8 Scary Halloween Tips For Business Owners
October 30, 2012 /
in General Information /
by Mic Johnson
It’s that time of year again. Time for scary movies, trick-or-treating, trying to pass out all of the Halloween candy to kids before you eat it all yourself and put on 15 lbs., and a great time for business owners to conquer their fears as they look both to the end of the year and ahead to the year to come.
With that in mind, here are my 8 Scary Halloween Tips For Business Owners:
1. Talk to your employees regularly. They don’t bite. Usually.
Whether it’s a weekly team meeting, a team lunch, or just informal conversations throughout the week, make the time to talk to your employees. This seems simple, but I continue to be surprised by how many business owners (or their managers) don’t do this.
The employees are the pulse of the organization. If they feel their opinions are valued and they are engaged, it will transform your culture and and flow through every customer interaction.
2. Ask your customers for feedback. They will bite if you ignore them.
Whether it’s in person or on the phone, be sure to ask your customers for feedback. Don’t assume that because they’re quiet, they’re happy. Even scarier, if they’re quiet, maybe it’s because they are checking out your competition to see if they can get better treatment or pricing. Boooooo! You don’t want that!
3. Embrace change. It’s the only way you and your business will evolve.
I continue to run into people that don’t like change. Some hate it. You should see my Facebook Timeline every time Facebook decides to change something. You’d think the world was coming to an end.
Some people don’t like changes to systems, to processes, to the fact that “that’s the way it’s always been done” isn’t a strategic plan, and to anything that feels like it’s going to be more “work”.
When you are open to change, your business becomes that much more competitive for the long haul. Just make sure you aren’t changing for the sake of change. Be strategic about it…oh, and while you’re at it, talk to your employees about the changes and get their input ahead of time.
4. You’ve got to spend money to make money.
Don’t be scared to spend money on things that will make a real difference in your business.
The last several years have been hard on businesses and managing finances is as tricky as ever.
But if you have an outdated web site, outdated systems, and your employees are relying on outdated tools to do their jobs, then your business isn’t set up for success.
5. Don’t be scared to fail. Take calculated risks.
I share this one with people all the time. I love the term “calculated risk”. It’s my favorite type of risk. When I have a big (or spooky, to go with the Halloween theme) decision in front of me, I gather information, get feedback from people I trust and respect, and then make the best decision I can with the information that I have at the time.
That, to me, is a calculated risk and is far better than running off the high dive only to realize half way down there’s no water in the pool.
6. Ask for help when you need it. It’s not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of intelligence.
As a business owner, you probably weren’t born knowing how to handle HR issues, build web sites, figure out every new piece of technology relevant to business today, handle legal issues, deal with payroll, communicate effectively to a wide range of employees, and on and on.
There’s no doubt that you’ve picked up some of those skills along the way if you’ve been in business long enough, but if you don’t have the answers, ASK FOR HELP. There are all kinds of resources available to business owners, starting with people in your immediate network, business coaches, and more.
Build a team of trusted partners around you that are experts in their fields and let them handle the areas that you are weaker in or just don’t have the time or interest to deal with. That’s just intelligent business. Yes, there may be a cost to it, but remember what we talked about in point #4 above.
7. If you make a mistake, don’t be scared to say I’m sorry. Then fix it.
I continue to believe that the average person (employee, manager, customer, etc.) understands that people, and businesses, make mistakes. Perfection doesn’t exist in people or in business.
But the average person won’t stand for it when a business makes a mistake and then doesn’t fix it or takes too long to fix it.
It’s ok to say “I’m sorry” to a customer when you’ve made a mistake. Do it authentically, however, because people read right through it if you’re giving them lip service. Then fix the problem, thank them for their business, and send them on their way.
There have been plenty of studies that talk about how much people talk when they have a bad customer service experience. You don’t want to be on the wrong side of that equation.
8. Don’t be afraid of vacations and work/life balance.
There are way too many business owners (and employees for that matter) that are afraid to take vacations and to make the changes necessary to have a real work/life balance. I’ve been in that scenario more than once in my career and I honestly just don’t think it’s a healthy way to go through life.
All of us need time to unplug, take a deep breath or ten, spend time traveling or relaxing (or both) and getting away from the day-to-day grind. People, and especially business owners, make all kinds of excuses on why they can’t get away. The excuses are easier than actually getting out of their comfort zone to take a breather.
Let’s just look at it logically: If you are happy, feel like you have balance in your work and in your life, and enjoy what you do, do you think you will be a better friend, a better spouse, sleep better, be healthier and be a positive influence on other people around you?
You know the answer. Now take the calculated risk and start making better decisions to get you and your employees there sooner rather than later.