What to do When Your Customer Service Fails

Customer service is vital to the growth of a small business – to any business really. You probably already know this. But what if your customer service fails? If you’re a human, running a small business for humans, possibly with not enough other humans to customer-servicehelp you, there is a chance that, every now and then, you will drop the ball and your customer will suffer because of it.

In this case, what do you do?

Well, believe it or not, it is when your customer service fails – for whatever reason – that you have the most chance to make your business shine. Here are some tips for how to clean up your customer service mess like the amazing business pro you are: Continue reading What to do When Your Customer Service Fails

8 Ways Small Business Owners can Improve Customer Satisfaction

Inspired by Wedding Planning

The average person has very few opportunities to invest so much money (so, so much Customer Service for Small Businessmoney) into local businesses as they do when they are planning their wedding.

From the photographer to the DJ to the caterer to the florist to the wedding planner to the limo company to the wedding cake baker to the hair and makeup artists and quite possibly including your venue, bridal dress shop, tuxedo rentals and the travel agent who books your honeymoon, weddings pump thousands (and thousands and thousands) of dollars into local and small businesses.

If it’s one thing I learned from planning my own wedding, it’s that if a small business owner can work successfully and satisfactorily with a bride, then there is probably very little you can teach them about customer satisfaction when it comes to working with the average (less stressed out) customer or client.

Unfortunately, too many small businesses miss the mark on how to provide customer service in the 21st century and it is detrimentally affecting their business.  Here are some lessons for small business success that I picked up from the vendors I’ve loved (and hated) during my own wedding planning experience: Continue reading 8 Ways Small Business Owners can Improve Customer Satisfaction

Top 10 Children’s Books to Celebrate Mother’s Day

This weekend is Mother’s Day. If you are a mother of very young children, it is important that you start immediately fostering a sense in them of how awesome you are as a mother, so that you may reap the benefits of very expensive jewelry, flowers and spa treatments for many Mother’s Days to come.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite children’s books (you may not know that your literary artist taught preschool a couple of decades ago) that will help your children understand the complexity and sacrifice of a mother’s love:

1) Love You Forever

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When I think of books about the strength of the bond between mother and child, even after death, this classic is the first that comes to mind. If you have a couple hours to sit and cry ugly tears with your children, then this book is for you. If nothing else, it will impart upon them the guilt that will keep them coming home for dinner every Sunday once they are adults.

Continue reading Top 10 Children’s Books to Celebrate Mother’s Day

BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ADVICE FROM FAMOUS ENTREPRENEURS

Small business management is not for the faint of heart. When the inevitable struggles, scuffles and setbacks of starting a business get you down, remember that the greatest entrepreneurs of the last century have been where you stand, learned some hard lessons and succeeded. Refer back to this article as needed for advice to put you back on the road toward your business goals.

Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay CosmeticsEntrepreneur Business Advice
Tired of working in a male-dominated culture, Mary Kay grabbed $5,000 out of her savings account, hired a handful of independent beauty consultants and opened a tiny store in Dallas in 1963. Today, the late Mary Kay’s business is flourishing world-wide, with hundreds of thousands of beauty consultants and revenue in the billions. There are two tactics that Mary Kay started early on that were instrumental to her success, both involving how she managed people.

First, she started with a strong business plan based on her Christian faith and guided her employees and consultants to prioritize God, family and work, in that order. This business plan was the crux of her leadership philosophy throughout her career and was a consistency her consultants could count on. Second, she created a lucrative incentive program for her consultants that included her famous pink Cadillacs for top sellers. Mary Kay is frequently listed in surveys as a top business to work for. Continue reading BUSINESS MANAGEMENT ADVICE FROM FAMOUS ENTREPRENEURS

What 80s Movies Taught me About Entrepreneurship

Small Business AdviceLast night, unable to sleep, I turned on my television, and found myself watching the 1983 movie Risky Business. I hadn’t seen it in years, and am not really the biggest Tom Cruise fan, but I was surprised that, as a small business owner, I could relate to this movie, about a young guy who inadvertently starts a successful brothel, in a way I never had before. To clarify, I could relate to the “starting a business” part of the movie, not the brothel part.

 In one defining conversation, Tom’s teenage character receives some very shrewd advice on life and business from his close friend, played by the man who would go on to become “Booger” on Revenge of the Nerds.  Future Booger tells him that, “sometimes you gotta say WTF, and make your move.”

Future Booger then goes on to say that “every now and then, saying WTF gives you freedom. Freedom brings opportunity. Opportunity makes your future.” Continue reading What 80s Movies Taught me About Entrepreneurship

10 New Year’s Resolution Grammar Tips to Make You Seem Smarter, Make Your Writing Clearer, and Help You Lose Weight*

*weight-loss results not guaranteed

Want to appear more professional at work, seem more educated on social media, or just have people actually understand WTH you are trying to say? You’ll be surprised how fast mastering basic grammar rules can propel you toward your career goals, bring you riches beyond your wildest dreams, and help you attain the happiness that has always eluded you.

If you’re still looking for a New Year’s resolution, or even if you aren’t, might I suggest you print this list of most commonly abused grammar rules, and hang it some place where you’ll see it frequently (such as on your spouse’s forehead)? If you can commit, at least for the month of January, to checking this list every time you use (or misuse) one of these common words or phrases, you’ll quickly learn the correct way to write each of them. Continue reading 10 New Year’s Resolution Grammar Tips to Make You Seem Smarter, Make Your Writing Clearer, and Help You Lose Weight*

Get Greedy: How Working For Free is Killing Your Small Business

To be sure, I don’t mean “greed” in the popular sense, in which you may be envisioning Ebenezer Scrooge miserly spending his Christmas Eve counting gold coins while his hard-working and loyal employee trudges home through the snow to his meager diGreedyDucknner and his crippled son.

I am directing my advice to “get greedy” to new business owners and freelancers, far too many of whom seem to lack the belief that their product or service has value or that they should demand good money for that value.

What it Means to “Get Greedy”
I hear all the time from new business owners who feel they need to give away their services for free or dirt cheap so that they can build their brand/get exposure/make future sales/gain experience.

If this is you, I am here to tell you something that will save your business: You do not need to give it away for free to be successful. Continue reading Get Greedy: How Working For Free is Killing Your Small Business

5 Tips for Hiring a Freelancer for Your Small Business

As a small business owner, hiring a consultant is something you will eventually have to do as you grow and expand your business. If you are looking for a lawyer, accountant or a creative individual to provide freelance or consulting services, there are a few crucial things you need to assess about the individual or company you are considering before you make a decision. Continue reading 5 Tips for Hiring a Freelancer for Your Small Business

6 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Freelance Writer

If you own or run a business and you are asking yourself if you need to hire a professional freelance writer, then your answer is already a resounding “yes.” Here’s why:

You Care about Your Business and Want it to Look Good
Communication with your customers and potential customers is often done just as much – and, in some cases, much more – in writing as it is in person. Your website, printed advertisements, social media pages, brochures, reports, newsletter, even your coupons are all 100 percent WRITTEN. In other words, a large portion of the impression you are making in the community and, as a result, your reputation is based on writing. If you care about your business and are putting your blood, sweat and tears into making it a success, make sure you aren’t letting lackluster writing hold you back. Continue reading 6 Reasons Why You Should Hire a Freelance Writer