Saturday, July 28, 2012

The Business Chat - 3 ways of thinking for success

Me. In a room. Just me. This is my whole company. Ask me what I do and depending on the day I can give you a dozen different answers, that is what being a solopreneur is all about. Sometimes it feels like I’m thinking in a thousand different directions, my brain is on overdrive trying to get everything done. Yet within the variety of jobs that I do there are 3 distinct mindsets that I must have that are the most important. If I can wrap my head around these 3 ways of thinking I can pretty well guarantee that all that needs to be done will be.

Think like a boss.
Sometimes there is crap that just has to be done and in a micro business guess who is going to do that crap? Yes, that would be you. As much as you’d like to be playing with your crafty supplies or making pretty things there are plenty of chores that require regular maintenance. Bookkeeping anyone? These are the tasks that every business needs and without them your business will sink.
When I’m faced with a list of icky tasks that I don’t want to do, I find it helps to put on my boss hat and just do the job. If I were working for someone else then they would expect me to do the tasks. And if I were lucky enough to have staff then I would expect them to do them. So, I pretend that I am the boss and I tell my employee to just do it.

Think like an employee
I am not self-employed, I work for a business. The fact that I own the business and that I’m the only one working here is irrelevant. In the spirit of taking myself and my business seriously I always think of my jewelry company as a business. And when you work for a business sometimes you have to just buckle down and do the jobs at hand. Someone has to do the not-as-much-fun parts. That someone is you. Once your “boss” (see the above paragraph) tells you to do a task, do it. If you were working for someone else you couldn’t blow off a task because you didn’t feel like it, or wanted to do something else. Be a good employee and do it. Then maybe your boss will give you a treat.

Think like a customer.
Without customers you don’t have a business. And as unique and fabulous as you are, there are a whole lot of other unique and fabulous crafters out there. Customer service is where you have a chance to stand out and shine.
Excellent customer service isn’t hard. Put on your customer hat and think about how you want to be treated. Then do that. If you don’t feel like it, think of yourself as an employee, suck it up and do your job. This is your job. Do it. How would you feel if you were trying to buy something at a craft show and the vendor was rude to you? In many ways, online customer service is even more important than offline service. Online, your competition is closer, just a click away instead of across the street.
Every single time you interact with the public put your customer hat on. This means when you respond to an email, post on facebook or stand in your booth. Never open your mouth without thinking first. Watch your language and always be positive and pleasant. No matter how crappy you are feeling or how bad your day is, keep it to yourself.
Make sure you say thank you in every conversation. Remember that each of your customers has friends — and happy customers are the best referrals

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