How much is a Vacuum Cleaner Worth?

A few weeks after I wrote about my vacuum cleaner losing suction and how I fixed it, my vacuum cleaner bit the dust. The manufacturer was not to be cheated out of the expected life span of their product. The vacuum’s time to be replaced had come.

Plastic being plastic, one crucial piece of the vacuum cleaner suffered the same stress most hard plastic suffers. A plastic piece snapped off, rendering the vacuum useless for anything except when using the wand. Not very practical….

After doing some research, it became obvious there were only two real choices, irrespective of brands. The first option was to buy an expensive replacement. The second option was to buy the cheapest acceptable vacuum cleaner I could find, and most people liked.

Buying a reasonably expensive vacuum cleaner had many pluses. It would clean well. It would work as expected. It would not break or wear out quickly. Finally, I would feel I made a good purchase. These are powerful pluses for something that rarely gets a thought after it is purchased, unless it is being used.

Of course, buying a reasonably expensive vacuum cleaner means tying up a lot of money into something that in this reality at least, brings little satisfaction. Vacuum cleaners are not like prized, high dollar Cars that are washed, waxed and shown off. Vacuums get taken out of storage, used and put away until the next time.

On the other hand, a well rated vacuum cleaner could be had for about one-fifth the price of the more expensive vacuum cleaner. Just like the more expensive vacuum cleaner models, people were happy with how it cleaned, how it held up, and generally how it functioned. What more is needed?

Here is where the economy of money comes in to play. In my experience, no matter how much I had paid for a vacuum cleaner in the past, they would last between five and six years before starting to break. If they didn’t outright break, they started doing their job in a less than stellar fashion. Sort of like my old vacuum losing vacuum.

When this five year fall apart stage happens, there are really only two options. Either purchase over priced replacement parts which fix one thing, but do not prevent other parts from breaking, or go shopping for a new expensive purchase that really doesn’t add to the initial value. An old vacuum is in essence an old vacuum. No one brags about a vacuum cleaner in general conversation.

How much really needs to be spent on one?

If I were to buy a cheap acceptable vacuum cleaner there was another set of possibilities. I would pay about one-fifth the price. At this price, I could buy five vacuums in five or six years, and still be below the price range of a more expensive vacuum cleaner.

I would feel better about spending less than $100.00 for a vacuum that is only thought about when it’s taken out to be used. Once again vacuum cleaners are not conversation makers or breakers.

The money I would save was worth more to me than having a more expensive vacuum. For the $400.00 or more price difference, I would have that extra money to spend somewhere else immediately and that feels better. If, or when the cheap vacuum breaks, replacing it with another cheap vacuum isn’t a deal breaker. I would not lose sleep over the cost of replacement.

I bought the cheaper vacuum. I am guessing, I will get at least two years out of it, before it needs replacing. In that time line, I will be $200.00 – $300.00 ahead dollar wise. The only downsides are I do not see it advertised with angelic voices humming, and the wand flex tube is a little shorter. For the price difference, I can live with those minor problems.

Not everything is this cut and dried when it comes to spending money. Sometimes spending more money initially brings more long term satisfaction. I think a good way to look at how much needs to be spent on a product is how it impacts my life. It is more important my vehicle is operating, then the carpet goes two extra days without being vacuumed.

Changing Bed Sheets Made Easier and Faster

Changing Sheets on any Bed is one of those things nobody looks forward to doing, myself especially. After so many years of pulling everything off the bed and dropping it on the floor in a bundle, taking out the sheets and pillow cases, and leaving the rest in a pile is gone. I now change sheets smarter, faster and easier.

Below is my impression of the older time consuming method of changing sheets one the and and remaking the bed on the left, and a faster and simpler method of changing sheets and remaking the bed on the right.

How to make changing bed sheets easier and faster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The crumpled paper represents my old and perhaps your regular method of changing sheets and making a bed. I would pull everything off the bed and separate the sheets from the rest. Then I would put on clean sheets and sort out the blankets, turn blankets, turn blankets again to place them properly on the bed. Same with the Bedspread.

The folded paper represents a newer and better way of managing blankets and covers. Saving time and hassle, the relief and ease of this new method is well worth trying yourself.

The first few times, if you are anything like me, it will feel awkward, and not that much of a convenience. After three or four repetitions of sheet changing, you will wonder why you never thought of this yourself. If you are a housekeeper, the time savings and simplicity will become apparent by lunch time.

The process is really simple, as follows:

1. Pull the Bed Spread and Blanket(s) from the top of the bed to the bottom, lining up the edges.

2. Fold the folded Bed Spread and Blanket(s) from left to right or right to left, whichever feels most comfortable. Fold one more time if you prefer.

3. Remove folded Bed Spread and Blanket(s) from the bed and set aside.

4. Remove the sheets. Put on clean sheets.

5. Place folded Bed Spread and Blanket(s) back on the bed in the location you removed them from.

6. Unfold Bed Spread and Blanket(s) in the opposite order you folded them in. The Sheets are changed and bed is made easier and faster!

If you have a choice, you don’t have to stop here. When you dry the now clean sheets, find a fold pattern you will remember and use the same method to unfold your clean sheets on the bed. Using the same folds on both sheets and blankets makes it painless.

Tariffs and Embargoes, Oh My

Now that we are into the Tariff Trade Game, let’s take a minute and see what it really means. From the U.S. side, the cost of a new home on the northwest coast has seen an average of $7,000 increase due to the increased cost of lumber due to the imposed tariff.

Those not buying a new home, really aren’t effected, or are they? For whatever reason home sales are now a tight market. Prices for used homes have outpaced wages. It really doesn’t matter, what happens to the price of new homes from this perspective, in the short term anyway.

In the Midwest, Farmers are feeling the brunt of losing their largest export consumer of soybeans. Almost one-third of the soybean crop is exported and now faces a Chinese tariff. So far the U.S. Government has put up eleven twelve billion dollars to offset those losses. The American Taxpayer will foot that eleven million dollar bill. Unfortunately there will be fallout among the Farmers who for whatever reason will not see a dime of the these monies for one reason or another. More small farms will cease to exist.

Coca-Cola has announced it is feeling the rise in the price of aluminum for cans. Of course this will only effect Coca-Cola in the short term. These increased costs will quickly be passed on to the consumer. The downside of this price adjustment for the added cost of aluminum is the American Taxpayer is also the consumer.

General Motors and one of the Home Appliance manufacturers announced the rise in the price of steel has arrived at their door. Some of this steel was ordered months past. Once again, American Taxpayers will foot the bill as this cost is passed on.

Tariffs are not effective, and never have been.

Passing on the cost is what big business does. Generally these costs increased are in excess of what the additional or new cost of aluminum and steel will be. If challenged big business will claim they are adjusting prices according to projected future costs. To get a better idea of this, think of how gas prices at the pumps increase well before the holidays, or summer. The upward price rise is much quicker than any downward price adjustment. Why reduce profit if the customer is already willing to pay a higher price….

The Soybean Tariff reminds me of the Russian Grain Embargo of years past. The U.S. placed an embargo of grain sales to Russia. The grain market was in dismay, as they like to export wheat, but enterprising business started raising wheat fed chickens for export to Russia, informally reducing or eliminating the effect of the famous grain embargo.

In the moment, America will experience a temporary soybean glut. This will last until the excess soy is converted to a food China wants that is not subject to a tariff. Business creativity is the work around of Tariffs, Sanctions and Embargoes. Perhaps U.S farmers will start exporting soy fed beef and chicken to China offsetting or bypassing the soybean surplus and tariff.

America may shift production into soy based housing material, soda and food containers, cars and home appliances made of a soy product instead of metal. Let’s not forget more soy meals instead of beef, chicken, and fish, and perhaps soy based gasoline.

This alternate soy fantasy would cost billions in investment dollars. Of course the American taxpayer is more than happy to foot the bill. Generally the common man suffers the biggest burden when these unworkable policies are put in place, paying more for living day to day, and seeing a bigger tax bill which like the increase in production cost prices, will not be reduced when no longer needed. Tariffs have not worked as planned since they were first tried.

Of course following the current fake news line, ‘If you see it, and you hear about it, don’t believe it, it’s not true’. You can take that thought to the bank….

Veiled Racism in Advertising

If you watch network television or other media using general family advertising, it is likely you are unknowingly being sublimely influenced by well Veiled Racism. This current approach is so subtle, that unless you are doing the almost unheard of – thinking while watching – you do not even realize what is going on.

There are only a few of these commercials showing in the moment, but more are likely on the way. These few commercials are getting a lot of air time. These commercials are, “Family” scenario commercials, in that they take place using a basic family unit for the commercial. The family unit consists of a White Father, Black Mother, and a Black Child, a girl of course.

On the surface these commercials seem perfectly harmless. On the surface they are Family oriented commercials with a story wrapped around the selling of a product. We sit and watch these commercials, brain off, waiting for the show to resume. Turn your brain back on, and give these commercials some thought and you should become angry over what you are seeing!

Are your thoughts on Racism and the Family Unit being manipulated?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or perhaps and more to the point, angry about what you are not seeing. The family unit in each of these commercials is a White Father, Black Mother, and Black girl. Get it? Of course the White Father is the role model of all Fathers. The Black Woman and Child are of course, the perfect compliment to the perfect White Father.

In one commercial, the White Father is suffering some intestinal disease. The Black Mother and Black Child look on with dismay and concern as the White ignorant Father struggles with his dilemma. Really? Is this how it is in the real world?

I didn’t really ‘see’ what I have been watching in these commercials until today when something triggered how well Veiled Racism is alive and well, buried in these disturbing commercials. If these marketers are trying to break down racial barriers and further promote interracial relations while promoting their product, they are doing a rather poor job. If they are trying to reflect current reality, they are doing a worse job. That only leaves on other option, and it is ugly.

Why don’t we see a Family Unit commercials consisting of a Black Father and a White Mother, with a White Child who is also a girl? Are we only accepting of the idea of White Men and Black Women with a Child who may or may not be theirs together?

Do we see in our everyday day life any semblance of what we see in these commercials? I don’t. How about a commercial with a Hispanic Father and a White Mother and White Child, also a girl? How about an Asian Father and a White Mother and White Child, also a girl? Perhaps Marketers see this scenario in the same light they see a Black Father with a White woman and White child?

This idea of one acceptable racial family unit may or may not be influenced by the current President and his politics. However, we need to think about this and express the right and need to vote with our pocketbooks. Let these racially biased advertisers and the product they represent know without a doubt that making selectively, “approved” commercials needs to expand to other family units, and quick. Either advertise using mixed race combination of family units across all markets, or stop these types of commercials completely.

Every Race has outstanding Fathers, Mothers, and Children. Almost every community enjoys mixed race family units as part of their population. Except for some very shortsighted people, we do not think twice seeing a mixed race family unit during our daily activities. We must not be willing to allow advertising to reshape our view of what is acceptable, and what is not for a family unit?

Mixed Race Family Units is reality. Selectively using, “approved” mixed race families in advertising is just plain wrong. Take a moment, when you see one of these very slick, focused, White Father, Black Mother and Black girl family unit commercials, and let the the product manufacturer know you live in the real world, and they either need to get with the program, or you may prefer to purchase a competitor’s product, which may be better than their product.

Crime Reduction, Crime solution, Crime out of Control

I find the excerpt (below) interesting in that it fits what is happening here. We have a crime problem that feels out of control. Police are working overtime in an attempt to reign in crime. Courts cannot keep up with arrests, and jails are over full.

People want Police to be more active, work more overtime, prevent crime, and arrest more people. In the mean time, arrested suspect criminals enjoy having their cases dropped because courts are overloaded. For those who are incarcerated, other criminals are being let out of jail as they are not “violent enough” as there are not enough cells for everyone.

I thought until I read this excerpt, Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, Phoenix area had it right. Make jail time so miserable that no-one will wish to go to jail a second time. No doubt Sheriff Arpio’s  jail kept repeat offenders from offending again, or at least they became smarter about committing crime.

Maybe there is a way to manage crime and criminals better? I know Detroit, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois to name a few cities, are having major crime issues of their with no hope of crime reduction on the horizon. Honest work is a better solution, but jobs are needed for people to have honest work that is both meaningful and supports their families.

What out of control crime feels like. Its hard to remember that criminals are human.

 

Below is what I read. I hope the excerpt has merits for you and your city if you are suffering these same issues. I know Detroit, Michigan, and Chicago, Illinois are having serious crime issues with no hope of reducing crime on the horizon. Maybe this excerpt will help city officials make more informed decisions.

I did not use quotes for the excerpted text; I have no claim to typing and transcribing skills and may have misquoted the original text.

 

Economics of Social Issues, Twenty-First Edition, Charles A. Register & Paul W. Grimes, Authors, McGraw Hill publisher

Page 124

Paragraph 3: ‘…equimarginal principle. The crime budget should be allocated among police, courts, and corrections so the last dollar spent on any facet yields the the same addition to the benefits of crime prevention as the last dollar spent on the others….’

Paragraph 4:

‘As an example, suppose the crime prevention system is relatively over-loaded in the area of detection and apprehension. The courts cannot handle all those being arrested, so many of them must be set free without trial, or in the case of plea bargaining, sentenced for a lesser crime than the one committed. The mere fact of arrest will have some crime-deterring effects, but the deterrent effect will be much less than it would be were there adequate court facilities to try the persons apprehended. The contribution of crime prevention of an additional dollar’s worth of police activity at this point is low. On the other hand, an expansion of court facilities would increase the likelihood of speedy trail and conviction of those apprehended. We would expect crime-deterring effect of a dollar’s worth of such an expansion to be greater than that of a dollar spent on detection, apprehension, and subsequent freeing of those apprehended. Suppose that taking $1 away from police work brings about enough of a crime increase to cause a 75-cent loss in GDP to society. Now suppose that court activity is increased by $1, and the increased activity deters criminal activity enough to make society better off by $3. Under these circumstances, society will experience a net gain of $2.25 in GDP by a transfer from police activities to court activities. Such net gains are possible for any dollar transfer among police activities, and corrections activities when the marginal social benefit of $1 spent on any one activity equal the marginal social benefit of $1 spent on any one of the other activities.’

Business Management by Democracy

Management by Democracy is an effective form of management used by many successful businesses. Some of the best run companies is the world use this form of management instead of resorting to other methods.

What makes Management by Democracy so effective is it is a total authoritarian method of management camouflaged as group participation. Here is an example of how Management by Democracy works.

As a manager, you need to change something in the way business is done. Perhaps when the business was smaller, all employees went to lunch together. Now business needs demand a change to this. The company is larger and having one lunch times has become a major hindrance in day to day operation.

Customers are calling and no one is answering the phone. Work is not being completed in a timely manner because all employees are at lunch together. In short, the business is not meeting customer needs and this is a problem.

It is easy to declare a new lunch break policy where half of the workers will go to lunch at a predetermined time, and the second half will go to lunch when the first group returns. The problem with this is employee emotions.

Even though employees ‘know’ something needs to be done, they do not want to break up the tradition of going to lunch as a group. If the manager declares a new policy, there will be hard feelings and resistance to change.

The power of directed solutions to business problems

Management by Democracy works around this by holding a employee meeting to find a solution to a problem. In this case the problem is of all employees leaving for lunch at the same time. As the manager, you have already determined what the correct solution is, splitting the group into two parts for lunch.

From a management perspective, how this happens is of no matter, as long as half of employees are working during the lunch period. The employees will work out how they want to implement the lunch break change. Management’s concern is getting the correct result.

Before the meeting is held, let the employee’s know there will be a meeting and what the meeting will be about. Identify how much time will be spent on the meeting. This gives employees time to process emotion and understand this change is required.

Hold the meeting. Field ideas waiting for the correct solution to be brought up. Let the group know this solution (the predetermined solution), sounds feasible and move the group to how the changes can best be accomplished.

Field all possibilities directing the group to your solution. Finally, have the group set an implementation date of when the new changes (not policy) will start. Thank the group for their input and clever solution. Followup with the standard notification procedure of the what the ‘group’ has decided as a fix for the problem.

Most of the employees will feel they were responsible for fixing the lunch break problem, and will take personal ownership for the fix. A few employees may have some anger over the change and that is to be expected. The group as a whole will quell the anger because it was a ‘group’ decision and had to be done.

The outcome is in exchange for time spent in a meeting, the objective was met, and the employees are taking ownership as they feel they were responsible for coming up with the solution. The manager or business owner will experience a rise in productivity because employees feel they have a stake in how business is done. A win win for all.

Only Winning Matters

I was wandering the Internet, looking for something which wasn’t too important as I have forgotten what I was looking for. While looking, I came across a blog post written by Dan Waldschmidt.

Dan reads very aggressive in and with his life judging by this post. I was struck by the stark contrast between Dan’s life and my own using this post as the focus. Well, mainly the last lines of this post. I wonder if Dan’s thinking for this post is to get us to take responsibility for what does or does not happen in our own life, or only about winning?

“….I say these each day — sometimes several times each day — because I play to win each day.

And I don’t have moments to waste doing things that don’t work.

I want to win.”

What caught my attention is the last phrase, “I want to win”. This phrase stood out because we all, “want to win“. For the ultra competitive however winning is usually most important.

Is always wining, no matter who loses really that important?

Several thoughts entered my mind. Take a moment and see where you line up with Dan’s well targeted, motivational post.

How much do you want to win, and what or who who are you willing to sacrifice to win? Is winning at any cost worth it, all the time, in every situation? What about the people who, “lose” if you win? Do they matter? Do they ever have a chance to win?

Should other people ever be allowed to win if it means you lose? What is the purpose of driving so hard to win?

What are you really winning? Do you need money, self esteem, power?

As these thoughts rolled through my mind, I knew Dan’s post was not for me. I don’t need to drive myself to win for the sake of winning. I do not get satisfaction beating someone else at something, especially when I know they lost before they even began.

I have everything I need and want. The way I see it, in less than a hundred years, which sounds like a long time, but really isn’t, we are born, grow up, grow old, and die. If we are lucky, we die in our old age.

Really, what is there to win in the end, a more expensive funeral?

Proper Care and Feeding of Your Customer

Every business has customers. Large businesses have customers within the business. Customers are what makes the wheels turn for business. How those customers are treated reflects on how the customers treat the business. It is a symbiotic relationship in some ways.

Business customers outside a business generally have the privilege of doing business with a number of companies which sell a product they need. That product may be anything from cleaning services to internal watch springs and gears. in respect to this thought, it is important to keep ones mind on the business at hand.

The closer a business gets to its customers, the more attention needs to be payed to interaction with the customer. The customer might decide the business contact is their soul mate, and wants to share life’s most intimate details with the contact, usually a business representative of some fashion.

Looks are deceiving. You have no idea who your customer really is.

The business representative always needs to remember this is a business transaction, no matter how personal the customer wants to be. In this mindset, the following guidelines should be in effect.

1. Gossip with the customer is losing business. Business relationships come and go. You do not want to end a relationship with a customer who knows things about your business and perhaps personal life you wouldn’t want shared in public. Talking generally and amiably about, sports, the economy, or the weather are safe subjects. Politics, religion, and other similar subjects are beyond off limits.

2. Keep your end of the conversation aimed on the business you are there to transact. Time is money. There is a line between between friendliness and wasting time you could be spending with another customer.

3. Over talking is bad for the business and the bottom line. Talking just to talk can lead to uncomfortable conversation, or conversation you may later wish had never taken place. Some customers have days where they are withdrawn and want little interaction. Be aware of your customers wishes, and your conversation.

4. Keep it professional. Sometimes it is okay to get a little loose, and joke around. Other times one off color comment can lose a valued account or customer. Off color, race, sex, and other jokes along these lines are taboo with your customer, even if they initiate them. You do not have to contribute to the conversation.

5. Don’t waste the customers time. Hanging around too long because of an attractive worker close by, or it’s only a few more minutes until lunch is bad business. The world if full of attractive people who are looking for someone like you. Don’t mess up a business relationship with a relationship that should not have happened. Spend those extra a few minutes reviewing your next customer, or going over what you could have done better with this customer.

6. Ensure the customer is comfortable. If you are busy and behind schedule, that is not your customers problem. Your customer needs to feel important to you, and know you have time for them. Appearing hurried or flustered raises red flags in the customers mind.

A good story about good business customer relations is a story of an ex neighbor who ran a wrecking yard. One of the car companies came out with a special anniversary edition car he fell in love with. The closest dealership that had one of the scarce cars on the lot was over two hours away.

Being frugal, he combined reasons for the trip. He would transport car parts to a wrecking yard a friend owned in that city, pick up two cars, and visit the dealership too. The next day, he loaded up a trailer with car parts, and headed out of town.

His parts transaction took longer than he had planned, and it was about two hours before the car dealership closed for the day. Rather than get cleaned up first and have the dealership close on him, he went straight to the dealership.

When the first salesman approached him, he told the salesman exactly why he was there. He was interested in buying this special edition car that the dealership said in a phone call they had on the lot. The salesman, after looking him over, decided he couldn’t afford such a car, but was polite enough to show the car to him. They discussed the car, and it’s attributes for a few minutes, exchanging thoughts on the car.

He told the salesman he wanted to take the car for a test drive, to see if the car was all it was claimed to be. The salesman who was so willing b.s., was not ready for this question. Looking at a man in scruffy worn work clothes, the salesman decided he could not afford the car and denied the test drive because it didn’t look like he could afford to buy any new car.

The neighbor asked the salesman to follow him to his truck and trailer. When they arrived the neighbor reached into the cab and pulled out a gym bag. They walked back over to the car and the neighbor unzipped the bag. Tipping the bag over, wrapped stacks of $100.00 bills fell out, covering the hood of the car. The stacks of money totaled the price of the car plus about thirty percent.

The salesman was overwhelmed. After some blubbering, he said he would be happy to go out on a test drive. Putting the money back into the bag, the neighbor said, no, he’d changed his mind, and he walked back to his truck and trailer and left the lot.

In this story, the salesman was so busy thinking about how great a salesman he was, he completely lost focus on what would what he was there for. The salesman lost what would have been a major sale, maybe bigger than this months commission.

When I listen to junior salesman give their pitch, I remember the wrecking yard owner and his dream car. He did buy one a few weeks later from another dealership. Often salesmen are so busy peddling a line, they either forgot, or never learned why they are part of the conversation.

Of course my neighbor venting his frustration told me and others about his terrible experience at the car lot. All of us listeners, of course shared the story, because that is what we do.

Internet Sales Bury Local Business

Everyone who thinks about where to locate their new business or open a new store has heard the phrase, “Location, location, location”.  What the big deal about location? The area a business is located can mean the difference between a thriving, growing business and a business that goes from startup to shutdown in a matter of weeks.

I want to focus on a local business that has been in business for decades. (What really occurred is unknown, below is my thoughts.) The business of this business is shoes, and a small amount of shoe accessories. Their business model is very good, and the customer base reflects this fact. Some businesses like to track where their customers live, this is one of them. Keep selling shoes in mind as you read on.

Tracking where customers live provides more insight in knowing how far your customers are willing to travel for your product and their likely economic status. This business tracks customers by zip code.

Over a period of time, say five years, you find your most active customers are within xx miles of your business street address. It is also obvious from your tracking that new customers are emerging from areas where the city is growing and expanding.  This is usually families moving into new growth areas, or perhaps the city has grown into one or more small communities and the roads have improved enough to bring consumers looking for better prices.

We have to be realistic here. Most shoes are not unique. Competing businesses sell the same shoes we do. Companies that produce shoes are more than willing to sell the same shoes to locally competing businesses. It is all one income stream to them.

This shoe store did the smart thing and opened a second store in a new location where competition between stores would not be an issue. Each store had its own area and market. Sales in the new location skyrocketed. New customers were coming in the door daily. The original store maintained all its previous business.

By opening in the new well chosen location, the second had thousands of potential drive-by customers every day who were eager to spend money. The new location was located in a stand alone building at a mall. Prime territory.

After a few years, the second location had to find a new location. No business would willingly want to vacate such a prime location. Sales were terrific, and the repeat customer base was large. It was apparently decided a move of a few miles should be a non-issue.

The move it turned out, was to not only an issue, but a deal breaker. The second store closed within a few years of moving off the mall property to it’s new home.

Sixty years ago this Gas Station was in a prime location. Slowly business dwindled as expenses increased.

 

What happened at the second now defunct store? The second store according to circulating rumors blames its closing on the Internet. Too many customers found they could buy the same products online for less and online their customer base ran away it was decided by rumor control. How about a reality check?

While the Internet may have caused some sales erosion, the first store is as healthy as before. The true cause of the second store closing was the lack of the thousands of eyeballs from mall traffic.

People generally want to touch and try on shoes. No matter how descriptive and detailed the online ad is, it does not give a customer the opportunity to feel and try out a shoe. People also prefer to support local business whenever possible.

The second store closed not because of the Internet, but because of location. Tens of thousands of mall shoppers a week knew they could probably find the shoe they wanted at the store across the parking lot, for less than they would pay in the big box mall stores. Mall shoppers flocked to the store across the parking lot.

Money is money and savings are savings after all. More importantly it was not two minutes across the parking lot. It was a headache of major proportion to drive to and from the second stores new location.

When the store changed location to their second less desirable location something major happened. The new store lost  the eyeballs of thousands of mall goers every day. The store had relocated to near a major artery road, but it was choked traffic with poor store access. The good times were over.

Location is critical in a saturated market such as shoes where almost every big box and Mom and Pop store is selling everything from $1.00 flip flops to high end heels and boots. If a business is selling a highly desirable product not readily available at every strip mall, customers will put up with a more remote location and poor off the street access if the price is right because of perceived need.

Before you decide on a location, ensure your business model reflects how serious location is for a business that depends on customers driving to your business. What does your future business have to offer customers in exchange for inconvenience? If the answer is very little, look for a new location.

Customer Value Verses Customer Money

This is a comparison of two businesses. They both are in the food service industry. The areas they are located in are about the same, but they manage their business completely different.

One of these, a Mom and Pop business, has an inviting entrance and a pleasant atmosphere which invites repeat business. The second, a popular chain, has an entrance that looks like it is one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. Once inside, the walls are adorned with the usual fare, plus more negative signage.

The negative signage tells the customers in a very negative way how long they can stay, and if they can use the facilities or not. Between the entrance and the barrage of signage inside my expectations were low. The place was neat and clean. I was also surprised at how good customer service was. Though there was a big downside of the staff being focused on the wrong things.

Customer satisfaction is second to money at this business.

Customer satisfaction is second to money at this business.

The staff were sales people and not wait staff. Every comment from the person helping me was to sell me more than I asked for. Did I want to add on to what I ordered for so much more? Did I want more choices than the items I picked? Did I want to double the size of my order for less than the stated price? Worst of all, there was a tip jar at the register. I was told as I paid my bill there was a tip jar – as if I could not see it – and all tips were appreciated.

 

 

The second location was the complete opposite of this. The service was prompt and totally customer focused. I was asked if I preferred a smaller portion than the portion listed on the menu for less money? The person who was waiting on us came to the table no less than eight times checking to see if there was anything that they could do. Top off the drinks, bring more napkins, refill the water glasses, more ice in the drink, more cream for the coffee, and other real reasons to show up at the table. The check was brought at the end of the meal and not during the meal. We were asked if we wanted to-go drinks to take with us (lemonade and coffee).

Repeat customers is the goal of this business

Repeat customers is the goal of this business

Both of these restaurants are in the same price range. Yet one totally out sells the other without so much as a hint of a sales pitch. One enjoys a growing list of repeat customers, while the other is trying its best to fleece every customer who walks through the door.

Put another way, one business will thrive in any economy. One business may be near to closing even though it sells a more popular product. Which business would you wish to spend your hard earned money at, and which business would you likely never visit again? If you are a business owner, which business more closely resembles you own business?

Running a business where customers walk in off the street is difficult. Competition is tough, and profit margins are generally small. However a businesses that focuses on making the customer and not the customer’s money the number one priority stays in business longer and is more successful than a business who thinks their product is far superior that customer focus takes a distant second customer’s money.

When anyone asks my opinion on a good place to eat, a fun place to visit or a good place to see, places where I felt special come to mind quickly and they are what I recommend. When you are asked your opinion on where to go or where to eat, where do you recommend?