ramblings...mind your business

location location location

Where your business is located can be a critical element in the success of your venture.  Opening a Rolls Royce dealership in the worst neighborhood in town is obviously a poor choice.  But not all locations are so blatantly inappropriate.  Ask yourself what you like about the location, what you dislike about it, and how it impacts the customers you want to attract and serve.  Be realistic and brutally honest.  Your business depends on it.

identity crisis

Take a moment to write down a description of your business, including your product or service, your ideal customers and your distinctive or unique features. Use specific terms whenever possible.  Ask staff, friends and customers to do the same.  If this is a particularly challenging adventure, ask yourself: “Do I have a well-defined concept of what my business is?”  Evaluate the interaction between the elements to see if they are conducive to a symbiotic relationship.  

color commentary

Few elements are as powerful in today’s economic times as the perception of corporate responsibility … and GREEN can make a huge impact on your commercial success.  Embrace everything you do to save the environment and reduce your carbon footprint.  Tell the world you ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.  Align yourself with charitable organizations relevant to your business.  Encourage your customers to join your efforts.   

the customer is always . . .

The customer.  They may be misinformed, misdirected or missing a few marbles.  But they are still your customers.  Your job is to cater to their needs and reap the financial rewards.  This does not mean you should compromise your ethics or vision.  It does mean you owe it to yourself [and the customer] to show them how you can meet their needs, even if what they are ordering isn’t on the menu.  It might be there … read between the lines.

be your own worst enemy

Carefully consider the market you are trying to reach and its relationship with your product or service.  Look at your business the way your competition [or a loan officer] might.  Find the flaws in your plan and figure out how to overcome them. No matter how well you master the other basic marketing elements, it’s going to be tough to sell ice cubes to Eskimos.  Then again, who ever thought we’d be paying a premium for water in a bottle?  The devil is in the details.

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