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Industrious…. not the sexiest quality, but it is one of my favorites

“Industrious” Okay, so, perhaps it is not the quality that you lead with when writing your Match.com profile.  What does that mean? Can she build a Hoverboard out of an old toaster oven? Mock if you want, but it is a word I use to describe myself, and I am, personally, quite fond of it.  Here is why. I always thought the World is a big place.  There will always be someone who is pretty or smarter or perhaps, easier to get along with than I.  Of course; you won’t have to search as long for the later as you would for the first two criteria.  However, I can always find a way to get shit done.  Now, it might get messy, painful, even hard to watch at times, but I Will Not, Can Not Quit….until “it” is done.  People say I am “resilient” and I quietly smile.  The truth is that I am not resilient.  I feel every setback like it is a knife to my heart.  I take everything personally.  At lightning speed, I can surmise 20 reasons how I “failed” in any given situation. Then, I pick myself back up and continue the quest. Why?  Quite honestly, I don’t think it even occurs to me that there is another option.  What is quitting? It is not even in my vocabulary much less my consciousness.  Try another way.  Approach the challenge from another angle. So, “industrious” – it fits my like my favorite pair of designer jeans.  I guess there is no doubt that my new company, TimeSquared Concierge, will succeed. Right?  Come along for the ride.  You won’t be disappointed.

Welcome 2016

As I look towards 2016, I can’t help but reflect on the many reasons why we do what we do.  I wanted to share just a couple of stories that I hope resonate with you as they do with me… One very busy day, we received an urgent request to purchase and deliver a stroller.  A member of the concierge team dropped everything and raced to the store.  Although, we don’t make a habit of questioning our clients, the concierge admitted that it seemed odd that a stroller would be “urgent”.  Did the customer’s stroller just break mid-walk? Did he/she not expect a baby to appear at their home?  The concierge arrived at the client’s house a bit flustered until she saw a vision that stopped her dead in her tracks.  The client, a high-powered female partner at a prestigious law firm, was seated under a tree in her front yard cradling a precious baby.  Happiness radiated from the woman’s face as she looked up to see her concierge with tears streaming down her face.  She proceeded to explain that she was afraid to fill her home with baby items as she waited for the call from the adoption agency.  She wanted a baby so badly that the cute, cuddly reminders would simply make her too sad.  The concierge promptly wiped away her tears and congratulated the proud new mommy and her new bundle of joy.  Then, in typical TimeSquared fashion, she proceeded to make a list of all of the other tasks that this client needed to off-load to us so that she could focus on her important new role.  We are so honored to play a small part in the most important journeys

People often ask me, “Why start a new company in the same space you were in for over two decades?”

It’s A New Day.  “The concierge space is very different today. Cutting-edge companies have different expectations from the concierge industry then they did 24 years ago.  Modern approaches to concierge products and services are vital for helping businesses launch into the future.  I have had the advantage of combining 24+ years of experience with building fresh proprietary technology, and out-of-the-box thinking to pioneer the next gen corporate concierge service.  I am hitting today’s (and tomorrow’s) vital business challenges head on!” Better Technology.  “Today economic climate has raised the bar for efficiency and technology requirements for all technology-enabled professional services firms.  Companies are looking for better technology to affect efficiencies of the service deliver, reporting capabilities, and accessibility.  Most major players in the concierge industry are saddles with legacy technology and a mindset of business as usual.” Best-In-Class Solutions. “I still have so much passion for the industry and I started my new company, TimeSquared, with a clean slated to reach way beyond what is currently offered to build what today’s clients are asking for.  I listened and responded to clients’ expectations of being able to access their site from any device without fear of personal information being compromised.  Live chat is a must, and collecting feedback must be automated and reported in real time.  Clients responded that these unique TimeSquared solutions are best in class since most companies don’t offer a mobile-enabled, co-branded website for clients to log into to place and/or track their preferences and request status.  Often, calling in or emailing requests is the standard and monthly reports is still entered manually and reported via Excel spreadsheet.” Local Errand Running Service.  “More and more customers are booking their travel and entertainment for themselves.  However, they

5 Simple and Affordable Ways to Show Your Employees You Appreciate Them

Your employees work hard providing you with the services and products you need on an ongoing basis. As a result, your company is profitable and may even be growing and expanding. That's why it is so important to keep your employees happy. Many small businesses (and large ones, too) don't always see the opportunities for boosting employee morale or offering incentives because they believe these to be too expensive or not desired by the staff. Here are a few simple steps you can take that can make an immediate, positive impression on your employees…and, they do not have to cost a lot! #1: Give Your Employees Power Breaks One of the best ways to give your employees something they need - and will always appreciate - is by giving them a power break. According to TDS Connect’s March 2015 business blog entry aptly named, “Employee Appreciation: Unique perks and practices in retention”, studies show that 17-20 minute pause provides a refreshing break and yields increased productivity.   Recent surveys indicate that individuals who get 15 to 20-minute breaks throughout the workday are more productive than those who work hours on end without interruption. How can you do this? Encourage your employees to take a walk, lounge or even nap for 20 minutes in the late morning or early afternoon hours. That little bit of relaxation and peace - especially away from computers and phones - can transform them. #2: Give Them Concierge Services Help your employees focus on the job at hand by taking care of some of life’s more mundane tasks for them. For example, provide them with a concierge service that can handle their time-consuming research, like travel or event planning, take their vehicles in for service, or complete all of

Cheer Loudly!

http://www.timesquaredconcierge.com/blog/ As the president of a company in the service industry, I am always a little anxious when a customer call escalates to me.  Is someone less than 100% satisfied with our service?  So, this was no different until the woman on the other line said, “This is the first time I’ve ever attended a game.”  This customer went on to explain that, as a single working mother, it was all she could do to drop her son off then race frantically around town – to Walmart, Costco, & the grocery store – all the while praying that her son was not the last one at the ballpark when she returned to pick him up. But tonight was different because a member of our team ran all of her personal errands while she was at work.  So, for the very first time she was going to be seated in the stands watching her son’s game.  I could hear the excitement in her voice as she called to thank me.  It was almost as if she couldn’t believe that it was happening – a dream come true.  As we both fought back the tears, I said, “Cheer loudly, because the games where he looks up in the stands and sees you yelling his name – Those are the games he will remember 30 years from now.  Cheer loudly!” What motivates you to do what you do for a living?  I look forward to hearing from you.

To Do Or Not To Do….That Is The Question

Tommy Newberry, the author of “Success Is Not An Accident”, teaches us that we should focus on our greatest contribution to our organization and every day we should dedicate more time towards that effort. Of course, I’m hoping Tommy will appreciate the shout out and forgive the paraphrase! Everyone should be performing functions that are at or above their pay grade. To do so, we must delegate. That means stop doing all the tasks that are well below your pay grade. For example, an executive printing mailing labels or doing data entry is not working at one’s greatest contribution. Me fixing the photocopier is definitely NOT an example of me focusing on my greatest contribution and will probably result in permanent damage to the photocopier! More importantly, what is the opportunity cost of that misguided effort and energy not being spent on driving revenue or strategy? What are you going to stop doing today?

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast

According to this Entrepreneur Magazine article "Culture eats strategy for breakfast", Culture is today’s major performance differentiator, and I could not agree more!  This article gives details on some ways to build a great corporate culture, but we all know it is about inclusion, communication, and inspiration.  I remember when I started my first concierge service 20+ years ago, and every employee had to work a second job because the wages I could afford to pay were so low.  They willingly did so to be part of something bigger than themselves. They also did so for the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our customers.  The impact was meaningful and impactful, and we continued to share these stories as the company grew rapidly across North America.  Soon we were so geographically disbursed that the employees didn’t even know what their co-workers looked like, but they felt connected in a profound way.  I am so thrilled for the opportunity to build the TimeSquared culture even better!

Leave a voicemail that won’t be deleted

According to Jill Konrath, the sales and marketing guru, busy professionals only listen to the first 2.7 seconds of each voicemail message. I admit I’m a “voicemail deleter”. I am so quickly annoyed by rambling voicemail messages. Since I’m in a confessing mood, if you are my mother, I NEVER listen to any of your messages. Why? Because I love her dearly, but her messages never tell me anything that my caller ID hasn’t already told me….”Andrea, this is your Mom. Call me back when you get a chance.” So, the question is not how to avoid being my Mom, rather … How to leave a message that compels the receiver to listen to the message in its entirety. Here are some easy steps: #1 Give them a value proposition that is meaningful to THEM. #2 Don’t start the message with your company name unless it is one that makes people stand up and take notice. #3 Speak as you are their peer – not their buddy and not subservient to them. Do not say, “I know you are super busy”. They will say to themselves, “Yeah, I’m too busy to listen to you tell me how busy I am”. #4 Ask for the next step in your sales process (conference call, in person meeting, web-based demo, etc.). Give these tips a try and let me know how they worked for you.  I'd love to hear your tips too!

The Shoes have it! Meeting Etiquette.

The Shoes have it!  Meeting Etiquette. I’ve been reading studies about the increased productivity of walking meetings as well as a recommendation for standing meetings (meetings where all participants remain standing during the meeting).  I can assure that if I’m wearing my Manolo Blanik’s – which I refer to as my “sitting shoes” – I will be distracted through the duration of the ever so brief meeting. We are over thinking this.  Meetings are simply too frequent, too long and too unproductive.  We need to get laser focused on the intended result, set a firm end time, reiterate the action items at the close of the meeting and end every meeting 5 minutes early. Lastly, we need to hold one another accountable to complete their required action items in order to move the process forward. I have found weekly status updates via email very productive.  I also am a proponent of set meetings with the same agenda so each party knows what they need to have prepared prior to attending and they know what to expect from the meeting.

Never take your customers for granted

A while ago I arrived at the hair salon that I had been going to for years. After a quick shampoo, I was directed to the chair of my stylist - who was also the salon owner. He wasn’t nowhere in sight. A few minutes later I spotted him behind the front desk handling a business matter. Since he looked busy, I got up and strolled through the salon looking for a magazine. I proceeded to wait in his chair with wet hair until I completed the entire magazine. Just then my stylist rushed over and began cutting my hair. As he finished trimming the hair on one side of my head, he was called away again. He excused himself and scurried off. I then got myself a glass of water and walked by the front desk to check on an ETA of my missing stylist. Since no one even acknowledged my lingering, I finished my water and grabbed a hairdryer. I proceeded to dry and style my almost dry hair. My stylist grabbed me as I was walking out of the salon. He apologized for being so busy and explained that he would finish my haircut as he couldn’t afford me walking around town representing his salon with a half completed haircut. How interesting that he realized that his customer represented him every day as the walk around town. However, he failed to realize the importance or cost of losing one of those walking billboards. As I sat in traffic thinking of creative ways to hide my new “half-do”, I thought about my previous experiences at that salon. Was I always treated so poorly? Of course, not. Previously, I was warmly greeted with a