TRUST the first thing you need to build RIGHT NOW!!!

17 12 2008

I grabbed a bite to eat the other day at a Mc Donald’s and something caught me eye. Now to start this isn’t just any McDonald’s this is one of the few that is NOT franchised but company owned and believe it is different. The food is higher quality (I know that sounds like an oxymoron) and the service is much more attentive and fast. There are many times doing my day for insight I will stop buy a business just to observe to see what makes it tick. It unbelievable what you see when you are completely independent and free of a situation. So as I sat down I realized something was different. There was this tension the sense of urgency among the employees. I was watching the employees run around this restaurant being busy like somebody important (aka manager, district supervisor was there) Having working in retail for several years myself I know that feeling its like second nature to me. I remember being in organization where when somebody important shows up your trying to impress them with something fake sense of “really caring about the business”. They call it putting your best foot foward when it’s more like this fear of them seeing what its really like for the hundreds of hours between visits.

Anyway I began to think to myself “What would it take to really get these employees to honestly care about the business?” Let’s say as much as that guy in the suit that just showed up wants them to?

Give them a piece of what he has— ownership in the business, stock and profit sharing

Why is it that the employees that have the greatest ability to make your business really shine or could bury it into the ground(so often what happens) have no big long term incentive? Why in the world are you giving stock options to the guy that doesn’t make your business grow if anything he keeps it glued together? to summarize there in not incentive for the people that control your very livelihood (those that have the MOST contact with the customers) but alot of incentive to those that only deal with a few customers or sometime none at ALL.

That paradigm is completely wrong.

Give the power to OWN a piece the business to the people that CONTROL the biggest piece of the happiness of your customers. Yes your customer service people, clerks, cashiers, warehouse employees and don’t forget you sales people. Give them the incentive they deserve and should have to care as much when your not around as you THINK they do when you are there. Those people need to feel the trust that somebody is helping their future for alot longer than their next paycheck. The difference in profits, sales, customer satisfaction will skyrocket because you have given them something to be proud of and something to lose. One of the best feeling you can give an employee is to show them in as MANY ways as possible that EVERYTHING they do at work makes a difference in many more lives than they realize. Just wait until I get to my rant on how ALL corporate employees should be required to work at the lowest level position at least 4 days a years so they never forget WHO and WHAT are the most important values in your organization. That’s in another post another day

Lesson — put the most long term incentive to those you NEED to trust the most and you’ll have a much better company than you could ever realize.





Richard Branson–one of the most audacious thinkers and best entrepreneurs

12 12 2008

I think this man is one of the best serial entrepreneurs ever and his words are straight , to the point and honest — Here are a few —

“Entrepreneur– somebody that does something in the public eyes at the time that is absolutely MAD”
“if you run one business well, you can run any business”
“it up to the entrepreneurs to get out there and to build new business”
“differentiate your business enough to win”
“don’t be embarassed by your failures as long as you’ve done everything possible to avoid it”





Why are we in this financial crisis in ONE WORD

12 12 2008

Accountability

Nobody getting us in to these situations is standing up for what they did and nobody trying to get us out these situations is looking at the bigger picture of their short term actions.





The best way to get a cash flow going during the unstable economy

8 12 2008

Change your focus now from income to flow. It is extremely rare for anybody to make money in this economy but to stay afloat you need cash flow. So offer a one shot deal where you sell a popular item at only 10% above cost. Do it for 48 hours this weekend. Call all your long term customers and tell them about it. Stress that it is a one shot deal because of the economy and the you would and will never offer it again. Select Comfort did this the past weekend with a 50% off sale. Now I used to work at a “Sleep Number Store” as they never gave anything close to 50% off but they did this weekend and knowing them they marketed this to all customers . All of them know how great a deal it is even though December is a weak month for them. Why?Nobody would buy a bed is December it not a gift purchase but this year with price under a grand instead of 2k I bet people did. I also know what the cost is and that is chopping out a huge amount of profit. However once you own this bed you can’t go back they have the lowest in the industry by a long shot. So long as people keep loving that bed they bed riding out of this impossible economy safely





U R L—-Ubiquity now –Revenue Later–

7 12 2008

URL– early internet term had a hidden meaning during the dot com days that I feel is unbelievably relevant with the state of the economy to every small business now.

 

I was on the phone with a client of mine and we we talking about the fact the everybody is in complete budget lockdown right now. No company is will to spend any money they can’t recoup immediately that line –cash is KING is the only truth in business right now. He said I remember this speaker years ago when the internet was first taking hold and it was all about getting people to remember your URL or (website address) and people just beginning to see the possibilities of making money online. He had this great quote that literally became the foundation of the “dotcom” era — URL–Ubiquity now –Revenue Later.

The idea making a business that people not only remember its so strong they can’t forget it if they tried.  

 

As a pure statement it is great but it also allowed bad investments in that era cause nobody knew what the financial payback of what that ubiquity was worth caused alot of turmoil. However on the flip side you could  never forget the pets.com puppet that now staring in in car insurance commericals–now that ubiquity. Great companies use downturns to exploit mindshare and marketshare of their customers. It was the companies that didn’t go broke and those that  came in right afterwards that reap the greatest benefits of that ubiquity.

 

Now to the present day when the nobody is going to be making money now is a great time to build the uniqueness of your business so that when consumer confidence does come back you’ll be the first business of your kind to make money ask yourself “what do I really want this business to be remembered for ?” Use the bad economy to build brand share, customer service excellence, going above and beyond for the customer BEFORE they have to ask you too, or heck ask your customer what times works best for them to shop be there, or personally deliver the product when they would never expect you to. Build the Ubiquity is easy now because everybody is so focused on their fears that when you go above and beyond for them you are literally saying “I still have a lot of faith in you right now” EVERYBODY needs to hear that right now. When you say it with your deeds customers Hear you big time!





Making money during this financial crisis

4 12 2008

Start by taking everything you  know about business and throw it out. you need to start letting you customer desires dictate your success. Now I’m going to be sharing quite a few insane ideas but they bring the customer BACK into your store. Yes you need insanity because the sanity of the current financial meltdown is keeping people from spending money and not shopping.

#1 — No more set business hours — use Flex traffic hours. What the heck is that Tom? I got this out of my own frustration of being in work at the same time I that they place i want to shop was open. So Monday night i ran over their to check the place out and the closer to 6pm the more customers came in. So he was trying to close when other people wanted to or could shop. now I worked if retail for several years I for the most part people aren’t standing at the gate at 10am. So why not open an hour later to close an hour later? Ask you customer what time works BEST for them to shop. Here is the insane payoff of shift that hour. I work at Clock Tower Place in Maynard Ma which houses thousands of employees with all the businesses here. It’s so big the Monster.com (yes the job site ) is headquartered there. Now if this guy advertised a 6pm-7pm special to employees of Clock Tower Place he would probably be turning the customers away and make his whole week in that hour. The problem is that people are just getting out of work when he is currently closing his shop. He needs that hour to allow people to see what he has to offer.

#2 Reach out and touch someone— You should be going through the database of all you customers and giving then a courtesy call no high pressure sales or marketing but a consideration call. Just present your and your company and ask them how they are doing let them use you to vent. One of the biggest problems with this crisis is that everyone feels that its only happening to them and those they care about. You reaching out show them that somebody outside their daily sphere of influence is willing to give to them whan everybody else seems to be taking. If you do the opposite of what is causing these people pain you will be bringing them pleasure. Now you might not see it that way because you are not solving their problems but people are just as frustrated because nobody is willing to just listen to what they are going through that your ear is really saving them the heart attack of feeling as though they are alone during this crisis. the goodwill that you build in these conversation will probably go further than any amount of marketing money you ever spend. Remember this ONE rule– your customers really don’t care how much you know but when they know how much you care about their well being they want to reciprocate by giving you business.

#3 Creating outlandish customer interaction opportunities — They best thing about this crisis is that people are REALLY searching for that which is going to help them and the completely unique  message. People are EXTREMELY confused about what ANY financial term means now and since your in business your paying for others greed , misrepresentations and lies so you need to position yourself completely outside the box so people have NO WAY OF COMPARING you to anybody else. Everybody is so ridden with fear right now it is easier for them to protect themselves from the possibility of making a mistake than to consider that you might be the one will to give them exactly what  they want or need. Maybe you can find out what your customer do and offer to trade instead of using cash. Tell them your will to lend based on their longevity as a customer you know that they will get you back when they are able to. give away free stuff if they introduce you to their best friend. Each business  is unique so create a crazy idea that is specific to your customers attention.