Tag Archives: attitude

Attitude will make the difference

stephen2By Stephen Rhodes

Here’s a thought.

tea byWhat skill, attribute or approach best enables a small business owner to succeed?

Businesses have to plan, which means they need to set goals, develop strategy and tactics and to the best of their ability deliver that plan.

PoutineLots of businesses do this stuff and not all of them succeed. Why?

The larger question is why are you in this business? What is your driving force? What happens when the plan doesn’t work or your competitors jump all over you? What keeps your head in the game.

Attitude.

We all look for it when we hire, so it shouldn’t be surprising that the most successful business people have it in spades.

I have great admiration for two Brampton business people who have the attitude. Don’t try and tell Daniel at Tea by Daniel or Graham at Poutine Dare to be Fresh  that they can’t succeed.

These guys don’t know what that means.

 

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Camp Enterprise – The Kids are Alright!

By Jeff Bowman

Service is an often “over used” word in the vocabulary of business today.  Customer Service, supplier service, service standards and technical service are all terms I encounter daily and each provides a varying degree of accuracy to the real meaning of service.

Service Above Self, was a term I experienced last week when I participated as a speaker at a Rotary International program for youth entitled Camp Enterprise. I was not aware of this program prior to being contacted to speak, and as a business mentor, I was surprised to discover that this program goes on in many Rotary Clubs across North America, and has been hosted for more than a quarter century in some areas.

The program, which is fully funded by the local Rotary Club, provides senior high school students with an introduction to business , professional and management careers over a 3 ½ day  “camp”. The kids are exposed to a variety of workshops, activities and team building events put on by volunteers from the business community.  It is advertised as a program “that Will Change Your Life” I spoke to a group of 52 enthusiastic teens about directing a Corporation.  Not just any incorporated company, the real company that they run each day of their lives, themselves. The title of my workshop was, “It Really Is All About You!”, and I spoke about some of the key factors that affect You Incorporated from the ground level up, from the attitude you present each day, to the growth of an entrepreneurial spirit, to accepting and nurturing a sense of responsibility for every action they take.

I was amazed at the level of participation, the group inter-personal skills, and at the expressions on their faces as some of the points and stories I related hit a chord with their own lives. I think the key point that I was able to provide is to believe in yourself.  In a world of doubt and confusion it is often very difficult for adults to consider options and make the right decisions, so I can’t imagine what it must be like for a teenager, with all the temptations of the world, and the lack of experience in cause and effect, to make the same correct decisions. The important thing is to make a decision, learn from the results, and grow from the knowledge gained.  I often say, change your perception of failure to a lesson learned.

Rotary has it right! Service Above Self is the real definition of providing an experience, not just for yourself and the participants of the Camp, but for the volunteers who make it work and the community in which these teens are part of. If the wonderful group of teens that I had the pleasure of working with are any indication, the business world has a bright future.  I commend Rotary International for this initiative, but just as important, I commend the teens who stepped up to the challenge to “change their life”. It’s never business as usual!

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Filed under Communications, Jeff Bowman, social capital, Training and Development, Uncategorized

Energize Your Networking Activities

By Jeff Bowman

In the past couple of years, I have touched on some of the strategic value of being an effective networker.

There are, however,  some  little tips that may assist you in separating yourself from the “guy I met hawking business cards” to “the that person I met who really seems keen on helping me grow my business”

Subtle differences in the way you approach people can make all the difference in the world when it comes to gaining a little face time. Simple things like not walking around with your hands in your pockets, it always reminds me of a Charlie Chaplin character. Carrying around a daytimer or business portfolio has always made me a little skeptical of a networker’s intentions, and I find myself avoiding the individual because somewhere deep in the back of my mind I imagine him immediately trying to sell me encyclopedias.  Hanging around the food area is usually a sign of someone who is unsure of how to approach others, so they wait until they come to them. If you really need a drink at the event, get it, consume it and move back into networking. A person who has to shift their drink to another hand to shake mine or grab a business card often leaves a moist impression.

What I like to see in a networker is energy! Not the kind of kinetic energy that has them bouncing around the room like a pinball, but a good strong enthusiastic smile, strong gait and a level of confidence when approaching and speaking to me. A smile is a prerequisite of attending networking events, and should be worn everywhere.

We’ve all met the shy introverted business owner who shows up because some business coach told them they need to network to grow their business. They often flounder until someone helps them out.  As an energetic networker, it is your responsibility to seek out those people and assist them, introduce them to others you know and bring them into a friendly conversation.

I still remember the first event I attended as a business owner 11 years ago.  Even though I am outgoing and love people, I was uncomfortable. Mike walked right over to me shook my hand, asked me who I was, what I did, and immediately said to me “What type of people are you hoping to meet” I could not have felt better walking out later that evening having met several people who I call friends today.

That leads me to the second key to effective networking.  The environment. Start out small if you are new to networking. Attend some small social functions with business friends.  Practice your approach in a non threatening friendly environment. You may fare much better in your efforts at approaching people in smaller settings. In my books, there are few social events or gatherings that are not opportunities to network. I learned early, that by speaking to people at events not specifically labeled networking, it was easier to talk about my business and ask about theirs.  There was no expectation from the other person that I had to be perfect, that I knew the rules of engagement or that it was anything other than friendly conversation. The larger events represent opportunities for selective networking.  You probably know more people, even casually who would be more than pleased to introduce you to contacts they know. The onus lies with you to ask them for the introduction.

Ensure that you understand the type of networking skill to utilize in different social environments.  Family events, you can be more relaxed and comfortable. More formal social events like wedding receptions, dinners, gala’s etc require strategic minimal introductions and business card handoffs with “I’ll follow up next week, thank you”. Chance meetings at sports events for instance may allow only a few minutes for a brief interaction, with follow up made the following week to explore possible connections. Dedicated networking events, breakfasts, speaker series offer the opportunity for professional networking on a large scale, with people who are there for the same purpose you are.  Make the most of them.

When you always have a business card with you, a smile on your face and a positive attitude towards helping others grow their business connections, you can handle any environment you find yourself in.

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Filed under Communications, Jeff Bowman, Networking