Tag Archive for 'Blue Highways'

The Out Basket

Harold Alexander, British field marshal during WWII, and 1st Earl of Tunis, had a habit at the end of the day of “tipping” the remaining work left in his In basket into his Out basket.  When asked why he did this he replied, “It saves time and you’d be surprised at how much doesn’t come back.”

For small business owners, the Earl’s management style could be dangerous; many of us don’t have anyone to come by and take the stuff from our Out basket.  If we don’t do it, it doesn’t get done. But I wonder about this method for dealing with worry.

What if, at the end of each day, you “tipped” all of your left over problems into your mind’s Out basket — the problem customers, the bank payment, the new competitor — go ahead, put all of those alligators right in there. Don’t worry. Those that need to be will be there in the morning.  But you might be surprised at the ones that just “don’t come back.”  And there you were worrying about them.  Pretty silly, huh?

In his book, Blue Highways, William “Least Heat Moon” Trogdon reported that his grandfather, who was full-blooded American Indian (Osage), once told him, “Some things don’t have to be remembered.  They remember themselves.”

So, there you have it.  If it’s important it, will be there in the morning.  If not, it will go away and wasn’t worth the worry.  And worry is one of the greatest inner demons small business owners have to slay.

Give that “tipping” thing a try. It just might save you some worry. Now where did I put that Out basket?

Small business survival through low-tech customer communication

Over a quarter of a century ago, John Naisbitt prophesied in his landmark book, Megatrends, that “The more high tech we have, the more high-touch we will want.”

About the same time, in Blue Highways, William “Least Heat Moon” Trogdon revealed this Osage Indian wisdom, “Some things don’t have to be remembered; they remember themselves.”

After all these years, and even now as I seek 21st century answers, Naisbitt’s “high tech/high touch” dynamic continues to remember itself. In fact, hardly a week goes by without my invoking Naisbitt’s wisdom on my weekday small business radio program.

For some months now, in my writing and on the show, I’ve been encouraging small business owners to forgo the technology, such as emails and, if humanly possible, take the steps to get face-to-face with customers. Even if a salesperson is regularly calling on them, owners should be making their own contact. Ask what you can do to help and then, if at all possible, do it. This is not a sales call. It’s a relationship call upon which the survival of your business in 2009 may depend.

Recently, Ruth Sherman, author of Get Them to See it Your Way, Right Away, and one of my Brain Trust members, joined me again on my show to talk about how to communicate to customers and prospects during a challenging economy. Ruth is a communications expert, and this is my seventh recession to serve customers in (since 1969). So if you want your company to “remember itself” with customers, I think you’ll benefit from the thoughts of a couple of marketplace veterans. And be sure to leave your own thoughts.

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