Change

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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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13 09, 2014

What You Can Learn From the Crash of 2008

By |2017-03-03T12:06:55-05:00September 13th, 2014|Categories: Blog, Change|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

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How to keep going after the recession.

How to keep going after the recession.

Ben Bernanke, the former head of the Federal Reserve, said the 2008 financial crisis was the worst in global history, surpassing even the Great Depression.

His statement is raising eyebrows. While the “Great Recession” was scary, there’s a reason it wasn’t dubbed a depression: Bernanke’s aggressive policy response.

“Arguably, the financial shocks of 2008 were bigger than those of 1929. The outcome was not as disastrous because the policy responses were quite different,” said Jeffrey Shafer, a former Federal Reserve and Treasury official.

What happened in 2008 is worth remembering. If you were like me, you were surprised by the turn of events, but maybe we shouldn’t have been. Without much business, I turned to Craig’s list to reach out.

 

My ad read: “I’m creating my own mastermind group of unemployed smart people. I am over 40, don’t understand social media but am an unstoppable entrepreneur willing to share what I know.”

 

Six people showed up that week ages 23 to 70 with the enthusiasm of 40! We laughed, cooked, drank some wine and shared our stories. We vowed to help each other forge new paths. In our own ways, we were struggling. We had all come from successful careers, but 2008 had changed all of our circumstances. We listened, learned and offered advice. To this day, all of us except one remain close friends. When I got sick with cancer again in 2010, my new friends were around to help. it was the best piece of networking I had ever done.

Whether 2008 was the worst or not, it definitely had an impact on most of us. I don’t know if what I was experiencing was a prelude to the recession but there were unsettling signs in my world. When “bad” things happen, there are those that stick their head in the sand and those that stay on course.

For years, I saw business training declining in my industry. Several of my large customers were downsizing their employees, and it was obvious that something was happening to the consumer. I saw signs of a general “pulling back” and did very little about it. Could I have protected my investments? I don’t know. Large financial institutions were disappearing, and the mortgage industry was going crazy.

My friends were losing their homes and their businesses. I didn’t lose my home or have to file bankruptcy. My mother’s recollection of the Great Depression has never left my mind. It produced a “scarcity mentality” that in many ways has infiltrated my decision making.

Her advice, “Learn how to take care of yourself because no one else will; a scary piece of advice to a nine-year-old.”

The crash has left me with a new perspective about life and doing business. Times are still uncertain, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of another disaster. Take these tips and weave them into your own life.

1. Stay in touch with the world. There are so many ways to get information these days; don’t ignore trends and what’s going on. Keep yourself and business “as cash rich as you can. Want to make an investment? You can buy a house, fix it up and resell it. Real estate still works.

2. Make your new motto, “change.” The world is moving faster than ever, decide you will go with it and not get in the way!

3. Learn how to network in this day and age. I’ve never been interested in working at the community garden but will teach customer service skills to not- for- profits and small businesses for free. I find it’s better than going to networking events. I keeps me sharp and forces me to continue to read and strategize.

4.Become an avid reader and follow successful people. Like me, many people ignored the signs of the crash. Is there something you are ignoring now? Ask questions, find out what is going on in your community and be part of it.

5. Learn everything you can about your customer. Are you going to training, taking classes and getting smarter? One short book to read is “ZMOT: The Zero Moment of Truth.” It’s Google’s rendition of what the customer is doing.

Who knows more than Google?

Are you interested in a two day seminar: Sales and Product Knowledge/Design? 9/23-9/24, 2014 Burlington, Vermont. For more information and to sign up, go to Mohawk University.

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21 10, 2012

Does Change Have To Be An Uphill Battle?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:03-05:00October 21st, 2012|Categories: Blog, Change|Tags: , , , , , , , |2 Comments

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Change doesn’t have to be an uphill battle.

I was speaking at an event for Crossville Inc. last week; it was entitled, Successful Showroom Selling.    It’s a four-day event, includes a manufacturing tour, new-product introductions and various seminars.

I was speaking on ‘How to Use Social Media to Create Traffic in Your Show Room’.

It occurred to me the ideas weren’t complicated in fact the ideas were fun. What would make it complicated was people’s resistance to change and trying something new.

Are  changes that difficult? If you said to a business owner,  do you want to be successful they would  say yes. If in the next breath you mention social media, there would be plenty of frowns.

What do people have to do to get past the ‘change’ part?

There are so many people who are resistant to social media; they say it’s stupid, intrusive and only for young people.  These are the same people who don’t  mind going out,  getting completely intoxicated and bragging about it.

Success is all about the ability to change. It appears that some people think if they learn something new, it means what they knew before was inadequate or wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth. Prior successes won’t guarantee success in the future, but it does show that you have some good skills.

Somewhere I heard the term ‘conscious intention’; it’s the thought that our success and failure depend on our responsive ability to determine what we want and then work towards it. If you ask business owners if they want more store traffic they would also say yes. If you suggest they use social media,  they look at you suspiciously.

I didn’t ask them to rob a bank. I just asked them to try something different.

Why wait until your business is falling apart, your relationship is in the dumper, or  you’re on the verge of financial ruin to make changes in your life?

Do we all need setbacks to move forward?

I went to a wonderful cocktail party last night hosted by my friends Joanne and Bruce.

Joanne invited the owner of her gym, Brian Hull and trainer, Marcus McGregor.  (By the way, the gym is called Recenter Square and is on 319 Hamilton Street.)

I must admit even for a gym junkie like myself these two looked amazing and intimidating.

At one point Joanne announced her abs were brought to us by her trainer. It was a very nice tribute but the tribute  really goes to Joanne and her persistence.  All of us who go to the gym know ‘it isn’t easy’.

But  Joanne is an amazing business woman and of course is applying good business skills to skills to improve her abs.

Even if you’re in a rut and not living the life you want you are capable of making changes. Sometimes all that’s needed is baby steps forward, and suddenly you’re on the path to change. Maybe it’s eating half of what’s on your plate to begin to lose weight.

All of us have the conscious capacity to work towards what we want. We can  tell ourselves we want to be better but ‘telling’ is not ‘doing’.

Successes from the past don’t guarantee success  in the future, but they show us that we have the capability to succeed.

Why wouldn’t these skills carry over to our brand-new tasks? Everything we’ve learned supports our ability to learn something fresh and take us to the next level. When you were young learning to drive a car was really scary until you realized that you had all the skills to do it. You just need to practice.

What can you do to help move forward?

Say good things about yourself—instead of ‘boy am I stupid.’ Your mind remembers what you say about it so be kind.

Get the baby steps down and then add a few bigger ones. Remember nobody is really looking at you expect you.

Once you get it down, amp it up! A friend of mine he didn’t think he could lose more weight because he would be the same weight he was when he was in high school. I don’t know what that means. I had another friend who was upset because she could fit into her prom dress! I don’t get this.

Seek out people who are succeeding in your task. Tell them how great they look, ask them how they’ve done it and join them in their success.

Do one thing at a time. Don’t do too many things at once.

Reward yourself for your successes. You deserve it.

They say Rome wasn’t built in a day; neither will your abs.

I love this quote from George Bernard Shaw; the reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to him. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Lisbeth helps businesses build loyal relationships with their customers. She does this through customer service and communication training. She can be reached at Lcalandrino@nycap.rr.com

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25 09, 2011

Why Would You Only Want To Eat Chinese Food?

By |2017-03-03T12:07:08-05:00September 25th, 2011|Categories: Blog, Change|Tags: , , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

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"People are all different"I have been using BEST Instruments as a way to help individuals understand how they communicate and what they can do to be more versatile and effective in their jobs. The tests are simple but very telling.  It’s amazing how a 15 minute “quiz” can be so revealing. It is a way to understand yourself and those around you.

The key is learning how to value each other and  realize that each employee has their own assets and should be developed, leveraged and shared  throughout the company. This way people learn from each other and feel valued. By understanding your employees a company can create a highly motivated group who will continually exceed your company’s expectations.

One of the things that was brought to my attention was  that everyone in the room was similar in personality style. The person in charge said to me, it’s because the person doing the  hiring is choosing people just like himself.  This is not uncommon because people hire people who make them feel comfortable. Someone who understands team dynamics and how businesses work realizes that diversity is important. If you’re going to meet the diverse needs of your customers you will need different types of sales people. My father used to say “People are all different and they like it that way!” In other words, don’t try to make everyone the same.

Change is what’s happening!

This is no time to keep the status quo!

If you’re not changing your competitor is and taking your customer with them!

Sure you may have to be more understanding with people different than yourself but consider another point of view as a gift.

It’s like eating Chinese food your whole life and finding out that Italian food is just as good–if not better! How will you know unless you try it?  Life is for testing and trying not for staying safe.

 

 

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29 12, 2009

Women, Women Everywhere!

By |2017-03-03T12:07:14-05:00December 29th, 2009|Categories: Building a Brand|Tags: , , |0 Comments

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P-membership-readyI picked up a copy of Time Magazine’s article What Women Want Now. It was an interesting eye-opener. 

The most interesting aspect was the difference between where women are now and where we (yes, I was one of them) were in the 70’s with feminism. It seems like women of the 70’s were trying to prove equality; we, of course, know that you are either equal or not, it’s pretty much in your thinking. I have been wondering "how do women see themselves, are we different, do we want different things?"

I write articles on business and also on what women want when it comes to shopping and buying. The data suggests that we like the hunting part as well as the buying but, different than men, the hunt can be as much fun as the capture—we don’t even need to capture to have fun! There have been many books written on us and our shopping habits; why so much on us? Because, as many of you know, we are the primary shoppers for almost every product. As the Time Magazine article points out, we also have the means to shop, with 40% of us earning more than our mates. With this statistic of 40% growing, it’s important to note the changes that have been gradually evolving in businesses over the past 10 years: children’s corners in retail stores, changing stations for babies in airports as well as nursing stations!
I know it’s tough when you work retail and realize your customer may be on a terminal shopping adventure.

Of course, not every female finds shopping that exciting and interesting. But, as noted in Retail Therapy, Life Lessons Learned while Shopping, Tammy Faye Baker Mesner put another point of view so clearly: "I always saw shopping as cheaper than a psychiatrist." All of these past articles somehow support the notion that one has to be crazy to like shopping. According to Barbara Pease, Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps, biological evidence seems to support the theory that men and women are quite different from birth and that it’s not easily “explained away” by social conditioning. Brought up on a desert island with no dolls or trucks, girls would want to cuddle and play with dolls while boys would want to compete with each other and form hierarchal groups. 

Bottom line—we’re different.

What does that mean heading into 2010? These questions spurred me to take a workshop from a group called Jness. My questions were: Are we still like we were in the 70’s, trying to prove our worth through our male counterparts? Do we still believe that something has been taken from us and we must prove our ability to fight? It didn’t seem like it.
Jness literature states their purpose as: "Jness is an international organization for women with a mission of providing a warm and inviting environment for women to gather together and discover each other as we find and express our voice in today’s world."
In speaking with one of the founders of Jness, Pamela Cafritz elaborated: "In a fun, social context like this Jnessence weekend, we endeavor to discover the truth, fallacy and humor behind our male society. We want women to be empowered, overjoyed and maybe even emboldened! We bring together women who, like you, want to create a more honorable and compassionate world, and have fun doing it. We think women possess the warmth, heart and vision to bring balance to the world."

I found the workshop to be very eye opening; inductive group exercises designed to examine our place in the world and our concerns for ourselves, our mates and our children. The group consisted of different age groups 30-60, from various countries, each with careers, families and playing many roles. The theme being, as female adults, what roles do we play in society and what are our responsibilities for world change. I know, pretty heavy topics, but we had two whole days to solve these issues…

What I found was an interesting group of women, comfortable with their feminine “skin” and wanting very much to respect others' differences and concerns. The issues of ‘should we work?’, ‘does it matter how much we shop?’, and ‘do you like to cook?’ seem to be a given—not issues to be debated or defended. It really didn’t matter. The participants were interested in camaraderie in the feminine sense as we see it and live it.

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The best part about the workshop was listening to other women share their concerns about life, and how that differed from our mothers and grandmothers. I related an interesting conversation I had with my 95 year-old female neighbor, Irma. It was Primary day and I wasn’t going to vote until I ran into Irma. She reminded me of "her time" when she was not allowed to vote; her statement: you have responsibilities to the world. I must say that woke me up.

As I think about my life on earth, which I do quite often, I wonder about my place and my commitment. I realize that I am able to make a difference by understanding others and supporting their beliefs that help them grow. By investing in myself and my learning I inadvertently help the world.

As Socrates said, know thyself.

My experience tells me that the best investment I can make for you and for me is to invest in myself. 

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