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I am an old blogger who has found their way back to the internet. I love being a mom, an African American, spending time with my husband and shopping online. I waste time on Facebook and I do not spend enough time on Twitter. Reading is my favorite past time but bad reality shows are my guilty pleasure. Here, I blog about parenting, businesses and their successes, and innovation.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dealing with Family During the Holidays

What is it about the holidays that make it hard to deal with family?  Here we are the day before the Thanksgiving and I have already heard two stories about family members are mad at each other.  One was over a pan of dressing and the other was over a crockpot. We should take a step back and ask ourselves if we are really upset over that pan of dressing or a crockpot or if we are living in a false realty. 

During this time of year there can be an extreme amount of pressure to make everything perfect, including our family.  It's completely understandable why we strive for perfection with the Hallmark channel showing sappy Christmas movies since Halloween turned the corner.  There is commercial after commercial showing families sitting around a table laughing, looking flawless and eating the perfect meal.  Our psyche is constantly being fed that we are imperfect and need to strive for a Walton Family Christmas. When dealing with family for the holidays, our outlook needs to be kept in perspective.  Expectations should be realistic. 

 

 photo credit: www.someecards.com
 

Expectations of others need to be at a minimum.  Everyone is trying hard to please others.  If they overlook you and your needs, give them a pass.  Remember, it is a time for sharing, forgiving and loving.  Plus, it just isn't the time bring up the fact that you and your family member should have gone to counseling years ago because "said person" actually does not meet your expectations anytime of the year. 

 Expectations of you need to be at a minimum, too.  You cannot do it all.  You cannot buy, cook, visit or help everyone.  Keep tasks at a minimum in order to enjoy the holidays. Running around trying to be everybody's somebody will wear you out and make you the least favorite person at the holiday party because your energy level is 0.

Finally, don't give others the impression you can do it all.  People will take advantage of you and they will not have any shame in doing so.  When in the company of your family, talk about how simple your holidays are going to be.  Your hints will give them the idea that you are not the "go-to" person this year. The word "NO" needs to be a regular part of your holiday vocabulary.  If it seems harsh when relaying it to someone else, just follow it up with how simple your holidays are going to be and that would hinder your goals.  Invite your family members to join in your idea of simple a holiday season.  It may be a winner among the rest of your loved ones.

Dealing with loved ones during the holidays always puts us on edge. Keep it easy going in order to avoid the argument over the pan of dressing or the crockpot thrown out in the trash. Put on your duck armor and let the small things roll off your back.  Enjoy the time you have with your loved ones and forget about the perfect memories.  Just make your memories, true.

 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Getting Your New Business Right for the New Year

Halloween is past and Thanksgiving is right around the corner.  And Christmas will be here before we know it.  It’s getting close to a new year which means I am getting close to the end of my graduate program.  The end of one life event and the beginning of another often prompts reflection.   I believe there is motivation in reflection.   If you haven’t gotten around to what you feel like you should be doing by now, don't sweat it.  I tell my children every night, if there is something about this day you did not like, you'll get a chance to do it over tomorrow.  Many will decide that the big step into entrepreneurship is what they want for themselves. There will be new business owners in 2014.  Maybe you or someone you know will need some tips.  Here’s how to be a “small business super star“ with your start-up during the beginning phase of your business:

1.     Plan to fail.  Yes, expect failure.  You can have a business plan, marketing plan and even an emergency plan, yet failure will creep up on you.  Stuff happens.  When failure appears, this is the opportune time to see what you as the business owner are made of.  Will you stick you head between your legs and shy away?  You better not! This is what your naysayers are waiting on.  The haters will be in full effect when you open your business. They will be waiting on your fall.   However, failure is not bad.  It’s how you handle failure that will determine if you are the rock star business owner you aim to be.  Keep your head up, shoulders straight, and move forward. 

2.     Develop a business alter-ego.  When BeyoncĂ© walks on stage, she becomes Sasha.  We stop and we give Sasha the attention she commands.  Everyone needs to know that you are serious about this your new adventure.  You cannot give away your product for free to Aunt Sally or your cousin Gina.  Being “nice Natalie” does not turn a profit, but “Decisive Debbie” gets the job done. Don’t be a push-over. If you don’t respect your business, neither will anyone else.    

3.     Get Social. You need to socialize every chance and everywhere you can. Get involved with the chamber of commerce, the local library, churches, charities and make friends with other business owners. Build an online community, as well. Respond to your customers or clients in all media forms.  Don’t be scared of how technology can keep you close to your customers or clients. Your company’s presence should be easily felt, seen and heard.  Your clientele needs to know you care about your community by seeing you involved in it. 

4.    Give the red carpet treatment.  It does not cost money to provide stellar customer service.  It can be as simple a quirky “thank you” given each and every time a customer or client visits your business or that special thank card slipped in each shipment. This will keep them coming back and making referrals.  When you visit businesses, start paying attention to how they handle customer service.  Decide how it could be better and implement that in your business.  Go out of the way for your customers or clients.  It will be worth it in the end.

5.     Get your money right.  Kanye West said it best – Wait ‘til I get my money right.  It would not be smart to start a business and your financial affairs are in an uproar.  This means that if you don’t know how you are going to pay for the first month’s lease payment on your store, then you might need to wait until you have the cash to invest in your dream.  Once you have the cash that is necessary to make your vision a reality, it is still necessary to know your next financial step.  Always, stay ahead by making moves with your next financial step while executing the current one.

These are among a few tips that will help you with your next phase of life as small business owner. Keep in mind that it will be hard, but nothing worth having is always easy. 

So now that I have given you that push, what are you waiting for?  Get busy! January 1st is right around the corner. 

 

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