Monthly Archives: March 2016

Ten ways to get more customers through your door

Winning sales from people who would not otherwise know about your business, let alone visit your premises, will make a considerable difference to your firm. Here are some simple things you can do to get more footfall

Point people in the right direction. If your premises are a little off the beaten track, make sure you’re well signposted. Put up signs to point potential customers in your direction from busier places locally (but keep it legal). Let people know your business is nearby. Tell them how they can benefit by visiting you.

Take direct action. Give away flyers on a busy street, perhaps flagging up an incentive, such a special introductory offer. Be as vocal and animated as you can and try to attract attention – perhaps with a colourful sign. If this really isn’t your thing, think about paying someone else to do it.

Do a leaflet drop. Post leaflets through the letterboxes of potential customers nearby. Make your leaflets attractive and eye-catching, but be clear and concise when highlighting the benefits you offer. Make sure you let people know how they can get in touch or visit your premises. Consider whether placing an advert in a local publication might attract new business, too.

Create partnerships with other businesses. Make referrals and recommendations in return for those you receive from others. Plug website links on each other’s websites. Provided you are not in direct competition, consider chipping in with other businesses to fund bigger and better promotion drives.

Undergo a makeover. If your business looks attractive, more customers are likely to come through your door. Dirty, tatty, old-fashioned or inaccessible premises put people off. Funds permitting, you could get some new signage produced. A simple lick of paint or some new floor-covering can transform things. If money is tight, then at least make sure your premises are clean, tidy and welcoming.

Relaunch your business. If you decide to give your premises a makeover, be sure to stage a relaunch event, complete with special offers. Do a leaflet drop, find a good angle so you can try to get coverage in the local press and invite as many potential customers as you can.

Use the exterior of your premises to its full potential. A shop window is the best space to market your products to passing customers, so make sure you use it to push your most appealing offers. Don’t try to cram too many things into the space; pick a limited amount of the items that are most likely to appeal to the greatest number of passers-by.

Advertise your best deals outside your premises. Attention-grabbing slogans or images on a pavement board can be a highly effective way of getting more punters through the door.

Reward loyalty. Loyalty-card schemes aim to encourage brand loyalty and repeat business. Simple and reasonably cheap to introduce, a loyalty card is stamped each time a customer makes a purchase. When they have enough stamps they get a free or discounted item.

Give out a free one. Give passers-by free access to your products. Let them taste, feel, smell or otherwise sample what you are selling. This could be anything from placing a samples board outside a shop to hosting a free open evening

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Charles Chambers
Lifestyle & Product Management Consultant
twitter; cc_wahome
Instagram; wealthmogul

The Power of I am

“I AM” is Power and “I AM” will free you when you know what it is and how to use it.
“I AM” is who you are.
“I AM” is your center and what you experience is what you have believed to be truth and attached to it.
Be very careful what you attach to your “I AM”, it has the power to limit you or free you.
“I AM” You.

I Am. What is I Am? It is your true being. It is your real nature, your real self and nobody else, because no one else can say I Am for you. Only you can say I Am. That is your real identity, the Presence of God in you, the Indwelling Christ. That is you, and whatever you attach to I AM with conviction, that you are and that you have.

“I AM” is the fact of existence, and to know that gives you all power. When you have to go and tackle the “Egyptians” and your heart turns to water within you, and you say to yourself, “I cannot do this,” “I am not adequate,” “There is no way,” then remember your true identity and say to the “Egyptians,” “I AM hath sent me,” and the road will open and you will surmount your difficulties.

 God is I AM THAT I AM, and you are I AM, and you make your destiny and your own fate by the things which you attach to that I AM, for that is what you really believe about yourself. If you give credence to fear by saying, “I am afraid,” then you are destroying yourself. Every time you entertain a pang of fear, or jealousy, or a thought of criticism, every time you speak an unkind word to anyone, and much more so if you say it about them when they are not present, you are definitely shortening and destroying your life. You are definitely breaking down your cells. You are making your body more sensitive to pain. Nor do we lose a grain of good. Nobody can keep it away from you. Every time you say, “I am one with God,” you are improving your life. Every time you refuse to be bullied by fear, every time you follow the highest you know, and put your trust in God, you are lengthening your life, improving your health, and making it more difficult for disease to attack you.

Your I AM-ness, your Consciousness, is the way in which you change your world. Whatever you attach to I AM you become. As you affirm with feeling, I am illumined, inspired, loving, harmonious, peaceful, happy and strong, you will resurrect these qualities that lie dormant within you, and wonders will happen in your life. When men and women help you in the realization of your dreams, they are playing their part and are messengers testifying to your beliefs and convictions. You wrote the play, and other men and women execute the parts conforming to your concept of yourself.

The Top Secret
When you say “I AM,” you are announcing the Presence of God within you, as explained in the third chapter of Exodus. “I AM” means Pure Being, Life, Awareness, Self-Originating Spirit, Unconditioned Consciousness. In other words, it is a secret to millions of people, because they don’t know that when they say “I AM,” they are proclaiming the Presence of God within them. It is called “Om” in India, and many chant the word “Om” as a mantra. It is important that you know the meaning of the word “Om” before using it. In Sanskrit, mantra means an instrument of thought.

The Virgin Mary

The I AM within you is the Virgin Mary, which is capable of infinite conceptions of Itself without the aid of any man. The word virgin in the Bible means a pure mind, or mind dedicated to God. The word Mary comes from “mare,” meaning the sea, all of which means the pure stream of consciousness. Maya, the name of the mother of Buddha, has the same meaning. The words Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea, Isis, Queen Esther, etc., all mean the same thing—the I AM, or Presence of God in your subconscious depths.
God, or I AM, gives birth to the entire cosmos and all things contained therein and is the only Presence and Power. Actually, all the symbols of Christmas have to deal with the human heart, or your subconscious mind. The star spoken of represents the Infinite Intelligence within you, which guides and directs you and reveals to you the answer.
You can claim that God is guiding you and revealing to you the answer or solution to your problem. Accept the truth that the nature of Infinite Intelligence is to respond to you, and you will receive an answer without the aid of any man. You can boldly affirm, “I am whole, perfect, strong, loving, illumined, prosperous and inspired.” As you continue to affirm these truths and feel and believe what you claim, without the help or cooperation of anyone, you will express what you feel to be true. Remember, whatever you attach to I AM, you become.

The One and Only Power
The Bible calls this Power, I AM, which means Being, life, awareness, unconditioned consciousness, Self-Originating Spirit. All things are made by the self-contemplation of Spirit, or God. It creates by Itself, becoming the thing It creates..
. . . Before Abraham was, I AM (John 8:58). This means before any objectification or manifestation of ideals or desires takes place, the unconditioned or formless awareness (I AM) conditions Itself into the image and likeness of your concept or ideal.

The “I AM” within you, which means Being, Life, Awareness, Self-Originating Spirit, etc. is God, or the Life-Principle. “I AM” is the true Christmas tree, and all gifts are on the Christmas tree, for God is both the giver and the gift. If you work for someone and he pays you, he is liquidating an obligation; but “I AM” is a gift to you. No work or sacrifice is needed.

You are God. You are the “I AM that I AM”. You are consciousness. You are the creator. This is the mystery, this is the great secret known by the seers, prophets, and mystics throughout the ages.

I dwell within every conception of myself; from this withinness, I ever seek to transcend all conceptions of myself. By the very law of my being, I transcend my conceptions of myself, only as I believe myself to be that which does transcend. I AM the law of being and beside ME there is no law.

Charles Chambers
Lifestyle & Product Management Consultant
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Business Lessons From Hip Hop’s Finest – Drake

I listen to hip-hop music to motivate me to grind a little harder. Maybe because I’ve always drawn to so many parallels between rappers and tech entrepreneurs.

Both rappers and entrepreneurs are always challenging social norms. They are hip, cool and creative. They are the modern day’s rock stars. When they’re first starting out, they dream about signing deals — VC and record deals. They also both have a ridiculously strong hustle and work ethic.

One rapper who has an unparalleled work ethic is Aubrey Graham aka Drake. Drake is the most successful rapper out right now in terms of hits and album sales. He has the only platinum-selling album so far in 2015 and, get this, it was a mixtape.

I’ve been following Drake before he became a platinum-selling artist. Watching his progression is a lot like watching a very young startup grow into a large successful company. His drive and hustle is second to none in the industry and, truth be told, second to only a handful of entrepreneurs. Drake even references his entrepreneurial spirit on the track “6 pm in New York” with the lines “If me and Future hadn’t made it with this rappin’, / We prolly be out in Silicon tryna get our billions on.”

While watching Drake’s progression from child star actor to mega rap star, I learned a few lessons along the way that I’ve applied to my business and life.

You Don’t Need To Have A Certain Type Of Pedigree
Drake didn’t have the normal upbringing of a mega-star rapper. He was a Canadian Jewish child actor. Drake began his career playing “Wheelchair Jimmy” in the Canadian teen drama series Degrassi. When he first came out as a rapper he received a lot of negative feedback that he’d never make it due to his background. He even reflects about it in one of his recent songs: “To think labels said they had a problem marketing me.” Drake proved that you didn’t have to come from a certain background to succeed in any certain field.

Vulnerability Is Not A Weakness
Hip-hop culture has always been one that promotes being an alpha male/female and tends to shun those who come off as soft. So it’s quite a phenomenon that the most successful rapper out today has a plethora of songs where he talks about his emotions in not the most alpha manner. There are actually a ton of memes that mock how sensitive a person Drake is. The jokes are quite hilarious and Drake just laughs them off.

Drake is willing to be vulnerable and show humility in his music in a way that many other rappers are afraid to do, and it’s paid off greatly. It allows a much broader audience to relate to his music. Showing vulnerability isn’t a weakness; it’s actually a strength in getting people to relate to you.

Talk About Your Dreams Out Loud
Many of the most successful people in the world knew they would end up in that position years before. Muhammad Ali once said “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”

As mentioned earlier, I began following Drake before he blew up as a mainstream artist. In his early songs he talked about his dreams that eventually came to fruition. In Drake’s song “Successful,” he talks about everything he was going to acquire like he knew it was inevitable. Years later he even references the fact that he knew his dreams were on the way in his song “Dreams Money Can Buy” with the lyrics “Everybody yelled ‘Surprise!,’ I wasn’t surprised. That’s only cause I been waiting on it.”

Be confident when you set goals and don’t be afraid to talk about them out loud. You should always set up your goals so that if you fail, you fail publicly. When you talk about your dreams out loud, you’re much more motivated to do everything you can to make them come to fruition because you’ll have too many people to prove wrong.

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Constantly Produce Great Content
One of the best things about being a Drake fan is that you can always count on new songs and features to come out each month. This is in contrast to two of my other favorite rappers J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar, who seem to space out their releases a lot more. Drake has a relentless hustle: in a time span of a little more than six months, Drake released a platinum mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (Talk about “Rich off a mixtape”) as well as a collaboration mixtape with Future, which just dropped last month.

As a writer and entrepreneur, I’ve learned firsthand: not only do you have to produce great content but you have to do it frequently to keep your audience engaged and build your following.

Timing Is Everything
Drake understands the importance of timing very well. This was evident in his recent beef with Meek Mill. Minutes before midnight on July 21st, Meek Mill took shots at Drake on Twitter, accusing him of not writing his own music. Four days later, Drake released a diss track titled “Charged Up.” Although the diss track was solid, fans patiently waited to hear Meek Mill’s rebuttal. Before Meek Mill could respond Drake released a stronger diss track titled “Back to Back” four days later.

Meek Mill eventually released a diss track a couple of days later but his efforts were futile, as the public had already decided on a winner. Drake saw an opportunity and took it. Life is about opportunities; don’t wait for the perfect one to come to you because I promise you that your competition isn’t waiting.

Numbers Talk
Although Drake is my favorite artist, many hip-hop heads argue that there are more talented rappers. However, one thing that is undisputed: Drake is the most successful rapper out there, and he has the numbers to back it up.

Drake is only one of four artists, including Elvis, to have over 100 Billboard Top 100 Hits. Drake has four consecutive million-selling albums in a row. In 2012, only a couple of years into the game, Drake passed Jay-Z for the most number one songs on the R&B/Hip-hop charts. And he is one of two artists that has simultaneously occupied the chart’s top three positions.

There it is you can and shall win in your pursuit to succeed in any business/industry.

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I welcome your thoughts.

Author: Charles Wahome Chambers | Google+

Product Management Consultant

Power of Teams & Creating Your A-Team

With the Stanley Cup playoffs well underway, it got me thinking about the similarities and differences between people managers and the coaches of sports teams.

Why don’t we hold people managers accountable for team performance the same way we hold the coaches of our favorite sports teams accountable?

Should we hold managers accountable for team performance the same way we do NHL coaches?

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Both are responsible for creating high performance teams – inspiring every player to reach their goals and using individual team members’ strengths to their advantage. Yet it seems we treat people managers differently than we do coaches when things don’t go as planned.

Let’s take a look at how.

Scenario 1: your average organizational department/team

  • 1 manager
  • A bunch of eager employees who are paid well to perform and achieve goals

The team works hard to achieve its goals, but for a whole variety of factors, is unsuccessful. The manager (and the organization) sees the employees’ performance as reason for the failure. Sometimes underperforming employees are “released” or the manager finds other ways to rebuild the team.

Scenario 2: your favorite sports team

  • 1 manager/coach (and perhaps an assistant coach or two)
  • A bunch of professional athletes who are paid a lot of money to perform and win

We’ve all been there… Your favorite team suffers another disappointing loss and is cut from the playoffs. Then what happens? An announcement that the coach has been fired/replaced. But what about the players who suited up every game and didn’t produce the necessary results?

The reality in sports is that the coach has very little impact on improving the performance of the professional/star athletes on the team.

Would you teach Wayne Gretzky how to pass a different way? Or attempt to teach Michael Jordan how to dunk differently?

Ah, but people managers? There is a lot they can do to improve team performance.

How people managers can inspire high performance

The key trait great leaders share is an ability to motivate others to perform. Before pointing the finger at underperforming employees for not achieving the goals set for them, you might want to ask:

  • Are you clear about goals and expectations?
  • Do you regularly recognize, reward and appreciate high performance?
  • Do your provide opportunities for growth and development?
  • Do you regularly share performance feedback (constructive and positive) with employees?
  • Do you ask employees for feedback on your own performance?
  • Do you work with low performers to create a plan to close skill gaps?

If you find yourself responding “no” to a lot of these questions, it might be time to rethink who’s really to blame for your team’s low performance.

It’s also worth noting that HR also plays an integral role in helping people managers become effective coaches. HR should provide managers with the tools and training needed to develop these skills so they know how to create their high performing teams. The key, however, is to ensure managers actually use them.

Like many professional athletes, the average employee will have many different managers across the span of their career. And they’ll always remember the coach or manager that pushed them to excel.

Are you the kind of manager your employees will remember as a dud leader or as a leader who inspired them to greatness?

 

1.       Be Aware of How You Work

As the leader of the team, you must be extremely aware of your leadership style and techniques.   Are they as effective as you think?  How well are they accepted by the team you are attempting to  lead?  Evaluate yourself and be critical about where you can improve, especially in areas that will benefit those whom you are a leading.

Though you may be in-charge, how you work may not be appreciated by those who work for you.   You may have  good intentions, but make sure you hold yourself accountable to course-correct and modify your approach if necessary to assure that you’re leading from a position of strength and respectability.

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Be your own boss.  Be flexible.  Know who you are as a leader.

2.       Get to Know the Rest of the Team

Much like you need to hold yourself accountable for your actions to assure you maximize performance and results, you must make the time to get to know your team and encourage camaraderie.   In my “emotional intelligence blog,” I discuss the importance of caring, understanding the needs of your team and embracing differences and helping your colleagues experience their significance.  In this case, gathering intelligence means learning what defines the strengths and capabilities of your team –  the real assets that each member brings to the table, those they leave behind and those  yet to be developed.

All great leaders know exactly what buttons to push and when to push them.  They are experts at activating the talent that surrounds them.  They are equally as effective at matching unique areas of subject matter expertise and / or competencies to solve  problems and seek new solutions.

Fully knowing your team means that you have invested the time to understand how they are wired to think and what is required to motivate them to excel beyond what is expected from them.

3.       Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities

When you successfully complete step 2, you can then more effectively and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of those on your team.  Now, don’t assume this is an easy step;  in fact, you’ll often find that people’s ideal roles  lie outside their job descriptions.

Each of your team member’s responsibilities must be interconnected and dependent upon one another.    This is not unlike team sports, where some players are known as “system players” – meaning that, although they may not be the most talented person on the team,  they know how to work best within the “system.”    This is why you must have a keen eye for talent that can evaluate people not  only on their ability to play a particular role – but even more so on whether they fit the workplace culture (the system) and  will be a team player.

For example, I once inherited an employee who wasn’t very good at his specific job.  Instead of firing him, I took the time to get to know him and utilized his natural talents as a strategic facilitator who could keep all of the moving parts within the department in proper alignment and in lock-step communication.   This person helped our team operate more efficiently and saved the company money by avoiding the bad decisions they previously made because of miscommunications.  He was eventually promoted into a special projects manager role.

A team should operate as a mosaic whose unique strengths and differences convert into a powerful united force.

4.       Be Proactive with Feedback

Feedback is the key to assuring any team is staying on track, but more importantly that it is improving each day.   Feedback should be proa

Feedback is simply the art of great communication.  It should be something that is part of one’s natural dialogue.  Feedback can be both formal and informal.    In fact, if it becomes too structured and stiff, it becomes difficult for the feedback to be authentic and impactful.

Remember that every team is different, with its own unique nuances and dynamics.  Treat them as such.  No cookie-cutter approach is allowed.   Allow proactive feedback to serve as your team’s greatest enabler for continuous improvement.

Take the time to remind someone of how and what they can be doing better.  Learn from them. Don’t complicate the process of constructive feedback.  Feedback is two-way communication.

5.       Acknowledge and Reward

With proactive feedback comes acknowledgement and reward.  People love recognition, but are most appreciative of respect.   Take the time to give your teammates the proper accolades they have earned and deserve.   I have seen too many leaders take performance for granted because they don’t believe that one should be rewarded for “doing their job.”

At a time when people want to feel as if they are making a difference, be a thoughtful leader and reassure your team that you are paying attention to their efforts.   Being genuine in your recognition and respect goes a long way towards building loyalty and trust.  It organically ignites extra effort!

When people are acknowledged, their work brings them greater satisfaction and becomes more purposeful. 

6.       Always Celebrate Success

At a time when uncertainty is being dealt with each day, you must take the time to celebrate success.    This goes beyond acknowledgment – this is about taking a step-back and reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you have learned throughout the journey.

In today’s fast-paced, rapidly changing world of work, people are not taking enough time to understand why they were successful and how their success reverberated and positively impacted those around them.    I have seen leaders fall into the trap of self-aggrandizement – because of what their teams accomplished – rather than celebrating the success stories that in many cases required tremendous effort,  sacrifice and perseverance.

Celebration is a short-lived activity.  Don’t ignore it.  Take the time to live in the moment and remember what allowed you to cross the finish line.

Leaders are only as successful as their teams and the great ones know  that with the right team dynamics, decisions and diverse personalities, everyone wins in the end.

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Charles Wahome |LinkedIn

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I welcome your thoughts. Author: Charles Wahome Chambers | Google+

Product Management Consultant

People Relationship = Success or Failure

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As a small business owner, the growth of your business is most likely at the top of your the agenda.

The hard lesson about growth is to understand that you cannot do everything yourself. The time will come, whether tomorrow or in five years, when you’ll need to hire skilled staff to hand over to and manage the responsibilities that you’re probably used to doing yourself, and your way. The challenge is to find the right people for the role, those you can trust to get the work done with as much passion and enthusiasm as you have towards the business that you built from scratch.

Employing someone in your small business is about so much more than just adding to your headcount. Your first hire effectively doubles your staff complement – and directly impacts on how your company culture evolves. It’s also the first time that you will have to trust someone with your ‘baby’, and it will be the test case for how you hire staff in the future.

Every new hire is important, but your first few even more so, as they will determine the future success of your company. Miles Jennings, CEO and co-founder of Recruiter.com, writing for the MasterCard Business Network Blog says that ‘your ability to hire and retain great employees will determine the success of your company.’

Here is some useful advice to consider when it comes to growing one of the most important assets of your business – your people.

The team you hire needs to share your values
Building a team is one of the most difficult things to do because you need to be sure that the people you hire share your commitment, integrity, agility and determination to deliver quality products or services.

Choose the right people
Not everyone you hire is going to be good at everything. Small business owners need to choose the right people and personalities for each role and ensure they are tasked with duties they enjoy, but more importantly that they are skilled at. They also need to choose people that they can trust – whether they are employees or business partners.

It’s equally important to choose suppliers carefully. Dealing with unreliable suppliers will put a strain on relationships with your staff and customers. Fortunately, it is becoming easier to deal with suppliers. Portals such as the MasterCard Business Perks website makes it easier for small business owners who are members, to find and purchase goods from suppliers at a discounted rate. This not only simplifies the process of purchasing, but also saves your business money.

Invest time in your staff
As an employer, do not over-estimate the skill levels of new employees. Just because they have the skills to do the job on a practical level, they may not necessarily understand your industry, know what you do, or how your company operates. Be prepared to show them the ropes – and be patient as they gain new knowledge.

Set clear expectations on deliverables
Make sure that your staff are aware of your expectations, and that they are accountable for their roles in the business. They can only do their job well if they know what they’re supposed to be doing with clear deliverables in place. Job descriptions often give very little information on the day-to-day aspects of a job role, so it’s important that you convey a positive message about your company’s prospects, values and team. Your aim should be to attract potential employees by making the job sound engaging, positive and important to the company’s growth.

You should build your small business with future growth in mind. Your skills and values, together with those of your staff and your business partners, should complement each other so you build a successful business you can be proud of. Make sure that you give recruiting and hiring the attention it deserves as your future, and the future of your small business, depends on it.
In the go-go eighties, “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap’s enthusiasm for aggressive cost cutting and massive layoffs made him a corporate superhero. Later on, his indictment and conviction on fraud charges caused people to question his character, but not necessarily his methods.

Poor Al would never survive as a CEO today. Social media would eat him for breakfast. Today’s corporate executives need to mind their P’s and Q’s, because any stray word can instantly go viral, damage the stock price and diminish shareholder value.

These days, most corporate executives pay lip service to the idea that people come first, but beyond nice sounding platitudes, relatively little has changed. Boardroom discussions mostly focus on financial data and the need to be “practical” about people decisions Yet smart firms value their people not out of altruism or fear of a backlash, but because it’s good business.

People Create Value

In How Google Works, Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg argue that people are essential for creating value. More specifically, they focus on hiring, developing and empowering “smart creatives”—professionals with the technical skills to solve problems as well as the imagination to dream up new ideas.

Many hard nosed, profit seeking executives would say, “Sure, Google has a search engine that prints money, they can afford to be nice,” but that’s not how Schmidt and Rosenberg see it. They point out that while senior executives strategize and plan, those plans always fall short. “Since the plan is wrong, the people have to be right,” they write.

The truth is that there are only two ways for a business to consistently earn profits above its cost of capital: Innovating to create new value and rent seeking. To create new value, you need people to invent new products and processes. To do effective rent seeking, you need a powerful lobbyist and those are people too (well… sort of).

Those that do will easily create ideas, develop cutting-edge products and services, and disrupt the status quo. In a companion survey of over 3,100 business and IT executives worldwide, Accenture found that 33 per cent of the global economy is already impacted by digital.

People Create Efficiency

Notwithstanding Google’s success, many would point out that Schmidt and Rosenberg have the luxury of working in a growing industry, while many firms have to compete in stagnant or even shrinking markets. Managers in those industries, so the story goes, need to optimize for efficiency and that means watching costs.

Yet MIT’s Zeynep Ton, author of The Good Jobs Strategy, has found in her research that well-trained employees are not a cost driver, but a sales driver. A higher paid workforce results in less turnover, better customer service and greater efficiency. So even in declining industries, investing in people can lead to more profitability.

Anecdotal evidence supports her point. Southwest, which competes in the brutal airline industry, regularly tops lists of best companies to work for and has maintained healthy profits for decades. A study comparing Costco and Sam’s Club found that by investing more in front line personnel, Costco was able to gain an edge in productivity.

Consumers Are People Too

A focus on people also tends to spill over into how a company treats its customers. It’s no accident that Google, Southwest and Costco are not only great places to work, but also rank high in Net Promoter Score, which is probably the best measure of customer satisfaction. Employees that feel cared about tend to care about others.

On the other hand, firms that show a lack of caring pay a social tax. Scandals such as Dell Hell and Apple’s Foxconn issues created a fury and forced major corporations to change their policies. Even innovative young startups like Uber are finding that public sentiment can seriously affect their business.

So not only does a focus on people produce more innovation and efficiency, consumers tend to penalize firms who they see as cynical and calculating. Clearly, spreadsheets and strict financial analysis don’t tell the whole story. Some of the biggests risks that firms face are social in nature.

What it Means To be Practical

Many managers say that they take a “practical approach” to business by focusing like a laser on profits. Yet, as we have seen, a mindless pursuit of profits actually tends to reduce profitability. Others who are aware of the profit paradox say they pursue “enlightened self interest.” Yet that begs the question, “enlightened by what?”

The truth is that for any business to prosper it must continually innovate how it creates, delivers and captures value. For that you need people. Not just people who come to work to perform tasks, but people who come to work inspired by the mission of the enterprise.

They also need to be healthy, have adequate vacation time, a strong family and social life and be active in their community. Many top firms, such as General Electric, actively encourage participation in civic organizations, because they understand the value of having a committed workforce.

The best companies see people as more than a mere means to an end, but an end in themselves.

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Reigning Champions Formula – Consistency

What does “consistency” mean?

What keeps Forbes Africa Magazine selling, what makes certain Dj’s be renown across the content; what gets some businessmen be renown across the board getting repeat referrals after referral

Read on:

Consistency means that rules and expectations are the same from one time to another. Consistency makes the client’s world predictable and less confusing. It frees their minds of worry about what might happen and teaches them to accept the set standards of quality of product or service or both product and service.

 

 

  1. Consistency allows for measurement.

Until you have tried something new for a period of time and in a consistent manner, you can’t decide if it works or not.  How do you measure effectiveness if what you are measuring isn’t performed consistently?

I typically give new initiatives, processes, and organizational structures at least six months before judging them a success or failure. It’s often minor tweaking instead of major overhauls that make the difference.

“I’ve learned from experience that if you work harder at it, and apply more energy and time to it, and more consistency, you get a better result. It comes from the work.”– Louis C. K.

  1. Consistency creates accountability. 

I ask my employees to be accountable for their deliverables and goals. They should expect the same in return from my leadership. I put a priority on making time for and being available to my team. I work to establish consistent and recurring meetings when a project or aspect of the business requires attention.

The simple fact that there is a set time to report on progress is often the catalyst that moves an initiative along to a successful end.

“Think about exactly what it is that you want in your life right now.  Maybe you’ve recently launched a new business and want to leave your corporate job.  Perhaps you’re on a weight loss program and want to get healthy so that you can set a great example for your kids and just feel good in your skin.  When we lose sight of what we really want, competing interests and instant gratification – with all of their sexy distraction strategies – will beat out the discipline of consistency every time.  Get clear about what you want and put reminders of what you’re creating where you’ll see them often.”

  1. Consistency establishes your reputation.

Business growth requires a track record of success. You can’t establish a track record if you are constantly shifting gears or trying new tactics. Many efforts fail before they get to the finish line, but not because the tactic was flawed or goals weren’t clear. The problem is often that the team simply didn’t stay the course to achieve the objective.

In the world marketplace, consistency brings in constant business from repeatedly satisfied consumers. This should come to no surprise since, if your customers are coming in, they must be pleased with the way your operations and/or products are running. If they are coming back for more, they expect business to be conducted in a similar manner, seeing as consistency forms familiarity, which forms likeness.

  1. Consistency makes you relevant.

Your employees and your customers need a predictable flow of information from you. All too often I see businesses, both small and large, adopt a campaign or initiative only to end it before it gains traction. It’s effective to run many advertisements, numerous blog entries, weekly newsletters, or continual process changes throughout a year.

  1. Consistency maintains your message.

Your team pays as much or more attention to what you do as to what you say. Consistency in your leadership serves as a model for how they will behave.  If you treat a meeting as unimportant, don’t be surprised when you find they are doing the same to fellow teammates or even customers.

When something doesn’t work, I look back at what happened and ask some serious questions. Did we shift gears too quickly? Did part of the team not deliver on a commitment? Or was the expected outcome off base from the start? Most of the time, the reason tracks back to lack of consistency.

If you think you need to work on your character, the first place to look is at the patterns of your actions. See if your behaviors and the words that you promise are consistent with one another. If they are not, you know the place you need to start working on. Only once this is recognized can you begin to enhance your disposition. Consistency is key.

Rational Behavior

Positive workplace decisions stem from rational and reliable behavior. The information technology leadership website CIO Update advises that the ability to eliminate emotional decisions, as opposed to haphazard and inconsistent behavior, can make a difference in a company’s long-term survival. Whether you’re an entry-level associate or a senior supervisor, consistent rational decisions help you stand out as a dependable and trustworthy worker. Clients depend on you, co-workers need you and managers can’t get work done without you, so rational behavior gives them a reason to trust your workplace decisions.

 

Look at it this way in regards to each specific element

Products/services: Being consistent with what you sell seems like an obvious priority, but it’s not always the case, again especially with smaller companies. It’s not unusual to see avoidable and even sloppy variations in quality, service, packaging and more. Think of shoes: In a perfect world, once you know your size in a certain brand, it should be the correct size for you in every style that brand makes. But we all know that’s not always true. Aside from disappointing customers, inconsistency in what you sell can have very tangible costs, including lost business and returns.

Customers: Whether it’s a phone system, store personnel, order handling or general attitude and service ethic, with the best companies, customers know what to expect every time they deal with them. And assuming those expectations and experiences are positive, meeting them consistently will keep customers happy and loyal. It will also engender positive word-of-mouth, whereas inconsistency can alienate customers, discourage repeat business and stifle valuable referrals.

Employees: The best companies I know — certainly the most “enlightened” — realize that employees are at least as important as customers (and why customers benefit from that philosophy). So employees should expect the same consistency. Policies should be standardized, unambiguous and in writing, and employees should always know what is expected of them and how they will be treated. This is yet another area where a strong company culture makes a huge difference. Secure, content employees make money for a company. Unhappy employees — and their inevitable turnover — hurt the business.

Suppliers: The primary manifestation of consistency with suppliers is, of course, payment. Ideally that means paying on time, every time. But most small businesses I know — even those with the strictest of terms — are tolerant and philosophical when it comes to small infractions, as long as they are “dependable infractions.” In other words, if their terms are net 30 and they have a good customer who always pays 10 days late, but a very consistent 10 days late, most will live with it.

Aside from being the right thing to do, being a consistent, reliable customer when the bills come will pay off for you sooner or later. When pricing discussions come up, terms are being renegotiated, or special favors are needed, payment history weighs heavily in any company’s attitude about working with you. All other things being equal, the consistent, dependable customer will get better treatment.

Operations: Inconsistency is inefficient. Whether you are manufacturing, importing, retailing or providing a service, the more you can standardize the basic operations of your business, the better. At one extreme I’ve seen many small businesses that use too many forms and processes that overcomplicate basic functions. At the other end I’ve seen companies that “wing it” — without standard operational guidelines, record-keeping, policies, etc. The goal is not process for process’ sake; it’s to standardize operations without unnecessary complexity.

Growth: Consistency facilitates replication, and replication is often the key to growth and expansion, whether it’s for the owner of a franchise or the massive global scale of companies like McDonald’s and Starbucks. A Big Mac tastes (pretty much) the same wherever you go, and “Venti Latte” is a lingua franca in over 55 countries.

Now this is really important: Consistent does not mean boring or robotic. Put to best use, it is a road map for each area of your business, but it’s a road with very wide shoulders. It is possible — and desirable — to be extremely consistent without stifling creativity, discouraging individuality, or eliminating personal judgment and responsibility. Consistency and flexibility are not mutually exclusive; a band can perform the same song a hundred different ways while staying true to the distinctive sound that its fans expect.

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Inner Me;Powerful Me

The use of the imagination or original ideas, especially in the production of an artistic work. Also Creativity is defined as the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining ourselves and others.1. BECOME A BETTER PROBLEM SOLVER

There isn’t a manual to being an artist, and there isn’t a manual for being alive. Obstacles and challenges throughout life are inevitable. However, when we make creativity a habit, we continue to learn new, resourceful ways of solving problems in our artwork, and in life.

2. CONNECT WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

When we create, we connect to other people doing the same and an instant sense of community is formed. Whether we’re exchanging ideas, providing feedback for our peers, or simply creating next to eachother in silence, the sense of connection experienced as artists is undeniable and deeply rewarding.

3. SAVE MONEY

Expressing ourselves can control the urge to buy impulsively. If we trade the activity of consuming for creating, we not only save money, but get a deeper sense of fulfillment. Additionally, the more we learn how to make things ourselves, the less we need to spend money on buying them.

4. EXPANDED SENSE OF TIME

Countless artists have discussed the experience of timelessness that one encounters in the creative zone. Time feels limitless when we are in the creative ‘zone.’ Strangely enough, when we give ourselves time to creative pursuits, we gain time. Who couldn’t use the feeling of more time?

5. SELF AWARENESS & EXPRESSION

Creativity is the route to authenticity. As we create, we plumb the depths of our being, accessing what we think and believe. The more we create, the more we discover  and realize our habits, impulses, and desires. When we take the time and energy to develop our own ideas, we respect our inner nature and are better able to express ourselves to the world on a regular basis.

6. FREEDOM

There is no right or wrong way to be an artist. When we create, we are given the opportunity to engage with the world without judging ourselves. We have permission to take risks, try new things, and strip away inhibitions in a healthy way.

7. STRESS RELIEF

Making art is meditative. Taking the time to use our hands, minds, and energy doing something we love is of uptmost importance in life. Being creative makes us happy. Art is FUN, and doing anything that brings joy reduces our stress levels and improves our quality of life. What could be more important than that?

How to Nurture Your Creativity And Boost Your Intuitive Awareness

Nurturing your creativity and boosting your intuitive awareness are essential to living a creative life. When you give yourself the right internal tools and external environment in which to flourish creatively, you will see the difference in your creative practice and the full on effect in every area of your life. Read on for 10 simple ways to nurture creativity and boost your intuitive awareness starting today.

1. Pursue interests that energize you.

Do things that light you up inside and give you natural energy. Some tasks naturally drain us while others fill us with amazing energy. Find what things work for you and make a point to do them every single day to boost your energy and nurture creativity.

2. Take time out for regular meditation and reflection.

When you meditate, you calm your mind, allow the endless chatter to subside and give yourself a chance to refresh. Meditation heightens your intuitive awareness making you more open taking in everything around you, which in turn nurtures your creativity.

3. Experiment with creative materials.

Take some time out to experiment with your creative materials. You don’t need a master plan or end goal, just play and see what happens. You’ll be surprised at what comes out. Every time you experiment creatively, you are nurturing and growing your creative capacity.

4. Get plenty of sleep.

Getting a good nights rest is essential to nurturing your creativity and boosting your intuitive awareness. Good rest helps the mind function at full capacity and makes you sharper and more open to creative opportunities throughout the day.

5. Do something special for yourself once a week.

Do something just for you once a week. When you’re rushing from one thing to the next, you often don’t give yourself the opportunity to indulge, but it’s important that you do. It could be a trip to a local art gallery, morning tea at your favorite café or just an afternoon spent reading a good book at the park. Indulging yourself once a week will provide some much needed creative inspiration and the calmness of mind to take it all in.

6. Spend some time in nature.

Give yourself the gift of time in nature. It could be anything from a leisurely walk along the beach to a hike through the mountains. Get out there and experience everything our wonderful world has to offer. The benefits to your creativity and intuitive awareness are limitless.

7. Take up a hobby just for fun.

Not everything you do needs to be tied to a goal or special outcome. Take up a hobby just for fun and enjoy the moment for what it is. By living in the moment you’ll boost your awareness and facilitate the flow of creative ideas.

8. Exercise your imagination.

Exercise your imagination by giving yourself a fun creative challenge every day. A great way to start is with this simple game. Simply pick a random word like “cat” and a random creative medium like “painting,” and give yourself the challenge of creating something with those two parameters in mind. Exercising your imagination like this every day will nurture creativity and boost your creative abilities long term.

9. Start a daily yoga practice.

A daily yoga practice will center you while fulfilling the needs of your mind, body and spirit. Yoga is a great way to nurture creativity by clearing the clutter from your mind. It will also gradually improve your intuitive awareness.

10. Read every day.

When you read, you are exposed to the amazing ideas of others and bring them into your consciousness where they brew alongside your own thoughts to create something magical. Read every day to fill yourself with knowledge and inspiration that will nurture creativity.

 

Enjoy your weekend people

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Turning Customers into Clients

Strictly defined, a customer is someone who buys goods or services from a store or business. The word “client” can also mean “customer,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary, but it has a separate definition as someone who receives professional services(occupations in the economy requiring special training).

Turning customers into loyal followers is quite a process that requires dedication to it let’s go through it bit by bit:

1. Communicate with Customers

Whether it’s an email newsletter, a monthly flier, a reminder card for a tuneup, or a holiday greeting card, set up a system for reaching out to the customers you already have. Dedicate time to creating and maintaining a database of contact information, including phone, email, and snail mail addresses. If there’s a social media element to your business, invite people to your page or website and keep that online element fresh.

Remember that all of your messages don’t need to be advertising — some can be useful information or can serve the community. In the long run, communication will pay off. This can be in the form of a newsletter mailed to existing customers, or it can be more informal, such as a phone call. Whatever method you use, the key is to dramatically point out to customers what excellent service you are giving them. If you never mention all the things you’re doing for them, customers may not notice. You are not being cocky when you talk to customers about all the work you have done to please them. Just make a phone call and let them know they don’t have to worry because you handled the paperwork, called the attorney or double-checked the shipment — one less thing they have to do.

2. Write long-time customers personal, handwritten notes frequently. “I was just sitting at my desk, and your name popped into my head. Are you still having a great time flying all over the country? Let me know if you need another set of luggage. I can stop by with our latest models anytime.” Or, if you run into an old customer at an event, follow up with a note: “It was great seeing you at the CDC Christmas party. I will call you early in the new year to schedule a lunch.”

3. Keep it personal. Voice mail and email make it easy to communicate, but the personal touch is lost. Don’t count these as a legitimate follow-up. If you’re having trouble getting through, leave a voice-mail message that you want to talk to the person directly or will stop by his or her office at a designated time.

4. Remember special occasions. Send regular customers birthday cards, anniversary cards, holiday cards — you name it. Gifts are excellent follow-up tools, too. You don’t have to spend a fortune to show you care. Use your creativity to come up with interesting gift ideas that tie into your business, the customer’s business or his or her recent purchase.

5. Pass on information. If you read an article, see a new book, or hear about an organization that a customer might be interested in, drop a note or make a quick call to let them know.

6. Consider follow-up calls business development calls. When you talk to or visit established clients or customers, you’ll often find they have referrals to give you, which can lead to new business.

Take the first step to been a tycoon and let it be known that you’re here for a reason and that is to win at every opportune moment.

You can reach me at twitter @cc_wahome .Charles Wahome |LinkedIn

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I welcome your thoughts. Author: Charles Wahome Chambers | Google+