Too Real Work In Progress

You may have noticed that we’ve been trying some different formats recently. We, Jill and Vicki, feel that it’s time that we took the blog to another level and in order to do that we have been monitoring your responses.

Now dear readers we need your patience and some time to reorganize and recreate this blog to be a fresh, inspirational and beneficial resource for you to use. Our goal is to provide a place for you to come to gain insight and encouragement with your personal, professional and spiritual growth.

Keep checking back and checking in; we’ll be posting periodically about our Too Real blog journey.

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Unhappy Client? Save Your Reputation

SCENARIO

Have you done some work for a client and felt they were pleased only to discover that they have been complaining about you to others? There are ways to turn this around and salvage your reputation.

CONSIDER THIS

VICKI:
Unfortunately this is a situation where the majority of times you will not hear from the client his or herself. This is one reason that it’s so important to have client files with contact information.

Run don’t walk to the phone and call the customer or client immediately. Too many times companies make an unhappy client an offer that works out well for their business but not the client’s. Instead of doing this ask the client outright what you can do to rectify the situation and make the client happy. Listen to them – give them your full attention. Then do what they need as long as it is feasible and fair to your business as well. As soon as you get off the phone follow up with a hand written card apologizing.

A week after the situation has been rectified do call the client to see if they are now satisfied. If not find out what wasn’t to their satisfaction and follow through.

JILL:
Vicki’s suggestion is correct, however you need to ensure that after all that has been done the client doesn’t continue to complain or slander you. You have to diplomatically mention that you are aware of what they have been doing. After all they are not completely blameless as they didn’t come to you with their displeasure. This along with the actions mentioned above should bring the situation to an end.

Also, if you are aware of who they have been complaining to don’t hesitate to get in touch with them. Be honest and open “I understand that you have heard some negative things; I wanted to let you know that we have made every attempt to resolve that situation and we hope that you will continue to do business with us…………” Be very professional here and do not specifically mention or refer to the client in any way.

Being A Mom Entrepreneur

QUESTION
My youngest started grade one in September, I am a 36 years old & have a home based business. My business is doing OK but I feel lonely and kinda isolated. My friends are moms too but don’t have businesses so we don’t have a lot in common anymore. When the kids get home I feel guilty that I didn’t get more done with my day. Got any suggestions?

ANSWER

JILL:
When your youngest was at home you probably stuck to a routine, what you need to do is to create a schedule for yourself; that gives your day structure. Be in your home office at the same time every morning and get your day of to a positive start by taking care of your clients or customers first thing.

If your office is bleak that can make you feel isolated. Play some music in the background, decorate so that it represents your tastes and invest in flowers or plants. Keep it uncluttered and clean.

There are a few ways to conquer the loneliness.

1. Look for business women’s groups in your town so that you can network and connect.
2. When appropriate arrange to meet colleagues or clients for coffee, breakfast or lunch; that gets you out.
3. Google what you do ie accountant, virtual assistant, graphic design etc…. and look for an association that you can join. They may have events or meetings that you can attend.
4. Here are some examples of some virtual business women’s groups that will have you feeling less alone
> Women in a Home Office
> Women Can Do Anything
> Company of Women
> eWomen Network

Even with all that there will still be the odd lonely day but overall working for yourself can be very rewarding. For one thing, you have no boss to tell you that you have to stay late so at the end of the day you can usually close up and enjoy your family.

VICKI:
This is one of those times that it’s about changing your thinking. Your guilt is about what you believe that you should be able to get done during the day and the pressure you put on yourself to do those things. The irony is that the more pressure you put on yourself the less you’ll be able to get done due to the stress you’re self-inflicting.

It’s time to relax and take a deep breath or five. You need to center yourself and start slow.
1. Make a list of what you have to accomplish this week; know that you may need to add or remove things as your week goes by.
2. Every morning look at the list and choose three things that you will get done that day. Then go ahead and complete them. Be realistic, don’t choose three large things that each take two hours to do. Choose one large task and two small or if you have one task that will take five hours only do the one task. Be honest with yourself when making the daily list.
3. Leave room for incoming and outgoing business phone calls and should you have extra time once you have done your daily list you can decide if you want to do anything else from your weekly list.
4. It is perfectly all right if you your weekly and daily lists consist of business items and household things to be done as this is the life of a mom entrepreneur.
5. If you haven’t already done so buy a crock pot / slow-cooker and some recipe books on slow-cooking. There is nothing like throwing everything into one pot in the morning and letting it cook all day to have a delicious and nutritious family meal and to free up some of your time.

Now here’s the real trick – know that you may not accomplish everything on your weekly list and become OK with it. One thing is for sure; when each of us dies we will still have things undone on our to-do list. Prioritize and take the pressure off of you. What you don’t get done move to the following week’s list. Put your thoughts and feeling towards being proud of what you do accomplish. In time the positive feelings and thoughts over take the negative and you will find that you have renewed energy to take on more with your day. Add to your daily list as this happens.

Ethics In The Workplace

QUESTION

In the company where I work we have monthly sales figures that are submitted to a board. I’ve recently discovered that my supervisor, who submits all our team’s figures, has been playing with the numbers on the report to keep in good standing with the board. I am worried that her actions will create problems for the whole sales team. I don’t know if I should say something to the board or not.

To further complicate things, I’m the person who stands to be promoted if my supervisor is fired and I don’t want to appear as though I’m trying to get ahead immorally. What do you suggest?

ANSWER

VICKI:
I envision that you feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place. I can empathize fully with that as it is the same as being in the middle of two people and I certainly know what that’s like. In these moments I rely on two things from myself: discretion in speaking to any parties involved and honesty.

In this case one person’s actions may affect many innocent people and that is what I consider the most important aspect here. The fact of the matter is that your supervisor is not acting responsibly towards her team.

You have two choices as I see it:

1. Approach the board and just let them know that you have noticed a discrepancy in the numbers. Don’t point fingers at your supervisor. Let them know that you are concerned for your team as a whole.
2. Tell your supervisor that you have noticed a discrepancy in the numbers. Approach it as if it is an error not something that was done purposefully. Tell her your concern for the team.

I’d choose the option that feels best to you, the one in which you feel you are being true to your moral values.

JILL:
The business coach in me feels compelled to take this to the next level. Which ever approach you take, there are issues around the real figures that will have to be addressed. The board is going to want to see a valid set of sales figures and to know how they can be turned around. Or your supervisor is also going to have to address how to bring up the sales figures legitimately.

However you decide to deal with this, it is business and you need to see further than the discrepancies; you need to be a contributing part of the solution.