Archive for December 8th, 2011

DSEF & CBBB: Five Business Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dog

DSEF & CBBB: Five Business Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dog

By Holly Doering

1.) If You Give Someone a Second Chance, You Are Sure to Benefit Too.

The latest addition to our family, a Blue Heeler, got in trouble at her original home for chasing livestock. Through a friend of a friend, we learned the little dog’s story and rescued her. She has a forever home with us and she seems grateful. I never expected to fall in love with an animal weighing just 21 pounds—I’ve always been a “big dog” person. But she has brought so much joy and serendipity to our lives!

Why not give someone else a second chance today—a coworker perhaps. Most people are just doing the best they can, given what they know. Forgive them for a perceived wrong they may have done you and more forward with a joyful spirit.

2.)    Focus. Focus. Focus.

Anyone who shares their life with an Australian Cattle Dog already knows—they can’t be distracted from their pursuit of their passion. With ours, it is a Frisbee. One day I got a tortilla out of the refrigerator to make dinner and she started jumping up and down. She thought it too was a Frisbee. I often think, if I were as focused about writing my novel as she is on fetching the Frisbee, I’d be published by nowHer secondary obsession is the ball–and anything that looks like one, such as an apple, or a tomato. Whatever your task is, put all your energy into it. It’ll get done faster and better.

3.)    Playbreaks Make You More Productive

Of course, you can’t stay focused 24-7. Even my dog takes naps–and when she sleeps, she is really out. When I get into writing an article, blog, or essay, I get very intense and will sit at the computer until my shoulders cramp. This isn’t good for the human body. My Blue Heeler reminds me to get up every few hours, stretch, eat something, and of course—take her outside for a Frisbee session. She is very insistent. And she’s right. You can avoid hitting the point of diminishing returns (and do your body a favor) by taking frequent small breaks. A BBB Accredited massage therapist told our office this once, but it took a dog to really drive the point home.

4.)    Multi-tasking Doesn’t Work As Well As You Think.

Ever tried to do two, three, or even four things at once? When my dog starts whining, sometimes I think I can keep working on the computer with one hand and throwing the ball for her with the other. Uh-uh. That doesn’t work. A recent study showed that the more different tasks we try to cram into the same period of time, the more tired our brain becomes. It is better to concentrate on one task until it is finished. The speaker on NPR who was referring to the study said that the most efficient way to work is to limit the number of times that you check your email in a day and to turn off those pingers! Case in point on the home front: Last night while washing dishes, something bubbled over on the stove because I had forgotten to check on it—because I just wanted to finish one more dish, and then one more.

 5.)    It’s Not All About Me.

Limiting interruptions is good. Choosing which interruptions are priority is better. It isn’t usually convenient for me to stop what I’m doing and attend to my dog’s needs. But when I make the time, she’s a lot happier—and ultimately so am I. It can be frustrating to be interrupted by coworkers, callers, and clients who need something from you. However, by helping others with their tasks and problems your own will inevitably go better. Make the time. It’s not all about you.

DSEF and Council on Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) fosters honest and responsive relationships between businesses and consumers—instilling consumer confidence and advancing a trustworthy marketplace for all.

About the Better Business Bureaus
As the leader in advancing marketplace trust, Better Business Bureau is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB Business Reviews® and BBB Wise Giving Reports® to help them find trustworthy businesses and charities across North America. for more information.


Starting Your Business Over Again

Starting Your Business Over Again

Starting Your Business Over Again

Every once in a while, you may find yourself in a business rut.  Perhaps your profits have begun to plateau or even decrease.  Maybe you have suffered a setback, which in turn has negatively affected your inner drive.  Whatever the circumstance or the reason, it’s not too late to turn your business around by starting over again.  The following are suggestions to help you do just that.

  • Embrace and evaluate mistakes.  If you had never started your business in the first place, you wouldn’t have made the mistakes that will help you learn how to succeed.  So the first step in starting over is to reflect on those mistakes.  Ask yourself what specifically it is about your business that is preventing it from flourishing.  Once you identify the problem, you can work on how to solve it.
  • Set a goal and develop a short-term plan.  If your goal is to increase your client base by 25% by the end of the year, create 3-4 steps you can take within the next seven days to begin reaching that goal.  It is also a good idea to make benchmarks for yourself along the way.  This not only keeps you on track, but also allows for self-accountability.
  • Reconnect with past clients.  When you got your business off the ground, you worked hard to acquire your customers.  Don’t hesitate to reconnect with them; they may appreciate a quick phone call thanking them for their past patronage.  Along with that, you could offer a special promotion or incentive exclusively for past clients.  You’re showing them that you value them as your clients, and you’re also offering them an opportunity to rediscover what makes your business special and beneficial for them.
  • Reinvent yourself.  This can apply to your brand, your product or service, your marketing strategy, or any aspect of your business that isn’t working for you right now.  These are tough economic times, and it may do your business a world of good to consider how things have changed since you first began.  Have your customers’ needs changed? Has your product been overshadowed by a newer, shinier version elsewhere in the industry?  Is your social media presence a time-sucker that hasn’t positively contributed to your business?  Focus on one aspect that needs a makeover and don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
  • Get educated.  Millions before you have started small businesses both successfully and unsuccessfully.  Not only that, but these people have also written about their experiences.  So fire up that e-reader or take a trip to your local bookstore and do a little research that is relevant to your business.  Furthermore, a fresh perspective may be just the boost you need to recharge your batteries and spark the idea plug for your business venture 2.0.
  • Reward yourself.  Let’s face it: owning your own business is hard work.  Once you have reached a short or long term goal, enjoy it!  Something as simple as splurging on that super sweet frozen coffee drink you love or taking an afternoon to go see a movie will help you stay focused while keeping the end in sight.  Care to make it really interesting?  Put one small reward on a post-it note and throw a bunch into a hat.  When you meet your first goal, reach in and enjoy!  Most people stay the course when they know there is some form of compensation awaiting them upon completion.

What steps have you taken in the past to start your business over again? Why have they worked or not worked?  Please share with us in the comments section below!

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