Fortu Battery Plant


Six years, a major announcement was made that a company called Fortu was building a power cell plant in Muskegon. Of course this was great news or was it?

Last week it was announced that the Fortu plant was never going to be built. http://www.mlive.com/news/muskegon/index.ssf/2015/02/fortu_powercell_factory_will_n.html

I was suspicious that this facility was ever going to be built. In 2009….battery-powered automobiles were getting much attention and Muskegon was anxious for any new industry.

A little research might have found that the proposed battery was not yet fully developed.


“Technology breakthroughs in the advanced battery field are often announced with great fanfare. But often, the companies making these claims disappear without a trace.”

Now that Alevos has bought out Fortu….it remains to be seen how the battery fanfare plays out in North Carolina.


Too Expensive



From Seth Godin:

Start with a  community that in fact does value what you do. And then do an ever better job of explaining and storytelling, increasing the perceived value instead of lowering the price. (Even better, actually increase the value delivered). When you don’t need everyone to buy what you sell, “it’s too expensive” from some is actually a useful reminder that you’ve priced this appropriately for the rest of your audience.”

The main idea is that for some people your product/service may be too expensive….yet if you start with a community (customers) that does value your product AND you do an excellent job of explaining and storytelling than the perceived value is even better for the customers..

Just about anyone can be a low-price producer….the test for any business is to offer better “value delivered”.





I was at the Lowe’s Home Center this morning. As often as I visit Lowe’s….almost all the time I see the store manager on the floor interacting with the associates and customers.  MBWA (Managing By Walking/Wandering Around) is a fundamental organizational principle. It’s the only way to get the pulse of the business and to see the how the home center is merchandised.

On the other hand at our fitness center, the manager seldom interacts with the customers/members….most of the time he sits in the office. I suspect the management training is far different at Lowe’s than Fitness Connection. Yet….the bottom line for both businesses is customer satisfaction….the only way to understand that is MBWA.


Four Lessons


Shinola is a company that in a small way has revitalized manufacturing in Detroit

From The Chicago Tribune:


One interesting aspect of The Tribune story is the Fossil lifestyles brand…..with sales of $3.2B.

The four lessons from Shinola:

  • “I Wish I Could Say That We Had a Plan.” – It helps a lot to have a vision and a compelling story.
  • “If We Take Care of Our People, They’ll Take Care of Our Customers and Our Business.” – Success breeds success, and believing that your people are your most important asset (and that they can always be better) is the only way to keep raising the bar.
  • “We Start With the Best Product We Can Find (or Imagine) and Then Make the Numbers Work.” – They guaranteed their products for life.
  • “If Your High Prices are Propped Up by Huge Marketing Spends, You’re Ripe for Disruption.” – The Shinola team believed that you can make a great product and a great living (and even give back to your community) without being greedy and taking advantage of the consumer. 

The take-a-way is two-fold other than the excellent four lessons:

  • The willingness to invest in Detroit.
  • The need to continually learn from Shinola and others.





Eventually Success


Much is written about failure….often this: “Failure is not an option”.

Tom Peters continually states that failure is part of a successful organization….the willingness to try new ideas….new ways of doing things….some work, some don’t. Excellent businesses have a culture of trying and continuing trying.

The winter months remind me of “failure” in our business. We would make a sizeable investment in each weeks advertising promotion….newspaper and radio. Friday and Saturday were generally the highest sales days and were vital for the business. Yet we would often have poor weather….that resulted in people not getting out to do their discretionary purchasing.

The end result: failure of that weeks promotion. Of course, we would start over again for the following week….create the promotion theme….layout the ad and get ready for the weekend. We could not dwell on the poor results (failure) of a bad week….even if weather related. If we did….we should not have been in that business. In the long term….there was eventually success.

“Fail. Fail again. Fail better.” (Tom Peters)


Future Strategy


I recently read a post about future trends of a particular industry. In 1982, John Naisbitt published Megatrends-Ten New Directions Transforming Our Lives….a new and popular resource in the early 80s.

While not all predictions materialize….it is a significant part of the business/organization strategy process to be aware of what will be important in the future.

I need to revisit Megatrends to see if the ten directions were accurate. Anyone can create predictions….the validity lies in the credibility of that source.


From New Zealand


Business/organizations need to continually learn. Businesses get isolated with day-to-day operations. The great benefit of the internet is to discover businesses from 1/2 way around the world….RightWay accounting is one of them.

A nice website explains in detail the RightWay philosophy. With ten locations throughout New Zealand….the firm can have a strong influence on NZ small businesses.