Monday, July 29, 2019

Small Business

Definition of small business:
A privately-owned and operated business with relatively small turnover and staff numbers, typically seen as constituting part of a specific commercial or economic sector. Typically, a small business employs fewer than 100 workers and has revenues of less than $25 million. 

Running a small business can have its challenges, and sometimes the biggest challenges are how we are treated by other businesses.

Recently we have been trying to set up a couple of new partnerships, and both of them seem to have their challenges.  I understand that there are some big businesses, but nowadays, most businesses are small businesses, and that needs to be understood. When dealing with the smaller businesses, individuals have to understand that you never know who you are talking to when you call.  The person answering the phone could be one of the business owners or could be a staff member.  Treat whoever answers the phone with respect and never refer to them as “the receptionist.”  One big clue that the person is not a receptionist is the greeting you get.  When we answer our phones, even when we are not sure who it is calling, we will state the company name and then our name.  If you know a little bit about our business, you will clue in that you have reached one of the owners.

Small businesses like dealing with other small businesses because normally we treat each other the way we want to be treated.  In several ways, we understand the challenges that small business deals with and know how we want to be treated by others.  My feeling is, I want to ensure that I treat all our clients the way I want to be treated by others. I also want to treat any vendors and possible clients in the same way because they will help build our business.  I understand that everyone can have a rough day and not always be happy, but everyone is as important as the next person.

Recently we have been dealing with one company and the person calling hasn’t been the nicest to the person answering the phone.  The person answering the phone is one of the owners of the business (me), and during one call, he was rather upset that the other person wasn’t available to immediately take his call.  Emergencies with clients happen, so even a scheduled appointment might have to be changed when you are dealing with a small business.  Now the call got rescheduled and handled, so that was ok.  Now the salesperson called again today and expected to talk to the other owner, and as I handed over the phone, I commented that “at least he was friendlier today.”  Normally I wouldn’t have said this, but after yesterday, I was frustrated with how he had treated me.  Well, it ended up he heard what I said and has now sent an apology to “the receptionist.”  I think he is going to be digging himself out of that comment for a while, as I am also one of the decision-makers for the business.

The other vendor thinks it is easy to get into discussions with clients and provide them with answers in future meetings.  In most cases with small businesses, you have one chance to talk about something, and if you can’t even give them a ballpark cost, they don’t want to talk about it any longer.  I know in several cases if I am in a meeting let me know a cost (even an estimate) before I waste my time, otherwise I am not interested.

Small businesses don’t have a lot of time to spend in meetings. If we are in a meeting where you are trying to sell me something, please let me know a cost (even an estimate) before I waste my time, otherwise I am not interested.  A small business can be a challenge, but understand how they want to be treated and treating each person with respect can go a long way. If you are going to be calling a business to try and do business with them, do a little bit of homework first. Find out the size of the business because that could make a difference in how to approach them. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Common Etiquette in Public Places

Here is something that I have been thinking about for a while and have finally started to write this blog post about things that I have seen and things that are frustrating to me. 

Mobile device
Have you noticed that a lot of people think that using their mobile device in speaker mood in public is correct?  I have noticed that a lot of people think that listening to a phone conversation that they are having with the speaker on makes it easier for them to hear the person.  I have news for them, the person on the other end of the conversation is hearing a lot of additional noise that they don’t need to hear.  When you are using the speaker part of your phone, you are capturing all the other sounds around you as well, and nine times out of 10 the other person is having trouble hearing you until you are talking right into the mic.  When you are in public places, everyone else shouldn’t be able to hear both sides of the conversation that you are having.  If you have a challenge being able to hear the other person when you are taking a call, try to use some headphones as they will help you hear the person a lot better and mobile device headphones are available with a mic included.

Video viewing
The ability to watch videos on mobile devices is a wonderful thing to a point.  Now the reason I say to a point is that people think that watching a video in restaurants, food courts or even in malls is enjoyable for everyone.  Well, I have some news for you, and that is not everyone wants to hear what you are watching and listening to.  If you want to watch videos while you are enjoying your coffee, etc. please put some headphones on so that you can enjoy it and everyone else around you can enjoy their coffee.

I love when people are using headphones to listen to their music or videos when they are in the person’s ears.  I have seen people with headphones just around their neck so that they can hear the music they want.  Now remember when the headphones are around your neck people around you can also hear the music, and they might not want to listen to what you are listening to.  Headphones are to be used over the ears.  I know on public transit there is a policy that if you are listening to music, you should only be able to hear it, but no one seems to enforce this.  I think this is a policy that transit drivers need to start enforcing so that other riders can also enjoy their trip.

Mobile devices can be very handy when you are out and about and have some time to kill.  I know that I have music, books and videos on my device all the time, but I also ensure that I have my headphones on when I decide it is time to enjoy some of those sounds out in public.  My taste in music might not be someone else’s taste, and they don’t want to hear only part of the video or book, so I ensure that I am the only one that can hear what I am listening to.  When I take my phone calls, it is either holding the device up to my ear, or using my hands-free earpiece, which means I hear the conversation, but no one else does.

Mobile devices are a great thing to have, but remember that your taste in music and videos is your taste and not everyone else.  When you are out in public, remember that making sure that only you can hear your stuff is important.  I am not saying don’t watch the videos or listen to your music when you are out, all I am asking is that you use some headphones so that I don’t have to listen to what you are watching or listening to.  Some common sense makes everything a little more enjoyable for everyone.