All Posts by Carol Wain

The Launch of the Enlightened Capitalist – Consulting Services

NEWS FOR RELEASE: Immediately

CONTACT: Sue Voyles – Logos Communications, Inc.

734.667.2005 sue@logos-communications.com

Enlightened Capitalist: Taking businesses and their leaders to greater heights

New website, www.enlightenedcapitalist.org, offers insights, invites exploration

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Dec.13, 2016 – Company executives and entrepreneurs looking to take their organizations to a higher-performing, community-focused, and socially-responsible level have a new, comprehensive consulting resource to explore, Enlightened Capitalist.

Founded by Carol Wain, an award-winning business transformation consultant, entrepreneur, author, and leadership mentor, Enlightened Capitalist aims to help individuals collaborate, mentor and learn how to reinvent their businesses and use the power of profitable organizations to transform lives and positively impact the planet.

“Over the past year, we’ve witnessed a growing discontent throughout the world. People are becoming angry with the way they are being treated by governments and business, and the effects that current business practices are having on society and the planet,” Wain says. “Combine this with awakening with disruption in industries due to technological advances, increased pressure from customers to improve their experiences, and the exasperation of managers regarding the expectations of the millennials, and the perfect storm for a massive reinvention is brewing.”

Wain’s vision involves changing the dialogue and sparking a movement to reinvent broken systems in a manner which creates win-win-win situations for people, our planet, and those who courageously lead the way. “Business and the decision making that goes with it doesn’t have to be on an ‘either/or’ basis,” she says. “I like to say that your future starts with AND, meaning that organizations and the people who lead them should opt for a more holistic approach where profit AND purpose are aligned to transform lives.”

Enlightened Capitalist draws on the experience and talents of its Advisory Board, which includes:

  • Anne C. Graham, #1 bestselling author, speaker, and consultant in helping businesses achieve sustainable, profitable growth
  • Stephen Hobbs, CEO, educator, and business consultant specializing in workplace culture, business mapping, and merger and acquisition strategies
  • Susan Radojevic, a successful entrepreneur and advisor on business performance and engagement
  • Bernadette Slowey, an award-winning documentary filmmaker and founder of Vast Universe Productions. Her experiences include marketing, human resources & training, organizational development and customer experience. With her diverse background, she brings creative thinking to corporate and business savvy to entrepreneurs.

To learn more about Enlightened Capitalist, its concepts, and its services, please visit www.enlightenedcapitalist.org.

About Enlightened Capitalist: Enlightened Capitalist (EC) educates individuals in the process of mindful emergence as it relates to business. Enlightened Capitalist provides a roadmap for entrepreneurs and leaders to link life purpose with business sense. EC is a movement that consists of consulting, education, and local communities which guide transition at the personal level that results in change at the organizational level and beyond. Learn more at www.enlightenedcapitalist.org.

Letting Go Is Never Easy

Woman_Releasing_BirdSending our children off is one of those bittersweet moments.

We love them, we encourage them, we support them, we nurture them, we inspire them to be the best they can be… and then we have to let them go.

However, as we’re doing all the above, we never think about how much it’s going to hurt.

I’m crying just typing this but when we’ve done a great job being a parent, mentor, advisor, teacher, cheerleader, confidant, adversary, shit-upon-person — all in preparation so they can be better than we were at their age — it still hurts as we watch them take those next steps.

We still worry. We never stop worrying….

But, as we have proven to our parents, they (and we) survive.

Yes, we all have bumps in the road.

We all have heartbreak and WTF stupidity at times.

However, we each follow our own path.  It’s often windy and sometimes rather f*cked up but it’s our path nonetheless.

And our role now becomes almost redundant — never completely but certainly not the same.

We are free to be us again and to follow the dreams we couldn’t do earlier.

It’s our time to shine in our own greatness, through experience and heartache, joy and utter gratitude for bringing beautiful people into this world who are embarking on their journey while we create our legacy project (whatever that may be).

Sending you hugs Moms and Dads

xoxo

2

Ideal Day, Ideal Lifestyle

One of the most powerful exercises I have ever done personally and with clients is the Ideal Day in the Ideal Lifestyle exercise.

Imagine an ideal day in your ideal lifestyle

Stop what you are doing…  close your eyes, relax, put your feet up or meditate and ask yourself to picture yourself one day in the future.  This is what you would consider to be a perfect day.  It can be a day when you are retired or a day when you are still working.  It doesn’t matter.

  • Where are you?
  • What time you get up?
  • Who is in bed beside you when you wake?  (or what… e.g. your pet)
  • What does your room look like?
  • What does your house look like?
  • What do you have for breakfast, lunch, dinner?
  • Then what do you do?
  • Who do you talk to throughout the day?
  • What are you planning?
  • What are you working on?
  • What are you doing?
  • Who do you see?
  • What activities do you do?
  • What’s happening with your family and friends?

How does this day compare with other days this week, this month, this year?

Imagine the smells, the sounds, what you feel when you touch things.

Get very clear in your mind — even take some time to create a vision board if you’d like.

Now write out your day with such detail that an actor and director could re-enact it perfectly.  How does it feel while you are writing this?

Keep tweaking until it feels right.

For example, I thought that my ideal lifestyle would include living on a Caribbean Island — open the door in the morning, get fresh juice and fruit, sit outside and read, go to the gym or a bike ride or a boat trip, come in when it’s too hot to create, make a great dinner, relax and enjoy the sunset.

And then I realized that I’d be bored stiff in about 2 weeks and I’d be claustrophobic within a month or so.  My hubby was even going to apply for a job he’d been previously offered a job on a Caribbean Island but we knew we’d go stir crazy.

So I changed my day.  It now takes place in Italy and I’m still working.

Once you have revised your day and it feels right, read it outloud.  Watch for places your body twitches or otherwise indicates to you that it’s not right.  Watch for places where you may be saying to yourself “I don’t deserve this” or other negative thoughts.

Explore the negative thoughts — what do you need to do so that you tell yourself you do deserve this and can achieve it?

Keep tweaking with the day until you can read it outloud and you believe what you have written.

Now turn on your webcam or your phone camera or some other video recording device, look into the camera and, without looking at what you’ve written, explain your ideal day.  This exercise is for your eyes only so don’t worry about how you look or sound.    Remember to share the details so that if a director and actor saw the video they’d know how to re-enact your day perfectly.

When you are playing back the video look for a few things:  What did you change in your story?  Where did you stumble?  Did you look like you believed yourself that this ideal day is possible?  How do you feel while sharing this day?

The power of this exercise is to get clear on what you want and what makes you happy.    It’s also what you should be working towards, so that when you are making your day-to-day decisions now you can move towards this day.

Again, my ideal day takes place in Italy.  I’ll spare you the details but I will tell you that what I’m building with my brands, what I’m sharing with my message, how I’ve structured my life and the decisions that hubby and I are making will get us living in Italy one day.    At the time I did this exercise, I imagined me being on stage, being interviewed on TV, writing books and checking in with the CEOs of my brands on a regular basis.  I had no idea what the message I was delivering…

… but now I do…

It’s the Enlightened Capitalist message… and I know for sure that one day my day will look a whole lot like what I imagined years ago.

Don’t Do What I Did in the Past. Do This Instead…

Hello I am an Expert BadgeThe Internet Marketing world drives me crazy… which is hilarious because I’m posting this on my marketing website… but let’s continue…

I admit, there are a few great lessons by gifted business people buried in the noise.

However, the hype and the selling of basic information disguised as hope with a big price tag has been challenging to me for a while now.

The people who claim to be successful, spouting examples of their success which have been spun to within millimeters of falsehood, are no longer those who I learn from.

The conferences, which are highly crafted to give just enough information so you don’t walk out, but not enough information unless you buy all the products/services offered, piss me off (I’ve spent embarrassingly significant sums of money and time at these events, which is why I’m angry.)

Many Internet Market gurus are great at copying but that’s about it because I got caught up in this illusion for far too long and it was my Quadruplets of Discontent which kept me there.

So…

Every once in a while, when this feeling comes up, I say “time out” and I spend time researching and reading.

This past week was one of those weeks.

I read about innovation, predictions about our future, business model reinvention, crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Richard Branson, Larry Page, artificial intelligence, 3D printers, TopCoder and a gazillion other topics as I allowed myself to follow the bouncing ball with an open mind to discover new ideas, concepts, problems and solutions.

… and I’m happy to report, I’m back on the right track, woot! woot!

Marketing1

I will continue to use internet marketing because it’s a great channel … and it’s how I competed with well-funded, established businesses way back in 1996… when Microsoft became my first sale in my “lifestyle business” before that term became commonplace.

It’s how I attracted a multi-billion international company for services which were far too big / great for my business (so I referred them to one of those competitors and earned a nice big fee when they closed the deal 3 years later… by big I mean “6 figures” big … for a referral because my website was found and theirs wasn’t.)

It’s how I attracted a major airline to run their loyalty program and ended up in a top 2 short-list … and fortunately DIDN’T get chosen.

It’s how I attracted a New York city ad agency who was the Agency of Record for an automobile manufacturer to provide a test drive incentive, which enabled me to pay off the 2nd mortgage we took out to fund the business and then hire my team and move to a commercial office space.

This was all possible because of the internet and having a sought-after and valuable product, service or experience to sell. This is the key … sought-after, valuable product, service or experience, which people want to buy because it solves a problem while it provides them with a better overall experience than your competitors offer.

I’m embarking on a new venture, which is becoming increasingly clear.

The internet will be a major part of it… and it has to be… but the hype, the BS and the flimsy business concepts disguised as hope won’t be.

It is a real business, a real lifestyle business, and there will be offers to participate along the way.

If this intrigues you, and you might want to be part of this as it unfolds, please say so in the comments and I’ll reach out to you with an offer to add you to a mailing list and a community of like-minded movers and shapers who use their skills, perspectives, experiences and talents to positively impact our planet while we transform lives using our businesses.

It absolutely isn’t for everyone but it might be for you if we are a great fit in philosophy, vision, attitude and experience.

When Purpose and Passion Collide

I’m bursting with excitement!

I’ve been on quite a long drawn-out journey to reinvent myself and my business, doing bits of this and bits of that in a personal sense and a business sense.

A few years ago, I had some unexplainable urges to do things I had never done before.

Carol Wain and Jay Conrad LevinsonThe first was to write a book with Jay Conrad Levinson. The offer was made on a webinar and about 2 weeks later I had cashed in retirement funds and airline points to attend a Guerrilla Marketing Intensive in his home. I spent the next 9 months painstakingly writing the Guerrilla Tourism Marketing book which I published on 12-12-12…. and it changed my life.

The following year, I had an even stronger urge to go to the World Domination Summit — I didn’t even really know what it was all about — I saw a post on Facebook about tickets being sold by those who couldn’t attend and I knew I had to go.

It was at this event where I had the weirdest experience of my life — the presenter was talking about something — no idea what anymore — and then he switched gears. His wife joined him onstage and together they directed us to clear our laps, to close our eyes, to say a validation to ourselves then put down our baby finger on our left hand. We were to say this validation 10x, ending up with the baby finger on our right hand.

I was thrown by this — my lap was full of stuff and it took me a while to get my act together. By the time I could join in we were all the way to our middle finger right hand. I said something and put down that finger. Nope, that wasn’t it.

I then said to myself “I’ve been chosen to reinvent lives globally” and said “Yes, that feels right.”

I then said it one last time emphasizing “chosen“.

I don’t know what hit me but something very powerful hit me like a tsunami.

I immediately burst into tears. I couldn’t explain what happened but fortunately the many strangers I randomly shared with were kind enough to listen so I could calm down.

Carol Wain with Tess Vigeland

Carol Wain with Tess Vigeland

After the break I chose to sit up front, on the aisle, and the presenter bee-lined off the stage, walked up to me and asked me who I was and what I did.

The funny thing is that she had been talking about how she’d quit her job at the NPR without a safety net.

She didn’t know why she had to do it but she did and now everyone — including herself — thought she was nuts! When I replied “I’m Carol Wain, Queen of Reinvention and I help people just like you to reinvent your life” she was gob-smacked. (well, many people were, myself included!)

This long story is the set-up to my excitement.

It’s been a few years since then and I have taken many steps forward and many steps backward.

I was spinning my wheels doing things but not making the kind of difference I am capable of.

Late last year I was speaking to a friend about why I felt I wasn’t as successful as I had been in the past and the answer was simple. Discipline and Accountability — nothing more, nothing less. I had heaps more of both when I was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year for 2003 — and at the time I had an 8 year old and a 12 year old.

We decided to become Accountability partners.

Well, since then my world has changed.

I asked the Universe to help me come up with something that was bigger than me and bigger than my existing brands. I asked for something that would reinvent lives globally.

I’d been playing in the Reinvention space for quite a while. In fact, I’ve interviewed a few of you, my readers, for my Reinvention Show and/or my Women’s Reinvention Summit. I knew that I didn’t want to be in life coaching and that business was where I needed to play.

When I woke up one morning with 2 words in my head, I knew it was what I have to do.

Glowing green globeI’m starting a movement which teaches and shows business leaders how to create organizations which positively impact the people who support their business, their communities and the planet. This organization will take the best parts of all I’ve experienced to create a global community of leaders who reinvent their businesses to transform lives.

The website and business concept are being finalized now. I’m so excited about this that I’m barely sleeping these days…

 

 

 

Lessons learned:

1. I am enough. I have whatever I need inside me already.
2. Surround yourself with great people who collaborate and co-create, support and encourage you.
3. Be giving — my accountability partners received from me before I asked of them.
4. Spend time getting in touch with yourself, your dreams, your vision, core values, strengths and weaknesses, passion and purpose. Then build upon it.
5. Add value, always
6. Be profitable and use some of that profit to enrich the lives of others while protecting our planet.
7. The best currency is great relationships.

This was a long post… hope it inspires you.

5 Ways to Improve Performance

Every business leader and executive I speak with talks about performance.   Financial performance, people performance, marketing performance, sales performance, operational performance and so on.

Great performance requires people to be onboard, engaged, aligned and passionate about the vision, purpose, passion, goals, personality and promise of the business – and this is one of the biggest challenges within an organization.

MagicianPerformances, on the other hand, are delivered by employees, managers and leaders.  They are also delivered by customers, vendors, supporters, investors, partners and franchisees.

In other words, all people play a role in the success of a business.

The Theater references don’t end here…

Every business has a stage which is set by its marketing team and reinforced by employees and customers.  When employees see themselves as performers and their actions as performances, it’s easier to see how great behaviors and decisions make an impact.  (It’s also more fun!)

Great Experience

Leaders and managers are also challenged to improve the performance experience to add more value to customers, to differentiate their business from competitors, to improve relationships and to increase profits – while striving to deliver consistent performances regardless of who is on stage at any given moment.

 

 

Performance matters, regardless of how you define it.

5 Ways to Improve Your Performance

  1. Ensure you have a strong vision, purpose, passion, personality, platform and core values which are easy to share.  Then share it!  All employees need to know where you are headed.  All employees and customers need to know what you stand for and how you are different.  They will then choose whether to support your business or not.
  2. Review your policies, procedures and decision making criteria to ensure these are in alignment with #1.  If one of your core values is “sense of family” and yet you have departments or silos which compete with each other or don’t speak to each other, then your sense of family is dysfunctional!   If you say that you are customer-centric are you making decisions which support what your customers’ value and are willing to pay for?  If you are all about efficiency, how are you continuously improving it?
  3. Immerse yourself in your performance.  In this definition of performance, you are looking at the roles your people play; how customers and employees act; which “sets” on your “stage” need to be updated and how you can improve the experience delivered to employees and customers.  Think of your business in the theatrical sense to give yourself a different perspective.   Find out what it’s like outside your office.  Get immersed in the experience and ask how it can be better.
  4. Take action.  You’ve identified gaps in performance — both in the traditional business sense and through the eyes of the performers.  Review #1 and #2 and come up with a plan to close the gaps.  Every business will approach the action taking in a different way — just be sure to stay in alignment.
  5. Get help.   You can’t optimize your performance alone.  Involve your employees, customers, supporters, partners, investors and vendors.  Ask for insight.   Remember that your perspective isn’t going to be the same perspective that others have.  Let their input help to guide you.  If you are out of your element or you cannot take on more work, hire someone to manage the project or various parts of the project.

Performance is a one of those great words which means different things to different people.  Remember, your business is similar to theater.  You create the stage, you choose the performers, you deliver performances and your people act in certain ways.  Each of these elements impacts your business performance.  Improve the theater and improve your business.

How do you define performance?  How do you improve it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Haven’t You Left Yet?

When we bought our rig last August, our intention was to tour North America for a couple of years.   A whole year later we’ve been asked quite a few times “What happened?”

Ahhh, this past year has been a year of transition like we’ve never had before.

We bought the rig on impulse last August 20th.  We’d never seen inside a modern RV before – let alone one that was 40’ tip to tip – and when we saw this one we said to ourselves “Yes, this is how we are going to transition from living in a house to travelling the world while we work.”Dream

The problem was we hadn’t planned how we were going to pay for this lifestyle – which if you are living it you know, it can be (and for us it is) actually more expensive than staying in your house!  I’ll write a blog post about this later.

Being the entrepreneur I am, I thought I’d create some courses and sell them online.  I’d also pick up consulting work along the way by speaking at associations and Chambers of Commerce and hosting workshops.

Or so I thought…

When I started to write my first course I realized it was more like a college course than an online course.  The content was meaty and definitely not the entry level kind of product most online course creators sell.  I felt it would be a hard sell and I’d lose too many people along the way and I wanted neither of those things to happen.

I stopped writing, regrouped and am now in the process of creating a new strategy for my courses and consulting work which I plan to have finalized within a couple of weeks.

Then there was the problem of our house.  After we bought the rig, we’d put the house on the market.  We thought it would sell quickly but it didn’t.  We’d received some lowball offers but we weren’t going to entertain them.  We had been landlords for over 10 years, so we decided to rent it out.

What a mistake that was!

We paid more in legal fees in the first couple of months than we collected in rent!

With the tenant on a one-year lease and laws which protect the tenant more than they protect the landlord, we had to figure out a way to get her out.  Fortunately, I have a good sense of people and their hotspots (after all, I’ve owned an incentive company, which incents, recognizes and rewards people who behave in a certain way for nearly 20 years).

I knew this tenant didn’t like people in “her space”.  She had been very uncooperative with giving us access to do our inspections and maintenance.  Therefore, I guessed correctly that she would really hate having people through the house a few times a week.

I informed her that we were going to put the house on the market and told her what the expectations were for allowing realtors to show the place.  We also told her that if she wanted out of the lease we’d understand.  It worked and within a few hours of giving her notice, she’d replied and said she wanted out.  Yahoo!!   But we had to move back into the house until it sold 4 months later.2015-02-27 07.21.49

These two practical items weren’t the biggest issue though.

A few days before my 50th birthday, I ended up in the ER and our first big trip (to California for 3 weeks over Christmas and New Years) had to be cancelled.  I am still bummed about that – I’d booked everything and we had tickets to see the Canucks playing in Anaheim and in San Jose.

Fortunately, the move back into the house was at the same time as I was unable to travel, so it wasn’t all bad… just a blip…. And a convenient one because it was winter.

When we accepted an offer on both our house and our rental property in March, we started madly renovating the RV to our taste.   We had one month to do the renovations and if you’ve seen the posts on the Wains World website, it was a biggie!

We learned NOT try to downsize, renovate and move out of your house while also working.  The pressure was IMMENSE and we ran into one problem after the other, which delayed the project by weeks.

2015-04-05 09.15.55We ended up moving into a hotel for a few days until we left for Jamaica for a month to have a vacation and experience another little taste of what our nomadic lifestyle would be like.

But this chapter of our lives wasn’t over yet…

When we got back to our fulltime RVing lives I realized I really didn’t like not owning real estate.  The market had gone crazy right after we sold and I was worried we’d end up spending all the equity we’d acquired and we’d never get back into the market – should we ever want to.

So, on a Wednesday in May, I told Steve I’d like to buy a condo so our daughter had a place to stay while she finished her university.  The next day we were on the ferry to the Lower Mainland (Vancouver, BC) and the day after we’d bought a condo.

Next item on the to-do list was to renovate it.  Again, there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with it… it just wasn’t to our taste.2015-06-16 22.11.29

And that’s when the next “surprise” happened.

After waiting for nearly a year to have his mitral valve repaired Steve got a surgery date.  Guess what date?  Yup, the day before we were to take possession.  Uggh.

Fortunately, we were able to move the possession date up by a week and so round 2 of mad renovations was about to begin.  The day after we moved in, we started to rip up the carpet.   Talk about craziness!  We hadn’t even received formal authorization from the strata council but we couldn’t wait.

Steve and Lauren were in charge of demolition.  I was in charge of sourcing everything – including new furniture and lots of other stuff we’d just given away or sold for pennies.

… and then the surgery was postponed.

In a way it was appreciated because there was no way we were going to get the floor down in a week, let alone everything else done.

However, the delay meant that we had to go back to the island, get the rig out of storage, find a RV park with availability (easier said than done) and Steve went back to work.

2015-08-26 15.30.32After a few more surgery dates which came and went, Steve finally had his surgery on July 28th (5 weeks after the first date) and we moved into the condo with Lauren for his recovery time.

We were also able to get one last boating trip in… and Lauren got up on the wakeboard on her first day!

Even though it didn’t work out the way we thought it would, it was all good in the end.

As I type this blog post, we’re on day 7 of our first road trip and I’m writing as Steve drives over the Coquihalla.

Steve is doing well and he’s got the okay to travel.

I’m finally able to get back on track business wise as well.

The Universe has a remarkable way of making things right, all in due time.

Are you living your dreams?  Have you made big plans then had to postpone them but you’ve never given up on them?  Share below in the comments…

 

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

 

Living Your Dreams

Well, we’ve done it — we’ve sold our rental property and our house.  For the first time since 1992, I haven’t owned any real estate (and at one point we had 3 homes).  We decided to go all-in with our location independent lifestyle.  As I type this, I’m sitting on the patio of a condo I rented in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

We sold 99% of our belongings for pennies on the dollar.  All those treasures I’d found over our 20+ years together are gone.  The high-end stuff that we bought when business was booming is gone.  The masks I bought as we travelled the world are gone.  Photo albums are gone (I kept a few of them but basically no photos of our lives before we met.)

My walk-in closet has been reduced to a 4′ wide closet which I share with Steve and the stuff that was in the hall closet in the house.

I have to remind myself “it’s just stuff”.  It’s stuff that we actually don’t need.  It’s stuff that weighs us down.  It’s stuff that we have to let go so we can follow our dreams.
DreamI’ve been longing for this type of lifestyle for years.  My first mentor had me write out a list of what I wanted for my life and one of the items on it is “living where I want to live”.  I wrote that because Steve was in the military at that time and we’d just received a posting that neither of us wanted.  We knew that we would be posted one day, and that’s why I created a flexible, portable business right from the start — we just felt like we were being punished when we were posted to this particular base — so Steve quit and we decided we’d figure out the pension side of things later.

When the effects of the 2008 / 2009 economy nearly destroyed my business, I moved my office back home after all my employees quit one by one.   I was in a really dark place for a while.  My pity party went on far too long.  I was lost, confused and lacked confidence for quite a while.

When I started to pull myself back together and figure out what I wanted, the dream of living where I want to live while I continue to make money resurfaced.   I took myself through an exercise that I ask my clients to do — imagine your ideal lifestyle and your ideal day.

Document with such clarity that an actor and director could reenact this day — from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed.  Where are you?  Who are you with?  What does your bedroom look like?  What type of accommodation are you living in?  What do you smell? See? Feel? Taste?  What do you do in the day?  Who do you talk to?  … and so on…

My ideal day takes place in a villa in Tuscany.  I am living a jet-setting lifestyle and I’m making money as an entrepreneur, author, speaker and consultant. I have a few brands and they are managed by an excellent leadership team.   I am a subject matter expert on reinvention — both personal and business — and I get paid well to help others do the same.  (There’s more to it than this but this is the simplified version.)

With our eldest daughter settled in her job and talking of plans to buy a house with her boyfriend and our youngest daughter starting her second year of university, Steve and I started talking about bringing this dream to life.  I wanted to sell everything and travel the world with nothing more than a backpack.  While this is not unusual if you are in your 20’s or 30’s, we are 50.    We are “supposed” to be using this time in our lives to pay off our mortgage and build up our retirement fund.   We decided we’d rather enjoy being together and travelling the world while we still have our health.  We’ll figure the rest out later.

2014-09-11 16.13.15Steve wasn’t quite ready to have nothing though.  He needed an in-between.  A place for his stuff, a place to call “home”.

Last summer we bought the “Bellagio” a 2012, Montana Big Sky 3585sa from a couple we met at our eldest daughter’s horse show.  We had never been inside a RV before and we were blown away at how spacious they are — 2 TVs, fridge, convection/microwave and a shower… we were so green… haha!

We moved into the rig (I still don’t know why they are called rigs and now it’s a bit embarrassing to ask) at the end of August with the intention of travelling North America for 2 years before selling it and moving overseas until we get bored and want to come home.  It didn’t quite work though as our tenant was a problem and we ended up breaking the lease and moving back into the house in December.   We put the house on the market back then too.

When we accepted the offer on the house in early February, we decided to bite the bullet and renovate the rig.  There was nothing wrong with it, except it wasn’t to our taste.  It was 50 shades of brown and I’m more of a 50 shades of grey kind of person (no, not in “that” way).

2014-09-11 16.41.10We figured, it’s only about 400 square feet, so how much time would it take to install a washer/dryer combo unit, rip out the carpet, paint all the walls and cabinets, install vinyl laminate and replace the bathroom vanity?

I can honestly say we have never underestimated the scope of a project as badly as we did this one.  It’s been 2 months of many hours each day on work days and full days on days off.

We got as much as we could get done together, done before I left but there was so much more to do.  We couldn’t move the rig from our friend’s driveway because it was still torn apart.  We obviously couldn’t move into it when we moved out of the house.  So since March 26th, Steve has been living in a hotel and busting his butt trying to get the rig back together before joining me here.  I hope he is able to leave it knowing that he’ll be able to move it and move into it when he goes back home — I’m here for a month and he’s here for 18 days.

The transition hasn’t been as smooth as we hoped but it is what it is.  We’re now living our dreams.  We’ve started our new chapter.

I can’t think of a better way to spend our 20th wedding anniversary than back in the place where we got married and started creating dreams together.

Are you living your dreams?  Share below in the comments…

 

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

5 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Improve Your Customer Experience

Improving Your Customer Experience is Easier When You Understand the Following:

  1. Customer Experience is in every business decision.
  2. The only true differentiation between competitors is the Customer Experience they deliver.
  3. Your brand IS your Customer Experience.
  4. Everyone is IN marketing  whether they realize it or not
  5. Customers complain when there is a disconnect between what you promise in your marketing and the experience they receive.

Let’s Look at an Example:

Restaurant A is next door to Restaurant B in tourist row.  They are both Mom and Pop restaurants which  sell similar products — food and drinks — but Restaurant A has a waiting line to get seated while Restaurant B is empty.   Why is this?

  • Restaurant A’s menu is more slightly expensive than Restaurant B.
  • Restaurant A’s servers are rushed off their feet but they are taking time to be hospitable to their diners.  Restaurant B’s servers are sitting at a table in the back tapping away at their phones.
  • Restaurant A is colorful, with clean white table cloths and sparkling glasses.  Restaurant B isn’t as colorful, its glasses aren’t quite as sparkling and the table cloths are showing their age.
  • Because Restaurant A is cooking for its guests, the aroma of deliciousness makes the tummy growl.  Restaurant B isn’t cooking, so no-one knows what to expect.
  • The signage for Restaurant A is appealing,  Restaurant B has signage that needs repair

People make decisions based on emotion and rationalize them with logic.  In the eyes of the tourists — who have to make a decision with limited knowledge — Restaurant A is a better choice for all sorts of reasons and they must be right because others have chosen it too.  The social proof convinces them to join the line.

What Could Restaurant B Do Differently?  

Do you know your customers?Customer Experience is in EVERY business decision — the decision to permit the staff to sit at a table in the back, rather than being outside with great big welcoming smiles on their faces while they invite people to check out the menu and perhaps offer a little taste of what they are serving.   By doing this they are not only marketing — building Attention, Interest, Desire and Action — but they are drawing people into their customer experience.

They need to decide who they are, who they want to serve, what those people are looking for and deliver it.

They need to fix the signage, replace the table cloths and shine the glasses before putting them on the table because people will make assumptions about the quality of the food and service based on those visuals.    They are marketing to the world that they either aren’t interested in the details or they aren’t able to invest in their business, neither of which appeals to people who want a good experience.

They need to find a hook — something that people want which is different and more valuable than the other restaurant offers.   They need for people to experience what they have to offer.  They need to show social proof to get people to come in, which will lead to more people following.   They need to add some life to their restaurant — no-one wants to eat at an empty restaurant.  They need to start investing in a consistent experience so that people know what to expect.

5 Ways To Improve Your Customer Experience Experience

  1. Know who you are serving and what they value.  Be clear on who you want to attract and who you want to repel.  Then find out what the people you want to attract value and what they don’t.  Ask them what you should Start, Stop, Increase and Decrease.  Use the T-Form, which you can download here
  2. Find out how people decide to do business with you.   What influences their decisions?  How did they find you?  What journey did they take to sort through their options?  What were the moments of truth for them?
  3. Follow-up after the sale.  Very few people do that, so you immediately differentiate your business from others.  Follow-up to be sure they are happy.  Ask if they have any questions you can answer.  Inquire about any other needs they have (great time for a cross-sell or up-sell).  Create a follow-up schedule.  What will you do, when will you do it and how will you follow-up?
  4. Train your staff.  I know it sounds like an absolutely “Captain Obvious” statement but so many businesses are cutting back on training, which is the wrong approach.  Your customers tend to know more about their options and your competition than you do — after all, it’s in their best interest to make an informed decision.  However, when they ask questions they have been unable to resolve during their research, your staff have to be able to answer and/or find someone who can quickly respond.
  5. Align your marketing with your customer experience.  If there is a disconnect, either change the experience or change your marketing.  Remember your brand IS your customer experience, so ensure your brand promise is indeed what your staff deliver — consistently and across all touch points.

 

Share your thoughts below in the comments…

 

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

Customer Experience Boston Pizza Style

2015-01-15 13.37.17Today I had lunch at the Boston Pizza in Drumheller, Alberta.   If you’ve read my blast about the Boston Pizza in Courtenay, British Columbia in August, you know how unhappy I was with the customer experience there.

As I walked to the front door I saw this sign and I groaned.  “Really?”  I thought, “… we’ll see”.

Obviously this reaction indicates that I am a customer experience specialist who is a bit jaded — particularly when it comes to campaigns created at the corporate level.  The reason is that so many corporate leaders have no idea what is going on in the field.  They create policies, processes, strategies and profit-enhancing decisions without understanding how it impacts the customer experience and the employees who deliver it.  After all, every decision made from the Board Room, to the front-line, to the back-room and everywhere in between either positively or negatively impacts the customer experience.

From the moment I walked through the door I realized how wrong I was — this time 🙂

A woman greeted us with a great big smile   — not one of those forced smiles that those in service jobs often display.  When I joined my husband after a quick pitstop, this woman — our server — was waiting at our table with a great big hospitable smile.  A short while later she came back to ask what we’d like to drink and to explain the specials with gusto.  Today’s soup was chicken gumbo — I never remember what the specials are after I’ve left a restaurant — but I did today!

When she brought my tea and our water she realized she’d forgotten my husband’s coffee.  However, she made a little joke about keeping me happy and went to get his coffee.  We placed our orders and then she popped back and asked if my salad was a lunch size, which it was.  She agreed it was a good choice because the salads are huge.

Throughout our dining experience the hospitality that our server exuded was exceptional.  She seemed genuinely happy to serve us.  Sh2015-01-15 13.35.49e genuinely took care of us.  Her smiles were genuine.

I, of course, was watching her like a hawk.  I wondered if she would be like this with others too — or did she just take a liking to us?  Well, I was happy to see that the next guests were treated like family too.  She was helpful and patient as they decided what to order.  She made recommendations after asking what they liked and what they didn’t.  She also started a conversation with them, asking if they were visiting, where they were visiting from and what they were going to see while there.  In other words — she is the poster child for what hospitality is.

I decided to ask her if I could take her photo and I explained that I was going to write a blog post about our experience.  I told her about the experience in Courtenay and I told her I wanted to share what great service was all about.   She asked me where this was going to be, so I gave her my URL.   I joked about my makeshift purse and she joked right back with me.  I felt like we’d have become great friends if I lived in Drumheller!

As we were leaving, I took the photo of the poster above and just as we were about to get in the car, she came out of the restaurant and asked us if I could share my post with www.bostonpizza.com.  I said “for sure” and I’ll post on the Facebook Page too.

So here is recognition for a job well done, Cheryl S.  Keep on smiling and keep on sharing your great hospitality to those who come for a meal.

What lessons do you take from this experience?

Share your thoughts below in the comments …

Carol Wain is a leadership consultant, trainer, mentor, speaker, best-selling author and Entrepreneur of the Year 2003.  She is the founder of  Marquee Incentives, Marquee Marketing, Marquee Experiences, Marquee Events and Carol Wain International, which provide consulting, training and related products and services that transform businesses.  

Using Carol’s F.O.R.C.E. Formula™, leaders and managers learn how to attract and retain the employees and customers they want, increase sales, reduce expenses and use their strength to make positive changes in the lives of others.  

You can find Carol on Google, Facebook, LinkedIn & Twitter.  Visit her website at http://carolwain.com and reach her at Carol@CarolWain.com

1 2 3 6