Dec 03

The Fallacy of Multi-Tasking

By Maria Pesin | Productivity


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As a business owner and single mom life is pretty complicated. So in order to get as much accomplished as possible in the shortest amount of time I bought into the whole concept of multitasking. I proudly tackled projects and chores while taking calls, answering emails, keeping an open door policy for staff, and spending time with my children. Generally multitasking to the Nth degree. But am I really getting more done or in fact less?

 Gloria Mark PHD and Professor in UCI’s Department of information was quoted saying “we found (in her research) about 82 percent of all interrupted work is resumed on the same day. But here’s the bad news — it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the task

Would I be better off letting calls go to voice mail, emails not being read and closing the door in order to have uninterrupted time to concentrate on the job before me?

According to John J. Medina Author of Brain Rules and a developmental molecular biologist. “Multitasking, when it comes to paying attention, is a myth. The brain naturally focuses on concepts sequentially, one at a time. At first that might sound confusing; at one level the brain does multitask. You can walk and talk at the same time. Your brain controls your heartbeat while you read a book. A pianist can play a piece with left hand and right hand simultaneously. Surely this is multitasking. But I am talking about the brain’s ability to pay attention… To put it bluntly, research shows that we can’t multitask. We are biologically incapable of processing attention-rich inputs simultaneously”.

Probably doing laundry when you are with your children is a good way to multitask as laundry is a low concentration activity and you can spend quality time with your son or daughter talking. They don’t need to be entertained all the time. What I do now is block out time and actually use my phone timer to where I allow uninterrupted time to focus on a particular job at a time. It is working for me and I accomplish more in a shorter time.  Think about working smart rather than working hard.

Nov 25

Changing the Way We Run Our Business

By Maria Pesin | Business

In the “olden days” anyone who wanted to be in the fashion business and had two nickels to rub together could start a company. It didn’t take lots of money nor much knowhow. You could learn as you go and have success. Of course it isn’t that way any longer. It is not so easy to start a business without training and a reasonable amount of money. The business climate has changed and because it is so challenging we can no longer afford to make too many mistakes. As business owners we lament the time when the industry was robust and growing. But, rather than miss the past, we should embrace the change and raise our game. When we look outside our industry and see computer companies like Apple, Airliners such as Southwest, and Internet companies resembling Amazon, we can see models that we can emulate and learn from. Companies like these keep nothing to chance. From their business model to their daily best practices everything is planned and thought out.

One of the most important pieces we can take away from well-run companies is their practice of training their employees. Especially salespeople. Even going as far as consistent leadership training. In our business there is little or no training. I don’t mean teaching product knowledge which many do quite well. I mean training an individual in the art of selling. I realize we all think that either you have the gift of salesmanship or you don’t. But that doesn’t mean you can’t teach people to be the best they can be. From time management to opening new accounts there should be processes for everything. Even the best people can improve. This is a game changer. It is no longer just about relationships, or even just having good product. If your people aren’t able to make and close a deal there aren’t any sales. As Michael Gerber author of the E-Myth says, “You should not just be working in your business, but on your business”, and education and training is a key element of that. Teaching our sales teams and even our sales leaders can only improve the health of our businesses.[/fusion_text]

Don't Wait Till Your Business Is In Trouble.
Oct 31

Don’t Wait Till Your Business Is In Trouble To Do This

By Maria Pesin | Business

The fashion business is tough. It is not for the faint of heart.  While there are some daunting times when you feel like a failure there are also times when you are flying high and you think you’re a  genius.  Few brands grow in a straight line going up.  Most times it is a zigzag to the top. So don’t wait till your business is in trouble, do something about it now.

Some companies experience success for a long while but then find that the very product that made them successful is no longer wanted by the market.  What do you do to prevent this from happening?  Brands that find themselves in this situation start to flip-flop around trying to figure out what to do next?  Sometimes they change their direction so completely that the buyers turn away.  Your company is pigeonholed and you can’t seem to get them to try something new.  Then you lose your place in the market.  Once you lose your place it is difficult to get it back.  The belief is “It is easier to start a new brand than it is to reinvent one that has become irrelevant.”‘

The time to try something new is when you are very successful.  If your business is good than your accounts are more open to new ideas.  In his book “Great By Choice” Jim Collins discusses how Companies remain great during turbulent times.  One of the keys he found during his research is that great companies first fire bullets than cannonballs.  They are always trying new things but not in a big way.  They try new ideas out as a test and if the results support expanding it they then put out a major effort. In fact you should always be shooting bullets to see what the next step in the evolution of your brand is.  Once you see it working out than lob the cannonball.

Look at JC Penny’s under Ron Johnson.  He had a concept for how the JC Penny;s stores should look.  However rather than test the concept in a small number of doors.  He changed the business model so drastically that the core customer no longer recognized them and stayed away in droves.

Stay true to who you are as a brand, but always try new things.  Introduce new concepts that still will appeal to your core customer and test it before you roll it out. You should always be firing bullets.

Aug 20

What Sports Can Teach The Fashion Industry

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

“Please take off your shoes and socks,” Coach John Wooden announces to his team on the first day of a new season, “I’m going to show you the proper way to put them back on.” He then proceeds to show them in great detail. You may think this is some kind of insider football knowledge and the players may think he is nuts but there is a method to his madness. John Wooden believed that you leave nothing to chance. There are fundamentals and processes for all elements of his sport and he had training in place for each one. In fact there isn’t a sports team that doesn’t have a playbook covering every aspect of their games with practices that review each of those plays over and over again till it is second nature for the athletes.

In the fashion industry the sales training we receive at our companies is, at best, solely on the product. My old friend and mentor was an account executive at Liz Claiborne when they were in their heyday. She said they would spend up to 12 hours going over the collection for the new season. Every feature of the product was reviewed so that they really knew their stuff. But, when I asked about the sales training she said there was none.

We need to step up our game. Let’s take some lessons from sports teams training. It is time to stop running our sales departments from the seat of our pants and put into place comprehensive and consistent training programs. Managing sales is more than just pressuring our people to get out there more. There truly is a science to it. Let’s bring people development to the culture of our companies and maybe we can win a few more “games”.

Jun 05

What Is The Most Important Function of Any Business?

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

Success in business is never automatic. It isn’t strictly based on luck—although a little never hurts. It depends on many things; a maria-200x300good product, filling a need, enough capital, and many more. However without sales there is no business. Gustav Berle in his book The Do It Yourself Business Book writes that many businesses fail because of low sales, Michael Gerber in his book The E-Myth states that so many small business owners have trouble growing their businesses. Basically, Michael says that most entrepreneurs start a business because they are a technician, and they only enjoy the part of the business they perform well. He also explains that they don’t understand the basic truth that the small business owners need to be involved in the marketing and sales for their businesses.

There is the difference between the business of law and the practice of law, or the business of being an accountant and the practice of being an accountant. You are already a good technician, now you need to perfect the practice of being a good salesperson!

In other words marketing/sales should be something you do every day. So what is marketing? One of the best articles comes from “Reliving My MBA Days.” According to Peter Drucker, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself. Ideally, marketing should result in a customer who is ready to buy”. There are many forms of marketing 3D mailings, snail mail, webinars, advertising seminars and email blasts. Everything delivered cross channel. Selling is one of the most important forms of marketing. Everyone in your business that interacts with you customer should be selling. That means that they should be showing your business in the best light possible so that customers will want to do business with you. You should also be selling yourself. This is one of your most essential jobs. Though not everyone feels they can sell. So if you don’t feel you can sell, hire someone else to do it. Never leave it to chance.

Mar 06

Never Underestimate the Power of Offline Marketing

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

Tis the season to write loads of holiday cards to family, friends and clients, but do you ever wonder why we’re all still sending messages in such an old-fashioned way? If snail mail is as outdated as everyone says it is, why don’t we just write up emails? Even more interesting from a sales perspective: why is getting a card in the mail so much more exciting?

For anyone working in sales, the answer is essential. A card sent by mail feels authentic. Sure it’s outdated, but for that very reason it’s also unexpected. Alternatively, it’s become the most mundane thing in the world to check our email. And no email, however sincere it sounds, can match the power of a handwritten letter.

Would you believe me if I said that a phone call in today’s internet-driven world bears a striking resemblance to a card? Phone conversations often lead to upselling opportunities and increase client engagement, yet almost none of your competitors take the time to do it. They’re fully given over to online sales. They’ve forgotten how much of an impact something as simple as a phone call can be.

Clearly online marketing is exploding. You can’t run a sales campaign without social media, email and online advertising anymore. But one of the most common mistakes I see my accounts make is to ignore older forms of communication and throw 100% of their sales pitch online. They’re forgetting that sincerity doesn’t often translate as well online as it does offline.

Jun 16

Restoration Hardware Just Sent Me A 5LB Book

By Maria Pesin | Vibe Consulting

I just received in the mail several catalogs packed together – 13 to be exact.  Between the paper and the postage it must have cost a fortune.  And it’s not like I have ever ordered anything from them.  It is hard to understand how this kind of marketing pays off.  Yet their earnings have increased significantly over the last 3 years.  They must be doing something right.  I love the product, though it is a bit expensive.  Their customer service is top-notch.  And their catalogs are as nice if not better than any decorating magazine.  This is a company to watch and see if we can’t learn something.

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