I consider myself a pretty good pickup artist. Actually, I am a great pickup artist. I have honed my skills for many years.

My family, friends, teachers and many others have taught me how to be better at the craft. I celebrate the moniker. I am proud of what I have become, and I would like you to become a pickup artist, as well.

I have a healthy respect for artists like me. When you embrace the role and act on your pickup artist urges, it feels good. Surprisingly, it is simple to become one. Whether you are outgoing or shy, you have what it takes to excel in the field. You don’t need a repertoire of catchy phrases or a winning smile. You do, however, need to care. Perhaps I should explain.

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The reason I consider myself a pickup artist is because I pick up … litter. That’s right, litter.

Throughout my career and different jobs, I have made an attempt to pick up pieces of litter. It is just something I find myself doing regularly.

What caused me to do this? I am not really sure. Perhaps it was all the Saturday morning public-service announcements about not littering or polluting that were squeezed in between “Scooby Doo” cartoons and spoonfuls of Captain Crunch cereal.

Maybe it was the Native American shedding a single tear after canoeing the garbage-filled shoreline in the Keep America Beautiful public service announcements in the 1970s.

When it comes to your business, a clean work environment is a key part of your appearance and the perception marketing of your business.

First and foremost, you need to pay attention to your surroundings. Litter or trash in your workplace or your own business is sometimes easy to ignore. We tend to not really see things if they are always there. Those pieces of paper on the ground do not always gain our focus every day. You need to focus on them, because your customers do.

Next, you do need to provide a reasonable way to dispose of the litter you or your employees pick up. Trash receptacles or bags placed discretely around your indoor or outdoor areas help promote the actions of keeping those areas clean. Perhaps show some artistic flare and creativity in both your pick up and trash disposal activities. I’ve seen some well done business-themed trash receptacles.

You also want to foster the willingness for employees to take action and do something that many consider “someone else’s job.” Most workplaces have a janitorial person or crew. Communities and businesses employ people and companies to collect garbage.

The work we do as pickup artists should complement those efforts and set an example for those around us to do the same.

A few other observations as it relates to business and becoming an experienced pick up artist:

As a business owner, you set the tone. If employees (and customers) see you embrace the role as a pickup artist, you have the opportunity to lead by example. Perhaps you will convert them into a pickup artist.

Remember, the people who visit your business are looking at your place of business and may be making a judgment about the quality of your product or service. Based on what they see, they may even question your commitment to the customer or attention to detail based on your “litter full” or “litter free” environment.

It is a good thing for your co-workers, and more importantly your supervisor, to know you are a pickup artist. It demonstrates in a “beyond the job description” way that you care about the business, the customer experience and the environment you work in.

I tend to find the motivation for Business Beats columns in many places. The column concept this week is no different. I would like to thank the young women working the fuel pumps at a local convenience store for this week’s inspiration.

When I happened to glance up, the young women was hustling from her post at the pumps for what seemed to be a quick break. I watched her move quickly across the parking lot to chase and grab a receipt that was blowing around the lot. She crumpled the receipt and tossed it with an off-the-finger roll into a nearby trash can. Two points! A true pickup artist in action.

Does it make a difference? Sure it does. Pickup artists are a key ingredient of many “clean and safe” initiatives gaining momentum around our region. It helps to show customers and visitors that people care about the appearance of our area.

Join the masses that have mastered the art of the pickup. If we do our best to become better pickup artists, we will all be better for it.

Joe Molineaux, director of the Small Business Development Center at Richard Stockton College, can be reached at MxBusinessBeats@gmail.com.

Been working with the Press for about 27 years.

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