Your Business Matters AlexanderAbramson.com • (407) 649-7777 Decembe 2018
FROM THE DESK OF
I can hardly believe I’m saying it, but, welcome to the final 2018-issue of Your Business Matters.
You’ll remember that way back in January we brought Nick Rich on as our marketing coordinator. We decided to bring Nick on board after Faith and I went to the 2017 Great Legal Marketing Summit. It was a great decision.
The holiday season is a time of festive joy and an opportunity to create lasting memories with the people closest to you. Inevitably, that includes the folks you work with every day. Only the Grinchiest of business owners keep every semblance of the holiday season from entering the office. Spreading a little cheer and creating a festive environment can help boost morale and end the calendar year on a high — but only when you go about it the right way. Unlike traditions held among your family and closest friends, there are some rules to follow for celebrating the most wonderful time of the year at work. It’s important to make sure that you don’t create distractions or allow things to get too rowdy at the office. Striking the right balance can be delicate, but it’s much easier if you remember the following suggestions. SPREADHOLIDAY CHEERATWORK THROUGH GOOD DEEDS AND KINDNESS It is perfectly acceptable to put up a tree, string lights, and adorn your office with Christmas- themed decorations. Heck, you can even invite Santa to stop by if you like. That being said, the holidays should be a time of inclusion and celebration, not a time of leaving people out. If you have members of your team who celebrate holidays other than Christmas at this time of year — such as Ramadan, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa — be sure to include some nods to their personal and cultural traditions. And it’s just as crucial to ensure that you don’t force anyone to participate in activities that could make them feel uncomfortable. The workplace is not an ideal setting for, say, Nativity reenactments. Focus on aspects of the holiday season that resonate with everyone, and you’ll avoid awkward situations and unneeded controversy. CELEBRATE INCLUSIVELY
This October, we (plus Nick) returned to the Summit to see what other expert ideas we could get.
This year’s helpful theme was “Peak Personal Performance,” and the mindset talks were highly valuable, as well. Thanks to Charley Mann and Ben Glass for an awesome conference! I was also asked to participate in a panel discussion about our firm’s 2018 marketing activities (pictured below). We were proud that we’d accomplished so much in one year: hiring Nick, publishing our new guide, putting out consistent monthly print and email newsletters, not to mention the myriad of smaller projects. We learned a lot at this year’s Summit, and we’re excited to put that knowledge into play in 2019. So, stay tuned and don’t forget to check out our website www.AlexanderAbramson.com.
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THANK PEOPLE RELENTLESSLY
Sorry to say it, but nobody on your team is going to remember the cookie-cutter, generically messaged cards you printed off en masse. There’s no use in giving meaningless gifts to employees or colleagues out of a sense of obligation. Put some thought into it, and your staff will be thankful. If you have a small team, you can probably come up with something personalized for each employee. Gift-giving at the office shouldn’t be required, but it shouldn’t be forbidden, either. Again, the key is to create an atmosphere where people can participate in what they want to and opt out of what they don’t. A powerful way to put the spirit of giving to good use is to partner with local charities to provide presents to children in your area who are underprivileged. There are countless organizations that do this sort of work, and it’s a way for your company to give back to the community. That’s a type of shopping even Scrooge could get on board with.
It’s cute when a kindergarten classroom features a hodgepodge of amateur holiday decorations, but it’s less charming at a place of business. You have to create rules to keep decorations to a level below outrageous, especially if you have customers visit your office. In general, it’s a good idea to mark which spaces can and can’t be decorated and set some boundaries in terms of what’s acceptable. You also need to monitor how much time decorating takes away from work. If teams want to make paper stockings at their weekly meetings, you should allow it. However, if somebody wants to spend multiple hours to really get in the spirit — time that could be spent on other tasks — don’t feel bad about asking them to clock out for it. Decorating may be within the purview of the role of office manager, but it’s certainly not what you’re paying salespeople to do.
Gratitude is one of the core values of the holidays, making it the perfect time to express your appreciation to your staff. You should give props and share kind words year-round, but upping your efforts during the holidays will have a huge impact. For some businesses, the holiday season is the busiest time of the year. For others, it’s the slowest. Wherever you fall on the spectrum, odds are you have employees who are stretched thin and expending extra effort. Maybe they’re covering for others on vacation. Perhaps they’re juggling work and creating a memorable season for their kids. Acknowledging their presence and thanking them for all the work they’ve done this year is bound to put a smile on their faces.
THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? Why Nurturing Employees and Customers Is the Key to Retention
Who comes first: employees or customers? When posed this classic business question, Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher had an easy answer: employees. “If employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right,” Kelleher explained. As Kelleher knows well, employee-customer relations are a cycle — one that fuels recurring business. Engaged employees deliver service that converts to sales, a fact backed up by a Gallup report. Gallup cited a 20 percent increase in sales as a result of this process. Even as you’re courting leads, you can’t ignore your existing customers. Likewise, even (and especially) as you grow, you have to nurture your employees. The cost of losing either is too high. In the holiday rush, it’s important to not lose sight of your priorities.
Starbucks is a great example. Even with thick competition, they deliver consistent service and quality products to customers, whether in Oregon or London. And they do this by providing competitive wages and benefits to their employees along with training and learning opportunities. Employees who are knowledgeable and excited about what they are offering pass their enthusiasm on to customers.
OWN UP TO MISTAKES.
Even the best businesses make mistakes. When it happens, own up to it. There’s probably been a time when you put in your order at a restaurant, only to receive the wrong thing. How did the business handle it? Did they admit their mistake and offer you a new meal? How a business treats customers when things don’t go smoothly is a good indication of how they’ll handle adversity in general, and that reaction starts with employees. Set the precedent for employees that a mistake is their opportunity to go above and beyond. A transparent environment will make employees feel more comfortable, which will make customers excited, rather than apprehensive, to engage with your business again.
GET THEM HOOKED ON YOUR SERVICE.
Have you ever asked a client why they return to your business? Do you think it’s because they can’t find your product or service anywhere else? Probably not. Think about the last time you returned to a restaurant. Was it because it’s the only place in town that makes amazing Thai food? Maybe, but it’s more likely that you enjoyed the welcoming host, attentive waiter, and positive experience you had there.
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A Fun Trend You Can Easily Follow! Ugly Sweater Parties
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN UGLY SWEATER PARTY?
It’s speculated that the first ugly sweater party took place inVancouver, Canada, back in 2001. Since then, the trend has become one of the most popular holiday party themes. Come Thanksgiving, you’ll start to see racks in all types of clothing stores lined with hideous sweaters. If you’re ready to jump on the ugly-sweater-party bandwagon this Christmas season, here a few things to keep inmind.
It’s rather simple — slip on your favorite Christmas sweater, gather all your friends and family members, make sure there are plenty of refreshments and games, and you’re guaranteed to have a top-tier party. A few ugly- sweater-themed games that should be on the agenda include an ugly gift exchange, which is similar to the white elephant exchange, except with the gaudiest gifts you can find; an ugly photo booth, complete with terrible, tacky props; and, of course, an ugly sweater contest. This is the only time of year when slipping into a lurid red sweater with a stuffed Santa sewn on the front is considered trendy. So adorn yourself in the frumpiest, tackiest sweater you can find, and have some fun this December!
YOURVERY OWN UGLY SWEATER
Ugly sweaters come in all shapes, sizes, and prices. You can head to H&M or a local thrift store to pick one up. However, if you have a sweater that’s been cozied up for years in the back of your closet or a drawer, now’s your chance to give it new life. Arm yourself with a hot glue gun, thread, and needle, and patch Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty on it. And let it be known that an ugly sweater isn’t complete without sparkles, beads, and sequins galore.
Take a Break!
ROAST PRIME RIB
1 bone-in prime rib (6–7 pounds) 8 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 cups beef stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups red wine
1. 30 minutes before cooking, remove roast from fridge and let sit until it reaches room temperature. 2. Heat oven to 350 F. 3. Make small slits in prime rib and stuff with slices of garlic. Liberally season with salt and pepper. 4. Place a rack inside a roasting pan and roast prime rib for 2 hours, until medium-rare.
5. To make au jus, place
roasting pan with drippings from roast over 2 burners on high. Add wine and scrape pan as liquid reduces. Add beef stock and cook until reduced by half. Finally, sprinkle in thyme. 6. Slice roast and serve topped with au jus.
Solution on page 4
Recipe courtesy of Food Network
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Inside This Issue
From the Desk of Ed Alexander PAGE 1 Holiday Spirit at the Office PAGE 1 Don’t Let Retention Slide in the Holiday Rush PAGE 2 Everything You’ll Need for an Ugly Sweater Christmas PAGE 3 Take a Break PAGE 3 Holiday Roast Prime Rib PAGE 3 How Does Santa Do It? PAGE 4
BUSINESS LOGISTICS OF THE NORTH POLE One Company You Wouldn’t Want to Run
4. MATERIALS Since Santa can’t gather raw materials from the barren wasteland of the North Pole, he is required to import or artificially grow the necessary supplies and equipment to produce toys. The number of shipments needed would be a nearly impossible feat, so Santa would need a facility that could produce synthetic materials and greenhouses that could grow organic materials. These facilities alone would be impossible to keep hidden from explorers or satellites, so he would need shrinking capabilities via a laser, or perhaps he’d have to go underground, which is the more commonly accepted explanation. We don’t know how it happens each year, but somehow, Christmas goes off without a hitch. It’s the greatest feat in the world of business. Move over, Jeff Bezos, because Santa is coming to town!
If you think running your business is tough, try thinking about how Santa operates the North Pole. From least to most complex, here are the four hardest aspects of running an operation that delivers gifts to 7 billion people. 1. REAL ESTATE Finding an office space that can facilitate your business operations is a challenging undertaking for anyone. You need to provide an optimal workspace that offers room to grow. If you run a production operation like Santa’s Workshop, you also need adequate space to house your products. Just think how big the warehouses up North need to be. If you thought Nike or Google had big campuses, Santa’s must cover the entire Arctic. 2. INTERNAL COMMUNICATION A frequent business killer for most of us is probably a smooth-sailing process for Santa — surely the North Pole doesn’t have any
challenges creating a positive work culture. Elves are often depicted as cheerful and consistent team players. They whistle while they work and enjoy Christmas candy, and every toy is ready by Christmas Eve. 3. LABOR Finding skilled labor in America is a challenge, but in the North Pole, it has to be evenmore challenging. Since Santa can’t hire newworkers or offer moving incentives, the amount of available labor is directly proportional to the number of elf births. On top of that, Santa has to consider the worker-to-production ratio when factoring in new employees. The number of new hires and howmuch they can produce has to outpace the population increase of the world. For example, if Santa has 100,000 workers, each employee needs to create at least 70,000 toys so they can supply the world’s human population. If elf births go down, then production has to increase tomake up for the difference.
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