Category Archives: Managing a Business

Why not change?

When you own a business it is easy to get into a rut.  How many times do you hear yourself or one of your employees say, “but this is the way we have always done it.”

Recently my son came to work for me after he graduated college with a 4 year degree from Nazareth College in Business Management.   Danlee also recently hired another employee, shall I say, from the younger generation.  Being from a different generation they sometimes have a totally different perspective and outlook on certain situations, processes and procedures. 

I think as we go day to day in our busy, task oriented days we get so caught up in just getting it done rather than are we doing it in the most efficient way possible.  As the President, I have always prided myself on continually looking at our processes to insure we are doing things in the most cost effective and efficient way.  However, you would be amazed at how a “new set of eyes” can sometimes take you by surprise and actually have a totally different outlook.  It is hard sometimes to listen, because you immediately feel as though that can’t possibly work.  These employees are new, very young and have no experience with my company.  But when you really listen and hear what they are saying their ideas make sense and they really can save time and money.

My point is this.  Listen to your employees, be open to their suggestions.  Whether they are young and inexperienced or more mature with more experience, employees have good ideas and when they come to you with suggestions and new ideas don’t be so quick to say it won’t work.  And if you do, make sure it is for another reason besides “this is the way we have always done it.” 

Joni Walton

President

“When you are through changing, you are through.” – Bruce Barton

Exceed the Customer’s Expectations…Every Time!

Joni

My husband and I recently went out of state on a vacation.  Even when we are not working I guess we are always thinking about it, or at least I do.

We went to several establishments while we were vacationing including restaurants, stores and other entertainment venues.  It made me start to really think about how different the levels of customer service are depending on where you are. 

We are from, (New York), everything is quick and fast, get in get out.  We go to a restaurant you are greeted immediately and before your butt hits the chair they are asking what you want to drink.  Everything moves along at a quick pace for the most part and your server generally checks on you to insure you are satisfied and all your needs are met.  

When I was vacationing I noticed when we walked in any establishment we were not greeted right away.  In fact at times it felt as though we were bothering them.  Once we were finally seated it seemed to take 10 minutes or more before someone actually came to the table to take a drink order.  After another 10 minutes to get your drinks you then gave your food order and received that 20-30 minutes later.  You better hope you don’t have a problem with your meal, because you won’t see your server again until you are taking your last bite. 

It really made me stop and think about the level of service we provide to our customers.  I don’t want our customers to ever feel as though we don’t care or they are not a priority.  What was most apparent to me is that you could tell the people who were local and used to the level of service and the ones from out of town who were not.

The bottom line, I don’t want any customer of mine to just expect poor service because that is what they are used to.  Andrew Gibson says there are three main levels of customer service.  They are the expected level, (the minimum quality level you can get away with and still say you did your job) the desired level, (the level your customer wishes you would give, even if it means you to go above and beyond every once and a while) and the unanticipated level, (the one in which you go above and beyond the call of duty, do a stellar job, make your customers incredibly happy and continue to do so).  Of course the unanticipated level could go the other way – but let’s keep things positive.

What level of service does your company provide?  My staff is trained to deliver the unanticipated level and we have processes and procedures in place to insure we are meeting those standards consistently.

It’s Business, Not Personal

Joni

I just read an article called “I Hate It’s Business Not Personal.”  This article spoke about how much this saying was their biggest pet peeve.  They believe everything about business is personal.  That may be true, but if you make business decisions based on personal feelings than prepare to fail. 

I have repeated this saying hundreds of times during my 18 years owning my own company.  This does not mean I am not “in tune” to my employees, customers and vendor’s feelings; quite the contrary.  However, the one thing I keep furthest from my mind when I am making any business decision is my personal feelings for people involved or the situation itself. 

My job is to make decisions in the best interest of my company.  This insures we are obtaining the best opportunities for growth.  This does not mean you are a heartless, horrible, non-feeling person.  It means you put your personal feelings aside and make business decisions based on facts not emotion.  When I am making any business decision, if I allow myself to take into account how much I like the person, who’s feelings might get hurt, or peoples personal struggles going on in their life than I am doing my company, customers and possibly the person/persons involved a dis-service. 

 Over the years I have had to “let go” too many people to mention.  Some people were very accepting and some were extremely upset even violent at times.  With that said; each person who left my company whether on a good note or bad has contacted me a few months or some even a few years later just to thank me and let me know I was right in my decision.  These people explained how appreciative they were because I was candid and honest with them and pointed out why they were not a fit for the position. Some of these people wanted to come back and work for me again and some just wanted to let me know by letting them go it actually made them grow as a person and it pushed them to pursue other avenues which led them to a better suited career path. 

 So I will end my letter with this statement;  It is Business Not Personal.  Whether you like the saying or not if you want to have a successful business you need to live by it.

 Joni

Enjoy The Little Things

Joni

You know how you wake up in the morning and immediately start thinking about everything you have to do?  Instead of thinking of all the things that may go right with your day you begin to think about what will most likely go wrong.  I like to think I am a very positive person, but it is easy to get caught in this trap.  I started thinking about the little things in life the other day when a certain instance put a smile on my face for the whole day. 

My son is 21 years old and home from college this summer.  When he was little I used to wake him up in the morning by sitting on the bed next to him, giving him a great big body hug and saying “time to get up, time to get up.”  He used to laugh and giggle when I did this and it started his day happy.  Well, needless to say I have not done that for some time since he has become a grown man and sets his alarm.  For some reason this past weekend he asked me to be sure he was up by a certain time.  I took this opportunity to try my “wake up process” once again.  I assumed I would get the “Mom really, what are you doing, stop it.”  Instead the sweetest smile came over his face and I knew he remembered and it made him happy.  What a small gesture, but it made me happy and have a great day. 

We so often forget the little joys in life and only focus on the hardships and negative.  I made a small list of some little things in my life that may seem insignificant but seem to make my day sunny and bright. 

  • My husband making my breakfast each morning because he knows I am always running late.
  • When my son says “Thanks For The Food Mom” after dinner.
  • When I start dancing in the kitchen and my husband laughs and says “Don’t hurt yourself.”
  • When I walk into work each day and see my son’s name on our front door;
    (Dan Lee)
  • Everyone at work always seems happy and they are smiling
  • Someone at the gym tells me I look great
  • I can button my pants and don’t have a muffin top
  • Singing in the car on my way to work
  • My mom still tells me to be careful

This brings me to a final quote I saw which sums things up nicely.

“Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things”  – Robert Brault

Live In The Moment

JoniLive In The Moment.  Why is it we are always thinking about what we could have done differently in the past or how we are going to live in the future?  Why not focus on today and live in the moment?  Some things have happened lately that have made me realize how lucky I am for what I have, who I have in my life and where I am at in my life.  

Living in the moment is all about living like there’s no tomorrow.  It takes practice but in the end, you’ll lead a fuller life.  To do this you must realize beauty in every moment, and in everyday activities.  

Take notice of the world around you.  Try and find something beautiful around you. View the sunrise, boats on a lake, a pretty garden.  Be thankful for the little things.

 Focus.  Focus on what is, not what was or what could be.

 Smile when you wake up: Set the tone of your day by simply smiling when you wake up. 

 Commit random acts of kindness: Even the smallest thing like complimenting someone, can bring joy.  The most spontaneous and unexpected acts of kindness produce the greatest impact.

 Zone In, Don’t Zone Out: Do things that are active, and encourage you to look around and engage the world. 

 Be Thankful For What Is:  When you find  yourself wishing for something you don’t have or wishing life were different, start to think about being thankful for what is already in your life. 

 Here are a couple of quotes which I feel really sum things up:

 “You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.”  Jan Glidewell

 “If you spend your whole life waiting for the storm, you’ll never enjoy the sunshine.” Morris West

 This is your life, start living!

Joni

Re-Inventing Your Brand…Important?

Joni Walton

Danlee Medical is in the process of re-inventing our brand.  For the past couple of months we have been working on a new logo to represent a more updated, fresh look. History has shown we do this about every 8 years or so.  Is this important?  To me it is.  I believe as our company changes and evolves we need to change with it.  Danlee is about to embark on a journey of re-structuring and re-tooling our business for maximum efficiency and growth. 

 When we started this process of re-designing our logo I really had no specific criteria other than to “freshen” it up and make it look more up to date.  My other thought  was to be careful not make it totally different and lose our identity.  This process can be particularly difficult, at least for me, because I need the logo to mean something to me.  I don’t just want a pretty logo that has no meaning.   

 In 1994 when we came up with our very first logo, the name Danlee represented my son’s name, Daniel Lee. When I was asked what color I wanted it to be I said without hesitation… green.   When I was asked why, I said “because it was the color of money,” and I was hoping to make some with my new business venture. 

 In 2003 we reinvented our logo again.  This time we added another color.  We again were looking for a more updated look.  I remember asking for our “D” in the box to look like it was glowing.  This represented the fact that we had made our mark and we were now known in the industry so the light was finally shining on us.  

 Now in 2011 here we are again.  When I saw this new logo it immediately struck me and clearly represented where our company is and where we are going.  The swoosh at the end represents our Danlee “D” appearing to be launching forward which is exactly what we plan to do.  Our best years are yet to come. 

 Although I can’t say that all of my employees originally got the same message from this logo, once I explained my vision they have all willingly jumped on board. Without the support and hard work of all the Danlee team members my goals and vision for this company are just words on a page. 

 Looking forward to see what the next 8 years bring and what our next logo will be!

                                       

                


          
 

Is Your Business Capable of Steady Growth?

Joni Walton, President

Danlee is very fortunate to have had steady growth since our inception in 1994.  Even in tough economical times we seem to continue on a path of steady growth in revenues and profits.  2009 was one of the most challenging times for most businesses and Danlee had our best year ever.  Many of my colleges and competitors have asked me; “why are you not hurting like the rest of us?”

 

  • To be honest I don’t really think about the economy.  I find that to be an excuse.  Forget about the economy.  If you sell a product or service that is truly helpful or useful there will always be people willing to buy.  Pay attention to your buyer and their behavior and plan accordingly. 
  • I was taught early on to never throw money at a problem.  Many people immediatelycut prices. If  people are not buying what your selling, but they used to, then maybe you need to make some changes.  Look at your product offering and look at adding value or simply offering new products bringing something new to the table.
  • Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone.  I say this because about 8-10 years ago I was one of those people who felt email and internet/websites were not necessary.  I didn’t get it, understand it and the technology scared me.  However, I forged ahead with not only an ecommerce site for on-line ordering, but developed social media advertising using Facebook, Twitter and Blogging.  Our website now attributes to a significant portion of our growth in business each year. 
  • Provide value to your customers.  No one like’s the pushy salesperson approach.  People expect value for their time and money.  Focus less on selling your product and more on how to provide solutions for your customers. 
  • You can’t do everything yourself.  I have learned the hard way and I will admit I am somewhat of a control freak.  However, I am not successful because I know everything.  What I know is to surround myself with intelligent, hard working people who compliment my style and share my vision.  As a business owner don’t be afraid to rely on others.  Half the battle is being smart enough to know when you are over your head and enlist help from outside sources or your own employees. 

 Danlee has big goals for 2011 and look forward to continuing on a path of steady growth.  Danlee is currently in the process of re-tooling our business for maximum efficiencies growing our business in the smartest way possible. We recently developed our vision, mission and values called “Our Heartbeat” and we are using this as our guide to propel us to the next level. 

 All of us at Danlee are committed to our company, our customers and each other and look forward to the exciting changes ahead.

 Joni

A Hard Sell Is Not Always The Best Sell

Author; Joni Walton

I usually know within the first couple minutes, or less of meeting with someone or speaking with them on the phone if I am going to want to do business with them. It all boils down to the type of person they are.

I want to do business with people who are genuine. Don’t hard sell me and talk fast and hope I miss the fine details. If you do, you won’t stand a chance. My decision has already been made.

When people truly love their job, believe in what they are selling it shines through. People should want to do business with you because they are filling a need that you have and they truly care that we get the best fit for our needs. Unfortunately, in my experience there are only a select few people who possess these qualities and we have to be sharp enough to pick them out.

My company’s tag line is “Nobody Beats Our Heart” and that says it all. Our mission is not to make a quick sale or sell you something you don’t need. Our mission is to provide you with products and solutions that best fit your needs. Sometimes during the sales process we may find we don’t have the best solution to fit your needs. Danlee goes above and beyond to offer other suggestions or companies who may be a better fit.

This approach has helped our success and growth dramatically. Danlee takes great pride that those people we could not help continually come back looking for answers or solutions to problems. Most of the time an opportunity presents itself where we are the right fit.

People love to deal with genuine, caring people who aren’t only in it for themselves. The goodness you show to others comes right back to you 10 fold.

Joni

NO MORE EXCUSES

Author; Joni Walton

Why do people make excuses? I’m too tired, I don’t have time, I don’t feel motivated, I’m too busy, I don’t remember you saying that, I have personal issues. I can’t because.

We have all made excuses. Here’s how to kill them.

1. See the Positive: Excuses are usually made because we don’t feel like doing something – we’re accentuating the negative. Maintain a positive attitude or you’ll never beat the excuses.
2. Take Responsibility: Excuses are ways to get out of owning something. Take responsibility, and own the solution.
3. Find a Solution: Don’t have time? Make the time. Wake earlier, Do it during lunch. You’re smart. Figure out the solution.
4. See your goal: This is your motivation – your reason for doing it. Think about why you want to pursue a goal and you will be motivated. Visualize the goal and just get started.
5. Be accountable: Have a workout partner, a project manager, a team, someone to report to. If you have to be accountable to someone your’re more likely to do something.
6. Go ahead and make your excuses. Then do it anyway.

I read a lot of articles regarding excuses. Many of them are very touchy, feely about why people do what they do. What is funny about that is those articles were making excuses for making excuses!

The bottom line is we are in charge of our own destiny. No one is going to get us where we want to be other than ourselves. Take responsibility and get motivated people.

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” Ben Franklin

Joni

RING IN A HEALTHY NEW YEAR!

Author; Joni Walton

Happy New Year! It is that time of year when we are all making our resolutions and goals for the upcoming year!

My goal this year is to promote a Healthy Lifestyle! One of the biggest problems in America today is lack of activity. We know it’s good for us but avoid it like the plague either because we’re used to being sedentary or afraid that exercise will be too hard. The truth is, movement is movement and the more you do, the healthier you’ll be. Just adding a little movement to your life can:

Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
Improve joint stability
Help maintain flexibility as you age
Maintain bone mass
Prevent osteoporosis and fractures
Improve mood and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
Enhance self esteem
Reduce stress

One study has found that just a 10% weight reduction helped obese patients reduce blood pressure, cholesterol and increase longevity.
This year I have decided to sponsor my employees to do Project 42 which I just experienced myself. The Project 42 is a 42 day fitness boot camp to train your body and mind to achieve more. The work outs are intense and the nutrition plan is strict. However, if you follow the plan I know from personal experience that you will feel better and look better than you ever have in your entire life. Seven of my employees have taken me up on the offer and we are all pumped and ready to begin January 17th. (Yes, I will be doing it again – we are a team!)
Danlee is also sponsoring a stop smoking program this year for employees. I don’t have to explain the affects of smoking, we all know with each cigarette it reduces your life expectancy by 11 minutes. I don’t know what more of a reason you need to quit than that.
These programs will not only help to improve work performance, it will also help everyone to live a longer and healthier life. We will keep you posted on our progress and be posting pictures and results on our facebook page. http://www.facebook.com/danleefamily

Be Healthy,
Joni