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It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it: Respect is the real key to currency.

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Respect commands itself and can neither be given nor withheld when it is due. –Eldridge Cleaver

Showing respect is a basic skill that for most people comes easy, but obtaining respect seems to take a little extra work. Whether you are the boss or a team member, your ability to earn respect from those you do business with will determine the depth and length of your success.

When I first started my financial service business, I was given tremendous amounts of advice on how to retain clients and increase revenue. While most entrepreneurs believe going above and beyond for clients is the way to retain and build revenue, I opted to take my own approach in the belief  that respect would sustain my business best of all. Our ability to earn respect is a direct impact on a business owner’s revenue. I never bought into the idea that the customer was always right. It’s true that what you are willing to do for a client is important, but what you will not do is just as important.  Always offer an opinion or strategy that is supported with facts.  To be respected in business you don’t have to be fancy, you have to be right

Ask yourself, “what does respect mean to me?” My perception has always been that if you’re providing a great product or service that is needed, clients will come. If they like you, they will sign on with you but only if they respect you will they stay. Respect can mean different things to different people.There is a huge difference between catering and influencing. Catering to is when you deliberately do only what you know your clients will agree to. Influence requires the client to respect and value your opinion.

   Our actions teach others how to treat us. Doing everything to please the client is not good service, and eventually causes clients to have less respect for you. Respect from clients like any good thing is earnedHave a set of guidelines or procedures and stick to them. Establish your competency of the field you work in. But the ultimate test of respect is the result of your everyday actions. Carry yourself with the utmost respect and clients will acknowledge it.

Remember: Not everyone will respect you.  Agree to disagree with those who don’t show you respect, and focus your efforts on those who do.

Written by Beverly S. Davis

May 21, 2014 at 12:58 pm

Consistency: Still A Major Key To Success

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Success Isn’t always About Greatness. It’s About Consistency. Consistent Hard Work Gains Success.

All new endeavors are started with the best of intentions.  Starting a new business is full of emotional highs and lows. When you find yourself facing more lows than highs more often or not, what gives is the consistency of your work ethic and strategy. To establish yourself as force in your field you must develop a habit of consistency. Your service may be good, but it’s consistency that will make you great. Commitment to time, effort and continued refining of your services results in a constant flow of customer who embrace your business.

The character of your brand is your most valuable asset. What you say, what you do and how you do it should always be constant. If your conversation and behavior is built around chaos, you will lose value among your peers and potential customers. Chaos eventually leaks into business decisions and partnerships, as it’s only the chaotic who are drawn to chaos.  Following through daily is a must in growing your business. Business growth requires a track record of successful experiences. You can’t build a track record if you do not have a consistent strategy that you follow.  Potential customers need to see a predictable flow from you in order to trust you. The more consistent you are in business the more you will be valued, the more valued you are the more you will grow.

Consistency in what you say:   Develop and maintain good communication skills.

  • Always be clear about what your business does and does not do. Gray areas only lead to confusion.
  • Develop written outline of your company’s services. Have a verbal discussion and be sure new customers have a copy.
  • Follow through with phone calls and emails. People wont work with someone they can’t keep up with.
  • Don’t assume anything. Keep clients /staff up to date on projects. Hold weekly/monthly meeting in person or virtually.

Consistency in what you do:  People pay attention to what you do. Consistent value speaks for itself.

  • Focus on doing your best every time. Avoid cutting corners or making do.
  • Plan smart. Take the time to research and build a powerful plan for each project. The smarter the plan, the smoother the process.
  • Get to know your customer and their business. Understand how you can give e the highest level of service to them.
  • Stay ahead of the pitfalls that your customer could face.  Make your customers look good and they will keep coming back.
  • Always meet deadlines. Time is money, and if customers feel they are wasting money on delays they will part ways.
  • Go the extra mile. Add a special something (specific to their business needs) that the customer may not have been expecting.
  • Have regular brainstorming sessions to develop new ways your company can service customers.

Written by Beverly S. Davis

March 12, 2014 at 11:50 am

Do You Believe In What You’re Doing?

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If You Believe In What You Are Doing, Then Let Nothing Hold You Up In Your Work. – Dale Carnegie

Being an entrepreneur has its share of ups and downs, but when your heart is one hundred percent into what you’re doing everyday should be filled with excitement and satisfaction right? No one becomes an entrepreneur because they think it’s going to be easy. You become an entrepreneur because you believe in what you’re doing. If you’re constantly stressed out by your work,  don’t be too quick to blame it on entrepreneurship. You may need to rethink the work you’re doing.

In business your day is filled with a variety of things you have to take action on. Too often we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day and react without taking the time to think about what we’re doing or why. The result is usually a collection of disappointing ventures that we never really had any belief in from the start. What you believe deep inside is what will manifest in your actions. How you think about something is what makes the difference in how you approach it. How you approach something determines its success.

“If you change the belief first, changing the action is easier.” ~ Peter McWilliams

The definition is insanity is to repeat an action over and over again expecting different results.  Do you continue to take on the same projects, clients or customers over and over because you’re insane? Or are you working in disbelief? As a business owner, you need to focus on projects that are in line with your goals and beliefs. Every time you approach something in disbelief your actions will show it.  You’re not as focused or enthusiastic as you are when you’re working on project you really believe in.

Don’t count success by the number of projects you have in the fire or the financial gain from taking on everything that comes your way. The reward of being a business owner is having the freedom to choose what you do. To count every business endeavor you take on as a success,  first ask yourself  one question, “Do I believe in this”?

Written by Beverly S. Davis

November 25, 2013 at 8:38 am

The Entrepreneur’s Delimma: How to Sustain Your Passion

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Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it.  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

 There’s nothing like the passion of an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurial passion is what says yes when everyone else says no and fuels extraordinary results in whatever you do. Like many others, my passion is what drove me to leave behind the security of a corporate position and boldly walking through the door of the unknown. All entrepreneurs know the overwhelming rush that comes with starting your own business.  Everyday you wake up with a renewed energy, bigger ideas and eager to see what the day would bring.

But when your business starts to grow and you’re caught up in the daily grind, you may begin to feel that you’re just coasting from day-to-day, lacking the fiery passion you had at the start. As your company grows, the passion you started with must remain intact and flow throughout the company. Passion starts at the top and is the difference in your business just surviving from day-to-day or thriving. As the leader, maintaining your passion will keep the passion flowing in your business. Think about your state of mind when you started your business. What were you doing then that you’re not doing now?

Don’t delegate. Do 

I’m sure when you first started your business you had a hand in every interaction that took place. You met with potential customers and played a part in solving every problem that came up. Besides the fact that you probably did not need a full team just yet, you were driven by passion for what you were doing and eagerly took part in every aspect of your business.  As you grow, don’t delegate everything.  A huge part of keeping passion alive comes from doing. When you’re in the trenches getting your hands dirty, you remind yourself of the desire that drove you to the place you are.

  • Have weekly meetings to stay in the know of what’s on your company’s plate at all times.
  • Have one on one sessions to offer advice and solutions.
  • Don’t wait until work is completed by staff  to review. Go over work with your staff while it’s in progress.

Keep the ‘wow’ factor:

When you started your business you most likely went to bed late every night unable to sleep more than a few hours because of a great new idea you had that you were sure your current customers would love, and would bring tons of new ones. In the beginning, you’re constantly trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. Now that your business is stable, don’t relax but stir up the fire to stay relevant. Creativity is a positive side effect of passion.

  • Have brainstorming sessions to think of new services or products you can offer.
  • Think of ways to revamp or update  the services or products  you already have.
  • Reach out to your customers on a regular basis. Keep a health check on your business relationships. What you did to win them you must continue to keep them.

Hire passion:

Yes, the leader plays a huge role in fueling the passion that trickles down to the team but be sure to build a team that comes with its own internal passion for the business. When a business owner is passionate about the company but the employees are not, it makes it very hard to pull off one triumph let alone many. When your build or expand your team, it’s important that you look at credentials. It’s even more important that you look at the heart. Does this person have ‘passion’ for what they do? Will they bring ‘passion’ to the table everyday in your company?

  • Hire from various cultures and professional backgrounds. Often professionals from different fields bring a fresh relevance .
  • Remember interns. Eager to learn and do and the free passion you could ask for. The majority of interns today are trained to be entrepreneurs, and have plenty of passion to offer.

Feed your talent: 

The surest way for anything to die is by starving it. We live in the most innovative of times, feeding your talent is just a matter of researching what’s out there and jumping in.  With technology, obtaining education to grow your talent is at a whole new level. Stay on top of what’s going on in your field. Feed your passion with your passion.  This is a perfect way to re-fuel and kept your passion tank from getting empty.

  •  Take advantage of teleconferences, webinars and workshops as much as possible.
  • Start your own business podcast, news letter or blog.  Sharing your passion with others is a great way to keep it alive.
  • Join professional organizations and consistently network with other business owners and professionals. 

Step away:

One thing I’ve learned is that business relationship is a lot like personal relationships. absence does make the heart grow fonder.  When you get stuck in a rut doing the same thing day in and day out, you can lose the passion for it fast. Be sure to take the weekends or any one day that works for you to step away from your business. No business calls, emails or paperwork for the day will give you a chance to rest your brain, regroup and come back refreshed. Trust me, you’ll miss the business, and when you get back in the grind it will be with the passion and vigor that you thought was gone.

So much could be said about passion, how to tap into it and maintain it.  But ultimately it’s up to you to discover what works. One  thing for sure, it was passion that got you where you are today and it will be passion that will keep you going.

Written by Beverly S. Davis

September 27, 2013 at 12:07 am

3 Key Ways To Establish Accountability in Your Business

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It is not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are held accountable.

Every business is a brand, whether yours is good or bad is up to you. Successful entrepreneurs know that their business will flourish when they’re accountable. They take the time to not just ‘get the job done’ but to get it don ‘right’.  When leaders take responsibility of their projects and processes, they create an environment that demands accountability.

Customers flock to work with businesses that consistently go above and beyond (everyday). An accountable business doesn’t just happen overnight, but the foundation must be put in place from the start and carried throughout the life of business relationships.  Here are three key ways to build an environment of accountability in your business.

1.   Take Ownership

Establishing clear roles and processes removes confusion in the work place. Support the input of your team. Make sure they have the resources, knowledge and assistance they need to successfully complete projects. Obligate your team to participate in the solution process. Ask them to give and receive feedback on various aspects of the business. For your business to be accountable, members must be comfortable taking on new roles and increasing their skills. This builds confidence and ownership of assigned tasks.

Plan for progress: Have a detailed growth plan for every team member. Specify what their career goals are and what steps they will need to take to obtain it.

Measure progress: Keep detailed track of your team member’s progress. Have regular progress meetings that applaud the team’s commitments but speak to areas where they are lacking as well.

2.   Establish Core Values

When businesses consistently fall short of promises, it’s saying to the customer, “we’re not committed to you.” Lack of commitment directly results in low or no accountability. Be prepared to call out members who don’t follow through. Leaders who value their customers work hard improve and maintain the integrity of their business. No team member can achieve any professional goal to customers, if they don’t personally hold themselves accountable from the start.

Don’t point fingers: Never tolerate your team to point fingers and blame each other. This is the beginning of chaos and will not produce any responsibility within the team. Only team members with integrity will Acknowledge and correct themselves first before lashing out at others.

Own Strengths & Weaknesses: Accountability in a business trusts the business team to acknowledge both strengths and weaknesses. Just as you are confident in projects you know your team will do well, be just as accountable when it’s a project that you know you can’t do well. The integrity of your business will be rewarded when you honestly do what’s best for the customer.

3.   Consistently Drive Improvement

Accountable businesses are always growing and improving their services, products and processes.  For a business to grow, the team must have regular access to education and training to develop new skills. Business owners must be able to map out exactly what the teams needs to drive improvement. To do this a leader must know what’s working and what isn’t.

Routinely evaluate: Have the team take self-assessment test on a monthly or quarterly basis. Have the team share their results and brainstorm about what positive changes they each could make going forward. When people are forced to recognize their short-comings they’re more likely to correct them.

Ask, how are we doing?: Just like the bumper stickers you see on trucks that say “How’s My Driving?”, Invite the outside in to help improve what your business is doing. Perform regular customer surveys (potential customers too) and share the results with the team.  Again, have the team brainstorm what changes need to be made and the best way to get it done.

Written by Beverly S. Davis

August 26, 2013 at 4:39 am

To Be Successful at Anything, You Must Be Authentic in Everything

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Truth is a point of view, but authenticity can’t be faked. ~ Peter Guber

We now live in a society where ‘realness’ has become a requirement in every aspect of life. We demand it from our government, business leaders, community leaders, and even social media. It’s believed that you can’t be successful if people don’t feel like you’re presenting a true sense of who you really are.

Authenticity is needed today for everyone regardless of the situation. From the least to the greatest, self-awareness makes it easier to see life choices more clearly and brings our values more into focus. When we are authentic, we align our actions with our beliefs, values, strengths and weaknesses as one.

To Be Authentic You Must Conquer Two Things:

1.  Clarification of Who You Are

For most people, this is not a problem. I personally embrace authenticity, and regularly reap the benefits of it. But there are some who find it hard to be so open about who they really are. This makes it difficult for some to reach the full level of success in business and in their personal lives. In most cases, lack of authenticity is not because a person is deliberately being dishonest. Lack of authenticity can also come from not truly knowing who you authentically are; therefore unable to authentically express it. If you want to be relevant in today’s society, you must first clarify who you are and incorporate that authenticity into everything you do. To bring clarity to who you are, start asking yourself some specific questions. These honest answers will get you started on a path of defining yourself. What are your core values? What is your life vision?

 2. Consistency at Being You

Do you constantly hide behind a mask so that you will blend in? Take note; it’s perfectly fine to have an opinion and profess your personal likes and dislikes. “Be yourself” is possibly the most commonly used phrase in history and yet so many people still find it hard to do. To be yourself simply means to define yourself on your terms. To be consistently authentic you have to stop caring about how other people perceive you.  Doing specific things every day is easier to maintain than dropping things and picking them up over and over again. Consistency is not about seeing and reaching a finish line. Consistency is about doing (or being) the same with no timescale. You are authentic, irreplaceable and unique. Your authentic self supports your purpose in life. For example: Carpenters are naturally gifted to use their hands to create things. Successful public relations professionals have a naturally gift of great communication.

How can you become more consistent at being you?

  • First, Make a commitment to define your personal values.
  • Create business and personal relationships that allow you to be authentic.  (Practice makes perfect)
  • Be aware, authenticity means some people will not like or agree with you.
  • Don’t be afraid to disagree with things that do not agree with your values and beliefs.
  • Identify and embrace your weaknesses.
  • Identify and articulate your strengths.
  • Be sure that everyday your actions mirror your values and beliefs.  (Walk what you talk)

Prosperity and fulfillment flows free for those who have taken time to ‘do the work’, get real with themselves and discover what makes ‘You’ you.  Surround yourself with people who clearly now who they are and is committed to being consistent to their true self. People (family, friends, colleagues & customers) will not support what they don’t believe.

Written by Beverly S. Davis

July 27, 2013 at 10:00 pm

Women Entrepreneurs: Should You Be Working More With Men?

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Equality doesn’t exist in this universe. Either one prevails and the other follows, or both negotiate their differences and create a greater partnership.  ~Harold J. Duarte- Bernhardt

Today women entrepreneurs represent nearly 50% of all privately held businesses make in the US. There is no secret that men have a huge head start when it comes to entrepreneurship but statistics support the theory that women led businesses survive and thrive more than male run ventures. Many well-known, successful women admit to having a male mentor who played an important role in their career. This leads to the question; how can men make great mentors to women, yet women entrepreneurs are more successful?

Prior to becoming an entrepreneur I worked in corporate banking. The majority of my career I was surrounded by male colleagues, managers and customers. Now, looking back I view the experience as the perfect platform for entrepreneurship. I absorbed the different qualities that men bring to the table. Men have a different approach to business leadership, problem solving, and negotiating. I am a huge advocate of women entrepreneurs, and I strongly believe that women must support each other as much as we can. However the uprising of the women’s self help movement may sometimes facilitate lost advantages of women seeking help from, and in some cases a partnership with men. Studies prove that men and women are taught differently from childhood how to lead. Now days a lot of that teaching is changing, but if we learn and appreciate the differences women and men have in business, we would have more successful collaborations and more successful businesses.

Men vs. Women in Business

Male entrepreneurs view their businesses as a well oiled machine, while women entrepreneurs put more of their personal values into the business making it their number one priority. Women are known for their great improvisation skills. Which is a huge part of successful entrepreneurship. Women are more focused on the sustainability of the business. Women don’t have a problem with leading from behind, not making a lot of noise but orchestrating behind the scenes. By nature men have larger egos and love giving orders to others. Leadership in women comes from the ability to attract and inspire talent, not having to be the talent yourself.

Though men and women think, listen and speak differently, the result is the perfect combination to a well-rounded business structure. The law of nature speaks for itself, yen and yang work. If you’re starting a business or have a business and are considering a partner, don’t go for the obvious go for the opposite.

 

Reference: Businessweek: Men Dominate, Women Orchestrate

Written by Beverly S. Davis

July 3, 2013 at 2:53 am

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