Category Archives: Biz Tips
Too often, we fall back on the mantra “the customer is always right.”
But is that always true?
Here are our five ways of telling if you aren’t a good fit with your customer:
1. You dread you interactions
Your day is going fine. Everything is lovely. You get a call, check the number on the caller ID, and your whole mood deflates. It’s not just that some customers only call when there’s a problem. Even if that’s the case, a customer could still be a good fit.
No, these calls are the ones that never go anywhere. Your staff complains about working with them. They are never satisfied and likely never will be.
Cut them loose.
2. They complain about who they used to work with
If you have a customer who seems to have never had a pleasant experience with anyone they’ve worked with, be weary. You’ll likely not be any different. You’ll just be the guy they complain about to the next company they work with.
3. They threaten your company
If a customer raises hell about something, you should definitely take notice. Not everyone who has had a bad customer experience with your company is a bad customer. You should be paying attention to Yelp and other business review sites to always improve how you deal with your customers.
On the other hand, if a customer is threatening to cause trouble and raising a stink, yet still continue to work with you, maybe politely suggest they would be happier with someone else. The threat of a bad customer review is exploitative.
4. They don’t pay on time
It’s uncomfortable talking about money. It’s unacceptable to not get paid. One late payment isn’t the end of the world or the destruction of your company. But, if it’s a pattern of behavior, you can’t keep that customer on as a business expense.
5. They don’t respect your expertise
You’re good at what you do. If your customer can’t see that, maybe they should find someone else. You should also have respect for your customer. If you can’t nourish a relationship, they might be better served somewhere else.
Have you ever fired a customer? Why? Share in the comments!
One of the hardest things about owning a small business is getting the word out. When you’re small, it’s easy to go unnoticed. Without notice, you get no business. Here are our top 5 promotional ways to get the word out about your business.
1. Create a video
Let’s face it. In this day and age, it is not difficult to get your hands on a camera or simple video editing software. A YouTube channel can be a valuable asset, as it promotes the same social interaction as a social network. Creating videos with content that is relevant to your business and is something that offers helpful tips and advice is best.
But, even though the ultimate goal is to have a video that people will share, don’t get too focused on trying to create a share worthy video. Also, don’t give up. There’s no secret trick that makes a video go viral. You just have to keep putting yourself and your product out there until someone takes notice.
2. StumbleUpon Advertising
StumbleUpon is a web browser add-on that allows users to “stumble” on to random websites curated by other users. StumbleUpon normally has a more organic approach, but if you have a hard time getting visitors to your site, the ads are relatively inexpensive. As long as you’re creating good content, StumbleUpon will be a valuable asset as the people using the add-on already want to share and engage.
3. Create an infographic
Th great thing about being in your line of work is that it makes you an expert in your line of work, right? The Internet is a highly visual medium and the popularity of infographics only reinforces that notion. You’re an expert at what you do. Create an infographic that customers can use. No one knows it better than you.
4. Don’t forget LinkedIn
LinkedIn may not be the social network everyone’s talking about, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. LinkedIn targets professionals. While you can have a profile page, the real power of LinkedIn is creating a page for your business. It’s another way to gain followers and attention. And, given the nature of LinkedIn, these might be exactly the kind of influential people you want to interact with.
5. Apply online for business awards
If a movie wins an Oscar, are you more likely to see it? Maybe. If your business wins an award, will you gain more customers? Again, maybe. You might as well see if you qualify for an award. At the very least, you’ll have bragging rights.
What promotional ideas have you used in the past? What works? What doesn’t work? Share in the comments!
A mentor is an invaluable resource for the young entrepreneur. A mentor is someone who has taken the journey you want to take, someone who’s been there before. They are a valuable resource who you can turn to when you’ve hit a stumbling block. So, how do you get one?
There are plenty of places where entrepreneurs gather: conferences, MeetUp groups, online communities.
Here are our top 5 things to look for when trying to find a mentor:
If you’re going to be working with a mentor, you want good chemistry. You want someone you feel comfortable talking to and confiding in. Before you consider an specific entrepreneur as your mentor, do some research on them. What do they value? What kind of business do the have? What do people have to say about working with them? Chances are, if they’re in a similar business as you, they’ll have similar values.
Before you ask them to be your mentor, meet with them for coffee. See how you get along.
It’s no secret that entrepreneurs are busy people. When looking for a mentor, you need to find someone who is available to help you. When searching for your mentor, do fool around. Ask them if they’re interested in mentoring. Ask them if they have the time to take that on. There is another person involved here. They should know their limitations. In that same vein, figure out what you want from your mentor. Do you want to meet for coffee once a week, once a month? Do you want to go out to dinner twice a week? Do you want to be able to call them at any time? Figure out what your time demands are and see if their availability matches.
3. A positive attitude
This might seem like an obvious one, but you’d be surprised. Feel out your potential mentor. If you’re sensing some hidden resentment, it’s probably there. You want someone who will encourage you and help you grow. Don’t let a negative mentor drag you down. On the flip side, be careful that you don’t mistake cautious optimism and a realistic thought with negativity. Even if a mentor has a reserved opinion, they can still be helpful for your navigation of the startup world.
Does your new mentor treat you as an equal? Or are they condescending? Even if you’re a young or new entrepreneur, you still deserve respect. Find a mentor that will treat you as an equal. They should hear you out; all your thoughts, fears, concerns, and plans are valid. You should also have a high level of respect for them. If not, why did you want them to be your mentor in the first place?
5. Open mind
Just because your mentor has been through the startup/entrepreneurial process, doesn’t mean that’s the only way to do it. You want to find a mentor who can recognize there are different ways to achieve a goal. Someone who says, “This is how we did it. Your way might work, too.” You don’t have to take every piece of advice they give you as gold. You want someone whose experience you can learn from, not someone who will just tell you what to do.
What do you look for in a mentor? Where did you find your mentor?
Share in the comments below!
Let’s face it. At some point in your life, you’re going to have to go to a job interview. And, whether that job is for pizza delivery or the CEO position in a Fortune 500, some of those questions are going to be the same.
Here’s a list of the 20 most common job interview questions you need to be ready to answer.
1. Can you tell me a little about yourself?
This is time for a pitch, not a narrative on your complete job history.
2. How did you hear about this position?
Make sure you mention any connections you have with the company.
3. What do you know about the company?
Make sure you do a little research before your interview so you have some things to say here.
4. Why do you want this job?
Show your enthusiasm and passion. Talk about why this position is perfect for you in particular.
5. Why should we hire you?
Again, focus on your passion and experience. If you don’t have any experience, find something else in your background that will make you stand out.
6. What are your strengths?
Focus on the positives; don’t use negative terms (like “I don’t” or “I can’t”), even if they turn into positives. Be honest. It’s not a game. Don’t try to figure out what the interviewer wants.
7. What do you consider to be your weakness?
Again, be honest. “I don’t have any weaknesses” isn’t true. If you have anecdotes, tell them how you plan on working on your weakness.
8. What is your greatest professional achievement?
Make sure you give them the situation and the assignment, so the interviewer has context for what you accomplished.
9. Tell me about a challenge or conflict you’ve faced at work, and how you dealt with it.
Like question 8, make sure you give the interviewer context.
10. Where do you see yourself in five years?
Essentially, do you have realistic goals for your career, are you ambitious, and does the position you’re interviewing for fit into your long term career goals.
11. What’s your dream job?
Another question to discuss your goals and ambitions.
12. What other companies are you interviewing with?
This time, you should be more vague. Saw you are exploring other similar opportunities that utilize the same skills and talents.
13. Why are you leaving your current job?
Keep it positive.
14. What are you looking for in a new position?
What you’re looking for should line up with what the position offers.
15. What type of work environment do you prefer?
It should be the kind of environment the position offers.
16. What’s your management style?
This gives you the chance to show you know what kind of techniques are out there and the ability to modify to a situation.
17. How would your boss or coworkers describe you?
Try to find strengths you haven’t talked about already.
18. How do you deal with stress?
Specific examples of stressful situations help here.
19. What are your salary requirements?
There are places online where you can research what someone in the position would typically get. Try Glassdoor. Or, you can even Google what they typical salary is.
20. Do you have any questions for me?
Have a few things prepared that you want to ask.
What questions do you hear most often in interviews? How do you answer any of the questions above? Share in the comments!
Graduation is still a few months away, but it’s not too early to start looking a how you want to enter the job market. So, what is the graduate going to do? Where should you start? Here are our 3 career tips for the graduating class.
You want to have a goal when looking for your first job. Don’t approach it with an “I’ll take whatever I can get” attitude. How does your first job help you achieve greater career goals? Now, it might be that you don’t know what your greater career goals are. That’s okay, too. In that case, the goal of your first job will be to help determine what your long term goals are. If you really like what you’re doing, maybe this is the industry you want to stay in. If you hate it, you need to explore other areas.
2. Find an expert
You are not the first person to go on this journey. Plenty of other people have been there before. If you think you know where you want your career to go, find someone who has done it before and ask for advice. This means looking beyond your family and escaping the halls of academia. Your professors can help you if you want a career as a professor. Unless you plan on following in your parents’ footsteps, they can’t help you, either.
It’s easier than you think to find an expert. Start by going to a company website and searching through their contact information. You may not get a response on the first go, but if you’re up front about wanting to talk about an industry, many people are happy to talk about their careers.
Another way to find an expert is to go to a conference or convention. You may even be able to find a representative at a job fair.
3. Don’t go to grad school
Right away. Higher education is great and, in some cases, beneficial. But, is it beneficial in your case? Don’t commit to 5, 10, 15 more years of school unless you know that’s where you need to be.
What are your tips for the graduating class? What do you wish you knew before entering the job market? Share in the comments!
According to the McKinsey Global Institute, the average employee spends 28 percent of their time managing email. Are you buried in your inbox?
Here are 5 tips on how to manage your email and take control of your email.
1. Move everything out of your inbox
If you have thousands of emails in your inbox, move them all to the archive and empty your inbox folder. That cleans out your inbox immediately, giving you the chance to start fresh.
2. Process those archived emails
Instead of taking a big chunk of time to go through all the archived emails, carve out a time daily to tackle a little chunk of them at a time. It might not get the job done fast, but it will give you the opportunity to delete or file those old emails without having them looming over you in your inbox.
3. Automate your inbox
There are some processes you can program your email client to do automatically. For example, do you want your emails from your boss to always go into the same folder? Set it up. Are there certain subject lines that should be flagged? Set it up. Putting filters into place will keep everything organized. And, this filing system will come in handy when you’re working through your backlog of emails.
4. Find the time
You shouldn’t be checking your emails every second of the day. Set up a schedule for when you check your emails. That way, when you focus and work on a project, you can focus and work on a project without being interrupted by an email alert. Stick to this schedule. It will help you organize emails and will also make you more productive in other areas.
Not every email needs to be save, archived, or filed. Some emails, like the “Got it!” or “Thanks!” responses, might serve as a purpose in showing they your communications were received, but it’s not necessarily something that needs to sit around in your inbox forever. Don’t be afraid to delete emails that you don’t need. And, if you delete something by accident, you can always ask someone to send it again.
What are your tips for managing your inbox? What definitely doesn’t work? Share in the comments below!