Mixed Blessing

Amazon #2

A recent article from the Seattle Times:

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/the-mixed-blessing-of-amazon/

“At the bottom of the brain index was Muskegon, Michigan, a place I recently visited. I found the city lovely, with its lakeside setting, fine old houses and world-class museum. When I told a handful of Muskegonites about the problems in Seattle from the metastatic growth of Amazon, they were not sympathetic.”

Muskegon is certainly not in contention for Amazon #2….but that’s OK. There are greater issues than landing this giant….although just about every major city has submitted a proposal….including Raleigh.

This might be good advice – “To the next Amazon lottery winner I would say, enjoy the boom — but be careful what you wish for.”

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Tuning Forks

Riverbank Labs

Where are tuning forks made? Perhaps overseas….but also at Riverbank Labs in Geneva, IL.

Granted tuning forks are not a product most folks need….none-the-less there is a specific need for these unique acoustical instruments.

Even more interesting is the story behind the company and its founder.

https://patch.com/illinois/batavia/geneva-tycoon-who-launched-the-national-security-agency-featured-in-new-biography-batavia

There are many companies like Riverbank Labs….that create unique products and that are often off the business radar screen.

http://riverbanklabs.com/

Resolution

Do it Right – The First Time

Menards is a Midwest home center chain similar to Home Depot or Lowe’s.

A recent incident indicated how Menards resolved (or didn’t resolve) a customer’s billing problem (which was not the fault of the customer).

Target 8: No-show refrigerator leads to billing battle

As part of the Menard’s brand identity is this:

Either Menard’s doesn’t live up to that expectation or does not give a store manager the authority to correct a problem.

In any case, getting a TV station to resolve a problem is not good public relations. How many potential customer will go to the competition because a problem was not resolved the first time….quickly and immediately.

Plumbing

Solution

The drain on our clothes washer was not draining properly….ordinarily a simple solution.

Perhaps 10 years ago we would have pulled the washer out and solved the problem. However with plumbing and electrical projects….sometimes a professional is needed.

Checking Angie’s List and Home Advisor….there were numerous plumbers much like HVAC people. The dilemma is finding the “right” one….reasonable, proficient and reliable.

Fortunately, calling our “handyman” and asking him we found the “right” plumber. A one person shop with experience, efficiency and fair price.

Key point: finding a good (above average) service provider/business requires doing some homework.

Healthy Competition

Rising Tide

Seth Godin – 9.22.17:

“The busiest Indian restaurants in New York City are all within a block or two of each other.

Books sell best in bookstores, surrounded by other books, their ostensible competitors.

Competition is a signal. It means that you’re offering something that’s not crazy. Competition gives people reassurance. Competition makes it easier to get your point across. Competition helps us understand that people like us do things like this.

If you have no competition, time to find some.”

In our business, there was considerable competition in Muskegon….three larger businesses….one higher end….several low end….five or six in our middle category.

While highly competitive….the frequent advertising and marketing created a continuing awareness of home furnishings and thus interest by customers. 

More competition results in “a rising tide that lifts all the boats.” in other words as Seth comments….healthy competition makes (or should make) a better business.

Average

Not a Goal

Some businesses/organizations consider being average as a worthy goal.

Unfortunately, some business that we encounter here in the Research Triangle consider average as acceptable. I suspect it is because this area has a strong economy and they can do reasonably well by being average. Those below average (low performers) are no longer in business.

High performer businesses are the ones to seek out….they will for the most part will be better and be different. Being average, it would seem is not a goal…..if for no other reason to have a sense of knowing ones effort is “well-done”.