Category Archives for "leadership"

business culture vs vibe

This Is Why Perceptions Are Hurting Your Business

By Asa Beavers | leadership , team building

It might be your business culture is out of whack, and your customers are hiding their real perceptions from you.

Culture, really? How could that be out of whack?

Okay, so this article was going to be about how small businesses can go about defining and nurturing the culture of their business...

But once I did some due diligence by asking several business owners directly what they thought the culture of their business is, I found out...

Culture isn’t something that gets a lot of discussion in many small businesses. 

Sure, it can be hard to put your finger on at first. But all it takes is the willingness to dig deep and explore how you want your customer experience, and employee experience, to feel.

So I had to dig deeper with my objective being, to get small business owners thinking more about those hidden customer perceptions, and enough to be moved to take real action.

After all, having a good business culture is assumed to be important to making sure employees are happy, productivity is good, and customers feel welcomed.

One Definition of Culture

By one definition, culture is the common values, practices, and beliefs of a group of people. In these words, it means everyone in your business shares common values, practices, and beliefs. 

Really? I’m pretty sure such workgroups don’t exist.

People will align themselves to behave in a way that seems they buy into expressed company values. I’m not saying people don’t care, but company values aside, they really are there for the paycheck.

But on the other hand, there’s something important here that needs to be explored. Businesses emit something that forces customers and employees to create perceptions.

Which means a business owner needs to have an answer to this question…

“What is it I want my business to be known for?”

Is it the kind of business where customers remember it and recall it as…

“Isn’t ​that the place that does XXX, I love that place!”

Sure, culture is important. Values. Practices. Beliefs. All of them crucial to creating a lasting business entity.

But for employees and even customers, culture seems a bit stuffy and unrelatable.

Mission statements and core values on office walls, and on websites, show thought was put into the overall purpose of the business, but emulating them in real life is, well, difficult to relate to.

That’s when I had a blinding flash of the obvious.

Business Culture Is Important, But Vibe...

VIBE is the word I think of when I think about how I feel about a particular business.

I expect integrity, honesty, humility and communication when I patronize a business. Employees expect the same when they join a business. That’s the minimum price of entry for most good businesses.

But the vibe of a business tells me they have nurtured an employee and customer experience that makes me feel comfortable and one that makes me want to come back.

What nailed vibe down as THE business term I was seeking, is the definition I found in the Urban Dictionary

Vibe (noun): A distinctive emotional atmosphere; sensed intuitively.

BOOM! That’s exactly how I want small business owners to think when it comes to culture. Small businesses may not have the time or desire to define their company’s culture, but they can relate to creating an atmosphere in which employees work joyfully, and an atmosphere customers crave.

The culture of a business emits a vibe. It’s how customers, and employees, feel about the business atmosphere.

And it’s sensed intuitively. Our senses are fed by the environment, by the actions of staff, and by the energy coursing through the workplace.

Don’t tell me you haven’t been someplace and thought to yourself, “Gee, this would be a sucky place to work”.

Think about your experiences. Here are a few I came up with:

  • As an infrequent visitor to the doctor’s office, but every time I’m there they are ‘running behind’ leaving me sitting for 20-30 minutes past my appointment time without even acknowledging the fact that I’m being inconvenienced.
  • The restaurant, where after being seated, doesn’t have a wait staff member ready to greet us immediately even though there’s plenty of them running around, and instead leaves us sitting wondering if we’re invisible.
  • The service business that promises a technician at a specific time, who then arrives late, blames the office staff for overbooking him, and proceeds to share all the company’s dirty laundry.

None of these experiences leave me feeling like those businesses have a ‘customer first’ mentality. They don’t make me feel like I’m a priority or even important. They don’t leave me craving more. In fact there’s a good chance I won’t patronize them again. And I certainly won’t refer them to anyone.

Perceived Indifference

It’s easy to sense, or perceive, that those businesses just don’t care enough. The business throws off a negative vibe. There’s not a culture that defines what they stand for. They simply offer a product or service they can profit from. That’s it. They don’t satisfy the customer experience.

Not like going to an Apple Store. I went back to Urban Dictionary to look for a label for Apple enthusiasts like me… we’re called Apple Fanboys. It’s a vibe, it’s a culture where providing the user with an experience comes first.

Disney World is another example. When you go there you are transported away from everyday life and into one known as the ‘magical kingdom’. I always get a kick seeing stick families with Mickey Mouse ears on the back of mini-vans. It’s a customer experience. It creates loyalty.

And you know the feeling when you have to return something, or call a service department because something went wrong? It’s that ping of anxiety knowing you could be in for a hassle. 

Well not when dealing with companies like Zappos or Amazon. They encourage returns if you’re not happy or something doesn’t fit. They make it as easy as possible to ensure a pleasant customer experience, no questions asked.

You might say, “Yes, but these are big businesses with enormous amounts of resources.”

Very true. Which should make it even harder to get thousands of employees serving millions of customers to get it right. But they do.

And you can too, even in your small business.

YOUR Business Has A Vibe

Do you know what it is?

Do you know how your business is perceived by customers, and by your employees?

Earlier I spoke of having the kind of business that customers will remember and recall as…

“that’s the place where [whatever it is that makes your business memorable], I love that place”.

How would you fill in that blank for your business?

Your business creates perceptions by throwing off a certain vibe. Understand what it is and learn to cultivate it.

During a business's lifetime it cycles through many stages. Problems come and problems go. But its vibe, and its culture, lasts forever.

Reach out to me if you’d like to dig deeper on this topic, and find out how you can use vibe to gain better control of your business and unlock its full potential. Use this contact form, or click here if you’d like to schedule a free 30 minute strategy call to explore what might work for you. And if you found this article useful please share it. That way others can learn how perceptions are shaped by the vibe of their business.

[video] Clarity Creates Simplicity

By Asa Beavers | leadership

Putting yourself in your customers' shoes, forgetting about what you want, and focusing solely on what they really want, is the best way for you to script the outcomes you desire in your business.

Seems simple enough, doesn't it?

In this short video I'm offering up some tips on how you can simplify things by focusing your efforts only on strategies that get your customers what they really want from your business.

Then you get what you want: happy, repeat customers who refer others to you!

Why Clarity, Or Lack Of It, Will Make Or Break Your Business

By Asa Beavers | leadership

Shock and Awe…

That’s how I feel about today’s high school students who take advanced placement classes, then graduate with a 4+ grade point average, and move on to college with their major already picked out.

How the heck did they achieve such clarity about what they want to do for a career at such a young age? That’s sure NOT my story!

Nope. For me high school was sports and chasing girls. I was a decent student and got my work done for the most part, but I had no concept at the time that I was supposed to be preparing myself for life after school.

A lack of clarity can create chaos and frustration in your life and business. See why these two emotions can do more to stall your business journey and what you can do...

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leadership sets direction

When Leadership Veers Off Course

By Asa Beavers | leadership

In case you’re wondering, leaders make mistakes too. Leaders can veer off-course just like anyone, sometimes creating havoc in their wake. They’re human just like you and I, but the difference is, they chose to put themselves front and center. Whether leading a large company or institution, a middle manager leading a work team, an entrepreneur leading a small business, or a volunteer taking a lead role in a church or school, being a leader requires an individual to put themselves out there for all to see, judge and critique. When things are going good their stock rises and those following feel secure. But when that leader stumbles and brings into question their ability to lead, the grumbling begins and that feeling of security starts to crumble.

As a leader of a small business it's easy to become distracted, and when you are it can have these consequences...

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leadership lesson listen

4 Ways To Lead By Following

By Asa Beavers | leadership

When I think of leaders, I visualize something different than many people do. A high-performing team is one in which every player acts in a leadership capacity—at least part of the time. Unfortunately, many still think of leadership as something assigned exclusively to one person. The image of a lone individual standing at the head of a board room table, “calling the shots,” illuminates a misleading idea that I believe is all too pervasive in workplace cultures. Successful leaders create thriving organizations by stepping out of the spotlight and showing others how to achieve their own greatness.

There's all kinds of good that comes from being a good listener, especially when you're the boss. Here's 4 tips to keep in mind...

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