July 27, 2014

Another Viewpoint

Do you ever look at your business from a different viewpoint? We all should analyze our businesses from the viewpoint of the owner, manager, or employee, but do you ever look at it from the viewpoint of the customer? Do you ever see your business as others see it, maybe your competitors?

Have you ever heard the expression that we cannot see the forest because of the trees? We often cannot see the pluses and minus in our businesses for the other details of its operation, both good and bad. We should frequently step away and take a look at our businesses from the viewpoint of the customer or maybe from the vantage point of a competitor.

I have always said that we need to make the customer buying experience the best that we can. What if we look at our business as a whole from the view of the customer, the prospect, and the competitor? What do we see? Do we see a business with which we want to engage in a partnership? Do we want the products or services offered? Do we need these products or services, and are we willing to pay a fair price for them? What would even be a fair price?

What does a prospect see in the types of staff your business has? Are your representatives honest, ethical, and interested in discovering what a prospect needs before trying to sell what your business markets? Do you stand behind your employees, and do you hold them accountable for their actions? What happens if you cannot deliver a product or service in the manner promised or on time; what actions do you take to make the customer whole?

What do your competitors think of your business, your products or services, your employees, or your business practices? Do they respect you, or do they look down on your practices and lack of customer service? Do your competitors envy you and imitate you out of respect, or do they laugh at your lack of skills or honor? How much do they know about the inner workings of your business, the behind the scenes reasons for what you do and how you do it? Is their opinion valid?

How do your employees or family members feel about your business? Do they respect what they do for you, or are your employees ashamed because they dislike their duties in the normal business day? How does your family feel about your business which represents your family name and which impacts their lives? Are they proud of what you do, or are they blinded by the results and benefits?

Interesting questions, aren’t they? We all should periodically take a look at our business through the eyes of our clients, our prospects, our employees, and even our competitors and family. We cannot imagine how many lives we touch in a day’s time until we stop and consider how we impact others and what they may think of us. Only through honest evaluation of the opinions of others can we take actions that will improve our business practices and make our operations more successful.

Your networking partners can give you advice in operating your business from the outsider’s point of view. However, the best points of view may be those of the people closest to our operations. Family members may not provide the most honest opinions, but former clients may be a great source of help in discovering what ails our businesses. Perhaps they should be on our frequent contact list for that reason alone.

What do you do to take an honest look at your business? Do you ever look at it from the viewpoint of others, both outside and inside? Whose opinion do you value when you are looking for improvements to make or to validate what your business practices are now? Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Even the best and most successful operations may need another point of view sometime.

July 20, 2014

Keeping Score

Have you ever had a friend or acquaintance that you believed always had your best interests at heart? Did you trust that person with all your deepest secrets and dreams? Did you both help each other when you could, and were you both there when the other person needed a shoulder to cry on or an ear to just listen? Were you each other’s confidant and confessor? Did either of you ever doubt the other’s intention or dedication?

Sounds like the best of all worlds. Sounds like a great partner in business, but also in life, doesn’t it? This person actually had your life’s best at heart and really cared if you stumbled or succeeded. This was the greatest definition of a networking partner, not just in business but also in your personal life. You were comfortable, appreciative, and always had the other person’s best in your advice, caring, actions, and thoughts. You tried to support them as they did.

You never failed to take their phone call, and you always answered their emails. You shared their dreams, fears, and plans, just as they did yours. Maybe you knew each other over the span of decades, not just years; maybe you were acquaintances for only a short time. You were “there” for each other when the time meant that one of you needed someone. You always knew that you had someone to reach out to when you had to do so.

Then one day, you discovered that this friend, this partner in business or your personal lives, was keeping score of all that took place between the two of you. This person was tallying up what they did versus what you did for each other. This person was upset when the score seemed to be unbalanced in your favor. If you asked for them to remember something that you did for them, they rebuked you saying that they “didn’t ask you to do it”, acting like you only operated out of pity.

This person who you trusted more than most people in your life reminded you of all that they had done for you, not understanding that sometimes you may have not wanted or needed their actions. Just because they wanted you to engage in some action, you do have your own life to lead, for better or worse. Suddenly you discovered that this person was jealous of your success in some area or envious of what you had accomplished. Your past relationship no longer mattered; the tally was unbalanced in their eyes and mind.

I was told once that marriage, like friendships, is 50/50. I do not believe that this is true. I believe that marriage, friendships, and networking partnerships are 100/100. It doesn’t matter who in the relationship needs something. When, the other person must be “there”, they should be “there”. Sometimes one person is strong; sometimes it is the other. No one ever keeps score. That is the practice that makes relationships succeed and partnerships prosper for both parties.

You may not believe that your networking partners are as close as your marriage partner, or your significant other, but they can have the same level of impact on your life. Make sure that the impact that you have on your partners is positive and meaningful in the best manner. Never prejudge anyone before you get to know them, never hold grudges, and never, ever keep score. Leave that to karma; she can be the best score keeper there is. You have better things to do in your life.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Remember your networking partners need your support, your advice, and your ear and shoulder. Be there for them, and they will be there for you. Do not be afraid to reach out to them for help, but also reach out to them to help if they need you. A great partner will provide advice without being asked for it and will never keep score.

July 13, 2014

Good Intentions

My mama always told me that “the road to h___ was paved with good intentions”. When anyone starts a business or joins a new company as an employee at any level, they always have the best intentions of bringing their best each and every day to the situation. What happens?

They may start a business with the goal of providing a great product or service at the best, most reasonable price. They may intend to provide great customer service, doing all that they can to keep the customer satisfied. They may want the best employees, better trained, better paid, and happier in their jobs than anyone else. They may even have dreams of a great company name, logo, and image.

What happens? They get caught up in business. Right from the start they get going without a business plan; they spend money, maybe on a franchise, or on furniture or an office, that they should not spend. They don’t research their business name or logo; they make up a business name that no one can pronounce or spell. They lose their vision of customer service, and they lose sight of how to train or treat their employees.

They may even stray away from the product or service that they know so well for something that they think will be easy to sell. They lose their “why”, the driving motivation for why they wanted to start a business in the first place. They forget that, no matter what your business, it must be easy for your customers to do business with you, and you must have an offering for which people will happily pay you a reasonable price.

As an employee, you should be able to work in a business that provides self-satisfaction, making you glad that you go to work every day. You should “be a part of the business”, helping build something in return for the salary, and knowledge, that you gain. If you do not grow and contribute, you are another piece of furniture, to be replaced by a more efficient one. As you grow, both personally and as a contributor, you should be nurtured as a valuable asset of the business.

Maybe the business person vowed to learn to market, but didn’t realize that marketing is also about learning. Their vision is clouded by their pre-conceived notions about their product or service, how it is perceived by the public, how it should be priced, or even how it should be marketed. Maybe they are misled as to how to deal with others, selling first instead of building relationships. Perhaps staying alive through sales becomes more important than building a business reputation and network.

Does any of this sound familiar? Have you fallen into any, or all, of these traps? It is not hard to look back and discover that we may have strayed away from our good intentions, from our dreams, no matter how strong they were, no matter how we vowed that we would not make those mistakes that we have seen in others. Is it impossible to change, or do we just keep on trying to shift efforts from one area to another, trying to bail out the sinking boat, trying to hold off the flood?

I believe that it is never too late to fix anything. We must reach out for help. Would you do brain surgery on yourself, by yourself? Of course not; you would try to locate a specialist who knows what they are doing. The same can be said for saving a business. It may be simple fixes, and the longest journey starts with a single step. That first step might just be finding a networking partner who can give you some free advice or refer you to someone who could be a professional resource.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. When you find the road that was paved with good intentions to be a series of potholes and you are on the way to ruin, try asking one of your networking partners for help. They may be able to guide you back towards the light of success. Remember that they also may have been where you are.

July 6, 2014


It has been said multiple times that leadership is not the same as management. Leaders set examples as well as teach others what they should do to succeed. While we are known by others for what we say, we are known even more by what we do and by how we treat others, whether the others are clients, prospects, family, or friends.

Leaders may be business managers or owners, and their actions in their business dealings reflect their personalities, their beliefs, and their basic culture. Their treatment of employees as well as clients, paints a picture of what type of person they are. If we observe what they do, as well as what they say, then we will know with whom are partnering in building successful relationships.

We all should listen when leaders speak about their management style. We should listen even more closely when leaders speak about the corporate culture of their businesses, about how their business was built, and about their relationships with clients, prospects, competitors, and everyone else that they know. They know what they are doing, and we must learn from them.

In addition to listening to the great advice that leaders tell us, we must watch what they do during the daily performance of their business. We also should observe what they do in their personal lives and learn how they build the relationships which will reward them with great and beneficial karma. Both their words of wisdom and our observations teach us how to operate our own businesses.

What else do leaders do to be classified as leaders? They not only lead through their spoken wisdom and by their examples of how we should treat others, they inspire us to be better and more successful leaders ourselves. Their encouragement, either directly or indirectly, can become the basis for our own success. It can change our lives and impact the lives of everyone whom we know.

What do leaders do that makes them so special? What do they do every day to make them and their businesses so successful? The fact that they build relationships with others is one of their secrets. Another secret of their success is that they treat others better than they are expected to do so, better than they need to, and better than a sale requires.

Leaders will perform at a higher level than is expected. They will provide more value than expected, more than they are required by the price charged. They will go the extra mile, not just get by. Leaders do not believe in the phrase: “Just good enough”? Leaders left that phrase for business people who will fail. They always strive to provide a greater value than they charge for their offerings.

Leaders will provide a great product or service for a fair compensation. Their clients also discover that more was delivered than enough to qualify as adequate for the price. In addition, if any problem presents itself in a sales transaction, leaders will more than make up for any inconvenience to their client. Aggravations suffered by a client will be compensated at a greater level than expected.

Who do you know who is a leader? Is that person an example as well as a source for advice? Is that person an inspiration for others? Watch their actions, listen to what they say, and see their inspiration. If they are a leader, you should build a strong relationship with that person and try to emulate what they are. You cannot help but reap the benefits of that relationship.

Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Please accept my apology for posting late last week. I was coming home from California on the normal posting morning, and time just got away from me.