Cherish Your Customers November 2008

Last month, I outlined some steps for adjusting your attitude in the middle of this economic roller coaster ride. Did you take my advice? Have you spent some time focusing on what is really important?
Vote tomorrow!
If you didn't manage to get to an early voting location, please don't forget to go tomorrow. If you live in Bexar County and don't know where to go, visit this site.

If you want to see how many people voted early, check out this page.

As I said, last month, vote your issues and/or vote your pocketbook. Just vote. Please.

Adjust your Attitude
"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." --Winston Churchill

Okay, okay, I'll admit it. Even this Pollyanna has to accept the fact that things are slow. I think things will be a lot better after the election is over, no matter who wins. The uncertainty of the outcome is enough to make everyone a little hesitant to spend money on anything but the necessities. I consider employee training to be a necessity, but I recognize that some of my potential customers may not be on the same page. (smile) So what do I do now?

Choosing optimism
I could be a pessimist. I could decide that the situation won't get any better until after the first of the year. After all, my business normally slows down a bit during the holiday season. Or I could be an optimist, by Churchill's explanation. I'd rather be an optimist because it makes me happier. I like being happy.

So what's my opportunity? This is a great time to solidify relationships with existing customers. I can make sure my database has up-to-date contact information, including mailing addresses. I can send thank you or holiday cards or notes to my current customers, letting them know how much I appreciate their business. I can spend a little time figuring out what my customers' needs are and how I can meet those needs in 2009.

If it's not working...
This is also an opportune time to decide what's working and what isn't. One of my favorite authors, Douglas Adams, wrote, "A learning experience is one of those things that says, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.' " When business has slowed down a bit, you have a chance to decide which of those customer service activities are good uses of your resources, and which aren't. If you spent time training your staff, has it helped? If you put into place a customer recognition program, have you had less attrition? Did you spend your time and your advertising dollars attracting new customers? Are you seeing positive results?

The most important thing is to keep moving in a direction that helps your customers and lets them know they are important and valuable to you. They are, after all, what keeps you in business. Remember that it is always more cost-effective to hang onto existing customers than it is to find and convince new ones.

So if you are experiencing a slow-down right now, put the time to good use. In fact, I think I'll take my own advice and start writing some thank you notes now.

Happy Election Day! Don't forget to vote!

puzzle light
Last month, I asked how Vice-Presidents were originally chosen. The first correct response came from Jayme Hopkins who knew that the electoral college chose the candidate with the second highest number of votes as the Vice-President. Wouldn't that be interesting this year? Jayme wins a $25 gift certificate.

This month, it's a bit of Thanksgiving trivia. What President declared the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving? And here's a bonus question to break any ties. Who led the effort to create this National Day of Thanksgiving? The first person to send in the correct answer will win $25 of delicious food at Nicavid's. just in time to enjoy the holidays.

creativity lock
Crystallizations Training
Do you think you aren't creative? Or have your creative muscles lost some of their flexibility? Learn how to tap into the creative energy that we all have by silencing your inner critic. I'll share anecdotes and exercises to help you discover the power you may not even know you have.

My next open to the public session, Unlocking your Creativity on Thursday, November 13, from 10:00 AM to 11:30. Learn how to boost your creative ability.

Just $30 gets you a seat and handouts. (Group discounts are available.) You can send the check to Crystal Communications at the address below or call to arrange credit card payment through PayPal. Space is limited so RSVP now . Please share with anyone you know who may be interested. I hope to see you next week!

SMWBVO conference
Join Us at the Biggest Small Business Event
The 8th Annual Small, Minority,Women and Veteran Business Owners Conference will be held Wednesday, December 10 at the Freeman Coliseum, 3201 E. Houston St. You can register here.

If you haven't attended this event before, you will be surprised at the opportunities. Other trade show floors are filled with people who want to sell to you. The floor of the Coliseum will be packed with government agencies and corporations who want to purchase goods and services from you. Check this link for a list of last year's exhibitors.

If you need exposure in front of thousands of small business owners, consider volunteering. It's a great opportunity to bring your whole team to join this amazing small business event. Contact me for details.

Remember, Wednesday, December 10, from 7 AM to 4 PM! Free parking, free breakfast, free lunch, free admission. Oh, and amazing opportunities! Join us!

Upcoming Events
Election Day Tue, 11/4, 7 AM More info...
Greater Chamber Roundtable I'm MC Thu, 11/6, 7 AM More info...
Unlocking Your Creativity Thu, 11/13, 10 AM More info...
8th Annual Small Business Conference Wed, 12/10, 7 AM More info...
Find the opportunities!
Thanks for reading. Feedback is always appreciated!
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Crystal Communications
Crystal Darby
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