Blame it on the mi.. mi mi mi…millennials!

No matter what industry, it seems that the Millennials get a bad rap in the working economy: “They’re too lazy,” or “they’re non-grateful“. Growing up with technology has its pros and cons.

Photo credit of Jamie Foxx Vevo via Youtube

There is however a true difference between hard work and smart work. We hear Generation X and the Baby Boomers proclaim Millennials as not being hardworking because they don’t see the same efforts that they put into their work over 20 years ago. Well I for one am truly thankful for their efforts back then because it allows us to build on their foundation so that we can improve and streamline certain things. Faxing 20 people a press release when you can email the same release to the same 20 people in five minutes saves so much time.

Why does the gesture of saving people time not considered hard work? It is because of the hard work of the early adopters of technology such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs that has saved thousands of hours of time to focus on more efficient work in the last 20 years.

WE ALL have the option meditate due to an app, WE ALL have the ability to bank due to an app, WE ALL can date due to an app, order food, buy clothing and supplies through online shopping. It is the frequent daily personal use of technology that gives the false illusion that only Millennials turn to our phones for everything, but that’s not true. Our impact is deep. We impact restaurant sales and we start companies and become entrepreneurs more than any other generation to this date. Side note: why are Millennials the true test of casual dining sales?  It’s not, on average, that we make more money than any other generation at this time, I’m just saying…

Millennials are discovering that we can improve on ways to be better and/or to save time, if needed. We value our time and we want to know that we make an impact in the work we do in order to be efficient as much as possible. It’s because Millennials are so hell-bent on efficiency that we’re affecting industries services such as how the restaurants cater to us. More restaurants are joining or partnering with Grubhub, an online ordering/delivering service of nearby restaurants, or even having chains explore their own delivery systems. Offering free Wi-Fi often gets millennials into popular chains such as Starbucks or Panera Bread to study or work…maybe that should be something all restaurant categories should offer in order to get “the Millennial money”. We need places other than the office to work and brainstorm as well as bond with our teammates. I wonder what restaurant chain will catered lunch meetings AT the restaurant. Imagine how much more money will get spend at that restaurant?!

Now I know that fast-casual dining restaurants are not in the business of delivering however…they are also not in the business to losing customers. It’s because of Millennials that we’re challenging everyone outside of the millennial category to figure out how to improve on what they already provide. Don’t depend on the Millennials to figure out a solution only to tear it down based on how you’ve always done things. 20 years ago you needed to be in the office everyday while today…employees can fight for a different stance with the availability of Wi-Fi everywhere!

I challenge all seasoned working class people….be more innovative with the ever-changing times and stop relying that you can coast on the way you’ve always done things.  You might can float for a while with current methods and processes but eventually your competition will figure out your model and modify it to be better so here is what you do:

Don’t get comfortable.

If I Gotta buy a Toyota Camry, Ima do it Cost-Effectively!

First of all, congratulations are in order to rapper Kendrick Lamar’s sister for graduating school. To accomplish such an achievement deserves to be acknowledged first and foremost. Second, the Compton rapper celebrated his sister’s graduation by buying her a brand new Toyota sedan as a celebratory gift. The rapper caught heat from many social media users, stating the rapper could have given his sister a much “nicer” car.

Many people worry about why others spend money the way they spend it. We associate top dollar spenders with high earnings and expect the rich and famous to automatically purchase expensive houses and cars but that’s not always the case.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Warren Buffet does not stay in a mansion but in his modest Omaha, NE home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Yes that’s right the multi-billionaire lives as humbly as he did decades ago. So why bother Kendrick? This is the same rapper that bought his own home in Eastvale, just outside of Los Angeles, for $500,000…HIS own home. Why would someone spend more money on other people than themselves, with no return on investment? More importantly, why are we judging someone who is being fiscally responsible so that his children’s children can benefit and further their financial education?

What can we learn from both Warren and Kendrick? Never spend more than you make and can continuously upkeep. Taxes associate with this gift is part of the upkeep. Gifts in excess of $14,000 for the tax year of 2016 come with taxes that you have to report at the end of the year. We will never know if Kendrick’s sister will pay the taxes next year for this “gift” and guess what, it’s not our business. Kendrick’s sister may not be in a position at this time to keep up with the maintenance of a $100,000 car. Furthermore, I’m sure Kendrick’s sister loves the gesture, no matter the type of car. Also it’s time to worry about our own spending than to judge how “nice” other people’s gifts that are given.

Opportunities

Have you ever had an opportunity come to you that it was so scary it could work that you decided not to act?  Unfortunately I’ve done that several times in my life.  NEVER AGAIN.

After my recently missed opportunity, I decided to search for quotes that will set me straight for future references.  Would like to share these with you so that you will understand that although scary, sometimes you have to take the risk as it will give you big reward.

I hope these inspire you to continue to pursue your goals personally and professionally:

“Failure is only the opportunity more intelligently to begin again.”
―― Henry Ford

“We often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work”
―― Thomas A. Edison

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
―― Winston S. Churchill

“I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.”
―― Oprah Winfrey

“Teachers Open The Doors, But You Must Enter By Yourself.” –- Chinese Proverb

“I Feel That Luck Is Preparation Meeting Opportunity.” -– Oprah Winfrey

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” –Albert Einstein

“Opportunities always look bigger going than coming.” –Anonymous

“Every moment wasted looking back, keeps us from moving forward.” –Hillary Clinton

“To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.” –Bruce Lee

This quote by Warren Buffet really hit home for me because although I retreat more on my pessimistic side, I know it’s the opportunistic side that will set the tone for how I want my daughter to chase her dreams.

For my Courtney:

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” –Warren Buffett

Don’t curve your curve balls, embrace them!

When it comes to an event, planning is crucial. No matter how much planning you do, especially in advance, you can bet something will always go wrong. It’s always good to have a backup plan however some issues are totally unexpected. Thinking on your feet is a major key! Mastering the art of problem-solving is critical when you’re experiencing a huge blunder.

Frustrated

Instead of complaining, be quick to find a solution.

  • The caterer cancelled at the last-minute? Have options that won’t need a long lead time to accommodate large groups such as Subway.
  • Your florist promised seasoned flowers that turned out to be in late bloom and can’t deliver as promised? Get alternative flowers or get fake flowers from Hobby Lobby or Michael’s….get real flowers from Walmart if you have no choice but make sure the florist gives you a hefty discount for your next event.
  • The venue double-booked but you already printed invites? Make sure you notify everyone on the invite list and that have RSVP’ed to understand any changes in venue or schedule.  Call them, email them, text them…make sure you communicate any and all changes to your guests!

Figure out how to solve the problem now and then find the best solution for the variable that caused the issue. Make sure you are made “whole” if someone unexpectedly changes or adjusts what was discussed and contracted out for the event.  Sometimes your solutions will not be glamorous but it will help you plan and prepare for future hiccups and continue on with your event.

Have your contracts ready!

The Critical Art of Delegation

This Christmas was extra special as it was my daughter’s first Christmas. We spend time at our separate families. At my husband’s grandparent’s sock party, we wanted to remember the activity of exchanging stuffed socks with goodies. There were over 30 people who were crowded into this small area trying to take a picture. The only way we could get everyone in a family photo was to get a Pano-shot, or panoramic.

pano-family

Of course being a millennial with an iPhone in front of the group shot, I was the first to be able to volunteer my services to this group picture. I got up, excluded myself from the group shot and took the photo. After it was done I heard at least seven people say “Let me see!” on top of others crowding around me to try to view it as well.

With all of the commotion going on, I decided to pay attention to one of my elders only who had requested to view it. My great Aunt Gail was the closest to me after the photo was taken and she requested that I send it to her. I also had about 10 other folks asking to send it to them. Not having everyone’s contact information made that task more difficult for me. I had asked my aunt would she be able to send it to everyone if I sent it to her.

Here is where time is critical: She requested that I sent it to one of her daughters instead as they had everyone’s contact number. This was a brilliant change of action! Aunt Gail wanted to make sure everyone had that special picture commemorating another wonderful memory however she didn’t want to put up with the task of sending it to at least 30 people. Maybe she wasn’t as tech-savvy or maybe she wanted to save her precious time to spend with her sisters. Either way, Aunt Gail requested that I sent the pictures elsewhere. I’m sure it got done because A) Mom’s direction is law B) I didn’t get anybody asking me to send the pictures after I announced the picture would come from Aunt Gail’s daughter.

This is a very good lesson we can take heed in our business lives. Sometimes we don’t have time to do certain things, even though we may want to do them. That is why we hire other people to focus on doing those tasks so we can focus on what we do best. You may want to strategically plan what gets put on social media on what is written in a press release but your time may need to be securing more business opportunities or more sponsors. Having subordinates or interns can mean the difference of making an extra $50/month to making an extra $50,000/month, or more!

The Plan-Ahead

About a year ago I wrote about one’s image and standing out. With the holiday season approach, a good way to maintain and further progress your image to your clients is to plan ahead. Expecting the unexpected is key.

As an account manager in the food distribution industry, it is imperative that our operators follow strict rules.  We don’t want to mess with the integrity of someone’s food.  Knowing that sales will go up, being extra stocked during key holidays is essential.  Some operators will shut down upwards of a week while others, like myself, work only taking the actual holiday off.

Not only do we have to deal with possible freight and transit-time changes, but we will have price changes, promotions and expedited orders to manage and see through to the product ends at its intended location.  It can be overwhelming during the holidays but there is no need to stress.  Why you may ask? To reduce stress, make a “plan-ahead” plan can:

  1. Help your customers know what to anticipate coming down the pipeline
  2. Help yourself stay on track and have a to-do list weeks in advance
  3. Tackle some tasks earlier than anticipated so your list gets smaller and smaller closer to your deadline

A “plan-ahead plan” can simply be sending a reminder email to your client about the anticipated changes that you’re aware of or a quick internal meeting to tackle the necessary steps to keep track of a promotional item.  Doing this can in turn bring other changes to the client’s attention that may need immediate action before your task can get completed, such as a new UPC number for a box of napkins or an invoice discrepancy with a distribution center.

Another example of a “plan-ahead” action would be to push up delivery dates to your distribution centers a week in advance so that the carriers could have more time to spend with their families during the holidays.  Informing the distribution centers ahead of time about this adjusted delivery schedule would mean that these centers would need to stock up to ensure no disruption in the supply chain.  It would also mean that the carriers would anticipate more loads to move the weeks leading up to the holidays.

Having your departments interdependent on each other really helps with the checks and balances.  We may have to delay a price change to recoup lost funds or research recurring issues that happen every year during the same time period.  This will keep everyone on task and help prioritize.

Do you have a “plan-ahead” plan without realizing?

The NEW Tortoise and the Hare: The Right Tools and Mindset

Apologies for not posting this past week.  I was on vacation and wouldn’t you know…I learned a humble business lesson!

la

Along with my husband, I was out and about in the streets of Los Angeles: going to ComplexCon, a LA Rams game and a LA Lakers game.  We also visited the Griffith Observatory and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, among other things.  I think both of us learned valuable lessons in having the right mindset and the right tools

MINDSET

We were so excited to go to the LA Rams game.  This was the first season the team was back in LA since the early 1990s.  Traffic was crazy and the cost of parking close to the arena was out of this world!  We found parking a few blocks away in an alley for half the price.  Not bad and we get our extra steps in for the day.  Healthy!

After we purchased our LA Rams memorabilia and ate, we found our seats.  We sat behind a dedicated Rams fan that stood up during every play.  Behind us was another Rams fan that “sprayed” every time he yelled.  My patience was wearing thin.  I really wanted to say something however I reminded myself first of all, where I was and that I cannot focus on the negative as it did not out-weight the positive: I was at a Rams game!

We actually networked with all of the people sitting around us who had ties to North Carolina.  The world is truly small.  The wife of the man who kept standing up in front of us had a friend that loves to coupon from Greensboro (where my husband and I met), the man behind us (who didn’t spray when he spoke) was actually from Raleigh, and the man beside us had family in High Point.  I got many compliments on my custom shirt my husband designed, in support of Todd Gurley, who was from our hometown (Shout out to eastern North Carolina).  It didn’t hurt our networking either when everyone found out we were there to support Todd Gurley instead of the Carolina Panthers.  Traders much?

I learned that patience is something to pray for as you never know who a person really is until you meet and engage with them.  First impressions are important but they shouldn’t necessary always be the foundation of a relationship/friendship.  Sometimes you have to dig deeper to find substance.

TOOLS

Having only packed a carry on, to reduce possibility of loss/delayed luggage neither one of us didn’t pack any comfortable shoes.  Needless to say my husband and I underestimated how much walking we were going to encounter.  By the third day, my feet were begging from a break from my Vans and Converses.  We obliged and both bought comfortable walking shoes for the remainder of our trip.

Knowing your circumstances and preparing with the proper tools is invaluable, otherwise it will be a costly consequence.

Learning through living life is lovely!  Sometimes in order to more forward aggressively, you need to slow it down a bit.

FYI I had to get a brace for my left foot to wear for 4 weeks! : stress fracture.  The right tools are very important to have to avoid professional, and sometimes physical injury.