Bigger is Bigger But Not Neccessarily Better

bigger 2Have you walked around a large department or food store lately? Too big to fail? I’m not so sure. I’m not convinced bigger is better. Bigger is bigger but not necessarily better. I spent 30 years in retail – managing and owning multi-million dollar businesses so I understand a bit about product selection and customer service. If I had to make a choice I’d spend my money on customer service every time. After all – how many different types of hammers do you need? At what point do customers give up looking at all the different models of toasters on the shelf and just pick one – any one? Too many choices of anything tends to numb the brain.

Who are you building your stores for? You or your target customer? The population is aging. They want to be able to get in – find what they want – and get out. They want to be able to walk around your store without having to walk endlessly in circles or guess where the exits are. They want to be able to find a sales person when they need help. They’d like to shop in a warm, friendly, inviting place – not a store that overwhelms, confuses and intimidates them. I may be dating myself but I remember a time when 25,000 square feet of retail space was the ideal size of store. Big enough to carry a large assortment of products with some breadth and depth. A store that you could manoeuver around in with ease.

The “Information Overload” epidemic continues. Here’s a case in point. I met up with some dear friends for lunch yesterday. My friend and I love hamburgers and fries so we decided to check out a popular burger place. Do you really need to list 12 different hamburgers on your menu? It’s a hamburger! – Enough already! What ever happened to the good, better, best selection process? Have we reached a tipping point yet? I certainly hope so. I think we are making life way more difficult than it needs to be. We need to go back to a simpler time.  Bigger is bigger but not necessarily better.

Copyright (c) 2014. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Are you looking for a speaker or workshop facilitator who can deliver an entertaining and informative session on a variety of soft-skills topics? Contact Brian today. He will work with you one-on-one to insure your event is an overwhelming success. http://briansmithpld.com

Stop The Madness – You Are Producing a Generation of Wimps 9

Stop the MadnessStop the madness!!! You are producing a generation of wimps. Too much of a good thing – is not a good thing. In the “real” world not everyone gets to make the team, regardless of their skill level. In the “real” world they won’t be praised or promoted for being just good enough. And in the “real” world they may not get a second chance to make the wrong thing right, without paying the price for being wrong in the first place. In the “real” world there are consequences.

You are doing this newest generation a dis-service by not preparing them for life “outside” of the nest. The world can be a cruel place for someone who hasn’t been taught the skills needed to take on life’s challenges. The world can be a cruel place for someone who hasn’t been knocked down because they never learn how to get back up. The world can be a cruel place for someone who rarely heard the word “NO” while growing up.

Worth Remembering … “The depths and strength of a human character are defined by its moral reserves. People reveal themselves completely only when they are thrown out of customary conditions of their life, for only then do they have to fall back of their reserves.” – Leon Trotsky

Tough love, applied at the right time – for the right reasons – is not a bad thing.  Tough love teaches you that life is not always fair. That you don’t get everything that you ask for. That bad things can happen to good people. Tough love teaches you to stand up on your own two feet and compete for what you want. Tough love teaches you that “You aren’t in Kansas anymore”. Tough love builds character, self-confidence and self-esteem.

Worth Remembering … “There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people.” – Thomas Jefferson

You can still be someones soft place to fall – just don’t make it too comfortable. When you eliminate honor rolls or deans list in schools because you don’t want to make those who just want to skate by feel inferior – you take away the incentive for the achievers who want to excel. You can’t build up someones self-worth by taking away someone else’s. When you no longer keep score because you don’t want the other team to “feel” discouraged – you take away a persons competitive spirit. If you don’t teach them the value of money, what it means to be independent and the feeling they’ll get from making it on their own – you are robbing them of their opportunity to grow. Stop the madness!!! You are producing a generation of wimps.

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Looking for a keynote speaker? Planing a lunch-n-learn or training seminar? Contact Brian. To find out more about Brian and what he can do for you, your organization and your people visit http://briansmithpld.com 

Leadership Lessons – Fluent in Friendliness? Apply Within

Fluent in Friendliness? Apply Within. Hats off to Lowe’s who posted that sign outside of their newest location under construction. I spent 30 years in the retail business both as a general manager and business owner –  so that sign naturally caught my attention. The one-on-one service that you provide to your customer is the only competitive advantage that you have. It’s not your product or service. It’s not your selection or price. The only competitive advantage that you have to set yourself apart from your competition is the level of customer service you provide.

Every time you come in contact with a perspective client it’s a moment of truth. Every time you come in contact with a perspective client they get to decide if they want to continue to do business with you or not. And most often that decision is based upon the way they feel they have been treated. When was the last time you had “Wow” customer service? When was the last time you got “So-So” customer service? I’ll bet the “So-So” out numbered the “Wow” ten to one. (Ten so-so to one wow)

You don’t need to like everyone you come in contact with – But if you want to get repeat business you need to learn how to get along with them. The same holds true with the people you work with.  You don’t have to like them or socialize with them – But you do need to learn how to interact and collaborate with them. If you’re the one who gets to pick who is on your team you need to make sure you’ve surrounded yourself with people who like being around people. Managers and business owners need  to make sure they hire people who like  helping people. You can’t afford to have someone on your team who is turned off and have tuned out. You need to be just like Lowe’s and hire people who are “Fluent in Friendliness” and get rid of the ones who aren’t.  🙂