If you grew up during the late 80s early 90s you no doubt recognize the words above as the lyric from that great philosopher Vanilla Ice from his hit “Ice Ice Baby”. On the surface, these lyrics seem rather unpretentious…unassuming and totally lack depth…right? While I wouldn’t always be the one to take business advice from Vanilla…let’s kick it one time…BOY!
TAKE NOTE: When YOU STOP, it allows you to get out of the rat race that you are in…where you’ve gotta answer that next phone call, return that email, create that project and focus on working ON your business instead of working IN your business. I read somewhere once that if you wake up one morning and REALLY IN YOUR HEART OF HEARTS have a poor attitude that day and feel that you need a break, that you should take it…regardless of your schedule. It’s your mind and body telling you you need time to recharge…do it…take the time to step away from the work and center yourself on things and come back invigorated the next day focused on the task at hand.
When was the last time you tried to step OUTSIDE of your business and take a good objective look at it? Have you invited a complete stranger (think new business associate from that network meeting you attended) to take a look at your business (where else but online) and see if everything makes sense to them? HINT: I’M HAPPY TO HELP YOU HERE – send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org :). Are there any things/pages/philosophies/packages or products that don’t seem intuitive? How can you make them better? When was the last time you took a look at your business model (stopped) and asked yourself if it was truly DELIVERING what it promised for your customers?
TAKE NOTE: Simple answer here. You simply ASK YOUR CUSTOMERS. Invite them into your office space or take them out for coffee or breakfast and ask them what their challenges are. Ask them if they could wave a magic wand and have one thing taken care of off of their “to-do” list…what would it be? What’s the service or product they would most like to see you offer? If they were the CEO of your company… what would they change? Ask these questions to a focus group of your customers (better yet as many as you can) and you may be surprised at the answers you get and it will definitely help you establish a course to keep evolving your business and navigating successfully in the years ahead.
Today’s society has changed. Our businesses MUST adapt if we are to be successful. As Jeff Jarvis wrote in the book “What Would Google Do?” “Owning pipelines, people, products, or even intellectual property is no longer the key to success. Openness is.” The days of CONTROLLING your content are GONE. Sure you can do EVERYTHING in your power to protect your image and ensure customer satisfaction but all it takes is a person with a keyboard and an agenda against you to bring all of that hard work, blood, sweat and tears crashing down in a negative tweet, Facebook post or review. So what to do? Handle it.
Reach out to your customer, figure out a solution together to their problem. Refund money if you can’t come to an agreement. The bottom line of today’s business is the customer is the one who makes the rules…not the corporation. Today’s NEW social media allows us access to stars and corporations and a platform in which to praise or vent in a way that was heretofore unavailable…and we are better for the process. Embrace the changes that are here and now and look to the future with how to improve. In other words…Stop, Collaborate and Listen.