Grades: They Really Do Come Back to Bite You in the Butt

When you were in school, how many of you were the ‘straight A’ students who actually looked forward to receiving your report card in the mail so you could show your parents? Yeah, me either.

I got good grades in the subjects that interested me, especially in college when I could concentrate on my major (communications). However, there were other subjects that were part of my required curriculum that I struggled to pass. Even though I worked my butt off (and even graduated cum laude), I still had that fear of negative feedback on my report card.

Apparently a lot of people are not afraid of negative feedback… and they really should be.

My SUV was recently hit, causing damage to part of the bumper and wheel well. Since the vehicle is pretty new and was in great shape before the accident, it was important to me to have it repaired at a reputable shop that would make it look perfect again.

My husband knew of a body shop a couple minutes from our house, so we dropped it off for a quote. However, while I was waiting to hear back from them I decided to google the shop’s name along with the keyword “reviews”.

Holy Crackers – the reviews were TERRIBLE!

A dozen people took the time out of their day to post reviews on yelp, yahoo, google and more. They complained about the terrible customer service and that it took a really long time to get their vehicles back. Not one person posted a favorable review on the body shop! Seeing nothing but bad feedback resulted in me immediately deciding not to use the body shop for my repair. I hadn’t experienced their supposedly terrible customer service, but decided that I didn’t even want to give them the chance to ruin my day (or my SUV). Based on this negative feedback, they not only lost the money that I would have spent, but also all future recommendations that I give to my friends.

There are millions of internet users and I know I’m not the only one who looks for feedback before making purchases. Whether it’s checking to determine if that hotel is really as nice as it seems on their website, or looking to see how many stars an ebay seller has, other people’s feedback has a huge impact on future decisions.

So here’s my tip for all the small (or large) business owners out there, keep an eye on your feedback. Make it a point to google your company’s name to see what people are saying about you. If you’re the ‘face of your company’ it’s also a good idea to google your own name to see if it pops up anywhere.

Don’t forget to come back and visit Pocketful of Joules, I’ll be writing a future blog post on what to do if you see negative feedback on your company.

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Zombie Joules Strikes Back

I’m having one of those days where I’m so bone-tired that it is an effort to walk down the hallway without closing my eyes for a mini nap. No, I didn’t have a crazy night of drinking. My husband and I drove to Rochester, New York and back to sell one of our cars to a DSM enthusiast. The 14 hour round-trip drive was actually not too bad, but my back is killing me today and I can hardly keep my eyes open.

This could most likely be the reason that little inconveniences throughout the day are making me want to lash out at the people who cause them.

Let’s take this (not so) hypothetical example – someone has come into my office and asked me to basically rearrange my work schedule to do them a huge favor. This request requires me to go back and try and negotiate favors from hotels and airlines that have already received final payments and passenger lists.

Normally, I’d be totally cool with helping someone out. However, if the words “please” and “thank you” do not occur when asking me to do you a favor, I become a lot less helpful.

If I had a list of the 5 easiest things you could do to run a successful business (or even a successful life), it would have “Be Polite” written at the very top in red marker.

Obviously there are times that I have to release my mean Joules from its cage to get stuff done. However, in most situations if you are super nice when asking for someone’s help, they’d usually be thrilled to be your knight in shining armor.

If you’re polite, people actually want to help you solve your problem. If you are rude or have an entitled attitude, they typically just want to punch you in the face. Or maybe that’s just me?

Do you have an example of how a good attitude on your end ended up with surprisingly awesome results?

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What on earth could we possibly learn from Charlie Sheen?

Can we all agree that Charlie Sheen is a mess? He let a bunch of crazy out at once and lost his full time job. So then, he lets a little more crazy out in various TV interviews, writes some crazy on twitter, acts some crazy on youtube, and decides to have a live show as yet another way to release some of his special brand of crazy out into the world.

You must be as shocked as I was that apparently his first live show was terrible with people booing and walking out due to his “nonsensical rants”. He’s marketed himself as someone who rants, why would you be surprised when that’s all he does on stage?

Here’s the kicker: his first show bombed… but he made changes to his act before his second show. He replaced the things that didn’t work with other ideas that played up the brand of crazy that everyone seemed to like. People booed, heckled and left his first show early, but the audience at the second show actually gave him a standing ovation.

So, what can we learn from Charlie Sheen? I mean, I could go into a total rant myself about what NOT to learn from this poor trainwreck of a man. However, in his barrel of crazy was a total stoke of genius – if something isn’t working, change.

How many of you keep doing something because it’s familiar, not because it is truly the best thing to do?

It’s habit to order your Tuesday night takeout from the Chinese place on the corner, because they’re quick and the food’s ‘okay’. It’s so easy to keep running the exact same advertisements or renew that newsletter contract even though you’re not really sure it’s working. It saves time to just reorder your stationary from your printer, instead of checking around for other printing quotes.

What if you’re missing out on some truly phenomenal spring rolls from another restaurant or save a ton of money by switching to a different printer?

Let’s switch things up this week and speed down the less traveled road. Check back in and let me know how it goes for you.

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