Bite-Size Chunks of Wisdom

August 2011

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In today’s competitive marketplace, 92% of all products and services are bought, not sold. Being visible to your future clients is a marketing priority. Who better to sing your praises and draw attention to your services than happy, satisfied clients? Happy clients don’t just happen, however. Happy clients come from satisfying customers experiences.

How can you create a pleasing experience for your customers with each encounter?  According to Colin Shaw, author of The DNA of Customer Experience: How Emotions Drive Value, 50% of the customer experience is driven by emotion. Equipped with this reality, you can elevate your customer service by tapping into these customer-experience building tactics to develop long-lasting, happy, satisfied clients that ultimately lead to referrals:

Establish a Voice of the Customer (VOC) Program. Why not engage customers in co-creating their own experience? A VOC program is a cost-effective approach for capturing critical customer insights. It helps better understand the needs, expectations, and desires of your customers. In addition to helping create the ultimate customer experience, it also increases customer loyalty, satisfaction, and generates more positive word of mouth. In truth, VOC programs are the growing trend for 2011.

Build Customer Communities.  Social media has expanded the depth and breadth of one’s personal and professional network. According to the Pew Research Center, the average American has 634 ties in their network of friends, families, co-workers, and acquaintances. The power of their influence is palpable. In fact, 24% of American adults say they have posted comments or reviews online about products or services they purchased. Your future clients are tapping into their network for reviews, recommendations, and opinions. And, they’re more apt to believe what their peers say about your business! Why not build a customer community as your voice to the marketplace.

Strengthen Your Moments of Truth. It only takes seconds to sell or sour a client on your product or service regardless of the length of time the client has been associated with your business. A moment of truth is a sliver of time when clients or prospects interact with you and your business, then decide whether or not to do business with you, to share you with their network, or to use your products/services again. Although moments of truth may seem insignificant when they’re happening, clients may have an entirely different reaction. Strengthening the moments of truth in your business accelerates your business’ growth by ensuring your clients remain on the continuum of the “Nine Steps for Building Virtual Trust.”

It’s often said, “Customers go where they are wanted and stay where they are appreciated.” From requests for service that go unanswered to being ignored while waiting in line, customers are less forgiving and tolerant of companies that fail to step up and deliver good customer service. This presents an exceptional opportunity for you as a small business entrepreneur to differentiate yourself from larger companies – and your smaller competitors. By tapping into the brilliance of your clients, you’ll deliver exactly what your clients want with every interaction. And, who wouldn’t want to enthusiastically share you with their friends and colleagues.

Customer experience – it’s the new lead-generating referral marketing.

In a day and age where fast and furious seems to mean bigger and better, its easy for ambitious, gifted small business entrepreneurs to push themselves to the point of diminishing returns. In fact, I recall Judge Ziglar (Zig Ziglar’s brother) stating that if you work 40 hours a week, you’ll be in the top 10% of your colleagues; if you work 50 hours each week, you’ll be in the top 2%; if you work 60 hours per week, you’ll join the top 1%; and, if you work 70 hours a week, you’re a F-O-O-L!  Although I totally agree with his premise, it’s taken me years to fully understand the ramifications of overworking.

The truth is most small business entrepreneurs are so wrapped up in their work, they seldom notice the signs of overwork – or they deny what they’re experiecing – as if sweeping it under the rug somehow makes it go away.

Here are ten signs that you just might be an overworked small business entrepreneur:

1. Inability to focus. You have 5 projects on your desk, 7 windows open on your computer, and what were you working on?

2. Easily distracted. Anything flashing across your screen takes you running in that direction.

3. Irritability. Clients you really enjoy are getting under your skin.

4. Bad attitude. You don’t want to go to work – and you’re the owner!

5. Overeating or eating unhealthy foods. You’re really just trying to achieve some comfort from the stress and overwhelm.

6. Forgetfulness. There was something more I was going to say about this but I’ve forgotten…..

7. Avoidance. Big (and small) projects with luming deadlines are pushed off to the very last possible moment.

8. Fatigue. Even after a good nights rest or a long weekend away from your office, you’re feeling like a nap under your desk would really feel good.

9. Increased caffeine consumption. No matter your drug of choice (coffee, soda, chocolate, sugar), you seem to be consuming more and more in an attempt to achieve a needed buzz.

10. Lack of motivation. This is not you! You love your work. You love your clients. You’re excited – most times – about your future but lately you’ve been day dreaming about working at Starbucks.

Do any of these sound familiar? If you answered “yes” to even one of these, perhaps you need to push yourself away from your desk and go for a long walk. The world won’t come to an end. Your clients won’t all leave you. Your revenue won’t experience a devastating drop. In fact, you’ll return with a renewed sense of purpose ready to take on the toughest task.

Now go! Get out of here!

At the core of every successful business is an entrepreneur who has invested the necessary time and resources into ensuring that he or she has established a strong foundation from which the business can thrive. By focusing on core skill development, you can dramatically accelerate your business’ rate of growth and achieve your personal and professional goals.

The Accounting and Financial Growth Assessment focuses on helping you identify the fundamental accounting and finance skills you need to develop and discover which resources should be invested to facilitate the financial growth of your business. This knowledge enables you to put strategies into place that methodically strengthen the business to maximize resources and ultimately increase profits.

1.     I have created a detailed budget that guides my decisions.

2.     I consistently use the three principle financial statements to measure and report the results of my business activity.

3.     I know the two primary ways to increase the bottom-line and have a plan for each.

4.     I have identified the company’s intangible and tangible assets.

5.     The essential and suitable finances are in place to grow and develop my business.

6.     Accounts payable is consistently handled in a professional, timely manner.

7.     Written accounts receivable policies and procedures support business growth and are clearly conveyed to my customers.

8.     My revenue is growing in sales and profits.

9.     Necessary local, state, and federal documents and taxes are filed and paid on time.

10.   A reliable bookkeeping system provides financial data that allows for an accurate business analysis at any point in time.

After assessing your accounting and finance skills, how do you measure up?

Core Business Assessment


Brooke Billingsley

Vice President
Perception Strategies

Synnovatia is a strategic coaching firm that is detailed and knowledgeable about business. i have a small business that grew from $150K to $750K because of the goal setting and resources that Synnovatia provided. It saves me years of learning on my own.

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