When you run a conscious business, sometimes people around you can inundate you with well intentioned suggestions. Too much of this can be overwhelming and totally suck out your energy. Especially if the advice is coming from people who have absolutely no clue about how a business like yours is even run. And let’s admit it, most “helpful” advisers fall into this category.
In this fifth segment of the miniseries, “Keeping Your Customers Delighted, While Also Maintaining Your Own Sanity and Joy“, I dive deep into:
- How to deal with unwanted ideas
- Why you often need to nip the flow of suggestions in the bud
- Two examples of how I dealt with advice givers in the past
- What kind of advice you should encourage or consider
- Not trying to be perfect
- And so much more
Listen on the embedded player below, or on your preferred podcast platform. If reading is your jam, then scroll down for the transcript. Enjoy! 🙂
“Advice giving is also an addiction, by the way. We are all guilty of it at some point, so I’m not judging and saying only some people are that way. It’s just that it’s important to catch yourself and stop. Only give advice when either you can give very constructive, implement-able advice. Or you give advice when somebody asks you.”Susmitha Veganosaurus – The Feel Good Factor Podcast
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Transcript of Joyful Customer Delight Part Five – Handling Unwanted Business Advice
(edited for a better reading experience)
Hello gang, I hope you’re all having a lovely week! My week was extremely busy. I mean, by my standards it was extremely busy and packed. But at the same time it was so fulfilling and joyful for me.
A few days ago I received an email from somebody who listens to my podcast and also recently subscribed to my newsletter. Her name is Anu, from Kerala. And Anu, your message, your email really made my day! It always feels nice to get messages from you all, from my listeners telling me why you’re listening to my show, and how much of an impact it makes in your life. Anu spoke a bit about her life and mindfulness and I felt so, so nice to read that email from her.
On the same day, I had sent out my newsletter to my Feel Good Tribe.
I told you about the newsletter in my last episode, and that’s when Anu found out about it and subscribed to it. As soon as somebody subscribes to my newsletter, they get a welcome email, and Anu replied to that and shared about, you know, how she got to know about the newsletter, and why she listens to the podcast, and all those things. And I felt so good.
Just that morning I’d sent out November’s Feel Good Tribe Newsletter and soon after that I got this message. It made me feel like, “yes, all this work, all this love that I put in, it’s so totally worth it!” You know, it makes me so joyful when the message reaches the right people.
If you would like to join my Feel Good Tribe (that’s what I call my newsletter subscribers), then go to my website veganosaurus.com/newsletter, and you’ll be able to join from there. I’d love to have you on the tribe.
Apart from a Anu’s message, and sending out my newsletter, I also got to coach a couple of lovely ladies who want to start a vegan business. It feels so nice to be able to talk to people and, you know, guide people, and share information, things that I have learned over the years. And then share it with them to make their lives smoother and easier.
That was a jam packed call and it was deeply fulfilling.
I always feel great at the end of a coaching call or a workshop. Because teaching just lights me up from within! And I can feel it. It’s not even during the call. It’s what I feel after I’m done. You know once the workshop or the call/session is over, when I just sit down to take those few moments, and connect with the universe. And just slow down, and wind down, and share my gratitude for a successful session. At that point of time there’s this high vibrational energy that I have feeling inside me. And it fills me up with so much inspiration, so much motivation to just keep doing all the work that I do because, you know, it’s making some kind of difference in the world.
I’m so grateful to all of you who listen to the show, or who are on my newsletter, or whoever’s booked calls with me, or attended my courses, workshops, any of them. And for keeping in touch, for sharing your experience with me. I feel so grateful to each and every one of you. So thank you so, so much for that. I’ll get into today’s episode, but before that I just wanted to share my gratitude and my love with all of you.
So today we continue on to the fifth episode of Keeping your customers delighted while also maintaining your own sanity and joy.
In today’s episode, I’d like to talk about how you can deal efficiently, and also peacefully, with suggestions, feedback and reviews. And how to communicate well with your customers.
So I want to begin with suggestions. Now suggestions or things which people who might be your customers, or who might not even be your customers, just people surrounding you, you know, your family, friends, anybody who’s just watching your business from afar, suggestions or things that may come from them.
Okay, suggestions are well intentioned. However, for a new business owner, they can be overwhelming and create a lot of confusion.
It’s very important to remember when people tell you, you know, “do this, do that, add this, try that, why don’t you do something different…”, when they just give you all those suggestions and opinions, and well, unwanted and un-asked-for advice it’s important to remember that all of them, or probably most of them, have absolutely no background in the kind of business that you’re running.
They are telling you whatever they are, one, from the point of view of a user or a consumer. Or, they’re telling you their wishful dreams and thinking, right? If they thought… from outside if you’re looking at a business and you think, “oh, if I had this business, this is what I would do.”
So with zero experience, with zero knowledge about exactly what happens on the back end of a business, they ask you to try things. They shower you with lots of advice.
To a limited amount, it’s okay to listen to these suggestions or advice. But the reason you need to limit it heavily and draw those boundaries is so that you don’t get confused, you don’t get overwhelmed, and you don’t second guess yourself.
Because when you decide to do certain things in your conscious business, you would have done your research, you would have put a lot of thought into it. And you know the equation is quite complicated, right? It’s not as simple as, “oh, I want to make this and sell it, I’m gonna do it.” It’s not as simple as that. There are so many different things involved.
Like say, how easy is it to create this product? How easy is it to pack it or send it across? To provide this service? Does adding… making this small change, does that simplify things for you? Or does it complicate things for you? There is so much!
And then there are also things like, you know, the different people in your team and each person’s capacity, capability, the amount of time available, the amount of bandwidth available, the availability of ingredients or packaging material. Oh my god, this is just the tip of the iceberg, everything that I’m listing out to you.
So when you have all these hundred million things to consider and then take your decisions, if somebody just, you know, walks in, and they’re like, “oh, do this, do that, try that,” you shouldn’t be second guessing your decisions based on that.
Be polite, but also very firmly cut it off after a point.
Put it very clearly across to them, because if somebody doesn’t stop, and they go on and on with trying to give quote unquote suggestions and advice for your business, without any knowledge of how to do it, how to actually run it, it’s their wishful thinking. Their intentions are alright, but you know, you need to be very firm and cut them off.
When we were running our restaurant, there were plenty of people… you know, they’d be in the vegan community, so of course they wanted a vegan business to grow and all those things. But they’d come and give all kinds of, sometimes weird and irrelevant, or very difficult to do suggestions. Advice which is difficult to implement.
We’d be wasting our time just by even listening to it or even considering it.
So there was this one person in particular, who, okay who rarely came to eat at the restaurant to begin with. But whenever he came, or whenever we’d meet, he’d be like, “how’s it going” and if we’d honestly say, “okay, you know, right now times are a little off”, or, “yeah, this is going good”, anything that we shared, he would immediately launch into, “oh, why don’t you try to collaborate with this person? Why don’t you try to do that? You should be doing this. You should be trying that. You aren’t making full of use of your potential, blah-di-blah-di-blah.”
After a point I didn’t… I’m the kind of person who… I like to be kind, you know, I like to be polite to an extent. But I’m also very particular about establishing my boundaries. And after a point you just don’t have the bandwidth to listen to any of that kind of stuff.
So I very firmly told him, “all this is great, but it’s easy to give advice. It’s when you try to actually implement it, when you try to actually make it happen, that’s when it’s difficult. So it’s not as easy as it looks from the outside.”
He thought about it, and after that I don’t think he gave us advice anymore, at least this so called free advice anymore. He did of course share feedback about the food and all that, that is okay, that’s always welcome.
Then there was this other lady who was very environmentally conscious. She cared about the earth of course, right? These these things are all, you know, they kind of overlap.
They’re all intersectional – vegan, and being healthy, and organic, and the environment. All these things, they are all different movements, but also which kind of support each other.
It’s like a Venn diagram. There are certain areas where you will overlap but certain areas where there’s nothing you can do, it will not connect.
Initially, in the initial year of running our restaurant, we would buy tetra packed soymilk. At that point of time we didn’t have enough staff to train how to make their own mylks. That was at first, within a year’s time we were all making everything in house, but right at the beginning it was a little difficult.
And of course, you know, when you make things from scratch, they don’t have a very long shelf life, and you’re not very sure at the beginning how many people are going to come to the restaurant, stuff like that. So yeah, there were all these practical things that we took into consideration and we decided yeah, tetra packed soymilk is what will be purchased.
This lady who would come in, she would actually volunteer and help us also sometimes, and she’s a really, really sweet person, but she one day got into a thing about, “oh, all these tetra packs! And you shouldn’t throw it with the other trash. And you should do this and do that…blah, blah, blah.”
Then I was like, “hey, for us right now, it’s difficult to implement it. It’s difficult to coach our staff about segregation”. Later on we absolutely implemented that because we had help from outside to come and teach our staff how to handle things. But in those initial years, it was not the topmost thing on our mind when we were trying to run a vegan restaurant, very first vegan restaurant in the whole of the country.
We’re trying to run this, and at that point of time if somebody comes and tries to push their other ideas onto you, it’s kind of hard.
So I said, “I know you feel very strongly about this. So why don’t you train our staff? Why don’t you explain to them about how to segregate? And how to deal with tetra packs. Also, please note that the garbage collectors will mix everything and take anyway, this is something we’ve seen regularly.” At least back then… now in many areas they do take the segregated waste separately which is really good, but then they didn’t care.
Whatever work we put into it, they would still dump everything together. And we didn’t really have the bandwidth to clean things, dry them up, keep them aside and then call a recycling organisation, and give it to them, and all that.
So I asked her, I said, “all these ideas that you’re telling me, would you maybe able to make that happen? You know, you lead the project, you coach our staff, and then you connect with the recycling organisation and get it sent to them.”
And she immediately stepped back! Haha She’s like, “no, no, you can’t tell me to do these things. I’m just telling you what should be done.” So I said, “we don’t have the bandwidth, but you know, if you can’t help us, then I’d appreciate you not going on about it to us.”
It was quite an interesting experience. So these things, there is a way to deal with them. My whole point in sharing these stories is, you don’t have to put anybody down, but you can put them on the spot.
If somebody imposes a lot of thoughts on you, a lot of suggestions on you, which you cannot do, then you can put them on the spot.
Either say that, “easier said than done, you will have to show us how to do it.” Or, “will you take on the responsibility of making this happen?” Once this happens, once you put these boundaries in place and this kind of clarity in place, the suggestions that come in, the unwarranted suggestions that come in, will kind of slowly reduce and go away.
But if you listen every time, politely saying, “Yeah, yeah. You’re right, you’re right. Okay, okay, okay”, it’ll never stop!
You know, advice giving is also an addiction by the way.
We are all guilty of it at some point, so I’m not judging and saying only some people are that way. It’s just that it’s important to catch yourself and stop. Only give advice when either you can give very constructive, implement-able advice. Or you give advice when somebody asks you.
The free advice, the more you listen to it, the more you encourage it, the more it’s going to come in. And then as I said, you know, it can be overwhelming, time sucking, confusing. All those things will happen and that’s not good for you.
Cutting it off is going to help you feel more confident about yourself, as well as the decisions that you make. And you can go inwards and follow your gut.
You can of course do your research, because sometimes, in some advice, there may be some nugget of something. But without it getting to you, if it sounds somewhere doable. Somewhere like, “yeah, this is a good idea. Let me think about how I can make this happen.” If something comes to you that way, then fine.
You know, you can do a little bit of research, a little bit of digging and implement it. But if it’s something you just can’t do right now, don’t stress about it. Don’t worry yourself about it. Because see, you are… you’re already running a conscious business, in a world where most businesses don’t really have many principles.
With my vegan restaurant, I was doing this for the vegan movement, right? My business was for veganism. And not just that, we cared about people’s health and well being. We cared about many things, and we did the best we could at that point of time in terms of, you know, reducing wastage, reducing packaging, whatever we could.
We couldn’t be perfect. And neither can you. Nobody can be perfect.
Nobody can implement a hundred things together. So you have to pick your core values, and stick to them no matter what. And then all the other additional values that come by, you do what you can. Or you just ignore what you can’t for now, or put it in the back burner. And definitely, when suggestions come in, very firmly and politely stop the flow of these suggestions.
Don’t worry, you know, this is something I’ve repeated multiple times in this series, don’t be so worried about upsetting people or pissing them off. Because there are certain things where if you’re saying it politely, if you’re genuinely saying… you’re not saying, “oh, you know, screw the earth. I don’t care about plastic. Okay, let me just do…”, haha you’re not doing that, right? You’re not actually wilfully being non-conscious about things.
You are doing the best you can, right? Despite that if people are not happy that you won’t listen to their suggestions or implement them, they are not your ideal customers.
This is something I’ve been saying again and again. They’re just not your ideal customers. And you will get the right ones, the balanced ones, the ones who understand. Who have certain expectations out of you as a conscious business, of course, but also, who don’t expect perfection out of you.
And also people who give you implement-able, very easy to do… who understand your position and say, “okay, if you can’t do this, then how about you do this for me?” Say somebody wants a zero plastic packaging, which is understandable, it’s something that they are passionate about, you know, doing good for the earth, they will say, “You know what, I don’t mind, I know glass is more expensive, I don’t mind paying extra for the glass, so give me. You know, you use that.” And then you’ve got this clear implement-able advice from them. You can definitely put that into place.
There’s a difference between somebody giving advice and suggestions in general, or somebody saying you do this for me and this is how I am willing to help you make that happen. See the clear difference between the two?
You know, initially when I started out the episode I wanted to club in suggestions, feedback, reviews… all of them. But I feel like each of these deserves its own episode, considering how much time this one has taken. So yeah, I’ll be back. Let us cover feedback, either feedback alone or feedback and reviews together, at that point of time.
Alright, I hope the message helped you, gave you some kind of clarity and confidence in your own decisions, in your own capacity. Be obliging, but also be very particular about your boundaries and protecting your energy and your time.
Talk to you again soon with another episode of, “Keeping your customers delighted while also maintaining your own sanity and joy”. And don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter, The Feel Good Tribe.
Transcribed using Otter
“I’m a Spiritual Vegan Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur. I read voraciously, find humour in most things, and believe kindness and authenticity can make this world a happier, loving place.
If my content resonates with you, join my free newsletter where I share Life and Business Tips, Vegan Hacks, Holistic Guidance, and more.
Vegan cuisine and holistic business building are my two biggest passions. If you’re looking for guidance with vegan cooking, or want to grow your conscious business with joy and fulfilment explore ways we can work togetherhere.”