Attracting New Customers

August 17, 2015

 

Djscubalogo

I recently spoke with Dan Howard, a long-time friend and owner of DJ’s SCUBA Locker in the greater Chicago area. We met during a dive trip to Honduras back in the 1990’s. Dan’s business is thriving to the point he’s been able to leave the corporate world and focus on growing his SCUBA diving business.

While many SCUBA shops have failed in recent years as disposable income has dropped, Dan has focused not only on consumers but municipal entities that need support. He’s now the “go-to” guy in the Chicago area and is expanding his reach geographically. It’s what happens naturally when you are the “go-to” guy.

His competitors are continually grousing that “Dan took away my customers.” Really? Perhaps they gave them away.

Why don’t his competitors look at this appropriately: they couldn’t offer the service and value Dan’s customers wanted. They didn’t listen enough and take action to ensure they were the “go-to” SCUBA service center.

Word of mouth is powerful–I’m certain many are now Dan’s customers because of the strong endorsements he gets.

If you provide great service and a great customer experience, you, too, can be the “go-to” business like Dan and his wife, Cindy.

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How To Take Stress Out Of Your Air Travel

Thought for the week:

“Nothing is more tiring than the task that is never started.” – Gretchen Rubin (@gretchenrubin)
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Lessons From Billy’s Boston Chowder House

July 20, 2015

Billy's Boston Chowder House

My wife and I only recently learned of a restaurant in Los Gatos when a restaurant closed and our usual waitress told us she was going to work there. Last night, we tried it: Billy’s Boston Chowder House in Los Gatos, California. It’s only 3,283 miles from Boston (as they proudly proclaim)!

We really didn’t know what to expect. It appeared the owner may have come from Boston due to memorabilia on the walls. Frankly, that had me a tad bit concerned as a lot of restaurants in Massachusetts are pretty mediocre: too heavy and so so taste. That can’t be said of Billy’s!

My wife had sand dabs. I had a cup of New England clam chowder and fish and chips–a true test. We were wowed by the food, the service and the owner, Bill Reynolds. This former tech executive opened his restaurant 4 years ago. And, he’s nailed it with incredible attention to detail and superior execution.

Bill is following his new passion with great abandon. He’s got a great team that works seamlessly. You could see his cooks smiling and laughing in a hot kitchen as they carefully prepared their guests meals.

We can’t wait to go back. Billy’s Boston Chowder House is a great testament to the Pine & Gillmore book, The Experience Economy. Great food, great service in an inviting environment.

Your test is to provide great products and services as well as great customer service to make your customers want to come back again and again. How do your customers rate your business?

Thought for the week:

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming ‘WHO HOO, what a ride!’” – Sign in store in Pacific Grove, California
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Lessons From Undercover Boss

February 16, 2015

Undercover Boss

For those of you who may not have seen the show Undercover Boss, the owner works in his/her business in a full disguise attempting to learn more about the how the business works to experience first-hand the challenges the employees face at work and in life. It is always eye-opening. There are lessons for all business owners:

  • Too many owners are concerned about growing the business with little regard for the foundation the business is built on: people, process, systems, customer experience, etc. The most recent profit and loss statement doesn’t portend future challenges.
  • Businesses take on the personas of the people who work in them. If the business owner doesn’t set and enforce strong expectations, the owner should not be surprised when employees write their own script. People need to be trained and held accountable for meeting standards. Hope is not a strategy.
  • It is rather amazing that so many business owners have little or no idea what work and life challenges their employees face. They don’t need to go undercover–they just need to show up to learn what their employees and customers experience. The Japanese use the word “gemba” which means “to go where the work is.” You can’t possibly know what is going on if you don’t see it with your own eyes.
  • Too many owners don’t understand the hardship they are creating with their employees with uncertain work shifts, low wages, lack of medical benefits. These employees are the lifeblood of their business and own the relationships with their customers yet they are treated as being disposable.
  • The pay gap between the owners–who live very opulent lifestyles–and unskilled workers is huge. The average CEO (according to a Harvard Business Review article) makes 350+ times what the average unskilled worker makes. The CEOs want for little while their employees are barely getting by in life.

At the end of the show, the business owner comes out of disguise and usually offers promotions, cash rewards, business opportunities, offers to pay medical bills, rent, all expense-paid vacations, etc. While the employees who are part of the show are rewarded, you wonder what happens to the other employees, many of whom face the same job and life issues.

What needs to happen? I hope each CEO does some serious soul-searching about what it means to be the CEO and to lead the enterprise, examines the role people, systems and processes play in their business’s success, and take appropriate actions to ensure the ongoing viability of their businesses.

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Thought for the week:

“I drink to make other people more interesting.” – Ernest Hemingway
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network: Pay It Forward

June 9, 2013

Take 2 minutes and watch this video:

Stay tuned to learn how I am going to do my part to help women entrepreneurs by paying it forward so they can pay it forward.  I find Dell’s call to action compelling and I will be part of this movement.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting  http://www.gardnerandassoc.com


Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network Istanbul 2013 Video Highlights

June 6, 2013

I’m just back from the Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network’s annual global conference held June 2-4, 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey. This video captures reactions from many participants:

I’ll be writing much more about this event.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

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Dave Gardner To Keynote Endeavor Istanbul

May 19, 2013

I am very excited to announce that I’ve been invited to keynote Endeavor Istanbul on June 6th, 2013.  This event is about entrepreneurship.  I’ll be speaking about Designing Your Future.

If you are attending, I look forward to meeting you in person. If you aren’t attending, you are going to miss an incredible event!

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com


How To Stand Out In The Crowd At Launch Festival

March 11, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: how to stand out in the crowd

The Launch Festival 2013 concluded in San Francisco this past week. Approximately 50 companies stayed in stealth mode waiting to reveal to the world what they were all about in front of angel investors, venture capitalists, fellow entrepreneurs and the media. Each company had a problem of how to stand out in a big crowd and attract the attention of potential investors.

While some may have thought it’s all about “them,” like it or not, they were being compared to identify which value propositions, teams and ideas had the best chance of disrupting a current marketplace and create huge upside for the founders and investors. For example, which among the 50 is the next Yammer which launched at the Launch Festival 5 years ago and sold to Microsoft for $1.2 billion last year?

How could companies have prepared better and attracted more investment money? In no particular order:

  • Too much focus on the technology; not enough focus on ”who wants to buy and why.”
  • If you are tackling a complex problem and your solution to that problem appears complex, you aren’t ready to bring your offering to the world.
  • Entrepreneurs reliant on external data sources need to understand risks of sharing out of date data. Customers will abandon your solution if they show up for a cancelled meetings or events.
  • Not enough attention on what potential investors care about, e.g., business model, monetization strategy, current revenues (if any), margins (current or anticipated), and, the team. Exasperated judges had to ask.
  • Unprepared for judges pushback (objections)–need to anticipate potential questions and objections and have cogent responses, preferably preemptively. If you are caught flat-footed, it undermines you and your solution.
  • Assume the judges don’t know more about your market potential than you do. You live it; they don’t. Judges were incorrect about several market assumptions and got away with it as the entrepreneurs let them.
  • Stand up for your convictions when you know facts are on your side. Be humble when the converse is true.
  • Most offered very little insight as to “why” their solution was going to be a game-changer and be widely adopted.
  • When will tech companies learn that the “best” companies don’t win–it’s the companies that market, sell most effectively and get serious traction via end-user adoption that win.
  • Most firms clearly needed assistance with marketing and with connecting their solution to paying customers–the “if we build it, they will come” school has been disproven time and again.
  • If it’s likely the judges have little expertise in your industry or with your solution, you had better educate them in 30 seconds or less or they will make you feel like you don’t understand your market and total addressable market.

There were a lot of interesting companies at Launch 2013. Sadly, many more of them have the potential to thrive than probably will.

Thought for the week:

“Anybody can have a great idea. Few people can execute. Focus on that!” – Dave McClure, 500 StartUps

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What do you think? I welcome your blog comments!

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting

http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2012 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.

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