How Long Do I Wait To Call?

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Remember when the biggest stress in your life was trying to figure out how long before you call her?  A day, 2 days… that night?  Fast forward 20 years later.  You’re now a small business owner (sucker).  You get a lead.  Either in the form of an email, a voice message, text, whatever.  Do you call back right away?  You don’t want to seem desperate and you certainly don’t want to seem like you’ve been doing nothing all day but waiting around for your phone to ring, or ping.  You need to find that perfect balance between being in-demand and being accessible.

In today’s market, there’s simply no time to pretend you are busier than you really are.  If you take too long to respond, the client will simply keep clicking through to the next site until they reach someone.  With a billion (rough scientific estimate) ways to get in touch with someone, there’s simply no excuse to leave a potential client hanging longer than a couple of hours at most.  It takes 30 seconds to respond to someone, to let them know that you have received their request and will get back to them with a more detailed within the (day).

The client isn’t expecting a full proposal or business plan that same day. The prospective client simply wants to know that their request has been heard and you are looking into various solutions for them.  If they are asking for a proposal or outline that same day, chances are they’re going to be unreasonable throughout the project so you may want to reconsider taking them on.  Becasue what seems like a great payday at the beginning will drag you and your company down pretty quickly.  If a client is unreasonable from the start, there’s no sense in thinking that will change the further along you go.

So be quick and responsive to all incoming requests.  Send the client a quick email or text, “thank you for your email, we are looking through your requests and will have some solutions for you by EOD…”  Avoid impersonal auto-responses at all costs.  Good clients understand that you may need to do a bit of research in order to find the best solutions.  But most importantly, it gives you the time you need to put your team together and work out your costs.

The Disgruntled Employee

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Safe to say that if you’re about to fire someone or “let them go” they’ll have some sour feelings towards you.  The extent to which they will take those feelings of course depends on the content of that person’s character.  But even if you think you know them, they might end up surprising you anyway.  And by “surprsing you” I mean, they’ll mess your day up.

There’s nothing we can do about a disgruntled employee.  But we can most certainly do our best to prepare for one.  So even if you think you know the person, you must have an execution plan. Pun completely intended.

In our business – web – a disgruntled employee has a lot more options at their disposal than those circa 1994.  Back then if it was about to get ugly, 2 security guards would come up to your desk and “escort” you out of the building, making you surrender your rolodex and your employee card on the way out the front door. Today, it’s changing passwords, deleting/forwarding email accounts, getting source files, changing client admin passwords, on and on.  It’s relentless.  Nothing can be forgotten.

So before the hammer falls and you tell “your guy” that you are going in another direction, or you no longer need him or whatever it is you tell them, you need to make sure you cut all their corporate access and communication.  Have your finger on the button and minutes before you deliver the news, start pressing those, “change password” buttons and chances are they’ll start figuring it out before you reach their desk.

But even if you cover all those bases, there’s still “the guy” who ends up emailing your clients.  These emails typically ramble on about how great they are and how the company is worthless without them dribble, dribble.

The first thing you must do when your client inevitably emails you with, “who is this guy” – is not to worry about the employee who did it.  They’re gone; don’t spend any energy on them.  The next thing, act like this is not a big deal.  Not because it happens all the time, but because you have all the bases covered.  You anticipated this weeks ago when you added a new player to the team.  Reassure the client that it’s going to be business as usual and there’s nothing to worry about.  Thank them for their understanding.  This is the course of doing business.  And if your client is in business for themselves, they’ll certainly know a thing or two about disgruntled employees.  If they don’t, they do now.  Always be responsive and reassuring.

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And You Run And You Run To Catch Up With The Sun But It’s Sinking…

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Social Media is a time consuming investment that involves networking with a human touch. Much like attending a networking party, we initiate conversation with others with the goal of leaving a healthy impression and a business card. When we arrive at a networking mingle, we search for conversations to engage in, then from one person to the next we are being introduced throughout the engagement and find we too have a stack of other business cards. If we made an impact on any one of these people we should be receiving referrals from people outside the group at the same time we create ripples by referring other businesses.

All social media platforms are a daily affair and, unfortunately, not a once in a while networking event. To grow or even keep a fan base it takes daily interaction, but if networked wisely you will have your fan base introduce you to other potential fans, cutting down the time you spend on a site or at least doubling to tripling your invested time. Finding current trends and sharing competitors/colleagues posts are a great way of drawing in new fans or followers. Utilizing the full spectrum of Social Media by funneling the conversation over all platforms is highly important. Personally updating posts and possibly engaging others independently rather than depending on re-routing updates through FaceBook to Twitter like “FB me”. By doing this it allows us to continue to work the room and find influencing people or companies to help share and spread our updates.

Having a Social Media presence to reflect your work and expertise is highly important. Most owners of small business or the general public will look up other businesses and people using FaceBook. This helps them know how influential the business or person is that they are investigating. This process helps clients in making decisions, if they want to engage or not engage with a certain company or person. Gaining followers and fan base does not have to involve contests or gimmicks right out of the gate, but can be done with simple engagement and strategic following or proper use of the platform. Using twitter to sway interest to FaceBook can be achieved simply by using the tools Twitter provides for trending a topic or highlighting certain important followers. Using # can add a lot to any Tweet as it can bring others who are interested in your #topic to you, or by using (#FF) Follow Friday to promote an influential follower, you can ripple your persona on twitter as well place you in good standing with others.