Do You Have an Abundance or Scarcity Mindset?

Do You Have an Abundance or Scarcity Mindset?

As a business owner, your mindset is one of your greatest assets. Your mindset is the lens with which you view the world and your opportunities to succeed. It informs how you pursue your goals and how you lead your employees.  While your mindset was influenced in childhood by your family life, it’s something you can control and change.

Life feels like a constant struggle for those with a scarcity mindset. There’s never enough time or money or resources to do what needs to be done. Fear and worry wear them down and affect the morale of people around them.

On the other hand, those who have an abundance mindset always seem relaxed, even in the face of a challenge. They have confidence in themselves and a belief that things will work out. It’s not that they are naive or Pollyannna-ish; rather, they know that doing something moves them closer to their goal than worrying about how they might fail.

Not only is it easy to get stuck in a scarcity mindset, but it can also spread from your home life to your work life or vice versa. Taking a mindful approach to maintaining an abundance mindset will keep you from slipping into a self-defeating scarcity mindset. Here’s how:

Practice a beginner’s mind

Apply this Zen concept to approach each situation with fresh eyes, as if you are encountering it for the first time. A beginner’s mind allows you to see an abundance of possibilities because you won’t start with preconceptions based on negative experiences in the past. Thinking of yourself as a beginner also relieves you of the burden of having to know all the answers before you get started.

Tap into the power of words

Your words are a source of inspiration or negativity for yourself and for your employees. Words affect your thinking and actions, so try to always use language that reflects your aspirations, not your doubts. Taking a moment each day to articulate your gratitude also helps reinforce an abundance mindset.

Flip your perspective

If you find yourself facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles, look at the situation in a completely different way. Maybe you can’t build a bridge, but can you discover a different route to the same destination?

First think big, then narrow your options

To avoid getting bogged down by limitations, focus on finding all the opportunities in a situation before identifying obstacles. If your starting point is overwhelmingly negative, it takes more work and greater momentum to envision a positive outcome. Once you’ve identified possibilities, then you can begin to evaluate the pros and cons of your options.

Surround yourself with people who share your abundance mindset

It’s challenging to row against the flow. If everyone around you shares a scarcity mindset, it’s hard to remain positive. Your attitude also influences the people who work with you — abundance is contagious!

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Three Guiding Principles for Success

Three Guiding Principles for Success

One of the major differences between people who are successful in achieving their goals in life and people who fail to achieve their goals is having a comprehensive plan. It’s not enough to focus on just the business side of life; success comes more quickly to those who align all aspects of their life with their goals. In other words, how you manage your time away from work is just as important as how you manage your business. Here are three basic guiding principles that will accelerate your path to success.

1) Set aside time for planning on a regular basis

Planning helps you to focus on what’s important by clarifying your priorities, setting goals and objectives, making sure you have the resources you need to achieve those goals, and keeping track of your progress along the way so that if something needs to change in response to new information or circumstances, it can be done quickly.

Most of us routinely make short- and long-term business plans but how many of us apply our planning mindset to our lives outside of work? A comprehensive approach to planning creates a healthy work-life balance, preserves time for family and friends, and allows you to engage in activities that support your mental and physical well-being.

2) Focus on getting things done, not being perfect

Focus on what you can do now to keep things moving forward instead of worrying about achieving perfection. It’s easy to get overwhelmed or feel discouraged if your goal seems unreachable. Instead, aim to be persistent in your efforts, and allow your progress, no matter how slow and steady, to inspire you to persist.  

3) Develop good habits

Habits are a great way to make things that feel hard to do seem easier and more enjoyable. For example, if you want to take up jogging, it’s probably not always going to be easy to keep it up regularly during the first 30 days, the length of time researchers believe it takes to form a habit. But if you stick with it, you’ll feel less resistance with every run. At some point, jogging will become second nature, and keeping a “streak” going will be sufficient motivation.

Creating good habits that support a healthy lifestyle will give you the strength, stamina, and mindset to continue working towards your goals, even in the face of occasional setbacks. Here are some examples of lifestyle habits that will contribute to your overall success:

  • Eat a nutritious diet
  • Workout regularly
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Give back to others
  • Socialize on a regular basis
  • Engage in lifelong learning

There are many other strategies for success both in life and at work, but these simple guiding principles will help you stay on track to achieve the success you’ve always dreamed of.

There’s More to Work than Just Work

There’s More to Work than Just Work

A little fun at work goes a long way. It shows that you appreciate your employees not just for getting their jobs done but also as people. Fun activities also help foster a sense of community, improve the overall morale of the workplace, and can even prevent burnout. In fact, research has shown that playfulness can lead to better performance at work — especially when it comes to creativity. Engaging in play gets us away from problems for a bit so we can come up with creative solutions for them later on.

Having fun is not just about celebrating birthdays — but let’s not forget the cake. Here are some ways to give employees a reason to look forward to coming to work. 

Theme days and seasonal observances

It doesn’t take much creativity to come up with an excuse to decorate your workplace or put on some spirit wear with your business logo. Besides celebrating Halloween, Valentine’s Day, and the other usual suspects, you might throw a founder’s day party to mark the day you started your business or reward your employees for landing a new client or successfully completing a massive project by catering a lunch for everyone to enjoy together. 

Group activities

Games are great ways of promoting teamwork within your company because they encourage people to interact with one another in a non-stressful situation. Make it a friendly competition for a valuable prize or for a worthy cause to encourage participation. 

Inviting your people to lunch or an after-work get-together or hosting a family day are other ways to bring your people together and build rapport. The more your employees feel a sense of belonging, the less likely they are to look for other jobs.

Make it meaningful 

Take a moment to share some reflections with your team about how you value these moments of fun with them. Make connections between team activities and your overall culture and ambition for the business.

Lastly, be sure to be inclusive and engage personally with everyone at your events. These casual moments help you and your employees get to know each other better and build trust.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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5 Ways to Cultivate an Ownership Mindset

5 Ways to Cultivate an Ownership Mindset

Every business can benefit from a culture of ownership that encourages employees at all levels to take initiative. Without an ownership culture, your employees may end up being too dependent on your personal presence and control over every decision and detail — and that’s not productive. 

More critically, your employees’ failure to make a timely decision when you aren’t available could negatively impact your business. Additionally, employees who don’t feel a sense of ownership are less motivated, less engaged, and more likely to leave the company when they do find better opportunities elsewhere. 

An ownership culture starts at the top. Your team looks to you to demonstrate what ownership looks like. They’ll also need your support to learn how to take ownership. Here are five ways you can build 

Provide the resources your employees need to be successful

This might mean providing training courses on new technology and tools, creating mentorship pairings, and practicing communication skills. 

Communicate the big picture

It’s also important that all employees gain a solid understanding of all aspects of your business and how different areas connect and what the different roles do. This understanding provides the broad knowledge base that employees may need for solving a problem or serving a client.

Encourage self-reflection 

Make your one-on-ones with employees a two-way street. Before offering feedback and advice, invite them to assess their performance or bring up things that are going well as well as things that require improvement. 

Give employees freedom within a framework

Set clear expectations and boundaries, so employees feel empowered to make decisions and suggest improvements but also understand the limits of their authority.

Let your team lead

Look for the right opportunities for your team to develop solutions without your guidance or involvement. Task them to explore options, report on their findings, and make recommendations for your consideration. If you do make a final decision that differs from their recommendation, take time to fully explain your thinking and express your gratitude for their work.

An ownership culture empowers those who work within it by giving them the opportunity to take responsibility for their decisions rather than just following orders from above. When everyone feels responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly, productivity is higher than ever!

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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What’s All the Noise About Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing?

What’s All the Noise About Quiet Quitting and Quiet Firing?

In some contexts quiet is a good thing, but when it comes to employment status, keep the lines open and conversations going strong. Here’s what you need to know to prevent quiet quitting and avoid quiet firing.

What is quiet quitting?

Quiet quitting generally refers to the behavior of employees who don’t formally quit a job but do the bare minimum to stay employed. Less often it’s used to describe the act of leaving a job without giving notice.

The phrase has been around for a while, but lately quiet quitting has been in the news more frequently. Many attribute the increase in quiet quitting to changes in attitudes about work during the pandemic and its aftermath.

Causes of quiet quitting

There are various factors that contribute to quiet quitting, but one of the most common is disengagement, which in turn occurs for a variety of reasons. Here are some examples:

  • Lack of opportunities for advancement
  • Feeling unappreciated
  • Comparatively low wages
  • Long and/or unpredictable working hours
  • Ongoing friction with business management

The costs of quiet quitting

Costs start adding up before disengaged employees leave, because they aren’t going above and beyond to contribute to the overall success of the business. Once they do leave, the business faces the costs of hiring and training and may experience lower productivity rates during the transition process.

Investing in increasing and maintaining employee engagement can help avoid or reduce the high costs of disengaged employees and employee turnover.

What is quiet firing?

On the flip side of the coin, quiet firing is when employers prompt employees to quit without directly firing them. Some of the tactics are obvious, like not giving raises or reviews, leaving the employee out of meetings, and avoiding casual interaction. Sometimes an employer isn’t intentionally trying to make the employee quit, but is avoiding dealing with an employee who isn’t working out.

The costs of quiet firing

Keeping a nonperforming employee on the payroll creates a negative impact on the business’s culture and lowers overall productivity.

The solution is to address the situation directly. Engage the employee in conversation to gain a full understanding of the situation, work out a plan for improvement, and monitor progress. If things don’t get better, then it’s probably time to let the employee go.

Takeaway

Keeping conversations going with employees can prevent costly misunderstandings that result in losses for your business.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Have You Created Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns Yet?

Have You Created Your Holiday Marketing Campaigns Yet?

Wait, it’s not even Halloween yet, and I’m talking holiday marketing?

Yes, and I’m not the only one. If you’ve visited Costco, Wal-Mart, or other major retailers in the past two weeks, you’ve seen the tree displays. A lot of folks complain it’s way too early to do their holiday shopping, but it’s definitely not too early to plan your holiday marketing campaigns.

Even if your business isn’t directly or even remotely tied to the celebration of seasons and holidays, you can leverage these themes in your marketing to boost sales. These annual events provide opportunities to connect on an emotional level with customers. When you mention the start of a new season and upcoming holidays in marketing messages, you can convey heartfelt goodwill and gratitude towards your customers, provide a unique experience of surprise and delight, or create a sense of urgency.

The pump is already primed

Frankly, holidays prompt a buying mindset. Consumers already plan to be spending extra dollars on their celebrations. One angle or “hook” you can use to promote your business is to offer ways of helping customers maximize time and money as they prepare to celebrate a new season or holiday.

Businesses that offer home maintenance services such HVAC and carpet cleaning services, and retailers that sell home furnishings, have traditionally used the holiday hook to offer customers special deals on their services and products well in advance of the holiday season.

You’re competing for your customers’ attention

The closer it gets to a holiday, the less free time consumers have. Their attention becomes laser-focused on their holiday activities. Businesses offering services and products unrelated to the holidays will get better results if they schedule holiday-themed marketing campaigns earlier in the season.

Some business owners who have seen their marketing messages get lost in the avalanche of holiday marketing messages now schedule their holiday campaigns earlier. For example, a local realtor who used to deliver holiday candy boxes just before Christmas to current clients switched to giving boxes of cookies in the fall — her gifts get more attention from her clients when not mixed in with all the other holiday gifts.

For many, anticipation is everything

From a practical perspective, businesses launch holiday marketing campaigns early because consumers start holiday shopping early. Marketers want to reach the people who buy early in order to avoid the hassles of last-minute shopping — the crowds, long lines, sold-out items, and extra traffic. In fact, one recent study found that 56% of the people surveyed do all their holiday shopping before December.

Early holiday/season marketing also taps deeply into consumers’ feelings and emotions. Many people enjoy anticipating a season or holiday as much as they enjoy the season or holiday itself. They want to extend the pleasurable feelings they associate with the season or holiday. Famously, Starbucks moved up the annual kick-off date for its Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) to the end of August, well before the first day of fall.

The period of anticipation for the holiday or season gives you permission to launch seasonal and holiday-themed marketing campaigns early. Starbucks points to consumer demand as the reason for kicking off PSL season in August, and they celebrate the reveal of the August launch date each year with targeted marketing campaigns.

Now is the time to let your creativity flow

The holidays are a special time of year for your customers, so don’t rely on routine, recycled marketing campaigns. Allow the season and holidays to inspire your creativity. A fresh approach will make your holiday marketing campaigns stand out and get noticed.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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Five More Ways to Prompt Repeat Business

Five More Ways to Prompt Repeat Business

Today I’m sharing another five ways you can get more business from your current customers. If you missed part one of this series, you can find it on last week’s blog.

6. Loyalty Programs

Whether you call it a club, VIP program, frequent user award, or anything else, a loyalty program take the customer relationship to the next level. By recognizing the relationship with a formal name and committing to offering rewards, you forge a connection with customers who are already sold on coming back to your business regularly. All you have to do is make them feel special!

7. Make offers

Give customers an incentive for coming back next time. Tell them about what happens with their next purchase or when they provide a referral to your business.

8. Apply the 80/20 rule to your marketing and sales communications

Creating customized, targeted pitches for your different customer segments ensures your sales and marketing messages resonate with customers. Eighty percent of your business comes from 20% of your customers. What are you doing to maintain relationships with that 20%? Are they getting value that demonstrates your appreciation for how important they are to your business? Take a look at the customer tier below the top 20% — how are you motivating them to rise to the next level up?

9. Surprise and delight

Often relationships are built around tiny moments that create a big impact. It might be a sample with a purchase, a birthday or holiday gift, or a special event invitation. When customers receive gifts from you, they feel they have a relationship with you.

10. Communicate

This tip is a culmination of the previous 9 tips. Communicate regularly and frequently. If you go silent, consumers may only remember the competitor who is communicating and forget about what your business offers.

The internet has made it possible for consumers to be far more informed about their buying options and to become more savvy shoppers. Take every opportunity to communicate about every aspect of your business. That way customers keep you top of mind and stay aware of all that you do.

So there you have it: 10 easy ways to convert one-time buyers into repeat customers. To get started, experiment with one or two of these tips and see what works. Keep trying new things until you land on what works best for your business.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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How to Increase Sales the Easy Way

How to Increase Sales the Easy Way

In this two-part series, I’m sharing 10 simple ways to get more business from your current customers. Why focus on current customers? That’s because the number one way to increase sales and profitability is through repeat business.

It’s more work — and more expensive — to win new customers than to retain current customers. According to an article published by the Forbes Agency Council, your chances of converting a new customer range from 5% to 10%, but rise to between 60% and 70% for existing customers. Also, the same source claims existing customers result in 67% higher order value compared to new customer orders.

Here are the first 5 of my 10 tips for retaining customers.

1. Deliver exceptional customer service

Show you care about your customers by always delivering great service from the first point of contact past the point of sale. When your customers discover your offer service that meets or exceeds their expectations, you’re laying the foundation for repeat business and referrals.

2. Reconnect with previous customers

Get in touch with previous customers. Let them know what’s new with your business. Ask questions to learn if their needs have changed or if possibly you failed to meet their expectations in the past. There are customers who may have been dissatisfied for some reason but feel uncomfortable about raising the issue. These are the customers that don’t come back, but you won’t know why unless you ask.

3. Leverage your customer contact information

Reinforce relationships with customers via your mailing lists and social media channels. Email and social marketing have minimum costs other than your time. They create visibility for your business in the places where consumers spend much of their time — online!

Create consistent, quality content that will:

  • Create a favorable impression of your business
  • Educate customers on the benefits of your services or products
  • Prompt an action to connect with you via a phone call or email

A clear and simple call-to-action provides a phone number or email link, making it easy for customers to get in touch with you.

4. Mix things up

Change is what creates excitement for consumers. Bright, shiny new things capture attention. Look for ways of presenting your offerings differently, such as offering a limited-time special or partnering with a compatible business.

5. Get into the (video) picture

I can’t overstate the importance of video to your overall marketing plan. Videos are simply more engaging and more persuasive than other types of marketing. According to a survey conducted by HubSpot, each year the numbers go up:

  • The number of people watching online videos doubled from 2018 to 2021
  • The number of marketers using video marketing went from 61% in 2016 to 86% in 2022
  • The number of marketers who feel video has increased their sales went from 64% in 2016 to 81% in 2022

There are many types of videos and a wide range of costs for producing videos. If you’re making a “who we are” video for your website, you’ll want to put some thought into a prepared script and possibly consider using professionals to do a video shoot. On the other hand, for a “how-to” social media post, record yourself using your smartphone. The more videos you create, the easier it gets.

Look for my blogpost next week for 5 more ways to increase sales the easy way — by reinforcing your existing customer relationships.

If you would like to learn more about how this might apply to your business, let’s talk:

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How to Manage Conflicts at Work

How to Manage Conflicts at Work

It’s completely normal for disagreements to occur among employees, with customers, and between business partners. However, when healthy debate turns into heated argument, no one wins.

Whether you’re the one involved in a conflict, or you’re faced with managing employees who are involved in a conflict, it’s not easy to think of efficient and effective ways to resolve conflicts in the moment. Knowing several strategies in advance prepares you to de-escalate a situation before it spirals out of control.

Choose the relationship over winning the argument
In the midst of an escalating disagreement, it’s easy to overlook the long view of the relationship. You can often stop conflicts you’re directly involved in before they escalate, if you think about what will it take to preserve the relationship, rather than how you can win the argument. To put things into perspective, ask yourself, what will I gain by arguing in this specific situation that I’m right and the other person is wrong? If you are trying to defuse a conflict among others, try to set up a time and quiet space to talk about team goals and past achievements. For the moment, don’t try to resolve the conflict; just redirect their focus on finding common ground, changing their mindsets, and creating a feeling of connection.

Avoid blaming others
We’re all human and we all make mistakes. In healthy work relationships, it should be safe to own up to a mistake. Pointing fingers at a culprit or blaming others only increases tension and perpetuates argument. When a mistake happens, focus on making things right and work together with those involved to identify lessons learned for the future.

Don’t ignore simmering resentments
Address tensions directly and promptly. Sometimes simply acknowledging that friction exists in a relationship can help prevent escalation. There are times when friction is more likely to occur, for example, when employees must adapt to change or in times of heightened pressure, such as deadlines. Prevent resentment from taking shape by preparing employees and providing incentives or rewards for getting through tough times.

Focus on facts
Whether you’re involved in an argument or managing employees who are in an argument, insist on facts. Reframe statements that are based on rumor, inferences, and interpretations.

Empathize rather than criticize
Before saying what’s wrong with the other person’s view, try to say something that demonstrates your understanding of their position. This shows you’re listening, and if you’re listening, you’re more likely to be open to resolution. If you manage employees who are engaged in conflict, invite them to articulate the opposing view and to calmly state what they agree with and what they don’t agree with. It’s a first step towards breaking away from an either/or mindset; i.e., either I’m 100% right or the other person is 100% right.

In many cases, conflict at work is unavoidable. But by understanding why it happens—and knowing how to deal with it when it does—you can keep your emotions in check and help employees stay calm as you work towards a resolution.

What Does Accountability Mean to You?

What Does Accountability Mean to You?

Accountability is a word that gets thrown around in business, but what does it mean to you? Is it about being perfect and never making mistakes? Is it about what you did or what you failed to do? Is it about finding excuses when things go wrong? Is it something you expect from your employees, or something you expect from yourself? 

Accountability has many meanings in our work and personal lives. For business owners, it’s a quality that can make or break your business.

What is accountability?

Quite simply, accountability means taking responsibility—to yourself, your employees, your partners, your clients, customers, and family.

In business, you have to be accountable for financial commitments and obligations. Accountability is also one of the keys to repeat business. If customers discover you don’t take responsibility for your services or products, they won’t return—and they may tell others about their negative experiences.

There’s a misconception that accountability only applies to situations where problems have occurred. It’s also about taking the necessary steps to prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

No excuses

The first step in being accountable is taking responsibility. President Truman famously had a sign on his desk that stated: “The buck stops here.” It’s a great motto for a business owner. 

When a customer brings attention to an error or faulty service, the best response is “I can fix this by …” not blaming others. The customer isn’t interested in who is to blame for mistakes. 

Accountability turns something that didn’t work out as planned into an opportunity to win a customer’s loyalty and repeat business. It creates trust and builds a relationship.

Goals define accountability

When it comes to asking your employees to be accountable, clearly inform them what they are accountable for. Performance criteria and performance reviews reinforce accountability. 

Strive to create a workplace environment where employees understand they can own up to mistakes without fear. Support their growth and progress towards doing their jobs better.

Accountability is not about being perfect

Accountability doesn’t mean never making a mistake. In fact, the pressure of such a high standard creates anxiety and can lead to tension and friction in the workplace. Rather, it’s about creating a culture of honesty and support among the business owner and employees and putting emphasis on making things right and learning to do better as a team.

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