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The Perils Of Copying Cash

I’ve always been in the habit with my business to photocopy the checks and cash that come in before I head off to the bank. This way, I have an accurate record of who paid what, when, and what for…

I’ve recently upgraded to an HP Officejet Pro 8600 all-in-one. What a sweet machine! So, today I toss two checks and two $20 bill son the flatbed and hit the Copy… Black and White…

And behold – I get about one inch of the copy and it’s done. After damn near a full ream of paper and an hour of re-setting the printer and searching the Internet for answers. It turns out that if it detects a bill that isn’t significantly enlarged or reduced in size that the printer will cancel the copy!

For all us non-counterfeiter’s it would should be cool if in addition to canceling the copy that the printer would print a line on the paper like “Two more try’s and you go to jail!” At least then I wouldn’t have wasted all afternoon trying to make a simple bank deposit.


Six Ways To Take Charge of 2012

Six Ways to Take Charge of 2012

The following article came to me through an eMail message. I have copied it and provided a link to the Authors site, as I felt this is relevant information for us all. Please enjoy and make use of this list.

New year, new outlook. Stephen Covey, one of the most prolific leadership authors of our time, says there are six things you can do right now to make 2012 your best year ever:

  1. Be proactive.
    It’s more than just taking initiative. It means being responsible for your own life. Empower yourself to lead and spread your influence no matter what position you hold.
  2. Sharpen the saw.
    Decide what’s truly important. Sharpen your saw early in the day by learning to say no to the unimportant and yes to the highly important
  3. Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
    It’s human nature to want to be understood, but when both parties are trying to be understood, neither party is listening. By making the investment to understand the other party, you can magically transform the course of your conversations.
  4. Begin with the end in mind.
    Start today with an image of the end of your life as the frame of reference by which everything else is examined. With a clear idea of where you are going, examine everything in the context of what matters to you most.
  5. Develop a vision mission statement.
    Get a deep sense of your life’s mission, purpose and value system, then establish your goals and a system of accountability that keeps you on track.
  6. Think win-win.
    There is enough success for everyone, so don’t view another person’s success as success achieved at your expense or exclusion.

More about Stephen Covey on SUCCESS.com.

The Mobile Web Is Coming

Or… It’s Already Here

The mobile web is literally exploding in growth. It is common knowledge that there are more mobile devices that connect to the web, than there are desktop computers. Devices, such smartphones, iPads and iPod touches and other tablets are built with web-enabled browsers that promise and now deliver anywhere-connectivity.

The approach to accessing the web on smaller devices should be handled differently, mainly because there is a lot less real estate on the smaller screen. The websites that deliver content for the mobile web are designed very differently and the content is also delivered differently.

The key to enhancing the experience on the mobile web is simplicity. Information should be easy to access, and in this instance, less, may actually mean more.

There are tools available that convert current websites to mobile format, but it should be realized that access and options will be limited.

The type of searches entered will most like be restricted to much shorter terms, perhaps one word in many cases. Because of the smaller screen, no large keyboard, and no real mouse, navigation is minimal. Navigation could further be encouraged by included drop-down menus that actually present concrete choices, instead of asking the user what their preference is.

Large images should be avoided, and pages may consist primarily of text.

The sites that may work best, would give users lots of easy options and could include easily deliverable content, such as news that was designed specifically for mobile, sports, weather, email, instant messaging and photos.

The technology is improved to the point where it becomes viable to stream videos , movies along with television shows on mobile web, and websites designed with minimalist view, should be able to accommodate them. The services that are to accommodated would be accessed quickly and easily, at anytime and anywhere, so the mobile website design should be concentrated on receiving information, applications and services, when you are away from your computer

The system should emphasize the push data aspect, and should be able to offer amenities and include accessing condensed bits of smaller bites content and services.

Mobile websites can be used as a gateway to access points on larger websites, where small bits of data can be downloaded, giving users access to information that would normally require desktop access.

Offices are going mobile as are some retailers, but it remains impractical install a complete eCommerce website on the mobile web.

One option that retailers can use is to send discount shopping coupons or promotions to customers when they need them the most.

Another very useful option that can be included in designing mobile websites is the use of widgets. These can be specifically designed to give the web-like experience on the mobile phones without having to launch a mobile browser. They could offer the same convenience while consuming very little and much valued real estate.

Mobile web applications can provide a full rich range of content and features, but care must exercised in resisting the temptation to express creativity and provide what may be considered as unnecessary. The capability to do much more on the mobile web will most likely influence the design in the future.

By The Numbers…

Some interesting thoughts on numbers (most of these came a recent Spirit magazine I read on a flight to California):

  • Stolen credit cards sell for as little as 7 cents each on-line.
  • The Statue of Liberty, at 151 feet tall, wears a size 879 shoe.
  • It costs 1.8 cents to manufacture a penny. Not bad, when compared to the 9.2 cents required to manufacture a nickel. Is anybody else really ready for Google Wallet? Sign me up! In 2010, the U.S. Mint lost $27.4 Million. Any wonder?
  • Only 55 of the 122 runners that started the race, crossed the finish line of the first New York City Marathon in 1970. In 2010, 45,000 entrants crossed the line.
  • The U.S. Postal Service processes 6,516 pieces of mail every second. WOW!
  • In 2010, snail mail volume was down 20 percent from 2006. The Postal Service only delivered 170 billion pieces of mail. That same year, 107 trillion email messages were delivered to your inbox.
  • Betty Crocker might not be real, but on her 75th anniversary in 1996 General Mills digitally blended photographs of 75 women to create her new likeness. Each of the photographs embodied a specific trait or value that the iconic Betty Crocker stood for.


Value/ Price Positioning

Where do you fit into the Value/ Price positioning model?

Buyers think in terms of value for money; what they get for what they pay. As a seller, you must have a value position for your product or service. Each of these six positions has a particular market.

  1. More for More. Specializing in offering the most upscale version and charging a high price. Often the price exceeds that actual increment of quality, and prestige is a factor. Examples are Rolls Royce, Cuban cigars, and Nordstrom.
  2. More for the Same. Companies have been able to attack a “more for more” product or service by claiming comparable quality and performance but priced much lower. These are usually high end products with superior product attributes but is priced on par with the competition. Lexus positions its cars at the same price point as Mercedes, but offers a lot more features. Dell positioned its Xeon based servers as value for money when compared to Sun’s UltraSparc server.
  3. The Same for Less. This position is possible if a firm can profitably deliver  it’s products or services which are on par with that of premium products from the competition at a price which is lower than that of the premium priced product. To be successful in this space, you need to create a strong brand differentiation first. This is the differentiation strategy for E-commerce sites on the Internet and discount stores. Examples are Costco, Target, Amazon,and private label food products.
  4. Less for Much Less. Some people complain that a product or service provides more than they require but they still have to pay the higher price. A “less for much less” position overcomes this objection. An example is Southwest Airlines, the most profitable airline, charges much less by not serving food, not assigining seats and not using travel agents.
  5. More for Less. The winning value proposition would be to offer prospects and customers “more for less”. This is the attraction of highly successful businesses like Wal-Mart.
  6. Less for More. This is a pricing position that is doomed to failure.

Most companies compete in the value for money positions of “more for the same” or “the same for less”. Where does your product or service fit?



Where Does Price Fit Into The Purchase Decision?

Are you busy playing the pricing game? Is your low price the main differentiator between you and your competitors?

Re-think this strategy. It’s more a route to business suicide than a strategy. Consumers facing a purchase decision go through a consistent process.

  1. Problem recognition
  2. Information Search
  3. Evaluation and Selection of Alternatives
  4. Decision Implementation
  5. Post-purchase Evaluation

OK. there are some purchases wherein a step or two are skipped. A low impact purchase like a hamburger is based many times on how hungry are you and where is the nearest place to eat.

While there are many studies and sources of information on the Consumer Information Processing Model shown above, our discussion is really based on where does price fall in the hierarchy of making a purchase decision?

If, for instance, you where contemplating the purchase of a new car, what are some of the things you’d consider from step three (as shown above)?

  • Brand loyalty
  • Warranty
  • Dealer attitude
  • Serviceability (does the intended purchase actually fill a need)
  • Proximity (how far are you willing to drive to get it)
  • Peer pressure (or peer review)
  • Knowledgable Sales and Service staff
  • Available inventory (do they have the make/ model/ color that you want)
  • Price

If price was your ONLY consideration… you’re telling me that NOTHING else matters? There are always  additional considerations other than price. I’ve never seen a study where price ranked higher than third on the list of important considerations when someone is making something other than a low-impact purchase decision.

This decision making model can be applied to many different types of purchases. What are some of the considerations your clients look at when making the decision to do business with you? Become your own customer. Grab a sheet of paper and make a list. If you were buying your product or service from yourself – what elements would you consider in the Evaluation and Selection of Alternatives step?

Where did price fall on that list? If price is the main or worse – only – differentiator between you and your competition, then perhaps you should go sell hamburgers.




Qualities That Define Success

Why are some companies leaders?

  • Apple invests in innovative ideas and research.
  • Johnson & Johnson understands and addresses my uniques needs.
  • Google genuinely wants to make a difference in the world.
  • General Mills upholds transparent communication practices.
  • Hershey is honest and trustworthy.

We all should be striving to research and innovate to stay fresh. This might be related directly to a product that you sell. Or it could be an innovative way to package a services that you offer.

Al of our customers deserve to be understood and feel that their unique needs have been addressed. Without applying a little Johnson & Johnson to our transactions, our customer will feel like we just processed them – like there  was no relationship between us. Haven’t you felt this way before?

I genuinely want to help my clients become more successful at what they do. Isn’t that making a difference in the world. I think so.

If our clients can’t communicate openly and transparently with us, they’ll look for somebody that they can have that kind of working relationship with. Do you recall any recent instances where transparent communication wasn’t available to you in a business transaction?

Throughout our endeavors, honesty and trustworthiness should shine through. Whether you can help or not. Whether you can answer the question or not. Be honest. Prove that you can be trusted.

Living our lives and running our businesses with these qualities in mind will help us all make our dent in the universe.


The Ant Philosophy

by: Jim Rohn

I think everybody should study ant. They have an amazing four-part philosophy.

First, ants never quit. That’s a good philosophy. If they’re headed somewhere and you try to stop them, they’ll look for another way. They’ll climb over, they’ll climb under, they’ll go around. They keep looking for another way. What a neat philosophy, to never quit looking for a way to get where you’re supposed to go.

Second, ants think winter all summer. That’s an important perspective. You can’t be so naive to think summer will last forever. So ants are gathering their winter food in the middle of the summer.

Third, ants think summer all winter. That is so important. During the winter, ants remind themselves, “This won’t last long – we’ll soon be out of here.” And the first warm day, the ants are out. If it turns cold again, they’ll dive back down, but then they come out the first warm day. They can’t wait to get out.

Fourth, ants do all they can. How much will an ant gather during the summer to prepare for winter? All they possibly can. What an incredible philosophy, the “all-you-possibly-can” philosophy.

Wow!, what a great philosophy to have – the ant philosophy. Never give up, look ahead, stay positive and do all you can.


Dress Up Your Facebook Pages

If you’re ready to take the plunge into Facebook Marketing, here are several sights that can help you dress up your Facebook pages, DIY style.

The most affordable is pagemodo.com. Free for a single page, premium plans starting at $6.25 a month. Choose from 18 different templates.

The northsocial.com service lets you create and launch a wide variety of promotions including group coupons and sweepstakes. Subscriptions start at $19.99 per month with no term commitment.

Looking for lots of design options? Shortstack.com offers more than 40 design templates. Shortstack is free for unlimited pages with up to 100 fans. Premium versions start at $9 per month.


If You Don’t Do It…It Doesn’t Exist

When you think of a new idea, it can be viewed by those around you as absurd, unusual, impossible, or just silly. Hey! Wait a minute. What gives them the right to judge something that doesn’t yet exist?

It is unlikely that anybody else will buy into or sanction the cost of something that they don’t understand. You really have no choice but to act upon the idea yourself. Until you have acted upon and perhaps even implemented the idea… it doesn’t exist. You might have to beg, borrow or steal (poetically speaking) to carry out your idea. Good! Do it! If it were easy – everybody would be doing it already.

When Orson Wells started the Citizen Kane movie, he couldn’t find any backers. He was able to beg, borrow and cajole others into helping him build sets and shooting screen tests until they formed about one third of the movie.


Backers could finally see what they were getting into. It became easier for them to envision what the end result would be. Orson was finally able to obtain the proper backing and finish one of the best films of our times.

Don’t be afraid to explore and act upon your ideas. Until somebody acts upon the idea… it doesn’t exist. It may as well exist for you!


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