100 + Years

Radium Photo

Radium Photo

It is very unusual for a business to continue and be successful after 105 years….Radium Photo has done that. http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2014/12/radium_photo_expands_services.html#incart_river

That Radium Photo has changed and been able to prosper in the photo finishing business….and remained in downtown Muskegon is remarkable.

Of course being a 4th generation family business makes a significant difference….as well as adding new products and services.

“105 years young, and four generations strong, Radium Photo is the only of its kind in Michigan’s photographic industry.  Honesty, integrity, and killer customer service will make you a client for life. ” – A good reason for longevity!

I may have visited Radium Photo once or twice….they are to be highly commended for their 100+ years of business.




Business Ethics


A direct sales company in Illinois unexpectantly closed:


The initial response was that orders were not being filled….especially during the holiday season. For the most part….those that were in the direct sales part of the company said the business did all right….though it could have been better at communication.

The lesson is that any organization has an obligation and responsibility to communicate and do the right thing for customers and those who developed and sold to those customers.

It’s a matter of good business ethics.

Silky Pork

Premium Product


The News Observer has featured a four-part series on a NC pork producer making a premium product for the Japanese market….Silky Pork: http://highonthehog.nandoweb.net/chapter-4/

The series is about a hog producer in Eastern North Carolina that has developed a pork product specifically for the premium market in Japan.

Two key comments in the articles:

  • “Silky Pork” is one of the pioneers in the real sense. “Silky Pork” has a story behind it, factual based and nothing is kind of created. it’s all the facts attached to the product.
  • People over there really recognize high quality food. It is just like people recognize high-quality wine or other things.. And for us, you like to be known for producing a high-quality product. There is a lot more pride in that than just throwing something out the door

The end result – a compelling story and producing a quality product.




Don’t worry about the competition. Well, in our business we had plenty of competition….as an old friend and I reminisced a few days ago.

The strategy for us was to do our own thing….whether it was an Ocktober Fest celebration….having the first water-bed in town….or giving away a Magic Chef Microwave oven (another first).

The competition was certainly present….especially prevelant in the Thursday and Friday editions of the local paper loaded with full and 3/4 page home furnishing ads. Of course we wanted to know what the other guys were doing. Also, all the ads highlighted home furnishings for the local market….good for all the businesses.

However, our best strategy/advantage was to do what we did best and continue to get better.


Thermal Bags

Thermal Bag

One major aspect of the pizza delivery business…..thermal bags.


The Tribune story is about perseverance, survival and adaption. Making a quality product also means the product lasts longer than a low-price import. Being able to adapt the product to different uses is the key to the continued success of Ingrid’s thermal bags. 


Car Wash

New Technology + Convenience

Tommy Car wash

From MLive


New car wash technology includes a moving floor that brings vehicles through two-minute wash instead of on a wheel track. The company’s trademark Tommy Wash system is a tunnel of glass and lights with a conveyor moving through semi-circles of stainless steel washing equipment.

There are other car wash systems companies and each more than likely have different competitive advantages….the innovation for the Tommy Wash system is the moving floor.




Golden Corral


Golden Corral is a national restaurant chain headquartered in Raleigh.

From the News & Observer story….Golden Corrals business secrets:


  • All strategies ultimately  fail, but the right mission can last a lifetime.
  • Steal shamelessly. You don’t have to be cutting edge, but you have to be razor-sharp.
  • Sacred cows make the best burgers.
  • Toot your own horn or someone else is liable to use it as a spittoon.
  • The D (Depreciation) in EBITDA is real in the restaurant business.
  • If two people in the business agree on everything, than one of them is unnecessary.

This is a nice article from the N&O business writer….plus some “real” advice from a successful business.

I can’t disagree with any of it.


Sign It

Your Name

Sign It

Seth Godin wrote: “If you’re not proud of it, don’t ship it. If you are, sign your work and own the results. We’ll know who to thank. If you work for a place where work goes unsigned (internally, in particular) it’s worth asking why.”

Our name was our business identity….it was the first word in our business name. It told our customers who we were.

Often our pictures were in the weekly ad….again to show potential customers who they were going to deal with.

Our name offered credibity….long after we left the business….our name was always favorably recognized. Be proud of your name…that was our sign of good work.


Bay View Printing

Bay View printinh

Sometimes its important to keep an old technology alive. That’s the case for Bay View Printing in Wisconsin. While digital printing is the norm….perhaps there will always be the need for the old letterpress and offset method.


The new owner has recognized that the old style letterpress printing needs to be preserved. Most business models have a growth component….for Bay View Printing that growth may only be preserving the uniqueness of this form of printing. For customers that want handcrafted print material….there will be a business that does that.



Positive and Negative

Excellent on customer survey

My business seminars would last for over two hours. At the conclusion, I would hand out an evaluation form and asked for feedback on how the audience liked or disliked the seminar.

The vast majority of the feedback was very good/excellent….what most presenters want to hear. Though occasionally there was sometimes a less than positive comment. Those comments I read carefully….did I miss a point or completely fail to connect with that person. The answer of course, is that at times it might not be possible to connect with everyone….for various reasons.

Being prepared….being professional….and thoroughly knowledgeable  contribute to positive feedback….nothing less deserves a negative review.