- Jeannie Samson, President Levelfield.com, Inc
The One Thing
After talking with many of our clients who are Small Businesses, Chambers of Commerce, and Travel Agencies all over the world, it has come to my attention that there is one common element with organizations and businesses that are successful , thrive in a brutally competitive online environment, and ultimately have a satisfying experience for themselves and their clients. That element is building relationships. Truly reaching out and caring for one another, whether you are directly doing business with each other or not.
Doing the right thing, consistently providing top quality service, and keeping your word are all things that grow your business over time and will lead to prosperity. There is no shortcut. Making notes on your client's Mother's health, then following up with genuine caring the following month is not only a good thing to do as a friend, but shows that you are paying attention to the person, then the business will come! Having a clean, functional, and accurate online presence is important, but having those true, honest, and real relationship will help you and your clients win!
As I sit here at work on this “cold” January day in Austin, TX I am hoping the storms coming in today on the east coast of our great United States of America are not too terribly devastating for that part of the country. Storms in all forms are going to come in to all our lives at one point or another. If we are blessed enough to survive them, we learn how to take stock and appreciate the gifts we have been given and focus on rebuilding when damage has been done (physical as well as emotional). The first step is to actually acknowledge what is happening or present in our immediate situation. Accepting it is like putting your foot on the first rung of the ladder back up to the top. If you have been avoiding that first step and are fearful of what you may have to deal with, say a prayer and/or get a specific action plan with people who care about you. Having a laid out structure for dealing with your problem will help you tackle it one day at a time and keep you focused in the present!
Old School Social Marketing
I have been thinking about this topic for a while and finally I got the nudge I needed to write it.
Every once in a while when some one invites me to join LinkedIn or another social media outlet I'll accept their request. When I'm logged into my account I'll typically look and add some one I know. I added a colleague that was suggested as someone that I may know on LinkedIn and I received the following response:
B**** B****** wrote:
F*** this social network sh**. I think you and I should maintain a face to face relationship...you know....old school.
On November 30, 2011 3:57 PM, Jude Samson wrote:
I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn."
Lately I've been trying to figure out what happened to old school social marketing when business people had business meetings and business lunches to talk business and build their business networks. The internet and social media has taken over the business world and today its more about your tweets and followers than building relationships one on one in person. Maintaining relationships has always been important in building your brand as a business and as an individual. Without individuals striving to be better, build better and conduct better business, the economy as we know it would completely flounder. It may already be headed to hell in a hand basket but without the hardworking individuals operating small businesses there would be no hope whatsoever.
I recently challenged myself to speak with one new person each day regarding my business ventures, in the old school marketing way. Meeting people through other colleagues and telling them about what I do, expanding my network to other opportunities through the new people I meet and building my business the old fashioned -- old school way. Phone calls, lunches and face-to-face interaction continued to grow my network and introduced me to new ideas and businesses I hadn't previously considered. I believe this old school foundation for building my network has benefited my business unlike any tweet, facebook post or LinkedIn connection ever could.
Not that the new social media venues and marketing options aren't beneficial -- Not that the new school outlets for building networks don't help my business and other businesses grow but I'm going to continue building on the foundation of my business by marketing and growing through old school social marketing not focusing on the new school trendy techniques.
I will continue to blog, to build my online brand for my business through my website and through online social media but I will focus my attention on the old school techniques that helped get me here. And I will...to quote my colleague, "continue to maintain a face to face relationship...you know....old school."
Levelfield Auto - Car Buying Simplified
Levelfield recently moved in to a new space, both physical location and product line. In February of 2010 we moved to a new location. You also may or may not have heard about Levelfield Auto, the newest branch of Levelfield. We've teamed up with local Credit Unions here in Austin to offer their membership a Car Buying Service that takes the hassle out of searching for and buying an automobile.
We entered this space because we saw a need. Through our own experiences and those of others we realized that their was a distinct need for this service that we could provide. At the beginning of 2010 we applied to become a used car dealership licensed to do business in the State of Texas. As soon as we received our license approval we started assisting credit union members to find the exact car they were looking for at an extremely high quality and an excellent value. We focus our searches to vehicles that are less than 4 years old with less than 50,000 miles to insure quality and condition.
Not only do we find the exact vehicle the member is looking for according to their specifications; we bring it to Austin, inspect the vehicle and insure that it meets our quality standards both mechanically and aesthetically before delivering the vehicle to the member. We do all this with the same software products that are used to serve our website community. We've built a platform that allows us to communicate to our auto customers, search for vehicles across the country that meet the requirements of those customers and at the same time allows us to plan and execute on the quality standards we strive to meet.
We're looking towards 2011 with many happy Levelfield Auto customers with our Vehicle Locating service for credit unions and even more promising is what lies ahead in the new year. Levelfield Auto is certain to continue helping fill this need for credit union members for years to come. In the 8 months of 2010 we were operating, we have already had repeat business.
Building a foundation for your business that can grow and compete in different areas, recognizing the needs your customers have and diversifying your portfolio of products to fulfill those needs is the best way to grow and compete. With Levelfield Auto we recognized a need in ourselves and our customers to offer a quality product at a great value and we took the necessary steps to make it happen. We're looking forward to the future of our Auto business and we wish you the best in the new year as you grow and diversify your business.
Here's to 2011.
To find out more about Levelfield Auto, visit us at www.levelfieldauto.com
Take the Next Step...and the Next Step!
The surviving companies in today's economic downturn are thriving because of their principles that encourage them to take the next step with faith that it will all work. (Think Indiana Jones) Its important to continually think about growth and success and speak those thoughts into actions and continually take the next step and the next step to survive and thrive. About six months ago a friend of mine uncharacteristically decided she wanted to climb Mt. Everest. With no real hiking or climbing experience behind her, the idea of this trip was met with disbelief from family and friends. By simply taking the next step and the next step and speaking thoughts into actions, this same friend will be starting her climb to the base camp of Everest in a week and a half. She is a wife and mother of two. She turned her idea and thought of a vacation into words and then took action and the next step and the next step.
Common Sense -- Uncommon
A Common Sense Stimulus.
Its the time of year that many Americans spend too much money purchasing un-American things to stimulate and simulate happiness in their households. During the holiday season, the news media always brings loquacious "economists" on the television to speak about consumer spending and convince us that we are spending less than the average year on gifts for our greedy children and we should go out and spoil our personal budgets and spend more. This year lets try something new...lets take our hard earned American dollars and stimulate the American economy. Let's Buy American. www.buyamerican.com. Too much of our holiday season shopping spree helps to maintain the Japanese markets with our high end electronics that we can't seem to live without. We're giving people in other countries jobs while our job market is failing miserably. Lets do the next right thing and support our own economy which will help stimulate job growth here in the US. It sounds like common sense to say buy American to support the American economy and American jobs. Why is it so uncommon to think this way and more importantly to ACT this way? Act like an American!, Buyamerican.com It doesn't take a billion dollar stimulus to boost our economy, buy from your neighbor, it will keep your neighbor employed. Spend your money by putting it back in your own community, THAT will save jobs and stimulate the American economy.
What it means to be related...
In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday and being thankful for the meal that Americans gather together to share, it made me think of what it means to be related. Most of us gathered together with family and friends yesterday to celebrate over the traditional turkey or another meat of choice. Gathering in thanks for the blessings of the past or the promise of tomorrow bring many of us together each year. However this does not mean we're related. Sharing a meal or a holiday one day a year does not mean we're related. Talking to someone every day over the phone does not mean we're related. What it means to be related is an unspoken back up plan for the unknown. On any given day, in any given situation you can make a single phone call to a person and they willingly accept you and your immediate family (kids, parents, wife or husband) into their home for an extended period of time. Helping you get on your feet when times are tough with nothing but thanks in return. No bargaining, no trading and absolutely no backlash or spite. If with one phone call a family member or friend welcomes you and your family with open arms into their home without any details written in fine print, THAT'S what it means to be related. Blood relation or not, a family friend or long lost pal, having someone in your life that would reorganize their own life in order to lend a helping hand when your life is uprooted for any given reason; THAT's what it means to be related. Be thankful for your life and all you've been given and most of all be thankful for those you can describe as "we're related".