Why do prices end in 99? It would seem logical to just round them up to the next dollar. Yet so many businesses forego rounding and price their products to end in 99. So why is this done? The answer is not what you think - at least, not only what you think.
The reason why prices end in 99 is often attributed to Read More
The hotel industry is one that I would probably never want to be in. With the intense competition today, just one upset person on Yelp can deter potential guests. This means that if a hotel is doing something differently than other hotels, it can be perceived as being a problem. For this reason, it seems that most hotels operate in a very similar manner. Best practices and customer services are often safer than hotel innovation.
Great customer service and certain industry best practices are expected by guests, so these best practices often become the norm for most hotels: free wifi, a continental breakfast, flat screen TV’s, loyalty rewards, and consistent housekeeping. But every now and then a hotel is able to hack this model - they provide a hotel innovation that stands out. I recently spoke in Whitefish, Montana and stayed at the Grouse Mountain Lodge. To my surprise, they hacked a standard hotel best practice that really made my day. Read More
Several years ago I worked for an employer who was struggling with rising health care costs. Just like every other business in the United States, they were looking for ways to manage the year after year price increases. The health insurance innovation they came up with was one that was based on the health of the employee - healthy employees would pay less and unhealthy employees would pay more.
But employees naturally disliked this program. It wasn’t that they thought everyone should pay the same for health insurance - they seemed to understand that unhealthy people cost the company more in premiums. They even thought this was a great health insurance innovation. Their problem with the program was with how the program was framed. Read More
My wife has found a dentist she loves. She doesn’t appreciate him because he makes her teeth whiter or takes away her pain when she has neglected her teeth. She loves her dentist because he has given her $150 in gift certificates.
When she first walked into Dr. Painter’s dental office, she was told about a dental referral program offered by the practice. For every person she referred to the dental office, she would receive a $25 gift card to the merchant of her choice. Having a family of 5, she quickly got her first $100 in gift certificates. Add in her parents, and she was up to $150 with very little work. Read More
Business plans can be overwhelming. They take a great amount of diligence and work to create. They require all kinds of information that isn't always available and many people think they need help writing a business plan. I am here to tell you that you don't. Read More
The fourth of July is a celebration where we burn money. Literally. We buy fireworks and other explosives and blow them up with nothing to show for it. Well, something to show for, but then it is quickly gone. In my youth, I spent several summers working selling fireworks and that industry amazes me even today. Products are sold only 2 and a half weeks a year and can bring in millions for just one owner, as Mark Lazarchic explained on a Mixergy interview. But what is more interesting to me is that our society has gotten used to paying for disposable products. Read More
As I have been recently writing on the topic of developing an effective sales process, I thought I would show a few examples of how successful sales funnels have been applied. In my post on How to Design a Service Industry Sales Workflow, I broke down the process of how to design a sales funnel for a business in the service industry. Businesses that offer a service, rather than a product, have some unique challenges over businesses that sell physical products. Martial arts marketing can be challenging on a number of levels. Therefore, I think it is worthwhile to take a close look at a business that has done a good job refining their sales funnel. This business is my son's taekwondo academy. Read More
The retail industry in the United States has long been criticized for paying wages that no one can realistically live off of. Many retail workers must work multiple jobs and struggle to get ahead in their careers. One of the greatest challenges that retail workers face is that those who want to get ahead by attending college to earn an advanced degree really can't afford it. With rising tuition costs and increases in living expenses, earning a college degree while working in the retail industry has become a very, very challenging task. For this reason, one company has decided to offer an innovative solution to this problem; the Starbucks college tuition reimbursement program provides up to two years of paid college tuition. Read More
Employees can make or break a business. Finding and retaining superstars who excel can be extremely challenging; like finding a lost diamond on a beach without the use of a metal detector. This is a difficult task for any business, but especially for small businesses and entrepreneurs who have so much at stake with any one of their few employees who make up their limited workforce. Therefore, many small businesses end up turning down an eccentric applicant who may seem to otherwise fit the bill, but doesn’t look the part of the job they are hiring for. But should these applicants be passed up merely because they may not fully conform to the boring culture we have established in our businesses? What if there was a way to leverage eccentric employees for a competitive advantage?
Every employer can create a competitive advantage with eccentric employees by taking one of three approaches. Read More
Every business should have a sales process. A sales process is a formalized plan to evolve a prospect client into an ideal customer; it is an intentional strategy designed to systemize sales so that each potential client is given an equal opportunity to become an ideal customer. Without a clearly defined process of how a customer will evolve over time, the lifetime value of a customer will not be as effective as it could be. In my recent post on How to Design a Sales Process in 3 Steps, I discussed general methods on what should be done to develop such a process. In this post, however, I am going to specifically focus on designing a sales funnel for a service-based business. Read More