30 Things I Learned from Running A Business for 11 Years

  1. I’m really good at it customer service. And I hate it.Girl Thinking
  2. Excellent customer service can be a foundation of a profitable business.
  3. The definition of excellent customer service is not cut in stone.
  4. “Cunt” can be a deal breaker. But sometimes it can be a deal maker.
  5. Customers are not your friends.
  6. People don’t always know what they want. Even when they think and act like they do.
  7. People can be very convincing about things they are sure of. Even when it turns out they are clueless.
  8. Most customers have no idea how much you know, assume you know everything, and are happy to lord it over you when they find out you don’t.
  9. Taking the blame and apologizing doesn’t mean people will forgive you. And it has nothing to do with whether they’ll stop reminding you about how you fucked up. Even if you only took the blame to calm them down.
  10. People can lie while they look unblinking into your eyes.
  11. Sometimes people don’t know they are lying.
  12. People are most comfortable lying when you do it for them.
  13. For some, saving pennies is most important about a transaction. Often these are the financially wealthiest. Which may explain a lot.
  14. Whiskey is of great value in calming anxious customers.
  15. People love free things. Magnets, pens, mugs, bottles of maple syrup. Most will resist paying even 10 percent more for your service as they pocket that free thing.
  16. It’s a rare customer who gives a monetary tip when tipping is not an industry standard. Not one of our customers ever tipped more than ten percent.
  17. When you offer someone the chance to pay you what they want instead of the regular price, be prepared to be screwed.
  18. Time is money. And most people don’t value your time as much as they value theirs.
  19. Family members are among the most demanding customers. They will expect 24/7 access to you. And will feel entitled to ask many many questions.
  20. Some family members are happy to pay. If you have the sense to charge them.
  21. Don’t do business with family. Even if you love them it is more trouble than it’s worth.
  22. If you own your own business, most customers assume you are rich.
  23. Only use 100% recycled paper and other ecologically-conscious products for your own reasons. Not as a selling point. Most customers could not care less.
  24. Learn how to turn off a bad mood. Or use it to your advantage.
  25. Parking difficulties with neighboring businesses can ruin a perfectly good day.
  26. Find vendors and business support people you love. Do what you can to support them.
  27. Generosity with vendors and business support people usually pays off. Not with customers.
  28. I’ll do a lot to avoid conflict. Sometimes to my detriment.
  29. Don’t avoid conflict if it’s to your detriment.
  30. You can only avoid the truth for so long. And then it will bite you. The longer you avoid it, the harder it will bite.
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2 thoughts on “30 Things I Learned from Running A Business for 11 Years

  1. Hi Brooke,
    Good points, good read! I wonder what kind of biz you have. Mine is real estate; rentals management sales. Sometimes very profitable, the sales and the other pays bills, lets us travel a bit. Xx fm Chamonix. Keith

    • Hey Keith,
      Thank you so much for your response!
      Mine was a tax prep biz and because it was practically seasonal, with 4 months of solid work, it definitely helped us pay our bills for the remaining 8 months.
      The business was not my creation, not designed around my skills or talents, so it felt like I was wearing someone else’s shoes in the wrong size and style.
      I focused on using what strengths and skills I had that fit in with running the place until I could let it go and I learned so much.

      From your photographs and words, it seems like the real estate has fed you well and you are doing the things that excite you and feel great.
      Like me, my son was AWE-FILLED when I showed him your recent, breathtaking mountaintop images! Keep ’em coming.
      -Brooke.

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