Article of the Month
Installing a New Computer
It needs to be said that I have serious concern for the usage of computers within your business.
It is not that I am questioning the decision. As our family business was using computer reports to help us manage as far back as the 1960's, I agree with the need for your business being computerized.
My concern is with the software providers and what I have found to be a lack of their understanding of the business of their customers (that's you).
This month's article gives you some ideas of how we used a new software system for our business to help us become better managers and owners.
Take a look at the ideas in the article and consider getting your money back to work.
Click on Article of the Month to read this article.
Book of the Month
by Neil Howe and William Strauss
Can't we all get along? They just don't understand. What is wrong with these younger generations?
If these are some of the thoughts you have had about your younger employees and customers, this could be a good book for you to read.
Simply said, there are variations in how the generations think and act; just like there are variations because of sex, nationality, race or even the regionality of the country.
Instead of throwing up your arms in frustration, it could be easier to use your arm to reach up and take this book off the shelf to read and understand.
Click on Book Referral to visit this page on our site.
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Visit our e-ret@iler conversations, find the category of interest and post your comments, questions or best practices. You may also go directly to one of our categories by clicking on one of the links below.
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Taking the Second Step to the Solution
A friend and customer of our family business was for many years a counselor. In her private practice, she counseled adults, youth, children, individuals and couples. The range of issues would include marriage, challenges with school, addictions, and just about any issue a person could face.
In a conversation I asked her about the challenges of what she did. Her response was that the biggest challenge was what happened in the initial meeting. She explained that most people will delay their seeking professional help.
They may be in denial about the issue or not at the point they believe they need professional assistance. In the example of a couple, she explains, it is usually that one individual will want to seek assistance while the second one will not.
When the first individual finally convinces the partner to seek out counseling, they schedule an appointment. You might think they are finally on the road to a solution, but this is where another problem begins. The problem is that the second individual usually believes that simply asking for help creates the solution.
That second individual still does not want to change or even discuss changes; they simply agreed to attend.
My experience in the last year has been much the same. A business owner finally decides they need help. After a presentation, they may come to someone such as me and ask for the opportunity to speak about their problem.
Unfortunately, that is where the conversation usually ends. They talk about the problem and mistakenly think this conversation puts a solution into action.
Not so. It simply means they have recognized their problem and verbalized it.
There is no solution until a challenge has been recognized and a plan has been created. The solution must continue with that plan being put into action and frequently checked to see that the actions are within the parameters of the plan, and checked to see if any changes to the plan need to be made.
Just like my friend's counseling practice, nothing is solved by simply recognizing the problem. Perhaps it is like that old adage of, 'recognizing the problem is half of the solution'. That adage may be correct, but it also says that you are only half way there.
Creating your plan, implementing it, and monitoring it is the second half of the solution. You cannot become whole with only half of the solution.
The August e-ret@iler conversations conference call is moving to a different night for August 2011. We will be gathering on Thursday, August 25 at 8pm eastern. The schedule indicates the topic for August is going to be that initial look at the sales floor before the holiday selling season rolls around.
Yes, it is still very warm for most of us in the northern hemisphere, but nothing says holiday selling like August.
In preparation, let me suggest you be looking at your sales by product category, thinking about how much square footage you dedicate to each category, and where that product category is positioned with regard to the front door of your business and the flow of customers.
If you have a 'clearance merchandise section' to your store, be prepared for me to bash the idea of your having such an area and discussing what to do about this merchandise.
Mark your calendar now for Thursday, August 25 at 8pm eastern for the free e-ret@iler conversations conference call.
Let me also invite you to follow this link which will take you to the page where the previous conference calls have been recorded, cataloged, and are available for you to download for free.
|Internet Tip of The Month
Current ratios calculator
What does your business look like for the foreseeable future? Let's define the foreseeable future as being the next 12 months. The banking and accounting side of the business world has just an exercise to answer that question. When an accountant or banker asks what is the current ratio of the business, there is a simple calculation to be performed.
You add the inventory, cash, and easily converted to cash items (such as saving accounts or certificates of deposit) and compare this total to all of the bills you anticipate paying in the current liabilities. These are the bills you anticipate paying in the next twelve months.
The two numbers are compared as a ratio. If the answer is 2:1, the expectation is that you have twice as much money as necessary to cover the anticipated bills. If the ratio is reversed, 1:2, there is an expectation that your business is going to have a problem in the coming year.
Follow this link to read more about this ratio as well as to be able to use our free financial ratios calculators to learn more about your business.
Current ratio calculator
| The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
Surprising your customer with a phone call
Recently I had an experience with a business that brought back memories of something we did for our customers.
Most every business has an occasion where you have special ordered something for a customer. At the time you took the order from the customer, you likely gave them an idea as to when the product would arrive at your business.
A somewhat similar situation occurs when a customer, responding to your advertising, finds that you have sold out of the item advertised and you wind up giving the customer a 'rain check'. In this situation the customer is also likely asking when that item is going to arrive. You probably gave this customer an idea of when the product would arrive in your business.
Compared to leaving the responsibility of following up to the customer, the business I experienced called to say the item had arrived and that they would set the item aside to await my visit to their store.
This is a very simple task; easy to perform but rarely performed by businesses. However, it does say to the customer that you appreciate their waiting for you to get the item.
If you give it some thought, you probably realize the customer could have found the item at another business, or surely on the Internet. Instead, they waited for you. To the customer, it is a welcome surprise that your business says 'thank you' in a special way by making this simple call.
In the red power promoting book, the second promotional book I wrote, this is idea #28.
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