How did you learn to sell?

Old way to call to a door
Old way to call to a door (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the summer of 1993 a young man at the bottom pole of a company was supporting a young family with two toddlers. When he got back from a holiday at the coast, he was told by the human resources manager that he would be retrenched together with 100 fellow employees.

The CEO who was trying to make a name for himself among investors put the knife into his head office specialist function employees. Blood flowed every where. Employees who had been there for many years were booted out. Only the HR manager who had worked with this CEO at a previous company survived the massacre. Continue reading “How did you learn to sell?”

Are you showing enough sensitivity to your pricing in this economy?

Thrifty Gas Prices in San Pedro
Thrifty Gas Prices in San Pedro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other day I spotted a new Portuguese restaurant next to a boutique hotel. I wondered what the food was like and the prices. Next time I was in the area I went inside and got hold of the menu. I was shocked at the prices.

To give you an idea, the quarter chicken was priced at R63. That’s 233% higher than what you’d find in a reasonable priced restaurant. Another product that easy to compay: fishcakes. They were selling for R48, which was 160% higher than any reasonably priced restaurant.

We won’t ever be eating at that restaurant. Continue reading “Are you showing enough sensitivity to your pricing in this economy?”

Is your small business keeping its promise to customers?

Promises, Promises
Promises, Promises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever broken promise to someone? The saddest is promising to be home early to spend time with your children but you end up staying late at work. On wedding days solemn promises are made but many are broken years later. Public officials make promises especially during electioneering times but a few months down the track are they delivering on their promises?

In the real world we see promises and commitments being broken all the time. Basic services to communities are not delivered, equipment is not maintained and electricity, water and even postal services are not available for extended periods. Continue reading “Is your small business keeping its promise to customers?”

Do you suffer from a shortage of new ideas for your business?

Breakthrough (Aya Hirano song)
Breakthrough (Aya Hirano song) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A small business owner was battling in a shopping centre where the demographics had gradually change. Instead of running a full men and women’s wear retail store, he came up with the idea to reconvert it into a smaller, focused store that caters for school clothing. He has also narrowed the range of clothing to six or seven schools. Within a year the business is doing well and the business owner has put it on a new, surer footing.

Start-ups and small business owners need to come up with new ideas all the time not only for new products and services but also new ways of positioning their business, locating their operations and responding to competition. But if they’ve got urgent problems they need to attend to them urgently. Continue reading “Do you suffer from a shortage of new ideas for your business?”

Does your experience count?

English: Kalk Bay habour, Cape Peninsula, Sout...
English: Kalk Bay habour, Cape Peninsula, South Africa Deutsch: Hafen von Kalk Bay, Kap-Halbinsel, Süd Afrika (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A pair of guru business consultants was sprouting platitudes about how business owners should change their outfits into so-called learning organisations. The fan boy of the two consultants instead of challenging them was praising them to the nines about the fantastic work they were doing. After all three were waxing lyrical about how business leaders and owners need to change, not mentioning how well this would fit in with self promoting their consulting service, one of them attacked experience. Continue reading “Does your experience count?”

How can some small businesses afford to play fast and loose like this?

Fish Hoek beach, seen from the hills on the so...
Fish Hoek beach, seen from the hills on the southern end of the bay, looking northwards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A customer stormed out of a local Italian franchise restaurant on Sunday evening before 8 o’clock. He was shouting “you’ve lost a customer”, “you’ve lost a customer”, “you’ve lost a customer”. No one from the restaurant rushed out to calm him down or give him assurances.

The problem with this restaurant is that the manager had not informed this customer and others that the closing time had been changed on Sundays from 9 o’clock in the evening to 8 o’clock. No notices, no informing customers personally, nothing. Continue reading “How can some small businesses afford to play fast and loose like this?”

Are your competitors as sneaky as the fork-tailed drongo?

I’ve got a soft spot for meerkIMG_5866 cropped halfats. Ever ever since I befriended one little critter on a farm in Namibia and watched his antics I just realised what intelligent and friendly little creatures they can be. I’m not sure the meerkat liked me because he would often peer into my coffee cup and then knock it onto the ground.

Meerkats work hard to collect their food especially in the dry winters of the Kalahari when insect prey dwindles. Now research by zoologists working in the Kuruman Reserve have found that the fork-tailed drongo steals up to a quarter of meerkats’ food intake.

Just how do the fork-tailed drongos manage to do this? Continue reading “Are your competitors as sneaky as the fork-tailed drongo?”

If you don’t have this ingredient in your small business, you could be repelling many potential customers

(Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)
(Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

While visiting a small town in the heart of the citrus growing district of the Gamtoos Valley we had to drive about 10 km from the farm to the nearest supermarket. Although this was a country Spar supermarket it was a pleasure to go shopping there because of the friendly, helpful service. Being in a store with an unfamiliar layout, we were pleased that even the cashiers would get up and go show us where the products were located. We were surprised that they enquired where we were from and how we were enjoying our stay in the village of Patensie.

Friendly, efficient and fast service goes down well no matter whether you are buying goods in the city or the countryside. It makes you want to come back. You also have your identity reaffirmed because you feel less of a number. But the most compelling reason for superior customer service is the impact that it makes on your small businesses bottom line. Continue reading “If you don’t have this ingredient in your small business, you could be repelling many potential customers”

A lesson from the Bard on marketability

Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved
Copyright © 2014 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved

This year many recently celebrated the 450th birthday of William Shakespeare. William Shakespeare was born on 23 April 1564 and died on 23 April 1616.

Shakespeare whose by-name was the Bard of Avon was born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. The Bard was an English poet, dramatist and actor considered to be the greatest dramatist of all time. Shakespeare was astonishingly clever with words, images and imaginatively stimulating dialogue. His works were not bookish but involved dramatising the actions and behaviour of human beings whether it be king or nave. Continue reading “A lesson from the Bard on marketability”

Have you ever longed to do business under the radar?

BatmanWhat is an under-the-radar business? It’s not a business that does dubious activity but rather a business that is not out there in the gaze of the public eye.

For a fictional example think of Wayne Enterprises, the corporation owned by Bruce Wayne which is tucked away manufacturing special gadgets such as Bat Poles, Batarang rang, Bat Sleep Gas, Bat Rope and Bat-analyst. This is just a tiny list of the numerous gadgets that are produced by the The Wayne Foundation which helps the Caped Crusader fight crime and criminals. Continue reading “Have you ever longed to do business under the radar?”