This time of year, my schedule is busier than ever. The upcoming holidays mean lots of activities to plan and prepare for.. From gathering all the ingredients and materials for holiday meals to picking out the right gifts for loved ones and attending gatherings with family and friends, I often find that it’s hard to get everything checked off my “to-do” list.
My home is my center point: it’s where I start and end my day. With my family member’s schedules as busy as mine during the winter months, our typically calm and collected “center point” can become a little messy and unruly. But over the years, I have realized that I need to take a step back and savor the season.
Magic truly happens during the holiday season. I see it on the streets of my hometown Chicago, around the office, and in my friends and family, the coming together of everyone to make the world around them a little better of a place to be.
So I just wanted to take a moment to encourage everyone to step back and enjoy the season, because it always seems to speed by a bit faster each passing year. Hug those close to you, spend time with loved ones, laugh, eat, drink, and be merry. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!
As I’ve discussed on the blog many times, Jelmar is a family-owned and operated company, and because of that, it makes sense that over the years, we’ve stayed true to our Chicago roots. Our heritage is such an important part of the makeup of this company, that to be based anywhere else is almost unthinkable.
One of the things that is most appealing to me about Chicago is the work ethic of the city’s inhabitants. It’s a city of hard-working, real, determined people. People that expect a lot, but put forth the effort to make their dreams a reality. There is a lack of pretention that I find appealing when talking to people from Chicago that I believe carries through their work, and could be a reason for the success that they find.
But with that hardworking, determined mentality, people are still quintessential Midwesterners at heart. They smile on the street and say hello, and are genuinely interested in how you are doing not only in your professional endeavors, but also in your personal life.
I think this combination of a hard working mentality with a friendly, down to earth personality, makes Chicago one of the best cities to work in. And it’s no wonder that my family has stayed here and has chosen to keep our business here through the years. So much of Jelmar’s success can be attributed to the people every day that maintain that hardworking spirit, but also help create an atmosphere in the workplace that keeps people wanting to come back to the office every day.
So with that, I wanted to provide a quick tribute and say thank you to Chicago. The Windy City, its atmosphere and the people who live here have all served as an inspiration and motivation to keep going, keep innovating and drive for success.
I was luckily enough to grow up and hone my business skills in a very entrepreneurial environment. Quite literally, I learned the ins and outs of becoming a successful businessperson since I can remember. From my grandfather starting Jelmar in the 1960’s to my father taking over in the 1980’s to today, an entrepreneurial spirit has always run rampant in my family.
I’ve attended many events over the years where I’ve been asked about the keys to running a successful business. While I don’t have all the answers – no one does – there are some best practices, and some things to avoid, that I wanted to share for all of those aspiring entreprenuers out there:
Listen. Your consumers are your biggest advocates. You have to search out what consumers are looking for and not be afraid to deliver on what they want even if it’s different than what you were originally looking to do. By focusing on what your consumers want, you’re almost guaranteed to achieve some level of success.
Think before you hire. We have 14 people working here at Jelmar, and I can say that for each position, we thought long and hard before hiring to make sure the candidates were a good fit. By taking your time and not hiring on a whim, you’re more apt to make a good long term decision that will pay off over time, as opposed to a quick turn decision that may not be the best bet in the long run.
Focus on ROI. I know, this seems counter intuitive, and I’m not saying you should completely lose focus on potential ROI, however, a lot of new marketing programs that are experimental now, may not have the historical data to show how they will pay off in the end. But if you always wait until that’s figured out, you could miss out on doing something groundbreaking and cool that can make a big difference in how your company is perceived.
Neglect Customer Service. This goes back to my number one “do”. Your customers are your most important asset, and you shouldn’t neglect the customer service aspect of your job. It’s a key driver of your business, and happy customers mean they will keep coming back and giving you more business.
Running a successful business is difficult, but it so rewarding, so if you are an entrepreneur and thinking about taking a leap, I encourage you to do so. If you think logically, focus on your customers and listen, chances are you will find success in your industry.
As I’ve shared on this blog many times before, one of my favorite parts of the job is meeting fans of our products and hearing their stories about how they have used our products. Whether it’s their first impression when using CLR to make their bathtub look like new or showerhead sparkle, or a story about how someone helped their grandmother shine the silver flatware for Thanksgiving dinner using Tarn-X, the personal stories are so valuable for us to hear. That’s why I’m thrilled that Jelmar will be at annual Blogher Conference 2013 this year here in Chicago.
In addition to hearing personal stories and really connecting with people that use our products, events like Blogher are also invaluable because we can communicate face to face with many of the people that use our products. Hearing what they want to see, their overall thoughts, and how they have used CLR in the past is incredibly important for future product development.
This year we’ll be showing off our flagship CLR products and as well as two of our newest products: CLR® Stain Magnet and CLR® Mold & Mildew Remover. If you are attending Blogher, come down to booth #1417 and say hello!
One of the things I love about my job is hearing from our customers firsthand. Whether my job comes up in conversation as I’m out and about, or if customers are sharing feedback with our customer service department or via Facebook and Twitter, there often is a common theme. More times than not, people tell me “wow, it really works.”
There are plenty of products out there that can be gimmicky and claim to do things they don’t. Whenever we are creating a product, the first and most important thing I’m concerned with is whether or not the product actually does what it is supposed to do. Our company exists on the fact that our products are easy to use, effective and safe. Without that, Jelmar wouldn’t exist!
The fact is, our products do what they are supposed to, and more.
We recently worked with a community of independent filmmakers to create a new fun video for our flagship Calcium, Lime and Rust (CLR) product. The humorous video captures reactions when first using CLR and showcases how our products really work.
What do you think? Does it capture your first reaction when using CLR? All kidding aside, we pride ourselves on creating products that ACTUALLY work. So thank you for being a fan of our products.