Hug Your Customers

“We shower our customers with attention. There’s no doubt in my mind that our philosophy can be applied to selling just about anything- from aircraft engines to beanbags.” ~Jack Mitchell

Flo Hajek from Northern Michigan Hallmark (aka The Book Queen) gifted me with this book at least a year ago, and I have flipped back through it looking for a particular piece of advice several times since my original read many months ago. Flo and her husband Steve are outstanding retailers in Northern Michigan who truly believe in training their staff to give STELLAR customer service.  Their daughter, Jaime has joined their leadership team and you can see the evidence they have instilled in her to strive for excellence in caring for their customers.

The author of “Hug Your Customers,” Jack Mitchell runs Mitchells/Richards, a profitable high-end clothing business in Connecticut that was founded in 1958. Today they do over $65 million in sales. They know how to take care (HUG) of their customers. This book talks about going way above and beyond the normal expectation for customer service in any business, however, you do not need to be a high level multi-million dollar enterprise to learn from the examples in his book. He gives down to earth, daily practices that you can instill in your team that will make a difference in the business you do today!

The Story Behind Your Success

 

Behind every small business, there’s a story worth knowing. All the corner shops in our towns and cities, the restaurants, cleaners, gyms, hair salons, hardware stores – these didn’t come out of nowhere.

~Paul Ryan


I absolutely LOVE to hear the stories that business owners tell around a table in the coffee shop, standing in line at a conference or riding a shuttle between two buildings at a Market. Your conversation might start around a particular product or idea, but usually the question of “how did you get started?” comes up. Every one of these stories begins with a dream of entrepreneurship and most of them have very humble beginnings.

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Maybe your parents were entrepreneurs and owning a business just feels natural to you. Or, perhaps in your previous career you worked for a large company and were just burned out with the corporate structure. Maybe you’re an accidental entrepreneur that suddenly found a hobby turning into a business.

Whatever your story, it is important to tell it to your family, your staff members, your clients and to those in your community.  We can all learn from each other’s “story” as we nurture and grow our businesses. Today, we’re going to take a quick look at five common story lines that successful small businesses share.

Doing your Homework?

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity!

~Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Roman philosopher


Each year I choose a “mantra” or theme that I endeavor to strive towards, and this Preparation=Opportunity quotation has been my theme for 2014. I had my iPad cover personalized with this quote, have it easily accessible on my computer, and it is posted at my desk as well. Lest you think that I have perfected this, and have arrived fully prepared at every meeting, ready to take on the world, I will tell you an unequivocal, NO! In fact, I think the more I have concentrated on this, the less prepared I have been!

Books

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So what does this quote really mean?
It means there’s no such thing as “luck” because being prepared when an opportunity presents itself takes conscious effort. It may look like luck… but it’s not. It’s because of careful planning. It’s the work that happens behind the scenes that makes it look effortless. The difference between lucky and unlucky people, is in our perspective, and in the effort and dedication we put into preparation. You have to “do your homework”, and come fully prepared to take on new opportunities.

Sabotaging your SUCCESS Story?

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. 
~Brian Tracy


Sometimes it feels like the stars align and success after success comes your way, and at other times, we struggle to see that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. In my experience, the one thing that is generally blocking my road to success is someone very close to me…actually, very, very close to me. I see her every single day…In the mirror!

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As Entrepreneurs, one of the things that make us “tick” are all of the ideas that flow through our heads, just like water keeps coming out of a spring. You know the feeling…You are brainstorming with friends, co-workers or someone from your industry and the idea bombs just start exploding in your head! As Entrepreneurs, we LOVE this! This fuels our fire, and we can’t wait to start working on the next project. Meanwhile the former “new” project languishes in a forgotten folder on your desk.