Monday, March 23, 2015

The Right Mindset for Successful Employment

Do you get paid what you deserve?  This is THE most difficult discussion I have with employees each year, compensation.  Honestly, as the boss, you can never win.  The employee always believes that they deserve MORE than I can reasonably offer to them.

Therefore, there is always this discontent.  At least one time per year during reviews.

Years ago I had an employee turn this conversation on its head.  It came after a very difficult salary negotiation.  Have you ever heard that during negotiations the first to speak losses?  Well, we were discussing the next year's salary on our drive out to a monthly meeting with our management team.  This 1 hour drive was completely silent.  Neither of us wanted to be the first to speak, and therefore lose the negotiation.

In the end he said something that is the perfect way to think as an employee.  He said, "You buy me for wholesale and sell me for retail." 

Your employer PAYS you at wholesale and the services you render for this employer is the retail price.  The difference between this wholesale price and the retail price is the profit the company makes on you.  The more you provide value to the company, the more you make because the company keeps becoming more profitable on your work.

I believe this to be true.  Therefore, the only way for an employee to make more money is to be more valuable to your employer, that is increase the retail price.  If your retail price continues to rise, you will get a raise or you will become so valuable some other company will pay you much more to join their firm.

So as an employee, you need to have the mindset that you have to continue to raise your retail price by providing more value to your firm.  How can you do that?  If you are in sales, it is obvious that you need to make more sales and more profitable sales.  If you are administrative, you need to find ways to do more work in less time, increase your efficiency.  If you are in management, your group needs to find ways to accomplish more with fewer man hours. 

This takes creative thinking all the time.  It means thinking about how and why you do each task.  Are you doing something that doesn't need to be done at all?  Are you doing something that if you took a class you could do it quicker with technology?

That is how you increase your retail price... and therefore increase your pay. 

Long term, it is NOT about negotiating a better salary!

Think of many of the Unions in our country.  They have served an amazing purpose for millions of Americans, my Father-In-Law was part of a Union for 40 years.  But in many Unions, the Union bosses negotiated such great deals for the employees, the company was not competitive.  Therefore, many contracts had to be renegotiated to the workers detriment.  This is an extreme example.

But consider this the next time you ask for a raise...

Monday, March 16, 2015

Command: Find Enjoyment in your Work

How many times have you heard the phrase "Enjoy your work and your never work a day in your life?"  We use this when talking to young people predominantly.  We are telling them, find a job that you LOVE, then you will have a fun and fantastic career.

The only problem with that is that work is often NOT fun.  In fact, work is often... work.  It is hard.  It is filled with pressure.  It is filled with dealing with sometimes impossible expectations.  And it is filled with long hours and uncertain results.

At a recent breakfast meeting of business leaders, Jonathan Rourke, a Pastor in San Diego challenged us from the words of Solomon.  Ecclesiastes 2:24-25 tells us to "find enjoyment in your it is from the hand of God."  Yes, a command to enjoy your work!  Oftentimes, we turn this on its head and say, find work you enjoy.

Finding work you enjoy is a lot of pressure.  How will you know what your job will really entail?  How will you know if the company is going to be going in the right direction?  You won't.

So hear the commandment from Solomon, the wisest man ever to live.  We have to enjoy our work... whether we have a bad boss, fulfilling work,  or difficult co-workers.
Mirabella team.  Yes, I'm the ONLY guy!

But HOW?

Jonathan challenged us to:
  • Repent-- we should ask forgiveness to our co-workers, boss or spouse about having a bad attitude.  Humble ourselves.  Realize this is EXACTLY where God has you RIGHT NOW!  So you must CHOOSE JOY!
  • Relationships-- perhaps you are here not for your OWN enjoyment, but you are there to encourage others!  Remember, it is not about US.
  • Redemption-- our job at work is to make order out of chaos.  That in itself should be fulfilling.  A job well done.  A job you have given your all to.
Often you hear people say that work is a curse from God.  But that is NOT true.  God had Adam and Eve in the garden assigned to care for the garden.  Care means work!

So, go have FUN at work.  Enjoy the journey of work.  Challenge yourself to do it to the best of your ability to make God proud.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Perfect Cancellation Policy

New York restaurants now have a new way to control no shows.  They are donating all last minute fees they receive from cancellations and no shows to The Robin Hood Foundation, an organization that is fighting poverty in NYC.

What a great idea!  How can patrons get upset about that?  Are they going to get mad at the restaurant?  Not anymore!  It is a clever way to handle a tough situation.

I spend my time in the salon industry.  Salons have this exact same problem.  But the stylists and owners have such amazing relationships with their customers, they don't want to punish them for disrupting the salons appointment scheduling.

But now they can do something proactively to solve a problem and help the industry!

There is a charity that does great work in the salon industry called The Beauty Bus.  Beauty Bus passionately believes that even in the face of life threatening and chronic illness, men, women and children, and their caregivers, deserve dignity, hope and respite through grooming and beauty services and pampering products.  

Salons, please do something for yourselves!!!  Initiate a charge for no shows or last minute cancellations.  Donate 100% of that money to those stylists in need through the great not for profit, The Beauty Bus!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Forgetful and 50

My wife and I were watching an older romantic comedy on TV the other night.  At the end of the movie, Judy looks at me and smiles saying "Do you remember that movie?"

"No" I say. 

She says, "We saw that movie when it came out!"

Hmm, I guess I am getting a bit forgetful.  All of us are.  One of my kids was relating a story from childhood.  But honestly, he doesn't likely remember the events, but the retelling of the story has kept it fresh in his mind.

As a Christian, I need a reminder too.  That is why I go to church every week.  I need to be reminded what I believe.  I need to be reminded how I am to live my life.  I need to be reminded what Jesus did for me.

But I am forgetful.  I need those reminders daily.  So that is why every morning I read my Bible and pray to God.  I need to be reminded of God's great promises, His story.  And by praying, I am reminded that I cannot do this life on my own.  I need His help, guidance, and blessing in my life.

Are you forgetful?  Try following this advice!

Monday, December 15, 2014

ROI- College Education

Indiana University

Yes, I went to Indiana University.  It is a beautiful and fun place to go to school.  During these years, I learned a ton about growing up, accounting, dealing with others and made some amazing life long friends.  Both Judy and I wanted this experience for our kids.  Thankfully we had the means, as did my father, of providing this education to my kids.  It didn't bankrupt my dad and it didn't bankrupt me.

But things have changed. 

Over these past years, the cost of education has continued to grow.  Now, it is feasible that a student would graduate with $100-200,000 in student loans.

Many kids have got to consider what they plan to do with this investment that they have to make in themselves.  Are they planning on becoming a teacher?  Do they want to do social work?  These are great careers and will provide great tangible and intangible rewards.  But will they be able to pay off these student loans?

Today, there are so many other ways for kids to get a degree (which I still think is important for many people) that are FAR cheaper than that traditional college step.  There are many on-line universities today that provide a high quality education.  And they do it at a fraction of the cost. 

I know that means not having the same experience as their parents and maybe their friends are having.  But in 10 years, while they are debt free and have purchased there first house... that friend is still not able to finish the loan repayment.  Much less consider buying a house!

Consider experiences to round out that education.  Take a year and go to China to teach English.  Go to Alaska and work on the fishing boats. 

As Apple says, Think Different!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Trade Shows- Why attend? How to attend?

I have been attending the Long Beach Hair Show since 1989.  Most of those years, this show was on Super Bowl weekend.  But as most attendees are female, it did not hurt the attendance. 

Since I sold my business, I have not exhibited at this show.  (Frankly, it has had some ebbs and flows in terms of its popularity.)  But this year it seemed to be well attended and the quality of the attendee seemed to be pretty good. 

As I talk to many different vendors throughout the show floor, each vendor sees the show completely differently.  Some vendors said the show was WAY down from last year.  Some vendors say it is the best show is years.  And others say that it was about the same.  The show organizer told me that the ticket sales over the past 3 years has been about the same.

So why the huge disparity from the vendors?  I would say it is because each vendor is at a different stage in their development.  Some companies are brand new to the show.  Some have been coming for years.  And some are still building a presence. 

For the new vendors, they have exciting booth presence, a solid product, and positive people working the show.  These vendors steal the show usually.

Existing vendors have already been seen by these regular attendees.  What makes them stand out and require attendees to look again?  They MUST have new items, new booth, or be constantly be renewing relationships with existing customers

The rest of the vendors just feed off of the traffic of the show.  Many of the vendors sell the same product for the same price.  The only thing that sets them apart is their booth location and the people behind the booth.  Unless you are in the business of doing trade shows, I see know reason to attend to see vendors like this.

But for me, each time I attend a trade show I learn.  In my 6 hours at the show, I likely had 60 conversations.  In each conversation I ask, what's new and exciting?  People would tell me about their brand, their personal life, or their customers.  After the show, I will follow up on a couple of solid product leads... that is new places for me to sell Mirabella.  Second, I will follow up with new relationships that I made.  Perhaps nothing will come for my business, but I can always learn from others.  It can give me a great or different perspective about the industry.

The only people that I hate to visit with are people who are stuck in a rut.  They act like nothing new is happening.  They think only negative thoughts of the future.  These people will drag you down! 

Personally, I like speaking with the people who are actually making new things happen.  I spoke to a manufacturer who was us 20% on the west coast... who had been selling out here for 20 years!  I spoke to a new brand that opened 150 new salons from the show last year... and expect to do even better this year.

Its all about your attitude isn't it?  If you hang around with a bunch of people that think everything is bad... it likely will be.  If you speak with people who are positive about the future, you will likely think the same.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Setting your kids up for success with money matters...

Over the years I have spoken to so many parents that tell me they feel like an ATM machine for their kids.  Kid wants to go to lunch with his friends, ask for money.  Kid wants to go to prom, ask for money.  Kid wants to go to the movies, ask for money.

Now this is all great if you want to turn your kids into beggers.  But if you want your kids to develop money management skills, this is NOT the best way to help them handle finances.

Luke 17, Austin 20, Judy and I, Andrew 23 and his wife, Sierra
Our kids didn't really spend any money before they got their licence.  So when they turned 16, I brought them to the bank.  We established a checking account with a debit card.  Plus we established a credit card for them.  Each one of my kids had a little money saved over the years from birthdays and odd jobs.  So we transfered that money to their new account.  And they get a monthly check for $200 from us.  (You might think that is too high or too low.  The amount is not as important as the skills you are teaching them.)

Our kids did not get jobs in High School as they were all athletes and good students spending their time doing that.  If your kids have jobs, more power to you!

With that money, they were responsible to pay for all of their entertainment.  They had to pay for the gas in their car.  They had to pay for the movies or lunches with friends.  If they wanted to go to prom, they had to save up.

Each month, they got the bills for the credit card.  And they had to manage their checking account.  Each month, they would have to make decisions on what they would and would not do based upon their bank balance, not mine!  When I go to the movies, I always get popcorn.  When they go to the movies now, they skip the popcorn.

Fast forward to college. 

When they graduate from High School, the allowance ended.  They needed to get a job and pay for their entertainment on their own.  (We had the means to pay for the schooling, fortunately.)  During the summers and at school, they found ways to make those ends meet with different jobs. 

My oldest son finished college in 3 years.  And my next son is on that same path.  They are motivated to get out into the world and begin their lives. 

Yes, perhaps they are missing out on the fun of college life, but I am hoping I prepared them to live independently.  A pastor friend of mine once told me, "Our job raising our kids is NOT to protect them, it is to PREPARE them."  That thought has always rang in my ear and helps me as I negotiate parenting my 3 men.