Recent Posts by Learning Entrepreneurship

Good salesmanship still works

And you can’t fake sincerity

car_salesmanAmbushed at the service counter. But it was such a smooth, subtle switch to the sales pitch that I was persuaded to sit down and listen.

Before I got out of the car at the dealership service bay, I noticed the well-dressed young man coming to greet me who did not look like a service technician. He said, “Good morning, Mr. Chatterson, let me check you in to get your winter tires installed”, as he handed me the service ticket, “but you’re on a short list of customers this morning that I wanted to talk to about trading in your car today. It has low mileage and good trade-in value and we have some exceptional deals right now that would make it easy for you to trade up to a new one.”

How’s that for a well delivered up-sell? Much more appealing than “Would you like fries with that?”

He handed me a cup of freshly brewed coffee and led me to his desk. How could I resist. I’m an entrepreneur and business consultant and I was appreciating the demonstration of The Four P’s of Salesmanship: Polite, Patient, Persistent, & Persuasive. He almost had me into a new convertible on a cold windy winter day in Montreal. The deal was very good this time of year!

But then they fell back on the objectionable old auto sales routine of “Let me introduce you to the Sales Manager, maybe he can do even better.” Older guy, more expensive suit, big hearty handshake, high energy, fast talker and “Very pleased to meet you, Mr. Chatterson.” A forced fake friendliness that sent me back to the service department for another coffee.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

Retail is dead

Hah! They said that about the horse & buggy industry.

shoppersWe’ve been saying it about retail for over fifteen years.  E-commerce is coming, catch the wave or be drowned by it. Soon there will be nobody left but Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba.

Maybe this Christmas shopping season will be the final slide into oblivion for traditional real-world retailers. Or maybe not?

They’re not all losing to online. This week’s shopping excursion did expose the disturbing site of Sear’s liquidation sales at one end of the mall, but BestBuy and the Hudson’s Bay seemed busy and full of real shoppers.

Survival of the fittest still applies. The laggards at the back of the pack will get picked off by the predators. You can’t hide, but you don’t have to roll over and die, either. Evolution and survival requires adaptation.

Pay attention. Learn from new competitors and their business models, online or otherwise. Copy what seems to be working and can be used to attract and retain your customers too.

The latest versions of the new economy may include robots and artificial intelligence, drones and resource-sharing, but some old rules still apply:

  • Do your homework before trying to implement new technology.
  • Focus on your business objectives, not on what’s cool, or hot, or trendy.
  • Do not stubbornly fail to fix what is clearly broken.
  • Flip the old WWW on its head and remember MMM – Manage, Monitor and Measure.
  • Too many new initiatives are driven by fear or greed. Be smarter than that.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.  

Breakfast Strategies

More than 2 scrambled eggs, bacon, coffee, toast & jam.

bacon & eggs (2)I have been working to establish a new family tradition of big boys’ breakfast on Sundays for grandpa, sons and grandsons. The variety of breakfast spots has been a useful lesson in strategic positioning.

The specialty breakfast restaurant is a well-established concept, especially in Montréal, starting with Chez Cora, and is now a very competitive market with lots of attractive choices. How do they all survive?

Here’s what we’ve learned, so far.

First: Accept the business model where it’s clearly working. Breakfast and lunch only, located in a high traffic area for large volume and fast turnover in a few working hours. Appeal to the most likely prospects, business people and professionals, retirees, dining alone or using the spot for business, meetings and social groups.

Second: Be distinctive. Make choices on the menu, pricing, quality and quantity, design and décor, staffing, uniforms, style and personality. Be consistent in all of those choices to reinforce the strategic positioning.

Choose from the MacDonald’s and Tim Horton’s style of limited low-budget choices, fast and cheap. Or consider more variety, larger selections, larger portions, more creative menu items, gourmand versus gourmet, extravagant versus exotic, home-style versus chic. Ensure high quality food and friendly, efficient service.

It’s seems to be a simple formula for success: make good strategic choices and be consistent in execution of the strategy. It works for more than restaurants.

The research continues.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

Tiger lessons – Business is like Golf

Coming back as a contender

Tiger back - 2017Tiger Woods is back.

Playing in the Bahamas against the top 32 golfers in the world, he clearly belongs there again, hopefully for the 2018 season. Age 42, after four back surgeries and he has not played more than two tournaments in almost three years.

How does he do it?Tiger back - 2017 -5

What are the lessons for your business?

Here’s my take-away list:

  1. Don’t try to compete against the best in the world until you’re ready. Physically and mentally.
  2. Prepare and practice. Test and improve. Practice some more. Get as good as you can be. Accept that you may have been better in the past. Make adjustments.
  3.  Recognize that preparation and practice are never the same as real world competition. Be ready for unexpected challenges.
  4.  Expect more stress, wear and tear than you remember.
  5.  Don’t be distracted by inconsistent performance in the early going, raise yourTiger back - 2017 -7 expectations as the results improve.

Tiger made it look easy, this time around. It never is.

P.S. A brief addendum based on my Old-Timers Hockey experience today: Update your tools and equipment to the latest technology. (I finally invested in a new high-tech hockey stick and the difference was HUGE – better stickhandling, passing and fore-checking and scored on the first shot.) Tiger is still wearing Nike clothes, hat and shoes, but is now playing with Titleist clubs and Bridgestone balls.

Remember: Business is like golf.

Be better, do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Read more articles like this one at: Business is Like Golf Blog

 

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.comand join our mailing list for more ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Check outUncle Ralph’s books, Don’t Do It the Hard Way and The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans. Available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

It’s all about the Money

Of course

raining cashAs they keep telling us, “It’s always about the money.”

Time to stop denying, explaining, apologizing? Maybe we can just ignore the critics and focus on the people that are really important to us.

It’s the employees, customers and suppliers, maybe your bank and probably your family, that really need to know you also have their interests at heart. You already know that you could make more money, especially in the short term, by taking a few short cuts. They’re not all illegal, some are just exploitive or objectionable use of people and the planet. But you also know that they are all actually bad for your business, if you want to maintain your ability to look after all those people that are important to you.

 Now let’s deal with the critics. Unfortunately, they can influence the environment you work in and the rules you have to comply with, even if they don’t know what they’re talking about. So let’s help them understand what entrepreneurs are really about. Don’t let them accept all the easy stereotypes and generalize from the few bad actors.

We don’t need to apologize (I hope), but we do need to explain.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Under Promise & Over Deliver

But don’t Under Sell

Fast deliveryIt’s a popular mantra: Under Promise & Over Deliver

And it’s good advice to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction. Promise delivery in the next 3-5 days, then deliver tomorrow. Wow!

Customers love it. Except those customers who did not order it, because they needed it in two days.

Cautious promises may be good for customer service but not good for sales to get the order in the first place.

Maybe the mantra should be: Promise to be better than the competition, then deliver what you promise.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

 

 

Lonely at the top

It doesn’t have to be

LonelyYou could be proud of the fact that you are all alone running your business. You could be constantly complaining and feeling sorry for yourself. Or you can make different choices. It can be lonely at the top, but it doesn’t have to be.

Sharing your challenges and looking for solutions by confiding in family, friends or employees may not be enough. In fact, some of the issues may be caused by family, friends and employees and you have already learned that sharing with them is not always helpful. You need knowledgeable, experienced, objective input from outside that inner circle. You cannot possibly consider all the viable options and develop the best solutions in isolation.

So how do you expand your circle of confidants to break the cycle of struggling alone looking for better answers?

Consider these options, which have worked well for other independent business owners:

  • Use professional advisors – your accountant, lawyer, business consultant.
  • Hire a mentor or personal coach.
  • Recruit an advisory board.
  • Join a peer advisory group of similar, but non-competing businesses.
  • Select trusted strategic partners – banker, customer, competitor or supplier.

You do not have to be alone at the top.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

 

 

Hiding in anonymity

Who me?

Bad behaviour is easier when it’s anonymous. As you have noticed, I’m sure.

 In traffic behind tinted windows in a closed car, drivers are more likely to be rude, selfish and inconsiderate. Online, aggressive and inappropriate behaviour is even worse and made easier if it’s anonymous.

Some people enjoy the attention and notoriety of their Twitter tirades and posted rants, but for the most egregious, we don’t usually know exactly who it is or where they live.

So how do we raise standards of social behaviour and civil discourse? Maybe it starts with not allowing anyone to hide behind anonymity. If they were required to disclose their names and let us see their faces, they would be less likely to embarrass themselves. More likely to say and do things they can be proud of. Boasting is better than ranting, tell us who you are and where you work.

Think about it the next time you recognize that you are hiding in anonymity. Be proud. Better yet, make Mom proud. Tell us your name.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

“I knew that, I do that”

Obviously

Fist-Pump-ChampionSometimes when you’re working on self-improvement and reading the latest business textbook, or following a self-help advice column or participating in a workshop or seminar from your carefully chosen preferred expert, guru or philosopher king, you may suddenly think, “Hey, that’s obvious. I already knew that. Of course I do that.”

The experts agree! You’re doing it right.

But is that reassuring or disturbing? Good to have your own ideas and approach confirmed or, dammit, I paid too much for something I already know. Does it build your confidence and conviction or seed new doubt and anxiety? Maybe you need to keep searching for better answers?

I’m recommending you choose reassuring, building confidence and conviction. You’re smarter than you think. It’s time to stop searching and researching. Don’t let preparation become an excuse for procrastination. Get to work and make the improvements.

But keep learning by doing. Keep developing and adapting your ideas and approach to your own circumstances and capabilities. Nobody knows the possibilities for constant improvement better than you.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

You’re fired!

Hire well, but fire better

FiredDonald Trump made his name as a Reality TV star with the trademark line, “You’re fired!” As President in the real world, instead of the very unreal Reality TV world, he may have used it one too many times.

There is a lesson here for entrepreneurs. Firing an employee needs to be done at least as well as the initial hiring, maybe better. A firing has greater impact on the rest of the organisation.

Although your conversations one-on-one may be very private, a firing tends to get more public attention and generate stronger reaction. Maybe it’s the “fear of firing.” The message received by employees staying on the job will be more important than the message delivered to the employee who was fired. Their perceptions and interpretations of what “really” happened will affect their own behavior.

They have seen how someone got fired, now they need to know why.

Could it be something the boss just didn’t like? Something that was said or done that had nothing to do with the job?

Be sure they get the right message, quickly.

Be better. Do better.

Your Uncle Ralph, Del Chatterson

Visit LearningEntrepreneurship.com or contact DirectTech Solutions at www.DirectTech.ca for assistance on your strategic business issues, growth and profit improvement plans or your exit strategies.

Join our mailing list at LearningEntrepreneurship.com for ideas, information and inspiration for entrepreneurs.

Read more articles at:Learning Entrepreneurship Blogs. 

 

Click Here to check out Uncle Ralph’s books, “Don’t Do It the Hard Way” and “The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans” Both are available online or at your favourite bookstore in hard cover, paperback or e-book.

 

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