Certified

In cleaning and recycling old paperwork this week, I took several strolls down memory lanes. Lanes plural since different papers jogged different memories and ideas. The lane I’ll take right now come from a receipt we got from an automotive establishment, years ago.

At this auto service, the subheading on the invoice states:

General Manager [XYZ] is “ASK PATTY” Certified Female Friendly.

Hmmmm….me thinks. So I investigate.

Sure enough, here’s the Ask Patty site. Take a peek. Tell me what you think.

  • Is it necessary to have to certify to be Female Friendly?
  • Is it helpful?
  • What can it truly promote and do for a business – as well as what’s the message the certification sends to the customers?
  • Why did the business feel compelled to look into the program and get certified to begin with?

It begs the question: What other industries have some sort of female friendly certification program? Who could use a shot in the arm, the ol’, “Hey you! Wake up to how important female consumers are!”

Several, is the answer here. If not all.

A refresher at a minimum, and ground up consciousness for those totally lacking in awareness in other cases.  The fact that we do have to enter into these conversations tells us we’ve still miles to go for gender equity. Consider the silver lining: we can all affect change that can improve the world for the better starting Right Now.

If you’re certified in this fashion, I’d love to hear your why and what it means to you on an everyday business basis. If you want to recommend the automotive entities you encounter look into this program, go for it.

Addressing all customers with full respect isn’t just good business. It’s being a good person and we can sure use more of that from everyone.

The best smartest longest lasting businesses will pay attention to customer input. Does that guarantee they’ll do it? Well, of course not. It will guarantee a reaction though and perhaps a shake up of an unacceptable status quo.

Onward. Thanks Patty.

When Do You Give And When Do You Say No?

All businesses, of any tax status, get requests for donations. Cash, goods, services, supplies, equipment – whatever might be available in the coffers. Have you experiences this as well? As a business person, you name it – I’ve likely given it, donating freely.

The dealmakers for me when solicited is that the request has to fit my ideals and brand in order to be considered. Is it a cause I can get behind, that I’m happy to have my brand present and in cahoots with? Is the marketing to the event or cause active and current? is the requesting entity organized and thinking ahead, or is it a last-minute panic ask?

Though I’ve given cash, it’s rare. Though I’ve bought space in a printed program, that’s rare too. What I give most often is a tangible item or event; something visceral. Since I run a company related to the beer community, I often give away beer and ____ pairing (chocolate, cheese, food) parties. They get the customers actively participating and I get to be in  front of a semi-qualified audience. And since I love love love beverage and food together and teaching, it’s an ideal fit for me and loads of fun. The guests always enjoy it as well, since it’s experienced based and the group present then has a new memory they can wax on about later.

Plenty of time to consider the ask is another deal maker, as is when I get a hard copy thank you note post event. Virtual emails ain’t the same by a long shot; you asked me to give to you, good manners should motivate the recipient to make time to write a brief and specific note of thanks. I was raised writing thank you notes and letters so this is particularly meaningful to me. Plus it stands out in an age overwhelmed with electronic detritus.

Giving opportunities abound – make sure they fit with your brand & purpose.

In clearing and recycling paper files this week, I came across packets of Donation receipts and thank you letters. My very first business endeavor, the little pillow company, was an era wherein I had actual goods to give: handmade pillows and other warm and fuzzy goods to share, which I did freely. Here’s a cross-section of recipients:

Chairs 4 Children, personal fundraisers for medical bills, Children’s Home Society, My Sister Friend’s House, South Dakota Symphony, Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, Pheasants Forever, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Mid-Iowa Community Action, Octagon Center for the Arts, BCC Ministries, Gilbert (SD) Elementary School, Running With Heart, Altrusa, Youth & Shelter Services, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, American Heart Association, Festival of Hope, Biolife, Cheerleading Squads, Iowa State University, SO Humane, Rogue Valley Boys & Girls Club, Habitat For Humanity, Public Radio, PBS and so on.

It feels great to give something others find of useful value. I never judge the gift on, say, a final silent or live auction amount. It’s a no-strings gift giving. It’s brand building when it’s a fit. And it’s a good way for all businesses to contribute.

Giving helps the world move forward when we first focus on making sure that monies made – for all entities of every tax status – are in the black. Beggers need not apply – that’s the race to the bottom and wrong tack to take for success.

If you feel compelled to ask me for a donation, please – be in touch. My number is public on all these pages and I’m glad to consider fitting thoughtful requests. I travel a good deal and everything is possible. Simply know what some of my initial dealmakers are and then hit me with your best ask.

Think Like An Entrepreneur: 3 Books Pros Need to Read in 2017

In our world where the sea of written work is growing exponentially by the day and our time grows ever more precious, how do you determine what’s worth your time?

For us it’s pretty simple: Do we enjoy it? Is there a useful lesson or applicable message in the pages? Are we recommending it forward?

Here are three books we recommend anyone in business read now to improve their business.

  1. Creating Customer Evangelists, How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force by Jackie Huba and Ben McConnell. Huba and McConnell write that successful early phase businesses are paying attention to the early adopters of your products and services, which leads to buzz and sales. Their conversational style and case studies of who’s doing it right make this a fast read.
  1. Uncommon Service, How to Win by Putting Customers at the Core of Your Business by Frances Frei and Anne Morriss. If it were really common, then there wouldn’t be a need for this book. Service is fundamental to success from the very beginnings of business. Practicing the ideas from Uncommon Service starting Day 1 helps create great brands.
  1.            Read & apply.

    Drive, The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. Motivation is a fascinating realm that Pink has dived into head first, gone to the bottom and then comes up to share his eye-opening findings of what moves people. The brief history of motivation and correlating eras is interesting and, more importantly, useful.

So What?

Plain old knowledge isn’t power: applied knowledge is. It’s up to you to do something with the knowledge you gain. And it’s as easy at 1-2-3.

  1. Use these books in personal and staff development: give, review together, apply the principles – readers are leaders.
  2. Give these books as rewards in your training and education programs.
  3. Develop an in-house, in-business library of hard copy books for check-out and development.

That’s what.

Valentine’s Day Bonus

Order the book, How To Market Beer To Women: Don’t Sell Me A Pink Hammer, today till midnight & receive a delicious bar of Dagoba Chocolate as a bonus with every book (yep, everyone you order). It’s our sweet little thank you.

 

The Fifty Percent is a project Using Data To Improve Our World by co-founders Meagen Anderson and Ginger Johnson. Syndicated data, consumer insight, consulting, speaking, writing.

Ginger: 515.450.7757 PST  g@thefiftypercent.com

Meagen: 972.821.6983 EST m@thefiftypercent.com

The Fifty Percent, On The House, V1 #1 Feb17