Goodbye 2007

Goodbye_2007  As 2007 comes to an end, it’s time to look ahead to 2008.  The past year has certainly been a challenge.  The overall economy remained strong, but certain areas (like housing) grabbed a lot of negative headlines.  But statistics tell us that roughly one half of retailers had increases in 2007, and those figures are before the Christmas selling season.

There is business out there.It may have been a little more difficult to get in 2007 than it was in 2006, but it is there.

What does 2008 hold?  No one knows for sure.  But we do know that we can’t rest on our laurels.  We all have to approach each day as the most important day in our business, because it is.  Yesterday’s over.  We have no idea what tomorrow may bring.  All we have to work with is today.

Of course, we have to plan for the future, but when it comes to making things happen, today’s the day.

We sincerely hope that "Mine Your Own Business" has been a source of valuable content for you in the past year.  Our goal is to bring you information that helps you work ON your business rather than IN your business.  In 2008 we plan to continue providing you with the best, most current information possible.  If you have any requests, any questions, any comments on how we can serve you better, please let us know.


How to Get Out of a Selling Slump

Colleen Francis points out at that a sales person who gets off to a slow start at the beginning of the year may have a tough time catching up.  Since we’re wrapping up 2007, her suggestions are very timely.

First of all, Francis suggests "Don’t Panic!"  Creativity is needed to snap out of any slump, selling or otherwise, and panic is not the friend of creativity. 

Second, she says, "Don’t get down on yourself."  Think back to a time when you were in a similar sales funk.  What did you do to turn things around?

"Third", she says, "Don’t get angry."  You’re not going to get anywhere by placing blame.  The last thing you want to do is alienate your customers, your peers, or your manager.

Finally, "Don’t Quit!"  You’ve done it before.  You can do it again.  Persistence will always pay off.

She goes on to list seven tips for getting back on track.  You can read all seven here, but a couple of them really deserve emphasis.

Get back to basics.  Francis points out that Tiger Woods practices hours every day.  So do other pro athletes, singers, and musicians.  What do they practice?  They practice the basics.  We all add our personal touch to the techniques of selling but we get into trouble when our "touch" becomes too heavy-handed.  Like a golfer who’s gotten a hitch in his or her stance, it’s usually something very small that gets us slumping.

Get your hands on some good sales training and motivational materials.  Whether you prefer books or audio, now’s the time to go "back to school." Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, Bryan Tracy, and others can get you back on your game.

Stay away from negative people.  This is good advice any time, but especially when we’re struggling.  It’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude when we’re surrounded by whiners and complainers.  Avoid them like the plague.

Conversely, look for and hang out with positive people.  Attitudes are contagious and just as negative people bring us down, positive people raise us up.   Absorb that positive energy every chance you get.

If you have any other suggestions on getting out of a slump, or if you can recommend any particular books or audio resources,  we’d love to hear them.

Men and Women Aren’t the Same (go figure)

The Wharton School of Business and the Verde Group recently released the results of a survey on the shopping habits of men and women.  It’s called, He Buys, She Shops:  A Study of Gender Differences in the Retail Experience.  Guess what!  They’re different.  Here are some of the highlights from the Executive Summary which you can download here.  The summary is free.  The complete results cost $2,000.

1,205 consumers were surveyed during late October and early November.  Here are some of the survey’s results in the area of Customer Problems.

  • Half of all shoppers experience some kind of problem on a given shopping trip.
  • Women are more likely to have problems than men, especially women over forty years old.
  • Both men and women report an average of 3.5 problems per shopping trip.
  • Shoppers who have problems (men and women) are 35% less loyal than shoppers who don’t have problems.
  • When a woman has a problem, her loyalty drops by 24%.
  • When a man has a problem, his loyalty drops by 40%.
  • 67% of all shoppers have stopped stopping at stores where they had problems.
  • Only 30% of shoppers are willing to give the store a second chance.
  • On average, it takes a shopper 14 months to return to a store where they’ve had problems.

Interesting.  Not very surprising, but interesting.

Oh Great! A duck?

Thanks to Mike Anderson’s St. Louis Media Newsletter for posting the following sign seen in a local grocery store.  I wonder how much not so good ducks cost?


Here’s a tip:  Alway proof read your signs.

Holiday Wishes

From all of us here at Tacony Corporation,

This year many of us are missing loved ones who are serving our country on
foreign soil.  Here’s a link to a Christmas message being broadcast on Fox News Radio
especially for our troops.  It was recorded by Jamie Allman, a local radio
personality here in St. Louis.  It’s part of a series from all over the country
that’s being broadcast during the Christmas season on Fox.

The audio runs just under six minutes. 

Simple Explanations

Thanks to Chris Brogan ( for pointing out a blog called Common Craft.  Common Craft’s mission is to explain things using a simple format and real world stories, making sense of complex ideas.  I wish I’d found this site before I posted earlier this week on blogs and RSS feeds.  Two of their videos, "Blogs in Plain English" (watch it below) and "RSS in Plain English" do an excellent job of explaining the concepts.

Some other videos you might want to check out on the Common Craft:  "Social Bookmarking in Plain English" and "Wikis in Plain English".

A Great Billboard

There are a lot of places to buy tires in St. Louis, including the national chains and warehouse clubs.  But here’s a local company, Dobbs Tire & Auto Centers,  that’s done very well.  In fact, they have thirty-eight stores and a very loyal following.  It’s very simple.  They beat the box stores with their service.  This billboard says it all and their web site says a little more:

"Locally Owned, Family Owned, and Proudly Serving the St. Louis Area Since 1976."

Carnival of Small Business Issues

This week’s Carnival of Small Business Issues is hosted by Atlantic Canada’s Small Business Blog.  Our post "Loyal Employees" is included in the Human Resources category.  There’s an exceptionally good selection of posts this week and we’re very happy to have been selected.

Check it out!

New Federal Program to Benefit Small Business

This is from Last week the House Small Business Committee unanimously passed legislation that would close loopholes in the Regulatry Flexibility Act of 1980.  The new rules would require regulators to look at the indirect effects of new rules on smaller firms.

Committee chairwoman Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) said, "It is simply unacceptable to ignore how these regulations may
hamper entrepreneurship and innovation."   The changes should help smaller companies deal with the costs and procedures for compliance.

The Helpful Place

Here’s a great customer service story from Bob and Susan Negin’s Whiz Bang Marketing newsletter.  There’s no need to repeat the specifics here, but this salesperson has gone way above and beyond the call of duty to help a customer find a gift for his nephew.  The story is very reminiscent of Miracle on 34th Street.

The salesman, Jake, works for Ace Hardware in Spring Lake.  The letter doesn’t give the state and there are several Spring Lakes in the US, but if you live in or near a Spring Lake with an Ace Hardware, it might be fun to check and see if Jake works there.  We can’t vouch for the others, but this Ace Hardware really is "the helpful place."

This is a busy week for all of us, but take a minute to read Jake’s story.  It might just make your day.  If you have a similar story to share, please pass it along.