First Impression


Seaway Drive bridge

We always wanted our customers to have a positive first impression whan they visited our business….after all they were our guests. That meant every morning, carpets vacuumed….door clean and shiny….parking lot cleared and swept. If a customer didn’t have a positive first impression….than what would they think of us and our products.

The railroad bridge (above) is on the business route into the city of Muskegon. It certainly does not convey a positive impression of the community….in fact it was that way 25 years ago!

Muskegon like other Midwest industrial towns has blighted properties that are are slowly being cleaned up. The railroad bridge needs a repainting….either by the railroad or community.

If there is one project that needs a community (business and government) effort it’s repainting this bridge.

After all….first impressions do mean a lot.


Mind Mapping

Mind Map

Mind Mapping was an analytic business/thinking tool I discovered several years ago. Its purpose is to help visualize information that impacts on actions/decisions that an organization has to make.

I did use it on many occasions….one in particular which strengthened an organizations strategy. Mind Mapping is closely related to Systems Thinking….another concept that helps in the decision-making process.

Businesses/organizations need to use any tool that helps them get better. Mind Mapping and Systems Thinking may sound somewhat esoteric….yet they are valuable when used to make good decisions.


Or Probable


I have worked with an organization in the past and have often posted about the challenges it faces. In particular declining membership and marginal leadership.

Recently….probably one of the most insightful members  wrote about the possibility of future growth of this organization.

My response to his post was possible….Yes, probable….No.

The decline over the past ten years has been dramatic….leadership is more in “preserve the institution” mode….and this organization is becoming irrelevant in today’s world.

What I did try to convey in my response was rather than trying to fix the current situation….perhaps start out with a new/different model than what has been done in the past.

It remains to be seen if this group can turn around….or if energy should be directed in moving in a different direction.

More to follow!



The Habit Burger Grill

Habit Burger

How many more burger chains are there? The answer is as many as there are Pizza chains. There is always is a new one to enter the market.

From Business Insider (BI):

The BI article states that the regional chain has been named the best in America. Of course, naming anything the best is subjective. Started in 1969 in Santa Barbara, CA…..Habit Burger has about 100 locations.

If the quality is consistent and pricing competitive….Habit Burger may become better known nationally. A lot has to happen before that can take place. In particular….getting the right leaders/managers on board the bus.

Fix It

Change Direction


Consultants generally want to fix misguided businesses/organizations. Good consultants can generally see things that need to be done….sooner rather than later. Of course the initiative has to come from the customer/clients willingness make the necessary changes.

An acquaintance recently stated that maybe his job wasn’t to “fix’ organizations. There is some merit to that since many business/organizations find it difficult to change directions.

Perhaps another pathway, rather than “fix” is to offer added (with new skills and increased knowledge) value to businesses that have a clear sense of direction.


What’s Fair?


Pricing our products took some thought….normally it was the normal markup plus freight. Yet, if we wanted to be competitive we tinkered with the price. However, it wasn’t that easy….the price had to reflect the quality of the product. We carried several products that were of very good quality….yet the price did not reflect the normal markup. The reason….to establish our business as one of exceptional values….in otherwords a very fair price.

In a recent golf magazine….there was a listing of young upcoming instructors. Their fee per hour caught my attention….anywhere from $60 to $235. Most of these instructors probably work as independent contractors….perhaps have a limited season….and may  have but two or three clients in a day….and not everyday.

The question of course is: What’s a fair price? Supply and demand is a good indicator….and certainly the quality of the instruction. One instructor may ask $235/hour….the question of course is how many folks will pay that or will there be more clients at $175/hour.

Finding the right (and fair) price is often trail and error.



Target Success Formula

From Business Insider:

Target has lost its way from the original strategy of delivering a luxe shopping experience even though its prices were low.

With the economic downturn, it developed a different strategy that didn’t work well. Along with that….it could not be successful in Canada and in 2013….a massive data breach cost it sales and customer trust.

The question: Can Target develop a new formula/strategy. Target seemed to have stopped listening to its customers. If Target does not listen to its customer….it may well be on the same path as Sears….Radio Shack* and JC Penny.

Perhaps it ought to revisit its original strategy!