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Archive for April 2014

Pies That Are On My List

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Pie

I was hungry and craving some sweets when I wrote this so I naturally decided to write about it. I like pie as do most people. I think I prefer cake to pie but for overall versatility I prefer pie. For me to like a cake, the main ingredient must be chocolate. Pie on the other hand can please me in many forms.

I am talking about traditional pies for today’s discussion, not peanut butter cup, caramel, mint chocolate, chip cookie dough type pies. For the most part my list contains fruit pies with the exception of pecan and pumpkin. I will admit my list may seem boring with the traditional apple, cherry, pecan and pumpkin taking top honors but they are classics for a reason.

The pie chart above ranks pies by the number of times I would choose them if I was asked to pick a pie 100 times. It is not a very diverse list and frankly I doubt I would pick strawberry or blueberry pie even once but I might so I gave them representation on my list so you would not think less of me if that is possible.

Below is my dishonorable mention list of pies that I would ban from ever gracing a table again in my lifetime. If you like them, I am sorry in advance.

  • Peach
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb
  • Anything-Rhubarb
  • Elderberry
  • Razzleberry – hey that is not even really a fruit!
  • Mince Meat – I don’t even know what it is but meat and pie do not go together unless it is beef and gravy with bacon pie and it is served on a plate without crust and it is a hamburger.
  • Brambleberry – see razzleberry
  • Apricot

 

I hope I did not make you hungry, have a great week.

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Written by pacelinebiz

April 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

Business Lessons Learned From My Father

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Learn By Watching

Learn By Watching

My father started his business in 1960. It was a gas station and auto repair shop and it continues operating today under the ownership of my brother. My dad never sat me down and gave me these lessons; they were learned by his example. I now realize that what I was observing growing up has affected how I run my business.  I have listed a few examples of what I learned below.

Treat customers right, they pay the bills. He developed a good relationship with most of his customers and they were treated like friends. He did a good job with creating friendships with his customers and the evidence was the many instances of getting small but thoughtful thank you gifts throughout the year. He would get baked goods or even homemade wine from his satisfied customers. When he would get a plate of cookies or some other baked goods he would always make a big deal about it. He would later tell them how good it was. My mom is an awesome baker and I can attest that there were times when the goods he received were not that great but he always went overboard to thank them.

Small gestures of kindness can make a big impact. I can remember several times he would ask a parent if he could give a can of pop from the pop machine to one of their kids waiting in the car. He knew it cost him just a few pennies (this was back in the 70’s) but the impact was huge. To ensure a lasting impression he would get the key out and open the machine up and let the kid grab a can of his choice. He knew that someday that kid would have a car and need gas and repairs. At that moment he just got a customer for life. This relates to another lesson I have learned from him.

Be willing to invest long term in your business. He understood the lifetime value of a customer. He did not look to cash in on a customer when they were at his mercy. If there was a problem with a customer’s car he would fix what was needed at a fair price and that is where it ended. He wasn’t looking to sell them something they didn’t need or use fear to make a sale. This practice really upsets me when I see it in use today by unscrupulous auto repair shops. By treating the customer fairly he developed a long term relationship and I saw many kids grow up and start taking their car to my dad. Many times they would do this even when they moved out of town. Some of the busiest days for the shop were around holidays when kids would come back to town to visit their parents…and to get their car worked on by a man they could trust.

These lessons won’t guarantee success, but it’s a good start. Have a great week.

Life After Google

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Google* - not intended to infringe on the Wordmark

Google* – not intended to infringe on the Wordmark

Google began in March 1996 and has transformed the way find information and made somethings obsolete.   Below is my small list I thought of for this topic. 

  • Phone books are a waste of time.  I haven’t used one in many years
  • Arguments end fast by “Googling” the correct answer
  • You don’t need a memory.  Want to know the actor’s name who portrayed the lead character in Mr. Terrific, the short-lived 1960’s TV show.  Google it and you find out that it was Stephen Strimpell as Stanley Beamish.  Yes, that is need to know information.
  • Find a restaurant or get directions?  No need for a map you can’t re-fold the right way, Google has it right there on your computer.  I bought a road Atlas in about 1994 and used it a couple of times and then the internet and Google made it obsolete.
  • No need to dial 347-7751 to get the time and temperature since you can get it on Google on your smart phone if you don’t already have an “app” for that.  That could be another blog – Life After “Apps”.
  • I don’t have to call one of my skilled brothers to tell me how to change my lawnmower blades.  I can just Google that and I will be directed to Google’s multimedia arm and someone on YouTube will tell me in “living color” and I can replay it until I figure it out.  Are you old enough t know what “in living color” was all about?  I am not talking about the TV show from the early 90’s.  If you don’t know anything about that TV show – just Google it.
  • It is also a great way to stop writer’s block when trying to come up with a blog topic.  Just Google “random blog topic” and you will get ideas.
  • Missed the score of the game last night – Google it.

I am sure I missed many other things that have changed in life after Google.   Perhaps we need to start using a designation “A.G.” for After Google in the same way we use A.D. or B.C.

Have a great week and let me know what I missed.

Keep It Simple, Silly (K.I.S.S.)

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This Is Not A Black Car

This Is Not A Black Car

Henry Ford has been credited with the statement; “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”.  That was the policy for early Ford vehicles.   Mr. Ford probably did not imagine that a car would be outfitted with so many optional features today and probably would have resisted the temptation of customization.  He emphasized the use of standard, interchangeable parts and the moving assembly line for efficiency.   At one point he had that luxury as Ford Motor Company had over half of the US Auto Market share.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s the Japanese auto makers were known for making good, reliable cars at an affordable price that were very fuel-efficient.   They were not known as particularly stylish and had few options.  To an extent they learned from Henry Ford and it worked even against competition that had much more variety.   In hindsight, it is no surprise that during this time they gained a large share of the US auto market.

So, what can we learn from this?  I believe we need to focus on doing what we do best and avoid distractions.  If you are a sandwich shop; build the best sandwich ever and they will come.  Have you ever seen some of the places on the TV show Diners, Drive In and Dives?  (Yes, I watch this show a lot) Many of the restaurants are indeed dives.  I am sure you have your own favorite eatery that is a hole in the wall place that does everything wrong except deliver sweet, nectar to your tummy.  They don’t have a good website, a good social marketing campaign or any outward appearance that they know what they are doing.  Behind the counter the kitchen staff looks like the 3 stooges.  Sometimes they are actually known for having poor customer service at the order counter.  Remember the Seinfeld episode about the restaurant known for its soup?  If you did not order correctly, the owner would yell at you “No soup for you! I don’t ever recommend sacrificing customer service but if you sell a product that everyone wants then even that can be substandard.

It is contrary to much of what you hear today, but maybe following the K.I.S.S. rule still makes sense. If we devote several hours or more a month to our Business Facebook page, website, writing a blog or learning the new buzz words to impress people what have we gained?  If we spend a couple thousand dollars a year on a fancy new logo, SEO and email marketing campaigns will it be worth the cost?  If you took the money and time spent in a year on the distractions of this year’s “shiny new toy” and invested it in making your core product or service better maybe people would be lining up at your door to do business with you.

I don’t think that would be a good idea to stop all of your marketing programs but I think it would be a good idea to focus on first things first.  That means make your product or service the best it can be before wrapping a shiny package on something that is less than your best.

Have a great week getting back to basics.  Read a blog from 2011 that I wrote called Back To The Basics for more on this topic.

Written by pacelinebiz

April 7, 2014 at 8:01 am