|Lisbeth Calandrino has been invaluable in my development as an entrepreneur and a human being. Her straightforward ability to tell “it like it is” even when you don’t want to hear it will give you the focus necessary to succeed. Liz has a vast network of professionals across many industries that will guide you in whatever endeavor you choose. My only regret is that I have only known Liz for 2 years. Looking forward to a lifelong relationship because I know the best is yet to come.
Masters of Barbering.com
WANT TO GET MOVING? KICK YOUR OWN BUTT
If you’re waiting for someone to do it for you, you will be waiting a long time. I still keep hearing people say, when will the economy turn around, when will things get better? I think I heard some job reports today that were dismal. I recently read that architects were experiencing new trends, smaller houses and new interest in historic neighborhoods. If you’re in the new housing business than the trend of smaller houses just throws salt on the wound. If you’re into renovations, then maybe the trend is good news. There are several questions to ask yourself, the first one being: are you in the right business? With the baby boomer consumers changing their shopping habits, buying different things, it leaves many businesses trying to determine what they should be selling. What’s happened to the primary consumer eventually happens to all consumers. As they age their priority shifts. Rather than needing a new house they need a new shoulder, knee or someone to take them to their chiropractor. This is predictable, people get old. Unfortunately the baby boomer never thought they would get old. The baby boomer was also the richest, best educated and the ones with the biggest credit lines; businesses never thought they would go away.
Well they’re going away; by the way, it was predictable. If you didn’t see it coming, you weren’t looking. It’s not all about the economy-stupid it’s also about the consumer-stupid.
So instead of waiting for something to happen, let’s make it happen. Let’s understand our new customers, affectionately known as Gen X and Gen Y, understand who they are, how they get information and build your businesses around them. You can certainly wait out the Boomer but you will have to be prepared to change your product lines to meet their needs. Can your business make these changes or are you patiently waiting for the Gen X and Gen Y to rise to the buying occasion. You’ve probably picked up the hint that that they don’t seem to have as much money as their parents, have different priorities and get their product information in a different way. This is the bunch that is ‘friending’ everyone on Facebook, planting on Farmville and vying for the Mayor of the local convenience store on Foursquare. By the way, I wonder when my spell check will catch-up with the times and ‘friending’ will become an acceptable dictionary word?
So we’re back to one of the most important concepts of business, who’s your customer? Another important concept, do you have the right products for your customer? My father, who was an amazing man, once told me that having a product to sell wasn’t as important as having a customer who would buy it! I remember when I was a furniture-buyer and I learned this lesson the hard way. On my first buying-trip I remember all the wonderfully new things I saw and how good I thought they would look in our showrooms. Not knowing my customers very well, I thought that my taste was not only the best taste but of course it would be loved by all. What an awakening! Many of those things either wound up in my house or in the corner with big sale tickets. You see, I didn’t have the right customer for my products. It was an expensive lesson, but I didn’t have to learn it more than once. It was either buy for the customers I had or figure out how to get new ones or get a new job.
Ask yourself the questions, is my business in or out? Can I make the changes to keep my business profitable? How long do I want to stay in business and are my business practices sound enough for me to remain profitable? This is a good time to ask yourself these questions, or maybe it’s time to fold up your tent and go home. Maybe this is the beginning of an exciting new time for your business. New strategies lead by social media and new customers with new ideas and priorities.
For those of you who care to move forward this is an exciting time; a time to reinvent yourself and your business. There are no rules for the new economy, no precedence for what will happen. There’s just you and your desire to develop something new. If you want it to happen you will really have to kick your own butt.
“In conflict, decide if you want to be right or make it work. Then act like it. Remember no one likes to wrong.”
OH BY THE WAY
Customer Service Secret Number One
The most important thing you can do is build customer loyalty. 85% of your business will come referrals from existing customers. What are you doing to keep the customers you own? When I worked as a clothing buyer in Washington, DC, my boss insisted that each of us had a list of 20 customers that were considered ‘our best’ customers and we were expected to talk with these customers once a month. We were told find out as much as we could about these customer, birth dates, children’s names and upcoming important events in their lives. It as pretty difficult, we were always sending out cards, notes and calling them on the phone. Consider how much easier this would be today with video email, send-out-cards and Facebook. It’s still a good way to get to know your customers. You can’t buy customer loyalty but you can certainly spend time growing it.