The Power of a Smile: Why You Should Make Smiling at Others A Daily Habit

Smiling is one of the simplest and most effective ways to communicate with others. It’s free, it’s easy, and it makes everyone feel good. Plus, it’s contagious! A smile can brighten someone’s day and make them feel seen and heard. And when we feel happy, we tend to act positively toward others.

Need some ideas? Here are a few ways you can make someone smile today:

  • Tell a joke or share a funny story
  • Give a compliment
  • Ask about their day and really listen to the answer
  • Offer genuine thanks and recognize graciousness
  • Pay it forward in line at the coffee shop
  • Say something nice about a stranger’s dog

So, why not make smiling at others a daily habit? It’s easy to do, and it costs nothing. Just flash those pearly whites and watch the good vibes spread! Trust me; you’ll be glad you did. And who knows? Maybe your smile will inspire someone to pay it forward .

The Story Behind the Sudsies Smile

It feels great when someone smiles at you. It’s like they’re saying, “I’m happy to see you.” It feels even better when you make someone else smile. It’s like you’re spreading happiness.

Smiles are contagious. When you smile at someone, chances are they will smile back. Smiling is a great way to make yourself feel good and others feel special. That benevolent feeling and attitude are what I’ve always tried to convey and promote with the Sudsies Smile.

Twenty-five years ago, when I started Sudsies, I wanted the smile to represent many different things – feelings, energy, and attitude. Sudsies has always been more than a dry-cleaning business, more than a place to work. I want people to have such a great experience at Sudsies that they leave our boutiques, and even our website, feeling heard and cared for.

The Sudsies Smile is now becoming its own brand and symbol, one that people are proud to wear. What started with a pair of sweatpants has evolved into an entire collection of Sudsies gear/merch.

I know our customers have hectic, demanding lives. And my goal has always been to provide more than just a service to them. For me, it’s always been about creating the type of business where the quality of the work is non-negotiable, and everyone feels at home.

Remember to keep smiling and making others smile. I know we will!

Partnered for Success

Two heads are better than one. That phrase is as true with solving puzzles and composing music as it is for business. It’s also the idea behind strategic partnerships and collaborations. In a strategic alliance, two companies with similar audiences and shared values intertwine their efforts to create new opportunities for both parties.

Partnering with another brand that can offer added value to existing customers can be very beneficial. For a truly strategic partnership, the alliance must generate more sales, expand reach, and appeal to existing clients across both brands. For example:

Starbucks and Barnes & Nobles. A comforting drink and a good book have always paired well. So, it’s no surprise that in the early 90s, Starbucks became the exclusive coffee supplier for Barnes & Noble. While shopping online for a book is convenient, Starbucks and Barnes & Noble have given book lovers a reason to visit a store in person.

Target and established designers. Target’s reputation for its partnerships is legendary. They’ve partnered with renowned architect Michael Graves, prominent fashion designers Isaac Mizrahi and Lilly Pulitzer, and most recently, well-known television personalities Chip and Joanna Gaines. Each partnership has made high-end designers more accessible to a mass audience and positioned Target as the go-to retailer for chic, affordable design.

While these examples are of big-name businesses, small businesses can also benefit from strategic partnerships. Before you can determine what type of collaboration would most help you, you’ll need to assess your own needs, priorities, and challenges. Then you can focus on what to look for in a partner. Consider the following:

Do you have a similar target audience? Your audience does not have to be precisely the same, but you should share an appeal to a similar demographic. For example, if your audience is wealthy, you don’t want to partner with someone that offers short-term personal loan services.

Do you offer complimentary services or products? You want to make sure your products and services add value to your partner’s customers, but do not compete with them.  You will get the greatest benefit from a partner who offers a different service from you with a similar audience. For example, a paint company would do well partnering with a home design company. 

Do both parties benefit? The most successful strategic partnerships are those where the benefits are mutual.

Partnering with another business can be incredibly successful. It’s an effective way to improve business and boost awareness. Now that you know what to look for in a partner, you are ready to start your search. Best of luck, and keep me posted!

The Importance of Evolving your Brand over Time

Nike. McDonald’s. Coca-Cola. Apple. Do you know what these companies have in common? They’ve all stood the test of time, resonating with consumers and staying relevant regardless of how long they’ve been in business.

At the start, a business might only provide one service or product – for Nike, it was track shoes, for McDonalds, it was hamburgers, a soda fountain refreshment for Coco-Cola, and a circuit board for Apple. But ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you: there’s no growth in the status quo.  The only way to grow and stay competitive and connected is to adapt. That means offering more goods and services, reexamining the ideal client, researching new revenue opportunities. In short, it means evolving the brand.

Here’s how to adapt and evolve your brand in order to stay up to date and reflective of the time.

Review your brand frequently. Business owners are constantly reviewing and reworking company processes and procedures. Branding should have that same consideration. Revisit your branding on a regular basis to ensure it still reflects your company and how you want it to be perceived. Don’t try to do too much. “The more, the better” might work for butter on your popcorn, but it doesn’t work for branding. Small changes will happen naturally, especially as your industry and technology evolves. And while small changes are good, be careful about the big changes. You don’t want to change so much that people don’t recognize your business anymore.

Listen to feedback. The most important people you need to listen to are the customers, even if the feedback is critical. How else will you learn how they perceive your brand? Negative feedback might feel discouraging, but it’s the best roadmap to guide you to revamp a product or service that’s not working for the customer. If recent history has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t predict the future. We can’t predict what our customers will need in five years, five months, or even five weeks. The only thing we can do is be open to new ideas.

Come On, Get Happy!

Jason Training Employees at Bal Harbour ShopsI get asked a lot about how I always seem so happy. The answer is simple: I love what I do and who I do it with.

OK, the dry cleaning and rug & drapery cleaning business admittedly isn’t the most glamorous… But my team is. No matter the industry, a business is ultimately about the people. As a team, we make each other happy… what’s more glamorous than that?

When I first started Sudsies and Rugsies, I spent a lot of time finding others who share my vision and caring passion. Having a commonality in our emphasis on integrity and character makes it authentic and easy to work with one another. Together, we’ve created a culture, a real community, where we thrive on helping each other and our clients. Even when one of us is having an off day, the smiles and support from the other members transfer back that positivity.

Want to know what else keeps me happy? Giving people a purpose, myself included. It’s not enough to just be surrounded by great people; the group should serve greatness too. I enjoy helping others, not only by providing them a position within the company, but also by ensuring that they receive every opportunity to learn, grow, and be empowered to find their highest role. It could be sending them to continuing educations seminars, providing leadership guidance, or granting them the freedom to get creative when assuring that the client has that above-and-beyond experience that bonds them to both the person and the brand.

So there you have it, my secret to happiness. Yes, it first has to come from within, although helping others also find a piece of contentment is what sustains an overall deep satisfaction for all… The best way to jumpstart your own journey to happiness is simple. Smile!

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!

Meet Me at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization

Jason Loeb in a dark suit.Anyone who knows me also knows my two passions: Business and People. That’s why I’m excited to announce my latest role as the incoming President-Elect of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) South Florida Chapter. This global network of influential entrepreneurs has made incredible contributions to both its industries and individuals.

Locally, the chapter membership of 203 personally convenes to share with and thrive from each’s leadership across South Florida. This mutual influence spans to the other 186 chapters within 58 countries, representing a holistic approach to developing an impactful business. EO represents unique vantages and approaches, though is anchored within a foundation of shared core values that enables our continuous connection to one another.

I look forward to sharing my leadership vision for this elite group of South Florida business people with you shortly. You can be assured; however, that it will promote fostering business with the utmost sense of community. In the meantime, my fellow South Florida business owners can find out more information about EO at https://www.eonetwork.org.

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!

It Gets Better

The key to continued improvement.

Ever feel like you’ve plateaued? Anyone whose taken on an exercise regimen most certainly has experienced that frustration at one point or another. It’s inevitable in almost anything we do, and business is no exception. The more we do something, the more adept we become. Sounds great, but here’s the rub: that adeptness leads to increased ease in which we perform that task. And when something is easy, it’s difficult to push ourselves back out to the challenge course.

consistency, persistence, and passion

Then there are those who thrive on the unchartered. These business base jumpers attempt to cover as much ground as they can, though their footprint at each point may be brief and light. There are merits to both, but neither in pure form works in developing a first-rate, sustainable business. So, this fine line needs to be balanced with consistency.

Over the years, I’ve been presented with numerous opportunities. As tempting as each may be, I usually decline. Until I’ve mastered one aspect, I don’t move onto the next. The Sudsies fleet wasn’t sent out overnight… in fact, it was technically five years from the date I opened my first dry cleaning location that I implemented the complementary pick up and deliver service. Why? Because no matter how convenient the service might be, our customers ultimately want their clothes to come back to them pristine and in a timely manner. We had to master our craft in garment care before extending our offerings with added convenience.

With our cleaning knowledge, customer service, and operational logistics down, Rugsies then came to fruition several years later. It wasn’t because I didn’t think about or desire to expand my businesses – it was a calculated decision. In fact, these “rest” periods were actually quite active, as we strived to improve our existing services so that we could effectively pursue and implement the “what’s next.”

Growing your business is a marathon, not a sprint. The training formula: consistency, persistence, and passion. It’s great to think outside the box, but sharpen your saw before sinking your teeth into a new avenue.

I’m proud of all the services Sudsies and Rugsies now has to offer, and I’m excited to announce yet another future venture with you soon. When the right opportunity presents itself, take them, but never forget your core business. More so, keep it a continued focus because that is what attracted your clients to you in the first place and anchored their loyalty. They expect you to continue doing it well, if not better, no matter how many additional services and perks there may be.

In our case, that’s helping you look and feel good via clean clothes and a caring smile.