Monday, September 30, 2013

Be Willing to Hear the Truth!

I spent the weekend reflecting on how my business has grown. I am in the middle of writing my personal story. A lot of reflection went on in my home this past Saturday and Sunday as a result. While looking back, I realized a major lesson in life and in business- you have to be willing to hear the truth in order to expand. I know many great people who owned failing businesses. Why? Well, they all had one thing in common when running their former companies- the inability to listen to the truth.

You may not like what you hear, but I promise you will learn something from it. In order to hear the truth, you need to surround yourself with people willing to tell you the truth. People see money and often forget to say what is really on their mind. Isn't that convenient! They are usually afraid to speak up out of fear of losing a paycheck or cutting of the gravy train. You don't need these types of people around you. They will sink you and then swim away.

Find people who are honest. People who can contribute constructive criticism to your life and business. Cherish them and don't be easily offended. The most valuable thing someone can do for you in life, and in business, is bring you down to reality.

Twyla Garrett

Friday, September 27, 2013

Leadership Types

There are four main types of leaders. I compiled a lot of information on each type. See if you identify with any of the personality types below to discover what type of leader you are.

1. Do you love to help employees develop their long-term goals and also have them coincide with company growth? Do you love to mentor employees but find you spend to much time on people who don't want to be coached? If so, you're a coach leader. The key is to surround yourself with other people who love to motivate and be motivated.

2. Do you give your employees a lot of freedom? Are your employees very loyal to you as a result of this freedom? Do you sometimes find yourself dishing out praise even when it really isn't deserved? If so, you're a team builder! Surround yourself with people who are tougher than you have no problem dishing out the truth when needed.

3. Does everything and everyone have to be perfect? Do your employees really meet your high-standards? Do you love to micro-manage? If so, you're a general! It might be hard, but try to listen to the ideas more. You might hear a great one!

4. Do you focus on the big picture? Are you results driven? Do you love to show others how smart you are? If so, you're a visionary. Try not to explain to people what your vision is. Instead, have them help you get to your vision!

Have a great weekend! I'll blog more on Monday.

Twyla

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Become Wanted

The best asset you can create for yourself in business is to become wanted. Even if you are just starting out, creating a mystique for yourself as a "must have" product creator or service provide will sell itself. So, how do you become "wanted?"

Easy. Well, sort of. I've put together three tips to help you gain the mojo to drive clients and potential clients crazy and sales onward and upward.

1. Curiosity. I can say this enough. A curious quality if a profitable one. Be curios. Ask your clients questions. Have a desire to need more. Get people to talk to you about themselves. They will find you an endearing service provider or product manager and will be coming back more and more and more.....

2. Be positive. People don't want to be around other people who are negative or gossip. People want to be around people who lift them up with a positive attitude. Even if you feel terrible, slap a smile on your face and pretend all is ok.

3. Be kind. Offer to help. Offer to correct problems. Volunteer your time. Make a donation. Do whatever you can to be considered as helpful and/or kind.

These three tips are pretty basic, but they work wonders. Tomorrow is Friday. Get out there and try using each one of these tips at least once throughout the day. I promise you it will change how people view you.

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cut the Corporate Cord!

I meet people everyday with amazing business ideas. These people are a few steps away from becoming millionaires. But these people are afraid to take the plunge. Many of them are executives for companies other than there own. And these positions do come with security. There is nothing secure about starting your own business, so I can kinda understand their fear. Well, if you have a great idea, but you're afraid of walking away from the security of your corporate job, let me say this to do you- life is change!

Nothing is "secure" in this world. Your regular paycheck can be gone tomorrow for a wide-array of reasons. People saved money via investments thinking it was "secure" when in walked Bernard Lawrence "Bernie" Madoff. While he was sentenced, the money wasn't returned.

You are not secure. So, why not be happy? If you have a great idea- have confidence in it. Say yes to it and yourself. There is nothing more rewarding then earning your own money and keeping it! Sure, there will always be Bernie Madoffs in this world. You will always have fear when walking away from a steady paycheck. But if you believe in yourself, and you should, the fear will quickly turn into profit. The hours of working for yourself are going to be longer. You may not make a dime the first one to three years. Your family will barely see you.... but in the end, you are in charge of your destiny and the reward will be great.

If your having fear today to explore your business idea- don't. The worst that can happen is you fail. I've failed. You always gain knowledge from failure and then you can pick yourself back up, dust yourself off and move on to the next idea!

Ask yourself where you are at today. Are you a yes person or a no person?

Twyla

Monday, September 23, 2013

You Said What!

Customers are funny people. Many of them are loyal, even if they have a problem. But almost all of them hate the next two words I'm about to toss out.

"Sorry" and "But" are the two words.

Customers hate these two words because they both signal disappointment and lack of accountability. Saying "sorry" means something went wrong and you can't or are unwilling to fix the issue. Saying "but" usually is a way to sneak an alternative offer or change the subject. Customers hate these words.

"Sorry, we don't have any more ham sandwiches. Did you want a turkey sandwich?" -Um, most people ordering a ham sandwich don't want turkey. Sorry only means you're not willing to take responsibility for the issue- even if you're the waitress delivering the message. A better way to handle this situation is as follows;
"We are out of ham for the day. We have everything else noted on the menu. Did you want to review other choices and I can come back in a few minutes?" While you're still saying there is no ham, you're giving the customer power over the situation. He doesn't have to accept turkey and he can chose his second favorite item. You're also not apologizing for something out of your control and that you can't do anything about.

"It is going to cost you a thousand dollars to fix your breaks, but the resale value will improve." - The but in this sentence doesn't need to be added. The cost of the item is what it is. If you can't justify the use of breaks to a customer, he isn't worried about resale value!

So, most of the time customers aren't upset by mistakes or disappointments. They are, however, more agitated by the way things are presented to them. Leave out the words "sorry" and "but" and you will have happier customers.

Twyla Garrett

Friday, September 20, 2013

The X Factor of Business

I've discussed this topic more than once. The key to running a business isn't solely based on book smarts. You also have to be street smart savvy. This requires possession of charm, or as I like to call the 'X Factor' ability. Not everyone is born with it, but you can mirror some of the aspects.

What are they?

1. Appearance. Don't be off trend and don't go for trend setting clothing. Find a wardrobe that expresses class and pay attention to the details. Paying a lot of accessories, beautiful manicures (yes, men too) and keeping your hair clipped and colored will signal that you care how you present yourself to people- a charmers first secret to success.

2. Eye contact is everything. Don't stare at your phone, other people, or the floor. Stay focused on the person you are speaking to or who is speaking with you. Engagement is a big factor when it comes to charming another person.

3. Command a crowd. This takes practice. First, you need to know what it is you're talking about. Don't just speak about your opinions- back them up with facts and by citing the occasion opposing view. Second, use humor to keep peoples' attention and not to sound boring. If you're a great story teller, you can sell anything- including yourself!

4. Other people are more important. This is the biggest part of using charm to help your business grow. All you have to do is listen to other people talk about themselves. If you do this, they will look forward to your company!

Have a great weekend!

Twyla Garrett

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Business Advice from Twyla Garrett

There are a lot of entrepreneurs running around in today's business culture. Everyone has these larger-than-life plans to succeed. Their focus is on social media and getting the best rates to help increase a profit margin. However, many entrepreneurs are failing to provide a key element to customers and potential business partners/investors. What is it? Basic marketing materials.

That's right- most of today's entrepreneurs are so involved with Google rankings, SEO reports, etc. that they forget to develop a strong brand and print hard marketing materials. This oversight can cause failure to launch.

CEO of Eyeflor Phil Laboon recently said "Sales pitching, handshaking, and business-lunching are the behind-the-scenes reality of a growing start-up." His advice couldn't me more on the money. Business cards, brochures and flash drives have to be memorable. It is a part of your growth strategy- at least it should be! Laboon went on to say "business cards, brochures, and other promo items are the face of your company when you're not present, so spending top dollar to make these marketing tools professional and memorable is money well spent. These materials are what get people to return phone calls and schedule meetings. When customers sees a nice marketing piece, they have confidence in your business and remember you later on. Budgeting for analog advertising materials should be a priority rather than an afterthought."

There are many printing website that make cookie-cutter brochures and business cards easy to obtain and at inexpensive rates. Skip these websites. You should be developing custom logos and branding for your materials. Don't print on crappy stock either. Yes, I said crappy. Nothing is worst than meeting someone who has a flimsy business card. It sends a message that the owner ins't willing to invest in him or herself and neither should you! Budget to do things right the first time. Spend extra money on your marketing materials and it will pay off in the long run.

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

It's Easy to be Negative!

Hard work never harmed anyone. Yet, I find that people tend to make excuses and negative remarks when it comes to challenges rather than own up to them and work hard. Why is this? A little elbow grease isn't going to hurt you! Putting in effort takes more energy and work than simply being negative. It is a sad state of affairs when I think my peers rather be negative and not accomplish something versus overcoming the challenge itself. So, if you find yourself being negative today- try the following two steps and start working on the challenges!

1. Change the way you talk.

If you feel the urge to say something negative, don't. Make a mental note to not repress the statement either. Simply find a way to rephrase your thoughts or feelings in a more positive tone. This exercise does wonders for the subconscious.

2. Say no to criticism.

If you tend to comment on what people are doing, without the comment being nice, then don't say anything at all. This is harder than you think. We, as people, tend to talk with each other about each other. If you head out with your girlfriends, observe how many times the topic of other people come up. If the person isn't in the room, don't say anything negative about him or her. It seems easy, it's not!

Changing how you think and how you speak will change how you take on challenges. I promise you more will get done, even hard tasks, when you alter your outlook and the way you talk.

Until next time,

Twyla

www.authortwylagarrett.com

Friday, September 13, 2013

Focus On One Thing

Every business owner and CEO will face a time of panic. It is going to happen. How you handle this panic will determine if you survive and thrive or fail and sail. You can't do both. I wanted to dedicate today's blog to one thing. Yes, focusing on one thing. You see, this concept is rare. Our culture is built to be multi-taskers. Our society embraces technology that helps us multi-task. But, in times of crisis, multi-tasking can overwhelm you and cause you to fail where you might have succeeded.

If you're thinking of quitting something or find yourself engulfed by challenges that are too hard to handle- don't give up. Remember you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time. Don't look at the big picture in times of crisis. Instead, try to consider one element at a time. Work on one problem and then move onto the other. If you focus on more than one thing at a time then you're likely to fail at whatever the challenge is.

When focusing on one specific thing, pour all of your energy into it. Determine what the issue is, how you're going to handle it and how you're going to recover. Don't worry about the next twenty problems flooding you at once. Take life one step at a time and you will survive and thrive.

Happy Friday!

Twyla

Thursday, September 12, 2013

5 Reasons Customers Pay More!

No matter if you sell services or products, you will have to raise your rates at one point or another. SO, why would your customers continue to buy and not seek out a competitor? Well, I've got the top 5 reasons!

1. Ease. Customers will pay up to 30% more than a competitor if your products/services are easier to obtain.

2. A "Must-have" feature. Showing value to a customer is easy when you have a "must-have" feature. Figure out an angle and sell-it!

3. Customer service. If you have a great customer service and/or loyalty program- you're in like Flynn.

4. Growth. If your customer's business is growing so quickly that he or she doesn't have time to cost compare- they will likely stay with you even though you've raised rates.

5. Personal relationships. A customer has to like the experience of buying products or services. Who would have thought people, in today's economy, would continue to buy $4.00 cups of coffee at Starbucks? People love the experience of Starbucks, which is why the company just raised rates and no one flinched.

It is very possible to increase costs during this time. You just need to know how to do it.

Happy selling,

Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Customer Service- The Key

Have you ever been irritated by poor customer service? It is bound to happen a few times in life. We all have to provide customer service in one way or another. I've come up with two no-fail ways to provide outstanding customer service.

1. Ask how you can fix the issue. People love to talk about their experiences. So, why not let them? Instead of just rushing to fix a problem how you see fit, take a second to listen to the customer's complaint. Then ask him or her how you can fix it. If the request is reasonable- do it. If the request is unreasonable then suggest what you can do.

2. Respond. Ok, this seems like a very simple and obvious step. I have run into issue after issue where corporate executives fail to respond to me. I know I make phone calls. I know I send emails. I often hear nothing back from the addressee. YOU need to handle any and all issues that come before you- this includes following up with the customer once the issue has been resolved.

These two easy steps for customer service act as the key to client happiness. If you can maintain this strategy, you will always have happy customers.

Twyla Garrett

Monday, September 9, 2013

NO!

Here is a word most people don't know how to say "no"- that's right, "no!" Most business owners think turning down business or saying no to anything will kill their companies. Actually, saying no can help grow your business. Always saying yes can make you grow too fast too soon. Always saying yes might mean you're taking on tasks you know you can't complete- this leads to unhappy customers. Don't be a people pleaser, be someone who is honest and able to control his or her situation.

Anytime I am about to purchase something I monitor how many times the sales person can debunk my doubt with a "yes I can" or "we can do this for you"- doing everything to not turn my business away. I can count, however, the number of times the "yes" turned into disappointment. If someone said no in this situation, I would have respected him or her more. My point is that you shouldn't be telling people yes all of the time. Don't be afraid to say no. No can help your company. No sets boundries. No allows you to sell extra features for additional profit- not as favors. No allows your schedule to be respected.

Today, as Monday comes to a close, try practicing saying the word "no" and Tweet me with your results!

Twyla Garrett.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Your Personal Business

Business people need to have great habits. There have been books and conferences about this topic. While there is no bad habit seminar out there, there are few essential habits that you need. If you have read the other books and attended the seminars about good and bad habits- yet still don't feel compelled, try forming these two habits. I promise you they will work wonders for your business.

1. Exercise daily for 20 minutes- even if it is walking. Being in business is stressful. It can drain you and harness your ability to move forward. No matter what, if you exercise daily for 20 minutes, your stress will reduce and your productivity will increase.

2. Make certain people a priority. Don't you love being invited to a dinner or lunch only to have the other person busy attending to business. Isn't this annoying? Don't be this person. If you make a commitment to attend an event with a person, or you schedule a meeting with someone, be present. Don't check your phone, don't constantly interrupt , don't engage in anything else during your time with the other person. After all, you wouldn't want these things done to you!

Well, that's it. Two very simple habits that will help you grow personally and professionally. Being it is the weekend, start tomorrow. Get up and go for a jog. If you have to attend an event with someone (even if it is coffee) keep your phone in your pocket at all times.

Until Monday,

Twyla Garrett

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Creativity.... Yes, You CAN Develop It.

Most people believe you're either born creative or you're not. Well, this isn't 100% true. While some people are great at gardening, others might be good taking care of a single houseplant. The houseplant people may not know they are great gardeners. What's my point? Well, you might not think you're creative- but you might well be. You just need to learn how to develop your creativity.

Put 30 minutes aside today to try this exercise;

1. Sit somewhere that is distraction free. Make sure your cell phone is nowhere to be found.
2. Have a lined piece of paper and a pen- no pencils. Self-doubters use pencil.
3. Write down five ideas on how you can reinvent the concept of Starbucks.
4. Don't hesitate when you write down these ideas. Write down the first five concepts that enter your mind.
5. Scrunch the paper up. Toss it in the trash. Walk away.

Ok, you might be thinking this is crazy. It's not. This exercise is designed to get you analyzing business from a more creative perspective. If you do this every day (picking a different business each day) it really will help you within your own life and industry.

Happy reinventing!

Twyla Garrett

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

PR Basics....

Love or hate Donald Trump- there is no doubt in my mind that you know who he is. Why do you know who he is? Really, think about this. He inserts himself in the middle of the media on the constant. Behind his brand is a company that has had more failures than Elizabeth Taylor had marriages. So, why is Mr. Trump considered media relevant? Because he says so.... yes, this is the reason.

If you don't have an aggressive publicity plan, you need one. Here are some basic tips to get you started;

1. Say what is on your mind... all the time. Don't wait for the media to come to you. Instead, start a YouTube channel. Once a week make a video post commenting on the most trending story of the week. Put your personal spin on it. Go ahead, have an opinion. Trump does and it doesn't prevent him from being in the media- in fact, it helps him get rebooked. Political correctness isn't for the media savvy.

2. Prepare to have enemies... and then engage with them. Yes, talk to your enemies on social media. Keep your cool but stay consistent. The media loves to comment on public fights... don't shy away from the enemies you're going to make giving your opinion.

3. Be charitable. I say this for a million reasons plus one. There are many benefits when it comes to giving back. And, your company's reputation can't be hurt by giving a little or a lot!

Until next time,

Twyla Garrett

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Failure.... Why It's Great for You!

I have a series of books coming up regarding the topic of failure. People are so afraid of failing. They are concerned what other people may think of them. Really, failure is a beautiful thing. Failure allows for growth. Personally and professionally- having a failure is needed to expand and increase profits. That's right- you really do have to learn from your mistakes.

Failure makes you become a patient person. You have to learn patience when you fail, which is a needed lesson in today's quick-to-act social media culture. Not everything needs an answer NOW!

Failure also grounds who you are. Your job is not all that you are. Most people believe this. It isn't true. You are not one sided. Failure allows you to push yourself forward and enhances the creative process. Without failure, you are only your job. With failure, your possibilities are endless.

If you're not seeing my point here- you have never failed in life or in business. It will happen. Just make sure failure doesn't defeat you when it happens. Oh yeah, failure teaches persistence!

Twyla

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