From jsonline:


Some businesses that have flounderd….can be turned aound….with the right leadership. From the Journal-Sentinel article….that is the case with Tramont Manufacturing.

Key points:

  • Sales at $1M per month
  • Discount incentives to gain business
  • Deliveries as promised
  • Reliable supplier
  • Quality product to major customers


Motion Dynamics

Wire TechnologyMotion Dynamics

Motion Dynamics located in Fruitport, MI. manufactures precision wire components, springs and wire assemblies for the medical, electronics, aerospace and military industries.


Motion Dynamics (MD) is an example of companies that drive economic growth. Not only do they manufacture highly engineered and innovative products….they also are a vital part of the economic engine of the local economy.

MD founded (1992) might not receive as much attention as an older established company none-the-less from a larger perspective….there are great opportunities for MD’s continued growth in a global economy.

Their nice building certainly reflects their image and culture….always look your best to the customer.

Blue Ocean

Strategic Plan

Blue Ocean

From jsonline: http://www.jsonline.com/business/marks-finds-the-blue-ocean-b99705710z1-375914571.html

“Breakthrough companies find a way to swim into a blue ocean, creating a different business model that is not limited and cannot be duplicated by competitors.

Sue Marks has a knack for swimming into the blue ocean. For the better part of three decades, she has been finding ways to differentiate her businesses from the red ocean that is the human resources and staffing industry.”

Being unique and different (on ongoing theme of TrueNorth) is the foundation of a strategic business plan. The day-to-day operations of course are important….yet there is also the necessity to continually move a business/organization forward to be the only ones who do what they do.

“We want to be the only ones, who can do what we do for our clients.” It is very easy for businesses to be similar….it is a great business that stands out from the others.


Kiwi Brand

Shoe Polish


Founded in 1906 in Australia, Kiwi shoe polish is the best-selling brand of shoe polish in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The brand is now owned by SC Johnson. I have five such cans in my shoebox kit along with a can of Esquire boot polish.

I’m not sure people use as much shoe polish as they did in the past…..six tiny cans have lasted almost 25 years. In fact one has a price of 39 cents.

Of courses, the fascinating thing about Kiwi is that the brand has been in existence for 110 years and the product formula and container design has changed very little.



Direct Mail


A direct mail promotion can be effective if done correctly. The one (above) sent by a Raleigh HVAC company perhaps not so effective.

On the address side….it indicates “Service Notification”

On the reverse side….”Service Request”. It further states – maintenance on a your air conditioner is required. Your charge for this maintenance service is only $79.

The test of course is the response rate versus the cost of the direct mail promotion.

Why would one respond to this direct mail piece?:

  • There is nothing about the company
  • The notice implies that the manufacture’s warranty is null and void
  • The price is $30 more than most other HVAC companies.
  • The words Service Notification and Service Request convey a wrong impression.

I would suggest that this is not an effective marketing strategy and/or direct mail promotion.

High Point University



Once or twice a year Business NorthCarolina encloses a copy of a well-done….112 page publication from High Point University (HPU).

In some respects, the HPU publication is a marketing brochure in a magazine format.

What the HPU magazine does emphasize Is ” bringing business-minded concepts to life for all students”. In a competitive world….HPU seems to provide the type of education that leads to successful careers.

HPU also brings some highly respected people to its campus in its Lessons in Leadership program….such as Gen. Colin Powell….Tom Brokaw….Seth Godin….John Maxwell….Steve Wozniak.

HPU has aggressively expanded in ten years….it seems to have a positive impact on the community and even more so for the students in preparation for a fast-changing world.


Call Volume

Questionable Management

Call Volume

Seth Godin wrote (4.5.16):

“When did companies start talking about, “unexpectedly high call volume?”Are they really so inept at planning that the call volume is unexpected? For months at a time?

“Once an institution starts glibly lying, it’s a slippery slope. A reality distortion field moves from on-hold time to diesel emissions.”

I suspect that companies really don’t have “unexpectedly high call volume”. It’s that they don’t staff the call center to handle even a normal volume of calls. I also suspect that there are numerous algorithms that these companies use to determine drop/churn rates etc. to justify not responding to their calls.

It’s not a good way to do business. We did not have the luxury of a sophisticated phone system. Every time the phone rang….it was answered. And 99% of the time….the customer received a response immediately or shortly thereafter.

Do not mislead the customer….that’s just good business!