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Just Waiting

This Year, Take Action to Jump-Start Your Business Rather Than Waiting for Something to Happen.

Just Waiting ...

by Fran Carville, CRM CARCO AWARDS/CARCOAWARDS.COM

Business Matters - Waiting

Finally! 2021 has arrived. A new beginning! And yet, I was reminded just the other day that we are still waiting for better news on the economy, on the pandemic, and  on when “normal” will return to our businesses. A song by John Mayer began to play, and the lyrics immediately caught my attention: “And we’re still waiting, waiting on the world to change.” The lyrics turned my thoughts to: “Right on, John Mayer! I, too, am waiting on the world to change.”

These words stayed with me all day. “Waiting, waiting on the world to change.”  And as I hummed the tune, I began to make up my own lyrics. Waiting on my customers to be more organized. Waiting on more productive employees. Waiting on UPS to stop beating up my packages. Waiting on consumers to return to their normal events that require awards. Waiting on politicians to keep their promises. WAITING!

At some point during my internal rant, my thoughts took a turn. Waiting, waiting for ME to change. Whoa—what? Waiting for me to change … sound more than a little familiar? We wait, we hope, we wish, we daydream about the world changing for the better. We look around and want everything—and everyone—to change. And we wait and complain and wait some more. But how do we actually get all of this change to happen?

The answer will seem quite elementary. We STOP waiting for the world to change. As we begin 2021, you and I are finished waiting. So, what can we do to stop the waiting and make change happen?

STOP WAITING FOR CHANGE

The great management guru Peter Drucker once said, “The future will not just happen if one wishes hard enough.”

We all know that is true, but sometimes change can just seem overwhelming and out of reach. I spent most of 2020 waiting for things to get better. So, no more waiting. Just do something. Just take one step toward change.

The first step might be to start reaching out to customers, helping them determine ways to get the events they  canceled in 2020 back on track. Maybe you have become disorganized and need to get back to business. Maybe you became so stressed in 2020 that you started putting things off that could benefit your business. Jump-starting yourself and your business can mean something different to each of us. What’s important is that we stop waiting for change and start making it happen.

WAITING ON CUSTOMERS

Customers are interesting, don’t you think? We all have our favorite—and least favorite—customers. We would all like to have a business filled with customers that order in advance, have all of their information ready to go, never ask for a discount, pay their bills early, and always praise the beautiful awards your store produced for them. Ah, what a wonderful business that would be!

Retailing reality tells us that not all customers will be  perfect customers, but every customer is your “employer.” Each of your customers can decide to fire you and purchase their awards somewhere else. So, how do we stop waiting   on customers while still giving them quality care?

  • Send reminder notices in advance for repeat orders to avoid last-minute issues. Provide them with details of their last order and with all of the information they need to make their job easy.
  • Offer customers as many ways to shop with you as possible—in store, online, by email, over the phone, by appointment.
  • Offer services like curbside pick-up, delivery options, and shipping options to ease any anxieties they may have.

WAITING TO BE MORE ORGANIZED

We spend many of our waking hours at our shops. So, doesn’t it make sense to walk into a business you are excited about? Walking into a well-oiled, well-organized workplace is a lot more exciting than walking into an unorganized mess. If you want to be a better time manager, step one is to stop waiting.

  • Start small. Many times, we try to fix everything at once, become overwhelmed, and end up doing nothing. Pick just one thing that needs to be organized and work on that one thing.
  • Commit to writing and using a to-do list on a daily basis. Work on what’s most important.
  • Use computers in the workplace for work and nothing else. No shopping online, no playing games, no visiting with friends via social media.

WAITING FOR BUSINESS GROWTH

In this bad economy, consumers tend to close their wallets for luxury items. And let’s face it, most of us don’t sell anything consumers can’t live without. Hoping and wishing probably won’t get the business growth you need to recover from 2020. What will?

  • If you aren’t already utilizing a marketing plan written   to mirror COVID restrictions, start developing one today. Include ideas to make “cold calls” through social media, instead of in person. Think about how you can stay in touch with customers and potential customers without in-person contact.
  • Update your website and let people know they can order online from you 24/7. At the same time, let consumers know your shop is open and following all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for their comfort and convenience.

WAITING ON BUSINESS OPERATIONS

All of us have certain parts of our jobs that we prefer. But I bet very few of us would list business operations as a favorite way to spend our time. And if this is something you do not enjoy, chances are it is not getting the attention needed for your shop’s success. If you give yourself the time to improve your operations, your business will be more profitable and better organized.

  • Consult with your CPA, attorney, banker, and insurance agent to make sure your business is where it should be in 2021. Make recommended changes and follow through with the professionals you pay to help guide your business.
  • Review all company policies and procedures. Are your policies customer-friendly for 2021? Is your employee manual up to date? Do policies you made 15 years ago still make sense in today’s world?
  • Rewrite any policies that caused confusion or bad feelings over the past year.

WAITING ON YOU

A couple of years ago, I took a friend to lunch for her 50th birthday. She used the occasion to reflect on her life—a boring job in corporate America and her exciting volunteer work at a hospital. And then she said, “I always wanted to be a nurse, but now I’m too old.” Waiting … until it’s too late. Here’s a news flash: She was going to be in her mid- 50s in a few years, whether she pursued something new   or not. Was she going to continue to be a miserable wisher or was she going to be a doer? She decided to be a doer, graduated with honors, and had to choose between several great job offers. The point of this is to stop wishing and do something you want to do this year.

  • No time, you say? Get up 30 minutes before the rest of your household and focus on one thing you never seem to have time for. That’s 3.5 hours a week, 182 hours of found time for you in 1 year.
  • Don’t make a New Year’s resolution this year. Instead, make a realistic plan. What is one thing you would most like to accomplish? Once you decide, map out a plan to reach your goal.
  • Hire someone to do a job you hate at your business or at your home. Whether it’s mowing the lawn, dusting the showroom, or assembling participation trophies, hire someone to do a task and then use that found time to do something important.

This past year has been something most of us have never experienced in our business lives. But 2021 will be better, and it’s time for us to get excited about our industry again. While waiting may be comfortable, change can be exciting and can pay off big time. A quote by Frank A. Clark sums  it up perfectly: “If you find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” Wishing you a happy and prosperous year of change!

Fran Carville, CRM, is an Awards and Personalization Association past president, educational speaker, 2008 Speaker of the Year, a member of the Hall of Fame, and winner of an Award of Excellence from the APEX Awards for Publication Excellence. Fran and her husband, Tom Carville, CRM, own Carco Awards in Baton Rouge, LA.

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