We have all been naively optimistic at one point or another in regards to our online presence. Joining Instagram or Twitter with dream of 100k followers, your tweets retweeted to the masses. Starting and blog with the hopes of gaining 10k readers a day after your first post. We’ve all been guilty of this, myself included. Then reality set in, we discover we haven’t instantly become famous and we get discouraged and often give up on these accounts or blogs.
People everywhere want a quick path to fame. Don’t believe me? Look at Google, there is thousands of posts about “gaining blog traffic quickly”, “how to gain 1000 Twitter followers”, “Tools for a successful blog”, ect. People want an elevator to internet fame and success, but if it was as easy as the push of a button everyone would have 10k followers and our notion of success would change. The path to success is stairs and if you want to get there you need to take them one grueling step at a time. (more…)
Strong Front Line for Any Business
Every heard the phrase “you only have one chance to make a first impression” or “put your best foot forward”? I’ll assume so, otherwise they wouldn’t be cliques. These count in life and even more so in business. In life if you make a bad first impression that sucks, but you can overcome it by showing of your best features. As a company if you make a bad first impression the chances of getting a chance to make up for it are slim. More likely than not that costumer will never deal with you again. As in life, everything in business is centered around building strong relationships, and these relationships are a lot easier if started on a strong note.
I also realize customer service is not a high paying or overly desirable job. Therefore trying to get people to be excited about it is difficult, but please if you are going to place these people as your first point of contact try to make sure they do lose a sale before they even forward a customer to the right people.
I’m going to go ahead and take Maximus’s wise words and take them out of context I’m not talking about the deeds we do in life carrying into the after life because that doesn’t have a whole lot to do with business. What I am going to talk about is the fact that our business lives and our personal lives are no longer separate. The actions of our personally lives can echo into our business lives and vice versa.
The inspiration for this post came last night at a hockey game. One of the players on the other team was just the worst type of player. Disrespectful, dirty, ran his mouth, and show boated when they took the lead. I was informed he was a good guy off the ice, but that isn’t what I saw. Another fan made the point that if they ever dealt with the guy professionally they would laugh in his face and tell him to keep on walking. This seems like a stretch basing professional opinion off a hockey game, but it really isn’t. The things we do out side of our professional lives echo into business. You may be great in the professional world but the action of your personal life can negatively effect future business dealings.
The advice I pass on is to treat all of your life like you’re being assessed. You might think you are being pretty cool acting like an ass at a hockey game, or posting the video of your “epic” 60 second keg stand on Facebook, but in reality employers and clients have unlimited access to our digital lives and it is in fact “a small world after all”. It might be petty but if this hockey player walked into my office in the future I would asses him on the game I saw over and above any professional standings he had.
That’s my rant for the day, thanks for reading.
Ties, Ties, Ties. As a business student I’ve witnessed some of the oddest attempts at business attire I’ve ever seen. Bright sneakers in lieu of dress shoes, ties that are a foot to long or a foot to short, any various levels of other business attire misdemeanors. Dress aside the one thing I’ve found causes the most issue are ties. People for some reason dislike them, find them constricting, and are generally not comfortable in them. Maybe I’m just weird but, I’ve had a love of ties since I was little. I think I was five when I got my dad to teach me a simple over-hand knot. Of course no five year old needs a tie and none fit me but I started out young. When I’m wearing a suit and tie I feel great. I feel comfortable and confident. This is why I get frustrated when I have to convince people to wear a tie at times. So the following is my humble opinion as to when to wear a tie and the cases when you shouldn’t.
Accidental Advice – really great advice someone gives you without even realizing it. Usually in the form of an analogy.
I don’t know if you can tell but that definition is made up but I think you get the point. I received some really good accidental advice today. We were discussing a small business trying to emulate a larger one in order to be successful. The woman I was talking to simply said if the small business was just like the larger than she would just shop at the larger. That sounds really vague so let me give a better example. Say a small family owed restaurant decides they’re going to change to fast and cheap burgers. Well there you have McDonalds. This small restaurant may think its a good move because McDonalds is successful, but if they change to be like McDonalds then they are competing against McDonalds and will be crushed! This is because a large company can do it better, faster, and cheaper than a small one.
So how does a small business compete against these giants? Differentiate themselves! There is a reason family owned restaurants still exist, even in proximity to fast food like McDonalds or other chain restaurants. It is because these restaurants offer something the chains can’t. Quality cooked food with personality. Yes it costs more and takes longer, but consumers are willing to pay a premium, in both time and money, for this higher quality good. If the restaurant tries to copy a large chain like McDonalds then consumers have no reason to go there, they just go to McDonalds.
The key is to give consumers a need to come to your business, a need they can’t fulfill elsewhere. That need doesn’t need to be quality burgers. Quality anything gives consumers a need to get that quality from you because they can’t get that quality at larger stores. However, if you try to compete head to head with bigger companies you will fail. Lose a hand to save a finger, some would say.
So what advice did I actually get from this ramble? If you don’t have extensive capital you can’t be the fastest, cheapest, or most convenient, so don’t try. Instead create a product or experience that the large companies can’t provide and you can develop a need in consumers to purchase your goods, regardless of the premium.