Posts tagged: Management

Retail Forecast: Christmas 2012

By , October 12, 2012 10:08 am

Christmas 2012 Retail Forecast

Make yourself easy to do business with.

By , September 22, 2012 11:30 am

Make your product and services easy to find, easy for visitors to your website to stay a while, learn about you and follow through.  That’s what a medical cosmetics physician did and it worked for him (see link below).  The bottom line is he  got specific about what his customers wanted and gave it to them.  This included adding before and after photos of people who had used his services (this is equivalent to a demonstration of your product/services – one of the best way to get a customer). He also put a “Call to action” (what you want the customer to do for next steps) up front and center (ok to the right hand side of the home page but you catch my drift). And response improved.  He decided not to use a form because that would slow down and discourage follow-through.  While this worked for this particular physician and his customer population, another  physician who specializes in the treatment of pain did exactly the opposite.  He had a long form on his website in order to weed out patients who didn’t live in the immediate area (thousands of people have pain and he would have had to hire additional full time help just to deal with the inquires coming from his website), who had the kind of insurance he takes, and who had the kind of pain he could treat.


Image provided by Shutterstock

The bottom line is you have to customize your messaging in whatever format you deliver it, to your customer’s habits and wishes. This means you have to reach out to your customer base and find out how they want to be “told and sold”. What’s the single or couple of most important messages that they need to hear in order to move them from a visitor to your website?  Then give it to them.

If you’re in retail like (see link below) then you might want to solicit customer reviews.   Find the issue that, when solved, will not only keep customers on your site (or reading your materials) longer,  but also convert them from a visitor to a customer.


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.

Lost on the road to success

By , February 18, 2012 8:18 am

According to David Peterson* an entrepreneur is constantly seeking out opportunities to do things in a new way and has the ability to capitalize on those opportunities.  A small business owner is someone who owns and manages a business for their own goals and agendas.

Each has their own set of characteristics plus there’s overlap between the two. For instance the self-efficiency, networking, time, energy and resources that are totally devoted to the business are commonalities.  But somewhere in this overlap is a hidden no-man’s land where a third type of business personality resides – the Wanderer.

The Wanderer usually has the same drive and vision as the entrepreneur and has no ongoing development of innovative practices, and has a status quo orientation like the small business owner. So he or she “wanders” around looking for money and looking for someone to essentially take care of them.

Wanderers may know they need a business plan but can’t quite focus on actually sitting down and writing one – or they’re in the middle of one that never quite gets finished.  They know you can download a business plan template and do, sometimes several. But that’s as far as they go. They can’t do the bookkeeping or get a spouse to do it for them. Sometimes they wear their idea as a way of telling others (or themselves) who they are. The Chamber and other business and trade organizations are full of these types. They may think of themselves as “the idea guy” who just needs a “do it guy” to partner with. They may even own the intellectual property rights and that’s all they need. Don’t get me wrong. Wanderers are not slackers and they’re not stupid. They may be lazy but not in a traditional sense. They may be waiting for an angel – the real kind, not the investor kind – or some divine force to step in and take care of them. They’re stuck circling this no-man’s land that they’ve created. The fact is…an idea is not a result.

If this is painfully familiar to you, then you could be a wanderer.  But wait. There’s hope. Remember, wanderers are just entrepreneurs who got stuck on the road to success.  How can you get unstuck?   You may benefit from getting yourself to networking groups, friends, advisers, classes, seminars, boot camps, — anywhere where people are grappling with the same issues but moving forward.  Maybe you should put together an advisory board – they can be enormously helpful. All these have one thing in common. They put the Wanderer in the position of being responsible (or just looking good) to others in some way. Sometimes its done by checking in with a business coach or reporting on your progress to a weekly group, especially one that insists you set weekly goals. Even if you lie a little about your progress at least you’re talking the walk and soon you’ll find its just as easy to walk the walk.    You may be happy and feel as if you are thriving as a Wanderer. In that case, I wish you well.  But if you’ve read this far you’re probably looking for a way out of Wander-dom.


Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing. She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.




What Nobody Tells You About Business Plans

By , November 12, 2011 12:38 pm

This is the sixth and last post in a series that focus on showing you how to improve the prospects of successfully launching a business.

Traditional wisdom dictates that a business financing sequence goes as follows:

  1. Identify a perceived market need/issue.
  2. Craft a plan on how you might address the void.
  3. Present the plan to stakeholders (investors, key partners, etc.) to secure anticipated resources.
  4. Consume resources as you seek to prove your theory right.

Ok, for storytelling purposes the wording above is not the most positive, yet this exact phenomenon occurs over and over again every day in every industry.

The problem is that in today’s environment, unless your concern has a proven track record or you’re launching a ‘business format franchise’ concern the riskiness associated with ‘lets give it a shot’ is to high. So what are we to do?

Present the Evidence

The vast majority of business plans are equivalent to a house of cards. The cards in this case are the assumptions around the need, cost, sales volume, and market receptiveness. Just think about it, you have the profit projections stacked on top of executional assumptions, stacked on market assumptions. With this perspective it isn’t hard to imagine how one well meaning but misguided thought can cause an implosion.

The smarter move is to quantify the validity of the assumptions by exposing them to the market – in essence turning them into ‘quasi’ knowns – before using them to construct a plan. The gathered insights dramatically increase the odds of finding and following the right path. But more importantly, arms you with evidence that can be presented to stakeholders demonstrating the soundness of your concept.

Sounds Good, but How?

The how is not hard but beyond the scope of this post. I encourage you to checkout the books listed below. They will provide you with a better appreciation for this inverted business development process and give guidance on how to justify your case.

  • The Lean Start-up, Eric Ries
  • Business Model Generation, Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur
  • Four Steps to the Epiphany, Steven G. Blank

Have any comments? Your feedback is valuable.

Donald McMichacel teaches BE 261 Starting a Small Business.

Office Image Spoilers

By , July 20, 2011 7:22 am

Summer is always a time when businesses cringe in anticipation to see what their employees will be wearing to the office.  Flip flops come out, a little too much skin is exposed, and workers tend to get a little sloppy in their dress.  This is a perfect opportunity to offer our services as image consultants to guide our clients to appropriate attire this season.  Especially in this competitive economy, employees need every edge they can get to succeed in the workplace, including a wardrobe that means business.

Sure, coming back from a summer weekend may tempt them to roll into work wearing cut offs, but do our clients really want to project an image that says  “I just got back from the beach, I’ll get to that report when I re-acclimate”?  No!  We want our clients to always appear confident, capable and ready.  As the workplace gets more and more casual and more and more competitive, our services may be needed more than ever.  It can be confusing as to what is OK to wear to the office and what constitutes a major faux pas. That’s where the savvy image consultant comes in!

Offer your clients a summer spruce up to go through their closets and help them find what works for work.  Make a list of what they need.  Maybe it’s camisoles to go under those low cut tops and dresses?  Or, a light sweater or jacket to cover bare arms and stay warm in the frigid air conditioning?   Or a casual work shoe that’s not a flip flop?  Put together a few summer outfits for them:  casual, yet neat and business like.  You can help save them embarrassment at work and project a professional image.   After all, getting ahead never takes a vacation…why let their wardrobe?

Carol Davidson teaches SXF 810: Color for Wardrobe Planning, SXI 100: Introduction to Image Consulting, SXI 110: Image Consulting Confidential.


By , May 26, 2011 1:36 pm


The role of the store manager has gotten much more complex,professional, analytical and difficult. No longer is affinity for the product the prime job requirement but instead, affinity for the customer.

Carl Barbato, V.P. of Retail for David Yurman recently spoke at an FIT class and said, ”We can and do train people about the product, and the procedures, etc. What we look for in our staff is people who like people, like to work with people and like to help people. That is the most important characteristic.”

The customer is in control and the battle for who wins the customer is depends on the skill and talent of the store manager.

Robert Salerno teaches SXR 005 Intro to Today’s Multi-Channel Retailing and SXR 035 Real World Retailing: Operations and Management.

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