August 2021
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The Leading Edge - Taking Care of Business
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Start Your Day with a Little TLC

 

Start Your Day with a Little TLC

How do you start your business day? If you are shaking your head wondering what the heck that question means, then this article is worth the time it takes to read. Too many of us don’t give a second thought about our workday, we just launch right into it fighting whatever fire needs to be extinguished or focusing on the loudest voice demanding our attention. From that point on, it’s downhill all the way. Before you know it, you missed lunch and are playing catch-up and achieving little value.

Think of your workday as if it were a trip to the gym, or the ten minutes before running a marathon. In those cases, you would do some stretching exercises to prepare your body for the exertion that is about to follow. Then, you would track your progress, monitor your heart rate, ease up at times and push yourself harder at others. Long before that, you would have prepared your body for the rigors of what was to come. You would have been kind to your body so that you could achieve more in the long run (pun very much intended). The truth is that tender loving care (TLC) really does pay off.

Now think about your everyday life in your business. If you are like the vast majority of business people, you simply do what needs to be done regardless of how detrimental it may be to your health and wellbeing. And you do all this in the name of efficiency. Things need to be done, you are the boss, so you need to do them. Sound familiar? Here’s a tough question: can you honestly say this is the most efficient way of running your business? Is it good for your mental health? Physical health?

In most cases, being reactive with your work life is self-defeating and harmful to both the business and your health. What do you think would happen if you put yourself first for a few minutes a day and your business second? Would your empire crumble? Unlikely.

Consider the following as a new way to approach running your business. Wake up in the morning and spend a little time with your family and then eat breakfast (if it’s a healthy breakfast, all the better) and catch up with the news if that’s important to you. After breakfast, give yourself a few minutes of quiet time. We won’t call it meditation; it’s just a few minutes when you gather your senses—it can be as short as three minutes but 15-minutes would be ideal. Starting each day on a positive note is a game-changer.

Once you have given your brain some TLC, grab your phone or, if you are old-school, a notepad and jot down the main things you want to achieve that day. They will be your focus, your priorities. If anything else comes up to distract you, decide if whatever it is, is a higher priority than those items on your list. If not, attend to it later, or perhaps start the next day’s list. Don’t let minutiae get you off track. If you do, you won’t deal with your priority list and that will demotivate you and add more stress to your life. Carried forward items are the worst, and they have a habit of being carried forward multiple times.

Write down all the things that make you feel good; good about life, good about yourself. Now, do more of them every day. Take small steps, don’t try to change your negative daily patterns and approach to your work-life overnight, simply begin doing more of the things that make you feel good each day.

In the final analysis, only you can know what works for you but giving yourself some TLC will repay the time you spend on it ten-fold. Sustained stress never helped anyone achieve great things in their business, it simply grows exponentially until it consumes you. Look for harmony in your life. The more at peace you are, the more in control of your actions, the better you will feel and the more efficiently you will perform.

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Start Your Day with a Little TLC

 

Random Acts of Kindness – Post Pandemic

Be Safe, Be Calm, Be Kind – we’ve heard these words or something similar throughout the pandemic, now that we are coming out the other side it could be easy to slip back into old habits. It’s not that we’ll all start being less friendly, or hospitable, but we may be more focused on recouping our losses and bringing our businesses back to life.

What if we used this “reset” time to change the way we operate altogether? You understand that customer service is important, and you do your best to drive home to your staff that they have to give customers the best experience possible. The challenge lies in the fact that good customer service is the norm; it’s what we as consumers expect. When we order our coffee in the morning we expect a smile, if we are a regular customer and the server remembers our name, or what we drink, that’s a bonus. But, at the end of the day however good it is we sort of expect it, don’t we? It’s what the experience should be like; after all, it’s the benchmark on which we judge everyone else.

So, how do we raise the bar and show customers and potential customers that we really care about them? Well, catching them by surprise seems to work particularly well. When you do something extraordinary for someone, they are taken aback, they are amazed and they feel the human connection. They see that they are more than just dollars and cents to you.

That’s where random acts of kindness come in; they are small gestures that you undertake without expecting an immediate or direct return. Think – making someone happy just for the heck of it. It builds goodwill, it makes you and your staff happier, and it makes the world a better place. Think positive ripples.

Random acts of kindness can be directed at your customers, suppliers, employees, other local businesses – anyone. They should be fun and they should bring a little joy to someone’s life.

One, that wowed a lot of people was a store that hired a man and a woman to stand outside the front door offering free hugs to anyone. Obviously many people walked right by, but it was amazing to see how many stopped, hugged, and left smiling from ear to ear. Today they might need to wear a mask of course, but as restrictions ease and we all feel safer this might be a wonderful way to reconnect with strangers who could become customers.

Here are 10 ideas that you might consider for your business.

  • If a supplier or contractor does an excellent job, or when the amount they are charging seems particularly good value, adjust their invoice and give them a bonus. You will be amazed at how loyal they will become.
  • Give a flower to every customer for a day (or more).
  • Give out local coffee shop gift cards to random customers (as low as $5 will bring a smile). This is a twofer as you are also supporting a local business.
  • On a hot day, provide customers or visitors to your office with cold sparkling water with lemon.
  • On a cold day offer hot chocolate with marshmallows.
  • Give your staff their birthday off, or let them leave early, or give them a gift card.
  • Allow your staff a few days off a year to volunteer at a local charity and perhaps join them on that day.
  • Discover which charities your staff support and donate to those organizations.
  • Add a small, unexpected, gift to orders or a handwritten note of thanks for supporting your business.
  • Plant a tree in a local park or playground.

The opportunities are endless and the best acts are those you think up yourself – ones that come from the heart. It’s been a tough seventeen months since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic in March of 2020. We all need a little light, a little kindness, in our lives. Challenge yourself this week to carry out at least one random act of kindness each day. You’ll feel better for it and your business will prosper from all the goodwill.

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Start Your Day with a Little TLC

 

Coach's Corner - Mentors, Coaches, and Consultants – What’s the Difference?

Often in business, we need some outside help to move our business or career forward; to get to that next level. There are a number of ways you can look for this outside support. The choice depends on what you are trying to achieve.

Many people rely on family, friends, and colleagues. With this group, you can share your own ideas, use them as a sounding board and solicit suggestions or advice. As important as their support is, one of the drawbacks is the emotional and personal attachment they may have to the outcome. This does not always lend itself to helping you achieve your desired goal.

There are times you require an outside perspective or as one of my coaching clients says, “You don’t have any skin in the game.” Three professionals that bring an external view— mentors, coaches, and consultants—offer a different process and experience.

  • Usually, a mentor has expertise and experience in the field you are in and are happy to share their wisdom, either over a shorter or longer period of time. In choosing a mentor, it is important that you share similar values and have mutual respect. In this relationship, you the mentee are offered advice, ideas, and suggestions, and are able to ask questions about certain challenges you are experiencing. You may not always have to pay for this relationship; many experienced individuals are happy to share their experience and expertise.
  • The main premise behind a coaching relationship is that you have the answers within you, you know your business. The coach provides support and facilitates growth through a conversation based upon active listening and asking questions in order for you, the coachee, to shift thinking and formulate ideas, actions, and strategies for moving forward. The relationship can be viewed as a thinking partnership. Like mentorship, this may be a short-term relationship to address some immediate challenges, or it could be longer-term where you need a sounding board from someone outside of your business.
  • Consultants are professionals who have expertise in certain areas and are usually short-term relationships. They provide a report or plan for you to overcome a challenge, or they provide strategies and ideas based on your desired goals. It is important when a consultant is engaged that there is buy-in from all stakeholders. Whatever is proposed needs to be taken to heart and acted upon. If not, money and time are wasted.

Before choosing any of these three professionals, it is important to figure out what you are trying to achieve. Each brings their own strengths and approaches the relationship from a different perspective.

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching

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Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot
4757 Tebo Avenue, Port Alberni, BC, V9Y 8A9
Phone: 250-724-1241 | Fax: 250-724-1028
info@cfac.ca
www.cfac.ca

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