Over the last year I took a big step and started writing a blog to share what I know about entrepreneurship and business. I did what I tell others to do, just do it. It has been wonderful in helping me to formulate my thoughts out loud and to recognize how much I learn in everyday life that applies to business. My blog, for lack of a better name, was titled the “entrepreneurial guru” and was a wonderful placeholder while I figured out what really authentically represents me. Well, 81 posts or so later, it’s time for a change as I finally came up with the name that I will be moving forward with. In thinking about my business and what I am trying to achieve, I focused on the fact that it isn’t just one person that provides the entrepreneurial spirit, advice, business lessons, or knowledge to be an entrepreneur. It is collaborative effort amongst everyone that helps us to find something within and the ability to find our entrepreneurial voice. And so it is, with great excitement, that I have chosen the name Entrepreneurial Voice to represent the work I do.
A while back I wrote a post about my experience with Urth, the cafe that never delivered my sandwich! Urth was apologetic, and In all fairness, the manager did tell me the next time I ordered, he wouldn’t charge me for delivery.
Yesterday, I made the decision to order again and have my lunch delivered for my daughter and myself, She loves the chili with crusty bread and I was excited to try the greek salad. So I placed my order, but felt it was too long ago to bring anything up about what I was promised and not promised. Besides, I couldn’t even remember the manager’s name.
Eagerly I awaited my order, and, 45 minutes later, thankfully, this time, lunch arrived at my office. Looking through the order though, I noticed the crusty bread was missing. What is chili without bread? The delivery guy just looked dumbfounded when I inquired. My first thought as he stood there waving the charge slip at me to quickly sign so he could get back to his illegally parked car, was to give my signature and add the customary tip. But this time I decided to make a stand. The bread was a part of the meal. I paid for the bread. I did not get the bread. I could accept this and forever be upset about the situation, maybe never frequent the cafe again, OR, I could hold them accountable, give them the opportunity to make the situation right and see what kind of stuff they were made of. I decided on the later. I told the delivery guy I would pay for the order when he delivered the bread. I called the manager and politely explained the situation, referencing the past experience as well. He apologized and said they would send someone out to deliver the bread. I figured they would never come (especially since I’m about 4 miles away and parking is difficult at best) and just accept they lost money on that order, but to my big surprise, they delivered the bread in less than 15 minutes. This wasn’t just a slice of bread, but nearly a loaf, and in addition, they delivered a beautiful fruit tart for dessert! Now that is service and I’m renewed on my love of the cafe and can only sing their praises. Most of us want to do the right thing. I’m glad I gave them the opportunity to change my impression and make me want to continue to do business with them and recommend them to others. What would you have done?
In my last post, I described the chaos that permeated my life for the last several months (years). It took the last month to finally see daylight, (hence no posts since my last one) but my chaos has finally ended. Well, that’s not entirely true. I still have much to do to put everything back in its place, but I am happy to report that my attitude change helped me to clean up, clear out, declutter, and organize everything so that when 18 family members came for Thanksgiving holidays, not only was I able to host the dinner, but house many guests in what truly felt like was a HOME again for the first time in two years. The pain of what I went through has already subsided. The lesson here is to ride the storm, take action, even if it is just a little action, and eventually you will get through it with a smile.
I’ve been living in chaos. For the past two years, my home in Boulder has been in a state of remodel for both aesthetic and defective reasons. I’ve dealt with it rather abstractedly because I’ve been fortunate to have my beautiful loft in LA to reside in while construction took place in Boulder. That all changed a few months ago when my daughter and many of her belongings took up temporary residence in my LA loft, while my husband remodels hers. My husband is the talented and busy contractor with just a couple of helpers for both locations. He originally anticipated a move in date for my daughter a couple of months ago, but the challenges of remodeling in a 1920’s building and typical construction delays, running three other businesses and remodeling our home in Boulder as well, has put him way behind schedule. The completion of the remodel of my home in Boulder was hoped for many months ago as well, but has been delayed for many reasons and now nears completion.
Given the state of both homes, it’s gotten hard to put on a happy face and pretend that the chaos doesn’t affect me. In LA, my daughter’s clothes are stuffed in drawers not meant for so much overflow and items I usually have ready access to are lost in the abyss. Her furnishings and boxes fill the corners of my loft and while I love having her around, I am ready for her to move into her own space as soon as possible. (It probably goes without saying, that she is ready too!) In Boulder, my home is filled with the usual construction debris including furniture and household items that should have been packed away, but are covered in drywall dust, and scattered throughout the house in rooms they don’t belong. The fall out os such chaos surrounding me is that I feel cluttered, disorganized and out of place. I would have a hard time getting things done and found myself circling my to do tasks like a buzzard waiting to attack its prey
So on a visit home to help put the house in order and get ready for 18 family members to join together at my house for our Thanksgiving celebration, with some staying the week in guest rooms and on sofas, I LOST IT! I entered my home in Boulder around midnight after arriving from LA about a week ago and I totally and utterly LOST it! I looked around at items openly exposed, randomly placed and piled high on every available surface, covered in inches of drywall dust, and I cried. I cried big crocodile tears. I cried for hours, completely embracing my woe, and feeling the overwhelm in every fiber of my being. I cried until I couldn’t cry anymore and then I made the decision to take control and reframe my situation. Even though my house truly looked as though a hurricane had come through, causing destruction and chaos in every room of the house, I realized the true victims were the ones that had experienced Hurricane Sandy just days before. While my home was filled with drywall dust, their homes were filled with sand. I could suck, blow or dust off the drywall dust. Sand wasn’t that easy. I realized I was strong and able and had much to be grateful for. While some items were a casualty of the construction, victims of Hurricane Sandy lost much, much more. So I rolled up my sleeves, (actually I told myself it was time to put on my big girl panties) and I thought entrepreneurial. Tackling the problem one step at a time. I got to work and room by room, I found my home again.
As long as our life is filled with chaos and clutter, we have little room left for anything else, especially looking at life with new perspective and allowing new opportunities in. Reframing a situation helps you get a new mind set and allows you to move forward with a solution. Cleaning up chaos or decluttering opens the door to new possibilities. You can diminish that feeling of helplessness and overwhelm if you can do just one little thing. It can be a simple gesture, like clean out a purse or ignore your negative thoughts. But doing this allows you to open up your mind to new possibilities and look at life in a brand new way. It works.
This is a long one, and hope you don’t spend too much “time” reading, but this seems like a timely subject in a world that should value people’s time and money. Sometimes it takes hearing the story to grasp the full meaning.
I’m losing time and it started out just being a problem with my watch. I took it in to one of my “go to places” in Boulder and since losing time usually means “new battery ” required, I made that same assumption and $10 later, I was good to go. Problem was, I was still losing time. I took it to a new place in LA, and he told me I needed a new set of hands. $45 and a week later to complete repairs, I was good to go. Problem was, I was still losing time. I took it back, and it took another week for him to remove the second hand. As I picked up my watch, I thought surely I was good to go. Problem is, I’m still losing time. Not just with my watch, but losing time (my time) trying to get all those redo’s. And I have to wonder, if I’m spending money to get the problem corrected, and it’s not being corrected, did I really need to spend the money? I haven’t had time to take the watch back in yet, but surely next “time” I can get the “right time”.
I took my car in and they told me I needed to get a ton of work done to the tune of $1000. Shop around my husband told me, so I took “time” to find another mechanic that could do the work at half the cost, and even though they were much farther away, I took the “time” to take the car in and get transportation back and forth while the car was being repaired. Once the mechanic diagnosed the problem, I was told the cost was now $800. Ok, what do you do? So I authorized the work. I scheduled a ride to pick the car up and as I drove home, the car had a few new problems and a couple of warning lights came on. I called the mechanic, and he said to bring the car back in. More “time” and all that entailed. He needed to keep the car to figure out how to turn the lights off. So, I had to reschedule when I had “time” to leave the car and could get rides back and forth. Finally dropped the car off and he was able to correct a couple of problems, but couldn’t figure out how to turn the warning lights off. His suggestion was to take it to the dealer, and he would pay for them to turn the warning light off. More “time, but I took it to the dealer, they needed it for a few days to diagnose the problem, and I found myself spending more “time” waiting for my car. Finally, the dealership called and said I needed a new battery. It would cost a little over $200 and they could turn the light off (don’t even know if one had to do with the other). Again, I have to wonder if I really needed all these replacements and repairs. By the “time” this is all said and done, I have spent a ton of “time”, more money than the original estimate, and probably paid for a battery I didn’t need. I still haven’t taken the “time” to figure out how to collect from the mechanic the cost of the getting the light turned off. Finally, after hours and hours and hours of “time”, being inconvenienced and overspending, everything is working correctly again.
When the time changed and we fell forward to accommodate Daylight Savings Time. my cable TV started acting up and wouldn’t correctly display the time. After spending 1 hour “time” on hold, my phone got “disconnected” and it took another 11/2 hours “time” on hold before a Time Warner Cable representative could correct the problem. It wasn’t until later that I realized in their correction of the problem, they created a new one. Now my channels didn’t display. After my husband spent “time” trying to correct the problem and failed, we called again, this “time” only spending about 1 hour on hold. The problem was corrected, but once again, we discovered a new problem. Now we couldn’t get ON DEMAND! I called, again. Wait “time”, took another hour to find out they needed to send out a technician, available five days later. He spent 2 hours “time” here, changing out the BOX twice in an effort to correct the problem. “That should do it,” he said as he left my loft, smiling in his ability to solve the problem. BUT that didn’t do it, because although I could access ON DEMAND, I couldn’t watch any programs for more than 2 minutes before getting error messages. I spent another 1 hour’s “time” on the phone with a representative from Time Warner Cable, telling them I thought it was on their end and I didn’t think they needed to send another technician out, but they insisted and after another 4 day wait, another technician came to my loft for a couple of hours, checking everything under the sun and declared everything worked just fine now. It didn’t. As I was dealing with these issues on the phone, Time Warner Cable ads were running that tell me they are the best and cable with them is something different. It was different alright. Another phone call, another technician to my loft, another chunk of “time” and finally they decided the problem was on their end (duh!) and they called in the big guns to correct the problem. Finally, about 13 hours total of my “time”, later, either on the phone or being present while a technician came to my loft, everything is working correctly again.
The point of this blog is not to complain or vent, but to point out how valuable a person’s time is as well as making people feel valued as a customer as they are going through a difficult experience as a result of your company’s limitations or policies or anytime really. All three companies could have done something to make me feel better about my experience and keep me as a customer. In the case of the watch, I will forever feel duped that I paid $45 for a set of hands that I didn’t need. If I ever get my watch fixed, I won’t go back. With regard to the car mechanic, he was nice enough, but he should have been upfront that costs could exceed his original estimate and that he wasn’t familiar with my car. I won’t go back there again either. Businesses should take note. It costs 5-7 x more to develop a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Although I don’t have alternative options to switch companies with my cable company; as a consumer, I can protest virally and many a company has endured the wrath and PR nightmare that comes with a successful viral campaign. TIME WARNER CABLE could have apologized for the massive inconvenience I experienced and offered a month’s credit or something equally nice to make me feel validated in my frustration. It wouldn’t have cost them anything really to offer that, but would have gone a long way in customer service and satisfaction. In today’s market, when customers have more choices than ever before, companies would be wise to take heed and structure their company to instill the customer service as a primary value in the company policy.
One day I woke up and said, “I’m really hungry and would love to have one of those unbelievable breakfast sandwiches from my friend’s new cafe http://coffeeplusfood.com, that blends a little bit of Australia and a little bit of LA, so I got in my car and drove to the corner of Larchmont and Melrose, They serve the best coffee too, according to customers that have found their daily fix (I don’t drink coffee but I do love their chai tea!) and also enjoy the really cool black coffee cups.
Satiated and feeling very inspired from some of the delicious food, I stopped by next door to visit http://www.artworksstudio,org and picked up a schedule to see when I could sign up for classes and when they are doing the next nude drawing and dinner party.
My friend Cyndi is the owner of these two establishments and writes a blog called practical and meaningful. http://practicalandmeaningful.typepad.com/practicalandmeaningful/ It is nice to read her blog, get inspired and be reminded of what’s really important in life. Her blog allows her to share a part of herself, helping her readers to get to know her on a personal level. And one way she gets more readers, is that when I tell someone, then they tell someone and then they tell someone else, and pretty soon you have a lot of someones, knowing about you.
Just write. I have nothing to say and I have a million things to say, when there is time and I can be perfect in what I want to communicate. Right now, I have no time and I’m sure I’m not in the presence of mind to communicate any of the amazing things I’ve learned, experienced or shared since my last post. It is easy to put off writing, but as long as I do that, I will continue to do that. So I am going to just write. Something. Anything. To keep my writing muscles active and to slow down my brain. More to come, before it is ready and before it is perfect, but it will come from my heart. Meanwhile, I am thinking, living, doing.