The Social Revolution

With a major recession squeezing small businesses and big business as big as ever, how is a local company supposed to thrive and continue getting its name out to customers? Our answer came in the form of a service most of us use all the time: our Facebook. |

|
facebookmap

|

| In the age of social media, it has never been easier or less expensive to let people know you exist, and that logic also applies to small businesses. Today you can broadcast any message (or offer) to as many people who will listen, for free. People aren’t buying directories anymore, they’re looking up what they need online, and at no cost your business can be a part of it. If you provide a service that’s worth raving about, people will find a way to rave publicly on sites like Yelp. Of course this increased connectedness can work against you, making your company slip ups more visible than ever (see the Amy’s Baking Company debacle for a master class in what not to do). The best way to deal with these public mistakes is to try to take the criticism constructively, remember we’re all human, and try to never make that same mistake twice. In the end, this increased transparency adds up to a more level playing field than ever; where the best have a better chance of rising to the top, regardless of size.

For those companies willing to put themselves out there and “work it”, the rewards can be phenomenal. Every time we hear someone say social media’s just a fad or waste of time, we remember so was rock and roll, so was the internet, the mobile phone. There are 15 million companies on Facebook now. 15 million. Millions more on Linkedin, Twitter, the list goes on. So every time we hear those words, “fad”, we can’t help but think the person’s just in denial, or afraid of change. There are some bandwagons you just have to jump on, or you’ll be left alone in a ghost town, and social media is one of them.

|
Social media is the new neighbor on the block. Except instead of talking across a fence, you’re talking across the world. Just wait until figures start coming in about how much commerce has been produced from social media. For our company, it has changed everything. It’s sharpened our skills, made it easier to refer others and find products, to stay updated on our community, and has made conducting business generally more enjoyable. So jump on board the social media bandwagon: we guarantee you’ll be a better, more aware company for it.

\| bandwagon

What do you think about this social media revolution? Leave a reply!

morganmillerplumbing.com

KC Battle of the Brands

We need your help, friends. Morgan Miller Plumbing is in the Epic Eight of KCSourcelink’s Battle of the Brands, and this weeks battle is neck and neck. Voting ends tomorrow at 4pm and every vote counts. We would love the help! The link is below.

http://www.kcsourcelink.com/kc-battle

battlephoto

Business Outfit or Is Business Your Outfit?

We all get up and get dressed for the day at some point, right? And well if you don’t ever get dressed then chances are you live on a nude beach. But running a business is very similar to getting dressed. Let me explain my reasoning…

Part of the administration team: Jeff and Stella

Part of the administration team: Jeff and Stella

Undergarments: Your administration team. They are very important articles of clothing when dressing; they support, cover, protect and, one can only hope, enhance. Your administration team does all of those things and their importance is crucial when running your day-to-day. You need them.

Shirt: Your employees. Picking the wrong one can ruin your credibility, mess up your whole day, make you feel insecure or show your weakness (pit stains). A shirt is what the people see and judge, like the employees.

James and Tosha with matching mustaches

James and Tosha with matching mustaches

Pants: Your customers. [Are you thinking, “this chick is crazy” yet? Yes? Good, you’re thinking] Your pants cover your legs and your legs are what support your entire system. Without your legs (customers) it makes things extremely difficult to maintain your goals. Customer service is key; pants are key.

Shoes/Accessories: The family/friends of the employees. These things are far more important to some than others. Here is my point, it is VERY rare you go anywhere without shoes, yeah? Chew on that for a minute.

Lastly, it is that final look in the mirror, the spray of perfume/cologne, the reason you reach for the deodorant, it is ultimately the way you want yourself portrayed. Just like your company vehicles, uniforms, pens, website, or facebook. It is what the world sees of you as a whole; how they are going to react to you when you enter a room, the tone you are setting.

Okay okay so I am sure you wanted a point to this blog, right? The point is: think about your outfit, thoroughly. Think about your company and everything that it entails. Do you like your outfit? How does it fit on you?

A few individuals of the Morgan Miller support team

A few individuals of the Morgan Miller support team

Is the Customer Always Right?

Image

Could you imagine going to work each day dreading the customer you are going to HAVE to work with? How awful would that be? By noon, you’d want to walk out. There is no way a company would stay positive. You could put on your best “fake” voice, but you can only put up with so much disrespect.

Though “the customer’s always right” is commonly accepted, we have learned to say goodbye to many customers over the years. Now, don’t get me wrong…we do NOT take saying goodbye to customers lightly. It is the last thing we want to do, but sometimes in the service industry, it must be done. Confidence in your product or service helps. If you know that your service/product, customer service, work force, and follow up is superb, it’s much easier to say goodbye, though you often wonder why.

Depending on what the customer does to disrespect one of our members, we will generally go through the pros and cons of letting them go, then come to a consensus. Watching fellow employees react to process of “firing a customer” can sometimes be a treat. I say that because in that moment, the employee realizes that the company has their back, no matter what. That in turns creates a workforce that wants the same goals as you, and knows that treating a customer with the upmost respect is extremely important. No one wants to let anyone go after having a bad day, but you also shouldn’t have to bend so far over backwards that you nearly break yourself.

Our workforce knows to do anything and everything possible to ensure our customers plumbing problems are solved quickly, quietly, and neatly. Yet, sometimes this isn’t good enough for some individuals. Constant complaining about pricing, swearing at our technicians, or yelling at the office staff… All of these things and many more are huge red flags to us. It is just like an unhealthy relationship, you know the signs that point to “kick em to the curb” route. Because we do know when to stop bending backwards, we know have many happy, nice, and respectful customers. They then send all their nice family and friends our way. Just remember, you are human too and don’t deserve to be disrespected, at all. Stand up for yourself, employees, and business.

Image

Social Networking? I’m just a Dentist.

You want to talk social networking? Okay, lets talk social networking… Seems everywhere I travel that’s all anyone wants to talk about anyway so might as well write about it too!

Yesterday while attending my mandatory 6 month visit to the dentist sure enough, that is all he wanted to talk about. How does it work, how do I get started, does it cost money, who is there to help me, how did you get started… And I mean I would have answered all these had he not had his hand in my mouth cleaning my pearly whites. Have you ever tried to answer questions while your dentist has your mouth wide open? It is really difficult, but being the go getter that I am I did try, and by the way my dentist is a great one, been visiting him this side of 20 years and without his great abilities my smiles would be something left to be desired, for sure. My dentist started to spin a story about his twin boys and how they had rebuilt a home recently by exclusively using Google. They had googled every sub contractor, the painter, the electrician, the carpenters, everyone involved they found from Google! My dentist was surprised by this and asked his boys how in the world can you do that. As I said earlier, I’ve been with this dentist for many years so he and I have a lot in common, including age. So to him the Google world is still a dark mysterious journey only the young are enticed to, not the friendly, helpful, resourceful place many are learning it to be. So he couldn’t understand how this could all be done.

His boys then informed him that each contractor has a web presence, most had reviews from numerous review sites, most had Facebook accounts so they could see pictures and get a feel for the contractors personality. Finding the right contractor for the job was a breeze for them. My dentist was fascinated by the reality of being able to do this all by the computer. In fact, I discussed with him on how to get plugged in and turned on to the whole social networking world.

Social networking, you want to talk social networking. Yes, indeed couldn’t even get past the dentist without discussing the magic that is social networking. So maybe, just maybe, a consulting we will go? Who knows, stranger things have happened. I do know this: people are beginning to know, people are ready to learn the social networking game before they get passed by. Trust me, if you are not plugged in you ARE getting past by! Those boys would of never known those contractors existed unless they had an internet presence. This led to thoughts such as wondering how many great contractors are getting left behind. For that matter, how many great dentists are getting left out in the cold. Yes, times are a changin and the sooner the small businesses of the world get turned on and tuned in the sooner you’ll have more work than you could ever handle.

Kansas City Dreamin…

After 35 years in the plumbing industry dreams of a new chapter jump into my thought waves with more regularity than ever before. I suppose this is only a natural occurrence, yet for me it is a new and sometimes unsettling world to be in. To be so close to turning the page is exciting and exhilarating. How will the transition feel? When will I know that I am officially ready? What is it all going to look like, feel like, or be like. Using the word retirement is not going to work, for that is a certainty.

Throughout my 20’s and 30’s retirement was definitely a goal I was set out to achieve, the sooner the better back then. Now in the 50’s the reality is that there is too much time on one’s hands to simply just stop. Sure 20-30 years ago when much more life existed in my body, the idea of retiring and playing around all day seemed like an exotic one. With a bit of age and wisdom in my eyes, I know that just sitting around watching the traffic go by would not hold my interest for very long at all. So what to do, what to do…

Certainly 35 years of doing one thing is enough time for anyone to feel as if perhaps something else to fill my days would be oh so tasty! Thoughts of volunteering my time sounds appealing, or driving people around who need assistance might be fun too (not saying that maybe I myself wouldn’t need assistance), or serving food to the homebound would be interesting. Something to make me feel as if I still matter would be a nice luxury to have. Yet, I do still have dreams. Fortunately there is a little nest egg to fall back on, and I know that is something to never take for granted because some don’t ever have that. So accumulating wealth in my next chapter is not a mandatory item. The wife has also worked for 35 years and claims that in 60 months she is ABSOLUTELY moving on to bigger and better things. We are constantly dreaming together as to how our next chapter will be written. Funny, when I started my plumbing career I had little choice as to what to do with my life, now I feel like a school kid with so many options. I don’t know which way to turn.

Maybe just staying with it is the answer. Put in another 10 or 20 years, why not what else am I going to do? No matter what direction is taken, there will be no wrong way. All have benefits from a lifetime of hard work. The dream right now is somehow fuzzy, but as the time goes on it becomes a little clearer each day. Circumstances may change, as things do happen but for right now selling flower patterned shirts somewhere in the Caribbean is the dream that has me pushing as hard as ever…

I can see it now…

OPTIONS, OUTLOOKS, AND VIEWS.

Every now and then someone says something to you that really sticks. Something that changes your perspective, it changes the way you think, that invigorates, motivates, and allows you to be more than you ever were. One such occurrence slammed into my life just a few weeks ago..

I was at an “after hours” networking gathering trying to meet some new people, find new contacts, ya know that sort of thing, soon enough a conversation was struck up between me and my soon-to-be new friend, Vivek. Vivek is from India and although he has been in America for many years, his Indian accent is still hanging on strongly. Because of this, when Vivek is spinning a story one must listen very intently in order to clearly understand all of his story. This is really a good thing because when Vivek is telling a story he makes it so fun. He is quick witted, uses only a few words to make his point and his perspective on life is unique. Somehow we got started on our life’s story (this is a frequent thing for me, shocking right) and when Vivek started describing to me his journey to America I found myself completely mesmerized by it all. How did he pull it off? How does someone go so far from his home without being paralyzed by the fear of it all? You have to understand these questions are running through my mind because I am a person that still lives less than 10 miles from the very spot I was born, so my perspective is very different from his. Listening to him explain how he fought very long odds when coming 1/2 a world away just to pursue his dreams, HECK, people around here complain about going 1/2 a block away just for a cup of coffee, me being one of them.

As Vivek carried on I couldn’t help but feel that this was going to be one of those nights that sticks with you for a long, long time. As this thought began to overtake me, I listened even closer as he explained some of his adversities because I knew that this was going to be one of my new favorite tracks in the songbook of my life (cliché and cheesy, but I really do have a songbook of life). Sure enough, that is when it happened. That is when Vivek said something to me that indeed did change me. Being the quiet guy that I am, I gasped out, “HOW DID YOU DO IT?” “HOW DOES SOMEONE HAVE SUCH STRENGTH?” Vivek stopped, slowly took a sip from his cocktail, turned to me looked right dead in the eyes and said, “Jeff, for me, failure was not an option.” With those simple words from Vivek’s mouth my outlook on life has changed for the rest of my days on this Earth.

Failure was not an option. Such an easy phrase and one I had heard many times before in my travels, yet this time those words just felt so different. This time they took on a whole new meaning. Perhaps it was the way Vivek delivered those words? Perhaps it was because I had just realized that I too had actually been living that way for the past 15 years while helping run Morgan Miller Plumbing. Who knows really, all I knew was that looking at Vivek and remembering those simple words had changed me forever. I walked out of that meeting repeating those words over and over again, and over the last 3 months not a day has gone by that I have not thought of that. In fact, when days get tough or I start to want to back down I will think of Vivek’s simple words “failure is not an option”… Thank you, Vivek.