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.
When you’re market testing things, it helps to have the opinion of people with all levels of maturity, age and background/gender. While studying anything you’re about to bring to market, including slogans, designs and logos, is often done with the most advanced methods a lot of people forget to include the childish people in the audience when doing so.
But sometimes you can miss something based on whom you’re not testing to.
It’s been said and written for a long, long time - religion and politics have no place at the dinner table. They don’t belong at work, either.
This might seem obvious to most people but our country is becoming increasingly divided politically with people highly passionate about their view on either side of the aisle. This blog is completely non political but it’s safe to say that we basically all want the same thing - clean air, clean water, safe neighborhoods and good jobs. The big division comes in how we think the best way to accomplish that is.
Looking back now, it’s incredible how many lessons I learned from working at Sears when I was in high school. While the beleaguered retailer seems not to be able to do anything correctly today, in those days they were the big daddy rabbit of the bunch and seemed untouchable. One of the lessons they shared with us is that the customer gets the best parking spots, period.
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.
How badly do you want to hang up? You’re talking to “that customer” and they want to tell you their life story and talk and talk but meanwhile you just want to get stuff done. How is it that they can’t tell how much you just want to hang up on them?
Now the other side. You want to share all the details of your situation with the people who sold you that whatchamacallit and you paid good money for it so they should just listen. But it’s really clear that they want to hang up on you. You’ll never shop there again. And you won’t tell your friends to go there.
I left a message with a business the other day. I planned to spend about $2,000 or so there and I know they’re busy. So I left a message. You know, after dialing my way through their phone tree while on my cell phone. I hate phone trees.
That evening, it occurred to me that they hadn’t called back. I called and left a message the following morning. You know, after dialing my way through their phone tree while on my cell phone. I still hate phone trees, especially with a small business.
If you have any doubt that people are doing a good percentage of their shopping on the interwebs, all you have to do is visit the local ghost town that was a shopping mall to reinforce this thought. Unless there’s some compelling reason to go to a physical location, web-based shopping is the wave of today. But I just had the most remarkable web-based shopping experience of my life. So far.
I love what I call strange musical instruments. From Stumpf fiddles to washboards to Cajons, the stranger the better. In fact my favorite music video is of a guy who has a truly strange instrument and plays it with great skill. Enjoy.
Regional tourism and destination marketing is a really important aspect of the long-term quality of life in a community. While some may disagree, marketing a region is an important component of an area. But it has so much more reach than just having people come and stay in the hotels for a few days.
When a destination effectively markets itself it tells the world about the highlights of the area. Everywhere you go in these United States there are highlights whether that be mountains or lakes or man-made structures. When I lived in LowCal Watts was one of those areas that really suffered from Rodney Dangerfield syndrome, no respect, but people still made the trek to go see the Watts Towers.
Every somewhere has some reason to go visit.
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?