March 29 is Mom and Pop Business Owner's Day
I remember the first time someone made a negative comment about my using the phrase 'Mom and Pop'. Their comment actually took me by surprise as the individual said that referring to a small business with that phrase implied poor management skills being demonstrated by the business owner.
Instead, I think it is a designation of honor. I think of a business owner that can take the time to give a customer individual attention. I think of a business that can tailor the product and service offerings to the customers in the area. (As compared to a chain or mass merchant that has the same at every store)
I think of a business where the person working there can make a decision instead of looking in some rule book or citing some company policy.
That being said, I continue to see way too many independent businesses that fail to take advantage of the opportunities before them. Allow me to share a personal experience from the past month.
We decided to replace an appliance in our home. We went to the locally owned business and found three salespeople standing behind the counter. One spoke and came and gave what was polite but not memorable sales help.
We looked at a second appliance and decided to purchase it as well. We looked at, but did not purchase a third and fourth appliance.
The installation had a challenge in that one of the items was dented. The first words from the installer was, "I can give you a discount to take it".
He was disappointed when I said I would rather have the item without the dents.
Our second trip to the store resulted in another purchase and an installation that went without incident.
To this date, no one has called to ask how the installations went. No one has asked how we liked what we bought. No one called to follow up on the other items we looked at in their store.
Speaking with the head of one of the appliance associations last month, I was told of how bad business was for those that are still in business.
Anyone surprised that I think I know what a lot of the problem is? This is only one example. I see this in many businesses - both product and service. And the independent business wants to tell me they give great service? The independent business wants to tell me they are different from the chain or box store?
Perhaps someone thinks I am too demanding. If the independent wants to stand out, where are they going to do it? It better not be with a lower price! It needs to begin with how we take care of our customers; how we follow up; and how we ask for repeat business and for referrals.
If we are going to celebrate March 29, let's give the customer a good reason to celebrate it.
e-ret@iler conversations conference calls
We are back on schedule for March. The e-ret@iler conversations conference call is going to be Tuesday, March 15 (Is that beware the Ides of March?) We start at 8:00pm eastern time and are generally lasting one hour.
For March, I am preparing material based upon experiences like the one I have just mentioned. I will not be challenging you to step out of the box. I will challenge you to forget the box ever existed. I will challenge you to have some radical thoughts about how and why you advertise.
E-ret@iler conversations conference calls
You can celebrate St. Patrick's Day this month. Everyone can be an honorary Irishman. You can also celebrate March 20 being the first day of spring. After the rough winter that many of us have had, the start of spring is a good reason to call your customers in for a visit.
|Internet Tip of The Month
Return on investment calculator
Perhaps the most important calculator of the 40 we currently have on the Profits Plus website. Have your income statement and balance sheet as you visit this site.
Enter the numbers from your data into the yellow boxes and see how well the investment in your business is working for you.
Then take a few moments and make some changes to those numbers. Look at the rate of return on investment to see how it is changing. This will help you to see what items you can focus on to make your business better.
Return on investment calculator
| The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
|A unique referral
While this idea came from a florist, it could work for many other businesses - even the appliance store I mentioned earlier.
Making deliveries, the florist always had the driver first attempt to deliver an arrangement at the address that was across the street or next door to the correct address. The idea was that the unsuspecting person gets to see what someone is getting as well as being told where the product is coming from.
Granted, that person could see the delivery person as not paying attention to their work, it is an easy way to tell the person where their neighbor has done business.
In the conversation with the person at the incorrect address, the driver apologizes and gives the person a coupon to the business along with an invitation to come in to see what they have to offer.
This power promoting idea takes but a few extra minutes and has no cost to it.
In the red power promoting book, the second promotional book I wrote, this is idea #16.
You can find more ideas like this in our promotions books. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.
Profits Plus Resource Center