Great Grapes

I’ve written about wine before….the business side not the tastings….ratings….grape variety aspects.

From a business perspective….every major grocery store has a well-stocked wine department. Wal-Mart….Trader Joe’s….Whole Foods….Total Wine also sell large quantities of wine. Than there are the local wine shops….that are scattered throughout the area.

Great Grapes is in a specialty shopping center nearby. They started several years ago in one store front and have now expanded into the next one….doubling their size. The merchandising is very good….as well as the selection. The atmosphere is nice and pleasant.

Great grapes is a business….that knows its market….merchandises well….sticks to its business model. Over the years, from my perspective….Great Grapes is an example of – Better & Different

The one thing that needs improvement is its website.


$11B Sales


A recent news article:

about Amway reaching $11 B in sales reminded me of my visit to Amway (for Greenwich Research) in the early 80’s. The visit was on a nice spring day….one of Amway’s helicopters was on the pad in front of the building. The offices were nice….not over done….yet indicating a successful business. Sales at that time approaching $1 B.

Amway has always been controversial….yet its longevity and sales speak for themselves. While the soap made in a garage is a good story….the Nutrilite food supplements have been Amway’s strongest product line.

What has made Amway what it is today:

  • Longevity –  started in 1959
  • Family business – DeVos and Van Andel
  • Dedication to its business model
  • Investment in community – Grand Rapids/West Michigan

Whatever one thinks about Amway….Amway is the story of two entrepreneurs creating a very successful business.

Make it Happen

No Obstacles

We are making an operating change in one of the businesses we deal with. Humana has a program now available that will enable us to save some money….a good deal.

The business needs an ID number….they have that. That’s really all they need….however, we are waiting on “the card”….to complete the process.

Businesses often put obstacles in front of the customer. The folks we are dealing with will get compensated once they enter the number in their system….yet they are not making the transaction happen.

Customers aren’t concerned about a business’s process….they just want it done.

Make it Happen!

Compass – True North

“The compass, on the other hand, is more important then ever. If you don’t know which direction you’re going, how will you know when you’re off course?” – Seth Godin

Many businesses/organizations don’t know where they are going. Sure they have an idea what they want to accomplish….yet they often get caught up in the details of getting there.

Whatever it’s called, there has to be a destination….not a final stop in the process….but someplace where the organization is always headed.

Every businesses needs a compass to keep it headed in the right direction. The compass is the groundwork….the thinking that takes place that gives an enterprise its bearings.

Business Basics

Price Your Products

Folks start a business for many reasons….income….create something new/better….or a different lifestyle.

The dilemma for some of these folks….is that they have a minimal understanding of business basis.

We live a short ways from two successful shopping areas….succesful in the fact that there are few storefront vacancies. In one of the centers….with nice specialty stores…a new bakery opened within the past few months….not large….but a good addition to this center. Upon entering recently….looking for a late morning treat….and after examining the items….there were no prices. One had to ask!…this was not an ultra high-end bakery or store….where if you had to ask you couldn’t afford it.

The owner was in back and came up to the counter….I asked the price….and for this particular item  was twice the price as elsewhere.

Here’s the lesson: Before stating any business, particularly retail….learn how to merchandise….and even more so how to market. In this case with a new bakery….samples….better prices….invite the customer to buy. With this owner….no further comment….turn around and go to back….after being interrupted by the customer.

Note: It’s not only small folks that don’t mark prices….large retailers do the same.


Not Good Enough

It seems many businesses/organizations have a goal: to be an average performer.

The products….service….are average. Most customers are satisfied….average is the expectation.

The only problem is that average businesses won’t continue to exist….although there are a few that  will plod along because that is what customers expect (and accept). Low performers will eventually no longer exist.

Businesses that do well are the high performers in product….service….with high customer expectations.

Losing Money


About 18 months ago, we purchased a Whirlpool Gold refrigerator….dishwasher….and range. Consumer Reports has generally good ratings on Whirlpool appliances.

The refrigerator was eventually replaced (excessive frost in freezer). Lowe’s followed through nicely on the exchange….the warranty service companies (eventually three) were reluctant to act.

Just before the one year warranty expired….the freezer door casket did not seal properly….so a call to A&E Service.

Here’s the rest of the story:

  • First call: Order gasket
  • First visit: Gasket won’t work….order new door
  • Second visit: Wrong door sent….order another door
  • Received: No door….only Whirlpool door logo
  • Third visit: Get order right?

The end result….has Whirlpool made made money on our refrigerator….most likely it hasn’t. The real issue is a flawed service process.