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1 10, 2015

Do You Really Want to Change?

By |2017-03-03T12:06:52-05:00October 1st, 2015|Categories: Blog, Change, Entrepreneurs|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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changeDo you have strong opinions about your business?

It’s likely those strong opinions and ability to stay focused are what have made you successful.

On the other hand, those opinions can put you out of business. Do you keep weak employees around you because you think you owe them something because they’ve been with you since the beginning?

If this sounds like you, don’t worry. You’re not the only one who keeps employees around because they feel indebted to them.

We’ve all heard, “The only constant is a change”” if you want things to get better you must be open to new ideas. The more successful you are, the more likely you’re “change resistant.”

Do any of these statements sound familiar to you?

“We have no competition; we’re the only game in town.”

“There’s no sense in training, my team is pretty good and our numbers are very good.”

“We made it through 2008, there’s nothing to worry about.”

How does a very successful company, one who starts out with an entrepreneur and a dream,  fifteen years later have thousands of employees?

It’s likely they’re focused on building their team and they have the ability to change.” Do they bring in enough business or are they a drain?”

  1. The most important thing is to focus on your profitability. Are you making money or is it all cash flow? Are your employees working “for you” or “against you?”
  2. Who is making you money and who barely covers their salary? Are you still “carrying” people?
  3. Have you spent enough time on training your employees? When times are good businesses can’t take people off the sales floor. When business is terrible they complain about money.
  4. Do you give rewards to all your employees? Employees who bring in more money deserve more perks. If you treat everyone the same, your better employees will leave and go work for your competitors.
  5. Plan ahead for the slow times. Provide ongoing training for your team period. You will thank yourself and them when times are slow.

Remember, it’s not what you make that keeps you in business, it’s what you keep.

Lisbeth has been helping businesses build sales and marketing strategies for over 20 years. Reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com.

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28 12, 2014

Want to Get Noticed? Get a Job in Target

By |2017-03-03T12:06:54-05:00December 28th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Building a Brand, Change, Competitive Advantage, Entrepreneurs, Motivation, Success|Tags: , , |2 Comments

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Whether you’re in the market to sell yourself or your business you will have to build your brand. Your brand is what makes you unique—it’s what makes you.

Mark Zuckerberg in his "hoodie."

Mark Zuckerberg in his “hoodie.”

When I mention “hoodie” who do you think of? Could it be Mark Zuckerberg? He took hoodie to another level.

Don't forget clean underwear.

Don’t forget clean underwear.

My mom used to say, “Your reputation is all you have.” In those days it means a “good” reputation. These days I’m not sure if it has to be good. You just need a reputation!

Alex from Target,  no longer unknown.

Alex from Target, no longer unknown.

Building your brand isn’t easy. There’s lots of competition and everyday there’s a new unknown who’s become famous.  Last week, Alex was a 16 year old cashier at Target, overnight he became a celebrity with 300,000 followers on Twitter. Someone snapped a photo of him, and it went viral. He says he still doesn’t ’ know what has happened but there’s the buzz that it was a PR stunt from Target. It doesn’t matter, 30 days ago he was an unknown, know he is being represented by Shahidi, who is guiding him on next steps. We now have a brand called “Alex.” Alex was wearing a red Target shirt; I don’t think it was the shirt that made him famous. It was probably his innocent good looks. Here’re some ideas for building your own brand.

No matter what you do, you need your own personal brand to be remembered. If you’re in the sales business, you need customers to remember who you are. I remember I had a salesperson that was known as “the really tall, good looking salesperson.” He was 6 feet tall and definitely good looking. It got him lots of repeat business.

Here are some ideas for building your brand.

"A ship is safe in the harbor but that's not where it belongs."

“A ship is safe in the harbor but that’s not where it belongs.”

Be bold. Take a shot, don’t be afraid to be you and stand out. Your boldness may be your clothes, your hobby or your blog. It might be your haircut. Blogs have made many people famous.

Look like yourself.

Look like yourself.

Look good. Just because you’re running to the post office doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress up. My mom used to say, “Put on your lipstick, you never know who you’re going to meet.” This was the upgrade from my grandmother who said, “Don’t forget to wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident.”

Practice random acts of kindness.

Practice random acts of kindness.

Practice “random acts of kindness.” We always remember people who are nice to others. It never hurts to be kind.

Recognize opportunities.

Recognize opportunities.

Get known for working hard and doing an excellent job. This will also make you feel good about yourself.

Have fun.

Have fun.

Be fun, don’t take everything so seriously. I was lucky enough to work with Madeline Kahn in the 50’s. We were both college students working in a hotel in the Catskills; she was a singer and I was a waitress. In the afternoons, she used to dress up as Greta Garbo; a famous vamp from the 20’s and lounged around the pool.

Madeline Kahn, "Blazing Saddles."

Madeline Kahn, “Blazing Saddles.”

One day, the owner came out and yelled at her, “His line, Madeline; you have to get serious if you’re going to be a star!”

If you’ve ever seen “Blazing Saddles” you know she was silly and became a star.

Listen up.

Listen up.

Listen to others. A good listen that isn’t critical is always remembered. You don’t have to be a social worker; you just need a kind ear.

Albert Einstein said he wasn't smart, he was curious.

Albert Einstein said he wasn’t smart, he was curious.

See yourself as entrepreneurial. Being entrepreneurial with interesting ideas will always help your brand.

Take a chance.

Take a chance.

As Dr. Seuss said, “Be who you are and way what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Lisbeth Calandrino has been a business consultant for over 20 years. To speak with her about your business or have her train your employees, reach her at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com. She lives in Historic Hudson Park with her cat, Rainyday.

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2 12, 2014

4 Ways to Transition Your Salespeople from Employees to Business Partners

By |2017-03-03T12:06:54-05:00December 2nd, 2014|Categories: Blog, Entrepreneurs, Leadership, Reaching the Consumer, Repeat and Referral Business, Sales|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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EmployeesIt appears that the country is trying to instill an entrepreneurial attitude into all of us. With many of the traditional high-paying jobs disappearing, we find ourselves in a quandary.

There are many people who were fortunate enough, often without much education, to move into jobs that paid well and provided a good retirement. It would appear that many of these jobs have disappeared. In addition, consumers have transferred much of their trust from the salesperson to the Internet. The role of the salesperson has been altered.

Salespeople have long been in a position to provide important product and service information to inquiring customers. Now, customers ask their friends or get information from many social media outlets. Let’s face it: A good salesperson has to think differently now. Salespeople are still part of the equation but must see themselves as more than salespeople. Having an entrepreneurial spirt will help.

As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for ways to find new business and come up with new ideas, and we realize that we can make or break a business. A successful entrepreneur is always looking for ways to understand his or her customers and find ways to become a trusted confidant.

I believe that anyone who receives compensation for a job is a partner. Many people often say, “I just work here,” implying that they have no say or effect on the business. These days, everyone needs to realize they have an effect on the business, and the customer certainly does care what they have to say.

Whether it is online or in the store, customers are seeking them out for advice, information and as a connection. Changing the salesperson’s role will have a tremendous effect on your business.

Here are some thoughts on how to take the employee-employer relationship you currently have and forge it into a new partnership:

  1. Ask your salespeople daily about their customers. What did they find out, what do they know and what changes do they think you should make in your business? Learning how to be inquisitive is one of the skills that should be taught. More than ever, it’s important to know how the customers got into your store and how the Internet has affected their decision to purchase.
  2. Encourage salespeople to seek new ways of engaging customers—new ones as well as existing ones. It’s likely that the satisfied customer will be your link to your next customer, since 90 percent of your business is from referrals.
  3. Engage and teach your salespeople skills that will help them connect with their customers. These days, whoever gets to the customer first will probably win. Getting there first means getting to them before they get into your store. Once they’ve connected to the customer, the salesperson must be building a marketing plan to stay in touch and link to the next customer.
  4. Determine what tools your salespeople will need in order to continue to become the customer’s partner. Will it be contests, holding events in your store or writing a blog to engage the customer?

All of our roles have changed; it’s no more business as usual. A partnership implies helping each other achieve goals and bringing more talent and expertise to the table. How will this work in your business?

Lisbeth Calandrino has been providing consulting and training for businesses for over 20 years. If you would like to book a consultation or have her speak with your team, reach her at 518-495-5380.

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