Swans, Goals and Definiteness of Purpose

I was out walking our dog with my 10 year old daughter the other night when we stopped to watch our local pair of swans cross a busy road to get from one lake to another.  Because Jesse – the dog, not my daughter – is apt to run at the swans, barking loudly, we held her back and watched their painful progress.

Ungainly crossing road

Swan is rather ungainly on land

They are rather ungainly creatures when on land – they waddled slowly; had difficulty getting down from one embankment and then up to another; didn’t seem to notice the cars – who thankfully noticed them AND slowed down.  But what struck me was their absolute definiteness of purpose.  Regardless of how slowly or awkwardly they moved or how difficult the ups and downs, these beautiful birds were bound and determined to get to their lake of choice.  Once they reached the water’s edge and pushed off into the lake, they transformed into those graceful creatures that have long inspired writers of fairy tales and legends.

For me, a mere mortal, it was a riveting reminder of how I should be approaching my own goals – slow, steady and with absolute definiteness of purpose.

Dr. Napoleon Hill says  Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.

No matter how I or my progress might look to others – ungainly, meanderingly slow – if I just keep my eyes on the goal, I will eventually get there.  And enjoy it when I do!

Swans a swimming

Graceful swimming swans

Think for a moment about your New Year’s Resolutions – how are you doing so far? Have some or all of them fallen by the wayside already?  Just pick them back up and start again!  You don’t have to wait until next New Year’s.  Pick your own starting point and do something to begin. Then take the next step, and the next, until, before you know it, you are almost there.

Do it with definiteness of purpose and you will enjoy both the journey and the arrival!


Thoughts added October 2014:

My how things have changed since I wrote this post! My daughter is fast approaching her fifteenth birthday and many of my goals have been reached, changed or downright forgotten.

Still, the take away remains the same for me – having goals and setting my sights on reaching them, however meandering the journey might seem! I shall take this opportunity to revisit my current goals and see what can be tweaked to get me closer to the target, or what goals I haven’t yet set and work on those too.

Wishing you the best with your own goals and journeys!

Effectively Communicating with Your Customers

Whatever your business, the lifeblood of that business is your customers. Without them, you don’t have a viable business and it won’t make you any money.

Too many businesses make the mistake of constantly seeking new customers to sell to while ignoring the customers they already have. A lot of money is spent on marketing to prospects while little, if any, is spent on marketing to the existing customers.

Customers stand out

Making your customer feel special

Just think about it, you’ve spent time, effort and money in getting a customer to buy from you – are you just going to sell to him once, or are you going to make every effort to sell to him over and over again?

If you can communicate to your existing customers that they are special to you, you will find it far easier to sell to them than to a crowd of unknown prospects.  Business owners need to remind themselves constantly that their customers are people, and people like it when they are made to feel special in some small way.

So, how can you get this idea across to your customers?  By communicating with them on a very regular basis!  With the advent of so many new mediums in social media – Twitter, Facebook, and Linked In to name but a few – some people think this is the only way to communicate now.  That would be an incorrect assumption as not all of your customers will be in that particular social media audience.  There are still those customers out there who want to get something from you via email and snail mail – yes, people still do want to get something in the mail!

My recommendation for effective communication with your customers would be to have several different ways of communicating with your customers

  • phone
  • email
  • direct mail
  • some well-chosen social mediums

It’s my belief, based on my own experience with clients, with businesses that I do business with, with some of the major corporations that we all deal with on  a

social media

Which ones should you use?

daily basis, that using all of these together will reach far more of your customers in their way, at their time.  If you choose to use only one method of communicating with your customers, you will be limiting your success with them.  Your decision to choose only one could be based on time, money and/or effort – a very normal way to deal with this.  But email is relatively inexpensive with a wide reach; social media is free for the most part and direct mail can be inexpensive but have a great return on investment (ROI).

I recommend that you try several different ways at once, integrating them whenever possible.  If your website is the ultimate place you want your customers to land, then all other communcations with them should point them to your website.  You can connect your blog to your website, use Twitter to promote your blog, use Facebook to promote your blog and your website, use an email newsletter to direct people to Twitter, Facebook, your blog and your website. Are you starting to see the pattern here?

Next post will discuss each of these in a little more detail.

Feel free to ask questions that you want addressed.

Varying levels of customer service means varying levels of customer loyalty

I had the pleasure of another power failure today – one of the hazards of living in Orlando! Anyway this time all my office equipment powered down and did NOT power back up like it usually does. After much rebooting, I did finally get it all back…except my Broadband router. I tried it in several different power outlets, but to no avail! Being the equipment non-techie that I am, I first called my IT provider to report my router being powerless. He asked the right questions of me so we knew the router was from the cable or phone company. Excellent customer service as always, that’s why I pay him more than the average – he is better (for me) than the average.

On to the next call – the cable company that provides my internet service. Several layers of automated voicemail lay the grounds for a build up of frustration. Hey, I can’t help it if their automated system can’t understand my Irish accent! Anywhoo, finally got to speak to some nice lady (not located in the US, but I cannot guess correctly where she was!) who was absolutely no help to me at all, except to get a case number from and then transfer me to tech support – which is where I thought I had already been.

Very nice chap had to break the bad news to me that No, the router was not part of their equipment so he could not assist me. But on a good note, the cable modem showed a nice healthy signal!

On to the phone company. Yes, I have VOIP service and no signal. This time I got a very helpful chap who asked a few questions and then agreed that the router was indeed dead because it did not power up. (It almost makes me afraid to wonder about the level of moron that these poor customer service folks have to deal with!) So, he took about 4 minutes to process a replacement router, free of charge, with free express shipping and to confirm that it would ship out to me bright and early tomorrow morning. Now THAT was customer service that I can live with. Yes, there are all kinds of VOIP phone services being offered today, but no matter what issue I call my phone company with, they solve it and don’t charge me anything for solving it. That is why I will not change my service to the other, cheaper, solutions. Again, I am willing to pay more to get better service.

Have you checked lately how your customer service people are servicing YOUR customers? Might be time to “secret shop” them and find out for sure!

Till next time,