Blog Posts by Patricia Lotich

  • 7 Things Your Customer Won’t Tell You!

    Most successful organizations understand the importance of making their customers happy.  These businesses recognize that customers provide the revenue to pay the bills and are the financial life-line to the organization.

    There are many ways to solicit feedback from customers – surveys, focus groups, comment cards - but what about those things that aren’t reflected in any of those tools?

    Most customers won’t complain when they have a bad experience and but will share a bad experience with others.  People now use social media to vent frustrations, making it important to know when your customers have a bad experience so the issue can be remedied.

    There are some of the things that customers notice but probably won’t tell you.  Maybe because it requires too much energy, maybe because they really don’t care that much or maybe they just don’t like conflict.  Regardless, there are things customers observe and experience that they won’t bother telling you.

    • Bad Website

    A business website is the

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  • Reasons to Consider a Company Wellness Program

    Despite the fact that the cost of providing healthcare benefits is rising at a slower pace, organizations continue to look for ways to control healthcare costs. Anyone who administers an employer-sponsored health plan understands that the cost of healthcare coverage is more expensive for organizations that employ unhealthy people. This understanding led companies to embrace wellness programs.

    Corporate wellness programs can consist of multiple approaches. Many businesses concentrate on weight loss programs for employees after they have a medical exam. Others stock vending machines with healthy snacks only. A corporation can even encourage employees to walk during break and lunch times. Other long-term strategies include newsletters that keep everyone up to date on health issues and guest speakers.

    Improving employee health is vital to a successful business and its bottom line. Businesses can gain a handle on healthcare costs if their employees are healthier and make fewer trips to

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  • Six Tips for Office Time Management

    If you search for time management books on Amazon, you’ll find 106,960 results demonstrating the universal need for help managing this limited resource. Teaching people how to manage their time is an industry in itself, but every one of us can benefit from the valuable skills they provide.

    We all struggle with managing our time and controlling those things that steal our time. Things like unproductive emails, Internet search rabbit trails or conversations that go off on time-wasting tangents are all examples of things we do that rob us of one of the most valuable resources we have – our time.

    Personal time management dictates how well we can juggle our work responsibilities with our home and social obligations. However, time management skills for entrepreneurs and business leaders alike are critical to organizational success. The most successful organizations have figured out the importance of helping people spend time on those things that align with strategic objectives.

    A recent

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  • Internal Customers: Do You Know Who They Are?

    Internal Partnership

    The term customer is most commonly associated with someone who purchases goods or services, but Joseph Juran, the famous management consultant, taught that organizations have both internal and external customers, and internal customers have a direct link to a positive external customer experience.

    The external customer is the person who purchases the goods or services, while the internal customer is anyone within an organization who at any time is dependent on anyone else within the organization.

    We all know the importance of taking care of the external customer (the people who purchase our products and services), but successful organizations recognize the importance of taking care of the internal customers – employees and any other stakeholders. For example, if a secretary is dealing with computer issues, the IT department considers that person an internal customer and makes as much of an effort to meet her needs as the call center person does to take care of the external customers

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  • 11 Common Mistakes Business Owners Make

    Business Mistakes

    Since small business owners wear so many hats, they can make mistakes. However, mistakes in managing and operating a business can threaten the organization’s long-term viability. Consequently, it’s important to identify the organizational priorities never to overlook or neglect. Here are 11 of the most common mistakes.

    1. Unclear Purpose

    Every organization must articulate why it exists and what it’s striving to achieve. Owners must focus time and attention on developing a mission and vision. It doesn’t matter if the business is a delivery service, neighborhood dry cleaner, or mom and pop restaurant. Every organization needs to understand its reason for existence, which is the anchor for all business decision making.

    2. No Plan

    There is an old saying, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Developing a strategy and having a plan to achieve objectives is critical to any organization’s success. Large or small, every business needs a plan. Devoting time, at least once a year, to

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  • What is that bad hire costing your organization?

    Thumbs Down

    According to a Career Builder Survey, 40% of employers reported that a bad hiring decision can cost companies $25,000 and, 25% of those polled said the cost can be as high as $50,000! More than 68% of employers surveyed stated that they had made a bad hiring decision in the prior year. Poor hiring decisions can affect productivity, morale and work quality.

    “It can be hard to predict how a new hire will fit with the organization or perform in their new role. Even though mistakes happen that are beyond the hiring manager’s control, the more thoroughly the candidates are vetted, the less likely they will be a poor match,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. “It’s important that candidates meet as many people in the department as possible – especially if they will work closely together. Also, if candidates say they are proficient in a skill critical to the job, they should provide ample evidence that their experience meets the organization’s

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  • 5 Steps to Solving Business Problems

    problemsolvingSolving business problems is what keeps us all employed!  It is an interesting dynamic because once you solve or fix one problem another problem typically arises.  The word problem is defined as “a puzzle, question, set for solution”.  There are good problems (i.e.; increased sales/growth) and there are bad problems (i.e.; decreased revenues/sales) both require the same problem solving process and if problem resolution is successful, new challenges arise.

    So you ask, why would an increase in sales and business growth be a problem?  The problem (albeit a good one to have) is determining how to handle the growth from a process, customer and logistical perspective.  For example, if you have a start-up software company that caters to a specialized niche and growth is faster than projected, your company will be scrambling to find the manpower, service support and logistics to ensure the customer experience is superior for new clients.  Start-ups need to make a great first impression with

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  • Small Business Planning: 7 Things to Focus on in 2013

    lookingforward2013
    As 2012 comes to an end, it is important to stop and reflect on the past 12 months and begin to plan for 2013. Take some time to celebrate all of the things that were accomplished this year and then ride that momentum and begin thinking about those things that your business needs to concentrate on in 2013.

    7 Things to Focus on in 2013

    1. Mission/Vision
    It is always good to begin a new year by focusing on business strategy which is done by revisiting the mission and vision of the organization. In other words, ask the question, why does this organization exist and what is it trying to accomplish? Articulating a mission and vision provides direction for an organization and a target to shoot for. Business strategy is birthed out of the mission and vision so spend some time reflecting and re-strategizing for the coming year.

    2. Customer Experience
    Too many organizations forget that it is the customer that pays the bills and employee salaries. Take some time to better understand the

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  • Seven Reasons Why Your Small Business Should Set a Budget

    businessbudgeting

    The housing collapse has been a rude awakening for many Americans and has forced many people to take a good hard look at their personal finances, and come up with a better plan to manage their money. Creating household budgets, and living the frugal lifestyle, has become vogue and being thrifty has become the newest cool thing to do.

    Small business owners have experienced the same financial tensions with increased competition and unstable revenues. This has created the need for companies to tighten their spending and recognize the importance of creating an annual budget.

    Interestingly, many business owners don't create a budget because they either don't know how, or don't think it is a good use of their time. This is unfortunate because a formal budgeting process helps to ensure that resources are available for those things that support business growth and development.

    7 Reasons to Create a Budget

    1. Budgets Set Targets
    Budgets are used to project revenues and spending to help

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  • 4 Tips for Sales Upselling and Cross Selling

    upselling
    As we enter into the busiest shopping season of the year, I thought it might help merchants to think about the upselling and cross selling techniques their sales associates use.

    I think we have all become accustomed to upselling, and I understand the benefits and why it is so important - if done right. I've been in stores where I have spent a lot of time searching for a product, and understand the frustration that comes with not being able to find what you are looking for. Sales associates are there to help the customer find what they are looking for and make them aware of products that they may not know are available. If done right, this can improve and expedite the customer shopping experience. If done poorly, it can run a good customer out the door, never to return.

    According to business dictionary, upselling is "a sales strategy where the seller will provide opportunities to purchase related products or services, often for the sole purpose of making a larger sale".

    For example, I

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