Archive for the Category » Biz Tips «

November 14th, 2010 | Author:

How many times have you left a voice mail, email, or even a text message and haven’t gotten any response or at least not soon enough? It shouldn’t matter if it’s a personal situation or a business one. Everyone deserves to be recognized.

It is especially important in business. A good business person is one that gives great customer service. Not only should your business offer a product or service with great quality but you should also know how to take care of your customers. When people order your product, get  it to them in a timely manner. If you say it will be shipped in 7-14 days, try to ship it out sooner. People will love your great customer service which gives you more business and happy customers. They say some of the best free advertising is word-out-mouth referrals but bad news can travel even faster. One unhappy customer can do a lot of damage.

Quick shipping times aren’t the only thing you should be on top of. When you receive an email, respond to it as soon as possible. My policy is to respond within 1-2 days and unless there is some major catastrophe and I can’t get to a computer, I have always stuck to that timeframe. People don’t want to wait forever for a response. This also applies to comments. If someone takes the time to write a nice comment, you should at least recognize them and send some type of response back, even if it’s just a simple thank you. If they have a question or issue but you don’t have an immediate answer, at least let them know you are looking into it and will get back to them as soon as possible. Then follow up and do what you say.

Remember to always treat people how you would want to be treated even if it is over the Internet. One of the most frequent comments I receive is how quickly I send out my products and people are even more surprised when I respond to their emails usually within the first day. That is a huge compliment and it also shows that they are a little surprised, probably because not every business has good customer service.

If your business is so big that you can’t do everything yourself, then make sure you hire someone just for customer service. Whatever it takes, that should be a high priority.

Golden Rule:
Good customer service=customers
Bad customer service=no customers=no business

You can read more common sense tips in my book, Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur. Order your autographed copy directly from my website. Part of all proceeds go to support Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA.

November 07th, 2010 | Author:

One of the best tips for business or life in general is that when you make a commitment, you keep it. If you don’t keep your commitments, it’s the quickest way to have people not trust or believe you.

My parents have had this saying for as long as I can remember. “Say what you mean and mean what you say.” If you say you will do something, then do it. If you think you won’t be able to do what you say, then you better not make the commitment in the first place.

Sometimes no matter how hard we try or even if our intentions were right, things can still happen where we can’t keep our commitments. If something unexpected happens, the best way to deal with the situation is to communicate right away. Never let the other person wonder what happened to you because chances are, especially if they don’t know you prior to that, they could think of you as a flake.

Stick to your commitments. People will know they can count on you. There’s no secret to this. It’s just common sense.

October 10th, 2010 | Author:

Probably everyone has done a puzzle maze at one time in their life.  Some people may have even had the fun of running through a corn maze that usually is done around Halloween. No matter which form you do, mazes can be fun but also frustrating.  There are so many options and usually only one way out.

Life is a little like a maze. There are many different paths that to take to get to the end result but the big difference is, life has unlimited options at the end.

Last month I spoke at the TEDxRedmond Conference held at Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, Washington. I called my talk, “Take Off Your Blinders” or as they titled it “Goals vs. Plans.” While I wasn’t talking about mazes, it does have some connection. If you go through life or the maze with your eyes closed or get so focused on one path, you may miss other opportunities that might pop up right beside you and are even better than your original path.

When I created Pencil Bugs in 2005 at nine years old, I never ever imagined that I would be where I am today. If someone would have said I’d be named on a Forbes Top 10 List of Role Models 18 & Under or would be a published author or any of the other things that have happened, I probably would have just laughed. But with the help of my parents, I went through the maze in the last five years and found new paths as I went. I don’t know where it will lead from here. I am almost 15 so I don’t feel I have to have my whole life planned out at this point. That’s the fun of keeping your eyes open, seeing what opportunities might pop up, and making the most of this maze of life. You never know what can happen.

September 26th, 2010 | Author:

Whether you have a product business or offer a service or are a published author trying to market your book, you can’t sell any of those things until you learn how to sell yourself.

Think of commercials. How many times do you remember what the product or service is during that 30 seconds? Unless you specifically want or need what they’re selling, most of the time people remember other things about what they see and hear. Haven’t you heard someone say something like, “Oh, what’s that commercial with so-and-so in it?”  They don’t remember what that person is selling but they remember the actor.

I once heard that a company can sell anything if they use a kid, especially a cute kid or a dog and especially a cute dog, or better yet to use both. People are more likely to remember the who than the what.

The same goes for your business. Who knows how many websites there are in the world? The competition is tougher all the time. Unless you are one of the big guys, it’s hard to get noticed and sell anything. So what can you do?

Sell yourself, not your product or your service. What is it about you that makes you different? People have so many choices for things, many times it comes down to who is selling it.

I started my Pencil Bugs business at age nine. In the beginning, I held many sidewalk sales where  I would get a store’s permission to set up my table outside and sell my Pencil Bugs. Even at that age, I quickly realized that many customers bought my products simply because they wanted to support a kid’s business. Did they really need a pencil topper? Probably not but before long, people knew my business because of me — “the Pencil Bugs kid” and that was fine with me. Looking back, I now see that I was also building my brand.

Selling is an art. It’s who you are that matters and that is what will make people stand up and take notice.

My grandpa has a saying that is a perfect sales analogy. “Old Harry could sell a refrigerator to an Eskimo.” It’s the person who makes the difference, not the product. Well, you get the point. And if you haven’t bought my new book yet, Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur, I share a lot of Grandpa’s wisdom in it. You can read excerpts from my book using Amazon’s Look Inside feature if you’re interested. Then buy a copy on Amazon or get an autographed one from my website. It’s a fun read for all ages. A portion of all sales is donated to help kids at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA. I also have a big teddy bear fundraiser I do for the kids at Christmas. If you want to read more, visit The Bears Are Back in Town.

So do you need a pencil topper or another inspirational book or have you already donated your limit for this year? It’s not about the products. It’s about the person behind the products. Thanks to everyone who continues to support me, my business, and my charitable efforts. Because of you, I have been able to encourage other people of all ages to try their ideas. It’s good karma.

March 22nd, 2010 | Author:

Do you think J.K. Rowling writes her stories and no one else edits or proofs them before they’re published?  I don’t think so.  So why do people think they should write blogs or school reports or anything else for that matter without having at least one other person proof their work?

Whether you’re blogging for your business or just for fun, at least show the world that you know how to spell correctly and use proper grammar.

I’m lucky that I have my mom to proofread and edit my writing.  Even with school papers, she looks them over because most teachers don’t take time to even check for spelling or grammar.  And if kids turn in assignments they think are correct and no one ever shows them how to improve, what good was the assignment in the first place?  Mom also reads every blog, letter, email, and basically all other business things that I write.   At 14, I still have a lot to learn but at least I can present my business in the most professional way possible.

So maybe your mom or dad isn’t the best at writing, editing or even proofreading.  Find someone that is and ask them to at least proof for spelling and grammar errors BEFORE you post your mistakes for the world to see.  This doesn’t apply just to kids either. I have read many things online that are the most basic mistakes and it doesn’t make the person look too good.

If you absolutely can’t find anyone to help out, at least go back and read it yourself.  It’s easy to skip over your mistakes because you know what you already wrote and what you meant to say but reading it out loud, very . . .  slowly, word . . .  for . . .  word, will help you find your mistakes.

One of the most common mistakes people make, and I see it on Twitter all the time, is the difference between YOUR and YOU’RE.  Those are two totally different words and meanings.  If there is an apostrophe, it is actually two words combined.

Your the best is WRONG.

You’re the best is CORRECT because it actually means You are.

People form opinions and first impressions for a lot of different reasons.  If avoiding simple spelling and grammar mistakes when you write can make a better impression, wouldn’t you want to do everything you could to improve?

Thanks Mom. 🙂