Monthly Archives: June 2014

Spreading Love Through Business

Many would balk at even the notion of love in business.  Love is for the bedroom, not the boardroom.  Much like church and state do not belong together.

I disagree.  I believe that love is an essential ingredient in business.  If you don’t “love” your customers in some way, you may find yourself with none. The language of love may be different in business, but it is still all about love.

Praise and encouragement are ways to show your love. Laid lavishly on employees, they can be worth more than gold.  People will feed a long time on well-placed encouraging words.

Appreciation is a powerful and loving business word. Appreciation, given genuinely and consistently can actually put money in your pocket.  I doubt there are statistics on this, but it seems evident to me.  If someone appreciates my business, I am more likely to come back to them (or send others their way).  Gratitude always works magic.  No matter where you use it.

Love means paying attention to the details of your beloved’s life. Love in business can be remembering to ask about a sick loved one or acknowledging a spouse’s promotion. Wishing happy birthday, offering congratulations, sending regards are wonderful and loving ways to show how you do business.  There is nothing unbusinesslike about caring about the people you work with or for.

When you love someone, you respect them.  Isn’t it wise to treat business associates with respect?  Look for the good in them.  Notice and point out talents you see.  What a wonderful way to help those qualities grow!  If that’s not love, I’m not sure what is.

Offer honest feedback as you would to someone you love, with an awareness of their feelings.  And an eye for propriety.  You wouldn’t want to chew out your child in front of  others.  Why would you speak to one of your employees like that?  Your opinion is important – especially if you’re the boss.  But in the end, the customer is the real boss.  Show respect for everyone you do business with.

What if you said you didn’t have to love the delivery person who brings your sandwich?  After all, what has he got to do with business success?  What goes around comes around.  You never know where this person may end up in your life.  He could be the son of the client you’ve been wanting to land a contract with. Treat everyone with love and respect and watch your goodwill blossom, along with your bottom line.

Chellie Campbell, in her landmark book, The Wealthy Spirit said this about love in business, “Take time to understand the human being behind the transaction, the spiritual being behind the contract. The goal of business doesn’t have to be just more profit.  The possibilities are bigger than that.  Business can spread light, love and peace in the world.”

Amen!

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Asking for It

I’ve been told a lot lately to “ask for the business.”  I guess a lot of us have trouble doing that.  But it makes sense to ask for what you want.  How are others going to know if you don’t ask for it?

In Business, as well as in writing and in life asking questions opens new pathways. Asking for work is just one place.

Ask vendors for special terms. Either they’ll say no, they can’t do that. Or they’ll say, yes, we’d be happy to!  But you never know until you ask.

To improve your business, ask questions. If you’re struggling somewhere, ask for help.  There are so many organizations, just through the Small Business Administration. I love the Small Business Development Center.  Asking questions helps to find solutions.  In some cases, that could mean asking your significant other for more time to work on your business.

Ask your customers what they would like to see you do.  Danny Inny at Firepole Marketing, suggests that you go to your audience or customers first, before you make any moves at all. They are your biggest fans, after all.  See what they think.

Employees can be a wealth of information, if you but ask them. Pointed questions can reveal vital data on how to keep this crucial asset in good working order. If you have a management staff, ask them lots of questions, too.  All the time.  Keep finding out more about what’s going on by continuing to ask questions like How can I make this better?  How can I improve my service?  As you do this, answers will come, ideas will sprout.

Don’t forget the powerful question: How can this be done?  If you choose, instead to say, “It can’t be done,” you’ll get nowhere.  How much more exciting it is to ask how!

Can you think of other places where it would be helpful to ask?  Please leave a comment with your suggestions.

Profile: The Family Thread

Every February, Diane Lemonides works a service project she created called “Warming Hearts.” With the help of her local Rotary Club and her son’s hockey team, each week she brings a cooler to gather gallons of soups from eager participants. Then delivers them to Safe Harbor, a homeless shelter near where she lives in West Chester, PA. The following week, she returns empty containers to be filled up again. Her program grows each year. When asked where the idea came from she said, “In my family we always made soup. I love making it and knowing I’m doing something for others.” It’s like that for her: giving is just another thread in her busy day.

Diane is a self-proclaimed “Big-Time Environmentalist.” She supports all kinds of environmental causes, including The Natural Lands Trust, Appalachian Mountain Club and The National Parks program. She has been composting and working an organic garden for years. Since she was a little girl, she’s had an affinity for nature. She recalls as a teen, telling her parents she was going to clean up the town creek. Off she went with a rake, shovel and bag, clearing away all the trash. These days Diane’s often seen participating in her township’s neighborhood clean-up program.

She grew up in a family business. From those strong roots she gained a set of values that carries over into her own business. Values, rooted in an appreciation of the environment, spring forth in her giving nature. She was taught that caring for the land and for others can be blended into everything she does. Family is, for her, “The thread that ties it all together.”

When she isn’t cleaning up parks, she runs Verve Marketing and Design. A marketing company that supports hard-working and caring companies that have unique products and services to offer. Diane and her company provide strategic planning, along with graphics and content. Many of her clients create bespoke items. “I love when people are producing things that are just exceptional that they put their heart and soul into!”

Each year, she and members of her Verve family, as well as other family members and friends, cycle in The Multiple Sclerosis 150 City to Shore ride. The course is a 150-mile ride over two days from the city to the shore line. In the past her company has raised over $7,000 for the local chapter.

In lieu of gifts to her clients, Verve sponsored three children through Children International. This program allowed her to extend family even further. It began when the children were just two years of age and continued until they came of age.

The values she learned growing up thread through Verve Marketing and Design. For Heifer International, Verve handled the entire book packaging for a project called “Dreaming Cows.” It was a series of illustrated books, used as educational tools for children, filling them with an environmental and global perspective. “That was a really meaningful project. I was so glad to be able to do it,” Diane said.

Everyone who works for Diane is part of the family. She actually pays interns and has hosted many of them over the years. “I love to watch them graduate and see where the world takes them,” she said, with pride. One of her past interns, Guy, called one day, unexpectedly. He was on the train back from New York City where he had interviewed for and been offered a great job. If it wasn’t for her, he told her, he wouldn’t have the experience he needed to land that position. “It feels really good to be giving kids a break,” Diane echoed.

Diane likes to work with clients who share her family-based principles. 60% of her business is with Amish craftsmen. Diane understands the challenges they face in balancing family and work, and the need to preserve the business for future generations. Like Diane, her clients have the thread of family through their work.

With a background in arts, working as a designer and art director for many publishing houses across the planet, Diane brings a sharp eye to her work. Not only does that influence her ability to envision and evaluate the visuals to market her clients, it also fuels her appreciation of the bespoke items they create. Her appreciation of art and nature work hand-in-hand in her business.

The thread of family continues throughout her whole life. It keeps her giving wherever it’s needed. Deep-rooted values make her a beneficial member of her community as well as a successful business owner.

To contact Diane, click here.

For more information on the Dreaming Cows series, click here.