An Alphabet of Business Questions and Tips – Letter C

coffee cupsThe Letter “C” got lots of luv. Many of you wrote in to suggest your favorite “C” business words, and I’m going to do my best to cover them all. Here goes:

Erin Feldman, Ameena Falchetto and Janice Morton all suggested the word Creativity. Many people say they’re not creative, when in actual fact, every single person is creative. Although I’ve mentioned this TED talks video before, it bears repeating. And if you haven’t yet watched it in its entirety, I encourage you to do so. Not only is it spot on in terms of how our educational systems are stamping out our creativity, it’s dam funny too! Check it out here: Sir Ken Robinson, “Do schools kill creativity?”

Shakirah Dawud offered up Credibility, Confidence and Customer Service (scooping Adam Toporek who writes Customer Service Stories. But that’s OK. Adam then suggested Customer Experience. Good save Adam!)

Credibility. Where would be in life without it? But what creates credibility? How do you define it? How do you determine that someone or something is credible?

In my books, one of the underpinnings of credibility is trust. When you trust someone, their credibility quotient is pretty high. You trust them. You believe them. Can someone be credible if you don’t trust them first? I’ll be interested in your answers.

Confidence. Some would say there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Kinda’ like the difference some people attribute to assertiveness and aggressiveness. Do you think there’s any sex-role stereotyping when we talk about things like confidence and assertiveness? (Yeah, I threw an “a” word in there). Do you ever hear that that women are arrogant and agressive, while men are confident and assertive, yet both are behaving with confidence? I’d love to think that this type of connotation has gone the way of the dinosaur, but I’m not so sure. What’s been your experience?

Customer Service and Customer Experience. Are they one in the same? Is service the same as experience? Weigh in on this one. I’m interested to hear your take on it.

Jacob Yount, my friend who’s lived and worked in China since 2001, offered up “clear-cut”. In Canada, we’d take that to mean a controversial logging practice, but I don’t think that’s what Jacob meant:) When I hear the words clear-cut, I think of something about which there is no doubt. Factual. Distinct. Unambiguous.

In business and in communication, it’s important to be clear-cut. What happens when your message and your methods are ambiguous?

Besides providing the word Cauliflower (see Bill, I did work cauliflower into the post:), Bill Dorman suggested Cash…as in, Cash is King (or Queen, as the case may be). I wish more people realized that it’s vital to track Cash Flow. Financial statements and projections are one thing. But it is cash and its flow (get it?  cashflow…mwahahaha) that will make or break a business. Without keeping a finger on the pulse of what’s flowing in and what’s flowing out, you’ll end up with a dry riverbed of a business. Keep the flow flowing, and stay on top of your cashflow.

Al Smith provided ten “C” words, so I’m buzzing the buzzer on him and putting a cap on his list. You get the “greatest number of suggestions” award Al, but I’m going to focus on Communication and Connecting. (and you thought I was going to use your suggestion of “crazy”, right?)

I’m particularly intrigued with the concepts of communication and connecting, especially after having taken one week offline/off the grid.

When I started this blogging journey 8 months ago, I also became a full time “student” of social media. I read all about how important it was to connect, comment, engage and communicate. And at first it was fun. But after a while, it became a bit stressful. How to keep up with all the cool people I met? How could I grow my business while simultaneously creating compelling blog posts, commenting all over the blogosphere, going back to follow up on the replies to the comments, tweeting and facebooking and linkedin’ing and google+’ing and on and on and on…

What was, at the beginning, a joyous pursuit, was starting to feel like a ball and chain I’d created for myself.

And I know I’m not alone in this feeling. Many of us are feeling a sense of online overwhelm (I think I’ll coin the phrase “the dreaded double “o”), and are hunkering down, retracting back and re-evaluating. I know I’m not saying something new here, and perhaps I’m just reiterating the obvious. But a week away has gotten me to thinking…

What level, pace and volume of communication and connection will I maintain?

Has the pace I’ve tried to keep helped or hindered my creativity?

Has my confidence increased? (yes) Have I been viewed as a credible source? (I hope so) Have I been clear-cut in my intentions? (yes, at the beginning. But now?)

These are the questions I’m considering as I move and grow forward. They say there is no growth without discomfort. I’m prepared to be uncomfortable for a while:)



  • Anonymous

    Two things, I see you dropped a bear into your post which is only fitting and the other is you Canadianized Mr Smith’s name, eh?

    I too worried about my growth and it was causing discomfort so I gave it up. All kidding aside, because I am keeping my blog personal for now I really don’t need to worry about posting on time or if I post twice a week or if I actually say something intelligent.

    Where I’m going with social is, I want to know it; I want to know what works and what doesn’t; and be intelligent enough to discuss with my in real life customers and how it can be used effectively.

    I do like your series and do like the fact you let me kid around; we can’t always be serious, right.

    The next letter is D and every good salesperson knows to bring donuts on calls, right?

    My D word would be delivery.

    Have a good one today, I will be out and about. 

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Thanks @bdorman264:disqus : good spot on the bear and the “Canadian” spelling of Al’s name. Don’t know what I was thinking on the latter. Fixed it now:) (although Al will never get the joke now, haha)

      I love that you provide a blend of serious and fun in your comments. You always make me smile. And you’re always welcome to do so on this site, my friend…keep the humor coming (please note spelling…no “u” this time in humour)

      Thanks for the “D” word: Delivery shall be in the next Alphabet post (and donuts too, of course. You always challenge me:) Cheers! Kaarina

  • Soulati

    Woah! Where is CONTENT??? Can’t have a blog without content, Maestra!

    I’m putting in for “D” — Doggedness. Betcha no one has that one tagged. Ask me what it means; I’ll tell you, but you’re a smarty pants lass, and you’ll figger it out all alone.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Stubbornly persevering and tenacious? Doggedness that is. Or is that us? All of the above?

      Got you down for doggedness, next in the series, Letter D, next week. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Betsy Cross

    This is my take on things these days: be yourself (the best version of yourself) and focus on other people and how you can serve them. With the right attitude I think the stress to perform disappears.
    I see a lot of teaching going on which is good because it makes people aware of what they may have never learned, or what they’ve forgotten over time. But the world is changing so quickly, and what used to work yesterday doesn’t have the same affect today. So I think we have to all go back to basics instead of trying to figure out something that’s going to be defined differently down the road. 
    It makes sense to me. You?
    In the end we have to like who we are, offer what and who we are, and help others wherever, however, and whenever we can. We really can’t go wrong if our goal is to serve.  

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Wise, wise words @twitter-286790484:disqus . I like the “back to basics” approach. With so much happening and changing so quickly, it’s nice to hunker back to common sense, basics and personal mission. Everything you said makes perfect sense to me, my friend. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Erin Feldman

    All excellent “C” words! I think the credibility one hits home today, mostly because of the new venture into video (Do you need a “V” word? There you go. :)) I’m going around and around about the first two videos I created. They’re awful, awful, awful, but they do show that I don’t have everything together. I had them on my YouTube channel until I let my mother see them. I think she was shocked that I would flaunt my failures (I really am in the alliterative mood at the moment.). Her reaction made me rethink the first two videos, so, here I am, obsessing about whether to leave them private or to make them public again. Do they ruin my credibility as a business owner, or do they let people get to know the real me? *sigh*

    I think I’m more clear about my intentions now than when I began. I think I’m going to have to figure out the communicating and connecting. It’s too easy to get distracted by it and forget to work on some of the other things that matter, such as my writing. Twitter is a drug…

    As for being uncomfortable, I’d say that means you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be. That’s what Michael Schechter and Marcus Sheridan keep telling me anyway. Cheers! (I’ll fit right in when I make it to Canada, won’t I? I refuse to say “eh,” though.) 😀

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      @ErinFeldman:disqus , bravo to you on your new venture into video (I’ve got you down for that “v” word now:) “Awful, awful” can be awfully good, as we learn from our mistakes, not from the things we do well. So keep the faith, keep on DO-ing and learning, my friend.

      Uncomfortable is also a state that promotes growth. After all, isn’t it the friction in the oyster shell that creates the pearl? We’re all pearls and gems in the making. Cheers! Kaarina P.S. Welcome mat’s out for you in Canada…eh

  • Life, for instance

    “Considering” can fit here as well. Many people are considering their blogging activities these days and asking questions that you posed to yourself after a week off the grid. I wonder if it’s a natural resting-place, this place of considering. I’m excited that we’ll be discussing this at our next Hangout and I wish it was less than 14 days away 😮

    May I submit a few “D” words right now? “Determination”, as in coming to a decision about what to do and  “determined” to carry out what you “determine” to be your role in life. Does that make sense?
    Great “C” words! 

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      It makes complete sense @twitter-228904159:disqus . I’ve got you down for that “D” sentence for next week’s post. And I agree…I’m itching for our next hangout, especially since we’ll be discussing blogging activities…something many of us seem to be questioning and reflecting upon. Cheers! Kaarina

  • T. Shakirah Dawud

    Welcome back and thank you for those questions, Kaarina. I like “clear cut” and cauliflower. Both good for healthy business, I must say :). 
    When I think of credibility, I think of entities I trust, yes, and each is credible as a source for a different topic or industry. 
    I can’t give enough kudos to @nemultimedia:twitter for pushing my creativity to craft a little quiz for people who wanted to test their comprehension of my little grammar story. It was fun and as I told her, I expect it’s the start of a creative tradition for my little biz.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      I like that @twitter-59802772:disqus …clear-cut and cauliflower (and of course @bdorman264:disqus  will be pleased with the latter!)

      Love the creativity: wishing you all the best with this “new” tradition for your business. Cheers! Kaarina

  • The JackB

    Be confident, be credible, Be consistent and Sustain your effort. I know, I through in an ‘S’ but I don’t follow directions well. 😉

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      You can throw in an “s” anytime @TheJackB:disqus :) Thanks! I shall add “sustain your effort” into my “s” list. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Anonymous

    Clearly committed to clarity, I am confident @kaarinadillabough:disqus is completely capable and competent in completing her compelling chore of compiling a comprehensive compendium of captivating “C” catch-phrases. Calculatingly she conspired to cleave the cute “C”-word “Claudia” from her composition. Cleverly, her care and compassion cast aside any concerns. 
    Caringly,Claudia xo

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Wow! If that isn’t the greatest example of c-litteration, I don’t know what is @socialmediadds:disqus . And I forgot to include that cute c-word Claudia;) Thanks for that cleverly concocted comment:) Cheers! Kaarina

  • Alicia Jay

    You’ve brought up such wonderful points, Kaarina! I will definitely stop back when I have more time for conversation:)

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      You know you’re welcome anytime @AliciaJay:disqus . Thanks for taking the time to drop by:) I still owe a visit to your site, and I’ll get there this weekend. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Craig McBreen

    Consternation might enter the mind as someone feels it creep in during a certain stage of this blogging journey. Or they are confounded by CSS, CGI, and Communication Protocol. Or maybe they are concerned they’re spending too much time communicating online, period.

    I’ve already started to worry about growth, narrowing my niche and even installed Google Analytics. Yikes. That, and maybe moving to posting twice a week. Thinking maybe I should relax, just a bit. Nah, not yet anyway. This is too much fun. Hopefully I don’t change my tune, but I’m still a rook … right?

    So, how about Determination?

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      You really are on a roll with your blog @CraigMcBreen:disqus …hardly a rook! It’s always great to keep a finger on the pulse of growth. I talk about growth like a garden. Pruned growth is good, otherwise the garden will get overrun with stuff we don’t want:)

      It’s obvious in your writing and in the comments you’re receiving on your site that you’re having fun. As I’ve said before, I really like the crisp, clear look of your site, and your graphics are awesome. Where in the world do you find such amazingly suitable photos? (ah yes…I know… you could tell me, but then you’d have to…)

      Got you down for Determination, with “d” next in the series. You and @twitter-228904159:disqus are on the same page for that word. Cheers! Kaarina

      • Craig McBreen

        Thanks for the kind words. For the photos I go to iStockPhoto. You do have to pay, but it’s not much, but I do have an account with them, as I sometimes use their stock selection in client work.

        And please shoot me an email with any other questions on design, stock, etc.

        Thanks, Kaarina.

        • Kaarina Dillabough

          Thanks Craig. I tend to use a lot of my own photos, but I really like what you’ve been using, so will check out istock. Thanks! Kaarina

  • Adam Toporek

    Okay, got here pretty late. Glad I was able to contribute something customer related. :)

    I think I will add one more C word: Celebrate… because what’s the point of the rest of it, if you can’t celebrate your efforts once in awhile.

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Amen to that @twitter-223833082:disqus . Cheers! Kaarina

  • Al Smith

    Great post.  Again.  Love this alphabet thing.  Yeah, I got a little carried away with the C’s.  So many good ones.  Way to get to the important things and get us thinking.  The key to connecting is being a good listener.  we all need to continue to work on that.  I know I do.

    Thanks again for all you do.  The world is better off with you in it.  Luv ya.


    • Kaarina Dillabough

      You honour me @55bda8bf067c222f67632d2dc41af473:disqus :) Luv ya right back. Cheers! Kaarina

  • Jacob Yount

    Kaarina what a fun assortment of a post.  How honored I am to be mentioned.  What a “c”oincidence!  I just took almost a week “offline” for the most part and it was great – like you, I’m thinking about at what level and pace I want to dive back in.  I guess that’s where “c”onsistency comes up.  

    Loving this series..and in this case, “c”ash is not king but “c”reativity is!  Hope you’re having a great week. 

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Thanks so much @jlmade:disqus . I like the image of diving back in, but I think perhaps I’m dipping my toes back in, haha! And of course, I’m looking for “d” and “e” words now, so everyone….let the suggestions flow. Wishing you a wonderful week, at the level and pace most suitable to fulfilling your dreams:) Cheers! Kaarina

  • Alicia Jay

    I’m back! Told you I would be:) I felt drawn to your question: “Customer Service and Customer Experience. Are they one in the same?” I’m going to say that they may not be but you WANT them to be. I’ll explain.

    Customer Service is what you provide to your clients. You should already have a clear intention with this. The Customer Experience is what they take away from working with you. If you did your homework (asking them what they really want) it will match up to be the same as your intent with Customer Service. Does that make sense? It does in my head;)

    I’d like to offer something for the letter D: Due diligence. Do I get extra points for using the letter twice there? We need to do our due diligence, or homework, when it comes to running a business. We need to find out what works, what doesn’t and what the customer really wants. Then we need to Decide2Do those things! Ha! I thought you’d like that one:)

    • Kaarina Dillabough

      Ah @AliciaJay:disqus , love that Decide2Do reference:) And what a great description and distinction between customer service and customer experience. Makes complete and total sense.

      And yes…I’m giving you extra points for that double D, and gold stars for threading in the Decide2Do. Thanks so much for your comment and your double D suggestion. Cheers! Kaarina