Standing in Line

I am always intrigued by lines out the door.

Last week, I took my family to Pike Place market in Seattle. There are several small, hole-in-the-wall type restaurants and cafes that literally had Disneyland-style lines waiting to get in. Contrary to what you might think, I develop a great desire to go stand in line and buy something! Why? There is a reason for the long line!

Mercedes-Benz is not even close to inexpensive, yet people with the means to pay for them do so in droves. Apple is more expensive than it’s PC competitors, but Apple stores are always packed and the evangelists are all over the place singing their praises.  Nordstrom is not known for cheap suits and purses, but it’s built a clothing empire.

You know the reasons as well as I do. Quality trumps price all the time. You gotta’ have it. The best is worth the wait and the price. The return on investment is great.

How do people view your business, and most specifically you? No matter what you do, you are the brand. Will people ask for you, stand in line for you, and pay more for you? What is the image you want?

It still amazes me. We all know this to be a reality. Yet so many still try to build a business based on cheapest price. When you have tremendous quality; great service; and become an object of interest, you will be sought out. Once you are sought out your value increases and people are willing to compensate you well for that. Why? Because they view their return on investing in you worth it!

Business is about relationships. Period. Do you think people standing outside the door at Starbucks are all about a cheap cup of coffee? Nobody wants cheap. They want value; they want to feel good; they want to be taken care of; they want to shine. Do you do that for your customers and clients?

Once you do, you will soon find the line out your door, too!

© 2012 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Extra Points – Changing Directions

Ability to Change Direction and Speed.

Do you remember when video stores became all the rage in the early 1980s? People were purchasing VCRs and the new thing to do was to browse around these goliath stores filled with videos. As a business, this was a no-brainer. A decade or so later, videos started disappearing and being replaced by DVDs. The video stores like Blockbuster were still operating and in business because of the huge demand of people to watch movies. A decade or so later, the desire to watch movies may be intensified, but video stores are extinct due to on-demand and Internet giants like Amazon and Netflix. I was reminded about this as I drove by three former mega video stores that remain vacant.

In the beginning, the video stores were locally owned by small business owners. These small business owners got gobbled up by the mega stores who found a way to offer more choice at a cheaper price. Nobody thought these guys would ever perish, but they did. The same ease and cost of Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and cable have made watching what you want, when you want, as often as you want, and at virtually no cost made the old brick and mortar behemoths as viable as a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Think about business in general. 20 years ago, iPhones, iPads, and Google were unthinkable. The twenty years before that, Walkmans, desktop computers, and fax machines couldn’t be fathomed. What will be the hottest careers, most valuable technology, and way of life haven’t even been thought up yet. In your business, you need to be prepared to adjust, re-tool, re-purpose, and re-invent. Or die. And, let’s be honest. Twenty years is now too long. Five years will all about “new and improved.” Frankly, if you’re not able to readjust, make adjustments, and make quick decisions yearly, you may get lapped by your competition. The morale of the story is this – be ready and plan to change; be innovative and cutting edge; and survive.

This week’s quote – “When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.” Unknown – text to my by my wife last week. She sends me a new motivational quote every day. I’m lucky!

My Famous Daughter

My daughter Kelli is in New York following her college men’s basketball team, Robert Morris University, as they play tonight in their championship game in Long Island. Somehow she managed to find herself in Manhattan near the Apple store when FOX Business News wanted to do a piece on the new iPad launch. She and her friend were asked if they could be interviewed. She hurriedly sent me a text and I was able to capture the interview on my iPhone.

Not sure if Steve Jobs was channeling me somehow to capture my daughter (who owns two Apple products) being interviewed in “The Big Apple” about Apple’s new iPad; and I was capturing it on my Apple iPhone.

Sounds like a lot of Apple-sauce…

Extra Points

The Journey.

Whitney Houston

I went into my iTunes Store on Sunday to purchase a couple of songs by Whitney Houston. I’ve always loved her voice, and with her tragic death on Saturday, I figured it was about time to add her to my library.

Back when I was a kid, I remember buying records in music stores. This was when vinyl was still in style and cassettes were cutting edge. I loved taking my time strolling along the aisles and flipping through LPs and reading the jackets. (I’m certain my daughters think of something completely different when they read jacket). The purchasing of my music was more expensive, took more time, and quite frankly was more enjoyable. Today, it took me a total of about 3 minutes to locate two Whitney Houston songs, pay less than $2 for them, and download them into my phone. (just as foreign language to someone living in 1975, right?)

The journey is almost always more fun than finally hitting that destination. My journey in the music store about 40 years ago was an event, normally done with friends, that I still hold as a fond memory. I can’t remember all the records I bought, but I do remember the journey.

That’s a lot like your life. Don’t blast through each day like you’re downloading music into your iPhone. Enjoy the journey. It’s what you’ll remember anyway…

This week’s quote – “Things that hurt, instruct.” Benjamin Franklin

Extra Points – Legacy

Legacy.

Steve Jobs passed away last week after an 8-year battle with cancer. The Apple founder and CEO had an amazing impact on business because of his creativity, charisma, and leadership. Ironic that he passed away the day after the next version of his iPhone was introduced.

Regardless of your affection for Apple, there is little argument that Jobs was perhaps the greatest innovator in business since Henry Ford. He forged a culture at Apple and a fanatical following for his products. His greatest skills? He was a brilliant communicator; he knew his company’s value proposition and he never wavered from it; he knew how to build customer loyalty and evangelism; and he was able to build a legacy that will live on even after his death.

How are you building your legacy? These skills I mentioned apply to “jobs” outside of being a CEO of one of the most noted brands and corporations in the world. They apply to small business owners, executives, board members, and leaders of non-profits. They also apply to husbands, wives, and parents. Traits like communication skills, vision, walking your talk, and relationship building helped forge a legacy for Jobs. What can they do for us?

This week’s quote –“Put a ding in the universe…”
– Steve Jobs

Serendipity at its Finest – You Can’t Make this Up!

You must first believe that the story I’m about to recount is being told without any exaggeration. You seriously can’t make this stuff up.

The dogs have an appointment to have their nails trimmed at the vet. My daughter Mindy is joining me and has the dogs on the dual leash and is going to sit in the back of the car with them. I (like a nice guy) open the back door so they can all pour in (reminder that Captain Jack is the dreaded Jack Russell). In order to accomplish this”nice guy” feat, I put my wallet and iPhone on the top of the car (I’m wearing gym shorts).

To get to the vet, it’s about a 20-minute drive which begins going down Finn Hill; through the stoplight at Viking Way; followed by a sharp left on to Bond Road (one of the busiest roads in the county as it leads to Kingston and the ferry terminal). Once on Bond Road, the speed limit is 35 miles per hour and I’m living at the limit with cars all around me. Mindy is in the back with the window rolled halfway down so Jack can stick his head out the window.

All of a sudden, I hear a thump. Mindy says, “Dad, where’s your phone?”

Me: I say, “I don’t know..why”

Mindy: “Because your wallet just flew in the window and hit me in the face. I think you left your phone and wallet on the roof of the car!”

Me: #!*&^$#

I find the next best spot to turn into. As I maneuver around to go back, Mindy says, “Check and see if it’s still on the roof.” I know it’s not, but at this point I’m grasping for luck. I jump out and right behind me flies Captain Jack. Luckily, he was still leashed and I grabbed him and threw him back inside. Back to the scene of the mishap we fled.

As I’m driving back, I know that the results will be dire. I envision my iPhone of 4 months strewn about this busy country road. Mindy guides me to about the place she remembers being hit by my wallet. “Look,” she exclaims. “On the road!” There, in the same lane I had been driving minutes ago, was a small black object. iPhone down! Cars were screaming by it at 35 mph (and then some). I pulled over (making sure Jack was secure this time) and got out. I put my hands out to stop traffic, which initially had only mild success. One side stopped and as the opposite car went by, all I could think was, “This last one will probably get it.” It didn’t. I bent down and retrieved my iPhone. I turned it over and hit the little button. There was Jack and Bella’s photo!

As I walked back to the car, I saw a familiar car coming the other way. My other daughter, Kelli was driving back with the kids she was babysitting. She would later tell me she thought, “Who’s that idiot in the middle of the road about to be hit by a car? Hey, I recognize that guy.” She pulled over to help me out, not knowing why I was on the side of the road. I motioned her on and got back in the car. Amazingly, the iPhone had no cracks, no dings, and only a minor scrape to the skin. It was basically as good as it had been when it slid off the car.

Go figure…

  • How did the phone and wallet stay on top of the car as long as they did?
  • What are the odds that the wallet happens to fall straight down into a half-open window recently vacated by a dog’s head and into my daughter’s lap (after hitting her in the face)?
  • How is it possible that the cell phone manages to land squarely in the middle of the road, in one piece, so that all the cars driving by go right over the top of it?
  • How did Mindy’s eagle eyes spy that “itty bitty” phone on the road?
  • How did I NOT get hit by a car?

Serendipity.

Other than thanking St. Jude (the patron saint of lost causes – I don’t think there’s one for iPhones yet), I’ll have to chalk this one up to serendipity.

Are you paying attention to serendipity in your professional and personal life? What unbelievable events happen to you and are you taking advantage of them?

This was a close call for me. My risk management “hat” will allow me to use this story in some speech or article at some point as a metaphor for close calls. I’m certain I will find other uses. You need to stay in your moment and find ways to leverage serendipity that happens in your life. Whether it’s a speech, an article, or just a change in your life, make sure you take full advantage.

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

 

Million Dollar Consulting

I just finished reading the most recent edition of Million Dollar Consulting on my Kindle reader on my iPhone. Even if you’ve read it before, it’s well worth the read if you’re a consultant. Alan Weiss has added new ideas and commentary with each edition and this one has great information. I highly recommend…

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Saving Time and Money

I’ve had my new iPhone now for a month and am wondering how I ever lived without it. Yes, I’ve added a few games (I’m still not proficient in Angry Birds, but working on it), however the majority of the apps I’ve either downloaded or purchased have been great time saving tools. For instance…

  • I get all my business reading done quickly, efficiently, and often while standing in line or waiting for someone. I have Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Seattle Times, CNN and the two local papers on my phone. Tom Petty was right…the waiting is the hardest part! Use your time wisely.
  • Every contact I need is stored and backed up on the phone. I always have the information I need at my finger tips. My ability to quickly and easily find locations, restaurants, and contacts saves me time. My calendar is always handy (I keep it on Google Calendar). I can’t tell you how many times those features have saved me embarrassment and/or valuable time.
  • On a personal note, I’m surprised how often I’ve used my flashlight and level apps. I’m not good at keeping the real-life tools handy, but when you need a flashlight, you need it now. Have phone will flashlight travel!

Bottom line – a smart phone is an investment, especially if you’re in business. Apps were developed to make your life easier. Find the tools that best fit your situation and take advantage of them.

Now it’s time to get those dumb pigs!

© 2011 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved

Apple Takes Bite Out of Microsoft

Want to know what happens when you do all the right things and your competition stumbles? Take a look at what Apple has done to Microsoft – read story.

Apple has consistently had better marketing; better branding; superior customer service; leading edge products; broader appeal; and better leadership. All that leads to a community of evangelists who continually sing their praises. I know I live in Microsoft country, but I am a “Mac.” Why? Because it performs better and I get superior service from Apple Care. It’s all about results for me.

What about your brand? Are you consistently offering tremendous value; leading edge products/service; unmatched responsiveness to your clients; and evangelists tooting your horn? If not, why? Or perhaps the better question is how do you get that changed?

Take a lesson from Apple and take a bite out of your competition by upping your game!

© 2010 Dan Weedin. All Rights Reserved