February 2020
The Business Voice - Supporting the Moose Jaw & District business community


February 2020

Welcome to our Newest Members:

Abound Livestock Co. Ltd. - 306.684.5884

Affinity HR Consulting - 306.630.7783

Brilliant Cleaners - 306.313.0030

Dave Low Real Estate P.C. Inc. - 306.631.9201

Tanglez Hair Salon - 306.631.6465


Upcoming Events:

Feb 12th - SaskPower Luncheon - Heritage Inn - call for tickets 306.692.6414

Feb 15th - deadline for Moose Jaw Business Excellence Awards Nominations - visit www.mjchamber.com 

April 8th - MJBEX Awards Banquet - tickets on sale soon

April 22nd - Administrative Professionals Day Luncheon - more info to come





Member Spotlight - Affinity HR Consulting - Lori Clayson

As an independent HR Consultant and founder of Affinity HR Consulting, Lori provides guidance and support to small business owners across many industries. Offering straightforward, customized HR solutions to meet their current, emerging, and future needs, her approachable style, responsiveness, and commitment to excellence generate trust among clients. She quickly develops respectful, comfortable, and lasting relationships with business leaders, helping them work through challenging situations to formulate solutions and workable processes. Development and implementation of comprehensive programs, practices, and policies is done in a way that make sense for each individual organization.

Lori is passionate about HR and is committed to continuous education and professional development. She endeavours to remain informed of trends and projected workplace impacts. She is innovative, action-oriented, and a “big picture” thinker who is attentive to accuracy and detail. 

Areas of expertise:

  • policy development and compliance
  • organizational/workflow analysis
  • job analysis and job descriptions
  • process improvement 
  • recruitment and selection
  • onboarding and orientation
  • performance management
  • employee engagement and retention
  • legislation interpretation
  • collective agreement interpretation
  • HR metrics and reporting
  • information management
  • special projects 
Going the Extra Mile


Going the Extra Mile

Have you ever been in a relationship where the other person provided you with just what you needed before you even asked for it? Do you remember what that felt like? How it made you feel that person cared about you enough to know those small details and take care of them? Sometimes the key to your customer's heart lies not so much in giving them what they ask for, but in anticipating what they will need and giving it to them before they ask.

The following story was provided by an ex Chamber of Commerce manager. It takes up most of this article, but the message really is in the story. As you read it, think about how it makes you feel as a potential customer.

My job requires me to travel from time to time, and several years ago I was spending a lot of time on the road. Every night in a different city, a different hotel, a different restaurant, isn't as glamorous as some people might think. In fact, it's very tiring, predictable and often soulless. I arrived late one night at a hotel in Prince George, BC on the last night of my travels. When I checked in I went through the usual routine of giving my credit card, asking usual questions about locations of restaurants, the location of the conference room where I'd be meeting the next day, etc. While the front desk staff was friendly, my experience until that moment had been of a very ordinary hotel. What happened next was what made this one of my most memorable customer service experiences.

I took the elevator up to the 7th floor and trudged down the hallway to my room. When I opened the door I immediately noticed something was different from every other hotel I'd ever been in. The light was on, the room was warm, and there was music playing softly from the radio. I felt instantly calm, and at home. I had never noticed until that moment how much I hated walking into a cold dark hotel room, and fumbling for the light switch. I also knew that the first thing I did when I get into a room is turn on the TV. For me it lessened the lonely feel of the room. The radio playing immediately gave me a warm fuzzy feeling of not being alone.

I put down my bags and walked farther into the room. The bed sheets were turned over on one corner in an inviting manner, chocolate mints were carefully placed on the pillow, and a clean, crisp white housecoat was laid across the bed, in anticipation of my arrival. When I sat down on the bed, I noticed a large, chocolate chip cookie wrapped on a plate beside my bed. I was already pleasantly overwhelmed, but my experience was not yet over. On the table beside the television was a large bucket filled with ice containing two bottles of water. Next to it was the room service menu, and a voucher for a free full breakfast in the restaurant the next morning. Finally, when I entered the bathroom, I felt a cozy warmth under my toes in contrast to the cold tile floor I usually experienced. The hotel had heated bathroom floors, and the heat had been turned on in preparation for me.

I had not asked for any of these special touches. In fact, if you had asked me what I most needed in a hotel room I would not have even thought of any of those things. But someone had. Someone else had recalled walking into a cold dark hotel room and made sure it wasn't going to happen to one of their customers. Can you imagine how many people I have referred to that hotel since my stay?

What can you do to anticipate your customers' needs? Can you put yourself in their shoes? If you were shopping for tires, or a chiropractor, for coffee, or furniture, what would make the experience memorable for you? Ask people you know about their memorable customer service experiences and see whether you can replicate any of them. Look beyond the obvious and reach down to a deeper level.

If you direct your customer service efforts towards anticipating and meeting your customer's needs before he or she even knows what they are, your business's success is guaranteed. That kind of customer service is irresistible and given how increasingly rare it is, it will give you an enormous edge over any other competitor in your industry. I hope you're inspired to give your customers as memorable an experience as that little hotel in Prince George did!

Going the Extra Mile


The Corporate Garage Sale

Your neighbours are having a garage sale. Their front driveway is so cluttered with stuff that it's hard to believe they had room in their house for it all, but there they are valiantly letting go of "valuable" possessions. Garage sales are hard work both mentally and physically. We get attached to our belongings and justify keeping them by telling ourselves one day we might need them, so psychologically it's tough to let go. Physically, it's a lot of time and energy for a few hundred bucks.

But. consider taking a lesson from your neighbour's garage sale. Could your business benefit from the garage-sale process and help you de-junk, and increase your revenue? If you find yourself stuck in a bit of a rut in your business, if things are getting a little stale, you might want to consider looking at it from a garage sale, clutter-clearing perspective. It'll be hard work but you may be surprised at the results.

The first step in having a clear out is daring to take a long hard look at all the stuff that until that moment, you thought was a necessity in your life. In your business, are there things (or even people) that you're holding on to that you really don't need, or that hold you back from being successful?

Physical Stuff – that rickety old filing cabinet that you've been keeping just because you think it's an "antique" (that's a word people often use to justify keeping junk). That old computer on the back shelf and its ancient collection of CD's or even floppy disks. The broken down fax machine. Textbooks you've kept from university that are now decades out of date. Your ultra-slow computer that you keep saying you're going to upgrade when you have time. De-cluttering your physical space will improve your emotional state and you'll be more motivated and productive.

People – are there people in your business (or even in your life generally) that you need to consider letting go? Do you really think that employee is going to improve their performance after the fifteenth warning, if he or she didn't do so after the first fourteen? Does that negative, abusive customer cost you more in demoralizing your staff than he or she is worth? Does that business colleague make you depressed every time you have coffee with them because of their constant complaining and negativity? It isn't always easy, but people can clutter your life just like things can, and if there are people that distract you from your goals, or that you find drain your energy, it may be worth considering whether you need to let them go as well.

Systems – you may not even be aware of them all but there are systems throughout your business. How you process your invoices, how you deal with customer complaints, how you determine which vendors to use, how you do your performance evaluations, how you evaluate your sales stats. Every business activity uses systems; sometimes it's useful to evaluate whether those systems are worth keeping. Look at all aspects of your business (and if you have staff, ask those who are using the systems for their input). Are there some systems that could be simplified? Is there software you could use to combine tasks or speed up processes? Are there tasks that are overlapping between staff members? Evaluating your systems can improve your productivity in a huge way, but it is time-consuming. Make sure you are willing to go all the way once you start the process.

A garage-sale look at your business can have significant benefits. The de-cluttering itself will make you and your staff feel better and will improve productivity. This will lead to the second benefit – more money in your pocket. When your systems are more efficient, the people who are working for you are not draining your resources, and your world is more organized, your business will be healthier and stronger. As you head into garage-sale season, think about giving your business a clear out as well.

Going the Extra Mile


Choices and Decisions

"One's philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes... and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility."
Eleanor Roosevelt

Last month we looked at the question "What are your intentions?" and saw that everything we do, we do with intent. Whether that intention is conscious or not, there is always a purpose behind our reason for doing something or acting in a certain way.

Similarly, in life we are always faced with choosing and deciding. Whether it is a simple choice of "What are we going to have for lunch?" or a more important decision affecting our life and career, the choices we make lead us on a journey in certain directions. It is apparent that everything is the result of choices and decisions, some more profound than others but nevertheless moving us forward on a distinct path.

How do we as an individual or as a group arrive at decisions? This is a good question for us to reflect upon. Depending upon our personality, we may take a great deal of time and thought to arrive at a decision. Others may reach a decision quickly and more intuitively. Some of us will be worried about the decisions we have made, while others confidently stand behind their choices. Knowing how we arrive at decisions and make choices will allow us to tackle tough decisions in the future.

What have we learned from past decisions? If we had a chance to change a decision, what would we do differently? Who could help us make this decision?

After looking at how we approach decisions and choices, it is important to be mindful of our decision-making skills and tendencies when approaching the challenge of any new decision. Taking the time to ask ourselves questions such as, what are the choices open to us when making this decision? What are the constraints limiting our choices? What concerns us about certain choices? What is the ideal choice?

Sometimes we procrastinate when making and standing behind a decision. At that point, we need to ask ourselves, what are we afraid of? What will happen if we prolong our decision, or fail to make the decision?

There are always choices to be made. How we approach making them and thinking about them will, in most cases, affect how we make the decision and help lead us to make the right decision.

"You make choices every day and almost every hour that keep you walking in the light or moving away toward darkness."
Henry B. Eyring

Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development


Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce
88 Saskatchewan St. E, Moose Jaw, SK, S6H 0V4
T: 306.692.6414 F: 306.694.6463