The Impact of Lacking Self-Esteem on Business Professionals
Seniors start more businesses than people under the age of 30! I know, I was surprised, too. It may surprise you even more that the ones started by seniors have a greater chance of success than those started by the young. These two facts taken together should show you that you are never too old to start your own business, and should also suggest that there may be more opportunities for seniors looking to fund a new business.
Here then are 6 tips to help you get started:
1. Pick something you are passionate about. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon of a product or service that is supposed to be “the next big thing,” instead, pick something you are passionate about. A new business will take a lot of time if you do it right, and you want to spend that time doing something you love.
It is also true that if you are passionate about something and you know that area well, then that experience will be a big leg up. It is also a major reason why senior entrepreneurs are so successful.
2. Don’t take a big risk when funding the business: When you are older, you have less time to make up for financial mistakes. Because a startup is, of course, somewhat risky, one way to hedge against that risk is by being prudent where
So, for instance, don’t look to take out a second mortgage on your home to finance your venture, and you shouldn’t tap into your retirement account. Instead, consider these options:
- Talk to your state Department of Commerce and see what grants and loans may be available to senior entrepreneurs; you might be surprised.
- Also, consider crowd funding sites like Kickstarter. If you have a unique idea, getting friends, family and the public to fund it is a more preferable way to go.
3. Come up with a strategy and/or business plan: Even if your plan isn’t to become a major global corporation, you need to treat your business venture as a serious proposition. This means that you need to sit and come up with a plan and a strategy. Your business plan doesn’t need to be elaborate, but you do need to have a strategy for how you plan on getting from A to B to C.
4. Learn to love the Internet and social media. Like it or not, the internet and social media networks have become the place for word of mouth marketing and business promotion. Forget placing ads in print magazines or making flyers, because that is yesterday’s news. You will get a far better response using, for instance, a Google or Facebook ad. So, take some courses online or at your local community college, and research just what is available to you in internet marketing.
5. Embrace the mobile revolution. I was recently at an Internet marketing event and they said that 60% of all email is now read on a mobile device. Similarly, almost half of all searches now are done on a mobile device. Whatever business you start must be searchable and findable by a mobile device.
Mobile is not only the future, it’s also the present.
6. Become a lifelong learner. One of my favorite business authors (Barbara Winter, author of Making a Living Without a Job), says that one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur is that you have to become a lifelong learner. If you develop the habit of always learning about business and what is coming down the pike, you will be well prepared to serve your customers.
The bottom line is that as a senior, you have valuable experience that translates well into the world of entrepreneurship. Use it wisely.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world’s leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss.
Stepping Into A New Way For Marketing
Do it Right.
I receive postcards all the time. The other day I received a postcard trying to sell me a copy machine. It had tiny, tiny lettering slathered all over the front and a large portion of the back of the card.
It was extremely hard to read, so hard in fact that I threw it away.
Several days later I received a postcard with 32 words on it telling me that I could get complete information on unrestricted long distance telephone service for 5.5 cents a minute with no additional monthly fee by calling the 800 number on the card.
I did call. I got the information, had my questions answered and ordered my long distance service changed.
The company who offered me the long distance service was using a time tested 2 step selling process:
Step 1. Generate a lead – Get me to call their 800 number.
Step 2. Provide the requested information – Provided to me on the phone by one of their sales representatives, who was able to answer my questions and make me feel confident that I could save quite a bit of money on my long distance bill and that the service would be as good or better.
What’s So Good About 2 Steps?
It is much easier to create interest (a lead) than it is to get a person through an entire buying process (a sale).
You aren’t getting the prospect or existing customer to part with any money just yet.
You can use postcards to inexpensively promote to your target prospects and customers and generate leads (inquiries about your products and services) to then be followed up on and converted to sales.
This 2 step process also helps you to create a list of people who were interested enough in what you offered to contact you.
You can then recontact the one’s who you didn’t complete a sale with when they first inquired, preferably until they do buy from you.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to get the information you will need to recontact the people who responded to your postcard offering.
Repetitive follow-ups with the people who contacted you will result in increased sales. Make it a company policy to follow up with those people who contacted you about your products and services.
The Most Effective Use of Postcards:
The purpose of your postcard’s message is to generate a sufficient level of interest in the mind of your prospect to get him/her to contact you to ask you about your offer.
You are generating interest, not collecting their money (not yet anyway). That is what the 2 step marketing process is about. Generating interested prospects and customers who contact you for more information.
Your message needs 3 parts to be most effective:
1. A clear statement of the biggest benefit of your product or service (in the long distance example, it was cost savings).
2. A good reason for them to contact you NOW.
3. A simple, easy way for them to respond (an 800 number for example).
Your message should be short and to the point. Short messages on postcards produce more leads than long ones.
Call 800-555-1212 for Your Copy of Our Free Report:
What 99% of Business Owners Don’t Know and Will Never Find Out About Using Postcards to Explode Their Profits
Offer ends 5-5-01 (Print a date 3 weeks from your mailing date to create some urgency)
Lots of people will respond to find out what they might not know. Don’t forget, they responded, which is least some interest in the information you have created a curiosity about.
This method works and is sure to produce a large number of inquiries if sent to your proper market.
This 2 Step Marketing Process Works.
Use the tips you have read here to create your next postcard’s message and see what happens.
You will generate a bunch of leads from people who are truly interested in your products and services.
Overcoming Perfectionism in Your Small Business
Perfectionism can get in the way of building or marketing a successful business. It can prevent us from moving ahead quickly or from taking advantage of business opportunities. We set ourselves up with unrealistic expectations or goals, which can be damaging to us personally or professionally. Striving for perfection can damage our self-esteem because we never feel like we are good enough. Instead, consider adopting an attitude of striving for excellence. Look at failure as just another teacher. Let’s explore how being less than perfect can move you ahead in your business!
1. Get into action. One of the best ways to overcome perfectionism is to get into action and do something. In the case of your marketing, put yourself out there. Show the world who you are through your website, business cards, brochures, or through giving a speech. Don’t wait until you get all of these things perfected. The truth is that they never will be. Everything you do is a work in progress. Do something now. Get feedback, and then make corrections as you move forward.
2. Say “no” to unreasonably high demands. We often set high standards of performance for ourselves that would be difficult, if not impossible, to meet even under the best of circumstances. Learn how to say “no” to yourself. We always set much higher standards for ourselves than anyone else would and in the big picture, it really means nothing. You would be surprised at how satisfied most people would be with average performance on your part. I’m not saying that you should sacrifice quality in what you do, but what you’ll incrementally gain for large expenditures of your personal energy is certainly not productive. Trying to be perfect in your marketing will only delay getting your message out to those who need to hear it most.
3. Set realistic goals. Unreasonably high demands go hand in hand with setting unrealistic goals. You cannot expect to do everything at once or even at the same level of quality. Creating a plan of what needs to be done in your business is a top priority. For each major project or item that you need to accomplish, break it down into a number of goals that are easily doable. A goal of creating your website can be daunting. However, breaking it into a number of other goals including drafting a plan for your site, obtaining your domain name, and interviewing three web developers makes it much easier to accomplish.
4. Find support. Find others who will support you in the things you are doing. You might consider asking friends, colleagues, or family members to give their sign-off of approval on some of the projects that you are working on. While you might not think that something is perfect enough, the people on your support team can provide you with much a much less biased opinion. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we are doing, we cannot see that it is perfect just as it is. Recruit a supportive team to help you determine when enough is enough.
5. Perfect as it is. Consider adopting a mindset that whatever you do is the right thing to do and the best thing to do. This powerful attitude can make all the difference in creating a successful business. Not only will potential clients find your sense of personal strength attractive, but you will also have more confidence to make things happen and to make them happen quickly. You’ll take more risks, ask more confidently for business, and work more effectively at everything you do.
6. Failure is my friend. Redefine how you look at failure. Failure is a natural part of life and will inevitably impact your business to varying degrees. Failure is not the end of anything, nor does it mean that you are incompetent. Realize that failure is a teacher and that it can help you innovate in your business. It provides you with valuable information that you’re doing something or going in a direction that isn’t providing the results that you want. The sooner you understand that, the sooner you can re-orient yourself in another direction, which can lead to your success.
7. Reframe your attitudes. Perfection is defined as freedom from fault or defect, or the quality or state of being saintly. What does it mean to you? The words we use to describe what we do or who we are, make a tremendous difference in the success we achieve. How would you define perfection for yourself? What about adopting an attitude that you are perfect the way you are? That you are enough. Write down what perfection means to you and post it in a place where you can read it daily.
8. Make lemons out of lemonade. You might be surprised that when you’re not trying to be perfect, you may actually find the perfect opportunity. For example, you might not be dressed appropriately for a networking event and you don’t feel like you’re “perfect enough” to talk to anyone. But, you take the opportunity to chat with someone standing next to the hors d’oeuvre table and the next thing you know you’ve created a potential for new business. Opportunities are everywhere. In fact, take a look at the last few things you did which you didn’t think were perfect or which didn’t meet your high standards. What were the results of what you did? What other exciting things blossomed as a result?
9. Making it happen is more important than perfection. Doing things, putting yourself into action, telling people about what you can do for them…all of these things are much more important than spending another hour or another dollar trying to make something perfect in hopes that it will buy you some increased level of success. People aren’t attracted to perfection, they’re attracted to people that make things happen. If you’re at the office trying to perfect anything in your business, the trade-off is that you aren’t somewhere where you can be making valuable business contacts. It is important to surround yourself with people who like to take action. Not only will they motivate you to do the same, but you’ll also be able to witness, firsthand, the results they are having by getting out there.
10. Be kind to yourself. Perfectionists often feel down on themselves for not achieving…well, perfection. Perfection is an ideal, not a reality; it is humanely impossible to achieve. Learn how to forgive yourself when you do something you don’t think is good enough or perfect. Love yourself for being you and know that everything you do in your business possesses your personal spin. Potential clients won’t be attracted to you because of your business card or website. They will be attracted to you because of who you are.
Ethics Leadership in Business Development
In the 25 + years of working with some of the best people in Business Development within the power generation industry, we have found some unique characteristics that separate these individuals from the rest. It doesn’t seem to matter what organization they work for, or the services, the client base or the economic climate. We find that these individuals are in fact the top 3% of the professionals in their field. In addition to learning to think as CEO’s, Presidents, entrepreneurial leaders of Business Development units, we’ve discovered they have acquired the behavioral characteristics of a leader. They have learned how to set strategic and operational objectives in putting together plans, how to be visionaries and see opportunities for their organizations that other individuals may miss, and in the role of Business Development, they have mastered the 12 Core Competencies, a benchmark to measure leaders.
One of the most compelling definitions of a leader is an individual whose mere presence inspires the desire to follow. When asked if leaders are born or bred, the general consensus is that leadership can be taught. While few of us have had the opportunity to be formally trained or mentored in leadership, all of us are called to be a leader at different times and circumstances in our lives. Leadership is first about who you are as an individual, not what you do, and the term character best describes the core characteristic of a leader. It is this part of an individual that inspires other to follow, so we see character as the summation of an individual’s principles and values, core beliefs by which one anchors and measures their behavior in all roles in life. Principles and values of a positive leader include loyalty, respect, integrity, courage, fairness, honesty, duty, honor and commitment.
If character is the summation of our principles and values, then ethics is the application of them. To understand more about character development, we can reach back nearly 2500 years to the writings of Aristotle in Nicomachean Ethics. Aristotle taught that moral virtue is acquired by practice. Ethics, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue that comes about as a result of habit. Ethics has as its root ethike, formed by the slight variation of the word ethos (habit). Aristotle explained that moral virtues do not arise in us by nature; we must accept them, embrace them and perfect them by habit. Leadership training emphasizes that understanding leader values and attributes is only the first step in development. A leader must also embrace values and practice attributes, living them until they become a habit.
In the Business Development role, success requires a fusion of who we are as an individual, along with our principles, values, ethics and their application. It’s a unique combination of what we know, how we apply it and what we do.
Bill Scheessele is CEO/Founder of MBDi, a Business Development consultancy based in Charlotte, North Carolina. For the past 27 years, MBDi has assisted client firms in leveraging their high level expertise into bottom line business. Information on the company and the MBDi Business Development Process™ access: www.mbdi.com.
6 Great Apps for Small Businesses
The rise of mobile has certainly changed the face of business as we know it, and mostly for the better. Now that pretty much everyone has a smartphone, it is important that those phones are equipped with the right tools to keep up with the hectic life of a business professional. Having to put something off until you can get back to the office or hotel room could cost time, money, and even sales. That makes having everything you need in one mobile package a smart choice.
Take a look at these five apps that will add functionality to your phone – and life – with ease:
Audio Memos is a great app that lets you record audio quickly and easily, whether you’re leaving yourself a reminder or recording a meeting or lecture.Lifehacker called it “the best voice recording app,” and it’s easy to see why – it’s simple, easy to use, and incredibly useful.
The app can even be set to start recording when it hears voices, so you can avoid long silences at the beginning of your recordings. Use the various extensions to trim your recordings, compress them for email, and upload everything to Dropbox, Box, Evernote, Google Drive, or simply send messages via email.
What do you do with those 20 or 50-odd, assorted business cards you’ve collected after you leave the conference? Most of us do a quick sort, and even then, the ones we keep often just get tucked away. Is there a better way to organize them? You bet.
With CardMunch, you just snap a picture of a business card and the app does the rest. It automatically converts the text on the business card into an address book contact using your mobile phone’s contact system. Snap a picture, ditch the card. Additionally, since CardMunch is owned by LinkedIn, you can take that contact information and add the person as a connection on LinkedIn, making it easy to view even more info through their profile right away.
MightyMeeting is a powerful tool that ensures you are never unprepared for a meeting. You can:
- Store PowerPoint presentations and PDF files and share them any way you want to.
- Set up online meetings that anyone can connect to using their phone, tablet, or computer.
- Download documents to your device before you head out to a spot where you know that you are going to be without an internet connection, and use Nearcast to share them over Bluetooth between any iOS devices in the room.
- You can even create an interactive whiteboard that everyone can use to share ideas.
I travel a lot, giving speeches and what not, and TripIt is my go-to travel app. Here’s how it works: with each travel reservation you make – car rental, flight, hotel, etc– you simply forward the confirmation to TripIt and the site combines them all and sends you back a master calendar/confirmation/itinerary. The elegant itinerary then syncs with Apple and Google Calendars. It also contains weather info for where you are going, as well as maps and directions for each stop on your travels. TripIt Pro adds real-time flight information, a flight finder, and more to an already robust app.
This is another of my favorite business apps. Hightail is a great way to share large files that might otherwise be practically impossible to send. The app lets you send files up to 2GB instantly from your computer or mobile device, and store an unlimited amount of files online. Such large attachments usually upset regular email servers.
At Hightail.com (formerly YouSendIt), you can see who has downloaded your files, and even control who can and can’t make changes to those files. Finally, you can also sign documents through Hightail and return them immediately, making sure that contracts, mocks, and other documents take as little time as possible to get approved.
These apps help make your phone or tablet the only device you need to get everything done. Do you have an app you can’t live without? Share it with us.
More apps for business http://www.businessinsider.com/50-best-business-apps-2013-8?op=1
How To Improve The Management of Your Business
All companies have business processes that can be improved. Most companies can benefit from automation or further automation of solutions.
Improving Management of Your Business
Improving business processes is all about a work flow plan, often graphic, and implementation of automating and organizing work processes. It is also a way of defining software architectures and applications. Business process solutions help an enterprise monitor human and automated processes. It can also serve as an enterprise application integration (EAI) tool. Business process management solutions help you identify areas of your business that can be automated and used to apply business rules and guidelines. In practical terms, it acts like a virtual machine that executes process models rather than software code.
Business process solutions take business data and determine how the information is used to perform a task. By creating an overview, a business manager can plan and improve an existing business process. Some solutions also send data through a test set of tasks to ensure that a business process is being followed. These solutions permit a business manager to visually describe, control and trail the flow of a work process. Process solutions generally involve computer systems and software to automate a process.
Technologies used to implement process management solutions include work flow charts, BP-XML languages, ERP (Enterprise Resource Management), software development and EAI (Enterprise Application Integration). ERP is a set of applications that can cover financials, manufacturing, human resources and back-office business administration utilities of an enterprise. It is a business management system that integrates all components of the business as well as planning. On the other hand, EAI software operates as a center that interprets data and messages between different applications.
Improving and automating business processes is the path to gaining huge productivity. These management solutions monitor business presentation by defining a series of tasks that must be performed to attain a defined strategic goal. There are three obligatory requirements – flexibility, reliability and security.
A good solution must help in continuous process enhancement, but managing the huge amount of these processes becomes more and more difficult as organizations become highly complex. Process management solutions give you the capability to satisfy and retain your customers and also maximize your joint venture returns with other businesses.
Remember that business processes define your business, and they can also present your organization with a competitive benefit. If you can make your processes efficient, you will reap better customer relations and profits.
Networking Your Business Locally
Networking Your Business Locally. Owning your own business of any type is going to require some amount of networking. Networking is a method of building awareness of your business, among people who may be likely at one time or another to use your products, your services or to refer someone else to your business. Networking is all about getting to know other people, and locally your best bet in finding additional network contacts is going to be with other business owners.
You can find many types of networking opportunities around you. Every club and every association that you belong too is going to be a part of your network. From there, every person you come into contact with and every person you talk with is going to be part of your network. Networking Your Business Locally
Make a lasting impression
You can make a lasting impression on the people that you meet by talking about what you know best, and by talking about topics that are vital to your business. If you are not sure about a topic that is being approached during a conversation, ask questions. This will show you are part of the conversation and that you still want to know more. Just listening is going to keep you out of the conversation and will not make a lasting impression of you on any one.
Make your voice known
Join local chambers of commerce; join local men and women’s associations. Join the local PTA, the sports boards, and join clubs that interest you. If you don’t find a club locally that does interest you, create one and build your local network from that point. The more people that you can put yourself into contact with is going to increase awareness of yourself, of your business and what you have to offer. Even if you are selling online, you have to be proud of what you are doing, and talk about it as often as possible to build a network of people that will call on you when they need your products or services.
Once you have built a good network it is important that you maintain and set goals for yourself. As you have set goals, you need to keep them. This means, that if you strive to meet one new person a week, or to make it a point to call one person you know each week that is not a current customer, you are going to increase your business. Think about this, for every five calls you make, and only one turns into a sale, that is one more sale than what you had. Increase exposure for your business, and use this for your personal success. Networking Your Business Locally
Ensure A Rewarding Experience When Hiring Others
Hiring an employee can be a big step for many small business owners. It means the end of doing EVERYTHING yourself and passing off some of the work!
In order to make the experience rewarding for both you and your employees there are a few things that every boss and leader should do…
1) Reward people for a job well done. Its frustrating working for someone who enjoys all the financial rewards of the efforts put forth by the entire team, especially if they don’t recognize what everyone has accomplished and contributed.
It doesn’t take much to acknowledge the effort of your staff. It makes a HUGE difference in the working atmosphere when you take a few moments to acknowledge your team. People like to know that they’ve done a good job.
2) Always provide a balance between positive and negative comments. Your job as a leader is to recognize the talents of those around you and feed them with the motivation and positive energy to take YOUR ideas to entirely new levels. Help them serve you better by building up their confidence… not tearing it down.
3) Step up and accept responsibility for your projects. At the end of the day if things don’t go according to plan, in my opinion, the responsibility falls onto the leader’s shoulders. Stand up and accept the responsibility should anything ever go wrong.
If your staff always bear the burden of projects gone bad, it will drag people down and destroy your working environment. Start contributing to the emotional bank account of those around you.
If you acknowledge the behavior you want to see more of, you’ll start seeing more of it. Be positive and accept some responsibility when things don’t go according to plan.
4) When you have good people it’s your responsibility as a leader to hold on to them. People with talent will take your company to entirely new levels but if they keep leaving, the growth of your company will be stinted.
People with skills know that they have options. Hanging the carrot of a potential big pay day will only work for a certain period of time. After a while it wears off and they start looking elsewhere. The last thing you want is for them to end up with your competition.
So the moral of the story is find good people, train them, treat them well, and your business will take off.
Coaching In Everyday Life
Be the change you want to see occur in the world around you. We can’t make other people be more considerate, helpful, honest, etc., but if everyone were to work on themselves and develop these attributes, our world would be a better place.
Don’t be judgmental. Look for and recognize the good in yourself and in others. We are all capable of so-called “good” and “bad” behaviors and we all have our “good” and “off” days. We are all unique and it is wonderful that we are different and not all the same – in our appearance, our thoughts, our opinions, our likes and dislikes. Being different is not threatening, it is not “bad”, it is just “different”. Embrace the differences and be happy for the variety. Likewise, forget the concepts of “right” and “wrong”. People are not good or bad or right or wrong; they just are. If you were in “their shoes” maybe you would act differently, or maybe not. Being judgmental wastes time and cuts you off from opportunities and meaningful relationships – because you are not perfect either, and your judgment might be worse than the person’s you are judging!
Respect. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your rights are the only ones that count. Don’t ignore the other person’s rights. Our fundamental right is to be respected. Being wealthy does not make a person more deserving of respect and neither does a high-flying career with a fancy title. Respect is not about material issues or where one sits on the social ladder. Respect is acknowledging another human being’s dignity and treating them how you wish to be treated yourself. We all came on to this earth equal and we’re all checking out as equals. What happens in between is just a series of different life experiences. The poor man who lives in a slum, who cares for strangers, volunteers assistance without expecting anything in return and lives a clean, honest life is more deserving of respect than a wealthy businessman who dresses in fine clothes, lives in a huge mansion, and treats everyone like pond amoeba, cheats on his wife, swindles his shareholders and has forgotten how to tell the truth.
Be a Good Listener. How often do you really listen to other people? How often do you plan what you are going to say next while they are talking, or allow your mind to drift off onto something else instead of concentrating on their every word? It takes practice to be a good listener, but in being one, you are showing respect and in a position to better comprehend the real message being given to you. You avoid misunderstandings and missed instructions. Furthermore, the other person will appreciate your attention and return the courtesy.
Be interested – not interesting. This goes hand in hand with being a good listener. People love to talk about themselves and will delight in the opportunity to do so, so ensure you ask questions and take an interest in what they are telling you. Don’t worry about them hogging the limelight – you can have your turn during the conversation. Have you ever met someone who only talks about themselves? Count the number of times you use “I” in your conversations. Judging, arguing points, interrupting the conversation, and using “I” a lot are sure signs you need to review your communication skills.
Respond from Your Heart. We tend to respond to others using our head, not our heart. We formulate stories about us, we defend our ego, or we judge other people or what they have said. If we respond from our heart, we can respond with understanding and a sense of connection. Find something good to say about people and to people. Build people “up” – don’t knock them down. Go with your gut instincts.
Be truthful. There is a good reason for the saying “honesty is the best policy.” Nothing good ever comes from lies, and there is a difference between being diplomatic and telling an outright lie. Nobody trusts a liar. If you’ve made a mistake, well, welcome to the human race! You don’t have to lie to cover it up. You don’t have to tell your truth “brutally”, there are gentle and tactful ways of delivering truths and you should think carefully before you speak. But don’t try to be deceitful because it has a habit of coming back to haunt you, and in those situations you are worse off than if you had just come clean in the first place, as uncomfortable as that may seem at the time.
Be helpful. When you need a helping hand, don’t you just love the person who comes up and offers that to you? Wouldn’t you love the opportunity to repay them? You can be that person that others look to respectfully with gratitude in their hearts, who will, one day, repay the gesture. What comes around, goes around. If you want people to be helpful to you, you must be helpful to others. It doesn’t matter whether this is assisting your boss with a special project you can see he needs help with, or a co-worker who is struggling with a large workload, or an elderly neighbor struggling up the stairs with her arms full. People do remember kindness.
Maintain Your Integrity and Your Dignity. People with their integrity intact are easier to deal with in work or personal situations. They know where they stand and you know where you stand with them. You will feel better about yourself when you set your standards and stand by them and you will attract those who respect your standards and who have standards of their own. Being a doormat is disrespectful to yourself and to the person ‘walking all over you’. It does not allow them to grow and learn to do something for themselves. Learn to say no gracefully. You have as much right as everyone else on the planet to have your own opinion and your own way of doing things, and reminding you of point (1) above, nobody has the right to make you feel ‘bad’ if you think, feel or dress differently. Remember, “to thine own self be true.”
Go the Extra Mile. I mean this in a couple of ways. First, whether you are either asked to do something, or you are offering to do something, remember that if something is worth doing in the first place, then it is worth doing well. And while you are at it, what little touches can you offer to improve it? For example, who would you rather go to for your shoeshine… Mr. A does a wonderful buff and polish and is timely and not too expensive. Mr. B also does a wonderful buff and polish, he is also timely and not expensive, but he is also cheerful and interested in you and whistles while he works, so after your polish, you go on your way feeling on top of the world! Mr. B just went the extra mile for you. He didn’t just polish your shoes, he lifted your spirits and made you feel good. If you are offering a co-worker assistance with copying some documents, go the extra mile and ask if she needs a hand stapling them or collating them. Going the extra mile need not involve a large expense of time, energy or money, but it’s value to the recipient is often priceless, and one day, it will be reciprocated.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say. Neither beat around the bush being evasive, nor make promises you can’t keep. On the other hand, if you say you are going to do something, do it. Be known as a reliable person. Honor your promises and agreements wherever possible – this stems back to integrity. Prepare to be flexible if need be, but know that you don’t have to bend over so far backwards that your back snaps. Being assertive and being aggressive are two entirely different things, and you do not need aggression to be assertive. In fact, you are better off without the aggression! If you are wishy-washy and allow people or circumstances to be unconcerned for your position, you will develop that reputation and find more and more people willing to walk all over you and more situations in which it occurs. Being like this does not prove you are valuable to anybody – it just means you are a ‘pushover’.