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Posts Tagged ‘Consulting’

Never get comfortable

August 5, 2011 2 comments

Over last weekend, I briefly thought to myself “it sure would be nice if things settled down at SNQ – even briefly and we had a normal day”.

So what precipitated this thought?  Well, it seems to me that since day one of the formation of Status Not Quo, every day has been dynamic, challenging, and mildly stressful due to constant change.  Granted, most of our challenges have been positive (i.e. either fall under “opportunity” or “character building” lol). 

 However, as I reflect today (I’m writing this on a Monday), I admonish myself to “Never get comfortable”.  I constantly challenge other business owners and our clients to continuously reinvent themselves, or stagnate and get left behind.  While this is always our focus, it is hectic.

 The entire year of 2011 at SNQ has been crazy busy due to a move – consolidating and moving to a corporate office.  We went from completely virtual and decentralized, to a mix of the two with stronger centralization. 

 However, not one week after I sat down at the new office, we were faced with the potential of an incredible opportunity to move into two new areas of software development by absorbing/merging with another firm.  This will expand us into a multi-office company, and very possibly into needing an international presence in South America.  Talk about Distributed to Centralized and back to Distributed (insert rising stress meter here)!

 My point is to be thankful for change, and embrace that uncertainty.  Granted, many times it stems from a negative challenge – but we must still view those challenges as opportunities to change, leverage, reinvent, and grow.  The day things start getting boring around here is when I will really start to stress.  Take a well deserved break this weekend, but when you return on Monday, challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone.

 Scott Capistrano

Status Not Quo

http://www.statusnotquo.com

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Don’t miss the boat on customer service

March 6, 2011 2 comments

Much too often we miss the boat on the customer service/relations side of business.

I recently received a letter from a supplier sharing a particularly inspiring list of “ten important business words” to say to your customers originating in a book by Mac Anderson called “Customer Love”. I have followed each of the ten with my related thoughts.

  1. “I apologize for our mistake. We will make it right.”
    • We all miss the boat sometimes. Acknowledging the problem and promising to correct it will most likely keep your relationship from failing.
  2. “Thank you for your business. Please come back again.”
    • So many times these words are not spoken and always should be.
  3. “I am not sure but I will find out.”
    • It may be difficult to admit one’s lack of knowledge, and though humbling, honesty is always appreciated.
  4. “What else can I do for you?”
    • Never forget to ask for another opportunity to be of service.
  5. “What is most convenient for you?”
    • Keep in mind that your customer is the boss.
  6. “How may I serve you?”
    • Show your customer that his/her needs are your highest priority.
  7. “How did we do?”
    • Ask for a ”report card” so that you can learn where and how to improve.
  8. “Glad you’re here.”
    • Another way of making certain your customer feels welcome.
  9. “Thank you.”
    • Frequently remind the customer that they are appreciated.
  10. “Yes.”
    • Always your best response to any customer’s request.

I strongly feel that none of these listed phrases can be over-used in today’s highly competitive business environment. Whether you are a service or product driven organization, always remembering that the client/customer has a choice lends you the greatest advantage.

Andrea McAfee

Controller

Bayless Engineering & Manufacturing

www.baylessengineering.com

Execution is everything

July 15, 2010 1 comment

Well, perhaps not everything, but the execution of a plan cannot be understated.  Planning and preparation are clearly very important, but too often people stop there.  My high school basketball coach said something very basic that has stuck with me through my entire career (not in basketball unfortunately lol) – “Complete the play …”.  His point was it didn’t matter how well the play was designed, how much passing you did, or how good you looked to the crowd – if you didn’t put the ball in the hoop at the end, it meant nothing.

Lisa Anderson, President of LMA Consulting Group, Inc. had a few things to say about this in a recent article found here: http://bit.ly/clAE0I

The article is named “Leadership to Accelerate Bottom Line Results” – in point #3, she discussed “Value execution”.  Here’s the part I loved: “Valuing execution has to be incorporated into the performance management system as well. Do not reward solely effort. Reward those who are willing to challenge the status quo.” … “Reward those who are willing to go the extra step to ensure success when they don’t know anyone is looking. “

This is something I try to continually stress within our company, Status Not Quo – be Objective Driven – at the end of the day, did you get the job “Done”?  Strive to be a Virtuoso at executing – in all things, and don’t settle for less.

Scott Capistrano, MBA, CPA

President
Status Not Quo

Not Your Ordinary Consulting Firm

Ph 888.767.0767
Fx 661.367.5311
www.statusnotquo.com | blog.statusnotquo.com

Most Important Step in Business?

“What is the most important step in business?’ is a favorite question I like to put to business people.  

The responses usually cover the range from “The decision to start in business,” to “The first sale,” to “The successful marketing campaign we initiated last year.”  Although the events cited certainly deserve a special place in the mind of any entrepreneur, the response that is my favorite is “The most important step in business is the next one!”

I like the latter response best because it reflects a forward-looking vision, not mere recognition of history.  Implicit in the statement is the realization that what got you to where you are is unlikely to be good enough to get you to where you want to be.  In today’s fast-paced, high technology world, success goes to the swift and agile over the big and strong. The great American humorist got it right when he said, “Even though you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there!”

The most successful businesses are already working on their next step as their competitors are admiring their last step.  Apple  Corporation is one such winner that readily comes to mind.

One of the many reasons I am a member of VIA is because we have a great group of leaders who understand this concept and it is reflected in the dynamic way VIA is keeping pace with the changing economy and using technology to meet the current needs of members.

What about you?  Are you keeping pace?  What is your next step?

Bill Kennedy, Wingspan Business Consulting

www.wingspanbusiness.com

Helpful Tips When Attending Trade Shows/Expos

May 3, 2010 1 comment

HELPFUL TIPS WHEN ATTENDING TRADE SHOWS / EXPOS

By Diana Meyer
CEO, Meyer Marketing Intelligence, Inc.
VIA Board of Directors Member

Many of us have probably attended a trade show or expo or two in the past, but how do you make the most of your time there? Well, you might be asking yourself “What should I do if I’m exhibiting?”  

Over the years, I have organized several companies’ presence at trade shows and handled training of the sales force to prepare everyone for networking and selling at a trade show. Therefore, I’d like to share with you a few tips that will serve as a refresher before B2B or any other trade show you’ll be attending. As an exhibitor, remember the following:

  1. Bring your company name badge and wear it or the exhibitors’ badge on the right side. It’s been shown that people will look at your right shoulder area when shaking hands. Make it easy for everyone to find your name.
  2. This brings me to my next point, in this day and age of people being more aware of airborne illnesses, it would be a nice touch to have some anti-bacterial gel at your booth in a place where others can get to it easily. You don’t even have to mention it. Not only will you need to use this, but your potential customers will be grateful there is some for them to use at their discretion.
  3. Repeat the other person’s name in a conversation a few times in order to remember it and show that you’re genuinely interested.
  4. If you have chairs at your booth, do not sit down. You should stand – so ladies, remember to wear comfortable shoes that you don’t mind wearing all day. This demonstrates that you’re receptive to meeting others and interested.
  5. Make sure you don’t have gum in your mouth. You don’t want to come across as a teenager.
  6. Keep your phone out of sight either on silent or turned off. You’re there to make connections and meet new people. Why have the distractions of messages or calls? If you must check for messages or texts, step away from the booth during a slow period.
  7. Collect a business card or if the show has electronic scanning of badges capabilities, make use of that service. If you’re going to write something on the back of the card, ask for their permission. In some cultures, it’s very bad manners to write on a business card. By the way, when you return to the office, follow up with each person you met and personalize that call or email. If you have a group on a social networking site, invite them to join your group.
  8. Finally, have a warm and inviting smile on your face. You can have all the latest technology at your booth or all the marketing collateral promoting the company, but if you don’t appear like you want to talk to someone new, they won’t want to stop and talk to you.

Of course, there are other sales tips, but these are just a few to serve as a reminder for you. Good luck and create your own successes as you exhibit!

It’s not the same thing …

Activity driven versus Objective driven.  Same concept?  Difference in semantics?  This is a concept that I feel is a key issue in the “focus” in many consultants – and really in many business professionals in general.

I frequently find that most people work very hard.  Obviously there are many exceptions to this.  However, many people do work long hours, try very hard, and have their heart in the right place.  Sometimes just working hard is enough to succeed.  However, many times these people find themselves being frustrated by their lack of success – whether they feel they are the cause or not.  “I’ve been working so hard on this project.  I worked on this for 16 hours yesterday …”

This is where the phrase “learn to work smarter” comes into play.  In today’s competitive world, hard work unfortunately won’t always guarantee success.  Simply putting in a large number of hours does not excuse not completing your objectives.  We need to work smarter. 

I feel the first step in this transformation is to be Objective driven.  It’s actually a very simple concept – define your success based on the agreed upon objectives – not based on how hard your trying.  It still surprises me how often people do not take the time to be absolutely clear on the objectives of your task – and then remain focused on them.  Another common saying – “if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you’ve arrived”.  Plus you probably won’t even get there.

 The importance of “Focus” cannot be understated.  Staying focused on the deliverables – i.e. the agreed upon Objectives, is critical to success – it’s also upon what we are usually evaluated.  If you just work hard and don’t reach your objectives, you’ll be viewed as “someone who works very hard, but ultimately does not get the job done.”  Ouch.

Scott Capistrano

VIA Board Member