Make It Easy

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Rush hour in Palmerston North is more like rush minute.  The swell of people going to work and parents taking kids to school slows one down by a few minutes, and even when brought to a crawl, the crawl usually lasts for less than a block.  Driving about Palmerston North is easy - no more that twenty minutes to anything you need to attend. It’s one of the reasons we live here - it makes our lifestyle easy.


What do you do which makes life easy for your customers?  In a world which is increasingly busy, time poor and pressured, those businesses who make life easier for their customers are the ones which draw more attention.  Businesses such as Frog Parking, which allows you to use your phone to pay for your parking, and stops that endless search for spare cash, or the unexpected holdup which means you don’t get back to your vehicle in the time allotted, have honed in on a need and created a product which makes life easier.

Do you look for the little things that make it easy for your clients to use you?  Products that are easy to find and buy on your website. (Ever been to a website, found exactly what you’re looking for and then not been able to find a way to purchase it?) Clear and readable information on pricing, content, capacity, process.  Most people know what they’re looking for and making a decision to buy is easier if they have all the information at their fingertips

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Clarity in price, delivery times and consistency in service. I cannot count the number of times our family would have called into McDonalds on a roadtrip because we know what we will get in terms of service and food, and in a full and busy life, it’s an easy decision.

Do you talk to your customers?  And listen carefully to their words? You cannot replace a few minutes of genuine face to face conversation for knowing your customers, their pain points and their sweet spots.  

Consistent and carefully constructed conversations with your people, with genuine interest in their lives will enable you to create way to make life easier for them and you.  Shopping for a ring for our daughter’s 21st, the variety of service between the dozens of jewellers we visited was huge. From those who scarcely noticed you’d entered their shop, to those whose careful questions helped them understand our needs and provide us with viable options to choose from.  Careful attention to conversations, looking for patterns and pain points, means you will have solid knowledge to provide the help your clients are looking for.


Is your buying process clean, clutter free and clearly communicated?  Processes are a work in progress and a gentle tweak, shift in perspective or lift in efficiency can make a tremendous difference.  The couple of extra minutes spent ensuring your processes are well taught and used can save you huge costs mopping up mistakes and caring for disappointed customers.

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Step back from working in the business and have a good look at what’s going on.  What could you work on to make it easier for your customers, or for your team?  It’s those little things you implement that make a big difference in the lives of your people.  


Here’s to your success!


Managing As A Working Parent

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“You’re like a mother duck with all your little ducklings trailing along behind.”  The observation was shared uninvited as I worked through the monthly shop, five helpers scurrying to various places for needed items, a small child seated in the trolley and another growing in my swollen belly.

Nowadays, the supermarket shop is vastly different – although many of our ducklings have flown the coop, there are still a few to grow, and dovetailing this with a managing a thriving business has its challenging days.  “How do you manage?” is still a question I field between creating videos for our business, organising client bookings and travel logistics, and mothering four school children while maintaining relationship with six adult offspring scattered near and far across New Zealand.

It's a journey. From managing our schoolwork as children, to managing our personal lives as we head into adulthood, to managing working 40 hours a week while managing our personal lives, we are set up in life to increase our skills and ability at managing, on a fairly constant basis. Here are my top three tips for management.

 #1 Prioritise. Management comes with an implication – you have to prioritise.  You have to know what’s important and what is urgent and what is distraction.  I remember a time when I would repeg the washing my mother-in-law hung, so it fitted my way of how it should be done.  Now I am grateful when the washing is hung and only repeg if the person who thought that item of clothing would dry pegged into a bunched up heap like that, is not around to retrain how to do it so it dries effectively and quickly, efficiently using line space which is occasionally at a premium.

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#2 Vision. Knowing what you’re working to achieve and getting there are not the same thing.  Directing, keeping account, training and delegation are necessary for survival, but more than that, they are necessary to achieve the goal. There are too many things to be done to get them all done yourself.  A good manager knows how to delegate, and how to maximise the potential of their team.  This comes bundled with a necessity to know your people – their strengths and weaknesses, their roles and responsibilities, and to help them to own their “cog in the clock”, to contribute to the team as a whole, and to grow personally.

#3 Keep people accountable. Listening to Mike discuss deeply with a potential client, and promise to have a proposal to them in the next couple of days, I found it necessary to point out the list of things that he had jotted down to do before the weekend and remind him that while he’s pretty incredible, he only has a finite amount of time.  It was logistically impossible to do everything and he needed to refocus on giving realistic timelines to clients.  Ensuring that you can have real, building and aligning conversations with your team creates an environment of trust which means both the team and the business thrive.

As you hit your workplace today, whether it’s simply your own role you’re managing (I know – that may not be simple); managing people in a team;  or managing a home/work balance – keep focused on the big picture while working through the details, daily routines, and tasks that need to be done.  Get the big and important things done first, and enjoy the journey.

Here’s to your success!