Monday, January 07, 2013

Don't Be Like Winnie the Pooh in Your Business


In a survey of 50 CEOs, Russ Edelman author of Nice Guys Can Get the Corner Office: Eight Strategies for Winning in Business Without Being a Jerk asked about the impact of "being too nice" on their businesses. The CEOs surveyed responded by stating that being too nice cost them 8% of their gross revenues. For a small business that is the difference between going out of business and generating a profit.

Many small businesses fail because they are being too nice when dealing with customers or suppliers. Start thinking as a business person and determine the value of your services per hour or the value of one of your products.

An entrepreneur is a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk who attempts to make profits.  A business owner is an organization involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers that earn profit to increase the wealth of their owners. 

If you always give away free products or services you will never become a for-profit business.  The next time someone asks how much do I owe provide them with a dollar value. If you decide not to charge them, write that value down as pro bono work for accounting purposes. For 2013, no matter what your title always think as business owner and know your worth.   Here are some reasons you are afraid to stop being too nice, not being too nice doesn’t mean being nasty, it just means sometimes you have to think with your head and not your heart.

  1. There are things you should be doing but are not because you are being too nice.
  2. You often get upset at yourself, a client or a business situation because you were too nice and wished you had responded differently.
  3. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
  4. You are afraid to ask for want you want.
  5. You are not confident in yourself and your abilities.
  6. You don’t know your worth as a business owner.
  7. You don’t value your time.
  8. You consistently miss out on opportunities.
  9. You avoid or ignore confrontations.
  10. You always say yes.
  11. Being nice is at the expense of your own happiness.
  12. You never request the full price due for your services.

It will take some practice but here are 22 ways to avoid being too nice in business.
  1. Be confident.
  2. Know your worth.
  3. Value your time and let others know that your time is valuable.
  4. Create policies that show others you value your time. Create a cancellation and a guarantee or refund policy.
  5. Be honest at all times.
  6. Identify a list of the things you won’t do and review them each morning before you start your workday.
  7. If the companies or clients do not respond to your approach or take advantage of you, ask yourself if you should continue to work with them.
  8. Always be on. If you don’t make tons of money in your sleep, you always need to be in business mode.  Pass out business cards and talk about your business at the barber or hair salon, grocery store, gas station, church, networking events, social events, formal events, anywhere people are.
  9. Let people know that you do have an edge and you use it when you need to.
  10. Be respectful and diplomatic. Don’t let someone or a situation cause you to act out of character.
  11. Practice different possible scenarios you may encounter with clients or business partners and develop a standard response, i.e. if a client has not paid for your services, how will you respond verbally and in writing.  Having a prepared response makes it easier when you want to show that you are nice but also have an edge.
  12. Develop good interpersonal skills and learn how to be a “people person”.
  13. You may have to turn away or fire clients.
  14. You may have to find new business suppliers or vendors.
  15. Be aggressive with pursuing late payments from clients; use a debt collection company if necessary.
  16. Purchasing an accounting system to write checks, accept payments and automate your billing process. Setup reminders before an invoice is due and an escalation process that includes a personal phone call and for appointment times, action plans, etc.
  17. Don’t allow clients to take advantage of your time, i.e. use guilt, cancel appointments at the last minute, ask for free assistance, deliberately try to extend their appointment time, etc.
  18. If you offer discounts, clearly identify the terms when communicating with existing clients.  Don’t deviate from your discounts or make exceptions – this makes you appear too nice and makes you seem like a pushover. 
  19. Confront takers right away. If you suspect a client is trying to take advantage of you, let them know you are aware of their actions and reinforce your business policies and expectations. 
  20. Train your clients how to treat you.  This overrules any written contract you may have and should be enforced at all times unless you state otherwise. 
  21. Create a referral program to get new clients.
  22. Ask for testimonials from satisfied customers.

1 comment:

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