It’s kind of like looking under the bed. What do you expect to find?
Work on making the monsters into dust bunnies.
This was a gem of a quote at a meeting I recently was invited to attend. The context was from an attendee telling a story from a parent perspective, addressing the off spring who we’re perhaps getting a little big for their shoes.
Do you ever forget who’s in charge? And when does that happen? Perhaps in a business interaction where you’ve forgotten the customer (while not always right) is always first. Putting someone first can make a lot of things right. Perhaps in a personal scenario when you’re so focused on making a point that you completely ignore others involved and their vantage point. And their point.
It’s sometimes easy to get so wrapped up in what we do, think and want that we dismiss or unintentionally forego seeing the other pair of shoes: the customer. The customer can be a friend, client, family member, stranger and any other person involved in the situation.
It’s a mantra I frequently hammer: Always remember you are not your customer. It’s irrelevant if you’re a ‘consumer’ or a ‘professional.’ We’re all consumers to start with and we all have valid opinions. It’s how we deal with remembering this – or forgetting it – that matters.
So remember, look at who is in charge of the situation, who should be and then go forward from there. It’ll be a much more successful outcome when all shoes are considered.
This post goes out today with a nod to powerhouse, Loren Fogelman.
Your Four Talents:
1. Gifts – You possess these naturally, you love them and excel at them.
2. Areas of Excellence – People come to you for these skills, you can do them, yet they may bore you if done for any length of time.
3. Competencies – You’re good at these and you get bored quickly with them.
4. Incompetencies - You have no business doing these things.
I heard Loren talk about these as her guest at an NAPW meeting a few weeks back. Loren is impressive in her mastery of material, delivery, presence and projecting her energy forward.
So why am I sharing this with you today? I’d suggest you look at your 4 talents and how you exercise them, no matter who you are and what you are currently occupied with. Work, volunteer, retired and between ‘things’. Now’s a good time to either evaluate or re-examine what is it you’re using this one go round for.
I know I sometimes struggle with how to better budget my time. Balance is a myth and no one can have it all since “all” is different for every body. My talents are always up for examination; where and how I apply them equally so. In the process – and it’s perpetual – I learn more, get better at charging after things I want, letting go of things that are unproductive, and learning to be more graceful on the whole.
Sometimes it’s tougher than we’d like to get rid of a task or obligation that weighs us down. Sometimes it’s not in the cards at all. When you can play it out, it can be cathartic, truly empowering and invigorating.
The 4 Talents to me are groups of skills, characteristics, and abilities influenced by my beliefs, opinions, and thinkings.
It’s time to examine your 4 Talents. I’ll be doing my next personal review with fresh beer and nibbles close at hand. Care to join me?
Make absolutely sure that you’ve got the best website you can have. Before you Facebook, before you jump into Twitter, before you invest in the program of the local theatre/concert venue/stadium/school.
A well constructed and functional website that captures the core of what your business and organization is about is what matters most for any sort of advertising, marketing, and business tool. It’s replaced the hard copy published Yellow (and White) Pages of times past.
Please get past the “I have a neighbor/student/friend who is doing my website.” Really?! And what are you *hoping* for with that arrangement? You get what you pay for – and what you don’t pay for can bite you in a very uncomfortable physical location. Are you willing to allow this key ingredient in your success to be farmed out simply due to a relation? How about when things turn sour in the development? What then? Do you want people to hire you and buy your goods, professionally made? Then invest in the professionalism of others who specialize where you don’t.
A professional is who you want. Interview a few companies that are capable, preferably based on referrals of people you trust, know and are successful. Choose one – of if none fit, then interview more till you find the fit. Yes, budgets vary greatly – I understand that. All the same, if you aren’t willing to budget for a site to begin with, what does the rest of your plan look like?
A well designed, thought out and executed website will be one of thee most important pieces to your business. Keeping in mind you may not think so. If you don’t think so, you need to get your head out of the sand and pay attention to your business as a potential customer would. I’ve actually had business owners tell me that their customers don’t really want a website; business is fine the way it is.
Wow – I feel sorry for the owner/manager. I feel even more sorry for the customers. How selfish to assume for them. Remember you are not your customer. They are the customer. And you must always look at your business and pursuits with them in mind, if you truly want to serve them.
That’s an extremely ignorant and arrogant way to think about your customers: to assume you know what they want without even asking them.
Do this instead: ask them how they want to be able to find you, learn more about you, share you forward with friends, and get the information they need about you to engage. That’s smart, big picture thinking, wise, and correct. It’s also respectful of the customers who help you buy your groceries and pay your bills.
Putting the horse (FB, Twitter, other online business tools) before the cart (website) will unquestionably confuse the horse (business strategy and staff) as well as those looking for the cart (customers and suppliers).
Keep the horse happy, keep the cart where it should be and start with a website first.
At what point do you determine a favorite? And what is it that makes it your favorite?
As it relates to beer, I hope you never find a favorite beer – and that you don’t ask other people what their favorite is. Here’s why.
Once you crack the gavel down on your favorite beer, you eliminate sweet justice and opportunity to give all following beers a fair shake. You’ve told yourself that it’s the ultimate beer for you and you won’t be swayed.
How sad. Sad that you’ve cut yourself off from new flavors and an open mind that will best serve your taste buds. Sad that you’re also going to be blathering this to anyone who might listen, thereby coloring their thinking. Sad because there are literally thousands and thousands of beer across the globe that would love to be given a chance.
More than sad, I think it’s impossible to designate a favorite beer. Really? You’ve got a ‘favorite beer?’ How did you exactly come to that conclusion – and how long have you held that ridiculous belief?
It’s both impossible and ridiculous because beer is so contextual. Plus many of them are non-pasteurized, so they will literally change over any sort of time frame.
Do you have a favorite sauce or bread or soup? Beer is a category that’s so large and ever changing, it boggles my mind to even consider thinking about what beer would be my favorite if a gun was held to my head and I was forced to choose.
Enjoying beer as well as drinking beer (two different things) will be directly impacted by many factors among them place, freshness, availability, mood, ambient temperature, company, and service vessel. To assume that the ‘favorite beer’ will be the same in every time, place and situation is terribly ignorant.
I used to hate this question when it was asked of me. Now I relish it when someone asks me “what’s your favorite beer?” I’ve long stated “the one in front of me.” My good and beer savvy friend Lisa says “the next one.” I also like “the one that’s fresh,” “the one you buy me,” “what ever you’re pouring,” and “what’s available.”
Why limit yourself to a “favorite” when time, opportunity and accessibility perpetually change. As do our taste buds and preferences as we learn and age.
Give yourself a home taste-bud advantage: make your favorite beer the one you’re enjoying right now. The same goes with each one after that, wherever you may be and what ever you may be drinking.
If you’re one of those folks who say ” I’m really not into giving out business cards,”, “I don’t need to have an email signature,” “a Facebook page isn’t what I want to do,” you need to re-examine why you’re in business.
I got this in an email this week, which inspired the post:
“I’ve never been a fan of email signatures, or titles on business cards for that matter, but perhaps there is some merit to what you say and I will certainly take a look at it.”
I had suggested this person utilize an email signature (credibility and professionalism). Your business is not about you.
Frankly we’re all selling something. And happily we’re all selling something. The adage is still around because it’s ever so true. If you’re a parent and want your child to do well, you’re selling your family and yourself and your kid at a parent teacher conference. If you’re a public servant you’re selling the idea that the municipality wants to serve the populace. If you’re a brewery you’re selling the idea that your beer is the one people should enjoy. If you’re a consumer of any goods you’re selling the idea your business and patronage is valuable.
Indeed. We’re all selling. And I think it’s not only good to acknowledge that fact, it’s something to embrace, and constantly strive to improve.
Selling isn’t the same as being pushing, inauthentic, or slippery. It’s about sharing an idea that you can’t stand not to share. It’s about the concept of your idea bringing people a better quality of life, improving their surroundings, helping the earth, making them more healthy and in general making your good/service/product something that the consumers will indeed benefit from.
In the beer arena, selling the idea of beer is the first step. Before you get to brand, it’s about beer. All beer. Yesterday I started to initiate the idea to quash the idea of delineating and segmenting beer. We don’t need more segmentation in the world; we need more coming together. (Angelo’s right: Beer Snobbery Be Gone. In all shapes and sizes, from all directions and voices.)
Women Enjoying Beer does that everyday. The business isn’t about women – and it’s not necessarily about beer. It’s about opportunity. The inviting of those who’ve been previously uninvited, overlooked, dismissed, or devalued to the table to be part of the conversation. Like Sheryl would say, it’s about leaning in. More importantly, what we do is invite people to proactively lean in.
You’re selling something. What is it? How do you do it? And do you always keep your eye on ‘them’, your consumers and customers? What are you doing to serve them?
It’s also again precisely why WEB exists: to help you take a look inside, from the outside you don’t see. Whether you’re a consumer, a professional (who is still a consumer) or a combination of the two, you’re selling your idea, beliefs, thoughts, and ideas. Make sure you approach the sales therein with an eye on the end consumer.
Beer has always been beer. It’s been around as long as humans have been in one spot long enough to make it.
So why is there now *suddenly* a definition of what beer should be?
I speak of the word Craft in reference to its use with the word beer.
When I started WEB I’d use the word, as did the crowd I hung with – the professionals I’d come to know and enjoy. The longer I’ve been around the industry though, the more I chaff against it. Here’s why.
When I was teaching public school a number of years ago, and even when I was in my education program in college, I quickly saw that labels and identifying words could be damning. And permanent in a very negative way, with both positive labels and negative ones.
Ever been called stupid? Unique? Smart? How about ADD, ADHD, Special Needs? Perhaps the titles originally were designed to help those who thought they were helping the student. Nevertheless, those same people conjuring up these titles ended up creating more damage than good. It works both ways: Champion, Winner, Title Holder. Pressure anyone?
People like to name things, because it helps us understand and go forward. Although for some, they become a crutch, a permission slip to not do this or that – or to do this or that.
I hated them as a teacher and simply wanted to see the student as the person they were. Yes, we all have qualities and talents and physical and emotional characteristics that make us who we are. They are should not solely define us or who we are and can be.
The same holds true with beer. To use one word to narrowly define what something “can” or “should” be is arrogant. Who gives whom the authority to create such a definition anyway? Or who decides to take the authority especially when it’s a universal item that most people on the planet have their own definition for already.
Yes, definitions change. It’d be impossible for something to not change. Mother Nature changes, people change, times change. My beer is like my body: it’s up to me alone to define what it is. It’s personal and to have someone tell me otherwise – that’s not beer – is ridiculous, disrespectful and unacceptable. They’re invalidating my opinions and beliefs.
It’s time to change “back” to no delineation. It’s time to recognize and work with all beer, tastes, flavors, recipes, and ideas of what beer is, can be and what people want their beer to be.
To create delineations in something as universal as beer is also anti diplomatic. Why create and drive another wedge into something everyone already owns themselves? Our energies and efforts are much better spent elsewhere. You shut out as many people or more than you bring in when you draw a line in the definition sand.
And no, don’t argue with me that one kind of business that makes one kind of thing is better or worse than another. It’s untrue. Along with that, ‘small’ is a word I also loathe when applied to business. There’s nothing small to an effort you put your entire life into. And all big/ger businesses started much smaller as well.
I could go on and on about this. And will pick it up another time. For now, here’s where I stand. Beer is beer. Let’s leave it that way.
“Are you online? I’ll just order it there.”
“You’re out here? I’ll just order it online.”
Three times in the space of 30 minutes I heard this comment per goods I was selling at a festival last weekend. These comments came after they asked if I had more goods (everything’s at the festival, best selection). These comments came after I indicated that there was no more of what they wanted, here or elsewhere.
So where do you suppose this thinking comes from?
I think it’s from the unrealistic expectation that if we can’t get it ‘here’ we can get it online. And where did that thinking come from?
It’s not like the internet is magic…or maybe it is for some. It’s certainly been a crutch to our thinking that if we can’t find the beloved-whatever-we-want-right-now in one place we should be able to find it elsewhere: the mythical “online.”
It’s like ONLINE is now the clearinghouse that has everything we want. Never mind what we need.
Clearly these comments stuck with me. And they irritate me. To place unrealistic expectations on a business without asking for clarity and then accepting that explanation, is ignorant to what is going on. To ask and then totally ignore the response of the vendor who does in fact want to sell you what you want even though they’re out, is an entitled attitude that’s dangerous.
The world and everything in it is finite. Whether you want that beer that everyone’s talking about and you can’t get, or a shirt in your size that sold out because you said “I’ll come back later”, expect to get what you act on. Best fresh is a motto for way more than beer, bread and hot pizza.
And sometimes, like Mick says, you can’t always get what you want. I agree.
Do you want to support your local Brewery? Do you support your go-to brands of the delicious, varietal and economically stimulating beer industry?
Dick Cantwell, Elysian Brewing, is one of those individuals I thoroughly enjoy listening to, learning from and talking with. Here’s an example of his eloquence while getting at a serious issue. No minced words, higghly intelligent, and forthcoming. He’s a class act who is passionate about what he is contributing to the world at large, in a big thinking way, while minding the shop at home.
Cheers to Dick. Cheers to others who speak up and keep speaking up about things that matter to them. Cheers to you supporting. We all need to speak up and show up to support what we believe in.
We’re very pleased – downright tickled beery! – to welcome Diane Gaston to the WEB team.
Diane’s been the Captain of the Women Enjoying Beer booth at the 2011 & 2012 Great American Beer Festivals and recently has happily joined us as our Colorado State Representative.
In short: Diane’s a diplomatic and very energetic beer enthusiast with a sharp intellect and easy laugh. She’s whip sharp and is equally excited about to be part of the growth of WEB.
Please join me in welcoming her to the family. You can reach out to her at Diane@WomenEnjoyingBeer.com for Colorado focused WEB questions, festivals, events, and pursuits. Diane is actively developing our presence in the great state of Colorado and is happy to connect with other fun people in the beer community, consumers and professionals alike.
Cheers to Diane!
Other Team Members:
- Emily Engdahl, WEB Events Director
- Ginger Johnson, Founder, head Educator, Researcher, & Marketer