Fidelma McGuirk: What I wish I'd known before I started
Fidelma McGuirk, CEO of Taxback.com
WHAT I have learned along the way – and what I certainly didn't know when I started – is exactly how much attention the three primary "stakeholders" in your business need and how your interaction with these people could be the making of you – and your business.
It may sound obvious but all customers are human. Everyone needs to brush their teeth in the mornings. It doesn't matter if your customer is Joe Bloggs or Barack Obama. Their needs can often be the same. Try to find a need that applies to a lot of people – service that need. Do it differently to others – do it better. And naturally, do it in a way that can make money.
All customers, like all people, like to feel the service is just for them and remember – every customer is the first and most important customer ever. EVER.
Customers all around the world are happy to talk about the weather, not just the Irish. It can always be an ice-breaker – weather, holidays and children are always a good starting point.
Nobody wants to be "sold" to. People are too smart to be that sucker. So don't insult them. Enable them to buy, without being sold to. Especially now that online is so important.
Be nice. It's corny but true. People like to work with people they like. Be nice. If you feel cranky eat chocolate – or at the very least warn people.
People spend more time at work with you Monday-Friday than they do with their mates or their children. Make it worth their while to be there, have a bit of craic.
Work is part of people's lives, make it a good place to come in and do your best and to enable your colleagues to go home happy. Their families will appreciate that.
Expectations are fragile, set them carefully, commit consciously and then track how you deliver it.
Humility is king. If you make a mistake, admit it, sincerely. Do better next time. Or, as a much wiser person said: "Fail, try again, fail better." The best thing I did was give myself a licence to fail. When you do that, you lose all fear. It is then you will do your best day's work.
You'll always do a better job doing what you like doing with people you like doing it with. The challenge is finding more ways to do this.
Sunday Indo Business