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Tips & Thoughts

Why Hire A Personal Concierge?

A personal concierge used to be just perks you could expect from a luxury hotel and resort.  Today time strapped families are relying on our services to perform everyday tasks, including grocery shopping, runs to the dry cleaners, organization, and even to manage home improvement projects and staffing.  People have limited time, so if they can find a one stop shop service, then they are glad to have us as a resource.  They can spend their time on things that make more sense like being more focused when they are at work and not stressed about how they are going to complete all the little things.  

How much time, stress and gas would this example save you?

In less than two hours for a current client we dropped off their dry cleaning, mailed two packages, bought two children's books, returned a pair of pants to the Gap and picked up a bag of compost from the local nursery.

This example would take the average time strapped family more than a week to complete with new ‘to-do's' being added daily...Ugh!

Hiring a personal concierge for weekly services guarantees you peace of mind that those small tasks won't slip thru the cracks and you will be the envy of all your friends when they say "Gosh you so organized, how do you find the time?"  Well, that will be your little secret.

7 Simple Ways To Create More Time

clock1. Leave The Television Off
Choose what and when to watch. Be selective, every minute you spend watching television is time that could be spent being productive.

2. Automate
Banks, bill paying services and virtual assistants are effective personal and business choices available to handle some of your more time-consuming tasks.

3. Cluster Errands
Look at the day, the week and the month. Where can you practice clustering? Simply juggling for efficiency can create instant blocks of time.

4. Just Say No
Cut back on volunteering by catching your automatic "yes" response. Try phrases like: "I need to check my schedule". Give yourself time to decide.

5. Take yourself out of reaction-mode
The telephone is often the reason we get interrupted when we work. Stay focused and let people leave messages. Schedule specific times during the day to return calls.

6. Take Smaller Bites
Separate larger projects into smaller bites that can be spread out over time.  This can "free up" time and help keep projects on track. Including deadlines for each smaller piece helps you measure progress.

7. Delegate
Hire a cleaning or maintenance service for home and lawn care. Take an inventory of how responsibilities are currently and revisit how responsibilities are divided.

Achieve The Life You Were Meant To Live!

A new year is here again and it is always our chance to start fresh.  Several years ago I learned that life is what you make of it not what life makes of you.  So here are 10 ways that will help you live the life you were meant to live!

1.  You Either Get It Or You Don't
Continually learn all you can about yourself and your world.  Then have the courage to be accountable for your life and honest with yourself, regardless of the consequences.

2.  You Determine Your Own Experience In This World
When you choose the behavior, you create the consequence.  Do not wait for your life to just happen, go out and make it happen.

3.  You Will Only Do What Works For You In This World
With brutal honesty, identify and confront the payoffs you get from your behavior.  Control your payoffs, and you will control your life.

4.  You Cannot Change Or Heal What You Are Unwilling To Acknowledge
Be honest with yourself about your life and everything in it.  Determine what works and does not work for you.  Stop making excuses and start making results.

5.  Life Only Rewards Your Actions, Not Your Intentions
Live your life with bold confidence.  Do not waste time sitting on the bench, get in the game of your life and play it to win.

6.  There Is No Reality, Only Perception
Continually challenge all the belief systems in your world.  Insist your life be lived in truth and only in truth.  Acknowledge your history but don't be controlled by it.

7.  Life Is A Journey, Not A Destination
Your life must be managed and directed by you everyday.  If you do not control and direct your own life, someone or something else will.  Remember, whether the ride of your life is long or short, you and only you choose the driver every single day.

8.  You Teach Others How To Treat You
Embrace this truth literally.  Live your life worthy of dignity and respect and then accept nothing less from yourself or from any other.  Rather than complain about how people treat you take responsibility for how you teach them you are to be treated.

9.  There is power in forgiveness
You are a prisoner and a slave to the anger, guilt and resentment you hold in your heart.  Remember, freedom is your choice.  Choose freedom and create the quality of life you deserve.

10.  You Must First Name What You Want In Order To Claim What You Want
Never stop asking yourself what you need to expand your life and make your dreams come true.  The responsibility for your happiness is yours.  Remember, the unlimited personal power for your passion and happiness is already inside you but only if you have the courage to name it and claim it.

Sharpen Your Ax

Once upon a time there were two men who lived in the same forest and decided to have a contest chopping wood.  The first man was in good physical shape and very muscular.  The second man was in good shape but smaller in statute and wiry.  They would chop wood all day and at the end of the day compare to see who had chopped the most wood.  The first man laughed to himself that there was no way this wiry little man would beat him and so they began the contest.  Every 45 minutes the second smaller man would take a break and seems to just wonder off somewhere.  The first man laughed again to himself and said "Yep there's no way this wiry little man is going to beat me."  This happens several times during the day.  At the end of the day the two men compare their piles of chopped wood and unbelievably enough the wiry little man has chopped twice as much wood as the more physically fit man.  He says "I don't understand.  First I'm twice your size and twice your strength!  On top of that every 45 minutes you rolled off and took a break or a nap or something.  You must have cheated!"  The smaller man says "I don't cheat.  It was easy to beat you because every 45 minutes when you thought I was taking a break, I was out back sharpening my ax."

I love this little story because it really reminds me how important it is to "sharpen your ax".  There is another saying "If you not getting better your getting worse".  To continue to be successful you need to remember to sharpen our ax by reading books that are related to your business, go to seminars or surf the web for blogs and content related to your business.  You should be constantly striving to learn and improve "because if your not getting better you are getting worse.

5 Easy Ways To Impact The Bottom Line

One of today's headlines and story in the Wall Street Journal read...

Stocks Sink Into Correction
As Credit Fears Take Toll
By E.S. BROWNING and ROBIN SIDEL
November 27, 2007; Page A1

"Fears of a credit squeeze and economic downturn pushed the Dow Jones Industrial Average into a full correction, as yesterday's 1.83% decline sent it 10% below its October peak. Prices of U.S. Treasury bonds soared as investors fled to their relative safety.

The Dow's correction amounted to an acknowledgment by investors that a period in which banks "were virtually giving away money," in the words of one trader, is over. Banks are suddenly retreating, and consumers who had been loose with their spending are counting their pennies more carefully. That has led to gathering gloom about the prospects of the world's leading economy, amid early signs of trouble overseas."

So what are you doing to count your pennies more carefully?  Here are five suggestions.

1.  Look at all the vendors and outsourced work that you have done.  Revisit all those contracts to really see if you need everything that you are outsourcing.  Ask yourself "Can we do this internally instead?".  This can make an impact in two ways, first if you cancel a contract you save the money you would be normally spending for that work.  Second it may give an opportunity to one of your current employees to grow their career by taking on new responsibilities.  The bonus is the second options builds "buy in" and teamwork and who doesn't find that profitable.

2.  Call all your vendors and ask them for a better rate.  Most vendors are willing to give you a discount rather than loose your business all together.  The worst that can happen is they say no but you will never know unless you ask so don't be shy.

3.  Revisit you own pricing strategy for opportunities.  Look at all the pricing you sell your goods and services to others for.  Have you given more of a discount than you probably should have?  Or maybe you offered a special price based on consumption and that company is not consuming what they said they would.

4.  Cut out the fringe benefits.  Whether its golf outing or weekly lunches really take a look at what gives you the most bang for your buck.  This one is usually hard to do because there is not always a clear return on investment so be objective.

5.  Revisit labor models.  This will probably make the biggest impact on your bottom line.  Your labor costs are one of your biggest expenses and making a couple of minor adjustments will make a big difference.  Think about attrition.  Don't just automatically go into hiring mode everytime you have a position open.  Again this may give an opportunity for one of your current employees to grow their career by taking on new responsibilities. 

Leading A Successful Team

Leading a team is not as difficult as you make it.  Leading is just that, leading; it's not just being a manager nor is it a dictatorship.  It's a coach and when you think about any coach you have had they are usually someone you trust and someone to guide you to the success of your big picture goals.

1.  Set Clear Expectations & Have Goals
First and foremost your team must understand what your expectations are and you as their leader must understand what their expectations are as well.  Have a meeting with your team and ask for their input on goals and how to achieve them, this promotes buy in and a sense of ownership.

2.  Write It Down
I like to say "what gets measured gets done".  Once you have buy in from your team you then need to write it down.  Make this something fun that you will place in a common area of your workplace for all to see.  That way everyone will know exactly how far along you are to achieving your goals.

3.  Lead With Attitude
You set the example and the rhythm for your team.  You must be contagious with your positive attitude.  You are the fuel that keeps the engine running smoothly.

4.  Learn To Delegate 
A leader is not someone who completes every task themselves; a leader is someone who knows how to use the talents of their team.  Don't be afraid to delegate tasks or projects to your team.  By doing this you build trust not only from you to your team but from your team to you.

5.  Know What Kind Of Leader You Are
There are four different leadership styles, which is the right one? 
-Autocratic

-Bureaucratic

-Democratic

-Laissez-Faire or Free Reign

As a good leader you will need to be all of these leadership styles depending on the situation.  This is called situational leadership.

6.  Say Thank You
What did you say?  Thank you?  Yes as simple as it sounds you often forget to say a simple "thank you".  Employee satisfaction surveys routinely reveal that the feeling of appreciation and making a difference on the job is one of the top motivators. 

7.  Follow Up/Celebrate
As you and your team achieve your goals you will need to periodically re-evaluate your goals and the plans you made to achieve them.  You will need to celebrate the great accomplishments of completing a goal.  And tweak the action plans on other goals that have yet to be accomplished.