Jul 08 2014

BROADWAY WITHOUT LIGHTS!

“There’s no business like small business

It makes economies grow

Everything about it is revealing

 

Got everything that customers want now

Nowhere could you get that happy feeling

When you make a sale-with-service vow”

(With There’s No Business Like Show Business adaptation apologies to Irving Berlin)

 

 

Like Broadway without lights, imagine America with no small business. We have thrived as a nation because of small business. Small business employs the vast majority of workers in this country, and stimulates the U.S. economy more than all the nation’s giant corporations put together!

ALL things great that happen in business

happen first in small business.

Entrepreneurs deserve the credit for our existence as a people. They brought us (and continue to bring us) to our senses. They made (and continue to make) the freedom of our daily lives happen. Our military forces deserve the credit for keeping our existence free.

Yet neither finds favor in Washington? Or, in fact, with a great many state and local governments?

Why do you think this is?

Government people are charged with regulating business but rarely if ever have enough business experience to even understand the consequences of their regulations. If, in fact, they were entrepreneurs to begin with, they would never have ended up in stultifying government careers.

What more poignant example could there be than the U.S. Postal Service . . . dying a long, painful death since 2008 (at taxpayer expense!)?

Show me a single entrepreneur who thinks that the way to make more money and compete with Fed Ex and UPS et al is to reduce services, close down basic operations, and raise prices. Please. The Postal Service is a shameful waste and an ideal example of everything that’s wrong with our government and our economy.

They take mailboxes off the streets because they don’t know how to make them profitable.
They cut employee hours, close offices and stop Saturday delivery in many locations to save money.
BUT they spend many millions of dollars in meaningless, empty advertising campaigns run by Madison Avenue ad agencies seeking to win awards instead of making sales. Clearly an example of what your Grandmother used to say about the right hand not understanding what the left hand was doing.

What’s really discouraging is that it doesn’t take—pardon the trite expression, but it says it best—a rocket scientist to figure out that the U.S. Postal Service is in shambles and that it’s ego-maniacal ad agency is certainly not the bail-out answer. It takes an entrepreneur.

Only an entrepreneurial-spirited soul has the wherewithal to fully understand and appreciate how to transform the Postal Service into a privatized, profitable business. Think this is unimportant stuff? Guess what? America’s government from the top down is agonizingly in need of reform and innovative new approaches if it is to survive.

This kind of thinking is not forthcoming from our nation’s leaders, and never will be until they are replaced en masse. You own and operate a small business? Are you willing to step up? It’s YOUR business, and ultimately your family, that’s on the line. Please do SOMEthing. Even if that just means “Talk it up!” Without small business, there IS no America!

# # #

 Hal@BUSINESSWORKS.US        or comment below

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You!

 Make today a GREAT Day for someone!

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Apr 14 2010

QUIRKY BOSSES SUCCEED

Yes, “quirky” works.

                                                                                                               

Save that tablecloth!

                                                          

     In between rocket-blasting stints with Madison Avenue’s two biggest and most successful ad agencies in history, I once worked as new business director and assistant to the chairman of a rather inconsequential yet highly profitable New York advertising firm. My boss was the number one guy out of three partners. The other two hung out and acted important. My boss was the one who made the sales and brought in the money.

     I never learned much from him except that it really is possible to be successful even when you have no obvious success traits or qualities, as long as you are a stupendous listener, and can be totally quirky. The old man had no redeeming characteristics to speak of but he was both quirky — accentuated by a cartoony voice and over-the-top animation that seemed to ooze incongruously out of his 3-piece suit — plus he was an outstanding listener.

     Three or four days a week, I found myself in the arguably envious position of getting fat by being his sidekick at exorbitantly expensive lunches he hosted at the best restaurants in Manhattan. He invited clients and prospective clients as guests. I was his Boy Friday but he actually encouraged me to talk up agency credentials and experience, setting the stage for his “pitch” at dessert time.

     What he had to say was always on target, but it came only after intensive listening, interspersed with squinty-eyed questions from over the tops of his reading glasses, and requests for examples and diagrams. He made copious notes with marker pens . . . on the tablecloth! 

     In between courses’, he would engage the help of a waiter or two to turn the table covering, drip spots and all, clockwise so he’d have clear writing space for each part of the meal. When lunch ended, he would tuck a $20 bill into the Maitre D’s hand and neatly fold the tablecloth up, tuck it under his arm as he did all the handshake/smile stuff and head for a cab that I would have waiting at the curb.

     When we got back to the office, his secretary would unfold the tablecloth, tack it on the wall over her workspace and type out everything he had written, rising periodically to turn the cloth and re-tack it (lots of pinholes in the wall!). She would enlist one of the designers to recreate any diagrams. The Boss would prioritize items on her draft and identify them as Objectives or Strategies or Tactics the have a final version typed up.

     The typed copy was distributed to all who had any experience with or interest in the business being courted, followed by a meeting, and a summary returned to the lunch guest reiterating the key points, tying them of course to sales points. Often this document became the “working bible” for developing the advertising for an existing client for a full year or more, and often it won new clients.      

     Should we all run out and start writing on tablecloths? Maybe, but the point is that whatever you do to be better at running your business doesn’t have to be something that’s considered “normal” by others, and you need not worry or care about what others say if the system works for you. Someone else I worked for routinely cell phone called his desk from the golf course to leave himself message reminders of sales prospect conversations he would follow up on the next day.

“Quirky” Works.  

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You! Make it a GREAT Day! 

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