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What The Story? January 11, 2014

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Every time I say that, I am reminded of the song from Bye Bye Birdie; What’s the story morning glory what’s the word humming bird?  Ok so I am a little strange sometimes..

 

I do a lot of work with WEV (women’s economic ventures www.wevonline.org ) and no it isn’t just for women.  Last night we had a quarterly meeting for the people in Thrive in 5 and again I was reminded of how people lose sight of their story and their “why”

 

One person was focused on her logo and felt she couldn’t move forward until she created it.  Another had a logo which was pretty and the name was very generic.  When I asked them about their businesses they had difficulty telling me why I should use their services.   It wasn’t until we started talking about the stories their clients told them that they were able to identify their key benefits.

 

What do you provide that separates you from the competition?  As we go through our everyday lives we buy from some people and not from others.  We recommend some people and not others. Why?

 

It’s not the money, it’s the value.  Well sometimes it’s the money.  If two gas stations near each other have different rates of course I’ll go to the lower one if it’s convenient.  Aha.. the value.. If I have to turn around or go out of my way to save $1 it’s lost the value. 

 

What are you offering to your clients that separates you?  Do you even know the difference between you and your competitors?  Do you know what your customers want? 

 

Sometimes it’s not about satisfaction but dissatisfaction, understanding why the customer is dissatisfied with your competitor and how you can capitalize on it.

 

As you are writing your goals for the new year.. You are doing that aren’t you?  and reviewing your SWOT.  Think about the problem you solve, and  the value they receive; what need you are filling and how you approach it differently than others.

 

Tell your story

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Give Yourself The Gift Of Dance December 23, 2013

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Everybody’s giving gifts this time of year, right?  The wine you bring to the Holiday Party or maybe the fruitcake – yuck! (with apologies to fruitcake lovers ).  Giving to family members-better than underwear- receiving the temperature fork that you have five of already or what else “As Seen on TV.”  

 

So much has become a spectator sport – even the countless number of hours on the couch with salty snacks – watch the sport season-du-jour.  Getting back to giving gifts…Give the gift of dance.

 

There has been a revival of dancing of all kinds.  I remember watching ice dancing in the Olympics – beautiful, graceful.  Ranker.com lists 15 dance TV shows, and there’s even a Dance TV Channel now.  But there’s so much more to this.

 

Movement is everywhere around us.  Nature is full of examples of movement so I could even say that movement is natural.  Here’s an experiment.  Stand up. Remain standing and feel your body beginning to sway, ever so lightly, forward and backward, side to side.  Efforts to stop moving will pretty much fail.

 

As we add sounds, a song, we experience one of the oldest forms of communication.  Toe tapping to a lively beat, clapping hands, banging spoons, and a whole host of other sounds made from movement.  Which came first, the sound or the movement, really doesn’t matter.  

 

Whether you’ll win a dance contest may be a personal matter of some importance but for us right at the moment, it’s the movement that’s important. When we are moving together, we create community with it laughter and joy. In celebration or sadness, we move better together as community.

 

This time of year, yes, give a gift of dance or pretty much anything else. Regardless of how large, remember that you and the person standing next to you, sitting on the bus, attending a class, and participating on a team are connected.  We are members of a community.

 

If you are in the Conejo Valley area I take ballroom dancing lessons at Dance 4 Wellness  (www.dance4wellness,com )  They have a fantastic community from a school program for grades 4-8 to an AARP senior program and all of us in between

 

Thank you Steve Keleman for this contribution I dance at dance 4 wellness  He wrote the blog.  skeleman@sbcglobal.net

Tell Me A Story August 6, 2013

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In the last blog I talked about knowing your “why”; today I was reminded about story telling at http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20130802112108-7374576-this-will-be-the-1-business-skill-of-the-next-5-years

 

Story telling has been around for centuries.  It is how we learned values, how news was spread from village to village and yes, even the bible.  We tell our business stories to attract customers and build our networks of support.  We tell stories about great service as well as the rotten stuff.  We are fascinated by how businesses started and grew and more so how they flopped. 

 

We love gossip.  Just look at all the magazines at the checkout in  the supermarket.  Did you know that when 2 or more people get together to discuss others they will always err on the side of negativity and if there is nothing negative there we make it up?  Talk about stories!

 

Telling stories is not about the sale or even the product but rather the impact of the product or the company.  This is not about BS to try to con people but rather the story of why you do things and how what you do has made a difference.  I often tell the stories my clients have said to describe what I do. The latest is I will hug you and support you while kicking your ass to help you move forward.  You see the image and you understand the process.  Another client was telling a story about me at a networking group.  She was struggling with some issues and not only did she gain clarity but she also saw that I was able to help her achieve more than she imagined she could and grow her business more.  What stories do your customers tell about you?  What stories do you tell?

 

When we tell good stories about our businesses and our customers, our faces light up there is an energy an excitement and others want to be a part of it.

 

Stories can also be used for problem solving and sharing of ideas; of stretching the imagination.  Think of the stories you heard growing up that excited you and made you want to try something new. Stories can help you dream in Appreciative Inquiry. (but I’ll save that for another blog)

 

Won’t you tell me a story?

What Is Your Why? July 19, 2013

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Yes, I am finally back to blogging:  I have had so many ideas over the last month.  The one theme that continues to reverberate is what is your “why” For me this began by seeing Simon Sinek www.startwithwhy.com on a TED conference.  If you haven’t seen him I urge you to do so. 

 

He describes the golden circle which leads to a call to action and inspires others to act with you. After watching him on numerous occasions I started thinking about my “why” Why do I love working with clients helping them start or grow their businesses?  Why do I love teaching?

 

I have always loved learning and sharing resources and information but I didn’t realize the impact of that until I worked with Hilary Howard at www.strengthsdeveloper.com . By learning what my strengths and talents are the “why” began to truly coalesce.

 

My talents or strengths are learning, strategic, connectedness, individualization and adaptability.  Now I saw the “why” 

 

We know that businesses especially small and mid size are the backbone of this country.  Being able to use my talents to enable an individual to go from where they are to where they want to be and achieve success is fantastic!!!  So my why is enabling businesses and individuals to achieve their dreams through passing on what I learn, seeing the connections and resources all around, creating a strategic direction, being adaptable to the changes every day, seeing trends and never losing sight of the individual. It’s all about the client.

 

To put it in simple concise terms I facilitate the success of individuals and businesses.  WOW.. This is why I love what I do.  Having clients say they got the job, because of coaching, or the executive that earned the promotion because of the work we did, or the business that couldn’t get a credit card and now has a $90, 000 line of credit, or the company the hired new staff and expanded operations.  These are just a few of the successes.

 

I urge you to think about your “why”.  Read Simon’s book “Start with Why”. Talk to Hilary find your talents and grow your passion.  As always if you have any questions  Harriet@trainingsolutions-hlc.com

 

 

April 10, 2013

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Being without communication

 

Some of us are so attached to our computers and phones and cells we panic when we are without them.  

 

I haven’t been blogging lately because for almost a full week I had no cable/internet/ phone, only my cell.  It’s very hard to do a lot of work on the cell I could check e-mail and voice mail but beyond that it was cumbersome.  Then the following week I had to catch up.  Of course the week it was down was the same week I had to grade my UCLA students’ final papers plus get ready for the new quarter.  

 

I did learn a valuable lesson that week: life goes on.  Work will get done. People understand technology glitches as long as you let them know.   The most important is it allowed me to focus on what was important and needed to be done instead of all the busy work we do that we think is productive.

 

How often do we appear to be working really hard doing mundane tasks that aren’t helping us increase our business or improve our performance?  That week really helped me reflect and think about where my focus needs to be 2nd quarter.  It also gave me the time to read some business books I was putting off, that has given me more insight into my focus.

 

A colleague of mine had to go to Dallas for a week and he forgot his cell phone.  He had a great experience living in the moment and focusing on why he was there, for a training program and to learn new tools.  He was able to stay in touch with his family and could check work messages, and yes he had lots of them when he got back.  The beauty of it was he saw which were trivial and didn’t really need his attention to begin with.

 

I am not suggesting you have cable issues, where you lose your internet, and phone nor am I suggesting you stay off your cell for a week.  What I am suggesting is you think about what is controlling you and your performance.  If you are plateauing now is the time to really look at what you do that has relevance to your success. Decide what busy work is, and what has pur

You Friended Me, I Friended You Now What? March 1, 2013

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There are several LinkedIn groups that are suggesting people friend each other on FaceBook.  That’s a great idea, sorta.  

 

Once you have all those friends what are you doing with them?  Do you send information that could be useful?? Do you ask questions? Do you find ways to connect? What is your purpose of friending people?

 

My fan page is a link to my blog, which offers business ideas, plus it is a way to tell others about the great things some of my clients and friends are doing.  Most importantly it is a way for others to get to know me and what I stand for and what I believe in.  When they are ready to seek a business consultant to help them with their business, I am now a known entity, or at least more known than just my website.

 

As I asked in one of my previous blogs is it quantity or quality you seek?  Is it just a numbers game or are you providing information and resources to assist others whether they are potential clients or not?

 

Someone once explained the difference between the 3 most common social media sites.  LinkedIn is business networking, finding resources or jobs or connecting with colleagues.   Facebook is more of the family BBQ; catching up on who is doing what, sharing favorite sayings or news, and creating a presence that may reflect your brand.  Twitter is sitting on subway car with lots of people some you want to say hello to and others not, but it’s fleeting 

 

Which format is right for you?  Do you want to do business or just have fun?  Do you want to connect with old friends or meet new ones?  Do you want to see what your favorite stars and celebrities are doing?

 

Figure out what you want and make it work for you, but don’t think that just friending people is going to increase your business, create your brand or change your life.

 

The good bad and ugly of cell phones!!! February 22, 2013

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I now believe there is a customer service hell related to cell phones.  As some of you may know my old, yes I finally got a new one; cell phone had a lot of problems.  It didn’t ring, I couldn’t always get e-mail and there was no audio if I did a video but other than that it was great.  When it started refusing to forward my text and voice mail messages I knew the time had come.

 

So I cautiously sauntered into the AT&T store.  The last phone I had I bought at Radio Shack, which was a mistake since I never knew mine had been recalled a year after buying it.  So here I am in the AT&T store www.att.com   and a lovely assistant finds me an HTC phone with all the things I want and then some. Plus it was cheaper than the Samsung I saw and had the same options.  She allegedly set the phone up and I was on my way.  Oops, she put us on the wrong plan which was double what we were paying and oops she never set up my e-mail correctly and oops she set up other things wrong, including not being on my wi-fi in the house.  Lucky me! 

 

Fortunately my daughter has amazing patience but 2-3 hours every day for 3 days to get my e-mail is a bit much.  Now she is on the phone and they are trying to reset it without losing my contacts and pictures.  Thank you Rodney Johnson at AT&T for finally fixing this glitch

 

I used to have virgin mobile www.virginmobileusa.com   and it was so simple.  AT&T wanted me to add my cell to the U-Verse bundle; are you kidding?  They keep screwing up that billing too!

 

Cell phones have been a huge asset I won’t deny it.  Last week when I was late I could call ahead.  I can get texts and messages without being in the office I can take great pictures without a separate camera. Yes it makes life easier. 

 

So here is my question, is it because we are so addicted to cell phones that nobody needs to care about customer service?  We are limited in our choices of carriers so does that give them less reason to care?  Is their time more valuable than ours?  Oh to have a simple transaction; to go into a store, get my phone, and have it work just as I want it right away. I hope you give better service than this.  Maybe one day AT&T will get the message. 

 

 

I now believe there is a customer service hell related to cell phones.  As some of you may know my old, yes I finally got a new one; cell phone had a lot of problems.  It didn’t ring, I couldn’t always get e-mail and there was no audio if I did a video but other than that it was great.  When it started refusing to forward my text and voice mail messages I knew the time had come.

 

So I cautiously sauntered into the AT&T store.  The last phone I had I bought at Radio Shack, which was a mistake since I never knew mine had been recalled a year after buying it.  So here I am in the AT&T store www.att.com   and a lovely assistant finds me an HTC phone with all the things I want and then some. Plus it was cheaper than the Samsung I saw and had the same options.  She allegedly set the phone up and I was on my way.  Oops, she put us on the wrong plan which was double what we were paying and oops she never set up my e-mail correctly and oops she set up other things wrong, including not being on my wi-fi in the house.  Lucky me! 

 

Fortunately my daughter has amazing patience but 2-3 hours every day for 3 days to get my e-mail is a bit much.  Now she is on the phone and they are trying to reset it without losing my contacts and pictures.  Thank you Rodney Johnson at AT&T for finally fixing this glitch

 

I used to have virgin mobile www.virginmobileusa.com   and it was so simple.  AT&T wanted me to add my cell to the U-Verse bundle; are you kidding?  They keep screwing up that billing too!

 

Cell phones have been a huge asset I won’t deny it.  Last week when I was late I could call ahead.  I can get texts and messages without being in the office I can take great pictures without a separate camera. Yes it makes life easier. 

 

So here is my question, is it because we are so addicted to cell phones that nobody needs to care about customer service?  We are limited in our choices of carriers so does that give them less reason to care?  Is their time more valuable than ours?  Oh to have a simple transaction; to go into a store, get my phone, and have it work just as I want it right away. I hope you give better service than this.  Maybe one day AT&T will get the message. 

 

Ego or Ignorance February 14, 2013

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There is a theme that seems to keep reappearing and I don’t know if it is caused by the egos of the individuals or their ignorance of information.  What am I talking about??  The people, who sadly are usually professionals, doctors, lawyers, CPAs, and some companies, who think that by merely being present they will attract business.  They do not need any kind of marketing plan or approach and they certainly don’t need business coaching. Are they kidding?

 

These are often the same people who bemoan the economy or take out ads in publications that only say their name and area of specialization.  If I already use someone in the profession why would I switch?  What is my incentive?

 

I remember Chellie Campbell ( HYPERLINK “http://www.chellie.com” http://www.chellie.com ) describing an event she went to where everyone stated their name, location, and specialty and were appalled that she sang her intro.  She did get clients.  Perhaps fun was beneath them.  How sad!  

 

Do these people believe that once people know their name they will flock to them?   Are they unaware that basic business skills, especially marketing was not taught in their graduate programs and without it they could fail no matter how good they are in their professions?

 

I once met a dentist who was having a lot of problems getting clients.  She was not accurately charging to break even, didn’t really understand the concept, and didn’t know the benefit to patients of using her.  She thought being a top student and an expert in her field would draw patients.  It didn’t.  

 

Why is it so hard for many professionals to realize that without basic business foundations it doesn’t matter how good they are.  I hope you are smarter than that and make sure you have all your business systems and target marketing in place so you can focus on what you love doing, grow your business and maybe have fun along the way.

 

Lesson Learned January 9, 2013

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When I work with clients on their marketing plan, we talk about the best use of their budget and what will achieve their desired results.  One of the key tools some of my clients use and I use is the blog.  I post it through Tumblr on Facebook and WordPress on Linkedin and people have subscribed to it.  

 

I felt this was an easy and effective way for clients and future clients to learn about me and see my credibility and expertise.   After seeing the stats from Facebook I was wrong.  One third of the people read my blog on Facebook that read my comments and blurbs.  I recently announced a friend’s birthday and 2/3 more people read and commented on that than my blog.  

 

Ok so now what do I do with this information.  I write the blog anyway so I can still post it; but it would be better to do tips and just make random comments to attract followers.  Do the followers become clients?  Hasn’t really happened yet so just like my clients it’s time to reassess the value of Facebook to my business.

 

I hope you are doing the same thing.  So often I hear I have to be on Facebook and my website has to be this or that and the question becomes why, what is the benefit?   I am looking at other options.  One of them is to be part of  HYPERLINK “http://www.finadanexpertonline.com” http://www.finadanexpertonline.com. They will help me get my name out there and have lots of options.  I have to make sure I get them all my information before February 5th because my mastermind group is holding me to it.

 

As the New Year begins, it’s time for us all to re-evaluate what we are doing in all aspects of our businesses and make sure we are on track for our success. 

 

Assuming January 3, 2013

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As you get ready for a new year, increasing revenue and growing your business, it’s time to assess how you are perceived by your clients/customers.  This is also the time to see if your marketing truly reflects all you offer.

 

I was reminded of this because of a conversation I had with colleagues over the holiday.  We were discussing the successes and misses of some businesses over the last year.  Of course the first rationale was the economy.  Which is one of the lamest reasons and not even viable.  Did you know there are companies that can’t find the qualified staff they need?? Ok I digress.  

 

One of the businesses mentioned was a mall franchised jewelry store.  Their big campaign is they pay more for gold and diamonds.  I said that wouldn’t bring me in unless I had either to sell which I don’t.  I was asked what jeweler I use (Moyen and Company Westlake Village) and why.  The reason is the selection but more is the customization and the customer service that no job is too small, even watch batteries.  I was told that the mall store customized as well.  How would I know that?  It’s never in their ads.

 

We all provide more services than our primary ones, but if our customers don’t know that they won’t ask.  They will just go somewhere else.  I have a client for whom I have done executive coaching and some compliance training.  They needed presentation skills for an executive, which is in the realm of my coaching.  For as much as they know what I can do, they still asked 1st who I would recommend, and were pleased to know it was part of my tool kit.  

 

What sales are you missing because people don’t see all you can do?  The cleaners I use do amazing tailoring (Passion cleaners in Agoura Hills), but their ads talk about other things that don’t mean that much.  Yes, they changed the ad.

 

As the year begins don’t assume your customers know all you can do, ask them how they perceive you.  If their perceptions don’t match your intentions, it’s time to fix your message.