Sunday, February 23, 2014

Honey Nut Butter Candy (Sugar Free!) - Recipe

For some time now I have been contemplating making my children some homemade candy.  In my search, I was able to find a few appealing recipes on Pintrest and had filed them away for "later".  

Since time is a commodity for me, I have this rule with recipes...if they do not involve three ingredients or less, I tend to either ignore them or put them in the back (waaay back) burner.   Well, a few days ago, my very cool neighbor mentioned that she recently made some good candy for her daughters using honey, peanut butter and vanilla.  My interested was piqued at the short ingredients list and I quickly asked her to send me the recipe.  Fast forward and in short order I had some really happy children in my home.  It was super easy, delicious and so gratifying to know it had REAL wholesome ingredients.  With candy this good you don't mind them having a treat once in a while.

I am certain this recipe can be tweeked in so many ways.  In fact, I will be making more soon and I am already thinking of how I can make this taste like salt water toffee (which I love!).  Hmmm.

Below is the recipe as it was emailed to me.  I am not sure what blog my neighbor got the recipe from as I received it from her in text form .  Once I find out I will include it on this post.  For now, it should be noted that the cookbook Grain Free Gourmet is mentioned as inspiration for the recipe.  

I altered a few things which are noted in red.  I sure hope you try it for your little ones or yourself and let me know how you like it. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Where's The Feedback Love?

Yes, I will admit that the above image is probably a little dramatic for the topic at hand.  But it is not entirely out of context considering today is Valentine's Day. :-)  

We can all agree that giving and receiving feedback is essential in all human relationships.  This also applies to business relationships given that most successful businesses rely on customers giving them feedback and telling them what is working and what is not.  This interchange of information allows business owners to implement fresh ideas and better ways to improve their craft or business model.  It also provides much needed insight into the needs and wants of those customers.

For me personally, one of the main goals of gathering customer feedback is to enable communications between me and my customers and build lasting relationships.  It is a given that as more and more businesses go online, there is less of the face-to-face communication we typically would find in a physical store front. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that in the online world there is virtually NO communication and if you don't have that communication you really don't understand how your products are impacting your customers or why your customers are making the choices that they are making.  

With every single order I ship out I include a hand written note thanking the customer for the opportunity to serve them and also encouraging them to honor us with their honest feedback so that we may  know how we are doing and how to better improve our craft and service.  I almost always follow up with an email to the customer once I see that the package has been delivered by the USPS.  This allows me yet another opportunity to make personal contact with the customer and let them know that we appreciate their patronage and that we hope they were pleased with their purchase.  It is this personalized customer service that sets us entrepreneurs apart from huge corporations and businesses.  However, it may be a bit of a surprise for you to know that out of every 10 orders I ship out, I only hear back (whether it is via email, text or Facebook) from 3 customers.  Although I don't take any of it personally, I find it quite interesting and often wonder why that is the case.

It is clear that the challenging part for any entrepreneur lies in getting customers to see how valuable their feedback actually is to our growth; yes, getting them to see how much  an entrepreneur appreciates honest and even seemingly negative feedback.  And by the way, I am a firm believer in the idea that 'negative' feedback is also  very valuable and necessary, as it allows the entrepreneur an opportunity for growth and improvement. 

I still haven't figured this one out.  But my goal is to keep the dialogue going and hopefully gain some insight from you.  So if you have never purchased from M & M Soaps and you are reading this, I am interested in knowing what typically motivates you to show an entrepreneur your appreciation for their craft or service by providing your honest feedback? Do you view that aspect of the transaction as necessary or optional?   
Conversely, what makes you indifferent to this small but important aspect of your transaction with any given business owner?  Is it your experience with the purchase itself?  Is it a negative customer service experience with the entrepreneur? Or is it due to a lack of time? OR, do you subscribe to the idea that because the business may appear to be already established that your feedback is not needed, will not make a difference or matter?

If you are a M & M Soaps customer, I would love for you to weigh in on what would encourage you to be more forthcoming in sharing your feedback with me.  I am genuinely interested in learning how I can make hearing from ALL of our customers and making that process a more organic and seamless one. 

Whether you shop with M & M Soaps or with other artisans online, remember that your feedback is like the lifeline to our humble enterprises.  And we love and appreciate it even more so when you share it willingly. :-) 

Thank you for reading and many blessings to you and yours in all of your endeavors.