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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Adding Value on Your Business

Adding value, or going the extra mile doesn’t usually mean you have to walk over hot coals for your customers.

And it doesn’t mean you have to give away profit either.

In most situations it’s the opposite.

All you have to do is the little things – the ‘little things’ that make a big difference to the CUSTOMER.

So don’t worry about giving away a lot of product, or a lot of times to ‘add value’ just use plain old good manners.

Let me give you an example.

I worked with a business that installed computer cabling. The size of a good order was about $50K to $250K worth of cabling.

The technicians that installed the cable were specialists and had a high degree of specialized knowledge. And they believed that they were doing a great service to their client by installing their cables.

But they got a lot of complaints… and do you know what for?

‘Trivial things’ as the technicians called it…

The customers were complaining about the dust, hand prints and foot prints left on their work desks.

You see the technicians usually had to get into the ceilings of the offices to lay the cables, and that meant standing on tables.

When the technicians got into the ceilings dust would start falling down onto the tables.

The ‘tables’ they had to stand on, and the ‘tables’ that collected all the dust were the customers work stations.

And the customers hated it.

The customers also complained that their computers had been moved.

Despite the regular complaints the technicians just laughed it off with a ‘get over it’ attitude.

And it cost the business thousands upon thousands over a number of years.

Their referral rate was nil, and they started losing long time customers.

And they couldn’t work it out.

To them it didn’t make sense.

After all they were doing highly specialized work that only highly trained people could do and the complaints were about ‘footprints’ and ‘dust’.

To them it didn’t make sense… but if you were the customer – how would you like it if someone came in and left ‘stuff’ all over your desk, moved your computer, and your ‘special’ things you have around it?

People get protective about their property.

And as a service to them, we need to respect their property.

So with some customer service training and some standard operating procedures we fixed the ‘problem’

Now the business cleans up after themselves and makes sure everything is left spotless.

Instead of stepping on desks – they have their own customized step ladders.

It’s the businesses way of ‘adding value’ and going the extra mile.

And it only cost a little bit of time, which of course was chargeable to the customer. And the customer was happy about paying it, because they were happy.

Here’s another example…

I have a graduate that cuts down oversized trees in people yards. When he’s cutting down trees sawdust flies everywhere… so he covers the flowers and garden with material to stop the sawdust flying into areas that the customers hates.

It’s my clients’ way of being unique and adding value.

Another client of mine services computers. And when they service the computer they clean it up so that it looks like new. The customer can’t tell what the technicians have done to the inside of the computer, but by making the outside look clean and spotless – like it was new, the customer thinks – ‘gee they must have done a great job’.

It’s the little things that add value and make you different.

There are numerous ways of adding value to your customers. And it doesn’t have to involve money – it usually just involves manners.

Treat people better than you’d expect to be treated.

That way you’ll add value, delight your customers – and you’ll grow your business successfully.

 

Great Things about The Stages of Change

Prochaska and DiClemente’s Transtheoretical Model of Change identifies five stages of change: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

The Precontemplation Stage (Not Currently Considering Change)

This stage could really be called “the precursor-to-change” stage. This is the stage when individuals may not even be thinking about becoming small business owners. In fact, in this stage, they may not even be aware that it would be beneficial for them to make a change, though other individuals around them may be thinking that they should. This stage’s motto is: Ignorance is bliss.

How to know if you are in The Precontemplation Stage:
1.You’re not really thinking about starting up a small business.
2.You are basically okay with how things are.
3.Others may be voicing their concerns about the hours you are keeping, the stress you seem to be under, or how much you need to take a vacation.

Those in this stage do not intend to take action within the next 6 months.

The Contemplation Stage (Thinking about Change and Researching Options)

In the Contemplation Stage, individuals are aware that a change is needed and they actually desire to make a change. Although they are seriously thinking about change, they have no clear plan of action because they are feeling ambivalent about change. This stage’s motto is: Just sitting on the fence waiting to see what will come along.

How to know if you are in The Contemplation Stage:
1. You find yourself doing on-line research, and thinking about what it would be like to be a small business owner.
2. You seek out the perspective of others who have “been there, done that.”
3. You find yourself attracted to journal articles about entrepreneurship and small business ownership.

Those in this stage are considering taking action within the next 6 months.

The Preparation Stage (Ready for Change and Making Plans)

This stage of change is readily apparent by the amount of activity, decisions, and overt action that is taking place in preparation for a small business start up. This is a time of planning how and when the start up process will begin. This stage’s motto is: I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

How to know if you are in The Preparation Stage:
1. Your small business start up coach has become your best friend.
2. Your white board is getting a daily workout as you look at every aspect of small business ownership.
3. You are regularly experiencing both excitement and fear.

Individuals in this stage are intending to take action within the next month.

The Action Stage (Making Change and Taking Charge)

This stage is characterized by a considerable amount of steady, forward movement. All the necessary paper work is filled out, business checking accounts opened, company name registered, business cards selected, web site developed, and strategic action plans mapped out. The motto for this stage is: Carpe Deum.

How to know if you are in The Action Stage:
1. You are in full-out action mode.
2. You’re spending most of your day focused on your new small business, and loving it.
3. You are committed to seeing your actions through.

Individuals in this stage are taking action.

The Maintenance Stage (Continuing Forward Movement toward Goal)

By this stage, individuals are firmly ensconced in the forward movement and momentum of launching their new small business. Continued commitment to sustaining the forward movement of their small business success is the goal of this stage. The motto of this stage is: Westward, ho!

How to know if you are in The Maintenance Stage:
1. Your business is running smoothly.
2. You have begun cycling back through the stages of change to further develop and expand the growth of your small business.
3. You are actively looking for new opportunities for change and growth.

Individuals in this stage are continuing momentum.

In Praise of Prochaska and DiClemente’s Transtheoretical Model of Change

As has been demonstrated, Prochaska and DiClemente’s Transtheoretical Model can be easily adapted to the stages of change that occur in small business start ups. Individuals considering whether or not they are ready to become small business owners need no longer be left with the question of “if.” Rather, they can easily find a clear answer to where they are along the change continuum. As a result, they themselves become powerful and effective agents for change. What’s more, they learn that change, while life-altering, can be life-affirming and life-enhancing.

 

Tasks A day for Small Business

Create An Action Plan

When you define what you want to achieve with your small business, spend some extra time to write down the steps you need to take. Make a blueprint which states exactly what you want to achieve, and what you have to do to reach your goals. Make it clear what is most important. In what order should it be done? What needs extra time or resources?

Instead of just having one definite deadline for your main goal, you need to create stop over goals. Make a schedule and set stop over goals at each state of progress. Write down an estimated arrival date at each stop over goal. By doing this ,you’ll break down your main goal into manageable easy to maintain steps.

Create Your Five A Day Plan Ahead

set aside 5-10 minutes at the end of each day. Have a look at your plan and decide what needs to be done to move you to the next stop over goal. What can you do tomorrow that will bring your small business closer to that next stop over goal?

Decide what you want to accomplish, and break it down into tasks, small tasks that can be completed in a couple of hours, or even minutes. It might be something as small and quick to do as, “Get a price list from supplier A.” Or it may be a bigger task such as “Write down all the benefits to cover on your sales page.” Whatever the task is, make sure you break it down far enough so you can complete it in a couple of hours, at most.

Time to start! Write down five tasks for tomorrow. Write down exactly what you need to do, what results you want to achieve, what resources you’ll need.

No Matter What, You Must Stick To Your Plan!

Tomorrow you must complete all five tasks. You can’t afford to let “emergencies” divert you from these all important business developing, goal achieving tasks. Don’t spend your day jumping from one emergency to another. Put your blinders on, and concentrate on your tasks, do it each and every day.