Archive for June 2013

The Pursuit of Independence

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
- U.S.A Declaration of Independence -

It is now the weekend before the big 4th, our country’s Independence Day, I like this day, I am always surrounded with family and friends, celebrating our independence. Good food, great friends, many kids around, fireworks – priceless.

On a personal level, this day marks one more step for me of getting closer to being financially independent. It was not always like that for me.

Ten years ago, I graduated from college and started what many would call my independent life. I worked at a grocery store, one of the fancy ones that sell organic foods, premium wines and imported cheese. It was a well-organized store with beautiful custom made shelves from the outside and a very dysfunctional business model from the inside. I worked there as a cashier. Read more

The importance of celebrating success

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate”
- Oprah Winfrey -

I had a very good week, it was the first week and actually the first time my store sold ice cream, it proved to be a tremendous successful idea. My business revenue for the week was 40% above the same week last year and profits were even higher. I got many party orders, many new customers came to my store and people asked for more ice cream flavors. I think Charlie and I really hit the nail on its head with this one. I think the habit formation is definitely in play, who knew that ice cream can be such a great addition to my chocolate store?

I am reviewing my business financials, that’s my Sunday morning habit, it’s a good habit, and it’s an important one. I should be very pleased but instead, I am thinking “what if it’s just a beginner’s luck? What happens if this week we will not have any customers? What happens if the ice cream delivery will be delayed?”

In business and in life there are many things to worry about, things that can go wrong, disappointments, we have many challenges to fear from. We have many “What if?” thoughts and worries. Read more

How do you create a customer habit?

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”
- Aristotle -

It is Thursday evening, time to strategize before the busy weekend. It has become a habit of mine, to always meet Charlie on Thursday evening and speak about making the business better. Charlie starts by saying “Habit is both a good thing and a bad one, as Vince Lombardi said once, winning is a habit, unfortunately, so is losing”. Charlie loves quoting smart people.

I am quite distracted today. It’s not because I don’t want to listen. It is really because I am so excited! I know it is going to be a great weekend. It’s almost summer time and although summer is not the best season for chocolate eating. OK, OK, to be completely honest, it is the worst season for chocolate store owners, but I really like the summer time. I think I would like it even more this year as it’s going to be the first year my business will introduce, drum beat…Ice Cream. Yea!! I love ice cream :-).

Charlie put down his glasses and looks at me. “OK, I’m back, Charlie” I said smiling, so exciting, ice cream. Read more

Saying Yes to Business Success

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear”
- Rosa Parks -

It was easy to refuse the offer. It was so easy to say “I’m too busy on that day, sorry maybe next time, I really appreciate the call”. It was last Wednesday, middle of the day. Business at the store is usually slow during the midday. It’s my time to focus on the next week’s event planning. In the store, there only two older people who were drinking their coffees, sharing a slice of a chocolate cake. They were so busy talking with each other that they did not hear the telephone ringing. I picked it up.

The man on the other side said “hello Elizabeth” and told me that he had been reading my blog posts for a few months now. He told me he came to visit my store once or twice and really liked the chocolate cake and my business. I felt so proud. He continued and said he was the organizer of a national small business conference which would take place in one month.

I thought to myself “oh, and now for the sales pitch, would you want to come to the conference”. But instead of this question he asked a very different one, he said “Elizabeth, it will be our pleasure if you can come and present at the conference, there will be about 3,000 people in attendance and I am sure they can learn a lot from your business experience”. Read more

What physical object represents your business?

“When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade”
- Dale Carnegie -

Two weeks ago, I asked you to think again about your business values. I asked you to think about your business values as a physical object. I remembered Charlie asking me “Liz, if your business values were to transform to a physical object, what physical object would it be? If you could take all your business values and represent them as physical objects, what object would it be?”.

I know you worked very hard on this, right? Of course you did, it is a very important question to answer. As your business grows, you will have more people who will be involved with your business. You will have more people who will represent your business to the outside world. Your clients will have many more interactions with other people in your business. How can you ensure your business members represent your business values? Read more