Sometimes You Don’t Have All of the Answers and That’s Ok!
"Time, time, time is on my side. Yes it is!"
The Rolling Stones
There are times when we can learn a lot from the lyrics of a song. Time is on your side when you are faced with a situation that seems to be pressing for a quick answer but the problem is you need time to come up with the best solution. Here’s the key. You don’t need or have to have all of the answers all of the time. Read that through again and really let it sink in. Now, I am not suggesting that you put something off because you want to avoid any confrontation but when you give yourself time to gather all of the facts and think them through, the answers, in many cases will come to you clearer and most of the time with better results. Much better!
Visualize this... An angry parent comes storming into the studio and they are upset due to the fact that their child came out to the car crying because of some perceived slight that took place during class. Ok, breathe, you agree to meet with them. In this type of situation, you may not have an immediate answer, and you need to know, that’s alright. This is the moment to give yourself time and gather information and then you can make a smart, educated, unemotional response and come up with a resolution that is best for all involved. Quick, rash decisions very often come back to bite you in the backside. Many business owners feel that they need to come up with quick decisions that they later regret once they have acquired more information about what has taken place.
The fact is, this same scenario plays out every day in dance studios all over the world. The cast may change but issues pop up all over the place. Instead of a parent maybe it is a disrespectful student, uncooperative staff or faculty member. It could possibly be your landlord, business partner or banker that comes in wanting answers to questions that you don’t have right at your fingertips. Now is the time to take a step back and remember, time is your friend!
So, what can you say to give yourself more time?
I have advised members in our VIP Coaching Program, to use some of these phrases when confronted with a situation that needs time to figure out the best solution.
“Let me look into this and I will get back to you tomorrow”
“I do apologize that this happened, this is not acceptable, let me gather all the details and get back to you as soon as possible”
“I understand you are upset but I am just learning about this. Let me find out exactly what happened and we can meet to discuss the best way to move forward.”
“I want to write down your concerns or issues and let me work on this for a day or so and I will get back to you shortly”
“This is very disturbing to hear. I understand your concerns but I will need a bit of time to see how best to fix what has happened or to see the best way to solve this problem”
As you can see, most of these answers have a time limit so you can’t and should not just sweep them under the rug and forget about them. The key is you now have time to figure out the best solution and I have found that in running a business for 32 years that when I give myself time, ninety nine percent of the time I come up with a better solution because I now have been able to think it through and come up with a positive resolution. Rash decisions are often emotional ones and not always the best way to handle business issues. Also, keep in mind somtimes parents just need to let off a little steam. Many times they can talk themselves off the ledge and just want to be heard, so try not to over speak. I recommend that during these meetings you listen first, take account of what is being said, then respond in a buisness like manner, without getting caught up in all the drama!
The above responses also convey a feeling of concern on your part and that you are in control. That you are taking what is being told to you seriously and that you are determined to come up with a solution. I have used these phrases myself and have found that sometimes the other person ends up thanking me for being so receptive and they actually look forward to hearing from me.
This may all seem like a simple stall tactic but business issues require your mind to think in a business-like way. Whether it be dealing with a customer, employee, partner or landlord. Business is best done when you are calm and thinking like a business man or women. I recommend that you take the personal, emotional component out of the equation as much as possible. Now, I know this can be very hard sometimes because our businesses are so much a part of our lives and we live and breathe with what happens in our studios. But, like it or not, you are running a business first. Yes, you love what you are doing and for the most part everyone that is involved with your school but always keep in mind you are the business owner. You are directing what happens in all dealings that take place there. You and only you! How you act and react will send a loud message to everyone at your studio.
A few quick tips:
Don't meet or communicate at night, after classes when you are tired. Use one of the phrases in the section above to give yourself time if someone comes in demanding a late meeting.
Don't communicate by text or emails with customer or staff concerning issues or problems. Short, face to face meetings during business hours are best.
Don't accept abusive or disrespectful behavior from anyone... EVER!!!
Set start and end times for all meetings and stick to them! And keep it SHORT!!!
Something else to keep in mind...
You are not open or available 24/7... If you have an issue with that I suggest you keep re-reading it until you get it right! When you let your customers abuse your time then you can't complain when they do. That old saying "If you give someone an inch, they will take a mile" is in many cases true. Set your meeting times that work for you and your busy schedule. Don't take any drop-in meetings. If you train your customers how and when to connect with you, they will respond accordingly.
Next month in the members area I will delve into solutions for exact problems that may come up during the course of the year and provide you with a simple three step process to enable you to come up with the best solutions. In the meantime, when faced with any business crisis, breathe and remember, it’s ok to give yourself time. As the matter of fact, it is the only way to handle any tough decision.
Are You Looking for a Business Coach or Mentor?
If you are looking for business consulting and mentoring, I suggest you take a look at joining our VIP Studio Owner Program. This unique and progressive program offers a select group of studio owners a hands-on approach to problem solving, business development and goal realization. Members enjoy monthly consulting calls as well as full access to all areas of the website. To see if you qualify or for more information please call me directly at 203-545-7167 or become a VIP Member by Clicking Here
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