Basic Business Management
“A bad location coupled with increased competition were the biggest factors in the failure of Dutch Girl Brewery, according to the company’s attorney.”
Location is important….though Dutch Girl was only a mile or so outside the Spring Lake village limits and was surrounded by other businesses.
Our business was located in the north end of town and on a major road….however most retail activity centered on the southern end of Muskegon. Part of our brand was” Drive out a ways and see how it pays”. Rather simple….but effective. It was a key part of our marketing strategy and compensated for not having the perfect location. While a good location is necessary….basic business management is also necessary.
Why does an organization / business exist?
The following article from Inc.com….in response to the recent United Airlines missteps is an excellent answer:
“The sad fact is that it would be fair to say that United is a generic, bureaucratic, tired company. A sort of DMV in the sky. No real culture. No real strategy. No real expectations for employees or customers. All of which is a shame.”
I would think the airline mergers have created companies such as United. It’s time for United and probably other companies to ask Why they exist and What is their purpose. Unfortunately many folks have no choice but to fly United. Cultural change is a challenge and will take some time. If a business isn’t willing to change….customers will find other options.
Basic But Not Easy
One of the fundamentals of any business is repeat business. Here’s how from Tom Peters:
K = R = P
Kindness = Repeat business = Profit
We spent a significant amount on marketing/advertising….the purpose to get customers in the front door. The cost per customer could be fairly large.
For a repeat customer the marketing cost would be minimal. It’s just good business to build a business around repeat customers. After all if a customer returns….they are your best customers. Treat them (and every customer) with kindness.
Bed in a Box
From jsonline: http://www.jsonline.com/story/money/business/2017/05/05/wisconsin-mattress-makers-arent-sleeping-bed—box-trend/101343412/
“Across the United States, a few internet-based startups and their scores of imitators have shaken up the bedding world.”
“Aided by machines – some of them made in Wisconsin – that can squish a king-sized mattress pancake-flat and roll it up like a sleeping bag, the bed-in-a-box business has emerged as yet another challenger to traditional retail.”
Competition will always exist in one form or another. In our business it would have been another local business. The internet has changed all of that.
We were very good at selling bedding and had good suppliers so we were confident in the product. Selling online is somewhat different as the customer can’t touch the product….yet a market segment is comfortable with buying unseen on the internet.
While it may be a challenge to compete in a changing market….innovation may be expanding the entire market….the key strategy is how to take advantage of that larger market.
The 10 Best
Recently Mlive conducted a search for the best sub sandwiches in Michigan: http://www.mlive.com/dining/index.ssf/2017/05/michigans_best_sub_sandwich_th.html#incart_special-report
The winner was Alcamo’s Market in Dearborn, MI.
What are the business lessons learned from the sub competition besides being a great sandwich?:
- They are family businesses
- Many have been in business for decades
- All provide an excellent product at a fair price
and (as all the others) at Ventimiglia Italian Foods “We don’t cut corners. We do things the right way,” the owners said.
Sound business lessons from a local sub shop
Note: #4 was Fatty Lumpkins in Muskegon!
Major news stories have reported numerous accounts of poor customer interactions between the airline staff and customers.
Flying in 2017 is not the same as 1977….of course the numbers are significantly different….more people….full aircraft…..perhaps less social courtesy than were present years ago.
As in many large customer centered businesses…..each individual customer is insignificant to the large numbers that pass through the boarding gate or front door. To an airline or a Walmart….there will always be another customer to replace a dissatisfied customer.
If an airline (or any business) does not have a thorough understanding of the importance of the customer interactions….it will always have poor customer relations and more unsettling incidents.
From Seth Godin:
“Repainting your house the same color it already was feels like a waste. It’s a lot of effort merely to keep things as they are.
But if you don’t do it, time and entropy kick in and the house starts to fade.
The same can be said for 1,000 elements of your organization, including your relationships with customers, staff, suppliers and technology. The way you approach your market, the skill you bring to your craft, the culture in your organization—it constantly needs another coat of paint.
Rust never sleeps.”
Several years ago, a colleague and I presented leadership workshops….primarily to get the leaders and their organization to rethink purpose and mission and also to understanding a changing environment. Were we successful?….not really. The organization has continually declined in numbers and for the most part has never reimagined itself.
One of our suggestions (similar to Seth’s repaint) was to start from an empty slate. What was the organization’s reason for existence? Why does it exist? Where was the market? In some cases, the purpose might not change. In others, there was a necessity to completely revisit the purpose and mission. Easy to say….hard to do.
Often leadership was reluctant to change….subsequently some faded away.