Episode 8

Welcome to Mining the Store, the podcast for small business owners who want to mine more gold from their businesses.  This is Episode 8.

There’s no “I” in podcast, so your comments are very important.  You can leave a comment here on the show notes page.  Or, you can email your comment to mike@miningthestore.com.  If you’d like to leave an audio comment, you can attach an mp3 file to your email.

Skype users can leave an audio comment at mike.buckley3.

My Twitter ID is michaelbuckley and you can also find me on Friendfeed.

Mining the Store is a member of the blubrry podcast network, http://www.blubrry.com.

The Twilight Zone

The Twilight Zone

This episode we focus on bad customer service.  But first, notice our new blog page.  We’ve moved the show notes page from our podcast host, Libsyn to WordPress.  We hope you like the new look.

3:15  Poor customer service
4:25  Macy’s fails to deliver.
8:20  Zoli Erdos and expired Milka chocolate from Belgian Chocolate Online.
13:21  A hospital drops the ball when it comes to looking out for the customer.
17:25  Conclusion.  We have to put the customer first to survive.

Direct download: Episode_8.mp3

Time to Take a Vacation?

Vacation
Here’s an article from USA Today that you may find interesting. Everyone needs some time away from work and business owners are no exception. The writer, Joyce M. Rosenberg of the AP interviewed several business owners and got a variety of answers on the subject of time off.  As you might expect, some owners recognize the importance of time off for themselves and their employees.  Others aren’t so sure.  One said that she insists her employees take their vacation time so they don’t get burned out, yet she doesn’t even take an occasional long weekend herself. 

With the availability of cell phones, lap tops, blackberries, and all the other modern communications tools, it would seem like even the most micro-managing business owner should be able to get away for a few days.  It will rejuvenate you and stretch your employees and they can always call you if they get into a bind. As Rosenberg points out, if you don’t have employees who can run the business while you’re away, you may want to re-think your hiring practices.

As one business owner wrote on another forum, "The business is still here, but the kids are gone.  I wish I had taken more time off."

The Psychology of Winning

Pondering the mysteries of the universe.  Watching Major League Baseball’s All Star Game last night at the soon-to-be-torn-down Yankee Stadium, I was thinking about rivalries.  Here in the Midwest the Cardinals and the Cubs are a classic example.  The two teams could be tied for last place yet their games always sell out both in St. Louis and Chicago.

The fiercest rivalry in baseball has to be the one between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.  There is serious bad blood between the two teams’ players, the coaches, and the fans.  Where there’s a certain good-natured respect between the Cardinals and Cubs, the animosity between the Yankees and the Red Sox seems to be much more serious.

So, I’m watching the game when the Sox’  J. D. Drew (a former Cardinal) hits a home for the American League.  Under normal circumstances the boos would have been deafening. But a member of the hated Boston side hitting a homer in the Bronx is greeted with cheers.  Not just cheers, but a standing ovation.  Are we in some strange parallel universe?  Is the end of the world at hand?

No.  On this night, for Yankee fans, Drew is on "our side".  He’s one of us.  The desire for an American League victory and home field advantage in the World Series is greater than the disdain New Yorkers usually have for anyone who wears a Red Sox uniform.

Of course, if Drew, or any Boston player were to be traded to the Yankees, any bad feelings would disappear as soon as he put on the pin stripes.  It’s just the nature of sports.

So, how does this apply to our businesses?  It seems like the same rules apply.  We all have competitors.  Under normal circumstances, no matter how nice we are and no matter how nice the other guy (or gal) is, we’re competitive creatures.  We may nod and smile when we meet at a trade show or some other event, but deep down we want every sale.  We know we can’t get them all, but we sure do want to.

Yet, we’re all better served by increasing size of the pie than we are by just increasing our share.  If we could work together to increase the total market by 20% ,  maintaining our current market share, wouldn’t we be better off than if we just took an additional 10% of business from the store down the street.  Of course we would.

As long as we don’t break any anti-trust laws, isn’t it a better situation if we cooperate with our competitors to make the whole market better?  The first place I’d start would be to make it a rule that no one in my store could ever say anything bad about the competition or the brands that they carry.  Even Wally World offers the customer something (low quality/low price).  Your customer has probably shopped there.  If you tell her that everything they sell is junk, you’ve just insulted every purchase she’s ever made there.

As they say in politics, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer."  When you have a chance to work with your competitor in some kind of local civic event or show or anywhere else, be the most pleasant, most cooperative person they ever met.   Work to build the industry and not to tear down someone else. 

Win that all star game.  (Wouldn’t it be nice if the National League could win, just once.  Please.)

New and Improved

Welcome to the new look Mining the Store.  Obviously the appearance of the page has changed since we’ve moved it from our podcast host Libsyn over to WordPress.  I hope you like the change.

There another, more important change I want to point out.  The new site has no ads.  Ironically, I have John Chow to thank for that.  In case you don’t know, John Chow is the king of web site monetization.  He claims to make $27,000 per month from his sites, all from ads.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that, if it’s what you want to do.  More power to him.  But after reading his white paper on how to make money, it occurred to me that that’s not what this blog/podcast is all about.  It’s about you making money and not about me making money.  How serious can you think I am about helping you if all you see are ads?

Right now MTS is a labor of love.  I have a full time job and a part-time ministry, so it’s something I do nights and weekends and sometimes at lunch time.  I don’t need to make money here, so why try if it dilutes or takes away from the content.

I will continue to recommend products and services if I believe they can help you make more money in your business.  On the chance that someone wants to give me something free in exchange for a review, I’ll always let you know that, but I won’t let it influence what I say.  If I give you a link to a book on Amazon.com, it’s there for your convenience.  Personally I think you should buy your books at your local book store.

Finally, I’m 59 years old.  I do expect to give up the nine to five grind at some time in the not-too-distant future.  When that happens, then the economics of this operation will surely change.  I will be looking for some new income streams.  What that will look like, only God knows, and He’s not telling.

As always, thank you for visiting and I hope you keep coming back.  It also wouldn’t hurt my feelings if you told your friends.  I will be adding links to del.icio.us, digg, twitter, etc in the near future. (As soon as I figure out how.)  Meanwhile, if you have the social bookmarking buttons on your browser, I’d appreciate it if you’d Stumble and digg us.

This project has taken a little longer than I expected it to, so the 7/15 podcast is a little late.  Don’t despair, I expect to have it up tonight or tommorrow.

Episode 7

Welcome to Mining the Store, the podcast for small business owners who want to mine more gold from their businesses.  This is Episode 7.

There’s no “I” in podcast, so your comments are very important.  You can leave a comment here on the show notes page.  Or, you can email your comment to mike@miningthestore.com.  If you’d like to leave an audio comment, you can attach an mp3 file to your email.

Skype users can leave an audio comment at mike.buckley3.

My Twitter ID is michaelbuckley and you can also find me on Friendfeed.

Mining the Store is a member of the blubrry podcast network, http://www.blubrry.com.

Today we’re going to take a look at inexpensive, but very effective, ways to promote your brand, both your personal brand and your business brand.  We’ll talk about ways to turn the dozens of random contacts you make every day into prospects for your business.

01:08 How many prospects have you talked to today?  You may be surprised at the answer.
03:25 The value of gift certificates.
05:43 How to turn casual meetings into B to B sales.
06:41 Logo clothing is a conversation starter
07:56 So is a professionally produced name tag.
08:20 Say “cheese”.  Why you need a supply of good photos.
08:55 The “elevator speech”
12:10 Generation “Y”, baby boomers, and social media

Helpful links:

Marketing Your Retail Store in the Internet Age by Bob and Susan Negen.
The Profitable Retailer by Doug Fleener and Patricia Luebke
Baby Lock Sewing Machines Dealer Locator
Elevator Speech Dos and Don’ts
The Perfect (Elevator) Pitch

Direct download: Episode_7.mp3

Episode 6

Welcome to Mining the Store, the podcast for small business owners who want to mine more gold from their businesses.  This is Episode 5.

There’s no “I” in podcast, so your comments are very important.  You can leave a comment here on the show notes page.  Or, you can email your comment to mike@miningthestore.com.  If you’d like to leave an audio comment, you can attach an mp3 file to your email.

Skype users can leave an audio comment at mike.buckley3.

Our music is called “Shenandoah” and it’s by Larry Allen Brown from the Garage Band web site, find it here.

Mining the Store is a member of the blubrry podcast network, http://www.blubrry.com.

Happy Father’s Day!

1:50  The long-awaited Firefox version 3.0 will be available this coming Tuesday, June 17.  They hope to set a world record for the most copies of software downloaded in one day.  The new version is said to be more secure, faster, and less of a memory hog.  There are other new features as well.

4:17  LifeClever offers a list of ten free on-line photo editing applications.  We tried one, Splashup, and it worked pretty well.

5:35  High gas prices, the economy, the Internet, and small business.

10:00 Question of the week.  Do your loved ones take your on-line work seriously?  If not, how do you deal with it?  Let’s talk about it.

Direct download: Episode_6.mp3

More on Baby Boomers

As a follow-up to episode 5’s discussion of baby boomers, here’s a link to a post on the same topic from Mine Your Own Business, the Tacony Corporation blog.

Episode 5

Welcome to Mining the Store, the podcast for small business owners who want to mine more gold from their businesses.  This is Episode 5.

There’s no “I” in podcast, so your comments are very important.  You can leave a comment here on the show notes page.  Or, you can email your comment to mike@miningthestore.com.  If you’d like to leave an audio comment, you can attach an mp3 file to your email.

Skype users can leave an audio comment at mike.buckley3.

Our music is called “Shenandoah” and it’s by Larry Allen Brown from the Garage Band web site, find it here.

Mining the Store is a member of the blubrry podcast network, http://www.blubrry.com.

2:04   Harvey Korman
2:45   Missouri Department of Revenue–How not to do customer service.
6:57   78 million Baby boomers are a diverse group.
US boomers range in age from 44 to 62
They ARE on the internet
44% of internet users age 50+ have broadband service
They use the web for a variety of purposes.
If you’re not reaching out to boomers, you’re missing business.
10:45 Contact me on Twitter and Facebook.
http://twitter.com/michaelbuckley
11:16 Anna Farmery–Healthy Business Relationships
http://www.theengagingbrand.typepad.com
12:23 More Anna–The Engaging Brand Episode 167, Joe Medina
Brain Rules
13:12 Minor League Baseball, the Gateway Grizzlies, and good marketing.
16:34 Donna Papacosta–Adding time codes to show notes
http://trafcom.typepad.com/blog/

Direct download: Episode_5.mp3

Episode 4

Welcome to Mining the Store, the podcast for small business owners who want to mine more gold from their businesses.  This is Episode 4.

There’s no “I” in podcast, so your comments are very important.  You can leave a comment here on the show notes page.  Or, you can email your comment to mike@miningthestore.com.  If you’d like to leave an audio comment, you can attach an mp3 file to your email.

Skype users can leave an audio comment at mike.buckley3.

Our music is called “Shenandoah” and it’s by Larry Allen Brown from the Garage Band web site, find it here.

Mining the Store is a member of the blubrry podcast network, http://www.blubrry.com.

  1. We learn a valuable lesson in sales from a beer vendor at Busch Stadium.
  2. On paying $7.95 for a beer and why you have to ask the right questions to find out your customer’s real objection.
  3. Why a mission statement is the critical first step in growing your business.
  4. Why you won’t see “get rich quick” ads on this page.
Direct download: Episode_4.mp3

How important are small businesses to the U.S. economy?

Small firms:
• Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.
• Employ about half of all private sector employees.
• Pay more than 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
• Have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.
• Create more than half of nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
• Supplied 22.8 percent of the total value of federal prime contracts in FY 2006.
• Hire 40 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer
workers).
• Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.
• Made up 97 percent of all identified exporters and produced 28.6 percent of the known
export value in FY 2004.
• Small innovative firms produce 13 times more patents per employee than large
patenting firms, and their patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the
one percent most cited.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census; Advocacy-funded  research by
Kathryn Kobe, 2007 (www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs299tot.pdf); Federal Procurement
Data System; Advocacy-funded research by CHI  Research, 2003
(www.sba.gov/advo/research/rs225tot.pdf); U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor
Statistics, Current Population Survey; U.S. Dept. of Commerce, International Trade
Administration.