Thursday, July 31, 2008
One of the things I've been studying in this trip is leveraging your sales, both sundries and service. A great book that talks about this is Free Prize Inside by Seth Godin. When I get back next week, I'll write about it.
Until then, here are a couple of links you might find interesting:
Cut Start Up Operating Costs
Cash Flow as a Measurement for your Home Business
PS - Sorry for not posting yesterday, we got busy with the kids. :)
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
I've already been asked why I wasn't at the Jam this year. I wanted to go, but let's just say I over did it the Friday before. I planned on being there Monday, but had to trade that trip for a trip to my favorite chiropractor. Guess I'm not as young as I used to be. :)
Anyway, I've already talked to a number of people that were there and got the low down. I like to be at these events to do the write up on them in On The Edge, but I'll need to get Bonnie to do it for me this year.
Right now I'm taking a little time off with my family, but I'll still be posting tomorrow. After that I'll be off grid.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I just wanted to let everyone know I'll be on the road for the next few days. I'll drop a post on Jim Sharp whenever I can get online. Since I'll be gone for a few days, I wanted to share a post I read the other day. It's titled, 25 Visionaries Who Created Empires from Virtually Nothing. One of the tools I use to move forward in business is biographies. Take a look at some of the people on this list and the short bio included with each. Some of these men and women you will want to study to help you run your business better, others you won't. Here is the link...
Friday, July 25, 2008
It's funny. I had an awful experience at a local RV dealer this week while trying to buy an "apparently" outdated connection to wire onto my wife's Durango so we can pull our pop-up. I did finally find the part I needed, but only after I did all the looking and calling. This post was going to list many simple things this dealer could have done to impress me...but then I ran across a post by Justine Foo from Brains on Fire. It changed my whole demeanor.
She posted a copy of an article Rick Reilly wrote 3 years ago for Sports Illustrated. It was about Dick Hoyt and his son Rick. It's a beautiful story of a father's love for his child, and it's based around a simple desire; to see the joy in his son's eyes and a "cantaloupe smile" on his face. I've read this story before, and you may have too, but even if you've read it in the past, read it again. Here is a copy:
“The Strongest Dad in the World”
by Rick Reilly
Sports Illustrated, June 20 2005
I try to be a good father. Give my kids mulligans. Work nights to pay for their text messaging. Take them to swimsuit shoots.
But compared with Dick Hoyt, I suck.
Eighty-five times he’s pushed his disabled son, Rick, 26.2 miles in marathons. Eight times he’s not only pushed him 26.2 miles in a wheelchair but also towed him 2.4 miles in a dinghy while swimming and pedaled him 112 miles in a seat on the handlebars–all in the same day.
Dick’s also pulled him cross-country skiing, taken him on his back mountain climbing and once hauled him across the U.S. on a bike. Makes taking your son bowling look a little lame, right?
And what has Rick done for his father? Not much–except save his life.
This love story began in Winchester, Mass., 43 years ago, when Rick was strangled by the umbilical cord during birth, leaving him brain-damaged and unable to control his limbs.
“He’ll be a vegetable the rest of his life;” Dick says doctors told him and his wife, Judy, when Rick was nine months old. “Put him in an Institution.”
But the Hoyt's weren’t buying it. They noticed the way Rick’s eyes followed them around the room. When Rick was 11 they took him to the Engineering department at Tufts University and asked if there was anything to help the boy communicate. “No way,” Dick says he was told. “There’s nothing going on in his brain.”
“Tell him a joke,” Dick countered. They did. Rick laughed. Turns out a Lot was going on in his brain. Rigged up with a computer that allowed him to control the cursor by touching a switch with the side of his head, Rick was finally able to communicate. First words? “Go Bruins!” And after a high school classmate was paralyzed in an accident and the school organized a charity run for him, Rick pecked out, “Dad, I want to do that.”
Yeah, right. How was Dick, a self-described “porker” who never ran more than a mile at a time, going to push his son five miles? Still, he tried. “Then it was me who was handicapped,” Dick says. “I was sore for two weeks.”
That day changed Rick’s life. “Dad,” he typed, “when we were running, It felt like I wasn’t disabled anymore!”
And that sentence changed Dick’s life. He became obsessed with giving Rick that feeling as often as he could. He got into such hard-belly Shape that he and Rick were ready to try the 1979 Boston Marathon.
“No way,” Dick was told by a race official. The Hoyts weren’t quite a single runner, and they weren’t quite a wheelchair competitor. For a few years Dick and Rick just joined the massive field and ran anyway, then they found a way to get into the race officially: In 1983 they ran another marathon so fast they made the qualifying time for Boston the following year.
Then somebody said, “Hey, Dick, why not a triathlon?”
How’s a guy who never learned to swim and hadn’t ridden a bike since he was six going to haul his 110-pound kid through a triathlon? Still, Dick tried.
Now they’ve done 212 triathlons, including four grueling 15-hour Ironmans in Hawaii. It must be a buzzkill to be a 25-year-old stud getting passed by an old guy towing a grown man in a dinghy, don’t you think?
Hey, Dick, why not see how you’d do on your own? “No way,” he says. Dick does it purely for “the awesome feeling” he gets seeing Rick with a cantaloupe smile as they run, swim and ride together.
This year, at ages 65 and 43, Dick and Rick finished their 24th Boston Marathon, in 5,083rd place out of more than 20,000 starters. Their best time? Two hours, 40 minutes in 1992–only 35 minutes off the world record, which, in case you don’t keep track of these things, happens to be held by a guy who was not pushing another man in a wheelchair at the time.
“No question about it,” Rick types. “My dad is the Father of the Century.”
And Dick got something else out of all this too. Two years ago he had a mild heart attack during a race. Doctors found that one of his arteries was 95% clogged. “If you hadn’t been in such great shape,” one doctor told him, “you probably would’ve died 15 years ago.” So, in a way, Dick and Rick saved each other’s life.
Rick, who has his own apartment (he gets home care) and works in Boston, and Dick, retired from the military and living in Holland, Mass., always find ways to be together. They give speeches around the country and compete in some backbreaking race every weekend, including this Father’s Day.
That night, Rick will buy his dad dinner, but the thing he really wants to give him is a gift he can never buy.
“The thing I’d most like,” Rick types, “is that my dad sit in the chair and I push him once.”
So what does this have to do with sharpening? Not much, but it made me smile (it about made me cry). It also made me realize one of the main reasons I enjoy sharpening so much. I love to see the joy in the eyes and the "cantaloupe smiles" on my customers faces when they see how easy it is to sharpen if they follow the right steps, or when I repair a shear or other tool that's a family heirloom and the owner thinks of their loved one.
Does this compare to the greatness that is expressed in the love Dick shows his son? No way! But if we run our businesses with only a hint of the desire to see our customers as happy as Dick wanted to see his son, imagine how our businesses would stand out. It would be a breath of fresh air for many. It would drive loyalty. It would create something to talk about. And some...some might even call something as simple as creating smiles "remarkable." What are you doing to bring joy to your customers? What are you doing to put a smiles on their faces?
PS - If you'd like to see a great video of some of the adventurers Dick and Rick have shared, click here and scroll down to the bottom of Justine's post and click on the link to the video she included in her post.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
I got to do something I don't get to do very often, I sharpened a ceramic shear this morning. This shear is used in the composite industry to cut kevlar thread.
Sharpening a shear like this isn't difficult, you just need to know what angle to use and how to properly deburr it (the most important part). I'll be doing a write up on the steps I used in next months On The Edge Newsletter.
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
While plowing through my regiment of daily reading, I came across this blog post about insurance. Okay! It's not what I would define as a "fun" read, but it's short and makes some good suggestions for those of us with small businesses. Take a moment and take a look. Click here...
Monday, July 21, 2008
One of the things we spoke about at the Wolff/ Huff Show last month was how important it is to get together with a group of positive, upbeat sharpeners and talk business. It's a real energy boost!
The same holds true for our personal relationships and business relationships at home. Olivier Blanchard wrote about this in his Brand Builder Blog. The post he shares, from a defunct blog he used to follow, shows just how important it is that we surround ourselves with positive influences. We are all human beings (even if we are sharpeners), and that means we tend to track toward the least common denominator.
Click here to take a look at what Olivier has to say. Then start applying some of the principles from this his post to your life and business.
Friday, July 18, 2008
How remarkable is your business? How memorable is it? How are you setting yourself apart, and by doing so, making your business more valuable? Think about this! There are plenty of sharpeners in most areas. Most are not running their business as they should, so if you just put in the normal amount of effort (you know, what everyone SHOULD be doing), you'll make good headway in your neck of the woods. But if you go above and beyond... WOW! You could really set the world on fire!
People don't respond well to the norm any more. They want something better. They want something to talk about! Your job is to give them something to talk about! With that said, I want you to go read this post about an experience Robbin Phillips had while traveling in NYC. I could list all kinds of things you might be able to do to enhance the value of your business, but it's stories like these that really get the creative juices flowing and help us come up with our own individual ideas to make our customer's experience better. Take a look!
PS - Consider this! I'm sharing this story with you because it impressed me.
PPS - This hotel charges $500 + per night (and it's patrons are happy to pay it).
PPPS - Wouldn't you like your customers to be sharing stories like this about you and your business? Look for ways to create WOW!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Patrick Williams wrote a great post on his blog that all sharpeners should read! He is absolutely right! People give up too soon on potential customers. Make sure you keep going back because to win a customer over, sometimes it takes more visits than you'd expect. Here is a copy of his post titled Don't Stop below. For more tips, visit Patrick's website at: http://www.sellingsherpa.com/
A lot has been said about persistence, but is it possible to quantify how much persistence you need?
Let me share with you some interesting stats I came across recently. They prove conclusively that your sales should rock if you don’t stop before making at least 5 calls on a customer.
According to Sales & Marketing Executives Club of Los Angeles, 81% of professional salespeople will close on the 5th customer call. Here’s the full breakdown:
2 % close on the 1st call
3 % close on the 2nd call
4 % close on the 3rd call
10 % close on the 4th call
81 % close on the 5th call
Next up, data from the Dartnell Corporation which reveals that 90% of all sales people stop trying to make a sale before the 5th customer call. Here’s the full rundown:
48 % quit after the 1st call
24 % quit after the 2nd call
12 % quit after the 3rd call
6 % quit after the 4th call
10 % quit after the 5th call
What does this all mean? It means that over 80% of sales are being made by 10% of the salespeople in the world. And if you don’t stop before the 5th customer call, chances are good you will be the #1 salesperson in your firm...maybe even #1 in your market.
So, whatever you do, don’t stop!
Thanks to Mike Feagins for passing this along.
Monday, July 14, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
There are two ways you can look up things of interest to you on Jim Sharp. The first is the Search Box:
You'll find the search box in the upper left hand corner of the blog. You can type any word or phrase you'd like to look up into the box, click Search Blog, and the search will pull up all the blog posts that contain that word or phrase.
The second way to utilize this blog is by searching the Categories section:
You'll find the list of Categories in the right hand sidebar. You'll notice at the bottom of this post that it's labeled How-To. That means this post will show up, along with all the others labeled How-To, if you click on that option in the Categories Section. You can see you have a number of options, and the number of posts in each category is listed. Click around and see what you can find. Let me know if you have other questions about Jim Sharp.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
It's pretty cool! I usually use orbitz.com to book my flights, but one of the features I like best about this site is the "When to Travel" option.
Just select the airport closest to you in the "From" box, where you're going to, and click go. You'll be taken to a graph that will show you prices based on different days you may be willing to leave.
You'll also see that you have a "Grid" option as well (my favorite) where you can scroll over different days to leave based on length of stay.
I'm not sure if I'd ever use this site to book a flight, but it's a great tool to see if you're in the ball park on price if you use a travel agent or other online travel site. The one draw back is you can only go out a few weeks to see flight prices.
With the Wolff/ Huff Show coming up in October, and other shows as well, I thought this might be a useful tool. Thanks for the tip Bonnie!
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Social media is a hot topic these days. How effective is it in generating sales, no one really knows, but there are many good arguments for getting your business involved. One way to start doing this is to create a Facebook Page for your business. This is similar to a Profile Page, but for a business. There are a number of big name companies doing this as another means of advertising.
Why do I suggest you look into it? Most sharpeners have a strong focus on stylists, many of them are young, and most are on Facebook. If you create a page for your business, and put the address on your business card, you will look more progressive to the younger crowd. Will they utalize the page? I don't know, but they might. Is it worth a look? That's up to you. Ask a few of your trusted customers what they would think about you having a Facebook Page. Heck, you may even be able to convince one of them to create one for you for a few sharpening or a shear. See what they say.
I'm including a few links if you're interested in pursuing this. I've looked into it some, but I haven't built a Facebook Page for Wolff yet because I don't think it fits my target market. I do have a Facebook Profile Page though; because I think eventually I'll find a fit there. Here are the links:
Articles about big name companies using Facebook
Facebook's page on how to create Business Pages
Blog post on creating Business Pages on Facebook
Facebook vs. LinkedIn (I'll take about LinkedIn in a future post)
These links and more
Time is a factor in all our businesses. You may have no interest in doing something like this, but remember, it's also important to stay educated when you're in business. Things change fast in this day and age, so it's good to look at new marketing mediums, even if you don't intend to utilize them right now.
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
With that said, I'd like to ask how long it has been since you've recharged your batteries? As business people, we so often get wrapped up in working that we forget that we need to revisit what we've learned in the past to see if it is still working for us now. If not, we need to set some new goals, learn some new selling techniques, or get some more sharpening training.
One of the things I hear most when I do a show like the one that just took place in Kansas City is, "We love coming to these shows because I not only learn from the seminars, I learn from all the other sharpeners as well." The other nice thing about shows like this, is many of the sharpeners turn them into little mini-vacations and bring their family with them. It's a great way to learn and relax, and the trip can be written off as a bonus. If you're thinking about come to the next show, it's in Anaheim, CA October 17-19. Call Wolff at 800-888-3832 for more info.
Right now, I'm getting ready to fly to Las Vegas for the CosmoProf show. It's one of the biggest business-to-business beauty trade shows in the states, and I go there to catch up with a number of my suppliers from overseas. One thing in particular I'm looking for at this show is packaging for the Wolff Economy shears. I'm looking for something simple, inexpensive, and attractive. Hopefully I'll find what I'm looking for! I'll be running a series of posts about this show, so keep an eye on the blog.
As always, If there's anything I can do to help you, please give me a call. All my contact info is on the right side of this blog. Thanks for being patient with me while I took this much needed rest. I'm looking forward to jumping back in with both feet!