The Movie My Fair Lady was a film about the classic debate of nature versus nurture. Are we a product of our environment or is our way of being somewhat predetermined by the core software installed in our think-o-matic? That wasn’t the only Hollywood take on the subject, my favorite trio of goofballs, The Three Stooges, also explored the subject in their short Hoi Palloi.
No matter where you fit on this debate there’s no questioning that your environment definitely contributes to your success. This is, of course, why the librarian is always shushing people who talk too much in the library - you’re supposed to be able to focus.
Setting value doesn't mean lowering pricing
Recently I was at a place enjoying a really great experience and the bill arrived and, after I paid, the customer service person told me I got a discount. But that made zero difference to me. Selling by discounting can sometimes actually hurt your business.
Now I’m no Rockefeller or Bill Gates by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not like I light cigars with $100 bills only because I can’t find bills of larger denominations. So my not putting any value in the discount isn’t because of an overwhelming of lottery winnings that have become so annoying I just want to get rid of the darned money already.
Is what you’re doing what you’re doing or is it a side hustle? According to fool.com, which is actually a pretty good financial site, some 37% of Americans do. Perhaps you’re selling Tupperware, or you’ve found a way to make something cool in your basement and sell it at fairs or the lure of driving for Uber or Lyft has drawn you in.
There’s nothing cheesy about social media. As a component of business communication it is becoming ever more important. Mastering your “voice” in the social realm can differentiate one business from another even more today than ever before.
Case in point. People love to go to social media the second there is even the least little thing wrong with their experience somewhere. If the pattern on a team member’s shirt is just a bit off, the customer is out there using all capital letter to exclaim how they’ve been permanently and irreversibly harmed and how nobody should every patronize that business again.
Writing modern blogs using old analogies can be dangerous. There are a lot of people who will see the analogy and just know the answer, or think they do. This week it’s about one bad apple spoiling the bunch. Yep, another old analogy.
But that bad apple is a team member and their caustic attitude is spoiling everybody’s work day. It’s like having one bad or painful tooth. Here you’ve got a whole mouth full of teeth that are perfectly good for biting into that wonderful apple sitting in front of you. But anybody who’s had a painful tooth knows that that one little tooth can ruin a lot of things.
I’m not a big fan of Starbucks. Their business practices of squeezing out small, locally-owned businesses is counter to my philosophy but their products are consistent and their stores are clean. Recently I ran across a Starbucks on a road trip to an RV show where one employee made such a difference, I went there every morning of my visit.
On the first day my wife and I were in town we chose, as we usually do, to patronize a locally-owned coffee shop. I had to get this Monday Morning marketing blog out and my own Wifi hot spot device had let me down with zero connectivity. Oh well, that just means finding a locally-owned coffee shop and we did.
I try to “shop small” whenever I can - preferring smaller, locally-owned businesses to the large chain stores. But large chain stores seem to have the advantage of longer hours, and sometimes seem to have the additional advantage of actually sticking to those hours.
In recent social media chatter there were a number of local businesses that were being berated for being closed during the hours they purported to be open - at least according to the signs in their windows. Being a small town, the owners of those businesses chimed in after complaints were lodged with reasons they had been closed which ranged from being tired to having a medical emergency.
Months ago I was listening to a prospective client of mine who owns a restaurant complain bitterly. You see, someone else was opening another restaurant that had the same type of food just a few blocks away. And this, in a small town where there aren’t a lot of customers already. “Why would they do this? They’ll never succeed.”
Well, they are succeeding admirably.
There’s a friend of mine who owns a cafe and they had a problem. They were slow one night of the week. In fact, most of the retail businesses in the area were slow on the same day and many of them just closed that day. Why bother staying open when nobody’s coming around?
Except he wasn’t satisfied with one night of no business and having an off season so he did something about it. In the case of his business, he started having live music on the slowest night of the week. So, basically, he significantly raised his costs on a night when hardly anybody came in to the business. Seems crazy, doesn’t it?
There I was wandering the aisles of a local store looking around aimlessly and getting more frustrated by the moment. I was new to the area and also new to this store and, despite wandering the aisles lost for some time I just couldn’t find what I was looking for. Nor could I find someone to point me in the right direction. So I left.
And wrote a nasty review on Yelp.
For those who don’t know I live in such a small community that, if you sneeze on one side of the giant lake that is in the heart of this community, you’ll likely hear “bless you” from the other side of the lake. Not that the community is physically small - it’s just that there aren’t a whole lot of people here. And everybody knows everybody else.