What it Takes


You will be labeled, like it or not. If you earn the label of, “person who builds things, ships them and sells them to someone who values them…” you’re way ahead of the pack. You’re going to be doing this for a long time. When you have the chance, engage with the market, declare victory, make the sale. – Seth Godin

Seth Godin is a prolific writer….everyday thare is a post on his blog.

Business is about doing….making….selling. Business/organizations often get caught up in that process. They spend little time in thinking about different ideas….like those from Seth Godin.

In my experience….growing a successful business requires the doing and the thinking. 

Tim’s Cascade Snacks

Potato Chips from the great Northwest

Tims Chips

While there are major brands of Potato Chips….there is also a number of local and regional brands that have devoted customers. Tim’s Cascade Chips is one of them.

The photo of the chips against the mountain backdrop adds an intrinsic value to the product. I like a unique product/business identity. With a great product/sevice….a good story/location  enhances the products value.

In the case of Tim’s, that seems to true. Located in the Northwest….purchasing potatoes from local farmers….creates a strong brand awareness.

Tim’s Cascade Snacks are made in Algoma, WA….with about 85 employees and are sold in eleven western states….Hawaii….Alaska….and Canada. They are part of the Pinnacle Food Group.

Twin Disk

Power Components

Twin Disc

Twin Disk, located in Racine, WI makes engine power transmission components for the marine….off-road….and industrial industries. In the Midwest, manufacturing is a vital part of the economy. Twin Disc manufactures heavy duty….cast metal….finely engineered products.

N37TDLast week….the company  aircraft N37TD (Beech Turboprop) arrived in Muskegon. The visit was more than likely associated with a local part supplier.

Twin Disk is a manufacturing comapany….that uses its aircraft as an important business tool. These aircraft are not a luxury….they are used to get the job done. Flying time between Racine, WI and Muskegon, MI – 30 minutes….driving time – 5 hours.

Campbell’s Soup

Back to the Consumer

Campbells Soup

From Knowledge@Wharton Today:

Campbell Soup’s Denise Morrison: ‘Going Back to the Consumer’ to Get Ahead.

“After more than 140 years in business, how could a firm like Campbell Soup Company reinvigorate its growth? “It was no real secret of leadership — just going back to the consumer,” Denise Morrison, Campbell’s president and CEO, told audience members during a recent Wharton Leadership Conference.”

Often it’s going back to the basics of business manageament/leadership that matter. Despite thorough analysis….data management….differing trends….etc, ‘ the foundational elements of business carry the day.

Even at Campbell’s (and any business) the next 50 years growth will depend on the consumer/customer.

Northern Machine Tool


Northern Machine Tool

A recent national story described  the return of more manufacturing to the U.S.

Manufacturing doesn’t get more fundamental than a the stamped metal part above.

Northern Michigan Tool and Die is a small shop…..33 people. It makes tools and dies primarily for the auto industry. Founded in 1946 by Gerhard Olson….located in a rather nondescript building in Muskegon….they have added a new 800 ton stamping press to expand their capabilities.

Businesses like Northern Michigan Tool & Die are the foundation of local economies. It is important that they take the steps to solidify their future.

Rishi Tea

Premium Tea

Rishi Tea

Finding unique business is like a treasure hunt….Rishi is one those treasures:

Started in 1997 in Wisconsin, Rishi tea sells both wholesale and retail with sales of $10 Million. It recently announced plans for a new $4.9M  facility in the Milwaukee area.

Rishi was founded by two friends who had a strong interest in teas. Certainly a nice busisness….more so a solid foundation because of their belief in the product.

The Rishi tea quality promise:”If for any reason you are not fully satisfied with your purchase, let us know and we’ll issue a refund or replace it. That’s our promise.”


Lessons Learned: Great Business 1


Over the years, there are business values that to me are absolutely vital to be a great business….one of which is – Consistency

Consistency is delivering a product/service exactly as promised (in some cases even better than promised). Often we visit a business….or buy a product and it isn’t quite the same as a prior purchase. In the service business….the service experienced six months ago is not the same as a recent experience.

In our business….we wanted to give the customer a consistent product….with consistent service. That set the standard. Achieving that consistency gave us a solid foundation to get better.

Consistency: Reliability or uniformity of successive results or events: pitched with remarkable consistency throughout the season.