6 Ways to Demonstrate Kindness in Business and the Rest of Your Life


Whether you realize it or not, you are judged by how you treat people who have less power or status than you do.

Have you ever gone out to dinner with someone who treated you well, but treated the wait staff poorly? Looking down on someone else, or treating others as if they were lesser than you will only reflect badly on your own character, and detract from both your professionalism and your chances of success.

It only takes a moment to be nice to someone else, and bring a smile to their day. Besides, you never know who’s watching.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be sure to make a positive impact on the world around you.

  1. Be nice to everyone with whom you interact.

This includes everyone in every establishment, from the doorman at the hotel, to the server at a restaurant, to the cleaning crew in a company, to the company president or business manager. It only takes a moment to smile and say “thank you” or bestow a kind word, yet it says volumes about your character.

  1. Show respect to executive assistants.

Executive assistants are known as “gatekeepers” because they hold the keys to the kingdom. Bosses often ask their opinions and place a lot of value on what they say.

While waiting to see a decision maker, keep in mind that everything you do is visible, and sometimes audible. If the assistant doesn’t look too busy, make small talk. While you wait, ask his or her name, and comment on photographs or awards you see, or mention a non-controversial news story you read earlier. You’ll be better remembered the second time you call when you bring up a topic you discussed during your first visit.

  1. Be polite but not overly familiar.

Avoid being too chummy with someone you just met, or using potentially-insulting terms such as “hon,” “sweetie,” “babe,” “dude,” “son,” or “guy.” Treat everyone with the same respect you’d like to receive yourself.

  1. Help someone in need. 

If you spot someone coming behind you through the door, hold it open for them. If you see a person carrying a heavy load, offer to help carry it to their destination. You never know where this kind gesture will lead. Perhaps to a conversation, an exchange of business cards, or even a new business relationship. After all, they’ll see the “real you” in action and know what kind of person you are from the start.

  1. Help others succeed.

Most often, your best clients come to you by referral. Look for ways to help others succeed by referring potential business or influencers to those you know and like. If someone is struggling with an aspect of their business and asks for your advice, jump in and offer your expertise. You’ll build a deeper relationship and a trust that will provide mutual rewards for years to come.

  1. Be nice, even if they are not.

A barista may snap at you while taking your order and your gut response may be to “give it right back.” Instead, take a moment and counter with kindness. Perhaps that person is having a bad day and doesn’t mean to be unkind, or the customer before you gave them a hard time. Your kind comment could be just the thing to get them back on track.

Being kind isn’t difficult; it’s a mindset. Think of it as creating the karma you want in your own life, for what you send out to the universe will eventually return to you.

By Jacqueline Whitmore of Entrepreneur.com



Quiksilver, Inc. Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Huntington Beach-based surfwear company Quiksilver replaced its top executive in March.

Quiksilver, Inc., the surfwear retail chain that is parent company to Roxy and DC Shoes, filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy earlier today in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware.

Founded in 1969, Quiksilver sells gear like wetsuits and helmets, along with clothing aimed at mountain and ocean lovers. Quiksilver rode the fashion trend toward surfer and skateboarding styles in the 1990s and early 2000s, along with names like Billabong and Pacific Sunwear of California Inc. The company, which teamed up with high profile sponsored athletes such as surfer Kelly Slater and skater Tony Hawk, sponsored surfing competitions around the world. But a shift away from surfer fashion, along with broader pressures on the apparel industry, took their toll. After a period of heady expansion, Quiksilver struggled to compete with fast-fashion retailers like H&M and Abercrombie & Fitch. Those brands lured away Quiksilver’s teen customers with lower prices and on-trend clothes, and the company lost its cachet with athletes. In recent years, Quiksilver has suffered falling sales and profits, leading to the company’s stock losing 79% of its value this year. According to the bankruptcy filing, Quiksilver listed assets of more than $100 million and liabilities of more than $500 million.

As part of a prearranged Chapter 11 restructuring, Quiksilver is now hoping to receive court approval for a deal that would allow the retail chain to receive $175 million, as debtor-in-possession financing from Oaktree Capital Management, LP, which would allow the company to operate through the restructuring process. At the end of that process, Oaktree will exchange its debt claim for a majority stake in a reorganized Quiksilver. Currently the company has about 700 locations, with more than half its sales coming from outside the U.S. The company plans to continue normal operations of its foreign subsidiaries, which are located in the European and Asia-Pacific regions, since they were not a part of this bankruptcy filing and remain unaffected by it.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting Your Own Business

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There are many reasons people contemplate opening their own home-based small business or consulting practice. On the one hand, this might be a lifelong goal. Or, on the other hand, you might have been downsized out of your job in corporate America, have some capital to invest and feel like this is a viable alternative to seeking another job.

Whatever your background, think about the following points, among many others, in your decision-making process.

  1. Will you miss the corporate watercooler?

There is a certain allure to being able to work at will out of your home, dressed in the most informal attire, while still within earshot of your family members. But if you have been in a work environment where you can casually interact with others at a moment’s notice, share a business lunch or meet in a conference room, you may find yourself feeling isolated at home.

Moreover, in corporate culture, there is the accountability factor of others expecting you to be at your desk at a certain time. When you are at home, it’s easy to be distracted by this or that task that “just has to get done,” and despite your best intentions, it can be hard to carve out the hours necessary to get your business off the ground.

  1. Do you really have enough money to make a go of it?

It’s more common than not for new businesses to fail in the first year or two and to not operate in the black until the third year or even later. One of the most prevalent causes of failure is undercapitalization from the onset.

Do you have access to the money necessary to buy equipment, inventory, insurance, website development and other advertising? And can you afford any part- or full-time employees you might need to hire, as well as a host of other expenses integral to starting and running your business? And how long can your funds last if your revenue projections fail to materialize?

  1. Do you have the humility and willingness to do it all?

Chances are, when you were in a larger company, you could count on the maintenance crew to empty the waste baskets, an administrator to handle the mundane tasks and others to whom you could delegate a multitude of responsibilities. When you hang out your own shingle, you’ll be doing both the stuff you love to do, as well as a whole lot more to make your operation run smoothly. Are you ready for that rude awakening?

  1. Are you passionate about the goods or services you’ll be selling?

People often want to turn their hobbies into their careers. When you are emotionally involved with your products, you will likely learn that your business is not just about that passion, but also about all the behind-the-scenes “business stuff” with which you were never previously involved. It can be overwhelming when you realize you are making it possible for others to do what you love to do, but that you don’t have time anymore to do it yourself.

  1. Do you have the ability to differentiate yourself from your competition?

Only rarely will anyone come up with a radically new business idea for a product or service that no one else is selling. It’s far more likely that you’ll be entering territory in which others have already established themselves. Do you have a solid marketing plan to show how what you do is better or more economical than your competition?

Are you prepared with a solid answer to this question: Why would anyone besides your friends, family and existing contacts want or need to do business with you?

Of course, there are many other questions you should be asking yourself. If you have good answers to all of them, and you are still enthusiastic, you may be that budding entrepreneur who finds personal and financial fulfillment.

By Arnie Fertig of U.S. News & World Report