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With a Smile On Your Face

Establishing a Personal Strategy for your Business

There is an ad that has appeared recently in many of the financial magazines. Do you remember seeing the ad with two people sitting on a bench, each reading a book? The woman is reading a book about becoming the wealthy person. The man is reading the book titled "I am Happy".

While not remembering which of the money market firms the ad was promoting, the gist of their ad was to ask, "Which of the two groups would you like to be in?" Today, we are taking that comparison and asking you to move it into your shop and ask yourself several questions.

In trying to locate the person who is achieving, as compared to the one who is always struggling, it has been the experience of this writer that there are several obvious signs to customers as to which type of person owns the shop. It shows in the way they talk to their customers and their employees. It shows in the ways they service their customers, both in the noneventful transaction, and with the customer who is registering a complaint.

Stopping this shop manager or owner to ask questions, it is fascinating to listen to them and most enjoyable to watch them as they tell you about their business. In a recent issue of Entrepreneur magazine, one of their writers, Victoria Neal, stated there are five signs that can help you tell if you or the person you are talking to is an optimistic entrepreneur.

You have a clear vision of what you want to achieve. If you are visiting the office of this optimist, you will probably see a list of items to be achieved. You may even see several of the items have been checked off to indicate they have been completed.

If you are talking with this person, they can enumerate what they are wanting to achieve. They are often bragging about their employees, a new product or service they now offer, or just how they are seeing progress in their efforts to achieve their goals.

Continuing with the list from Entrepreneur, if we are able to observe this person in action, we would find that our optimistic person spends more than 50% of their time working toward achieving that vision.

Jack Rice, an industry speaker and consultant, was a frequent visitor to the shop of this writer for many years. What is best remembered was his comments about the progress we were making in our business. He would tell us we were being proactive instead of reactive to situations.

Jack had a definition of crisis management. It was, "the shop owner or manager who comes to work each morning, and spends less than 80% of the work day doing the things they had planned to do". The rest of your time is being spent solving problems and putting out fires that did not exist when you came to work that morning.

The third notable difference of this article would show itself when we would discuss the successes and challenges the owner or manager is having in the shop. Our optimist will take 100% of the credit for all of their successes. This is not arrogance, but it does clearly state that the success is not due to luck. It is due to working hard and working smart.

On the other hand, this person will also take full responsibility for any and all failures that the shop has experienced. You can also tell this owner or manager has learned from the situation and is now positioned to utilize that experience for the growth of the business.

The fourth point from the Entrepreneur article states our shop owner or manager avoids those who are emotional vampires. These are the individuals, employees, customers, and others who are trying to take away your good feeling. To them a success is just luck, and a failure is a "to be expected" event.

Again from personal experience, I remember an office manager we hired who was such an emotional vampire that it bothered her when she encountered someone who saw a failure as a lesson and was then prepared to move forward. The emotional vampire becomes the fulfillment of an old expression that states, "If you hear something enough, you will begin to believe it."

Some shop owners and managers we have met take this idea of avoiding emotional vampires one step further by surrounding themselves with other shop owners and managers who are also striving to be optimistic entrepreneurs.

This industry, like many others, is seeing more and more focus groups created among shop owners and managers. They meet at various trade shows, such as the SEMA and TCAA shows. Often they are comparing details of their business with each other, and setting goals for themselves of which they are accountable to their fellow group members.

The last indicator in the list of five is that this person oozes confidence and has a "can do" attitude. This is not to say that by putting a smile on their face, a person then sets a goal of doubling their sales and expecting to see it happen the next day.

In light of the competition shops face today, with every business from one of the box stores to a guy working weekends from his garage, business requires a determination. If the owner or manager of the business is not going to be the optimist, and "cheerleader", then why should any employee have a "can do" attitude?

Taking this five point self examination can help you to become the owner or manager of the shop that has everything going its' way. We are confident of it.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
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