Manners MATTER

Manners: (Wikipedia)

Manners are the unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, caring, non-grouchy, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, the main informal “punishment” being social disapproval.

Ever wonder what happened to “Manners”?  We hear a lot about proper etiquette but what about good old fashioned manners?

The other day my son said to me, “mom I held the door open for an old lady at the mall and she smiled, winked at me and then held the next door open for ME and said my turn!”  He was so shocked by her response yet I think she was shocked that someone under the age of 60 still knew how to treat someone.  In an era of technology I think many people no longer interact with others on a personal “look you in the eye” way anymore.  Our kids live through their “thumbs” and many of us rely on social media to stay connected.

I have a project for all of you.  TALK to someone you don’t know today.  When you go to the store and the cashier is wearing a name badge, tell “Sally” to have a nice day.  Recognize people.  Hold the door open for a stranger, smile, say hello.  Use PLEASE and THANK YOU as often as possible. When you treat others with respect and cordially it becomes contagious and you make other people feel good!

Here’s one for all my ground transportation buddies:

Do you have any idea how your chauffeurs drive?  Do they use their blinkers?  Merge correctly in a rotary?  Know how to manage a 4 way stop?  Let others merge in front of them?  Speed though yellow/red lights? I think you would all be very surprised if you followed one of your chauffeurs for the day.

Make this part of your chauffeur training.  MANNERS.  People notice good manners much more than bad now because we are all conditioned to expect the worst behaviors.  Make your company stand out by the way your employees treat your clients AND the general public.  It’s great PR!

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Growing Your Business in 2013 Part 3

Marketing in 2013 and Social Media
I hear from many small businesses that they don’t want or don’t know how to get involved in social media.  They think it is too labor intensive, for the younger generation or expensive.  None of which are true!  Social media will soon become the new search.  Traditional advertising and marketing are becoming a thing of the past.  Who goes to the phonebook anymore to find a service provider?  Not many!  They go to their smart phone or computer and simply search online. We TIVO through commercials on TV and get irritated when our favorite shows beak to commercials every few minutes.  We want info to come to us on our terms and at our time.
Some food for thought for 2013:
  • How many of us use a service or buy a product based on a friends recommendation?
  • So how does social media affect your business?
  • What are people saying about you online?
  • Is your business being seen by your customers?
  • Are you easy to find?
  • When they find you is your website easy to navigate?
  • Is it mobile friendly (since most of us search through our cell phones).
  • Are they able to find what they are looking for quickly?
  • Are they communicating with you through the Internet?
  • Are you tracking these visits?
  • Do you know how long they spend looking through your website?  What pages are they most interested in?
  • Have you captured the visitors information somehow? (online inquiry or call to action form)
  • What are your competitors doing online?
Look at your current advertising and marketing efforts and then do a competitor analysis.  What can you do better than your competition?  Where are your potential customers?  How can you be seen by them?  What is your value proposition?  How will you convey this to your customers?

Growing Your Business in 2013 Part 1

Banking Relationships in Business
 Developing a great relationship with your banker is paramount to continued growth.  A banker shares in your vision and business plan.  They become a sponsor and mentor to help you reach some of your goals.
A banker should be treated like your best customer.  They should understand your business model, growth plans, strategies, and share in your successes.  You should provide them with a comprehensive Business Plan each year and review the previous year with them as well to explain any issues that you had.
Benefits:

The business needs working capital.

The business needs a guidance line of credit.

The business guidance line is up for annual review

The business needs to take out additional loans for equipment

The business needs to refinance or restructure existing loans

The business is experiencing a cash flow issue and needs a short term unsecured loan.

The business needs to purchase property.

Networking with other businesses (bankers other clients)

Finding a banker who is familiar with your industry can be a challenge but they are out there and they understand the profit margins and overhead your industry operates in.  They have helped others before you and have valuable insight into some best practices.

If you can’t find a banker with industry experience, you can work with a banker and be the benchmark for others.  You need to be open and honest with your banker.  Make them part of your “Board of Experts”.