Do The Right Thing


A recent article from the Los Angeles Times: “Records reveal ethical breaches, complaints at Wells Fargo.”

Wells Fargo is the nation’s leader in selling add-on services to its customers and that is the primary reason for the LA Times article on “ethical breaches”.

Some companies are overly aggressive….more than likely because of the corporate culture. In many respects, this culture defines the company. Wachovia….the forerunner of Wells Fargo was a well-respected regional bank until it was acquired by First Union….a more aggressive bank….that took the Wachovia name. Than Wells Fargo acquired Wachovia….which in reality was First Union.

Excellent businesses adhere to strong ethical values….they do the right thing. The bottom line is that customers have to decide who they want to do business with.


Last 99%

Implement Definition Button Showing Executing Or Carrying Out A

Former McKinsey Managing Director to team: “Don’t forget implementation, boys. It’s that all-important ‘last 99% – Tom Peters

Several years ago, a colleague and I were doing workshops on Leadership.  We made a great effort to make them informative….interactive….implementable. We supplied plenty of material…. gave good examples and made ourselves readily available.

For some reason very few were able to fully implement what we were presenting. I would like to think we were on target….yet it was difficult to break through institutional barriers.

We often discussed the implementation issue….though never found a satisfactory solution



“Soft”  Call

Tom Peters has the expertise and credibility to state the following:

“I have decided to bug you every day until New Year’s Eve to CALL 10-50 people to thank them for their support in 2013.”

Of course this wasn’t taught in Business School….and perhaps it still is not. Yet, it makes sense….for anyone in a business/organization to do this. We did this to some extent while in business….but not nearly enough.

Calling people can be awkward at times….the more one does it….the easier and more effective it becomes. This is as Peters states: “soft” is hard. Soft being the intangile parts of business that make any organization that much better.

12.24.13 10:00 am: From Tom Peters – “Thank you CALLS, please. I’ve done about 20 since 7AM.”



Brew House - Muskegon

There is always an opportunity.

When we visited Muskegon….I stopped by this coffee shop many times. It was local and in a convenient location. I am glad there is a new owner….with a new perspective.

From Mlive:

  • New coffee and equipment from the Uncommon Coffee Roaster in Saugatuck
  • New bakery and food items from The Village Bakery in Spring Lake
  • A Strong commitment: “I’m here to stay”

Being an entrepreneur is taking a risk….recognizing an opportunity….good business skills and common sense create the rewards.

Golf – Head Covers



From the N&O:

Stitch golf is located in Cary….making golf accessories….primarily leather club head covers. Founded in 2012, Stitch is relatively new….yet like many new business ideas….focused on a narrow unique market.

“The name? Stitch finds its inspiration in the detail that makes its head covers most unique—whether wool, leather or another fine fabric or material, it’s all about the stitching.” This brand statement does a nice job of positioning the company in the golf accessories marketplace.

Coffee Mug

Perfect Temperature

Joeveo mug

Coffee is intriging….at least to me.

Two inventors from Raleigh have come together to solve a problem with coffee mugs….to drop the initial temperature low enough to drink and keep the coffee long enough to enjoy at the proper temperature.

Their solution is a three-wall construction and a proprietary phase shift material that transfers heat.

While there are numerous coffee mugs on the market….the Temperfect mug might just be the ideal coffee mug.


Retailing Basic


Upon entering the local Hallmark store, the first thing noticed was the lack of background music. It was too quiet! Almost encouraging get in-get out.This is the Christmas season….great retailing creates a pleasant buying environment.

This particular Hallmark store is one on several owned by a successful local business family. It would seem that they know the retail business. Creating a pleasing background/atmosphere  for customers is basic retailing….especially during the Christmas buying season.

In our business, the Muzak system was always on….the selling/buying process needed to be as comfortable as possible.

The owners should visit their stores….as customers.


Global Distribution


Notions….many would be unfamiliar with the term. Years ago most department stores would have a notions department….all the things necessary for sewing. Notions Marketing in Grand Rapids, MI started in the 1930’s selling school supplies and toys….adding sewing notions and yarns in the 60’s….crafts in the 70’s…..and paper crafts in the 90’s. 

Two things stand out about a business most of us would seldom come across:

1) The marketing strategy of being a Global Creative Arts Distributor.

2) Notions has it facilities in the old furniture manufacturing plants that were once a key industry in Grand Rapids.

From MLive:

Next Steps

Moving Forward


“I’ve experienced zillion copyright breaches, some ginormous. Never crossed my mind to sue. Too busy workin’ on next thing.” – Tom Peters

Often, I would observe a business so worried about the competition they lost sight of the next thing.

At the time we operated our family business….there were 15+ businesses that were similar and competing for the same market. Our next thing was always to create a better promotion….execute effectively….develop loyal customers and….to gain the respect for our brand (which was our name).

The other businesses were good competitors….to make us better and different….was to focus daily on the next steps (thing).

The Medal of Honor


Medal of Honor Stamp

This November the US Postal Service has issued a new commemorative stamp – A stamp honoring those awarded The Medal Of Honor.

In one ‘s lifetime we encounter hundreds of people….it  was a privilege to know one of those awarded our nations highest award for bravery in combat. John Sjogren was a business friend….a sales representative for Milan Furniture (Milan IN) and Millbrook Furniture (Grand Rapids).

John was a likeable individual and yet one would never know he was awarded The Medal Honor. He came home from WW II and began a career in the furniture industry….nothing flashy….a unpretentious traveling salesman.

In business as in life….we must value those memorable  encounters.