Roy's Blog: August 2018

August 27, 2018

What happens when you hang out with someone for 50 years?

Recently my wife and I celebrated 50 years of marriage and close to 60 years of hanging out together. Pretty rare, right?

Let’s face it, maintaining long term relationships and finishing what you started are formidable feats and challenging to say the least particularly in today’s world of uncertainty and unpredictability that cause immense stress and strain on people.

I have learned that there is a great deal of commonality between maintaining a healthy “productive” relationship for over a half century and achieving success whether it be in a career or business.
What works to develop person-to-person sustainability tends to be an accurate predictor of what will work in any environment where building strong relationships is critical.

These are my top 5 takeaways.

Success requires an all-in attitude

If you’re not in it mentally for the duration you’re not likely going to be able to endure the struggles of the journey.
If you don’t start out with the sole purpose of giving it everything you’ve got to make the relationship work despite the odds, then it probably won’t.

All in

My observation is that many partnership casualties result from giving up when the going gets tough; when the energy required to make it work is more than what people are prepared to invest — they don’t see that the return is worth it
To be successful in anything dictates that you can’t be sorta in. If you’re not 100% committed nothing remarkable happens and your goal alludes you.

You either take on the challenge with the sole purpose of achieving what you stepped up to or you don’t.
A journey with a half baked or casual commitment never gets completed; being in for 50% doesn’t cut it. It’s too easy to walk away. And it leaves casualties behind.

The most workable way forward is never a binary choice

Nothing is black or white. There isn’t a formula that says if you do this you will have a successful relationship and if you do something else you won’t (one of the reasons I never listened to the relationship “experts”).
What works for one relationship does not mean it will necessarily work for another. And what works for one person will not necessarily work for another.

Success is rather characterized by shades of grey that blends the needs of a broader audience and a broader purpose. Meaningful progress requires a compromise of minds to yield a variety of perspectives and opinions.
Failure to compromise and appreciate the needs of more than oneself normally results in dysfunctional relationships, minimal progress and eventual failure.

Imperfection must be embraced

Embrace imperfect

As I have witnessed in my own life, there is no such thing as a perfect partnership (and I must confess I don’t understand who ultimately is the author of perfection); it is often laced with the extremes of euphoria and sorrow.
And it certainly doesn’t follow any textbook theory on what it “should” look like.
Partnerships work because of what the partners say, not on what the textbooks say.

Success in anything is based on trying what you think might work and learning whether it does by trying to execute it on the run. It’s not determined by what you THINK will work but rather on whether it DOES when it stands raw naked in the face of real world forces.

It’s a function of the number of imperfect tries you make; the more tries you make the greater the likelihood a winning way forward will be discovered.
In addition, success requires keeping expectations of others real; not expecting them to always precisely live up to a predefined set of expectations.
Amazing results happen when people are allowed to express their “imperfect” individuality and creativity.

Heads up and be alert with tingly spider senses for the unexpected

Spider senses

Positive momentum is achieved. Things are stable. Life is good. Then WHAM! Just when you think things are running smoothly, the unexpected hits with vengeance out of left field to set your world on its heals.
A setback on the job, medical issues or family school grades performance descend upon you and threaten you and yours.

We live in a chaotic world where we have little control over much that affects us. So to move forward we must be able to accommodate the occasional body blow that disrupts our original plan and continue to move ahead.

We must be alert to the tipping points that await to lure us to the “dark side” from the shadows to push us off course.

And we must stay nimble and resilient to take a punch and still move forward with our end game in mind.

Stay with your mission

Be focused, true and resilient. It’s easy to get distracted and think another goal or purpose is better than the one you are currently pursuing.
Another person looks like an attractive alternative. Another career has a mouth watering pull. Your current business strategy doesn’t seem to be working so look elsewhere for a more attractive option.

You might discover a different route to your goal; that’s perfectly ok. But to be enticed off track and throw the baby out with the bath water results in rigour mortise setting in; no decisions are made and no actions are taken.
Be loyal and committed to your destination; find any means to reach it.

A relationship is an amazing teacher for what it takes to be successful in a career, business or any facet of life.

Pay attention to the ones you have.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
5 insanely easy ways to make a customer your BFF
Leaders: this is what happens when you’re approachable
How a simple grin can kill people

  • Posted 8.27.18 at 05:01 am by Roy Osing
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August 23, 2018

How should startup entrepreneurs manage their business finances? — guest post

Cash flow rules

A highly effective CEO concentrates on creating a convincing product, employing the services of a proficient team, boosting sales, and making his clients satisfied and happy.
However, many leaders are engrossed in managing so many other issues, they do not pay attention to the most critical aspect of their startup; making sure that the organization is constantly raising funds at higher valuations.

The startup entrepreneur must:
— Know when cash is going to run out
— Understand the precise milestones and objectives to be attained in ways to receive an ever-increasing valuation
Create the most effective plan for fulfilling those milestones in a suitable timeframe

Cash flow

Here are some important ways to effectively manage your business finances if you are a startup owner.

Manage cash flow carefully

Most startups actually do not succeed because of a host of reasons but the most common cause of a startup failure is running out of funds. You need to be very meticulous about all your calculations and know exactly how much money is coming in and where every dollar is being spent.
If you do not keep track of your transactions and cash flow, your business will be in jeopardy. Nobody will care about how fantastic your idea if you have no funds to feed it. It is vital to chalk out the right budget and firmly stick to it.

Constantly monitor all expenses

Once you start operating your business you will be tempted to incur more expenses than you need. It may be impractical for you to hire a full-time accounting professional right at the beginning.

So consider using a competent accounting software package to remain on top of your expenses and stay organized.
This will help “smooth” cash flows over the year in order to accommodate annual expense obligations such as taxes. However, as your operations expand, consider employing the services of a qualified and experienced accounting professional.

Be transparent & honest with lenders & investors

Nothing could be more hazardous to your business than dishonesty and sheer lack of communication.
Startups must necessarily be open and truthful while raising money or taking out loans. If you behave in a secretive and shady manner, nobody will trust you.
Similarly, if you are reluctant about revealing the important numbers such as demand forecasts, you could easily lose the opportunity and trust of capital sources.
Often at the beginning of your business venture, you rely on your friends and family for fundraising. In that case, to establish credibility you must be open to them regarding the organization’s financial condition. If you are relying on investors, you must be as precise as you can about the assumptions behind your forecasts on sales, operating and capital expenses.

Restrict your fixed expenses in the initial stages

At the start of your venture, keep your expenses to a minimum — you don’t need a plush office or catered meals. You must consider operating thin so that you can divert more funds toward the growth of your business.
Many startups fail due to spending lavishly on state-of-the-art amenities; they forget that their top priority is generating more and more revenue. Once your revenues start growing, you can consider incurring more overhead expenses. Until then, you need to be patient and wise.

Be prepared for failures but stay optimistic

When you start a new business you must be prepared to face the possible outcome that your personal finances could be jeopardized. If you have current employment, stay with it until your startup is in a position to effectively replace that income.
Create and keep reserves in some emergency savings account as a preparation for financial crisis situations.
Make the best use of micro-investing opportunities and consider allocating funds to a reliable online platform every month.

New customers

Concentrate on getting new customers

Customer acquisition must be your top priority. Remember your business would be a flop-show without customers. Once you are able to take on various acquisition channels, consider optimization the mix to lower your overall costs.
At the outset of your journey, it is obviously not possible for you to examine the pros and cons and reliability of all possible acquisition channels. Your resources are limited so focus on those channel opportunities with the greatest financial potential.

Establish financial objectives

Instead of being mesmerized about building a huge company, set realistic and specific measurable financial goals and objectives. You can set weekly, monthly and even daily revenue objectives and be sure to keep track of your results.
And be prepared to tweak your goals to achieve constant growth. It is essential to constantly keep attaining little goals to keep your morale high and enable you to move forward and achieve the major goals necessary for your success.

Remember: time is money

If you are working hard to achieve all the financial goals of your startup, these financial tips will definitely help.

And remember, time is as precious as money so don’t squander it by, for example, attending pointless meetings that have no relevance to your business.
Time is the most precious asset that startup entrepreneurs have so use it wisely by focusing only on activities that are directly linked to your new business idea.

Marina Thomas is a marketing and communication expert. She also serves as content developer with many years of experience. She helps clients to develop their long term wealth plans. She covers an extensive range of topics in her posts, including business debt consolidation and start-ups.

  • Posted 8.23.18 at 04:38 am by Roy Osing
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August 20, 2018

5 insanely easy ways to make a customer your BFF

Why would you want a customer to be your BFF?

Your job after all is to sell them something, answer their question on why their product isn’t functioning the way it should or why their bill is higher than what they expected.

Job descriptions never say “be the customer’s BFF”. Employees are viewed as instruments of the organization; to perform the role that maximizes results for the shareholders and owners of the organization in terms of sales and cost.

Employees serve “them”

Employees are taught to serve the organization. Period. Their essential duty is to the hierarchy; to follow the rules of the people that give them a regular pay check.

Taught

And that’s the problem because superlative performance doesn’t happen when people inside the organization serve the organization exclusively. When they are excruciatingly focused on controlling costs, minimizing the time they spend answering a customer’s request and striving to deliver all internal company metrics flawlessly day in and day out.

Majestic performance that exceeds that of every competitor in the market happens when employees are outward focused to the customer; when employees exist to satisfy one and only one objective — serve the customer in a way that surprises and delights them.

Yes, they have their “internal world” to satisfy — productivity goals and the like — but their prime purpose is to create mind blowing experiences for the customer within the confines of what makes good business sense.

Having an incredible moment with a customer is the way to delight them, have them buy, tell their friends all about how amazing you are and keep them coming back for more (sounds like a plan that would satisfy any shareholder, right?)

And the tool to create memorable moments is friendship; the ability to build credibility and trust with another person in the limited time you have with them.

Try these 5 simple approaches to build a BFF relationship with a customer that will both blow them away and satisfy your organization’s hunger for growth.

Reset your brain

Get out of the mindset that says your job is to fulfil the mandate of the organization. Rather than focus on the ultimate end game of your actions — generating more sales for example — concentrate on the behaviours that will yield the intended result.
Long term sales growth, for instance, isn’t achieved by flogging products and services to potential clients, it’s by consistently demonstrating the relationship building acts that get you there.

Unplug your ears

If you’re not really listening to the customer how can you possibly befriend them? If your agenda is to push your wares or execute the policies of your organization, it’s virtually impossible to align yourself with the customer’s wants and desires.

Customer engagement is all about THEIR agenda not the organization’s, so lean into the conversation with the intent to “hear them”, not force them to comply with what you want them to do.

Unplug ears

Shut your mouth

If you listen well, this will automatically happen. Airtime with the customer will be heavily weighted to what THEY have to say not what you have to say. Your role in building a BFF relationship is to clarify their narrative so that you can respond appropriately and satisfy their requirements.
You’re not giving a speech that would try to convince them to comply with the organization; you’re simply trying to get a clear understanding of what it takes to satisfy them.

Surprise them

The main “driver of delight” with any person is the surprise element; doing something the other person DOESN’T expect.
The airline loses your luggage which contained the clothes for your 8-month old daughter. You call the airline expecting to get the run around, but the rep first of all apologizes profusely for the unfortunate incident, tells you to go out and purchase whatever you need to replace the contents of the pieces of luggage lost and to send the bill personally to her for immediate payment (and the promise is kept).
How would you feel about the rep and the company she represents? My guess is you would be WOW’D! and would tell your story to your friends and family — and blog readers also.

Stay with them

Organizations have a complicated structure; for example, responsibilities are separated among marketing, sales, customer service, billing and repair departments with a strategy to concentrate expertise and (hopefully) maximize productivity.
“This isn’t my job, let me pass you over to the people who answer billing questions” doesn’t do anything to build a BFF, it destroys it. I have to enter another call queue and probably wait another 10-15 minutes to get a rep and then tell my story all over again.
Building friends requires the “Never pass a customer around!” mantra where the employee who has a customer keeps the customer until they are completely satisfied.

Why would you ever want a customer as a BFF? Because a BFF is loyal, they tell you their “secrets”, they talk you up to their friends and they like spending time with you.

Sounds like a formula for business success to me.

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
Leaders: this is what happens when you’re approachable
How a simple grin can kill people
6 common customer service mistakes that will make you sick

  • Posted 8.20.18 at 03:22 am by Roy Osing
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August 13, 2018

Leaders: this is what happens when you’re approachable

How many times have you heard a leader say they have an open door policy; that they are approachable?

Many of these individuals are simply regurgitating what they’ve read or have heard at a leadership seminar. They’ve been told that a fundamental requirement of an effective leader is to be easily available to others so they choose to announce their approachability to one and all.

The real test of whether they are “blowing smoke” is to watch what they do and not get mesmerized by what they say.

I have had the opportunity to work with many leaders over my 33+ year career and, by observation, these are the things the REAL approachable leaders do.

On the bottom

They live on the bottom

They have their office on the first floor of the building not at the “10,000’ level” where the air is rarified and where people would never casually go to drop in. Approachable leaders locate to make it easy for people to engage with them; they understand that a low intimidation factor is necessary to invite a conversation.

They are one with the people

They identify more with “the people” than with the leadership caste. Approachability is driven by inclusion not exclusion, and this means being recognized as a part of the work team not the executive team.
Just because you have a VP title doesn’t mean you can’t fulfill your executive role and be a functioning part of the operations organization that gets things done.

They are known on a first name basis

Employees call them by their first name, and you notice it. It’s not that the leader isn’t respected, in fact it’s the opposite.
They attract the respect that leaves people wanting to call them in a more casual friendly way.
The leader has earned the right to attract engagement in a first name basis; it doesn’t come from being distant and aloof.

They spend time in the work location

“Approachables” spend time in employees’ work locations, with people where THEY work. Approachable leaders spend more time out of their office than in it, and out-of-office locations are the workplaces of their people.
They are shoulder-to-shoulder with the people going the work asking how they can help make their jobs easier so they can perform better.

Face to face

They are face to face communicators

They prioritize face to face meetings over any other mode of communication. Active engagement with employees defines an approachable persona where interaction is the mode.
They use one way communication channels — email, texting, social media — where necessary but prefer active conversation rather than passive monologues.

They have a public face

They invite “intrusions”. They invite communications by posting their email address for everyone to see. And they make sure all emails are answered personally within a specified time.
Yes, it’s an onerous commitment which chews up time that could be spent on other tasks, but that’s what makes them approachable and other leaders insincere.

They put employees ahead of their boss

Places employee engagements ahead of other internal meetings and when there’s a conflict, employees take priority.
This is uncomfortable and perhaps risky at times when the CEO — and this has happened to me — has called an impromptu meeting that you have to decline.

They lunch and learn with people

On occasion you will spot “the approachable one” at lunch with a number of employees which usually means they are looking for feedback on an idea or project or are wanting to recognize a job well done for a special team who have just accomplished an amazing feat.

Approachable leaders show their stripes in simple caring ways, but that why they’re approachable, right?

Cheers,
Roy

Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
How a simple grin can kill people
6 common customer service mistakes that will make you sick
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  • Posted 8.13.18 at 03:46 am by Roy Osing
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