Wisdom: Smiles Wherever or Whenever

Wisdom Smiles Wherever or Whenever - Pathmaker Blog“Some generate happiness wherever they go. Others generate it whenever they go!

I would think that most people, at least if they are like me, would rather generate happiness wherever they go rather than whenever they go! And, in the business world, this is an especially important differential. Whether it be clients, staff, or cohorts, if you only generate happiness whenever you go you have a real problem that demands immediate attention!

The first challenge in addressing this is, of course, is determining if people look forward more to having you walk into a room or walk out. To determine if people do, in fact, dread to see you coming look for the following telltale signs:

  • Do people become surprisingly quiet when you walk in?
  • Do you notice that when you walk in others invariably walk out?
  • Do smiles seem to mysteriously disappear when you are around?

If you answered “yes” to even one of these, you need to work on your office-place demeanor!

If you actually care what others think about you, your next task is to determine why others are less than thrilled when you are around. The most obvious way, of course, is to ask someone – but that is not always the easiest. For the sake of our discussion, let’s suppose that you are able to locate someone who is brutally honest and shares all of your foibles – you will then find yourself at the next step:  Accepting that you need to change!

Unfortunately many who generate smiles whenever they leave tend to live denying the fact that there is a problem. Once this hurdle is conquered the next step is to go about making the suggested changes. No doubt about it, this may take a good deal of time and an even greater amount of effort. It is not impossible to change when you bring smiles, but it won’t happen on its own, either!

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Wisdom Chapter 1: Honesty

Wisdom Chapter 1 Honesty - Pathmaker Blog“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” – Thomas Jefferson

In an era when there is such a lack of honesty on almost every level of society, it is time that we take a moment and ponder what, exactly, Thomas Jefferson is sharing with us here. While honesty and integrity are integral parts of a person’s very being, the execution of honesty is more than just advisable – it is also a pragmatic approach to life!

When you are involved in business, it is vitally important that you understand that true wisdom mandates that you are always to be honest. One of the expressions that PATHMAKER very often uses to make this point is, “No secrets, no surprises.” This is true whether we are dealing with each other in-house, or if we are dealing with our clients.

One of the most important keys here is the fact that, generally speaking, people are quick to forgive us our frailties. If we are going to miss a deadline; forgot to do an assigned task; or overlooked an important aspect of our assignment we generally can be forgiven. That doesn’t, of course, mean that there won’t be ramifications because of it – possibly even negative ones, but we will undoubtedly be forgiven. However, if we are less than honest and try to cover up our problems, we fall victim to yet another famous quote, this one by Sir Walter Scott: “Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

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WARNING: Dates on the Calendar are closer than they appear!

WARNING Dates on the Calendar are closer than they appear - Pathmaker BlogOne of the most disastrous things that can happen to a business person is to put a “due date” on their calendar for a project to be completed a couple of months down the road and then not re-visit that page of their calendar until it is to late to meet the deadline they had written down! The question at hand, then, is how does one ensure that this doesn’t happen to them?

The answer is not particularly complicated, nor does it particularly take a genius to figure it out: The key is to break the project down into accomplishable tasks and put each one of those on your calendar as well! This serves several purposes:

  • Makes you evaluate the project immediately.
  • Allows you to accomplish tasks on an on-going basis.
  • Allow you to discover if there might be complications before it is too late.
  • Makes you re-visit the project frequently.

As most anyone will tell you, the older you get the quicker time goes by, meaning that “Dates on the calendar are closer than they appear” is not a joke but a solemn reality!

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You can’t make everyone happy so concentrate on me!

You can’t make everyone happy so concentrate on me - Pathmaker BlogYou might find that a little giggle escapes when you read this – I know one did when I read it!  The thing is, if you think about it, this sentiment can be anything but funny.

For example, if you find yourself working in a situation where you have several bosses and each and every one of them has this outlook on life, you will undoubtedly have a lot of confusion in your work life! And, no one should be subjected to that kind of pressure!

As you have undoubtedly surmised, this is a sentiment of someone who is a little on the selfish, self-centered side to say the very least! And, more often than not, that type of individual is not one who is highly respected among their colleagues and subordinates. Which brings us to the crux of this issue – are you one of those who adhere to this philosophy? If so, especially if you are in a management role, you need to consider what the ramifications are on those around you are when you employ this attitude!

Undoubtedly this little blurb is not going to cause you to change your complete personality and outlook on life. Hopefully, however, it will help you understand your responsibility to those who work for you/with you, and will allow you to view your outlook from a different perspective. As you may already know, and have been probably been told, the world doesn’t revolve around you, nor should you expect it to!

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Ten Reasons to Improve Your Digital Marketing by Using Video

Ten Reasons to Improve your Digital Marketing by using Video - Pathmaker BlogVideo is one of the most powerful, but least-used tools in website marketing. In fact, it is so powerful that, while others are scurrying about fretting about keywords and SEO, they could, in fact, gain a lot more traction by creating and posting some videos on their website or elsewhere pointing to their website.

Pathmaker Marketing wants you to be aware of the power of video and, perhaps more so, to be aware that you can do much of it on your own. You don’t have to be a video pro. You just have to provide valuable content.

Here are ten reasons – a short list, by the way, that you should consider including video as part of your digital marketing campaign.

  1. Video improves brand association by 139%.
  2. Video increases purchase intent (or some specific action intent) by 97%.
  3. Google ranks websites with videos five times higher than websites without them.
  4. When videos are included in emails, click-through rates increase by 200-300%.
  5. When videos are included in emails, opt-out rates decline by 75%
  6. One third of all online activity is spent watching video.
  7. Three fourths of video viewers visit a business’ website after watching one of their videos on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo.
  8. On average, only 20% of website visitors read an entire page of content on any given website, but 80% say they watch website videos all the way through. This number may vary dependent on the length of the video. Moderation is best. We recommend one to three minutes maximum.
  9. More video content is uploaded every 30 days than all the content created by ABC, CBS and NBC in the last 30 years!
  10. More than 70% of digital marketers report that video generates a higher conversion rate than any other online tool.

DID YOU KNOW? YouTube is the second most-used search engine in the world. That means that people are searching for video content – lots of video content. And it’s not all music. Many of those videos are informative or instructional. That’s exactly what we’re talking about.

Your online videos don’t have to be professionally produced, but if you want to go that route, it’s a lot more affordable than most people imagine. Simple, face looking directly into the camera, information or invitation – recorded using mobile devices can be just as compelling and effective as commercially produced videos.

Like the text portion of a website, video is all about compelling content. Pathmaker Marketing would be happy to assist in consulting about or producing short, compelling videos to help build your response rates. Give us a call at 800-224-2735.

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If You Don’t Have the Time …

If you don't have the time - Pathmaker BlogThere is an old saying that, “If you don’t have the time to do it right, you must have the time to do it over.” That’s an example of wisdom wrapped in an oxymoron.

One of the biggest hindrances to operating a successful business is the failure to do things right the first time. Rework of any kind, whether on a production line or building a database, is a waste of time. What’s worse, is that anything that is wasted in business has a cost associated with it.

In an office environment, the cost is probably in labor, not only because of having to pay someone more than once to do a task, but because, while they are involved in a do-over, they cannot address their other responsibilities that they are paid to do.

In a manufacturing environment, there is usually material waste in addition to the wasted labor. Material waste becomes scrap. Scrap sells for pennies on the dollar. So, instead of getting a 100% markup on the item, you sell it as scrap for as much as a 95% discount.

There are generally two reasons why things have to be done over.

The first is failure to define your processes. Entrepreneur and host of the CNBC hit, “The Profit,” Marcus Lemonis, has a simple, three-part formula for success in any business:

People – Product – Process

If any one of the three is broken, the business will eventually collapse. Experience has proven, more often than not, that the unfortunate root cause of businesses closing is the failure of ownership and management to clearly define all of their business processes. However, that is not typically recognized, because failed entrepreneurs can’t blame the process. So, on rare occasions, they blame themselves, but generally, they blame someone else.

Planning processes is, for some inexplicable reason, burdensome to many business owners, so they don’t do it. Instead, they “save time” on the road to the failure of their business.

The second is failure to control your processes. That control begins with documentation. Employees should not be expected to follow verbal instructions, because verbal instructions are too easily (and too often) changed. The end result of that is confusion. Anyone involved in any business process should be able to access a document that defines the process. That’s called “making sure we are all on the same page.”

Processes are controlled by ensuring that flow charts, milestones, and specifications and documented and measured against the standards for the process.

When processes are documented and controlled, things run more smoothly and wasted time, material and money are reduced.

One final point. No one – not even the CEO – should be able to make any undocumented change to any process. What is written is written. It may be revised, but the revision must be documented and all parties to the process must be notified of the revisions before they are implemented.

Don’t fall prey to the idea that your company can survive without controlled processes. No one can really afford the extra time required in our opening oxymoron. Except, perhaps, for a moron.

Application: Digital Marketing is a process. It needs to be documented and controlled. If you lack the expertise, we have the time. Let Pathmaker Marketing help make your digital marketing a raging success. Contact us today via our website, or call at 1-800-224-2735.

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“The Early Bird gets the Worm, but the Early Worm gets Eaten!”

The early Bird gets the Worm, but the early Worm gets eaten - Pathmaker BlogWhen it comes to “being early,” renown NFL coach Vince Lombardi had one of the better quotes, “If you aren’t ten minutes early you are late.” While time is one of our most valuable commodities, being punctual certainly is a virtue that we all need to not only strive for, but also actually achieve!

Without a doubt, timing is everything and “being first” is, more often than not, a great advantage. However, this can be nullified under certain conditions, as in the case of our Point to Ponder. The time that it isn’t advantageous to be first, in life or in business, is if you have not done proper due diligence.  For example, being the first worm can be in a life dangering situation if he doesn’t do his due diligence and see if, in fact, there are any birds present! If a business neglects to do their due diligence they may find that being the leader of the pack can be costly and maybe even devastating. For example, if you are in an area that has no car wash in a ten-mile radius you might think it to be a great move to be the first one to build one and plunge full steam ahead to do so. However, here are several things you may want to consider before you make that plunge:

  • Will you be able to get enough water to run the car wash under city ordinances?
  • Is there enough sewage capability to handle the used water?
  • Will traffic parameters over-tax the streets/highways?

As you can see, being first isn’t always the key to success. Do your due diligence, ensuring that you will be the early bird, and not the early worm!

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“I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you”

I can explain it to you but I can't understand it for you - Pathmaker BlogOne of the more exasperated phrases you here at any work place may very well be, “I’ve told him over and over and he still doesn’t get it!” That, of course, leads one to say, “I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you!” The question becomes, I suppose, what can be done to ensure that understanding takes place? Or, why isn’t the person receiving the explanation “catching on?” And, some of  the answers may surprise you!

The Person doing the Explaining doesn’t really Understand the Situation Themselves

Paraphrased “the blind leading the blind,” confusion exists because there truly is a lack of understanding all the way around.

The Person doing the Explaining understands the Situation too well

Frequently we often have such a good grasp of an issue, especially its deeper aspects and nuances, that we tend  to forget that those not in the know often need to have the most rudimentary facts shared with them.

The one trying to Understand doesn’t have as much Background Information as is Assumed

You can’t expect someone to understand algebra if they don’t know how to multiply and divide. Before you introduce new concepts to an employee, make sure they know what you think they know!

And one that might really shock you…

The person being instructed doesn’t want to learn the new information

For some reason, in today’s business and manufacturing culture there are some, and perhaps many, who don’t want to learn more for they fear it will result with them needing to assume more responsibility – even if these moves will provide them with a higher income. More and more you hear people say, “I just wanna do my job and go home!’’ Whether learning more puts them outside of their comfort zone or they are truly underachievers is debatable, but whatever the case they just don’t want to expand their horizons.

So, if you find yourself in a position where you feel you have to tell someone, “I can explain it to you but I can’t understand it for you,” do a quick survey and see why, exactly, your protege is having such a problem!

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“Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be!”

Nostalgia isn't what it used to be - Pathmaker BlogHave you ever noticed how fuzzy our memory gets over the decades? Or, how we tend to remember the “good” but the “bad” from bygone days?  For example, I was born in 1949, and in that year:

  • Gas was 17 cents per gallon.
  • Bread was 14 cents per loaf.
  • Coffee was 65 cents per pound.
  • A new car could be purchased for $1420.00.

Now, while that all sounds wonderful, it has to be remembered that the average income was $2959.00 annually. And, the area where I was from most folks didn’t make anywhere near that much!

The point is, anytime we think about “the good old days,” we have to remember that there was usually an equal number of “bad old days” to go with them. This is true in business as well as in life in general. While it might have been great that at one point in time we didn’t have to worry about OSHA regulations, we have to consider the number of people that were either maimed or killed because of the working hazards that had to be contended with. As the title indicates, “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.”

In closing, consider this: In fifty years, today will be part of “the good old days.” Folks will be saying things like, “I can remember when you could get a loaf of bread for only a dollar,” or “I can remember when only the rich and famous could afford a flight into outer space.” Whatever will be said, you can rest assured that then, as now, “Nostalgia won’t be what it used to be.”

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“Never miss a good opportunity to be a good listener”

Never miss a good opportunity to be a good Listener - Pathmaker BlogGood communications is the key to success – both in a relationship and in business. And, the key to good communications is not talking, but rather listening. The secret, of course, is what is the key to listening?

First of all, it is important to remember that there is more to listening than just not talking. Often, you need to not only listen to what is being said, but also what isn’t being said. Occasionally, you have to listen with your eyes as well as your ears. You have to read body language; you have to keep good eye contact, you need to pay strict attention!

Another factor that is an important key to listening is determining why the other person is talking. Are they wanting a friendly ear so that they can vent? Are they hoping to receive permission or affirmation for what they are saying? Do they truly want advice, or just approval? Once you determine why the other person is talking you can better fill the role of being a good listener.

The final key to being a good listener is to remember that the person talking needs to have you listen; to pay attention to what is being said and not be thinking about what you are going to say next; to show that you really care about them.

Of all the things that you we can do in life, not missing an opportunity to being a good listener is one of the more important ones. Whether you are with family, a friend, or a client, be alert to the need to be one who listens instead of talk; one who shows empathy and who truly understands what they are being told!

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