Friday, May 15, 2009

Blog has been moved to a new Platform

Dear Friends,

Thanks for visiting my blog. I made the decision to move to a hosted blog and you can now find me at I hope those of you who currently follow me will continue to do so and look forward to your questions and comments there as well.


Sunday, April 19, 2009

How to Organize Letters with Negative Messages to Your Clients and Customers

It may not be possible to make your client or customer happy with the news you have to convey, but you may be able to structure your message to create a positive feeling and maintain goodwill. The following 3 points can help with this:

1. Appeal to your customer’s ability to reason. When you have a reason that readers will understand and accept, provide that reason before giving the negative information.

2. Remember that one of your goals when conveying negative messages is to reduce future correspondence on the same subject; therefore it’s wise to insure that you clearly present the negative information just once.

3. If a compromise or alternative is available go ahead and present it then end on a positive note, with a forward-looking statement.

Methods of Conveying Negative Messages to Your Clients and Customers

Most people do not like changes and do not react or respond well to changes. It disturbs the natural order or flow of their lives. It gives them one more new thing to absorb and adjust to.

Negative messages may be conveyed through an e-mail, a letter sent through the 'snail mail', or more informally in a memorandum. While a follow-up call is a great idea, the original message should not be conveyed on the telephone. For one thing you want to eliminate any misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the message. Your goal should also be to reduce the need for future correspondence on the subject.

You may also want to convey negative messages in written form so that you can phrase your words in a way that the reader can be led to the conclusion that your decision was unavoidable, but fair and reasonable. Further, if they were in your shoes, they would have done the same thing.

Please feel free to add your comment and share how you handle negative messages to your clients and customers. We love to keep the conversation going.

***Next we'll consider how to organize negative letters.***

Friday, April 17, 2009

3 Reasons for Communicating Negative Messages to Customers

Most very small business owners, entrepreneurs and solo-professionals cringe at the thought of approaching clients or customers with negative information. Invariably we know that regardless of how much we try to cushion the negative information between positive messages, our clients or customers are going to be disappointed or angry.

We may need to convey negative messages for the following reasons:

(i) Announcement of policy changes that may not be to the benefit of the client or customer.
(ii) Give notice of a product or service price increase.
(iii) Since in many cases we do not make the product we sell, it may become necessary to advise of a product recall.

A bonus reason is delivering any information that the client or customer may perceive as being intrusive or even insulting.

What methods can be used to convey these negative messages? We’ll consider those in my next post.

Please leave your comments. We love to keep the conversation going.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Are You Making the Most of Your Time Everyday?

Today I read a post that I'd like to share with my readers because we often hear of the importance of Time Management. I believe that it really should be Self-Management. When we know what our goals are we will take the steps to achieve those goals, including using our time wisely to accomplish daily tasks.

The article is "Planning Your Time Just Right" at Please read and share your thoughts on what works best for you. What strategies do you find most effective to get the most of your day?

I am still working on developing the mindset not to open e-mails first thing in the mornings as an hour can slip by just reading e-mails, attachments and links. I have to get over the thought that there could be something urgent that I need to respond to and so I check. Does anyone else have this challenge?

Sunday, April 5, 2009

3 Ways That Solo Entrepreneurs and Home-Based Business Owners Can Turn Their Fear Factor into Fun Factor

As Solo Entrepreneurs, Small Business Owners, Direct Sellers we are often affected and impacted by many negative forces outside of our control and these can cause F.E.A.R! According to the Merriam-Webster's online dictionary, fear is defined as dread, terror, trepidation; emotions that react to stimulus, external or internal. The definition I'd like to focus on is False Evidence Appearing Real.

I believe that because we are natural nurturers, women more than men are anxious to see that everything follows a specific path; the slightest deviation from that path causes us intense anxiety and result in fear lurking its ugly head. In our minds we see gloom and doom when the reality is that it may just be a temporary setback. Could injecting more humor into our businesses dilute the fear factor? Could we use humor to turn fear factor into fun factor?

1) "I'm having a hard time finding customers" - Are you prejudging people you meet? You never know who your next customer or team member may be. The rules of Marketing, even for offline businesses have changed, so make it your goal to stay informed and use methods to attract the type of people you want. Be happy and positive! There's enough negativity to go around and people want to be around positive people.

2) "I don't know anyone" - Start making a list of the people you already know and pull out all those business cards you've been collecting for the past several months. Give the people you're already acquainted with a call and see if they would like to try one of your new products or line of service they've not tried. I would suggest that you work on building a relationship with those persons you've never spoken with before you offer them your product or service. When you make your phone calls, have a smile in your voice, be upbeat without sounding fake and keep it short. Convey urgency! When you sound positive and upbeat, it arouses curiosity.

3) "I'm tired of calling my same list of customers" - Then don't call! Send them an ezine/newsletter with short interesting articles. Too challenging right now? Send a postcard to say you're thinking of them with one or two quick tips based on your niche. Your customers will know you're thinking of them and because you stay in touch with them, you'll be the person they call when they need something in your product or service line.

There are many other ways to turn your for fear factor into fun factor but you get the idea. Don't let false evidence rob you of your joy in running your own business; instead, work on the things you can control and put some fun into your business.

Please share some ideas of what you do when for any number of reasons fear starts to creep into your thoughts and how you keep the "fun" in your business.

Monday, March 30, 2009

5 Reasons for Stress in Your Home-Based Business

A growing number of men are pursuing successful businesses from home; however, it would appear that the majority of home-based businesses are managed by women. Many of these women are mothers, especially of small children; wives; caregivers for elderly parent/s; involved in social and volunteer activities, and the list goes on. 'These are normal activities for many people,' you may say. True, but these same responsibilities can create tremendous stress for solo-professionals working from home.

Maintain a proper balance between personal and professional life

a) Location: Your office building is your home. Your office may be a desk and chair in an already occupied room. Or you may have a room designated as your office. Can you make and receive phone calls without interruption or background noise? At the start of your day, do you dress as if you were expecting a client in your home, or as if you were leaving for a job outside the home? Nothing excessive, but doing whatever is necessary to make you personally feel you're going to YOUR office to work?

b) Setting Parameters: One of the reasons many mothers with small children choose to work from home is the desire and preference to raise their children themselves while others with older children desire to home-school their children. Does your family understand that once you are at your desk you should not be disturbed unless it's very important? Do they understand that tools (pens, pencils, notebooks, etc.) on your desk are for business purposes only so that you don't waste your time finding them when you need them?

c) Setting a Schedule: A basic schedule is essential. Where babies and very small children are involved it can be challenging to adhere to that schedule; that's a concept that they have not grasped yet but can be trained as they get older. You, though, need to know what your goals are on a given day because without a plan the day goes by and you've accomplished very little in your business. It's been said that if you fail to set goals, you'll reach them every time.

d) Managing yourself not just your time: A proper diet and exercise are essential to function properly in any situation. Many solo-professionals I've spoken with find this a challenge, and I often do as well. I'll get so caught up in what I'm doing that I forget to eat, which leads to headaches. Unfortunately, this will only add to your stress level and may result in health issues. Exercise engenders a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction and can create a sense of well-being that allows you to find humor even in stressful situations.

e) Isolation: Many people love working alone. Others hate it! They miss the rapport with co-workers, the watercooler chit-chats and jokes, and face-to-face interactions with people. Depending on the type of business you're pursuing, you may not have regular interaction with people. Regardless of how much we love our children, most of us crave adult coversation. If you work with clients/customers mainly on the telephone, why not arrange to meet them in person from time to time? If there are networking events in your area, why not make arrangements so you can attend one or two each month?

Working from home does not mean you have to control every situation instead learn the art of delegation. Share responsibilities with other family members. You may also have to learn to say 'no' especially when family members and relatives fail to respect your time or appreciate that you have a business to run. Do not rely only on just yourself and maintain a sense of humor.

I would love to hear what you've found works best for you. How do you cope with stress as a work-at-home professional? Please share your thoughts in the Comments.