It didn't feel like it had been a month since I had been to the Mason Enterprise Center for Orientation. With all of the activity before and after the holidays, the time had flown by!
My first counseling appointment was scheduled for 2 pm on Thursday. Janice and Karen kindly came to the store to take care of Zoe in my absence. Fortunately, the traffic gods smiled on me and I was in Fairfax in plenty of time.
Prior to the session, I sat down to update the list of initiatives that I had originally provided to the students at the Art Institute when they first came to review Zoe in August. It was pretty amazing to review the list and note all of the things that I had planned to do (that were now done) and all of the upcoming events that I hadn't even known about/planned for! Regardless of whether I have someone reviewing this information or not, I can see where it will be good for me to keep this list updated on a very regular basis.
When I met with the counselor, I provided her with the list and we talked about what things had worked and what had not. She had (prior to the session) reviewed my website and had some suggestions/feedback. We also talked about some modifications I might make to improve on initiatives that I already have underway and having the ability to say "No" when asked to do something that I know hasn't worked in the past.
She also gave me a fantastic handout from a presentation that had been originally developed by the Maryland SBDC (Small Business Development Center). It is titled "Staying Relevant to a Changed Customer." The handout alone was worth the time spent away from the store. I could probably share numerous blog posts just outlining what the presentation has determined as far as definitions of customers, how to differentiate the business, the customer experience, and marketing strategies for small business.
We will determine whether or not I receive additional counseling sessions and at what intervals. At the end, she asked me what homework that I thought that I had and I outlined the items we had discussed. Me being me, of course, I told her that I thought that she had homework too! Some things don't change.
Next up: Just call me Publicity Girl