Fabulous Finds for SUCCESS in Your Business

With the right tools, even the hardest tasks can be easy. Add powerful strategies and tactics and your road to success in any area will be just short of a breeze! Try to take down a tree with a hammer and you could be at it for months. The right electric saw combined with knowing the right strategies takes it down in minutes.

Here are some awesome tools that can make your business day and life a bit more effortless:
  • The Moleskine Notebook: While our iPhones and Blackberrys are great for emails, calendars and conversations, I find having a place to write down ideas, strategize and record thoughts, referrals and information is priceless. Most of my clients use and love their Moleskines. They come in different sizes, have an elastic closure and even a secret pocket (where I keep a small stash of mad money and a couple of business cards, just in case). The squared large-size version is my favorite.

    Squared Notebook - Large

  • Success Magazine. I still remember reading my first issue in the early '90s and wishing that every publication could be so positive! I still feel that way, today. Each issue has a CD you can listen to while you're getting ready for work, working out, or driving, and the articles are power-packed with information and inspiration.

  • LinkedIn. A free (or very inexpensive) networking resource on the web. Use this tool to connect, reconnect and expand your brand.
Start with these and I'll share more in the future.

Make your life a masterpiece!

V is for Value

Everyone loves a bargain and a deal (a.k.a. "value"). Are you offering either or both in your business? If not, it might be time to evaluate where you can offer "extras" to your clients.

In a recent discussion with a colleague, we were discussing how much "fee free time" we give to our clients. This discussion was brought on because he mentioned someone, and I asked if I should get to know that person. He shared that when he reached out "outside of the contractual guidelines," the service provider noted that he wasn't being charged so the conversation would have to wait.

Regardless of global economic conditions, you absolutely must give more than you promise, even if its "just" a small gift, or five minutes, or a referral. Lots of service providers I know provide free consultations, fail to bill for every moment spent on a case and reduce the invoice ... because they can. So can you!

When possible, charge a reasonable flat fee and include all services in that fee. Give extra time. Ask what other needs and desires your clients have and do what you can to fulfill them. The value you're providing will contribute to your brand, reputation and ultimately, your bottom line.

F is for Follow-up

How much is too much? How often is too often? How many calls until you quit? I hear these questions and more all the time.

Coach Honoree's Business Rule #1: Make it easy for people to do business with you. To me, that means make sure you are top of mind when they need you. Two weeks too early or two hours too late just doesn't work!

Try these guidelines:
  • Be in touch 7 times in the first 60 days after you meet someone. This includes the initial meeting, the follow-up note, any meetings (breakfast, lunch, coffee, drinks), emails, brochures or other mailings, etc. By the 60-day mark, you'll know if the relationship has potential.
  • Be sure to pay attention to what you're getting, or not getting, from your new relationship. If they don't return your call or e-mail in a reasonable amount of time (2-5 business days, depending on urgency level), feel free to reach out again. Then space out your subsequent follow-ups to stay on their radar but not be overwhelming. You might wait a week, then another week, then two weeks, another two weeks, then monthly. If you're not getting a response, go ahead and follow-up monthly or at least every 6 weeks. They could be busy and yet still wanting to connect with you. I see this all the time and I hear about it all the time from my clients.
  • Follow-up in ways that don't require a yes, a conversation or even a response! You can be top of mind by sending emails, post-cards, notes, writing a blog, or just leaving a message in the wee hours of the morning when no-one (sane) is in the office. Differentiate yourself by being consistent and creative.
In short, follow up until. Until they say yes, say "no means never," or you attend their funeral.

Remember, the smarter you work, the luckier you'll get.

To your success!

Secret #6 to Super Success: Rest, Relaxation & Recreation

To achieve your goals and outcomes, you can schedule every moment, be intentional, and make everything happen you want to have happen. To achieve your goals and outcomes, you also need to take time, each and every week (even a little each day) to recharge, be quiet, and connect with family and friends. None of these seemingly get you closer to your goal and they certainly are not revenue generating activities.

That's exactly my point. What's all the running around for, if you don't use what you've earned to have magic moments and some good old-fashioned fun!?!?

I don't work weekends. Friday nights are Family Night and we take turns planning the fun. Saturdays are used for shopping, running fun errands (read: "I need new shoes.") and Sundays are spent, generally, laying around, playing games, and watching movies. By the time Monday morning comes, I'm ready to go again for my weekly sprint.

Both being in action and being at rest contribute to your overall progress. Take some time this weekend to kick back and enjoy the view.

P is for Pay

A friend of mine called regarding an awkward situation she encountered, and I'm pretty sure you've encountered it at some point in your life or career also.

She was invited to a luncheon that included an introduction by a peer to their boss. When the check came, it sat uncomfortably on the table for what seemed like an eternity. The "inviter" made no move to suggest they were going to pay. My friend, being schooled in proper etiquette, was under the assumption that the person who invited her would be picking up the check. However, since it had been sitting there, she thought perhaps she might be expected to pay, and she offered to pay. The check was then picked up by the boss, not even the person who arranged the lunch!

Here are some guidelines for taking the awkward out of this situation:
  • If you invite someone to lunch, coffee or drinks, you are expected to pay. If the event is not hosted, make sure that's clear while you're doing the inviting.
  • They may offer to pay. This is because they are polite. Pay anyway. Insist on paying anyway. Tell them they can invite you next time and they can pay (be sure to offer to pay then, too, because you're also polite).
  • The Business Etiquette lady has some things to say on the subject. Click here for her take.
Tip: arrive before they do and hand your credit card to your server. You'll be signing the check by the time they realize its arrived, and they will admire your stealth!

To Your Success!