I’m an avid reader. One of my favourite things as a teenager was my weekly trip to the library. I know, I know, you are probably screaming “geek, geek” at your computer…..but I used to take so many books out of the library to read within that week that my arms were sore by the time I had walked home. Back then, other girls were wishing their hair was shinier or they had better makeup, and I was wishing that I had stronger arms, so I could carry more books 🙂
I loved not only escaping from my humdrum teenage life into new and exciting worlds where people were living great lives, but also learning about cultures that I hadn’t yet experienced, or people that I hadn’t yet crossed paths with.
Although through University my passion for reading died down a little because there was already so much “required” reading, I discovered it again when my daughter was born and I read her story after story after story, even when she couldn’t understand the words.
“Who Cares?” you are probably thinking. “Good for you, but what does that matter to me and my Bookkeeping, or Accounting or Running my Business?” That’s an easy question to answer. As business owners, we are usually the answer and the solution to everything. Someone has a question – we are supposed to have the answer. Someone has a challenge – we are supposed to have the solution. But where are we supposed to get these answers from, or know how to handle the challenges? How are we supposed to know all of the stuff that we need to know if we don’t have a boss to go to ourselves? You guessed it…..books……
There are a multitude of business books out there. How to Grow Your Business; How to Make a Sale; How to Not Screw Up Your Social Media Presence (actually there isn’t a book for that yet, but there should be!). And although I’ve switched from reading books to listening to books in my car (Check out Audible.com if you haven’t heard of it), I’m still consuming as much as I can, whenever I can.
The current Audible Book I’m listening to is called Unselling, by Scott Stratten, which is a book about “everything, but the sell”. I heard Scott speak last year at a Conference and thought that he delivered common sense business advice with humour. It’s so much easier to learn something when you are also being entertained
So, when I saw his book, Unselling, on my Audible list, and that it was narrated by himself and his wife, I quickly downloaded it and started my new journey into the world of learning.
I’m only on Chapter 8 so far (my home-work commute isn’t that long and so I usually only get to listen to a chapter or two at a time 🙂 ), but already I have found some information that makes me sit back and go Hmmmmm……and really, more than anything, that is the reason that you read books – to open your horizons and give you a new perspective on something in your life- whether personal or business.
Scott talks about business policies – big or small, every business has them. Usually they are developed when your business is just starting, because that is what the experts say “create your business policies and processes, so that everyone knows what they are supposed to do”. Often we create these policies, distribute them out to our staff, tell them to read them and live by them, but never take a step back and say – “Do they still make sense today?”
The example Scott mentions early on in the book is a policy of Air Canada that doesn’t allow you to transfer an airline ticket to another family member if they don’t share the same last name. I guess 50 years ago that made sense, but does it now? In the world of women’s independence and growing equality, many women don’t change their names after marriage anymore. I didn’t. I was born Juliet Aurora, and will die with the same name. My daughter and I have a different last name. Her and I live at the same address, and I pretty much think that her being my daughter makes her my family, (even though I’m sure that there are days that she wishes we weren’t 🙂 ). But in the world of Air Canada, I couldn’t transfer her a ticket. The definition of “family” is also evolving, and so you have blended families, common-law families, step families, cross gender families……how realistic is this policy of Air Canada’s in today’s world?
So the question is – Do you have any policies like this in your business? Policies that have been around for so long that everyone just says “That’s our policy”, but they no longer make any sense? Policies, perhaps, that make your customer experience a negative one, or worse, that prevent them from wanting to do business with you again?
As I said, I’m only into Chapter 8 of the book, so I’m sure that I’ll have some more blog posts about what else I’m learning. Hopefully, this way, even if you aren’t a geek like me that loves to read books, you will still get to share in the wisdom contained in the pages 🙂
If you haven’t heard of Scott Stratten before, you can read about him here. And if you have come across any business policies that make no sense to you as a customer, I’d love to hear them too!