When we have events that serve wine, it can be hard to get people to leave. Any ideas how to get them to leave without offending them?

Close the bar 45 minutes before the end of your event for a start. And if you’re too polite to ask people to leave, turn off the music — they’ll get the hint. 

We just got a one-star review on Yelp. How can I ensure this never happens again? 

Brand storytelling expert Bernadette Jiwa has this advice on how to avoid bad social media reviews: start by writing the five-star review you’re hoping for.  Make this your manifesto and share it with your team. Now design every touch-point in your business to make that review a reality.

Additional tips: Care twice as much about how your customers feel as you do about what they might say. Make sure reality exceeds expectations.

How important is it to have money in the bank as opposed to debt?

When we asked our Brain Squad where they stood on this issue, 90 percent recommended money in the bank. But they also made some interesting points you may wish to consider as you weigh up your own situation:

  • Debt is cheap right now. Interest rates on savings accounts are very low. A savings account may pay you 1 percent. Borrowed money invested in inventory may return you 50 percent.
  • Credit can encourage imprudent spending. But bank scrutiny can also keep you disciplined.
  • Cash gives you options when an opportunity (or crisis) arises.
  • Money in the bank means you can take advantage of supplier discounts.
  • When you don’t have easy access to cash, you’ll find a way, regardless; as the saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention.
  • It’s imperative you have a reserve fund for emergencies.
  • Without credit, it’s going to be hard to buy that store you may have always wanted. If you’re in a growth phase, debt is your friend. If you’re tied to a personal guarantee — which most banks insist on for small business loans — that could wipe out everything you own. Debt is like living under Damocles’ sword.
My hands shake when I do big-ticket presentations. How can I control this?

Insufficient sleep, irregular eating patterns, and too much caffeine or alcohol the night before can all make you more jittery, so taking care of those areas is a good start. When it comes to psychological trembles, it’s your brain, though, that you’re going to have to conquer. Faced with a detailed, high-stakes task, the mind tends to bubble over with worst-case scenarios. In order to derail such negative thinking, have something that is your go-to “happy thought.” Perhaps it’s the lakeside town where you spent your childhood riding bikes with friends. Maybe it was your Mom’s kitchen. Breathe deep and recall those carefree times as you prepare to bring out the goods. 


This article originally appeared in the July 2017 edition of INSTORE.