Friday, August 29, 2014

Small Fish, Big Pond....

I was recently asked how you compete as a small fish in a big pond. This person owns a retail business within a mall. While he has amazing products (and an even better location), he feels that the other bigger, brighter retail signs are stealing from his business. He asked me how does one compete as a small fish in a big pond. I put a lot of thought into this. Here are my top 3 ideas;

Step 1: Make sure customers can see you and your best-selling products through the retail space's front window. If your cashier is all the way at the back, people will be less likely to shop at your store. They want to see your product, buy it, and then easily get out of the store. It is a statistically proven fact that retailers with a cash register placed at the front of the store do better. Why do you think you can buy perfume as you arrive inside a Macy's store?

Step 2: Tone down the blaring music. Some mall retailers do this to "attract attention". If you are selling to a demographic of 13-20 years of age, this is OK. If not, the music becomes overwhelming and no one wants to stay in your store. Many people shop with a friend or while on the phone. Blaring music can interrupt their conversation and they will leave your store because of this.

Step 3: Offer something unique. More and more nail salons are offering champagne with their pedicures. Other stores provide dog treats. Figure out a way to offer something free that will be memorable to your customers- something the major retails simply couldn't do.

I hope this information is helpful.

Until Tuesday,

Twyla N. Garrett

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dealing with Difficult Clients

I’ve touched on this before, but I want to dedicate today’s blog to those who expect perfection at the cheapest rate possible. I recently stood behind a lady in Starbucks who was bringing her drink back. Starbucks has a great policy on drinks that are made to subpar standards. They will remake the drink for you until they get it right. She had a tall drink. She went on and on about how terrible it was. She was making me late for a meeting. She demanded her money back. The barista said ‘no’ and explained the policy. She continued to hold up the line. Shortly after, I found out she was complaining about a basic, tall coffee. The cost was less than two dollars. Annoyed, I gave her the two dollars….. My meeting was worth more to than the cost of her coffee.

After my meeting, I was waiting for a cab in a professional building’s lobby. I heard three people talking about their marketing company. They were upset that it had been three months with no results in their opinion. So, I asked them who the marketing company was. They gave me the name. I asked them if they have seen business increase over the past three months. They said they have, although it has been a slow journey. I asked them why they thought the marketing wasn’t working. They said because the company hasn’t hit the million dollar mark in sales yet. I asked them what they did at their company, they said sales!

Sometimes companies make mistakes. Sometimes companies can be the blame for the shortcomings of other people. Either way, there are going to be difficult people in the world and difficult clients.

The best way to deal with a difficult person or client is to be empathic, shut up, listen, and then offer a solution in a low, calm voice. If this doesn’t work, ask the customer how you can rectify the issue. If their solution is way off base, ask them to leave. There is no saving this customer regardless of what you offer. You should move on.

Starbucks, in this case, could have saved their complaining client by adjusting their policy and providing her with her two dollars back. The marketing company noted above can’t do anything about its perception. The sales people are simply relying on the marketing company to do its job and theirs. In this case, the marketing company needs to fire the client.

I hope these two different examples help you determine when and how to move forward when dealing with difficult clients.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Two Tricks to Improve Business Credit!

Obtaining financing is hard. It doesn’t matter what your credit score is, new businesses often are faced with ‘no’ after ‘no’ when first starting out. If you have a less than stellar credit score, obtaining credit is going to be even harder.

I have some sure fire ways to make improving your credit- or lack thereof- easier in business. First, know that 35% of your credit score relies upon your timeliness of payments. If you have a new business with no credit, obtain a pre-paid credit card. Make and then payoff (and on time) small purchases every month. If you have poor credit, this simple tactic is the quickest way to jump your credit score.

If you do have a great personal credit score but a poor business credit score, don’t cojoin the two. Keep these two entities separate, after all- they are separate entities. While cosigning for your business may help your business obtain a better APR, your personal score will suffer and this isn’t a good thing.

My second tip is to check each statement you receive yourself. You can’t rely on your accounting people to take good care of your company’s credit- or build it up. You need to look at every paid, pending, and outstanding invoice on a monthly basis. You need to examine monthly bank statements. You need to examine payroll. It is up to you to verify numbers and transactions. Accounting people can help you navigate your finances but it is up to you to ensure accountability and authenticity in every transaction.

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to give a killer presentation.

I receive wonderful comments back from attendees at the conferences I speak at. I don’t mind gloating about this. Why? Because I can share the secret to my presentation success with my blog audience. You see, I love public speaking but wasn’t that great at it when I first started. Someone shared the following secret with me, which has improved my presentation skills regardless of the audience size. So, I thought I would share it with you. I promise, if followed, you will be gloating about your wonderful feedback too!

End with a quote! It seems simple enough, right? You’re probably thinking a quote ending is silly. Well, it’s now. You see, people will remember a quote. They will associate that quote to your brand. They will use the quote often and, when doing so, think of you. They will share the quote on social media, they will talk about the quote at meetings, they will not believe that you ended a presentation using someone else’s quote. Your borrowed quote will be memorable!

The key is to select the right quote. It has to tie into the topic you are speaking about. It has to be cited to someone everyone is capable of knowing- at least from a name recognition point of view. The quote should be limited to two sentences. The quote should be said and mirrored in a presentation slide. And, if you give out any collateral, the quote should be at the very end.

Still intrigued? Try it! The next time you are speaking to a small group- even friends at Starbucks- leave the room with a quote. I promise you it will be a pivotal moment for you.

Until next time,
Twyla N. Garrett

Monday, August 25, 2014

The 2014 WILDE Leadership and Service Awards Gala

I love to meet my fans! If you want to support a great group of women, please consider buying tickets to the following event. Oh, and I am the keynote speaker!

he WILDE Leadership and Service Awards Fundraising Gala is an annual event held in the city of Atlanta that seeks to highlight and recognize proven leaders in the community who have shown a commitment to improving individual and community standards. Honorees exude excellence and integrity in their area of expertise, and stand as role models in society.

The event is known to motivate, inspire, educate and entertain while building networks in two incorporated folds:

WILDE The Runway- A Charity Fashion Show: is an extraordinary platform for designers in the fashion industry to showcase their creativity and artistic skills while creating awareness of different cultures through the display of artwork and dynamic designs. It also serves as a platform for highly talented fashion designers seeking more visibility. We have added an interesting twist to the 2014 WILDE The Runway by bringing to you an exclusive kids fashion show. You do not want to miss!

Awards Gala: is an evening of cocktails, entertainment and fine dining during which honorees will be presented with the 2014 WILDE Leadership & Service Awards. Among other amazing activities, there will be an engaging panel discussion involving extraordinary speakers from all over the nation speaking on “Women Embracing Life and Leadership.”

BENEFICIARIES

The 2014 WILDE Leadership and Service Awards Fundraising Gala will benefit WILDE Charities and Beauty4Ashes Foundation.

When: October 11, 2014
( 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm)
Future Vision
1212 Fowler St. NW,
Atlanta, Georgia

Tickets start at $45. You can buy them here: http://wildeawardsgala.org/purchase-tickets/

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Productivity Killers

I wanted to spend some of today discussing productivity killer. I recently had the pleasure of helping one of my employees out. After working through the task, I realized what is taking her four hours to complete was done in 45 minutes under my watch. Astonished, I had to ask why. I saw with her to see if she did things wrong or if I had missed something, I never led on why I was asking.

My employee did everything the exact same way I did. The only difference? When she was working with me as her shadow, she completed the task in just over an hour. Where were the other three hours I was paying her for? At this point I questioned her. She explained she is answering emails and taking phone calls between actual work. While this was a possibility, I didn’t see it as a three hour difference. In fact, I was also responding to emails and taking calls on speakerphone and still completed the task in less time.

After further investigating, I found the productivity killer. Google! Yes, Google. While my employees have to use it to look things up, it turns out they get distracted by the headlines, links, etc. And then they Google things they should be looking at on their off time, get tied up in related industry news headlines, and so forth.

No, my employee didn’t get in trouble. It wasn’t a deliberate act and we created an action plan together. I also figured out a way to take my employees off line when needed to ensure productivity. The point is, I wanted to share this so you know just how distracting Google can be to any task. It is a productivity killer. So, if you need to think, brainstorm, write, plan, or just need to relax- leave your phone at home and find a place with no internet or computers!

Until tomorrow,

Twyla N. Garrett

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