Posts tagged business relationships

Personify Your Business Through You

Jason with client Robin talking a sudiesIn my career as a small businessman, one of the things I’m most proud of is the brand Sudsies and Rugsies have come to represent. While clean clothes and carpets are valued, at the end of the day, our customers identify most with our can-do attitude and friendly smiles. Our team enlivens those happy faces that swirl around our logos. We truly live like the organization we present.

Think about your favorite brands. Each represents a unique personality, but all have the following in common when connecting with their audiences.

They’re Clear:

It’s important to be both clear and transparent. Be open and honest. Know who you are and keep it concise.

They’re Consistent:

If you exhibit one behavior one day and another the next, people will be left scratching their heads. Yes, change in the form of evolution is important to continue growth and relevancy, but at the core, know who you are. Don’t deviate from your foundational beliefs. That goes for your team too. Fill your team with members who share in your passion – it makes for much more authentic culture. Consistency also applies to the level of service… clients need to feel they can count on you EVERY TIME.

They’re Compelling:

A business provides a product or service… a brand represents the personality that transforms the product or service into an experience. Honor the spirit and spark within you every day; in every connection you make. Think about what drives you and use that to find new ways to reach both loyal and new clients.

Whether you own your own business or are employed by one, YOU ultimately convey what the brand is about. So, live like you are that brand. Remember you inject life into an otherwise inanimate entity. If you apply this approach, I think you’ll find an even greater joy in both your professional and personal lives.

Here’s to a brand new you!


WE THE PEOPLE

Looking into the heart of what makes a business great.

Blazer with an American flag and a Sudsies smiley face.

Ask anyone what kind of business they’re in and you’ll get a lot of answers: sales, finance, retail, medical, government, technology, real estate… it could go on and on. The truth of the matter is; however, that no matter your industry, the answer is all the same.

We are all in the people business.

For example, at my company, Sudsies, we don’t stress that we are dry cleaners or clothing caretakers. Sure, that’s a big part of what we do. But at the end of the day, we answer to our clients. A shirt isn’t going to appreciate a crisp pressing, its wearer does. We can provide the cleanest clothes (which we do), conquer the toughest stains (we do that too!), restore beloved items to their original glory (once again!), and more. None of that means anything though if the client isn’t happy.

What is it exactly that makes a client happy? It’s the experience. A great product is only a tiny part of the equation. What if I could offer you the greatest product on earth, but to get it you’d have to be inconvenienced, hang out in a dingy environment, and put up with a grumpy attitude from the staff? Maybe, just maybe, you’d consider repurchasing once again only because this product was so great, but eventually you’d get tired of the negative experience and probably move on. Besides, there are plenty of great products out there. It’s the overall attention to the people that make a difference.

Think about what your customers want, as well as what they might want but just don’t know it yet. Most want that great product, but wrapped up in convenience and a positive environment. You need to have those too, but the critical factor is the relationship. They want to know that you have their needs and well-being in mind. The easiest way to communicate that is with a smile. People are individuals, which means you may need to adapt your service style. Some want to be chatted up, others may just want to get their product and go… it’s up to you to gauge how you connect. Regardless of the personality, you need to communicate that the door is always open for them to express their expectations and desires and that you are always ready to happily serve.

Most importantly, being in the people business is not just about your external audiences. It has to start from within. How can you expect your own team to serve with enthusiasm if they are not experiencing it themselves? Think about the work experience and how to breed success, while making it enjoyable for them. Success, happiness, and purpose equals the ultimate sustainability equation. It breeds a positivity, a culture that employees simply cannot help passing onto their clientele.

Now try looking at your professional role in a new light. Start with people, and consider how you have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives, with exceptional products and experiences. I bet your career outlook just got a whole lot more interesting.


Field (trip) of Dreams

How company trips can enhance your business.

Image of street in New York City with 2 taxi cabs waiting for a light to change. Background shows buildings, including a McDonald's sign visible in the distance.

 

I take my business very seriously, but I’m also like a big kid (just ask my wife and two daughters). Having fun is the secret to keeping your energy up. Among the many things I remember fondly growing up was school field trips. They were anchored in education, but the camaraderie of being with classmates made the experience all the more enjoyable.

Why not apply this to work life?

Recently, I assembled seven team members from my dry cleaning and laundry company, Sudsies, and took them on a trip to New York City. The group ranged, spanning all titles and departments. I arranged tours with other dry cleaners to visit their facilities. These tours provided us insight as to how these other top cleaners embody the business, including physical layouts and operational procedures. What was most impactful however, were the pow-wows between our teams, where we garnered best practices by sharing and contrasting experiences. I’ve always said we are in the people business versus the cleaning business, so expanded these meetings with other sectors in the hospitality realm as well.

Speaking of which… in addition to the collaborations with our Big Apple sister cleaners, we secret shopped others in the area to see and understand the process directly from the customer perspective. This not only made us more attuned to our clients’ needs, but in many ways, it reaffirmed that we already have a great (and innate) customer service approach. Nonetheless, the exercise initiated an internal conversation on how we can improve upon our commitment even more.

Up next, we visited our suppliers based in the area. We deal with these contacts on a regular basis, but meeting face-to-face allowed us to deepen the relationship. Both sides were able to first-hand experience the other’s perspective and demands, which in turn enabled us all to better serve one another.

These “field trips” revealed to be an excellent opportunity and can be applied to ANY industry. I’ve always been proud of the strong company culture that each of our businesses keep, and this outside-the-box excursion enhanced it even further. Our team had time to debrief and discuss expectations. It encouraged each member to see the business beyond their own role, with the big picture always in mind. We returned home motivated, with an even stronger appreciation for each other and a renewed self-awareness that together we truly do make a great team… and we’re really proud of what we do.

Safe and productive travels!


Will You Tell a Friend?

One of the best sources of new customers is referrals. They are pre-qualified by our existing customers to get something out of our services and are likely to already have a favorable view. It’s also the highest testament to how we are currently running our business. If we’re doing a good job, people tend to share their experience with their friends.

But sometimes our customers need a little encouragement, or simple reminding, to make that referral. Similarly, I hope that your membership experience with the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce has been a positive and rewarding one. If we’ve fulfilled our promise, I encourage you to tell your friends, colleagues and other contacts about the benefits of joining our organization.

I can’t believe that it’s been 17 years since I joined the Chamber. I’m proud of its growth and we are able to accomplish bigger and better goals every day because of the diversity and strength of the group. Along the way, I’ve met so many individuals who have inspired me, mentored me, or even did a simple favor that helped catapult my business, as well as help me grow as a professional. Everyday, I enjoy reconnecting with old colleagues, many of whom have become friends too, but also meeting new faces at the Chamber and drawing from their own fresh ideas.

We always refer to the passion of our members, and I urge you to remember that part of that passion is sharing the Chamber with others. Tell your contacts. If the Chamber grows, we also grow as members. More minds means more resources and power to tap into. We not only have a first rate-network representing a broad spectrum of industries, but a world-class community with economic vitality, social purpose and connected residents.

Miami Beach is truly a sophisticated city, running on a global scale. Within there is so much talent and perspectives that we could all learn from. As Chamber members, it is our duty to also help them in achieving their aspirations. So start spreading the word!

At your service,

Jason Loeb.


Give Some Summer Lovin’

I guess the adage “time flies when you’re having fun” is really true, as Summer always seem to speed by so quickly. Just one month left before it’s back-to-school for the kids and back-to-the-grind for us. Hopefully, you are able capture quality time with a family vacation, but this time of year also presents the perfect opportunity to reconnect with our professional family.

Think of all your advocates: contacts, mentors, loyal customers, etc. While they have contributed to your business tremendously, have you done anything recently to return the support? If not, this is the month to do so. Understandably, it takes enormous time and effort to build and grow our business with varying meetings, tasks, and initiatives tugging for our attention, but it’s also important every once in awhile to stop and recognize our successes to date… and how we got here. I suggest reaching out to these people to show your appreciation. It could be a loyalty rewards program, scheduling that lunch you’ve been talking about doing for the past six months, or a simple note to say hello and thank you. In business, money may motivate, but people are the true resource in helping you achieve your goals. Plus, it’s the human connection that makes work enjoyable and worthwhile.

Express your gratitude, then pay it forward. Find a promising up-and-comer or a start-up with a compelling mission and lend your support. We all need a little help sometimes, even if its just advice and guidance. Miami Beach is an inspiring background in which to pursue a dream, and this city’s success and sustainability relies on its community working to help one another realize these aspirations.

I hope this summer leaves you refreshed and ready for the upcoming high season. Remember to enjoy and take advantage of these quieter moments, for they can be just as valuable as career peaks. In the meantime, we at the Chamber are always available and happy to help you make the right connections.

At your service,

Jason Loeb

Chairman

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Your Social Network

I have 1,276 friends…on Facebook that is. No one can question the website’s influence. It’s a great way to catch up with old friends, form relationships with new ones and stay on top of what’s going on with loved ones. Many, myself included, also find it a promising tool to help promote their business and instigate conversations amongst constituents within seconds. However, sometimes I have to ask myself if this social network is truly social.


All these new gadgets and communication tools enable us to stay better connected, but just how deep is this new connection? We know updates and statuses, but do we really know what’s going on with our contacts? Do we know their needs, do they know ours and, most importantly, do we really know how to help one another? The goal of business is to bring value, yet we can’t deliver that unless we place value on our relationships first.

Indeed, social networking is certainly a piece of the puzzle to keeping ourselves and our companies top-of-mind, but it can’t replace the impact of traditional networking. Oh, we post, Tweet and e-vite here at the Miami Beach Chamber, but our most important initiative is creating events and initiatives that bring people together face-to-face. It’s about making quality introductions to your next customer, your next supplier, your next advocate. I encourage you to become more involved, not as merely a Miami Beach Chamber member, but as a partner. Join one of the many councils, committees or activities, all of which offer numerous opportunities for collaboration and a common ground for community building. Attend the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce New Members Orientation, or simply bond over good food and beverage at one of the luncheons or cocktail hours. I assure you that replacing some of your typeface communication with face-to-face interaction will prove to be your greatest business investment. So, what are you waiting for…friend me!

At your service,
Jason Loeb
Chairman of the Board, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce.