MayKing Mistakes as a Local Business: The Follow Up

In my previous blog post, I outlined the importance of first impressions.  In this blog post, I want to explain about the importance of the follow up.  I will be the first to admit that following up is not my cup of tea and I don’t always follow up with everyone, but I do my very best (if they’re on Twitter, I will definitely give them a shout out to their business).  Back to my preferred local carpet guy and after our initial meeting, he explained my carpet options, agreed on a date of measuring the house for carpets and said that he would call back as soon as he had finished.

I waited eagerly but no call came.  I thought that I would wait a day: perhaps he had several places to measure up, or maybe he had a carpet installation.  He didn’t call the next day either, and so I finally gave him a call two days later.  He explained that he couldn’t get through to me on the number I’d given him, which was rather strange as I had received several calls throughout the day, but I gave him benefit of the doubt.  He explained that for one section of the house, he would have his colleague call me, and he would call me the next day to finalise the rest.  I waited a day for the rest of the quote.  Neither he or his colleague returned my call.

image by hobokengrace

I happened to be in the vicinity of local carpet guy’s showroom a couple of days later so I popped in and I explained that I had been waiting on his and his colleague’s call.  There was no apology or explanation, but he did proceed to give me all of the quote.  I left the place a little dejected.  Maybe he didn’t want my business.  I had expected to be asked when we would like to be booked in, or whether he required a deposit, but I received nothing.  After my experience, I reluctantly went into a big chain just to see what my experience would be there.

The showroom was laid out perfectly.  Big bright lights, free of clutter and easy for wannabe customers to walk around.  It’s kind of what you’d expect from a big corporate.  One of the sales assistants came over and asked my sister and I several questions.  He gave us a bit more advice than the local guy which I was extremely surprised at.  From past experience of going into large department stores and being served by a young college kid who had no experience and didn’t really want to be there, this sales guy’s knowledge, advice and customer service was surprisingly refreshing.  He booked an appointment for one of the guys to measure the place, and after the house was measured, the original sales guy followed up with a phone call a couple of hours later to see how we got on.

Surprisingly, the quote wasn’t very different to the local guy and so it left me with a dilemma.  Do I go corporate or do I shop local?  Do I choose excellent customer service with great follow up or go for the local guy whose customer service wasn’t entirely my cup of tea?  Price wasn’t a consideration because the quotes were both very similar.  Both products were of the same quality, so all I could to differentiate was the level of customer service.  After much deliberation, even though I had given the benefit of the doubt to local carpet guy several times, I reluctantly went with the corporate guy.  Following my decision, the corporate guy followed up my decision with an email confirmation; a text confirmation of date of installation and then a further email asking for customer feedback following the carpet fitting.  I still haven’t heard back from local carpet guy.

writing blog post ideas on my brand new carpet

What are your thoughts?  Was I wrong to go corporate (it certainly felt like it!), or should I have given local carpet guy one more chance?  Do you have any local business stories to share?

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Where to find Networking Groups

I was really fortunate to have a friend to take me to my first networking event when I was in London and at my first networking event, I met other networking event organisers who invited me to their meetings and that’s how it snowballed.  When I moved to Australia though, I didn’t know a single person prior to going.  Here’s what I did to try and find networking groups.

  1. I asked.  It was a long shot, but I thought I’d give it a go.  Does anybody know anybody in Brisbane I asked?  Not a sausage, but after going to several networking events, I did eventually receive the name of somebody who had just moved to Sydney.  I was really lucky though because I knew that I would be in Sydney for a week before moving to Brisbane.  Why not give her a holler?  I felt like the luckiest gal on the planet because I was put in touch with the amazing Suzy Jacobs from She Business fame.
  2. Twitter.  I decided to take full advantage of my week in Sydney to try and meet people other than the wonderful Suzy.   I found several business owners on Twitter and struck up a conversation with them, and asked if I could meet them on a certain date/time.  From memory, I think I managed to set up 7 meetings in 5 days with my first meeting on the day of arriving in Sydney from London.  Yes I was jet lagged after a 24 hour flight, but with that meeting came further business opportunities later down the track including a couple of tea speaking gigs, and an opportuniTEA to showcase my tea in front of 50 business owners.
  3. Google.  After my week in Sydney, I did a Google Search to find networking events in Brisbane to see what would come up.  Google led me to some great networking events including Chambers of Commerce, Rotary Clubs, BNI groups and other local networking events organised by local business owners.
  4. Word of Mouth.   When I went onto Twitter to find business owners in Brisbane, I was extremely fortunate that I met the lovely Linda from Journey Jottings fame on Twitter and invited her to a cup of tea at the first tea house I found in Brisbane.  We met face to face, had a really pleasant conversation and Linda also gave me suggestions on Brisbane based networking events.
    Linda Fairbairn aka @journeyjottings
    Linda Fairbairn aka @journeyjottings

    At each networking event I attended, other networking event organisers attended to entice business owners to go to their networking events.  I very quickly found myself inundated with several networking events to attend.  Attending the first few networking events, led me to my first interview about Twitter, led me to my first Chinese Gong Fu Tea Ceremony event.  Helped me to find someone to design my business card and led me to a great photographer.  I found opportuniTEAs to talk about tea and to sell my tea and teawares.  Networking for the first few months in a city I didn’t know led me to some amazing prospects and future collaborations.

    My First Gong Fu Tea Ceremonial Event in Brisbane
           My First Brisbane Gong Fu Tea Ceremony
  5. Meetup.com.  Meetup is an online social networking website that encourages people to organise and/or participate in face to face meetings around the world.  I used this website both for business to find networking events and business events to attend.  I also used Meetup for personal use too. Moving to a new city in a new country meant that I had to find a way to meet new friends.  I found a meetup group that loves Karaoke (I LOVE Karaoke), Films (I love films) and Friday Night drinkypoos (I like to gain my daily source of antioxidants by various means other than tea 😉 )
  6. Business Magazines. As I attended networking events, I sometimes found business magazines at venues where networking events were held.  Leafing through the magazines and reading interviews of successful business folk and useful articles about various aspects of business, there were advertisements of local networking groups to attend to.

If you have any other suggestions of where to find networking groups, please share them in the comments below.  I’d love to hear from  you.

Branding for Business – The Profile Picture

In a previous post, I talked about mayking mistakes on branding for my business.  In this post I wanted to talk about something that I was complimented for.  The profile picture.  The profile pic is now important than ever given the growth of social media applications that we as business owners cannot fail to ignore, and if you do a Google search, you will be inundated with posts stating what and what not to do when it comes to profile pics.  When starting a business it is important to decide where you are going to spend your pennies (or dollars and cents) and investing some money on your profile pics is really important.  There are other ways of getting that profile pic without spending money if you don’t have the budget for it.

  • Do you have a friend or family member whose hobby is photography?
  • Do you know of colleges nearby where there are photography students who are looking for volunteers to have their head shots taken?
  • Maybe you know of a photographer who is just starting their business and would like to take photographs in return for acknowledgement for their work online?
  • Perhaps you could barter your goods and services in return for a good profile pic?
  • I was once asked if a photographer could take photographs of me whilst I ran one of my tea events, in return for having his branding on the photograph?  I duly obliged.

I have been extremely lucky in that when I started my business in London, I came across two photographers who were just starting their business and wanted their foot in the door.  This was my first profile pic taken care of the beauTEAful Nicole from Blue Drop Photography fame.

May King Tsang - First Profile Pic
May King Tsang –          First Profile Pic

My photo reflected my core values in my branding – note the use of green, brown (ring) and white (cup) again.  Nicole also took some great photographs of my tea as well, which I used for my first website.  She did an amazing job and I was really happy with the results, although if I was going to be picky about my photo, perhaps I should’ve smiled, and, according to this LinkedIn Post, I’m right.

This photograph was taken with Mike’s branding on the bottom of the photograph.  Suck that tummy in, May King and smile!!

Branded Photograph of May King Tsang
Branded Photograph of                                     May King Tsang

When I moved to Brisbane, Australia, I came across an extremely talented artist, photographer and videographer.  I felt that Kerrin’s photographs were a cut above the rest because not only is she looking through the lens as a photographer, she is also looking through the lens as an artist and I felt that she captured something quite unique to other photographers.

May King Tsang Profile Pic
May King Tsang                       Profile Pic

We had a lot of fun on the day of the shoot and when the Beastie Boys blasted out on the radio, Kerrin took this shot.  Well, I do introduce myself as a Tea Rock Star from time to time 🙂

May King Tsang - Tea Rockstar
May King Tsang – Tea Rockstar

I did another Google search and found an inTEAresting post about how the profile pic is more important than the cover page for Social Media, which I hadn’t really put much thought into before reading the post.  It outlines several compelling reasons for putting thoughts into your profile pic rather than your cover page although admittedly, there were a couple of points that I did disagree with, but that’s just my personal opinion.  In fact, going against the grain of some of the points the blog post made, I decided to use the rockstar photo on my Twitter profile.

I shall end this post with this mildy amusing post I found on LinkedIn which talks about 8 types of photos you should never use on your LinkedIn Profile.  Enjoy.