Mothers are great. They feed you, they love you unconditionally, and they also dispense motherly advice at nearly every turn.
Looking back, some of these “mom-isms” have unintended, hidden wisdom to them.
Let’s look at some of the sayings we all heard growing up and show how they were, in fact, actually really great business advice on how to run a small business:
“Do you think your socks are going to pick themselves up?”
Running a business is all about accountability and responsibility. It’s easy to see a nagging problem in your business and hope that it will resolve itself over time. It won’t. Sooner or later, you’re going to have to go over there, assess the issue, and put a process into place that will set things on a better course. Take inventory of your business for a moment – are there any socks lying around that need to be put in the laundry? Equally important: are there holes in some of your programs that may need dramatic replacement.
“If your friends jumped off a bridge, would you do it, too?”
This mom-ism is usually uttered because you’re asking to do something and using “but so-and-so is doing it” as your reason for wanting to do it yourself. Thankfully, mom was all over that one. In business, mindlessly following the crowd is one of the surest ways to run into problems. When you see your competitors – or even businesses you really admire – going in a particular direction, instead of just flocking there, look at why they’re doing it, how it’s working, and whether it’s actually right for you. Mom might be right; they could be jumping off of bridges, and no, you wouldn’t want to join them. For example, startups like sharing sites (Uber and Air B&B), apps, and rental services are a dime a dozen. Why are you different, and do you have the capital to succeed?
“Because I said so.”
It’s so easy to end up over-justifying yourself to everyone. It’s human nature when you’re being second-guessed. But you know what? It takes time and lots of energy to always explain yourself. We too often focus on justifying or over-examining decisions. Input and alternatives are critical in developing programs and adapting to results. However, strategies like testing, pivoting, and “just do it” are frequently better than rationalizing forever. Focus on what’s important because you just can’t make everyone happy, and it’ll crush you and your business if you try.
“I am going to count to three and then you better be in your bed.”
What’s one of the most important elements to any sale? Urgency. The pain of missing out is one of the most powerful motivators to get people to take action and buy your product. Here, mom is threatening a different kind of pain, but the principle is all the same. You have a limited time to act, and that urgency produces action more often than not.
Call me when you get there, just so I know you’re OK.
This worried mom-ism comes from a place of love. She just wants to know that everything is going fine and that you’re safe. Customers are much the same. When a customer orders a product, send him or her a confirmation e-mail. When you’re shipping the product, send tracking information. Customers want to know that everything’s OK and that their product and their money is being handled safely.
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