Archive for the ‘Entrepreneur’ Category

Dr. Geri Puleo at TEDxSetonHillUniversity” on YouTube, or why I took my tent and ran away 3 years ago :)

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The Complaint Book

As I sat here this morning in my RV watching the hummingbirds six inches out my window, the sun shining, Edgar sleeping, I thought about my “old life”.

I kept a journal called the “Complaint Book”. The two things I did every morning were check my sales numbers from the day before and deal with Customer Complaints. I kept it separate from all my other paperwork and never carried it into a customer’s office, any meeting, it was a handwritten, stand alone, one of a kind living journal for my eyes only.

I believe complaints are the most important factor to happiness for yourself and a happy customer. You know a complaint… any sentence that starts with “This sucks” or your version thereof. Complaints are sacred in sales and life, writing them down gives you a good indicator of how your life, or sales, are going.

Along with customer complaints, I would write down my own daily complaints. When I found myself complaining enough about one certain thing – it was time for a change. If there were enough complaints to fill a book, you really got to look at your life…..

Customer complaints were usually easy to rectify. Some took a good explanation of the realities of supply and demand especially when a customer wanted a small supply of a paper that needed to be ordered by the big expensive case 🙂  I used to order in sample sheets for customers if they needed to do an order of business cards on a specialty sheet – I still hate business cards from a printers and paper suppliers point of view.

So this morning I thought about cleaning out my locker and finding the “Complaint Book” among my stored belongings. I left it at home when I started my journey, it was shredded, along with my other paperwork from xpedx and Clean Copy when the locker was emptied and I moved my entire life into the RV.

I no longer need a “Complaint Book”, I transformed my life into one where each day alive is certainly a good day on earth. Time to wake up Edgar, we are walking to Manzanita – about a 4 mile round trip, to drop off some mail at the post office and grab a nice coffee.

CathyImage

Anticipation

Driving up the Oregon Coast to visit my friend at Ft.Stevens, I pass Ecola State Park. I am really excited about my 3 month assignment as Park Host this summer.

Thinking about it and realizing that anticipation is one of the best times of life, living in the day, enjoying the thoughts of the future. Good planning is a big part of anticipation, you know it’s going to happen, when it’s going to happen and mostly how it’s going to happen, this gives you the freedom to think about what just might happen.

Mom and I went to Egypt several years ago, it took 6 months of planning and each day before the flight I had something to do to make sure the trip was unforgettable, the anticipation builds with planning and the excited feeling we get is sometimes lost in waiting for the event. Living in the moment and enjoying that excitement is what life is all about.

We live in a world of instant gratification, we need it right now. The thing about getting what you want, when you want it, is that you lose the anticipation.

How much sweeter does that award ice cream taste when you wait till Sunday and watch your calories the rest of the week? That A you get in school at the end of the year, you had to work and wait for it, well worth the time and energy spent. The applause at the end of a really good performance, planning, practice and the anticipated pay off, appreciation.

Edgar even enjoys anticipation, I set down a treat, make him wait patiently for it, he can hardly wait to eat that treat and knows waiting pays off.

So next time you have some big life event planned, or even a nice dinner out at the end of a hectic week, enjoy the anticipation, just don’t forget to plan.

Cathy

Maintenance

I was cleaning and doing a little maintenance on the RV today. We are moving from Ft. Stevens State Park near Astoria, OR to Nehalem Beach State Park near Manzanita, OR. Stopping at Skipanon Marine & RV in Warrenton on the way down to have the hot water heater repaired. Can I tell you how excited I am about having hot water!!!

Anyway, while spraying WD-40 on all the moving parts of the car towing equipment, I thought, if you maintain it, it will last forever. Then I weirded out.

That simple phrase “If you maintain it, it will last forever” applies to so many thing in our lives.

Your relationships – married people who have been together for years, and are still happy, say they take the time for each other. Relationships with customers, how many customers do you lose to price or competition that are really maintained? My guess is none.

Your body – anyone will tell you a few hours of exercise each week keeps you in better maintenance. How about brushing your teeth everyday, skincare, haircare, good food, and required medical exams all to better maintain the body.

Your car and stuff – wear and tear is inevitable, but you can change the oil, paint, clean – maintenance.

Your soul – that needs maintenance too, church, walking in the woods, volunteering at a homeless shelter or food bank, skiing down a mountain or climbing one, we all need to do things that make our souls soar.

Your kids – I don’t have any kids but I see all the time people spend maintaining their kids well being. Then when they have grand kids the maintenance is transferred through generations.

So much maintenance, so little time. We all have to make decisions on what is important enough for us to maintain. How much of our time we are willing to give to ourselves, our businesses, our stuff, our kids and our world. I’m making sure I put the important ones at the top of my list.

Cathy

Mission Statement

Working for large, small and medium size corporations I have learned each has their own mission statement. Most put people first, customers first, integrity first, then they go on to say something about how they treat their communities.

American Woman Promotions first mission is to make enough money to support itself, because truthfully the mission of any business is to be self-sustaining. Choosing only American made, high quality products for my customers is mission two. Treating the world responsibly, selecting companies, shipping methods and products that reflect human and environmental stewardship is mission three.

I always had to memorize any mission statements and quite frankly, can’t exactly remember one. Companies that truly reflect their missions are easy to spot, Southwest Airlines, Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream, Paul Newman products, Goodwill and the host of small businesses that support little league baseball, town parades and civic responsibilities all across America.

That being said, here is my first try, all feedback welcomed….

“American Woman Promotions is dedicated to providing its customers with high quality, American made promotional products that reflect each of their unique standings in their communities and the world.”

Cathy