Collaboration Cafe Style!

Sitting in our cafe the other day, working on food cost analysis… exciting I know!

A regular walks by my table and says hi. I know Brian from his regular visits and I also know he’s a business coach. (he’s left his card) He asks how things are going and we chat for a few minutes. As the conversation progresses, he sits down and we talk more about his previous career and how he got into coaching.

Finally he asks about the cafe. When are we busy etc.. ? And then…. the big question. Would you be open to an idea? I can see a pitch coming and obviously I’m a little cautious. But I calm my nerves (not really that tough), swallow and quietly say sure!

“Just like many small businesses, I notice that you don’t get customer’s information“, he says carefully.

I jump to my defense and tell him about our coffee cards. You know buy 10 coffees get one free, but we do better than the competition..(yeah right) We get them to put their email address on the back.

Truth is.. we’re not very happy with the system and I tell him so. In fact we haven’t reprinted the cards since we ran out and we are seriously looking at getting some kind of loyalty card that people carry around in their wallets with the 50 others from various merchants.

“But people don’t like carrying another card“, he slams my theories again. darn..

He’s right… again. So he tells me about his bookstore he knows where the owner just asks people for their phone number if they want to collect points with his club.

Simply….

Easy…

Everyone remembers their phone number… (okay maybe not everyone but you get the point)

No-one has to carry another card or remember a new code….

Too easy!

“Yeah he says, but this guy I know never does anything with the information he gets. He could send out an email once a month and let his customers know about his monthly special. Or you could send out an email with a daily or weekly special at the cafe”

Boom.. there it is. The answer to what I had been spending countless hours searching for. A simple solution to our current dilemma.

He gets up and walks out the door. As he leaves he says something like if you want any more brilliant ideas, just give me a call.

But here’s the thing that’s really got me bugged. In all my searching, I never came up with the right answer. The answer actually came to my cafe when I didn’t expect it. How do I reproduce it?

So where do you go to solve your business problems? What kind of ideas do you get from other people? Is there a way to make sure you are always in the right place at the right time. Becky, what do you do?

Let’s talk!


Dangerous Thinking!

On the eve of my 46th birthday, I lay in bed unable to sleep. Not that birthdays have ever been a big deal to me but since I became a grandfather, I’m looking at life a little differently.

I started thinking about what I’ve accomplished in life. Thinking hard, trying to list off what my claim to fame might be. I thought about my kids and how I’ve had a positive effect on people. I tried to recount what contribution I had made to the human race. I kept looking back on life for some meaning.

Then it hit me!

I was thinking all wrong. In fact I had allowed my thinking to become dangerous.

I tell people to keep looking toward the future. You’ve read it here, but here I was, looking back.

Someone once said that if your future looks brighter than your past, then you have a future. (no that wasn’t me)

Spending too much time thinking about what you have done (or not done) ends up providing an excuse to do nothing. Or at least not dream about your future.

I don’t know about you, but I found that certain milestones in my life caused me to be more reflective than others. The birth of our granddaughter, death of a grandparent, graduation of a child, the fact that I didn’t have to buy school supplies this year for the first time in eighteen years. Maybe events like these cause you to look back just a little more than you should.

Here’s some ideas on how to readjust:

  • Do something you’ve never done before. Trying something new will help you change your focus from the past to future. It may be more difficult that you realize but it will be worth the effort.
  • Give yourself a mental kick in the pants. A not so subtle mental readjustment may be all you need. Be firm with yourself and get your mind back where it should be. Looking forward and upward instead of focussed on the tiny navel in the middle of your belly.
  • Dream with your spouse, friend or other significant person in your life. Sharing dreams with others is a sure way to get excited about the future again. One caveat: make sure those you dream with are encouragers.
  • Buy some new clothes. I know clothes don’t sound like an answer and I’m not encouraging comfort shopping, but it’s been said that clothes make the man. I went out and bought a new pair of jeans today only to discover that I’ve lost one waist size. Wooohoo! Feeling better about the future already.
  • Take a trip. Where have you always wanted to go? Where have you never been before? Well? What are you waiting for?
Okay it’s your turn. What tips do you have for keeping forward focussed when life turns reflective?
Let’s talk!

“Bounce” – the review!

Earlier this year I received a copy of Barry Moltz‘s new book “Bounce” from non other than Barry himself. Apparently Liz Strauss figured I needed to read it…. what are you saying Liz? :-)

Time has quickly gone by and Barry has gently nudged me about doing a review. In the past three months, my internet access has been anything but consistent with moving houses, businesses etc. But now at last…(drum roll please!) my review of “Bounce

In “Bounce” Barry Moltz has taken a different view on the whole subject of failure and our ability to bounce in those situations. Unlike most popular books on the subject, this is not a story littered with success out of the ashes of failure. In fact, “Bounce” talks a lot about failure and NOT as a springboard to success. I think this excellent resource will be a great help in putting failure into it’s proper perspective.

One of the chapters, ‘The World from Here: Start Where You Are’, lays out the implications of failure in various cultures. Since we now live in a flat world according to Thomas Friedman, the cross-cultural application should be readily apparent.

Reducing our risk, owning our mistakes and setting our own scorecard are vital ingredients in your ability to bounce at least according to Barry.

When I first opened up the book and started reading… I have to admit I was somewhat taken back by his candidness. Then as I continued on I realized that finally here was someone speaking my language. Not the language of cheerleaders and motivational speakers. Someone who had been in the grind of building a business and not always doing it right or succeeding. Someone…. like me!

Sometimes you need to hear the voice from someone beside you not just up at the top yelling down that you can do it!

The last chapter is titled, “Read This Book — Then Throw It Away”. ?After you finish the book, you’ll know why.