Category Archives: Small Business Success

What Your Small Business Should Learn from Big Business Mistakes

Photo by Alim Mohammed on Flickr

They’d lost seven million dollars in one year…

But after two years of losses, the numbers finally looked better. By the fall of 2010, Starbucks had earned $152 million, compared to that awful loss the year before.

That was a giant shift for a company many thought was dying, and the success was sweet.

But it sure wasn’t easy.

In his book Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, Howard Schultz, Starbucks ceo (they don’t use capitals), tells a story of transformation as they went from hanging-on-by-a-thread to alive-and-thriving through the Great Recession.

It’s a powerful story, and a fascinating read.

“Personally, for the first time in a long time, I felt as if we were winning.” He writes.Not that we had won, because there is never a finish line, but that despite the odds, the brand and our partners were prevailing.”

It was the fall of 2010, and that’s what Schultz thought just before calling investors with long overdue good news.

Schultz, the company’s founder, had stepped away from the CEO role eight years earlier, when everything was going well. Starbucks was opening stores around the globe at an astonishing rate. Profits were steady and always on the increase.

Yet by 2006, he’d begun sensing an intangible change when he visited stores. Something was missing; the customer experience had shifted in ways that he could feel, but not explain. Traffic was down considerably.

Something was just flat off.

And it bothered him.

A lot.
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What to Include in Your Welcome Kit (and Why Your Clients Need One)

Photo Credit: Josh Meek on Flickr

“I should probably tell you that I have no idea what to talk about on our next call…”

Being new to the private coaching I offer, she wasn’t sure how things worked, or what she was supposed to do.

I’d sent her information, of course. I send all of my clients a complete packet of everything they need to know as we embark on a whole year of intensive work, side by side in their business.

But her question revealed a gap that I didn’t know existed. So right away, I set about creating a document explaining exactly how to get the most from their coaching calls.

Your clients and customers need to know what to expect when they work with you, too.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in a service industry (coaching, law, healthcare, landscaping) or selling a product (retail, art, jewelry, custom made furniture, tiny houses).

Your ability to clearly communicate what your clients can expect, and how they can get the most out of your relationship, is crucial. 

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Who Said You Had to Market Like Everyone Else?

Photo courtesy of myguysmoving.com.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Realtors hate doing Open Houses.

Most of them won’t say so, because they don’t want to appear rude. And of course, an Open House is a great way to get prospects in the door to see your place, right?

But if traffic is slow, an Open House can mean an entire afternoon hanging out by yourself in someone else’s spotless home, thinking about all the things on your to-do list that are waiting for you back at the office.  

So one of the most effective things a realtor can do is get other agents to visit that house. And if they can get them to come not just once, but several times – it’s even better.

So one particularly creative broker came up with an idea. Continue reading

How to Manage Your Energy When Leading an Event

The tornado siren went off three times.

We were on day one of a family reunion, a three-day camp out at a beautiful state park in southern Alabama. My cousin, a project manager by trade, literally spent the last year planning the whole thing.

We had a special awning set up to provide shade, tons of good food, a rented speed boat AND bass boat, 100 years’ worth of family photos, a Saint Bernard…

…and now, a tropical storm and a tornado warning.

So while everyone headed to the campground bath house or other shelter, I couldn’t help but think about this week’s blog post.

I made today’s video for you right before heading to that reunion. And although this wasn’t a business event – the planning that went into it, and the energy it takes to manage it – was much the same.

And I’m not even talking about when little things like hurricanes, tornadoes and power outages hit. :) Continue reading

12 Questions That Will Help You Plan & Promote Your Event

Photo Credit: Wendy Pitts Reeves

They filled within a couple of hours.

I’d open registration on line around seven p.m., and by nine, the trip was full.

And I did that month after month after month.

I was running a business called “Secret Adventures for Courageous Women”, a series of events designed for small groups of 8-10. Some adventures were physically challenging (hang gliding, canoeing) and some more emotionally so (lessons at an indoor shooting range).

And sometimes, it was just plain fun, like dinner and a play.

But there was a catch.

The “Secret” meant they had no idea what they were getting into. Once the group was formed, I’d tell them what to wear, what to bring, but that’s it. They would only learn what we were doing when we arrived on site.

In other words, I created monthly events that filled with clients who didn’t even know what they were buying.

Or did they? Continue reading