Monthly Archives: September 2014

Simple Tips When You Need to Focus

Image courtesy of 55Laney69's photostream

Image courtesy of 55Laney69′s photostream

Sometimes I feel overwhelmed when considering the scope of a big project. Getting started is often the hardest part – and it can be tempting to spend time on smaller, easier tasks to avoid tackling the elephant in the room.

Sooner or later, you have to get the ball rolling. So here are some tips for buckling down when a project requires your complete focus.

•    Break it up into manageable pieces: Separate sections and develop a timeline for working on each one. For example, schedule Sections 1 and 2 on Tuesday; Sections 3 and 4 on Wednesday, and so on. For me, splitting up one big project into several little ones almost always makes the big picture seem more achievable.

This also works great if you need input from others on certain areas. If Janet’s insight would be helpful on Section 2, you can aim to schedule a meeting with her on Tuesday so her advice is fresh in your mind when you’re working on that section.

•    Block out chunks of time: I typically block out two or three hours first thing in the morning to work on just that one project. As with anything that requires focus, you want to avoid going back-and-forth between your big priority and other things – that kills momentum.

•    Limit distractions: Don’t check your email every time it pings. Don’t answer your phone every time it rings. If you get to the office at 8AM, make it a point to check your email at 11. For the three hours in between, that project is your only concern. If there truly is an urgent issue, people will find a way to let you know.

•    Take breaks: Even if it’s just a walk to the kitchen or around the block. I’m always amazed at the new things that occur to me while I’m taking a lap around the building. Something about getting up and away from my desk after working on something for a while seems to clear mental roadblocks.

•    Give yourself time to review: If at all possible, it’s always best to sleep on it before sending your work to the masses. How many times have I left the office thinking a project was close to done only to have a new idea on the drive home, or catch a huge error the following morning? More than I can count!

So build in some wiggle room for yourself and the rest of your team to take a close look and make any changes.

For more tips on finding focus, check out this article from Inc.com: 5 Tips to Help You Hyper Focus

4 Simple Steps to Keep Your Customers Happy

Image courtesy of Chris Range

Did you know it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one?  Your customers are your biggest assets. Don’t give them a reason to leave. Customer loyalty should be your ultimate goal, but it cannot be accomplished if they aren’t happy.

Are you doing everything you can to make sure your customers have a positive experience, reviews, and referrals? If there’s a chance you’re not, here are four simple steps to keep your customers satisfied.

1.    Phrases that will make your customer happy:  “It’s Everyone’s job to delight customers.” – Mark Kilens.  There are certain “magical words” that customers want to hear from you and your staff.  Practice using these phrases that will make your customer happy:  “How can I help?”, “I can solve that problem.”, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.”, “I will deliver on time.”, “It’ll be just what you ordered.”, “The job will be complete.”, and “I appreciate your business.”

2.    Act on the knowledge that what your customers value are dependability, promptness, attention, and competence.  “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” –Walt Disney.  Creating love between your company and customers can help scale positive word of mouth that’s absolutely priceless. Customers loved being treated as individuals.  Remember to never argue with a customer.  Immediately take action to remedy the situation.  Don’t make any excuses.

3.    Build Trust – Alert Customers to Changes.  “Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or price to continue doing business with you.” – Simon Sinek.  It takes 12 positive service experiences to make up for 1 negative experience.  This is how sensitive trust is between a business and its customer.  Here is how approach any changes:  Heavily research any changes that would affect your customer.  Be methodical and thoughtful in how you communicate.  Keep a healthy mix of misses and things you have done right.  Find value in the feedback about from your customers.

4.    Don’t let customers forget you.  “68% quit because of the attitude of indifference toward the customer by the owner, manager or some employee.” -Michael LeBoeuf.  One of the most important functions for generating repeat business is following up.  Effective follow-up begins immediately after the sale to let them know you appreciate their business.  Let customers know exactly what you are doing for them.  Write long term customers personal, handwritten notes frequently.  Always try to keep it personal – voice mail and e-mail are easier, but the personal touch is often lost.  Instead, schedule to stop by his or her office at a designated time.  Remember special occasions like birthday and anniversaries.  Pass on information such articles, new products information, or books the customer might be interested in.  Consider any follow up calls as business development opportunities.
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