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Small business promotion with retail speaker Tom Shay
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The Emblem of a Business

How the owner or manager is symbolic of the 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 similarity between the Mercedes and some businesses. In some businesses, the owner or manager is the hood ornament.  This person 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, I had an opportunity to work part time in a small chain of men's clothing store.  Shortly after starting there the store got 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 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. This aspect of him was obviously not a good symbol to his staff.

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.   We convinced him to add them to our selection and 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.

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. 

Watching other businesses, those owners or managers 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. 

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 their 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 attracts folks to this person, is the warmth of the personality and the image of a wealth of knowledge.

Many people reading this will probably think of individuals that they know that fit this description. It is a trait 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.

And as all owners are an emblem of their business, why kind of emblem are you?

Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner providing proven management and business building ideas through his Profits Plus Seminars, Profits Plus Solutions coaching, books authored, and articles written. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or through his web site: www.profitsplus.org


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St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
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