5 Fundamentals for Easter

Easter weekend is here; kids are out of school, employees are taking their first vacation week, and the first quarter is ending. For small business owners, the first perfect storm of the year! Let’s use this holiday not just for spring cleaning but to get a fresh start.

Easter provides us with 5 reminders of the fundamentals of our businesses:
Easter Bunny. Our furry friend reminds us that our income taxes have been hopping down the trail… hopefully they have already hopped by us and we’re in good shape; if not we need to put on the finishing touches or file an extension (remembering to include any estimated tax owed).

The Easter Rising. One hundred years ago during Easter Week the Irish finally took matters into their own hands and took some time off from their English overlords. Let this remind us that with kids out of school for a break, employees will be taking their first vacation week of the year. It’s a good time to review employee schedules and payroll. How are we tracking after the first quarter? Are we properly staffed for expected sales? Are we showing appreciation for those employees that are contributing the most to our success?

Hot Cross Buns. (yummy!) These perfectly balanced treats remind us to manage our inventory so that we don’t carry too much and yet have the right amount to fill orders to maximize revenues and customer satisfaction.

Easter Eggs. We’re reminded to not put all our eggs into one basket. This is the time to look at our finances—specifically our cash flow—to make sure that we have our “chickens in a row” in order to sustain our business meet our 2016 goals.

Lamb Cake. For many, a lamb cake is the traditional Easter bottom-line, which is the measurement of the viability of our business. Do we have the right overall mix of product/service offerings, competitively priced yet able to generate a profit? Are we innovating? Are we communicating with and listening to our clients?

As we fill our collective Easter baskets with jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, remember that unlike the weight we may gain, increases in revenue are welcome. Hopefully your business is not in need of an Easter-like resurrection, but most of us can use a healthy spring cleaning. We encourage you to take a good look at where your business is at the end of the first quarter, recommit to positive changes, and enjoy time with your family.

4 Steps to Recover from Bad Choices

In business we often find ourselves facing difficult choices. Whether we’re making a business decision or interacting with employees and clients, the chance that we will do or say the wrong thing is highly probable. When we make mistakes, we fail both ourselves and those around us.

Our days are so filled with opportunities to be wrong that, on the flip side, we are blessed with numerous opportunities to right these wrongs and become better managers, bosses and employees. Even though the steps to recover from a bad decision are common sense, it never hurts to remind ourselves of these 4 important steps:

  1. Express Regret. If you hurt someone else, apologize. When another human is negatively affected by your choices or decisions, you “owe” an apology. The sooner the better. No excuses, no defensive posturing, just a straightforward, sincere apology for the hurt that your decision caused. And while you at it, apologize to yourself and ask yourself for forgiveness.
  2. Own Up. Taking responsibility for a poor choice is recognizing the role you played in its making. Only when you own it can you change it. Owning it sends the message to others that personal relationships are more important than financial gain or simply being right.
  3. Make Lemonade. It’s tempting to dwell on bad decisions. It’s like sucking a wound, but it’s a waste of time. Instead, focus on moving forward as the better person you are now because of the mistake you made. What you learned from it, how you changed or made changes to prevent it happening again — this is what turns lemons to lemonade.
  4. Look Forward. After a serious mistake, it’s human nature to spend some time analyzing your bad decision and even feeling bad about the finances or people it hurt. However, keep the wound-licking time short and instead invest your physical and mental energies planning and enacting steps needed to change processes, alter opinions, or change whatever needs to change so you can remove the situation that precipitated the mistake in the first place. Focus on the positive instead of the negative.

Here in Cincinnati, spring is just around the corner. Just consider these four steps as spring cleaning, It’s up to each of us to make choices that will leave us and those around us feeling positive, happy, and productive.