Monday, November 1, 2010

Customer Service vs. Profitability

The concept of customer service vs. profitability is kind of like what came first the chicken or the egg. In order to be more profitable you have to have better customer service. But how do you have better customer service without customers? And of course, you need the customers to be profitable. So what exactly does this mean?

When someone starts a business do they actually think about the customer service aspect of the business? The customer service could actually make or break a business. I just wonder how much emphasis is put on this. When I decided to start my business, I thought about the basics of the business, how to do the job, how to market, etc. I don't think I really thought about customer service as far as the big picture is concerned.

When I worked with my business coach, Judi Glova of Pinnacle Coaching, she suggested I read Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles. I also attended a luncheon where Kay Wallace of Tools2Connect was speaking and she suggested the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the founder of Both of these books focus on customer service. I found both books to extremely valuable. The thing I realized is that customer service will set me apart from others in my field. But what does that look like? How should I do that? Even while reading I was internalizing and trying to think of what my company could do that would separate me from the pack.

After much self deliberation I realize that it is not just about how I treat my customers or clients. It is also about how I service them. What I give to them, how I meet and greet them, how I follow up with them. It is all these things and so much more. I have finally figured out what that service would look like now I just have to do it. In all honesty I have yet to put these things into practice. Everything takes time but I am in preparation mode. I am putting systems in motion and will soon enough be at the top of my game. That I know for sure. (That's not conceit, just confidence.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

What to do when......

Building a business definitely has its ups and downs. In the beginning there are lows trying to figure out what to do and how to build the business and there are highs when the calls come in and you start to get clients. Every day we are constantly hustling the phone, running from one place to another, juggling this and that, working with clients, etc. Slowly things are picking up and moving in the right direction. You become so busy half the time you don't know what time it is, if you've eaten or where you're headed next. You get sooooo busy that it becomes overwhelming and you need a break. You get so overwhelmed with the "work" and "life," that you long for some down time. Then it happens. Down time! The phone isn't ringing as much, there's not as much hustling and juggling and instead of running all over the place you now have time to walk leisurely. Damn! Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

What to do now? You could sit in a pile of self-pity but that's not really productive. The best thing to do is to look and see what you can do that you otherwise wouldn't have the time for. Maybe it's filing, research, re-connecting with contacts, social networking? Really think about all the things that when you are busy you wish you had the time for. Then do those things. Finish the filing, make some phone calls, do something that will occupy your time so those things can be past you when you get busy again.

No one wants to sit around waiting for the phone to ring. You have to be proactive. Every business goes through down times. No matter how big or how small. The key is to not let it get you down. Stay positive, re-group and keep on track so when the wave of busy happens again, you can say thank you to the down time and start again with the much needed and much appreciated beloved chaos.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Crazy Busy

So you decide to start a business... And you have a family. Maybe a spouse, a kid or two or more, parents, in-laws, etc... How do you juggle them all? Being a single mother of late and no family nearby I find it extremely challenging to juggle it all -my schedule, her schedule, babysitters, play dates, etc. Some time you just want to scream. I actually have it much easier than a lot of people because I don't have the extended family obligations that most people do. However, that brings it's own set of challenges. My short list of free babysitters is much shorter than most.

There are days that I have meltdowns like a three year old and there are other days when I am a big girl. There's the networking, the meetings with potential clients, then the actual working with clients, then there's homework and play dates and dance classes and me going to the gym...I want to scream! And then the worst thing happens. It slows down and then it's quiet and you wonder why and when will it get busy again.

Trust me, I am very grateful when it is very busy because I'm making money. But at the same time I have to remember not to focus too much on all the chaos at that time because eventually it will slow down. The law of attraction is something else. When I am beside myself with work and tired as anything, I get so overwhelmed that I meltdown. I want it to slow down. And what do you know? IT does. Then I get frustrated because I'm not crazy busy. Is there no pleasing me? Lesson learned: careful what you wish for because you just might get it.

What I always have to remind myself is that 'this too shall pass.' It won't always be this way. It's not the worst thing in the world to be crazy busy. In fact, it might be the best thing. The busier I get, the more help I need and then I can hire an assistant. Imagine having someone that can help with all the work? What a concept! I hope to be in that position shortly. This is getting crazy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Business of It All

I am the type of person that I sometimes act without thinking things all the way through. That's sometimes good and sometimes not so good. When I decided t start my company I just plowed ahead and just started. I got business, started networking and got clients. What else did I need right? Apparently I needed a business plan. I heard this term alot but I always thought it was something you needed if you were trying to get funding. Since I didn't need funding I didn't think I really needed one. I figured I could just wing it and I would be fine. Don't get me wrong, things were moving along but not just as fast as I would have liked them to.

Then I met Judi Glova, business coach, of Pinnacle Coaching. A few months ago she became one of my clients when I helped her with a move. During the process we were talking about what it is that she does. As she explained different aspects of her business it sounded really interesting. Since I had never worked with a business coach I wasn't sure what they did. Nonetheless I decided that it would be helpful if we started working together. So we did.

We had several sessions where I did different exercises. I didn't really understand it at the time, how it all was tied together, but eventually I would. Soon enough I realized that we were working towards putting together my business plan. (I 'm a little slow, OK?) Ever though I am still tweaking my business plan, just putting it down on paper was the beginning of everything coming together. Goals were established for the next 5 years, breaking down each year individually. Other things were also defined such as mission statement, who is my target audience, what are my services, income goals, etc.

This was probably one of the best things I could have done for my business. The goals that I listed in my plan have started becoming a reality. The phone is ringing and they are ringing with the types of clients I listed, the ideas that I listed, etc.

Who knew that putting a couple of pages together could jump start my business even more? Was it worth it? Absolutely! Do I recommend it? Absolutely! I have no idea what it will do for anyone else but it certainly did wonders for me. I'm just excited to see what else but develop from my ideas in my plan. Stay tuned for more....

Just remember: Clear the clutter, clear the mind, be more productive.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Moving right along.........

The past couple of weeks have been very busy. Juggling my daughter and her summer schedule and the business is definitely a challenge. Finding reliable babysitters is the most challenging part of all. Nonetheless, I think networking has become my new job title. I try to get to as many events as I can to meet people and get the word out about what I do. My hard work is starting to pay off and the word is definitely getting out because the phone is definitely ringing. Woohoo!!!

When networking the most important thing to remember is that it's not about whether this person will be my client but who they know and who they can refer me to. There's a whole learning curve when networking. So many people try and sell the person that they're talking to. Wrong!! According to my networking coach, Anne Hilbert, she says that it's about reading people, following their energy (or knowing how to work with their energy) and developing a relationship with the person you are talking to. (Anne would be so proud of me.) Most business doesn't happen at the event. But what can happen is a plan to get together outside of the event where you can learn more about that person. That's where the business happens.

Happy networking everyone!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Today is the day everyone. I have arrived. I have finally started my blog. I have had a blog account set up for months now and have not done anything with it. But lo and behold today is the beginning.

So what am I going to write about? I could give organizing tips, or teach about how to organize something but I think it might be more interesting and fun to wrote all about the making of my "rise to fame" and my "story."

For a long time I have thought about starting my own business or actually being my own boss and not working for anyone. I really had no idea what that business could be. At one point in life I became a loan officer. The best part of that was being my own boss and dictating my own schedule. Being a single mom gave me the flexibility I needed. The stress of that job didn't agree with me because I actually got physically sick and that was the end of that. Because it was just a job and because I was sick, it wasn't that important so I gave it now. At the same time I had learned that being a professional organizer was actually a career. Who knew you could make a living doing was I have always done and that I love to do? I could actually organize other people and be paid for it. Oh, happy days!!!!

That was the beginning of Organize2Harmonize. I joined NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and NAPO-LA, found networking groups to attend, and started spreading the word. I created a website, got business cards, letterhead, did mailings, etc. However, starting a business isn't as easy as it sounds. Or at least the making money part of it. In the very beginning I got a few clients, friends and family, then a couple more from other people that I knew but making the money I need to live off of, is another story. So you keep trudging away.

Then on the marketing. Sometimes I feel like I'm not really sure what that is or what I am doing. One thing that I do was get magnets for my car advertising my business. They were very inexpensive and I've actually gotten two clients from them. I write articles online, I have a online radio talk show, as well as doling the whole social networking thing. (That's a whole other challenge.)

Some days I have clients, some days I'm networking, some days both and some days I am just lost and not knowing where to turn. Luckily those don't last that long. All days I am trying to get more business, make new appointments, connect with new people and market, market, market.

Let's take today for instance. I was up early to get my daughter to camp, this week it's cheer camp, then I went to the gym for a quick workout, then home to shower and change for my coaching session. That session was great so when I got home I started working, working, working. I've been on the phone and computer for hours. Although I ma not making money per se, I feel very productive. I know I'm doing the right things and moving in the right direction. I'll probably be attached to this desk until I pick up my daughter from camp, drop her at a friends house for the evening then head out to my monthly NAPO meeting. I'll pick her up around 9pm, get her to bed and continue working on the computer. Does it ever end?! Maybe not but I'm busting my butt for no one but me and I love that.

Just remember: clear the clutter, clear your mind, be more productive.