Solomon Bruce Consulting Blog

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Road is Closed-- We have to go Around to Get Here!

     I was in the grocery store the other day and the buzz throughout the store was the road detour a couple of blocks away.  Many of the customers, the clerks as well as the delivery drivers were all discussing how the road closures were making them drive about 1 mile further, taking more time to arrive at the store and more time to get home.
      One of the clerks asked me how the road closure impacted me.  I told her that I had no impact because I was just visiting some relatives and did not live in the community where the grocery store is located.  As I was going back to my relatives house, I began to think about the discussion in the store.
      Obviously, as human beings, we are all creatures of habit.  Most of the folks that shopped at the store appeared to be impacted by the road detour to some extent.  If you were the owner of the store, what actions, if any, would you take to help alleviate the challenges of the customers?
        There are no right answers to this question.  However, as I reviewed this matter, here are some ideas that I came up with.  Perhaps having some sales either later in the day or earlier in the day may be beneficial to your customers.  Maybe rearranging some of the products in the store may be beneficial, allowing folks to get in and get out more rapidly, especially if the road detour impacted their way home.  How do you know what to do?  ASK the customers!  Go out on the floor and ask the customers what may help them shop in your store but also get around the challenge of the road detour.  Make some road detour specials-- the ideas are unlimited, however, trying something that may be "Out of Box" is one way in which to help generate more traffic for the store while having to cope with the road construction.  Give it a shot-- you want the customers to have a buzz about your actions to address the road detour.  Again, you may be surprised at the results of your actions.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Don't Call Bill!

   A business owner told me the other day that the supplier's truck that was supposed to arrive at 8:30am, it arrived at 12:30PM-- 4 hours later than she had planned.  Her staff was at lunch, the truck needed to be unloaded and she needed the product on the truck.
    As she was talking to the truck driver, he said that he had travelled 130 miles that morning, went to another city where "he thought" the business was located.  After he arrived at the city, he figured out that he had gone "the wrong way" and had to hurry to make up time and get the order delivered.  The business owner called the company and asked where the truck was-- thus starting a search process that resulted in "Don't Call Bill."
     Here is the crux of the issue-- the truck driver is new, is personable and has a commercial drivers license (CDL) with dual trailer endorsements.  These type of individuals are hard to find today--especially those that have clean driving records and have a CDL license.  OK, was there a process for truck dispatch that was not followed--someone failed to pay attention to detail.  How did the truck driver leave the shop without a clear idea of where the client was located?  Did anyone call to verify the address and location of the client?  These are all process steps that we address each day.  What was so interesting here is that nobody wanted to "Call Bill", because everyone knew that he would not tolerate such buffoonery.
      The staff did not want to "Tell Bill" because they knew that he would not tolerate such inattention to detail-- as well has having wasted 4 hours of productive time that was non revenue generating time.
      Good people are hard to find-- good people are difficult to keep.  We all make errors, however, in this case, the real error was failing to followed processes and procedures--resulting in loss of productive time as well as having an unhappy customer.
       In the end, the client received her product, the truck driver returned back to his dispatch location and Bill was none the wiser for the error.  We are all human and we all make mistakes--however, the ability to follow standard procedures saves time, money, frustration and most importantly, increases profitability.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Money Begets Money

    The title of our blog today was what my brother in law told me as we were sitting at his kitchen table.  He was in the process of doing his bookkeeping and, low and behold, found some cash interspersed with his bills.  Now, he figured that the cash had just been misplaced from his wallet.  However, the more he thought about it, he recalled that he had been at the bank and forgot to put the money in his wallet.
    Now, the key point in this post is that money, as used in this context, can take a wide variety of media-- green dollar bills, helping out a less fortunate individual, giving when one can afford to give, sharing the excesses are all ways in which "Money Begets Money."
     From a philosophical standpoint, one can learn that helping others is a valuable tool in improving mankind.  We can get into some deep philosophical ideas rapidly-- we are not going there today.  However, what we have seen and what many of our clients have experienced great success with is sharing with others that have a need that you can fulfill.  It may be green dollar bills, it may be time, it may be physical assets, the key point is that when you help others, you help yourself.
      This idea of "helping others" is prominent in the rural environs of our country.  Farmers help farmers with crops, raising barns, helping during a family emergency-- again, it is all "Money Begets Money."  Think about this the next time that someone needs some help, aid or assistance.  I think that you will find that the return you receive will be greater than the amount that you invest.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Kids are Graduating; No one has a Job Offer

   I talked with a lady the other day and she told me that her grandson was finishing college, however, none of the kids had any jobs.  Now, her son is going to school at a very fine engineering school in the southwestern United States, so I was surprised to hear that he did not have some job offers nor any of his classmates have job offers.
    What is even more interesting is in the past 3 weeks, I have had several business owners call and ask whom I knew that was seeking a job opportunity.  Both of the positions that were requested were for office manager positions, one in the construction industry and one in the hospitality industry.  I gave referrals to both business owners to call the local college and talk with the business Dean to see what students were not yet employed.  In each instance, a graduating senior would work fine in the job.  The graduating student did not need to have a business degree, however, each would be required to help manage the business.
    If you are seeking new employees, calling the local college and talking with the job placement center or business college dean is a great start to finding out if any students are available for your position.  There are plenty of recent graduates that must not have found a solid job opportunity.  Now is the time to pursue those candidates if you are seeking to add to your team.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Bill is Less Than What We Had Agreed To!

   I bought a new car from Bill Dee, Dee Motors in Anaconda, Montana last week.  I had been referred to him by a neighbor who has bought many cars from Mr. Dee.  My neighbor told me that he knew Mr.
Dee well and that I would get a great deal.
   The deal I got was great-- in fact, it was better than a big Mega Dealer in Northern Idaho was able to provide.  What was most interesting was when I went to get the car, Mr. Dee told me that the price was lower than we had agreed upon.  Now, how could this be?  Well, the short story was that a computer glitch caused the price to be lower.  My question was to Mr. Dee was, "Why did you not keep the money and say no more?"
    Here was his answer-- He told me that his dad had started the dealership in 1946.  Integrity, trust and honesty were the hallmarks of the dealership.  His dad was willing to take a loss on a car as long as there was never a question about his integrity, trust or honesty.  Bill told me that was how he was raised and how he ran the dealership today.  WELL-- that probably does not happen very much anymore.  At least that has been my experience.  Was I impressed?  Well, I wrote about it here-- so the answer was Yes, I was and am impressed!!
    Trust, honor and integrity are keys I used to hear in the military all of the time.  I don't hear that as much "on the outside," however, this was one experience where I heard it loud and clear.
     Think about how you would handle this matter in your business.  There is a right way and another way-- only you, the business owner can decide what is right for you and your business.  For me, I was impressed with Mr. Dee and how he handled it.  If you need a great deal on a car, go see Bill Dee in Anaconda, Montana.  I did and could not be more pleased.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Our Award Winning Cinnamon Rolls

   I was in central Montana the other day and saw a sign for "Award Winning" cinnamon rolls.   This looked interesting, so I followed the sign to the bakery where the cinnamon rolls were sold!  Well, yes, they were very, very good-- as was all of the bakery products.  I asked who presented the award.  The answer from the baker, "We won it at the County Fair!" 
   Now, I was in Central Montana for several days and every day, I stopped and ate an Award Winning cinnamon roll or other bakery treat at this bakery!  The people were friendly, the environment was fun and the food was outstanding!  How could you go wrong?
   What I was impressed about was that the "Award" was from the County Fair!  How novel and unique.  Now, you could do the same thing your business-- the award could come from the Chamber of Commerce, your local, state, national trade association or any host of other groups.  What this business did was take a bona fide award, market it to their clients and generate business traffic!  It worked for them with me.  I bet that you can do the same thing and have it work for you.  Remember, no idea is too silly or sophomoric!  The more unique the idea, the better!  Give it a shot-- nothing ventured, nothing gained!