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Off and on over the years I’ve taken a few jabs at Wal-Mart. You might think it’s because I grew up in a family owned business and that family-owned business was a little grocery store and that I have such dislike because Wal-Mart is often accused of running the “little guy” out of business.

Nope, what set me off at Wal-Mart was the lousy service I was getting, particularly at the Neighborhood Market near where we live. I mean it was pathetic. Complaining didn’t do a lot of good so I decided to boycott them and drive a couple more miles to CVS and pay a few dollars more where I knew my business would be appreciated.

But I happened to be in my Neighborhood Market some time ago – sorry, I can’t recall exactly why I decided to give them another chance – and it was, literally, a different place. It was a different place because all those grouchy, loafing sour pusses had been replaced with a whole new customer-oriented leadership team that would make ole Sam Walton proud.

But I’m still not a Wal-Mart customer…

I consider myself a customer of Tyrone, Glenn, Zach, Carol, Tim, George and Barb and all the other nice folks on the team at the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market who now take care of me.

I could give you all kinds of stories from my recent experiences to back up my renewed endorsement and why they’re now referral-worthy, but the common denominator is SERVICE!

Incidentally, the lesson is that no matter what size your business is or what sector you’re in, service is how you differentiate yourself. Service is how you get and keep customers for life. And that lifetime customer value is the cash flow that keeps you in business…And ahead of your competition!

 

Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for. A product is not quality because it is hard to make and costs a lot of money, as manufacturers typically believe. This is incompetence. Customers pay only for what is of use to them and gives them value. Nothing else constitutes quality.” – Peter F. Drucker

 

 

The first question we should always ask when entering any situation that could be a networking situation, and you’ll likely find that ANY situation CAN become a networking situation (done tastefully and tactfully, of course) is….

Who here can I help?

I got this idea from Dr. Robert Cialdini, who is considered by many to be the world’s foremost expert on influence and persuasion. He says that if you really want to be influential, start with that simple question.

Our concern should not be “How do I look,” or “How can I make some money today,” or even, “Who do I most want to talk to,” but should instead be, “Who can I help?”

If we go into a networking situation with that as our focus, we’ll not only endear ourselves to our fellow networkers as a nice person, but as a valuable RESOURCE that delivers VALUE for them. That’s the kind of professional all of us want to add to our networks!

How do you get ahead? Ask “Who can I help?”

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'” – Martin Luther King

I often hear decision-makers talk about how they need a new logo, a new brand identity, a new website, or they need to “do more social media” or any other number of things that may indeed be worth looking at, but may not be the real problem or the best place for their attention.

One of the best books I ever received was Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith. Perhaps not coincidentally, the book contained one of the best pieces of marketing advice I ever read, too.

Mr. Beckwith urged the reader to first fix your service! Make sure your customers are getting first class service as a priority all of the time. The best marketing in the world can’t make up for a lousy customer experience.

If you want to test this advice, put your consumer hat on and think about how you spend your money and you’ll probably agree.

 

Lots of people set resolutions for the new year, and lots of people end up abandoning them a few weeks afterward. What’s worse, these people often end up feeling like they failed. Or worse, they consider themselves a “Failure.”

Remember, success is a process, not an event. We talked about that some time ago, and don’t be surprised if I come back to this later on. Process, after all. Process!

If that resolution/goal/idea/hope/dream/whatever you had in mind for 2018 hasn’t worked out yet, quit moping and try again! Who says it has to be a “resolution” anyway? And who decides that it has to be set at a certain time or accomplished at a certain time?

Success is a journey, not a destination. The doing is often more important than the outcome.” – Arthur Ashe

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Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: Now.” – Denis Waitley

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Something I like to help clients do is maximize every resource. When that maximization also offers some potentially high ROI activity, all the better. It should come as no surprise that Amazon provides us with a fine example of this very concept in action.

I ordered some stuff from Amazon and it arrived in the box shown in the pic to the left.

As you can see, the box features promotional copy for the movie, “The Greatest Showman” starring Hugh Jackman.

The industry term for this is “printed packaging” and not only is it something Amazon is using, it’s become another profit center for them because vendors pay Amazon for the privilege of using that space to get their messaging in front of the eyeballs of Amazon customers.

Once again, Amazon, BRILLIANT!

 

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THANKS 2017!

By Dr. Burt Smith November 20th, 2017

I’ll keep it short and sweet because I know this is a busy time of year for you. For that matter, there probably isn’t a time of year for you in today’s world that isn’t busy, and that’s why I am especially thankful for your taking time to read my posts each week. Or whenever I get around to doing one.

From our family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Veteran’s Day 2017

By Dr. Burt Smith November 9th, 2017

Another year has gone by, and if you’re reading this in the United States, it means you and I are still free.

We have veterans to thank for this freedom.

If you are a veteran, THANK YOU for your service.

If you know a veteran, please pass long my family’s thanks for their service.

There can be no real peace while one American is dying somewhere in the world for the rest of us.” – Ronald Reagan

 

 

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There are any number of ways one can become an entrepreneur, and there are many ways to earn success as an entrepreneur.

While there may truly be no “one best way” to get there, my belief, based on advice from entrepreneurs I admire and my own journey, is that there is a preferred path to eventually owning the business of your dreams. That path starts with experience.

First, go get some experience in the field in which you want to own your business. For example, if you just know you want to own a coffee shop someday, go work in a coffee shop. While you’re there, strive to move into as many responsibilities as you can so you can learn as much about the business as possible.

If you can obtain a management role, all the better, because then you’ll gain experience in making decisions based on what you’ve learned. And believe me, you’ll learn tons more once you become the one making decisions and then living with the consequences of those decisions, good and bad.

For that matter, go into any “job” with the attitude that you’re there to learn and not only will you gain some invaluable training, you may find how much you enjoy the work actually surprises you.

This is my favorite approach because not only are you earning the crucial experience you need, but because someone else is paying you to earn it!

Education is what you get when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get when you don’t.” – Unknown

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