scott gingold

Why I still get paper bills

A good friend decided to go completely paperless. An admirable goal, but not one without consequence.

Part of her action plan included converting as many of her bills to electronic delivery versus paper. The system worked until she changed her email address. Two things happened. First, some of her billers did not update their records with the new email address. Secondly, she missed changing the address on two of her accounts.

As a result of this, her credit rating suffered, which is always problematic but even more so in a tight credit market and where your credit score means so much.

If you have your personal and/or business bills delivered electronically, you may want to think twice about that plan!

Inventory Overflowing at Retailers

If you own a retail outlet and you are not selling enough goods and you are not sure why, let me help you answer that question.

In the last week I intentionally visited over 41 retailers. The two most common things I observed were employees standing around talking to each other while ignoring customers, and all too many customers leaving these establishments empty handed with no intervention from store staff.

By “intervention” I simply mean that if I owned a store and I saw a prospective customer leaving without buying something I would politely stop them and say something like; “Thank you for stopping by our store! I noticed that you were leaving without making a purchase. Was there something that you were looking for and could not find?”

Imagine if you made even just one more sale a day by doing this simple and no cost approach? What would that mean to your business in the short as well as long term?

As for employees who are too busy texting, talking to their fellow employees, or anything else unrelated to waiting on a customer, these people need to be retrained or terminated, immediately!

Success doesn’t happen by chance, it takes hard work, commitment and consistency. Don’t be a bystander, engage now!

What Do Women Know About Leadership?

Do women have more leadership skills than men?

This week I had the privilege of working with three different women. Though all were in different fields they all had at least these things in common.

  1. entrepreneurs
  2. moms
  3. In a committed relationship

Even before I learned more about them it was very clear that they were all very smart, well-organized and highly competent professionals. They also took great pride in successfully managing their personal (kids, household, pets, significant other, etc.) lives while pursuing their entrepreneurial goals. One in particular was also pursuing her MBA as well!

All too often we limit our vision in seeking out wisdom about leadership. We look to CEO’s, politicians, media personalities or celebrities. Most of these categories are male dominated.

Show me a mom who can successfully juggle home, work & life in general and I will show you a woman that is qualified to teach leadership lessons to anyone, anywhere, any time!

Questions employers should ask employees

Five questions you should be asking your employees during their annual review-

  • Do I give you all the tools you need to be successful in your job?
  • Are you happy in your current position?
  • If you could improve 3 things in this business, what would they be?
  • Would you recommend a friend to work here?
  • Do you believe our business is the best in our space?

Unfortunately, all too many employers only focus on the employee’s core job responsibilities. How much better would your business be if you were armed with this intelligence?

Think out of the box and ask questions that will help you to better understand what your employees are thinking, and how you can improve your business.

What Technology Doesn't Do

I have said this many times over the years, but I say again, I love technology. Though I long-ago abandoned being on the bleeding edge of the tech frontier, I do my best to stay current with the latest developments and offerings. My interest includes hardware and software, plus social networks.

As much as I embrace all things technology, I am reminded on a regular basis how important face to face contact is. I can not recall a time where I had an in-person meeting with someone that did not produce unexpected, albeit positive opportunities.

We can correspond via email, tweet each other, send sms messages back and forth, update our Facebook status to keep each other informed, or post news on Linkedin, but at the end of the day if we are going to forge something meaningful, it will most likely be done eye to eye.

What has been your experience with business successes using technology versus in-person?

No Work Today!

What do customers and/or clients hear today if they call your business today, or on any holiday?

If your business is closed today in observance of Memorial Day how are you communicating with your current and potential patrons? Even if you are not in a “mission critical” type of business, communicating up-to-date and timely information to those who call and email is crucial.

On your phone greeting make certain that you announce that you are closed for the holiday and when you will be responding to messages. Even though I personally loathe them, set up an email aut-responder also conveying that you are closed and when the person contacting you can expect a response. Make sure that you have a plan for someone to check, and respond to these messages immediately upon re-opening for business.

This may seem basic but always remember that as a general rule, its not a big thing that kills a business, its a hundred little things like this.

Are you really communicating?

For reasons that I will outline in a future post I am going to keep this post fairly general.

Over the last year some friends and I were attempting to put together a new company that had a altruistic benefit component to it. Unless there is a sudden and unexpected turn of events over this coming weekend, the venture will not move forward. As time goes by, with reflection, and taking the time to conduct a postmortem, I am sure that I could uncover a hundred reasons to learn what went wrong. That said, if pressed today for a one word answer as to where the train came off the tracks, it would be communication.

Everyone involved in the undertaking is highly intelligent, well motivated, very knowledgable, and has an impressive rolodex to support virtually any pursuit. While its easy to point fingers and find causations for what happened, in reality, the lack of communication was the fault of all involved.

Whether you are a startup or an established business, ask yourself this simple question right now. Are you really communicating with your team? If you can not look in the mirror and honestly say “yes”, I encourage you to take steps to change….today!