Make It Your Own

It’s a bar. It’s a work of art!

Recently I was on vacation and I was super hungry for lunch.  After walking along the beach, a cute little restaurant/bar appeared.  When you walk in this restaurant it has an amazing first impression.  It’s probably the only bar decorated with bottle caps and colored lights.  What was once ordinary is now a focal point and cool piece of art.  It makes me wonder what the story is… did someone nail one bottle cap and it got out of control?  I don’t know, but it would be a cool story to put on their menu…

This business took a risk.  They did something unique and it worked.  What I like seeing is when a small business makes something all their own. I don’t mean make a piece of furniture, I mean they took ownership of what their company vibe is and expressed it in a unique way.  This can be accomplished with paint, words on a wall, or the front desk in an office.

Your mission statement on paper is critical to your day to day operations.  It helps to focus your process to ensure a great outcome. The problem with a mission statement is that it’s flat.  I’d love it if you took the opportunity to add a vibe and feeling to your mission statement.  Sure, your branding takes care of font and colors, but this task is a little different.  Ask yourself what feeling or emotion do you evoke when someone walks in your door?

Here are two ways to think about vibe/feeling.  Buy a hamburger.  It’s a grilled ground beef patty on a bun.  Now go and buy the hamburger at a fast food counter, the local greasy spoon, a sports bar, and a fine dining experience.  It’s still a hamburger but the vibe of each location is very different.  Next, go looking for a hotel room… you visit a roadside motel, an business traveler hotel, and a luxury resort.  Again, it’s a room you sleep in, but the vibe is completely different.

What vibe does your business give off?  Is this correct?  Do you want to change it…   Start to pay attention to the feeling your business creates.  Here’s how we’ve used this at our marina.  In the winter it’s difficult to sell boating in Minnesota.  Outside there’s a foot of snow, the wind is howling and the lake is frozen.  What I’ve done in the past is create a summer vibe.  When someone visits our store they’ll see fresh flowers, feel a warmer room because I slightly turn up the heat, it smells good because I plug in air freshners that smell like coconut (sun tan lotion), and they hear some great Jimmy Buffet summer music, and finally, as a distraction to the outdoor windows I rotate beautiful photos on our monitors.  It’s not cheesy or overbearing, but it has a summer vibe.

Action Step
1-Evaluate the Vibe/Feeling/Emotion of your business.  Write down three words to describe it from the customer experience.

2- Is this the vibe you want?

3- What can you do to enhance the current vibe or what can you do to change it… for example, add a water feature or plants,  music…   When will you implement this???

Ask Better Questions

Did you fall?  Clearly the person is on the ground…

What happens when you start to ask better questions?  Earlier this week I had the opportunity to listen to a customer on the phone with his credit card company.  He spent over 10 minutes, calm as can be, until the problem was resolved.  When he was finished I asked, “what job are you professionally trained at… you never got mad”.  His answer surprised me.  He didn’t say psychology, police officer or clergy.  He instead told me a story.

His mother raised him with the belief that he only has so many “get mads” in life. Each time a situation arises he asks himself “do I want to use a ‘get mad’ on this?”

I asked a different question and received a beautiful story.

Action step
-Start asking better questions.  You already know the person fell…

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