• Abby Myette

Blockbuster may be gone, but their lesson lives on

(originally published for the Business Owner Tide Chart newsletter - February 2020)

Raise your hand if you remember the days when Friday night meant ordering a pizza and visiting the local video store to pick out a tape to watch.  You would stroll the aisle, pick up video covers, read the back, check out the movie stars who graced the cover.  And when the weekend was over, pizza polished off and movie watched, you dutifully brought your tape back to the video store.  And if you were a really good customer, you were kind enough to rewind the tape before dropping it off.  If you did, I thank you.  Or my high school self does, back when I worked at Blockbuster video.

I worked at Blockbuster at a time when VHS tapes were still in high demand.  DVDs were a new concept and only really popular movies were available in that format.  Our inventory was primarily VHS.  And everyone of those tapes had a big sticker on them that read Be Kind, Please Rewind.  It was a catchy tag line. 

It was Blockbuster’s way of asking the customer to help in the process.  If you didn’t rewind your tape, I was stuck doing it.  We had a row of rewind machines and a stack of tapes everyday that we had to rewind before they could go back on the shelf.  It created extra work for us.  And it was a task that was simple to ask the customer to assist with. 

Gone are the days of VHS tapes, even movie rental stores are long gone.  Everything we need is available on demand. 

But the idea of asking your customers to perform an action to make your job more efficient will always exist.

At the gym we’re asked to not wear our outdoor shoes in the studio.  It means the floors don’t need to be cleaned as often.  At the coffee shop you can bring in your own mug. Yes, it’s the green choice, but it also means less restocking of paper cups.  Is there a way your customers can support the work you do, make things more efficient?  And if so, how do you make the ask fun, catchy, or beneficial?  The coffee shop may give you a discount.  Blockbuster had their easy to remember phrase.  And in the end, my favorite customers were always the ones who were kind and remembered to rewind.

  • Abby Myette

How I took an unclear dream and created a focused vision

(originally published to the Business Owner Tide Chart newsletter - January 2020)

When I first launched Tradewinds Learning my launch consisted of a website, business cards, and a social media post.  My website featured programs I had been facilitating for years and a few new programs that I had in development.  My business card featured a beautiful vision statement I had worked diligently to craft.  The Instagram page had a few posts and a few followers, mostly family and friends.  This may all sound like a solid start, the problem was, I had no plan for what to do next. 

I had thought about what could happen but I hadn’t developed a plan to get there or written any goals. 

So naturally, Tradewinds Learning didn’t really go anywhere.  I did one speaking gig on a topic that wasn’t even on my website but which a colleague knew I could speak about.  Here’s the thing about how I launched my business, I knew better.  I knew that just throwing something at the wall and seeing if it would stick wouldn’t get me anywhere.  I knew how important it was to write down goals and to have a strategic plan. Fast forward to today where I have spent months taking my own advice.  I have attended several conferences and workshops myself.  I have completed workbook pages and done my own brainstorming sessions.  I bought a 3 month calendar and a goal planner.

Today, my business has a focused purpose and a new vision statement. Today, I map out my plans for sharing content and developing new programs on a 3 month basis.  I joined a business coaching group for women entrepreneurs.  It provided me a place to share ideas and learn new strategies.  I started using a goal planner book.  It has given me direction and a format to reflect and dream about where I want my business to grow.  It also allows me to incorporate the other aspects of my life into my planning. 

As a small business owner, business doesn’t exist in a bubble.  Keeping in mind everything else I have going on is important.  Through this process I have been able to reflect on my accomplishments and dream about where I want to grow next.  The most impactful step has been writing down my goals.  I have them hanging in my office.  I see them and I talk about them. 

There are so many different processes and tools you can use to set goals for your business and your life.  What has been working for me is Cultivate What Matter’s Power Sheets. They may work for you! Or maybe there is another goal setting guide that fits with your style.  The important thing is to start.

But before I started goal setting I had to develop a vision statement that would support my dream, inspire me, give me focus, and tell the world what I was doing.  Everything I do for Tradewinds Learning supports my vision;

to support small business owners to create great customer experiences and have happy and engaged employees so you can achieve your business goals

Wherever you may be in your business, keep moving the needle forward.  Do you need to start with a vision statement?  I offer a workshop to guide you through the process of creating or refining one [click here to learn more].  Do you need to create goals?  Check out this month’s download on SMART goals.  And if you are on the ball and already achieving the goals you set, take the time for yourself to celebrate those accomplishments!  You deserve it!

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  • Abby Myette

(originally published to the Business Owner Tide Chart newsletter - December 2019)

It all started in 2011 with one studio in Beverly and now The Inner Cycle has expanded across the North Shore with five different locations, the newest in Gloucester. For best friends and co-owners Emily Skoniecki and Hillary Mandelbaum it’s a labor of love.  And if you’ve ever been to a class at one of their studios, you can tell that love extends to their instructors, too. 

Full disclosure, I take classes at Inner Cycle and I’m a huge fan.  It’s a place where I can escape from the day to day routine, get lost in the ride, dance a little, and get a great work out.  I’ve taken classes with at least eight different instructors.  Each woman has her own style.  But every ride exhibits the key traits of Inner Cycle: a welcoming environment, a place to escape the daily hustle, and a focus on you.  Emily talked about these attributes when we met back in August.  She shared that in the boutique fitness industry a connection with your customers is key.  Unlike at a big box gym where it’s easy to keep your head down and never interact with a fitness instructor, Inner Cycle’s studios are intimate and welcoming.  The vibe the instructor sets, their friendly smile at the door, sets the tone for your workout.  Hiring men and women who can exhibit those traits is vital to Inner Cycle’s success.  Emily makes sure this expectation is clear from the beginning.  Starting in the interview process, Emily and Hillary share what they expect of their instructors Yes, you have to be able to lead a killer workout.  That’s the obvious qualification.  What is less obvious is that character that sets Inner Cycle apart.  It’s the feeling and emotion customers experience, it’s the reason they keep coming back.  Employees are the ones who make this character a reality.  If you want to hire the right people, you have to discuss this philosophy in an interview.  Find out if the candidate is a good fit, do they align with your brand?  For Emily and Hillary, their approach has worked well and over eight years in business they have filled their five studios with instructors who represent the Inner Cycle character, energy, and enthusiasum.

Every instructor at the Inner Cycle has their own vibe and routine.  Each class is a little different.  But what you will always get is a friendly face, a solid workout, and the opportunity to lose yourself in the ride.

Not sure what your next big dream goal is?

Download my free Journal Prompts booklet to find clarity & identify your next big dream goal!

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