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How to Drive Profitability, Productivity, and Accountability in your Small Business

Every week as SmallBizLady, I conduct interviews with experts on my Twitter talk show #SmallBizChat. The show takes place every Wednesday on Twitter from 8-9 pm ET.  This is excerpted from my recent interview with Neen James, who is the author of nine books including Folding Time and her most recent, Attention Pays.  In 2017 she was named of the top 30 Leadership speakers by Global Guru.  For more info: www.NeenJames.com.

SmallBizlady:  EVERYONE THESE DAYS IS DISTRACTED, WHY IS ATTENTION IMPORTANT TO BUSINESS OWNERS?

Neen James:  That’s a good question.  People need to understand that attention is all about connection.

Oftentimes it’s forgotten that we need to connect with our customers in unique ways to not only get, but to keep their attention.  Here’s one thing I know for sure, distraction decays, attention pays.

The costs of distraction are personal and professional.  Unfortunately, personally – 9 people die every day because of distracted driving and professionally, $588B is lost every year in business because of not paying attention.

SmallBizlady:   WHAT BENEFITS WILL BUSINESS OWNERS GET BY PAYING ATTENTION?

Neen James:  There are several benefits:

  • Attracting and retaining top talent, Increased profits, Increased add-on sales
  • Top of mind for customers, Increased accountability of team members, Higher brand recognition
  • Increased customer experience, and Higher customer satisfaction scores.

SmallBizlady:  WE ALL THINK WE ARE PAYING ATTENTION, BUT YOU SAY MAYBE WE ARE NOT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

Neen James:  Think back, we have been told since childhood to pay attention.  Teachers told us to pay attention.  Parents told us to pay attention.  We even tell our kids to pay attention.  Yes, it’s quite annoying.

However, we think we are paying attention.  Often, we are multi-tasking, distracted in conversations, not listening intently and frustrating those we are with.  When you are truly paying attention, it means listening with your eyes.  I learned this lesson from a 5-year-old.wo reasons.

SmallBizlady:  WHAT STRATEGIES CAN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS USE TO PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR CLIENTS?

Neen James:  Oftentimes, many small business owners fail to look for opportunities to turn it from transactional to intentional.  Ideally, they would be moving from unconscious to conscious.

As small business owners, you should be discovering unique ways to make customers feel important to you.  Consider using their names in face-to-face and electronic communication.  It systemizes thoughtfulness.

SmallBizlady:  HOW DO BUSINESS OWNERS USE ATTENTION TO STAND OUT?

Neen James:  Remember, attention is about connection.  Keep the following in mind:

  • Advertisers use it to get you to buy more products.
  • Business owners use it when they are networking.
  • Exceptional businesses use contextual modeling to grab and hold the attention of their customers.

SmallBizlady:  WHAT STRATEGIES CAN BUSINESS OWNERS USE TO DIRECT THEIR ATTENTION TO WHAT MATTERS?

Neen James:  This is simple and practical and most small business owners can easily apply the following:

  • Eliminate distractions.
  • Prioritize your priorities.
  • Know your top 3.
  • Conquer the world in 15 minutes.

SmallBizlady:  WHAT IS THE LINK BETWEEN PROFIT AND ATTENTION?

Neen James:  The direct links between profit and attention start with business owners keeping their customers top of mind, which means additional loyalty.  Additional loyalty leads to increased sales. And, profit isn’t just financial.

SmallBizlady:  YOU SAY ATTENTION DRIVES ACCOUNTABILITY, WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

Neen James:  When people pay attention to what matters they focus on the highest priorities (often set by the business owner). Additionally, public accountability drives private accountability.

SmallBizlady:  HOW DOES ATTENTION IMPACT PRODUCTIVITY FOR BUSINESS OWNERS?

Neen James:  My number one answer for this question is focus, focus and focus.

You focus on completion of the highest value activities and tasks when you know what’s important to drive results.  And, productivity and accountability are linked to attention.

SmallBizlady:  CAN YOU SHARE EXAMPLES OF COMPANIES WHO ARE USING ATTENTION IN A POSITIVE WAY?

Neen James:  Sure, here are a few companies that you may or may not know:

  • Peloton
  • High Point University
  • Library Hotel
  • Root Down
  • Mendowlowski

SmallBizlady:  AS LEADERS HOW CAN WE USE ATTENTION PERSONALLY AND PROFESSIONALLY?

Neen James:  Have you ever heard, when you know better you do better?  Well that’s the same thing as leaders:

  • Know who is important.
  • Know what is important.
  • Know how you pay attention in the world.
  • Be thoughtful.
  • Be productive.
  • Be a contributor 

SmallBizlady:  HOW CAN BUSINESSES USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR STRATEGIC ATTENTION?

Neen James:  There are several ways and it can pay out big when you follow some of the suggestions:

  • Design messaging for your clients that appeals to them personally and professionally.
  • Craft stories that capture and hold the attention of your clients.
  • Increase visuals for reliability. Share case stories of success.
  • Be social. Surprise clients with fun responses. Be fun.
  • Increase video (video is the future of education). Leverage new platforms.  Leverage new apps.

If you found this interview helpful, join us on Wednesdays 8-9 pm ET; follow @SmallBizChat on Twitter.

Here’s how to participate in #SmallBizChat: http://bit.ly/1hZeIlz

The post How to Drive Profitability, Productivity, and Accountability in your Small Business appeared first on Succeed As Your Own Boss.

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