Business Model


Business model

The recent quarterly bill arrived from the News & Observer. The recurring question: Does the N & O deliver value for the price paid….and does the N & O have a sustainable business model?

  1. N & O value: No, the value has been significantly diminished over the years. Content is much less than in the past….primarily due to the loss of advertising revenue.
  2. N & O business model: Is it sustainable? – No. newspaper revenue was based on advertising….both classified and display. Subscriptions can’t provide the needed revenue.

McClatchy Co., the owners of the N & O continue to show losses with their newspaper publications.

At some point….it may just be prudent to forgo the daily newspaper (except for Sunday). After all, if the value is not relative to the cost why continue!

Latest McClatchy Co. Financial Report:


What do they mean?


Do businesses really pay attention to reviews of their products/services? The internet has dramatically changed on how customers interact with businesses.

In general….I look at the most recent reviews to get a picture of the business. The challenge is to filter out those that seem to be too good or those that are completely critical.

Looking back….how would I review our business….and more important how would we respond to a less than stellar review?

Of course, I believe we would have gotten good reviews or people would have never bought from us. The real test is what would we have done with a poor review. I would hope that we would have immediately corrected the problem, if it meant replacing the product or taking it back….even if it was completely suitable. Every sale counted, after all a lot of effort was put into the sales process. Even if we had to refund the sale….it would have been the right thing to do….never leave a customer unsatisfied if at all possible.

Of all the lessons learned: taking immediate action was the best thing we did.


Good Business


Most people like to know who they are doing business with so they can put a name to a face.

Often in our print ads we included our pictures to reinforce our name and brand.

A recent mailing for a local insurance agency was very well done….it personalized the business….a simple mail piece….yet effective.

  • Prominent title – our purpose (ACA)
  • Photo – our people
  • Contact information – our phone and website

Overall, an effective direct mail marketing tool for the Wooten Agency.

Tires – Part 2

Thank you


My new tires have been installed and the rear wheels aligned (10.07.15 post). I decided to buy from Atlantic Tire because it seemed the more professional of the three dealers. Also, they were best rated by a  local magazine survey and for the most part had good reviews.

In todays mail….a nice surprise….a handwritten Thank You note.

“We will rotate your tires free of charge every six months or 6,000 miles…..We are grateful for your business.”

A handwritten Thank You note may be “old school”….yet it achieves an important purpose….customer loyalty.

I gave Atlantic Tire a 4 star review….two small glitches kept it from a 5 star-first time rating. In 6 months when the tires are rotated….we’ll take another look at Atlantic Tire.

Note: The Thank You note would have been a valuable asset to our business….we could have done better in that regard.


General Motors


Some business stay the same….some have to reinvent themselves.

The automobile industry and General Motors have certainly had to reinvent themselves in order to remain competitive with world-wide brands.

From the Stanford Business School:

The lessons learned are knowing the customer and always making the product better….and “But if you look at other vehicles that are successful long term, they tend to stay true to their mission. They don’t try to wander off and be something they’re not.”


Fifty Years



Great is often overused to describe a successful business/organization.

In the case of USAA….great is a very accurate description.

USAA was founded in 1922 to provide automobile insurance to military officers. It has since become a prominent diversified financial services company.

At first only available to officers….USAA has broadened the membership to almost all military.

Being a member for 55 years is a significant accomplishment for a dedicated business partner ship.


Building Blocks

Building Blocks

From Seth Godin – Fundamental building blocks of growth:

  • The best marketing isn’t advertising, it’s a well-designed and remarkable product.
  • The best way to contact your users is by earning the privilege to contact them, over time.
  • Making products for your customers is far more efficient than finding customers for your products.
  • Horizontally spread ideas (person to person) are far more effective than top-down vertical advertising.
  • More data isn’t the point. Data to serve explicit promises is the point.
  • Commodity products can’t expect to easily build a profitable ‘brand’ with nothing but repetitive jingles and noise.
  • Media properties that celebrate their ads (like Vogue) will continue to thrive, because the best advertising is the advertising we would miss if it was gone.

All these blocks are key to a successful business….Seth Godin points them out explicitly. We implicitly used them in our business….although I don’t think we really knew that.




N17ND is a Gulfstream V  based in Muskegon, MI. (MKG). The Gulfstream V is a corporate aircraft with a range of 6500 miles.

I do have some knowledge of this particular aircraft and its ownership. It is certainly used for business. It is also more than likely the only Gulfstream V based in MKG.

What is fascinating is that N17ND in a 2 week period flew almost around the world with flights to: Banjul, Gambia – Tahiti – Kona, HI – Toluca, Mexico – Clermont, France – Geneva, Switzerland and Austin, TX, Opa-Locka, FL – Teterboro, NJ – Washington Dulles – San Jose, CA – Aspen, CO – Fargo, NC – Phoenix, AZ

Aircraft are meant to be used….N17ND is well used….with perhaps some fascinating stories from its world-wide flights.




It’s time for tires for our Toyota Camry. The original Michelin’s were OK….but have not had great mileage.

Buying automobile tires requires some homework….not only because there are numerous brands and models….but also where to buy them.

After some research and visiting three dealers….one was selected. It seemed the most professional of the three and matched the lowest price.

One dealer had a good price, unfortunately it just seemed less professional than the others….and conflicting on-line pricing. Why make it difficult for the customer. The answer: “that’s just the way it is”

The final outcome: New Goodyear tires on Friday. 



Salt box ups

The culture of a business/organization really defines that business.

“Give me culture of caring/commitment to personal growth/constant experimentation/customer centrism and I care not what your “model” is.” -Tom Peters

Now there are numerous UPS stores in our area….some last some don’t. Their function is to process packages for shipping primarily for UPS, but also for the Post Office.

What sets the Salt Box Village UPS apart is that Charlie has created a “friendly/engaging” culture that makes it a pleasure to take my packages to this store rather than the Post Office. Certainly shipping a package, overnight letter or coping documents is rather mundane….yet by creating a friendly culture….this UPS store makes those tasks easy to do.

After all….isn’t that purpose of this UPS business.

Charlie’s outgoing personality has defined the culture of UPS store #6430. The end result from a 9.30.15 customer review

“I ship items regularly to out of town friends and family as well as buyers for my small business.  I ALWAYS receive EXCELLENT service at this UPS Store.  Even though there are 2 UPS drop offs closer to me, I’d prefer to drive a few more minutes and get treated like a valued customer – like the way I try to treat my own customers.  THANK YOU for being excellent at what you do!”