The Customer Isn’t Always Right!

But, They Are ALWAYS The Customer.

The other night, I watched the Celebrity Apprentice. Gene Simmons, of KISS fame, had just triumphed as Project Manager and was given the opportunity to lead the women. He took the chance.

Their task was to introduce a new printer for Kodak. Gene established that he was in charge, and that their theme was to be “It’s a Kodak World. Welcome…” They did a really good and professional job of presenting the product.

But, they lost.

Gene’s answer to Donald Trump was, “The customer is wrong.”

The problem was that Kodak knew what they were trying to accomplish. They weren’t wrong – this time. AND, they were the Customer.

We have heard, “The Customer Is Always Right” over and over again. The concept is correct, but the statement is not. The Customer isn’t always right. Taking that attitude literally can lead to some interesting consequences.

For example, it can lead to a company Returns policy that accepts tires or anything else NOT SOLD by that store. It leads to a hypocrisy for the salesman who hears that the Customer’s. “NO” is just the beginning of selling – keep closing… It can lead to designing products by poll or focus groups only to have them fail miserably in the marketplace.

The reality is that the Customer is King or Queen is the right attitude. Everything we do needs to be aimed at the customer. We treat every customer with courtesy and respect. We go the extra mile in seeing that their needs are met. We over-deliver so the customer gets a WOW experience every time they come into contact with us.

The Customer isn’t always right, but the Customer is ALWAYS the Customer!

What do you think?

Keeping Your Mental Attitude Positive

Running your own business is hard, but satisfying work. There is so much freedom of action involved.

  • You get to do whatever your customers want.
  • You can set your own hours.
  • You only have to work half-days.
  • You get to choose which 12 hours that will be.

It really is hard, sometimes, to keep up the pace when confronted with those hard obstacles like fiercely angry customers, vendors with no stock, bankers, the Post Office, taxes, employees (shudder). One of your most important self-activities is to keep your attitude positive. You’ve got to work at it.

A Positive Mental Attitude (PMA) is important for several reasons. Without it, you’ll descend into despair when troubles come, and they will. You’ll get farther along with your customers by exuding positive joy instead of negative grouch. You’ll influence others who will mirror back to you what your attitude is.

How do you develop this Positive Mental Attitude?

You can begin by refreshing your memory about your goals and dreams – each day. Make and place visual reminders of what your business is doing for you and your family. Pictures of cars and houses might seem like so much hooey, but they remind you of what’s down the road for you with this business.

You can do affirmations. These simple, as-it-will be sentences will program your sub-conscience to stay on the lookout for the conditions you describe, and will make it so.

You can journal your way through rough patches to discover how it happened and what you can do to change the outcome should it ever happen again. The answer is rarely, “I’m never going to do business with X-customers again!”

In the end, you will be exercising Discipline to your mind, taking every though captive and changing it into a positive reflection.

You don ‘t have problems, you have challenges. There are no obstacles, only opportunities. Your brother-in-law is a dork, and cannot kill your dream.

I wake up every morning and say to myself, “It’s GREAT to be alive! Lord, give me a GREAT Day!” And it is.

We see and hear what we expect to see and hear, based on our past experiences. Today will become a past experience, so make it be positive.

How do you maintain a Positive Attitude?

Another Look at Goals and Plans

Goals and Plans

Each of us engages in setting goals and planning each and every day. We just might not recognize it, that’s all.

Can you answer the following questions?

What do you want? Where do you want to go? How will you get there? What will you need along the way? How much will it cost? Who will help you? Do you know how? What else do you lack? What do you already have? Do you care about any of this? Will you pay the price? Given two choices of action, which one should you choose? What will you do, today, to get you closer? How will you know you have arrived? Are you closer or farther away? What are the signs you are missing the mark? Should you re-set the mark, or re-double your efforts?

The answers will, of course, vary between individuals, and in relation to the magnitude of the vision that motivates us. However, in order to manage or provide stewardship to our scarce resources – time, money, energy, talent, motivation – answering them to the best of our ability will bring a clarity and energy to each day that might be missing otherwise.

Mission or Vision

We begin with a framework of belief or a vision or mission that we use as a measure, a plumb line to our everyday ideas.

However, the vision and the mission are really too broad to be of much help in the routines of day-to-day work.

Goals

So, from the vision and the mission come goals or objectives or targets or destinations. These fix the vision with a concrete picture or description. This is a picture seen through a glass, darkly. It will not be as we expect it to be. But it will help us along the way as we work day by day.

A goal is a target — a destination — an expectation — a measure of faith — a challenge of faith — a statement of desire — a statement of motivation. A goal is NOT a statement of fact or a prediction of the future, nor a rigid, mechanical, unalterable, inevitable control device. It is a guide to actions, a helper for planning, a measure of decisions and actions. Without a goal, it is difficult to make plans; it is difficult to make decisions of value.

I have used the example before of the targets in an archery range and a bunch of little boys and girls. The targets are not there for these children to hit bull’s eyes, but to keep the arrows all going “that way”.

But keep thinking about the ones who return to practice – who are captured by the thought of actually hitting the bull’s eye. In time, they will hit the target, and finally hit the bull’s eye. But because they are small, the target is close and the bow is weak. As they grow physically, soon there is no challenge in hitting bull’s eyes so close. They get a stronger bow, and move the target farther away, and keep practicing the skills that allowed them earlier success. Someone will become good enough to go to the Olympics and win a gold medal.

We aren’t out for gold medals. I believe goals are what will help us put to work what the Lord has put in our charge.

A goal is something we can see, touch, feel, and describe.

Therefore, a goal is SMART. This is an acronym for:

S pecific

M easurable

A ttainable

R elevant

T rackable

Specific

Can you see it in your mind? Can you describe it to someone else? Can you touch it, or feel it? Can you draw a picture of it? Can you see what is around it? Can you hear it? These are specifics. “Make some money” is not specific. “Make $100,000 in Net Profit by March 10th,” is specific.

Measurable

Related to specific is the ability to measure it. How many? How much? What date? What pace? The above specific example has a number of measurable attributes. What are they?

Attainable

There is a need to be realistic about a goal. We need to be able to believe in it. We need to be able to say… “It could happen.” This doesn’t mean that we put limits on what’s possible. It does, however, mean that we don’t set a target or goal so unrealistically unachievable that even the most faithful prayer and petition can’t convince us that we believe in it.

Relevant

Relevance keeps us from pursuing something that does not contribute to overall success. This means that it “fits.” Here is where we measure against our Mission and Vision.

Trackable

This simply means that the measurables are available often enough that we can stay informed about our progress. Imagine setting a goal and not being able to see how well we are doing until the end, only to find out we were “this close” to making it… Daily, Weekly, Monthly collection and comparison of progress towards goals is important.

This also allows periodic comparisons of progress against a plan, and adjustments either to the plan or to the goal.

Within the Vision and the Mission are the Goals. From the Goals flow Plans.

Planning

Planning is defined simply as deciding – today – what to do – tomorrow. A Plan is a series of pre-made decisions about how to accomplish a Goal. The Goal must exist before a Plan can be made. Once the goal is SMART, it is easy to make a Plan to reach the goal.

Begin at the end and work backwards. Divide the time into smaller and smaller chunks until you are able to see today. You will ultimately be able to answer the question “What do I need to do, today, to reach the goals I set?”

I recommend that your plan focuses on the Production or Action kind of Goals. Answer these questions:

How many customers will I need? How many do I have now? What is the demographic profile for my customer base? How will I identify prospects? How many prospects will I have to ask before I get a yes answer? How will I recruit them? How will I train them? How will I lead them? When do I get started?

I also recommend you start at the far end of your goals to get the big picture for your plans, and then re-focus on the coming Year, then the Quarter, then the Month, Week, finally the Day. Each day, in your quiet time, meditate on to do this day to accomplish your goals.

Another illustration to help give light on this topic. Imagine yourself embarking on a vacation. You just start driving one day, and then you find yourself back at home. Did you have a good time???

Start again. Imagine you want to have an exciting two week vacation this October. Where do you want to go? Who will go with you? What means of transportation will you use? ? If you are driving, what route will you take? What stops will you make along the way? If you are flying, which airline will you use? Will you fly Coach, or First-Class? What kind of living accommodations will you require? Will you make reservations, or trust that there will be openings when you arrive? What will you eat? Will you take it with you, buy along the way, or eat in restaurants? How much will all of this cost? Do you have that much available today? How much will you have to save before you leave? How much is that each day? What will you have to give up to save that much money? What about alternative plans? What happens if it rains, or doesn’t rain? What do you do if there is a detour? What if you can’t save that much money, what would your second choice be?

You get the picture. Planning is not only smart, it is required.

We begin with the Goal – the Target – the Destination. We build Plans on the Goals – decisions today about what we will do tomorrow. As we work our plan, we are always evaluating progress so we can change plans, or readjust goals.

What kinds of Goals do you need to establish? What level of Planning do you need to do?

Initial Action Goals and Plans

Every Startup, regardless of its misty origins or enthusiastic support, reaches a point in its preparation when something tangible has to be done. All the thinking, dreaming, research, and what-ifs have to be set aside in favor of Action. As obvious as it is, nothing gets done without Action.

This Blog is a startup, of sorts, for a new phase of my life. I’ve retired from active work. I have no job. It’s wonderful!

It’s time to step out of the offices and the storefronts and stretch my legs as a writer of business wisdom. Not that I have any particular store of it. But what little I have gets to go on display and will attract its share of raspberries and huzzahs. And I’ll get to do my share of new research to stay ahead of everyone else.

So, what Action for me? I’d say concrete Goals and Plans.

Some would say this should have Mission, or Purpose at the head. But this is a small endeavor, for now, and such higher ideals will only get in the way, one more time, of what really needs to be — Action.

So, an Initial Action is to write this post. My Initial Action Goal is to write another dozen. A secondary Goal is to compile a list of 100 potential topics to write about. My Action Plan is to write posts, research blog enhancements, activate various affiliate programs, and participate in selected promotion activities to increase readership.

Simple. Direct. Effective.

What Goals, Plans or Actions would you recommend?

Seeing Business in New Ways