reality shows and YouTube (check out our channel), people really do care what happens behind the scenes at your business. I don’t think I’m that interesting, but who am I to tell you how to feel or what to be interested in? Or maybe, if you’re like me, it’s so refreshing to know that other people think or feel like I do. I believe “Insider Information” is a “needle-mover” when it comes to customer loyalty, word of mouth marketing and long-term success.

What are YOU doing to make your customers and prospects feel like “Insiders?” (Yep, go ahead, hit the “reply” button and tell us. Seriously.)

Maybe “Insider Information” from us will help you become more motivated and/or equipped to use the tools of Social Media or New Media effectively for your business. So, from this point forward, our e-mail newsletter will be flavored with the spice of our life: tales of life on the road, digital nomad-ism, social media, new media, late-night brainstorming sessions, work/life balancing acts and our disdain for early starts. Welcome to the INSIDE, loyal readers.

In follow-up to this e-mail, I got a note from friend Mandy Becker, owner of Swagger Gifts in Cary, NC. I asked her permission to share her comments with you because I thought her feedback was so apt – it reinforces the message. Here’s what Mandy had to say:

I loved this!  I totally think the insider info think is critical!  The last three times I went to market, I wrote a blog about what it was like, what I was buying, etc. My customers loved it! They felt like they were part of the action! I have heard so many times, “Oh, I wish I owned a gift shop – what’s it really like? Do you love it?  What’s a typical day.” It is amazing how much people care about one another’s lives; I think we live vicariously through others in some way. Anyway – thank you!

P.S. I think I might even do a weekly blog post called “Insider Information.” Thanks for the idea – I hope it is okay if I use it?

Where are the points in your customer experience that make a new customer feel awkward, out of the loop? Do some customers walk into your restaurant and know exactly what to do, what to expect, how to respond? Learn from your regulars – and find ways to make new customers feel equally comfortable. Sales and tips will increase accordingly.

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About Marianna Chapman

For the past 15 years, Marianna Chapman has been creating game-changing big ideas resulting in big returns for dozens of businesses and communities across the U.S.

Today, Marianna and her team help business and non-profit clients at Big Idea Company, Inc., writes the Results Revolution blog, serves as Executive Editor for Eat Cities, LLC media outlets, and is a frequent speaker to national and regional conferences.

Marianna is a professional problem solver and rainmaker for hire.

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