Monday, September 27, 2021

Getting into business, not into bed


One would imagine that business like most other things would have boundaries. However, when one gets to see close up what people in business have to experience, some revelations come out.

Within my practice, most of my clients tend to be female. We tend to meet either online, which I have been doing long before COVID, or in some public domain areas e.g. a Cafe.

Over time clients confide some things as they get to know you. One thing that comes out repeatedly are the qualities of professionalism, cordiality, my listening skills, my analytical acumen, and my knack for spotting solutions in business which are then developed to the clients' benefit.

There is another element that comes out. Why aren't other men, a generalization I believe, not like me. When I inquire as to what they mean; to put it subtly, they are constantly hit on with all types of propositions to help them advance their businesses, all they would have to do is......

Really?!? With all the Me Too movements going on people would still do that? Men, there was a time when we would be more discreet and not knock ourselves around. However this brazen behaviour is becoming far too common place, and it's not suited for developing strong businesses. Is this why businesses within the Caribbean have grown only so far and no farther? Not every situation needs to have a degree of carnality introduced to it.

In business, we should be seeking growth of the business; not of the notches in ones measurement device of how many people one beds. It almost seems so juvenile. People are out there writing "cheques" that their bodies can't cash. Sadly, for the females who embark on the experience(s) they are left disappointed.

Therefore I ask, are we getting into business or into bed. The rules are quite different, so are the outcomes. Not everyone needs to know what you are like under every circumstance. It's time for our standards to be raised.

Can we look at the following:
1. How to develop sustainable businesses
2. How to ensure they grow beyond one generation
3. Understanding and growing business through shareholders rather than bank loans when seeking funding for startups and expansions
4. Planning for retained earnings to grow the business experiences, not to purchase doodads.
5. To move beyond the realm of being self employed and become true businessmen and investors. Employing systems that causes round the clock growth.
6. Export and expansion to other countries outside of the country of origin for the entity.
7. Doing business in cross cultural, cross lingual environments harnessing the skills and abilities of many latent assets we have among our human capital that are currently untapped.

I'll stop here and if you feel inclined to provide feedback, you're welcome to do so. Today's the beginning of another week. Let's make it the beginning of new business experiences and environments.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Understanding customer service within your business

Customer service like everything else in business is under revision. It is feeling the pressure of the pandemic and lots of promises formerly made by organizations are failing under the test of the pressure. 

You can no longer reach anyone in most organizations. The reliability of most entities have been put under pressure and they are failing to reach the most basic of expectations. 

COVID has impacted entire departments within organizations where everyone within the said department can be put in isolation/quarantine. This disconnected the organization's ability to be able to deliver on certain basic functions.

With the displacement  caused by  Covid-19  there are many organizations that do not know the experiences of their customers. Simple transactions like document processing, payments on accounts, receivables on accounts, administrative matters, and all else seemed to have gone out of order. 

Lots of organizations are blaming the broad back of COVID, and the occasional bad weather now we are in hurricane season. 

Who is suffering as a result? Well let us start with the elderly, who have having quite the challenge adjusting to using technology with which they are not fully familiar. They try to make calls for clarity only to speak with someone who can offer little more than polite dialogue since they are not even in the same country and don’t know the people within the organization they are supposed to be representing. The elderly will have issues with, among other things; online payments, health and medical insurance claims, seeing the fine print on the screens, being able to speak with someone who can offer solutions that are tangible. The world within which they must now function makes them seem obsolete. 

The youth with education programs that have instructors not fully competent with the technology themselves, but the youth get blamed for not attending class when they spend hours waiting for admittance to the class, or instructors to even show up. How do I know this? I’m a remote worker so I get to observe some of this behaviour through the youngsters in my domain. 

Those in between, who in many instances are now realizing that being able to see and pronounce a word does not necessarily mean they understand what is being communicated. The breakdown in communication is huge, and it doesn’t help when most cannot spell and are unable to adequately use grammar to ensure what is intended is being communicated. 

Can the current situation be blamed on COVID though? I say NO! COVID has caused us to pause and consider what we have taken for granted for way too long. We have not learned the lesson the first time around and COVID makes us repeat the pauses/shutdowns to see if we would identify what we missed and adjust our behaviours to suit. It feels like we are taking 40 years to complete a 30 day journey. [Only some will get this.] 

This is a time of reset in all relationships, public and private. We need to come to a place of empathy where we take the time to understand each other. In this environment, we wouldn’t be listening to respond, but to understand.

Sometimes when you listen to someone express themselves, even when they are thinking, if you don’t interfere with a response but remain silent, you will observe them arrive at the solution themselves. They didn’t need advice but a listening ear. They wanted the support of someone hearing them think. 

The other aspect is when people require the services/products of vendors who provide them. They ask for concessions, they want to negotiate already bottom out prices or they price your work then wonder why you don’t want to take their offer. However the experience has been when situations like this come up is that not only does one do the work, but then they have to beg to be paid. Many of us have learned the hard way and we’re done with it. 

To be clear, if you want to get into business, then have the money to get the business planning done - there’s no such thing as a discounted lawsuit. They don’t say that they got what they could afford but they, the customer, will malign your name and damage your reputation. Be careful when you are doing business. Take every effort to communicate clearly in this era of distorted understanding. Ensure that you put everything in writing since people learn in various ways and therefore relate differently to information. 

What have been your experiences over the past 2 years? Feel free to share. Have a wonderful Sunday. 

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