Why join the navy if you can be a pirate. Steve Jobs ~ #poster #quote #SteveJobs #pirate #business #taolife

Why join the navy if you can be a pirate. Steve Jobs  ~ #poster #quote #SteveJobs #pirate #business #taolife

Why join the navy if you can be a pirate.

Steve Jobs

#poster #SteveJobs #pirate #business #quote #taolife

~

The art of life is kindness, so live kindness ~ Gaye Crispin

#taolife #EcoOrganics #Chatuccino


Profit comes from repeat customers ~ #quote #business #profit #customers

Profit comes from repeat customers  ~  #quote #business #profit #taolife

Profit in business comes from repeat customers.

#quote #business #profit #customers #taolife

~

The art of life is kindness, so live kindness ~ Gaye Crispin

#taolife #EcoOrganics #Chatuccino


The Importance Of Being Earnest – With Your Business Ideas

The Importance Of Being Earnest – With Your Business Ideas

by Gaye Crispin

Like baby sea turles, absolutely everything a new business hatchling encounters can be life-threatening.

New business startups are like baby sea turtles trying to make it to the ocean. Whether it be something as innocuous as a piece of driftwood, or lethal as a sand crab, everything  in the path of a baby sea turtle has the potential to spell its demise.

So too, absolutely everything a new baby business hatchling encounters can be life-threatening to the idea or business plan.

No stage of business is more vulnerable than when the business idea is transitioning from being  a safe twinkle in the entrepreneur’s eye on to the drawing board, or into the board room.

And this stage is especially dangerous for the idea if the entrepreneur doesn’t appreciate their idea’s potential future value, and secure it accordingly.

Timing Is Everything

Fledgling entrepreneurs need to understand the importance of taking time to research the most secure ways to go about sharing their business idea or business plan with others when it comes time to progress it.

This is a time that needs to be given serious consideration in advance. And the entrepreneur  needs to decide who will be trusted with the idea or business plan, and when the right time will be.

Entrepreneurs be warned: a bad choice in people or timing will demand you have a good supply of aspirin handy.

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“There’s Gold In Them Thar’ Hills”  

Gold miners, entrepreneurs and many new business owners will often invest everything, do whatever it takes, work long hard hours – all in the hope of striking it rich.

Mark Twain immortalised those words by Dr. Matthew F. Stephenson in his book ‘The Guilded Age.’ But would anyone shout it if they really knew there was gold in them thar’ hiils?

Imagine a winning business idea as a vein of gold still in the ground, and the entrepreneur who brings the idea to life as a gold miner.

Do you think any seasoned gold miner would broadcast, “Hey, I’m going to dig over by that tree because the feasibility says that’s where the gold is.”? Of course not!

And especially not if they hadn’t  secured the mining rights! And not until after they’d hired armed guards to protect their site…… usually from fellow miners.

I’d love a dollar for every story I’ve heard of an entrepreneur or new business owner who had their idea stolen by an unethical angel investor, business planner, business coach, networking group owner, or even some online business planning software provider they confided in.

There are many so-called  ‘professionals’ who make a living by stealing and on-selling ideas and business plans that come across their desk when they are consulting or speaking with  inexperienced entrepreneurs. One of my rules of thumb is: if you don’t know ’em, don’t show ’em.

The Social Media Coach 

Not all Social Media coaches are created equal.

You’re In Control Of What You Divulge

A client of mine recently engaged an online coach to help with the social media side of a new business venture. The coach was briefed with certain information about the business, including my client’s new business name and mission statement.

A few weeks later my client happened across a site where the coach had begun using my client’s mission statement as their own, and all without my client’s knowledge, permission or consent. Naturally, the situation turned quite ugly.

Not So Nice Networking

An acquaintance of mine joined his first business networking group last year. Over time he formed a business alliance with an established member of the group whose business was complimentary to his. The established member seemed credible, was a network meeting facilitator in the local chapter, and was personal friends with the network group owner.

What eventually transpired was an ugly but educational story where the other party extracted as much information as possible about my acquaintances business, and used that to add a new division to their own business. This new division wound up being competition for my acquaintances business.

It was hard not to see the whole thing as premeditated, but ultimately nobody knows for sure.  The networking group owners were made aware of what took place and seemed quite indifferent, saying things like “that’s business,”  and “business is survival of the fittest,”  “you will be better business person as a result,” or “you live and learn.”

Interestingly, there are many networking groups that encourage small business owners and entrepreneurs to share their business ideas with the group so the group can help them. Personally, I think this is a very naive and risky way to conduct business.  My more experienced business owner clients have said they would never brainstorm a new business or marketing strategy at a Chamber of Commerce, Rotary or business networking meeting.

Business is a challenge, and that’s the fun part.  There will be many times when you will need to share ideas with a wide range of people if the business is to advance. We need to understand this and also accept there’s never really any one sure-fire way of keeping our ideas 100% safe.  Particularly as it gets closer to the day we start rolling our business out in the market place.  But we can be wise and take certain precautions. I think we owe it to ourselves to play smart and do everything in our power to protect our ideas as best we can – because that idea may be ‘the one.’

Here are some basic tips that may get you thinking of ways to protect your business ideas.

1 – Remember we’re most vulnerable and exposed in business when we are a new business hatchling.

2 – Remember to be wise with who we share our idea with – the simplest idea may have serious dollar value to someone else’s business.

3 – Remember advisors, coaches and the professional services you engage are in business to make money, and some may be con men and women. Although not all highly charismatic and personable people are con men and women, most con men and women are charming, highly charismatic and personable.

4 – Remember marketing and business planners are paid to generate new ideas – make sure those ideas don’t come from you!

5 – Remember contracts and TOS won’t get your idea back once it’s out of the bag. And it takes a truckload of money to sue somebody. People who will take your ideas have usually already calculated in advance the risks of being sued by you.

6 – Don’t use free online business planning templates that promise you a free business plan if you submit your business idea information. Yes, many promise to email your plan through to you in a professionally structured format. But you don’t know who might be reading or copying your IP on the other side? It’s worth paying for business planning software. It’s very affordable and you’ll have peace of mind knowing the information is safely in your own computer until you’re ready to roll your idea out.  Remember, just because someone offers something for free, it doesn’t mean it’s not going to cost you.

7 – When you have a new business idea, only share it with reputable people.  Reputable people have skin in the game and something big to lose if they breach your confidence.

Have your Non-Disclosure and Non-Compete agreements signed and witnessed before you go into any great detail.  If you think you have a multi-million dollar idea, and you are willing to back the idea with your own time and resources, you would want to be careful, wouldn’t you?

Be aware: contracts can’t always protect you, although it’s always better to have one signed than not.

Be wise and take precautions. In business we owe it to ourselves to play smart and do everything in our power to protect our ideas as best we can – because that next idea may be ‘the one.’ 

How do you protect your business or creative ideas?

Have you ever had any business, marketing or creative ideas stolen?

If so, how did that impact on you or your business? 

The Importance Of Being Earnest – With Your Business Ideas

Copyright Gaye Crispin 2012

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Gaye Crispin has a Debt Collection and Credit Management Agency in Sydney, Australia. Gaye hears many gruesome business stories from her clients, analyses them, tries to learn from them, and sometimes blogs about them.


Here’s What I Think About ‘Acres Of Diamonds’

Here’s what I think about ‘Acres Of Diamonds’

Have you read Russell H Conwell’s classic talk, ‘Acres Of Diamonds?’ Are there acres of unmined diamonds in your business right now, but you’re too busy or blinkered to recognise it? How do you know you’re not sitting on an invisible million dollar business revolution? How many business trends have you recognised as obvious…. with hindsight?

I see many businesses that are facing hardship, where I can immediately see invisible opportunities which can transform into instant profitability.  A retired multi-millionaire I worked for years ago loved to tell the story of how he acquired his fortune.

He’d had acres of diamonds embedded in his labour-intensive-barely-making-ends-meet business…., that was until his wife made two simple suggestions that, in hindsight, were obvious.

Her ideas were to create bundled packages and charge cash-up front. He was opposed and reluctant. “It’s not industry standard” and ” the customers won’t pay” were his initial responses.

After many arguments and much protesting he did as his wife suggested… and yes, you guessed it! It proved to be dynamite for their cash-flow. The fact that no-one in their industry had ever done it before wound up being their greatest edge.

As it turned out, their paying customers didn’t give a hoot about the change, and the plan worked brilliantly. And by the way, the market was the school and sports photo market.

Prior to this fellow implementing his wife’s ideas, the school and sports club photo industry fundraiser payment system was based on every child in the school, or every sports player in the club, being photographed first. The photos were produced and sent home for parents to keep on the condition that they sent the payment back to the school.

If the parents didn’t like or want the photos they were expected to return the photos to the sports club or school, and there was no charge.

The problem was that some parents not only didn’t pay, many also didn’t return the photos either.

This resulted in a huge amount of waste and loss for the photographer. And as he said to me, he had no use for any of the returned photos anyway. His labour, production and waste costs were through the roof prior to implementing his wife’s ideas.

If we look at what he did, he really didn’t make any great changes to his business or system. Actually, his staff wound up doing less work, and there was zero waste as all photos were already pre-paid.

The changes didn’t require having to buy anything, lease any more space, and yet it added multiple 000’s to his bottom line. All he had to do was face the market with determination, and then put his plan into action. Another positive spin-off was that the schools and sports clubs found it easier to deal with his business because they were no longer caught in a cross-fire between the shortfall in monies owed by parents to the photography company over non-returned photos. And the phographer knew that he’d received all payments for his photos from the school.

As you can imagine, it didn’t take long for all the other players in his industry to follow his lead.

His business became so wildly successful that he dominated the market for decades and eventually sold for it for millions of dollars. He was able to retire early, build his dream home, pursue all of hobbies and live happily ever after.

My question for you is: what small, simple ideas have you been thinking about but are reluctant to implement for fear of the market kicking back? My suggestion to you is: if you want to try something new but are somewhat fearful then test in on a small market segment first.

Or, if you’re short on ideas of how to mine for possible Acres of Diamonds in your business why not have a wild and fun-filled brain-storming bbq or supper with some friends where you jointly plumb the depths of your mutual creativity with a no-holds barred, any-ideas-a-good-idea attitude? You may be happily surprised with what you’ll unearth.

For those who haven’t read Russell H Conwell’s classic talk, ‘Acres Of Diamonds’ click here to read the full text which will help you explore the idea in detail. I hope you enjoy the read.

Have you ever read ‘Acres Of Diamonds’? Have you ever discovered an opportunity that had been lying dormant in your business  – one that you’d never noticed previously? Were you looking for it when you found? How did you find it? Have you ever known anyone who walked away from a project or business because it seemed to have no potential, and who regretted it later?

I’d love to you to share your experiences and thoughts.
Thank you,
Gaye

Here’s What I Think About Brainstorming…The Power Of Many Eyes And Ears

The Power Of  Many Eyes and Ears

I often attend speaker conferences and seminars to gather ideas to grow my business, and I always try to not ‘go-it-alone.’ Not because I don’t like going to these events  alone… because I actually do. I’ve always enjoyed being independent, free to come and go as I please,  and could very easily travel through life alone. But I’ve learned it’s not such a smart idea in business.

You see, I don’t know enough.

Due to my own personal life-experiences, blind-spots, Prejudices-I-Don’t-Know-I-Have, and many more of my thousands of human limitations, I realise I can only take in so much, see so much, hear so much, and understand so much… at any given time.

And yet we still think we can take it all in… NOW!

How often have you read a book or watched a movie, and after discussing it with someone else who did the same, you caught sight of whole new perspectives that your heart, eye, brain and ears just would never ‘get’ if left to their own devices?

Life has taught me that in trying to be different, expand our business, and extend our support community we’ll travel much further much faster if we have more than just our one set of eyes taking in the landscape. To think otherwise is extremely narcissistic.  

If you’re like me, you hate to miss any of the good stuff, and want all that every situation has to offer.

Next time you’re watching a webinar, or reading a business or life book why not invite somebody else to do the same with you? And agree to create a brainstorming alliance during or after.

Or why not take someone else along with you to the next information session or seminar you’ll be attending? Someone who you can trust with your ideas, who will brain-storm and collaborate with you, and perhaps who also thinks and sees the business world differently to you.  

I can assure you that by inviting other people to share experiences with you such as books, webinars, information and events that apply to your business, you will:-

  • see further with greater clarity
  • increase the peripheral vision of your business brain  
  • hear more and grasp  more of the context and content
  • understand author/speaker finer points in greater detail
  • experience a greater awareness and knowledge of the subject
  • generate stronger ideas afterwards
  • create greater possibilities for improving your business 

By adding in a brainstorming, collaboration, and de-briefing component afterwards you are, in effect, maximising your own thinking.

On the other hand, if you’re completely comfortable in the knowledge that you already know-it-all, have the brightest mind, keenest insight, and couldn’t possibly benefit from anyone else’s input, then this blog probably isn’t for you, and I’m left wondering why you bothered to read it in the first place.

So, are you a lone-ranger? Or are you a collaborative brain-stormer?

I’d love to hear how you maximise information-gathering from your reading. And also, what measures you take to ensure you capitalise on the events you invest time in watching and attending.

PS. Feel free to email me if you’d like to include my eyes and ears in the next event you’re attending, or article or book you’re reading.


Here’s What I Think About Bank Managers Pt1

Here’s What I Think About Bank Managers. Pt1

What’s Your Bank Manager’s First Name?

I was having a discussion recently with a bank manager I was seated next to at an event. She said she found it odd that the only time people sought her out was when looking for a loan, or when they were in trouble with the bank.

What’s you bank manager’s first name? Have you ever asked your bank manager out for a cup of coffee? If not, why not?

Getting to know your local business banker or bank managers is one of the smartest things people in business can do. Bank managers are a very important cog in the operation and growth of many businesses, and therefore have many eyes that your business can benefit from.

Your business banker or local bank manager can be one of your greatest business assets. Especially when you’re just starting out, because initially you’ll need as many experienced sounding boards, and as much good advice as you can get.

Bank managers and business bankers are often completely under-valued as the true business assets they are.

A good local bank manager or business banker is probably more ‘in-the-know’ with what’s going on within your local business community than anybody. They have their finger well and truly on the pulse in relation to much of what’s happening in your business industry or community.

Your bank manager will bring a wide range of business knowledge, experience, assistance, support, connections and resources to your new or existing business to help it grow – if you ask for their help.

There are very few people as well connected and ‘in-the-loop’ within a business community than a local business banker. And even fewer who are qualifed, and willing, to sit with you and discuss the important issues your business is facing – at no charge.

I truly believe that business bankers and bank managers are the most under-valued business partners in the small business community, and that this could be either the result of never having it suggested, or it’s from having a ‘small business’ mindset. Just look at all the large, successful businesses and you’ll see that their relationships with their banks and lenders are some of their most valued relationships.

If you have plans to grow a strong, profitable business, then your bank manager is one of the first people you should be connecting with. Business growth and bank managers have a long-standing history and connection. Just look at the top-end of town to see if what I’m saying is true.

You never know, it could be the beginning of beautiful relationship that provides insight, connections, intelligence and support as your business grows.

To be continued……..

Gaye Crispin

Founder

Women On Top Business Planning


Here’s What I Think About Business Coaches: Part 1.

Here’s What I think About Business Coaches – Navigating the ‘Business Coach’ Maze: A business coach dialogue. Part 1.

Are you confused about how to find a great business coach? Does the world of business coaching ever have you befuddled and confused? Do all business coaches appear to “look the same, sound the same and blog the same” to you? If so, then welcome to the “I’m Confused about Business Coaches Club.” My name is Gaye Crispin, and I’m the current President of this Club.

I’ve been looking at the world of business coaching as an outsider, and I’m seriously questioning everything I see and read.

My goal is to source innovative and original coaches, who are at the forefront of their game, to refer my clients to. If a coach isn’t occupying that space in their industry, how can they help my clients occupy that space in their industry. Sound too simplistic? Why does it? Sound heretical or offensive? That’s a shame, because it’s not.

I’ve recently been on a journey to try to discover what makes for a good business coach, and how to identify them.

This is an important journey for me. If I’m going to recommend any person or service to my clients, friends or associates I need to be 100% confident that the people I’m recommending are up to delivering a superior quality product or service that’s in line with my own.

While trying to identify good business coaches I’ve trawled through possibly hundreds of coaching blogs and posts, and guess what I’ve discovered? Most of them say the same thing, just in slightly different ways.

That was useful in establishing what coaches obviously consider are important points, but too many of these blogs were too similar.

That alarmed me and raised issues in my mind concerning originality of content:-

  • Are the similarities simply unoriginal thinking? If I suspect so, then I won’t refer that coach.
  • Are many of these blogs and websites simply ‘copy, cut and paste’ from other people’s blogs and manuals? Well, I’m certainly not recommending those.
  • Are some of these ‘coaches’ actually students in training, working through similar coaching material? I suspect so.

This type of thing is common in many unregulated industries…but in business coaching too? Unfortunately, it would seem so.

That could mean the coach may only ever be just one step ahead of the client, if we’re lucky. Now that’s a worry! It seemed the more I read, the more I was seeing re-shuffled wording taken from someone’s hard work. But whose?

So how are we, who don’t have the inside running on this unregulated industry, supposed to know how to locate the real McCoys in this high-dollar ‘Sea-of-Sameness?’ I’m still not 100% sure, but a picture is emerging.

With any unregulated industry, and particularly business coaching, where anybody can open shop we need real disclosure:-

  • Real disclosure on their business and coaching experience, and
  • Real disclusure on their client testimonials and success stories, and especially before paying over enormous coaching fees, or investing any time and/or money based on their leadership or ideas.

We need legitimate successful coaches to lead the way in providing greater transparency in relation to their own results and claims to fame.

We, the consumers, have a right, and a duty to ourselves to investigate the validity of the claims of testimonials made on a website or blog. We need to begin to investigate them thoroughly.

The business coaching industry owes us the truth if it expects any small business to pay multiple thousands of dollars for a brief meeting/weekly phone-call/webinar service… which doesn’t guarantee tangible returns.

I believe this industry needs a regulatory body, and there needs to be consequences for false and misleading advertising.

Currently, the business coaching industry seems to be writing its own rules. 

Apparently a good coach charges quite a  few hundred dollars an hour, which is fine if they achieve superior results. But we need to remember that’s a highly professional fee, and is as much as a good lawyer charges.

Plus, a good lawyer studied for years, had to qualify in a very heavily regulated field, work their way up the ladder, continue with professional development, and abide by certain scales of fees according to their experience and expertise.

From what I’ve been able to gather, many coaches have just come out of  nowhere after failing in a business or two, read a few books, set up a coaching practice, created some testimonials or had their friends write them, and began charging an ‘industry standard’ of a few hundred dollars an hour.  And it seems many in the industry know this, are quite happy for this to remain the case, and are quite happy to remain silent about it as well.

But it’s we, the consumers, who pay the price for any incompetence, and also for this conspiracy of silence, because we are none the wiser of the real quality of a particular coach till after we’ve paid. Surely this alone needs addressing. With so many small businesses struggling, and failing, I’m hoping there’s no correlation between that and the sea of green coaches I’m hearing about.  I know from my own business and experience that my clients who have coaches are just as troubled as the ones without coaches, or they wouldn’t have called us.

Then there are the so-called ‘testimonials.’ 

Testimonials are traded like cattle everyday of the week. Don’t rely on them! Whenever we see testimonials for a coaching service that don’t provide contact details, these need to be seriously drilled down into and questioned before doing business.

If no satisfactory answer is forthcoming, these testimonials should be dismissed as fabrication, rubbish, and the coaching service dismissed as questionable.

Coaches, please name names and businesses.

How often do we see and hear coaches telling us how well their clients are doing? Sorry coaches, I want proof. I want to see the history: the before and after. A lawyer can’t falsely claim to have won a case they lost, and remain lawyer. A financial advisor has to ensure everything they advise is supportable. 

Business coaches are actually in the business of influencing people . If  there is an incompetent coach influencing business decisions, and even controlling business owners thinking, currently it doesn’t look like they can be held accountable or responsible if the business goes belly up. This seems wrong, and is another reason why I think the industry needs a thorough overhaul.

Any coach who is advising, guiding, influencing (call it what you like) people in business should  have to measure up to some agreed minimum standard. And there needs to be consequences. One ‘cowboy’ can do a heck of a lot of damage in a short period of time. I repeat, I’m beginning to wonder if there isn’t a correlation between the sea of coaches out there and number of businesses in serious trouble. Poor coaching is a serious cash-flow drain on any business, but would be a killer for an already struggling business. 

The coaching industry really appears to have no rules to abide by other the ones they agree on amongst themselves. 

We need to be aware of that, and demand that when coaches offer testimonials as evidence of their expertise, which is usually all they have to offer, that they can back up these success stories with legitimate bottom-line, actual results.

We have a right to insist on seeing the business figures of their clients, signed off by the accountant, if a coach is using such client success stories in their marketing materials (or face-to-face) to try to win our business. 

Mr or Mrs Coach, I need to know that the results you are telling me you achieved are true, and that they came about as a direct result of your coaching. I want to see something concrete before I hand over $1,000, $10,000 or $25,000 a year to you. This is not too much to ask.

I would happily recommend any coach who was able to support his or her claim of their coaching being directly responsible for doubling a small businesses bottom line in a year.  Hey, I’d probably even engage the coach myself.

But you don’t always get what you pay for – and especially in business coaching.

I know this because of some of my clients horror stories with business coaches… which is why I embarked on this journey in the first place.

I heard one horror story where a young graphic designer, whose business was obviously failing, bought a coaching franchise for around $25K,  hung out her shingle and began selling her coaching services.  A woman I know engaged her services based on how impressed she was with the information on the parent company’s website.

The monthly coaching fee was $2,000 a month, and she was locked into a 12 month contract. 

This coach missed their first appointment and didn’t call to re-schedule. There was no 7 day cooling-off period in the contract so the client couldn’t get out of the contract.  Another appointment was set and the ‘coach’ missed this appointment too. That wasted 2 weeks of the client’s first month into the contract. 

I suggested she take her complaint to the top, which she did.

In trying to explain away and excuse this young coaches unprofessional conduct the area manager of the franchisees explained that this girl was new to coaching: had no experience: had been a graphic designer: was young, etc etc. This is appalling. Why didn’t they tell the client this in the first place?

This franchisor’s policies are appalling, irresponsibly signing up ‘just anyone’ who has $25K to spend and a franchise, and not subjecting them to serious, qualified training. 

There are many more horror stories I could share but I won’t. What I will say is this, I’m determined to understand how this industry operates, and how to identify a good coach.  

If you’ve been searching for a good business coach, and my words resonate with you, I’d love to hear from you.

If you are a good business coach, and can help me understand how to identify and qualify a good business coach, I’d love you to leave a comment and share that information with us.

Next week I’m uploading a dialogue I had a couple of weeks ago with a few coaches. It was a very interesting conversation that touched on a few of these points, so I hope you’ll stay tuned.


The Unsaid (Pt3) Testing Our Testimonials

Part 3 of a 3 part series

Testing  our Testimonials.

What are our testimonials really telling us? Do we know what words we’d love to hear people say about our business? How clear are we on the words we want associated with our trade, service or organisation?

Here’s a little exercise we can do. Write down what we’d love people to say about our business.  Now let’s compare the words we’ve written down to the actual descriptive words people have said about us and our business in the testimonials and comments they’ve made about us. Are they in any way similar? Or is there a vast chasm between the two?

We need to be clear about what our key message is, and constantly strive to achieve having that mirrored back in the testimonials we receive.

If we’ve ever prepared a dinner for guests and been told “the food was okay” when were expecting “the food was superb,” we could be forgiven for thinking there was a subliminal message there that the dinner wasn’t as great as we thought it was.

Are the words being said about our business, and the mental images they conjure, in harmony with those we passionately desire for our business? What’s not being said that we want said?

If the actual words and descriptions we desire are being left unsaid do we simply ignore that fact, or do we choose to tackle this as a problem and ensure that in future we are delivering a product or service which brings the two into harmony?

We can test our testimonials for unsaid market feedback which helps us understand if our own personal belief about our business, product or service is accurate or not.

What if we think we deliver the best service in the marketplace, but it’s actually only ‘okay’ (according to our prospects and customers) in comparison to the products or service of our competition?

How can we know what our customers think if we don’t seek market feedback? If we’re not listening carefully to our market, we are in fact driving our business ‘hearing impaired.’ And that’s a scary thought because it means we’re investing time and money into a business that is sensory deprived in a key communications area – and we don’t even know it!

What if our business is being run more on wishful thinking, or on our own need to believe we’ve got it all together, rather than the cold hard facts of realtime and accurate market feedback.

We can only know the answer to these questions by determining to find the truth. Once we have the answer it’s simply a matter of harnessing all our creative juices in addressing and rectifying the situation.

We can always ‘do’ better in business (and in life).  Especially if we make a habit of seeking market feedback, and using it to improve our business and our results.

If we don’t have a large client base, or a decent amount of testimonials to analyse, we can simply conduct a multiple choice survey with our staff, clients, customers, or prospects.

By formulating the right questions – the right way – it’s easy to unearth true opinions in relation to our business and service. People have a wonderful capacity for sharing incredibly valuable information and market feedback with us, such as; how happy they are with us: what they want: how they want it: why they want what they want: their short and long-term plans and life goals: if they really were happy with our product or service: their buying habits and patterns: their financial capacity to proceed: their current level of need or desire for our product or service: who the real decision makers are, and so much more – if they are rewarded, or feel safe doing it.

We need to look for ways to create genuine meaningful dialogue with our prospects, clients, customers, associates and staff so that they are comfortable ‘telling it like it is?’ This is paramount to us remaining alive, alert, awake and profitable in a marketplace that never sleeps.

Businesses that scoot along lacking this type of feedback and intelligence are shooting blind, releasing vast sums of marketing dollars into the atmosphere – dollars they can’t afford to lose, which they’ll never see again. That kind of waste might be fine for billionaires funding hobbies, but it’s something the rest of us usually can’t afford.

Most of us need each marketing dollar to count, and can’t afford to watch it just float off into the wide blue yonder, completely out of our reach, and never in sight of our niche market.

Truly ingenious businesses aren’t perfect, but they do actively devise and plan ways to continually create opportunities to engage in genuine and meaningful dialogue with their customers, prospects, clients, staff and associates.

Without meaningful dialogue there’s no hope of understanding what’s expected of us, what our market wants, when we’ve delivered, if they’re happy with us, or even if a sudden market shift has permanently altered the landscape we’re operating in (and our customers are often the first people in the know in relation to this one).

We can only ever benefit from engaging in a dialogue that develops mutual trust, confidence and loyalty between us and our customers, clients, prospects or employees. And especially if we approach our communications with the understanding that our way of seeing things may not be the best way.

Or we can choose to operate our business in denial and leave things as they are. That’s the great thing about life in a free market, there’s always a choice.

How do you engage with your clients so you have your finger is on the pulse, and they remain loyal? I’d love to hear from you.

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About Gaye.

Gaye Crispin is a sales and marketing trainer, artist and writer. By the time Gaye was 25 years old she already owned 3 businesses, including a restaurant and a Solace Window Tinting Franchise.

In 1988 Gaye established a large telemarketing organization in Sydney, which was the first of its kind to market  residential investment property to interstate investors over the phone. Her system was so successful and cost-effective that it quickly became the standard throughout the industry, and is still in use today.

She has successfully designed and implemented sales and marketing systems for motor vehicle accessories, art, skin care, health food, advertising, insolvency services, credit management systems, seminars and investment products.

Gaye has a debt collection and credit management agency, and the founder of Women On Top Business Planning, a group of individually successful business women who are passionate about helping business owners write powerful business or action plans for their business.

You can contact Gaye Crispin on 0416 926 533
Email: admin@womenontopbusinessplanning.com
Website:  www.womenontopbusinessplanning.com


The Unsaid (Pt1) The Dangers Of Ignoring The ‘Unsaid.’

  ‘The Dangers of Ignoring The Unsaid’ by Gaye Crispin

Part 1 of a 3 part series

The ‘Unsaid’

How effective are your communication skills? Are you a good listener? Are you a good talker? If you’re both, congratulations because that means you’re an excellent communicator, you’re worth your weight in gold, and the world is probably your oyster already.

But for many of us that’s still not the case….yet

And it’s interesting that so many people still believe great talkers and great listeners can’t possibly inhabit the same body, basing their whole world view on this subject on a few catchy clichés like; “If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear,” or; “A man has two ears and one mouth so that he hears much and speaks little.”

When we look at the complexities and enormous benefits of the human mouth, I wonder if having two ears wasn’t just an evolutionary necessity for our species survival.

Not only was it vital to hear predators approaching, but multi-directional hearing was essential in knowing which direction that mother of all T-Rex’s was coming from. Not to mention how important it is to understand which direction the dinner bell sound is coming from – or more importantly – where that particularly passionate and enthusiastic wolf-whistle just hailed from!

Sure, shutting-up and the allowing others to speak is important. But that alone doesn’t equate to being a good communicator.  It could simply mean that we’re a well-mannered indifferent type, or we’re bored spitless and just happen to have the memory of an elephant.

I’ve worked with and trained some truly remarkable sales people over the past 30 years. Most of these people could talk all 3 legs off a cast-iron pot, yet in a sales situation they were outstanding communicators, influencers, persuaders and achievers.

What made these people so brilliant was their great ability to hear and process what was being said before responding, alongside an extra capacity for hearing the ‘unsaid’ in communication. Processing ‘unsaid’ information (which obviously also includes body language) along with stated information, all at the same time, is a wonderful talent. And if you don’t have it naturally within your business, fear not, it can be learned or even bolted on to your organisation via a consultant.

The late, great Peter Drucker said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said.”

We’re surrounded by ‘the unsaid’ daily, and if we’re not hearing it we can also  tend to take everything very literally, and that too will cause us more problems than a monkey at the control panel. 

Why? Because if we devlop the capacity to hear the ‘unsaid’ we’re strengthening the communications process. If repeatedly ignored the ‘unsaid’ will either explode in our face, or become increasingly quiet and reserved until the speaker eventually disappears from view – and from our life, business, shop, database or member list.

The ‘said,’ on the other hand, is easy to hear, tends to get louder if ignored, and is often eventually heard, even despite our best efforts to the contrary.

In business, as in all relationships, developing the ability to ‘tune in’ and hear the ‘unsaid’ is a vital key to success.

If we’re aware that this ability doesn’t come naturally to us then we need to proactively create ways for the people we wish to engage with to freely express their thoughts and needs to us – without fear of ridicule, retribution or recrimination.

We need to ask ourselves, “Do we have systems in place which ensure we, and all those in our business, are hearing what’s being ‘said’ and ‘unsaid’ by our key stakeholders and market?”

If we don’t, the best and easiest way to correct this quickly is to engage an expert or organisation that does, that can and will do it on our behalf. This is one way to immediately address the situation, 

Market research companies are a great resource for gathering information on our behalf, and in helping us translate the language of our market.

Outsourcing our listening requirements is a great option while we work on putting systems in place to develop stronger in-house business listening and communication skills.

Here are a couple of questions to finish on:-

1) How do we know that we and our organisation have great listening and communication skills? 2) When was the last time we conducted an anonymous survey about how ‘heard’ our staff, clients, customers and prospects feel? Have we ever had our communication strengths and weaknesses professionally measured or tested?

If you can truthfully answer these  questionsto your own satisfaction then congratulations again, you must be a champion communicator.

Please leave any comments you’d like to make about this article below.

Copyright Gaye Crispin 2011

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About Gaye.

Gaye Crispin is a sales and marketing trainer, artist and writer. By the time Gaye was 25 years old she already owned 3 businesses, including a restaurant and a Solace Window Tinting Franchise.

In 1988 Gaye established a large telemarketing organization in Sydney, which was the first to market residential investment property to interstate investors over the phone. Her system was so successful and cost-effective that it quickly became the standard throughout the industry, and is still in use today.

She has successfully designed and implemented sales and marketing systems for motor vehicle accessories, art, skin care, health food, advertising, insolvency services, credit management systems, seminars and investment products.

Gaye has a debt collection and credit management agency, and is also the founder of Women On Top Business Planning, a group of individually successful business women who are passionate about helping business owners write powerful business or action plans for their business.

You can contact Gaye Crispin on 0416 926 533
Email: admin@womenontopbusinessplanning.com
Website:  www.womenontopbusinessplanning.com