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The Emblem of A Business

How the owner or manager is symbolic of your business

In your mind, picture the automobile that rides comfortably, has smooth lines inside and out that give the appearance of superb design and workmanship, with doors that close with a solid sound. On the hood of the car is a metal emblem. It is a circle, which is divided into three equal pie slices. You know immediately that this is a Mercedes.

If you have not ridden in the car, or closely examined the construction of the car, you might not know of the features. Except for the emblem. The emblem is there for everyone to see. And upon seeing the hood emblem, you expect the features to be there. In the automobile industry, this emblem is symbolic of quality and value.

There is a relationship between the Mercedes and some businesses. In some, owners and managers are there fueling the business, changing the oil, doing the tune up, and packing the suitcases in the trunk for the trip. In some businesses, the owner or manager is the hood ornament. He represents the quality that you know is in the automobile. There are many team players that are performing the various tasks that are required to reach the destination. But the owner or manager is the emblem of the quality.

When this writer was in college, there was an opportunity to work part time in a men's clothing store. It was this job that I would credit for directing me to return to work in the industry that the three previous generations of the family had already done.

One of the unique experiences of that clothing store was the occasion when the company that owned the store moved their managers about to new locations. One such occasion was the time we were assigned a new manager who was the grandson of the founder of the stores.

It was always interesting and exciting to watch him in the store. Unlike the manager before him, he seemed to take privileges that his predecessor did not have or use. He would always wander in about mid-morning, take long lunches, and frequently leave before closing time. The vacuum cleaner or carpet rake was never in his hand.

He had a wardrobe that was the envy of everyone. We were so impressed by the ties that he wore. And when we asked about them, he explained that the home store was located in a higher income mall, and that is where the ties came from. Obviously, these were situations where we were not too thrilled to have him around. All of the employees just accepted that this privilege came with being a part of the family ownership. With regard to the ties, we finally convinced him to add them to our selection. We made them sell.

From the point of being a master salesperson, he was an emblem in a very different way. When he was on the sales floor, he had a technique that was so impressive that any young salesman would want to duplicate. And from this, he gathered a following of loyal customers. There are no occasions that I can remember when he had a bad experience with a customer.

In many businesses, it is hard to have an emblem. If there are only two or three people working there, the owner or manager is usually working on the floor. Short lunch breaks, and paperwork being done after hours are often the trademarks of this situation.

It seems to be human nature that there will always be a group of customers who need to have the owner take care of their needs. And there is an even larger group of people that have a need to at least know the owner or manager. This was evident to me at a very young age.

My grandfather stood out as a big man, physically. As he walked through his very large store, there were always people that wanted to say hello or shake his hand. I remember him shaking hands or giving pats on the back, with a loud and distinct, "Hi, neighbor." What a warm presence he added to his store.

Watching other businesses, those individuals that cast that distinct appearance as being the emblem of the company seem to have successful stores. Customers seem to enjoy being in their store. Other employees know their tasks and are able to perform their duties as the owner works with other customers.

Many of these owners make a point to present themselves very well to everyone. These emit a radiance that customers detect and appreciate as he, or she, is present on the sales floor. Whether the customer is an individual of obvious wealth or a struggling blue collar worker, this owner seems to be able to adapt himself to the customer and the situation surrounding his hardware needs of the day. When necessary, he is very adept at passing a customer to one of the employees if time does not allow him to work with the customer as he might prefer.

These owners and managers are known in their communities. Frequently, it is because they have been active in civic associations, or community projects. They don't have to necessarily be the leader of the organization, but people associate the owner with his business. Sometimes, it is partially because when he is in public, such as a restaurant, he makes a point to say hello to everyone he recognizes - whether or not he knows them by name.

One of the signs that we might generally expect to associate with this position is that of obvious wealth. It seems, whatever wealth the owner may have, it is not flaunted. The wealth that attract folks to this person, is the warmth of the personality and the image of a wealth of knowledge.

The emblem owners are neatly dressed, but still within the bounds of what a customer could expect to find in this particular business. This owner may or may not be wearing the same uniform shirt or vest as the rest of his team, but his neat appearance is noticeable.

Many people reading this will probably think of individuals that they know that fit this description. It may or may not be one that they will want to duplicate. It is a trait, however, that frequently helps to give a store its' identity. And it is identity, along with several other traits, such as appearance, pricing, display, and convenience that helps a store to compete against the big boxes.

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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