Strategies to Grow and Protect Your Business

According to American Express Open’s Small Business Monitor, 32 percent of entrepreneurs are making growth a top priority and are largely abandoning a “wait-and-see approach” to business. While all business owners dream about steady growth, too fast too soon can derail your plans without a strategy in place. Here are some of the stages to consider during your business’s growth from little fish to serious contender.

Strategies to Grow & Protect Your Business

Go Lean

The relatively new but popular business methodology, lean start-up, aims to dive into experimenting with everything from advertising to sales over meticulous planning. Small and struggling business owners may embrace the lean philosophy as a means to fail fast or succeed quickly. They often skip the big offices and fancy gadgets and favor working from home or a small office space to figure out if their business is working. Lean businesses want to move fast so they can either turn a profit or close it down and move onto a different idea.

Instead of slaving over business plans and presenting to investors, lean start-ups often use customer development to test ideas and get out in the field immediately for feedback on everything from pricing to acquisition strategies. Going lean can also reduce overhead and the need to invest in office space, equipment and staff until they get feedback from the field.

Moving from Home to Office Space

A business may look to moving into a professional office space once it secure clients, has a track record for success, and gains some confidence and momentum. A growing business will need to make room for an expanding support staff and equipment. Business owners may go the traditional commercial lease route, or get creative and opt for co-working space.

ShareDesk allows businesses to book thousands of work and meeting spaces in cities around the world. Rent a cubicle, desk or entire office by the hour, day or month. This situation can offer an interim space for growing businesses who need more space but aren’t ready to make the leap to a full-time lease. And if your business entails out-of-town business meetings, you can find meeting room space for roughly $10 an hour with access to presentation equipment and professional communal spaces.

Honoring Your Customers’ Privacy

Malware, viruses and cyber attacks are now the normal business news from Target’s hack all the way to J.P. Morgan’s security compromise. Whether you’re a micro-company or rapidly growing, you owe it to your customers to protect privacy and online security. A data breach could compromise your customers’ social security numbers, bank account numbers or even health information.

Unfortunately small businesses can’t do much to prevent a breach, but you can monitor and get help before it spirals. Using a company like LifeLock can help monitor data points, scan for threats, help restore your identity and financial reputation and track your credit score.

Managing your Employees

As your company grows, so will your staff. But that doesn’t mean you need to go out and hire a team at the first sign of success. Consider hand-picking a virtual staff to help with bookkeeping, customer service, project management and administrative tasks first. Virtual staffing agencies like Virtual Staff Finder can help identify candidates that match your needs and even help with the interviewing process.

At some point you will probably need some in-house staff. You may find managing employees in the office all day to prove an overwhelming task. Overloading your staff with details, meetings and tedious admin tasks can lead to cognitive overload and diminish concentration. Give your team enough structure to stay organized on the task at hand, but give them freedom to do their jobs and eliminate needless paperwork and bureaucracy.

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Wasting taxpayer resources – is this a murder scene?

Wasting taxpayer resources – is this a murder scene?

The first scene

Chicago police car

Chicago police car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I wrote a blog post entitled The best way to start an US small business at US small business story. I met each Wednesday via Skype to talk about the business and technology ventures I wrote about.  At 7 PM CST on Wednesday, August 8,2012, the party I call Jay (i.e. all fictitious names) was unavailable.  Jay lives in the same condo building I do in Carol Stream, Illinois (USA).  I called and left a voice mail to join us, as well as a Skype text message.

The next day on Thursday, August 9, 2012, I followed up via email and copied the other person I call Ray on it.  Thursday went by without a response via phone, Skype, email or in-person.  It’s unusual for them not to show up.  If they had to be away, they would usually contact me.

On Friday, August 10, 2012, I sent a fax to the condo association.  I asked them to contact the emergency contact and ensure everything is OK, as they should have these numbers.  I got a call from the condo association manager informing me he contacted his sister.  His sister said he should be at home.

Handling the situation

English: Chicago police officers

English: Chicago police officers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About an hour later, I noticed a fire truck and ambulance show up.  They departed a few minutes later, with no sirens or alarms on.  I had to assume that Jay perhaps passed away.

Shortly afterwards, I noticed that 4 squad cars – three marked and one unmarked appeared on the scene.  Perhaps they thought this was a murder investigation?  Jay’s door was locked – no forced entry.  Nobody heard any gun shots. If they did, they would have informed neighbors and called the police.  I kept an eye on the squad cars.  The drivers stayed in their respective cars for about three or four hours.  The family members were also there.  After the time span elapsed, the cars all took off.

The next day I bumped into the family members.  I introduced myself to the sister, who was also a nurse.   She informed me that Jay was found bent over the bathtub.  A later autopsy fixed the cause as suffocation, but couldn’t explain why he couldn’t get up again.

College of DuPage

College of DuPage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

College of DuPage

I have taken several classes over the years, from the College of DuPage (COD).  The courses have been in software engineering, philosophy, creative writing, literature and other disciplines.  In one class, an officer was presenting a project.  I asked the question, “what would the town of Mayberry do if they had a real murder?  Would they be able to secure help from the state police?”

The answer to the question was this: you could secure detectives from the Chicago police or the state.  Perhaps if the Carol Stream police thought a murder was committed, why not secure help from the Aurora police department?  They are very close and have much experience with gang killings.

So why have three marked and one unmarked squad car there for three to four hours, with the officers observed sitting in the car?

  • Is this a good use of taxpayer dollars and resources?
  • If you think a murder is committed, then you should secure the help of resources from either the Aurora or Chicago police homicide divisions.  Then you send in the proper resources to dust for fingerprints, interview residents, etc.

Summary

Perhaps the police department thought I was a murderer?  After all, I did report the problem to the property management company.  And I would be the most likely suspect on a typical TV crime show. I wonder if Inspector Jacques Clouseau would have handled things similarly?

But I have talked to Jay’s sister.  So far, the autopsy couldn’t pin when the death occurred.  They think it was on Tuesday, August 8, 2012.  But Ray and I noticed a database the three of us share was updated often on Wednesday, August 9, 2012.  We concluded it was on auto update.  I suggested the sister also have the computer examined.  In talking to a couple of computer experts I know, they mentioned:

  • You can tell when the computer was turned on and off (see Yahoo answers)
  • You can tell when an email was sent out.

The Carol Stream city council should tell the taxpayers of Carol Stream what was going on.  For me, a good friend and brilliant technology mind has died of natural causes.  I’ve been invited to and attended the Catholic memorial service.  And I will continue to work with the existing partner on the technology project.

Academic and business blog posts

Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine:

  • Head Lice: Symptoms and Treatments Blog post
  • A Nanny’s Guide to Packing for a Day trip Blog post
  • Think Outside the Envelope for Your Next Party Invitation Blog post
  • Employment Rights All Nannies Need to Know Blog post
  • 7 Myths About Getting Old Blog post
  • 10 Things Every Teacher Needs to Know About Emotions and Learning Blog post
  • 5 Rules for Handling Hand Me Downs Blog post
  • 8 Best Places to Study Besides the Library Blog post
  • 5 Home Improvements That Don’t Add Value Blog post
  • 8 Things You Should Never Say to Your Professor Blog post
  • 8 Unexpected Ways to Promote Your Business Blog post
  • Pros and Cons of Divorced Parents Sharing a Nanny Blog post
  • 50 Impressive iPad Apps to Fuel Lifelong Learners Blog post
  • Steps Nannies Can Take To Prevent Common Childhood Injuries Blog post
  • What Nannies Need to Know About Bottle Prep Blog post
  • How Parents Can Attract the Right Nanny for Their Family Blog post
  • How to Make Your Own Tutu to Play Dress Up Blog post
  • How to Organize Breast Milk Blog post
  • 8 Reasons to Keep Your Live-In Nanny Out of a Spousal Dispute Blog post
  • 11 Proven Benefits of Outdoor Learning Blog post
  • 15 Facts About China’s Grueling College Entrance Exam Blog post
  • 7 Ways To Cut Down On Your Daily Driving Blog post
  • 14 Books You NEED to Read Before Pursuing a PhD Blog post
  • 15 Reasons Reformers Are Looking to Finland Blog post
  • 6 Things to Know When Starting a Record Label Blog post
  • 7 Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Major Blog post
  • The Top 10 Happiness Experts of All Time Blog post
  • The 10 Most Impressive Athletic Buildings in the NCAA Blog post
  • How to Stop Siblings From Fighting Blog post
  • How to Keep Baby Cool in the Summer Without AC Blog post
  • Teaching Children Problem Solving Skills Blog post
  • 30 Blogs Nannies Should Try for Discipline Ideas Blog post
  • 10 U.S. Cities With the Best Alternative Medicine Blog post
  • 10 Cities Becoming Education Destinations Blog post
  • 6 Common Exercises That Are Actually Bad for You Blog post
  • How to Sell Your Self-Education to Employers Blog post
  • 9 Indisputable Reasons Offices Need Naptime Blog post
  • 5 Ways to Find and Leverage Expert Bloggers Blog post
  • How to Quit Smoking for Real Blog post
  • How Nannies Can Build Care Giving Skills During Gaps in Employment Blog post
  • The 10 Cleverest Back-to-School Promos Blog post
  • 10 Ways Data Mining Will Transform Higher Ed Blog post
  • 10 iPhone Applications for Moms on Bed rest Blog post
  • 10 Things to Consider When Traveling Internationally with Your Charges Blog post
  • How to Throw a First Birthday Party on a Budget Blog post
  • 6 Ways to Keep Your Car From Being Stolen Blog post
  • 10 Health Care Jobs Most Impacted by Obamacare Blog post
  • A Newbie’s Guide to Microfinancing Blog post
  • 30 Blogs Full of Kid-Friendly Crock-Pot Recipes Blog post
  • 100 Inspiring Pinterest Pins for Back to School Blog post
  • 30 Blogs for Creating a Safe Sleep Environment Blog post
  • 20 Colleges Embracing the Green Roof Trend Blog post
  • How to Remove Stains from Baby Clothes Blog post

 

 

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The best way to start a US small business

 

The best way to start a US small business

Introduction

Small Business Administration Awards Luncheon

Small Business Administration Awards Luncheon (Photo credit: MDGovpics)

Recently I was approached by two technology experts.  They wanted to start a technology business. It was a new technology they were researching.   I mentioned I would dialog on the topic.

Wouldn’t you? Even if it’s not the John Galt‘s perceptual motion  machine from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand!

The topic of a business plan came up.  Since I’m the writer, it’s a topic I would look into.  The best place to start were the Small Business Administration (SBA) and My Own Business (My Own Business) websites. Both sites have information on what to include and templates for building one.

Time  to revisit the free courses

My Own Business has two courses available:

  • Starting My Own Business – here is the website course description: “The popular original course is designed for the entrepreneur who wants to start their own business. Our 15 sessions cover the most important topics that are clearly explained with emphasis on avoiding pitfalls.”
  • Building My Own Business – here is the website course description:”This new course is for established business owners to help take your business to the next level. Strengthen your operations, seize opportunities and plan for the future.”
English: Sylmar, CA, November 20, 2008 -- A di...

English: Sylmar, CA, November 20, 2008 — A disaster victim and his pet speak to a disaster specialist from the Small Business Administration (SBA) at the Sylmar Local Assistance Center. The SBA makes low interest disaster assistance loans available to residents who are impacted by declared disasters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I took the first course a couple of years ago.  The new course was something I was unaware of.  I’m current reviewing the material in Starting My Own Business.  Afterwards, I will take the course Building My Own Business.

The original course material has short video and audio clips from experts in the field.  There was also a written copy on what the experts were communicating.  Yet there is a difference this time.  Instead of hosting the video or audio clips themselves, they have outsourced them to YouTube.    This is a wise move, in that the bandwidth happens at the YouTube site.  It also helps with SEO and social media, in getting the course discovered.

While these videos are very informative, I doubt any will go viral.

If you take a section a day, it only takes about ten to fifteen minutes to complete.  There is a short quiz at the end, but the interactive feedback gives you instantaneous results.

There’s also any option to buy course books for around thirty dollars.  And you have the option to earn a course certificate.

What to do next

If someone was getting started in business, I suggest taking the My Own Business courses first.  Next I would encourage them to visit advisers from the SBA and SCORE (SCORE Website).  They should talk with advisers and take the low-cost or free online and local courses offered. As an example:

  • I took a SCORE online course this week entitled Leveraging Pinterest for Business: Insights from American Airlines.
  • I will be taking an SBA online course entitled Start Building Your Disaster Recovery Plan TODAY!.

Sometimes SCORE and the SBA record the online seminar and make it available to listen to later.

Summary

Atlas Shrugged: Part I

Atlas Shrugged: Part I (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Before a person even contacts the SBA and/or SCORE, they should go through the first My Own Business course.  They should thoroughly understand the material and be able to take the quizzes.  It will give a person a solid foundation for talking with SBA and SCORE counselors.  And the online and local seminars will be filling out info learned in the foundation course. Should someone need farther courses in marketing, accounting, etc., their local in-district junior or community college is a good resource.

Academic and business blog posts

Here are some blog posts I recommend from academic and business acquaintances of mine:

  • 10 Ways to Care for Your Garden in a Hot, Dry Summer Blog post
  • 5 Ways Nannies Can Help Divorced Parents Blog post
  • Nannies and Dogs: Things to Think About Before Bringing Fido Home Blog post
  • 10 Ways Nannies Can Support Breastfeeding Moms Blog post
  • 10 Tweets That Summarize the Book Black Beauty Blog post
  • 10 Inspiring Education Trends Among Senior CitizensBlog post
  • 8 Career Mistakes New Grads Make (and How to Avoid Them) Blog post
  • 10 Great Heroes in the History of Communication Blog post
  • 8 Parts of Your Body Most Affected by Weight Gain Blog post
  • 10 More Tips and Tricks for Summer Blog post
  • 10 Most Innovative Colleges for Foreign Language StudyBlog post
  • 15 Libraries Taking Summer Reading to the Next Level Blog post
  • 8 Ways to Set Up a Home Gym on a Budget Blog post
  • 9 Legit Deductions for Your Home Business You Should Know About Blog post
  • Why Hiring a Nanny Turns You Into a Super Mom Blog post
  • 5 Myths About Mary Poppins Blog post
  • 10 Ways Moms Can Pamper Themselves at Home Blog post
  • The 10 Most Impressive Mental Athletes Alive Today Blog post
  • 7 Common Problems with Infographics Blog post
  • 10 Rules for Glamping Blog post
  • Decoding The Dream Act: What It May Mean for American Jobs & Education Blog post
  • 50 Best Blogs for Special Ed Teachers (Updated) Blog post
  • The New Face of Community College Blog post
  • The Secrets to Staying Optimistic While Unemployed Blog post
  • 10 Great Excuses Not to Mow Your Lawn Blog post
  • 15 Oft-Overlooked Benefits of Greek Life Blog post
  • 50 Places You Can Learn to Code (for Free) Online Blog post
  • 9 Preventable Childhood Injuries Blog post
  • How to Plan a Kid Friendly Picnic Blog post
  • 8 Biggest Distractions for Teen Babysitters Blog post
  • How to Make Your Own Fishing Game Blog post
  • 10 Countries Outsourcing College Education Blog post
  • The Silliest Buzzwords You’ll Encounter in B-School Blog post
  • Why Gas-Powered Cars Will Soon Be Obsolete Blog post
  • 7 Good Reasons to Install a Patio Instead of a Deck Blog post
  • 7 Surprising Dangers Lurking in Your Garden Blog post
  • 10 Facts About Febrile Seizures Blog post
  • The 20 Best Blogs About Game-Based Learning Blog post
  • 6 Reasons Why Hiring an Older Worker Is a Smart Investment Blog post
  • * 10 Things to Do During a Heat Wave Blog post
  • 5 Popular Playdough Recipes Blog post
  • How to Childproof the Kitchen Blog post
  • Why Paying Your Nanny Through Your Business Books is Illegal Blog post
  • 6 Campus Protests That Changed The World Blog post
  • 7 Common Dreams and What They Actually Mean Blog post
  • How to Make 5 Trendy Treats on a Stick Blog post
  • The Favorite Books of America’s Best Authors Blog post
  • 9 Signs We Have a “Boy CrisisBlog post
  • How to Create Your Own Photo Backdrop for Your Next Party Blog post
  • 10 College Majors Most Likely to Experience Depression Blog post
  • 7 Things You Should Always Carry in Your Backpack Blog post
  • 48 Ways to Make Dorm Life Worth Living Blog post
  • 100+ Video Sites Every Educator Should Bookmark (Updated for 2012) Blog post
  • 12 Best Online Tools to Test Your Mental Health Blog post
  • 8 Biggest Distractions Behind the Wheel Blog post
  • Make Your Own Inexpensive Rope Coasters Blog post
  • Baby Crib Safety: Before and After You Buy Blog post
  • 5 Tips for Getting Stains Out of Baby Clothes Blog post
  • The Most Amazing University Research Projects Going On Right Now Blog post
  • 5 Ways to Make Your Own Bubble Solution Blog post
  • The Psychological Impact of Spanking Your Kids Blog post
  • Should I Let My Nanny Drive My Kids Around? Blog post
  • 32 Useful Twitter Chats for New Grads Blog post

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5 Tips to Run Your Business with Integrity

5 Tips to Run Your Business with Integrity

Today we have a guest blogger.  You can find out more about him at the post’s conclusion (Randy Kemp).

Academic blog posts

Let me first share some articles from some academic friends of mine (Randy Kemp):

Now back to our guest blogger (Randy Kemp).

Integrity

English: A business ideally is continually see...

English: A business ideally is continually seeking feedback from customers: are the products helpful? are their needs being met? Constructive criticism helps marketers adjust offerings to meet customer needs. Source of diagram: here (see public domain declaration at top). Questions: write me at my Wikipedia talk page (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is it and does your business have this characteristic? If you consistently run your business ethically and honestly, then you are running your business with integrity. This could be as simple as not reporting your books accurately to the IRS. As easy as that sounds, some owners stray away and do not follow all the rules. Running your business with integrity is critical because you want people to view your company as a trustworthy, quality establishment. Below are 5 tips that will aid you in running your business with integrity in mind:

Follow the Rules

Following guidelines and laws when operating your business is important. It sets a great example for your employees to follow, and it shows your customers that you are a straightforward and responsible owner.

Not adhering to these can easily put your business and yourself at risk.  This also displays a poor model for your staff. For example, a business owner feels he already pays too much in taxes, so he decides to manipulate his bookkeeping to lower the amount of taxes he has to pay. Some of his staff members notice this, which in turn puts them in a sticky situation to either report it or stay quiet.

This is bad for all parties involved because you have put your business and yourself in jeopardy. Your staff members who noticed it are also at risk because if they say something they lose their job, and if they don’t then they can get into trouble for not reporting it. Case in point, the risk of cheating the system puts everything you have worked hard for in jeopardy. Outsourced bookkeeping is a great solution because it not only keeps you from financial errors but helps you avoid any temptation of breaking the rules.

Help Others to

Customers are Ignoring You

Customers are Ignoring You (Photo credit: ronploof)

Help Yourself

Establishing relationships with your clients and employees is a simple way of showing you care. Small business owners know this better than most because it is a great way to set yourself apart from your competitors. If you take the time to make sure that your clients are not only treated with respect, but that their needs are also fulfilled, then you will build a great report with them.

As for your employees, encourage them to be creative in coming up with ways to improve the company. This allows your staff to feel included in business decisions. As the owner, you have final say in what gets done, but getting your employees’ perspectives on decisions is a great idea.

Offer Quality

When customers come to you to do business they expect a quality product or service in return. If you are unable to offer this to your customers, then perhaps you are in the wrong industry. When you offer quality to your customers, across the board, they will likely return to you for repeat business. And hopefully, they recommend your service or product to others.

People are willing to pay more for a quality, reliable product. As a result, you should focus on delivering quality services, because price becomes easy to set once you know where your product or service stands.

Offer Value over

Valued Customer

Valued Customer (Photo credit: withassociates)

Price

If you offer a quality product to your customers the price of that product should be higher, but keep in mind that price should not be your main focus. The value of a product and/or service and its price are directly correlated.

It is also important that you look at your competitor’s pricing.  You can then accurately price your product based on the competitive landscape.  You should always be researching what your competitors are doing. If you have trouble determining the price of your product, you may want to conduct some research, such as a focus group, to see what people are willing to pay.

Be the Best

Saying you are the best and actually being the best are two completely different things. If you say that you are the best you need to be able to back it up with your quality product and/or service, great customer management and an excellent reputation. Over-exceeding people’s expectations and delivering quality results will boost the integrity of your company by showing you care about your client, not just your profits.

If you practice these tips you can meet your dream of success. Attaining integrity for you and your business is not difficult; it is just a matter of being genuine and fair in everything you do.  People will notice when you put effort into running your business ethically, and they will respect that.

About the Author:

Bert Doerhoff is owner and founder of Accubiz a firm providing small business accounting services  out of Jefferson City, Missouri. Prior to opening his own firm, Doerhoff worked for Peat, Marwich, Mitchell & Co, which is now known as KPMG. Frequently, he speaks at state level and national conferences on various business management topics.

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Facebook, Zuckerberg and the minister’s female mannequin

Mannequin

Mannequin (Photo credit: Night-thing)

Facebook, Zuckerberg and the minister’s female mannequin

First let me share some good articles to read from some academic friends of mine:

Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Developer Gara...

Mark Zuckerberg at the Facebook Developer Garage Paris, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Things are not always what they seem

I’m on the mailing list of minister Larry Ollison.  He’s probably best described as a non-denominational , Baptist Pentecostal.  One of his best stories is the Two Ministers and a Mannequin.  You can read it here for yourself:

  • The Mannequin and the Two Ministers Mannequin

These two ministers have a change to get all items from a building.  They load them up in a truck and don’t have room for a female mannequin.  They need to take everything from the building.

Now in this story about Zuckerberg’s marriage, we find an interesting question.  Why did Mark wait for
Facebook stock to become public and get married a short time later.  Were these two events related?

The story goes on to speculate that it was to protect his stock options. This might be true.

Anyway, back to the ministers.  They put the female mannequin in the front seat between them.  Nothing seemed wrong until they ran low on gas. When they stopped at a gas station to fill up, folks keep looking at the two ministers, with the mannequin sitting between them.

So what appears to be a situation about the ministers, is not the real story.

As everyone knows, the stock went public.  Folks bought it for a certain price.  But it was devalued after the purchase.  For more info, see the following stories:

  • BOMBSHELL: Facebook Bankers Secretly Cut Forecasts For Company In Middle Of IPO Roadshow Facebook Bankers
  • Scandal Brewing Over Facebook’s Actions At IPO Scandal Brewing

What can we conclude from the Facebook and the minister’s mannequin story?  Both explored factors that were not what they seemed.  Facebook stock value was not what it seemed, when small investors were buying it.  The mannequin riding with the minister was not what it seemed.

Bing Desktop

It’s cool.  You can find it here:

What it does is create a different computer desktop each day.  It’s also an optional install on the stand Windows upgrades for Windows 7.  I’m not sure about other Windows operating systems.

 

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Is it a good PR move to allow non-customers to use washrooms?

Bowling

Image by mattsaxey via Flickr

Is it a good PR move to allow non-customers to use washrooms?

Here is the scenario:

Occasionally, I pay a visit to my local comic book store. It’s in a local strip mall and the local bowling alley has the only washroom.

For months, I visited their washroom before visiting the comic book store. Recently I paid a washroom visit during low tide (i.e. there were few customers in the place). I was dressed in business casual, while a red-headed, middle-aged man waited on customers.

So I walk by this man and turn the corner. He is waiting on another middle-aged man and his kids. As I round the corner, I can hear him remark: “Washrooms are for bowling customers only.”

So he’s looking at the customer but talking to me? Clearly I wasn’t in his line of vision. But it raises many interesting PR standpoint questions.

  • The bathroom (i.e. both men and women) have many stalls available. Not much is distracting from regular customers – unlike those for small mom and pop store, etc.
  • How does the attendant know that I haven’t been a previous customer? If so, does that mean I need to bowl every time I use the washroom?
  • A bowling alley usually has several components that make money. In this particular example, there is a store that sells bowling equipment. There is a full service food restaurant. One also finds a full service bar there. That’s as well as providing bowling for all interested parties. Since the bowling attendant has much to entice me, can’t he see the value of a free washroom visit?
English: Slot machines (las vegas)

Image via Wikipedia

An example from Vegas casinos

I haven’t been to a Vegas casino. Nor have I gambled in an Illinois casino. But I have talked to people who visited Las Vegas casinos. The closest I’ve come to casinos is playing the Publishers Clearing House PCHSLOTS.

But I do know enticements – to play the slot machines.

Why do you think that casinos place slot machines in food areas? These are food areas with free buffets and reduced price drinks (or even free). Why do you think that is? It’s so you will play the slot machines as you sample the buffet or drink a refreshing alcoholic beverage.

Perhaps this bowling alley operator or owner needs to take an example from Las Vegas. Perhaps as I walk to and from the washroom, I might be enticed to:

  • Have a refreshing alcoholic beverage.
  • Play a bowling game.
  • Have some food.
  • Buy some bowling equipment.

Perhaps this guy will get so progressive as to put video games in each toilet stall. For a small fee, you can play a video game, connect to the Internet, check your email, etc. I hope you realize I’m just having a bit of fun – don’t take me seriously.

Back to basics

Now let’s get back to basics – the original question. Is it a good PR move to allow non-customers to use washrooms? What do you think?

 

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Reserve the right to a second business opinion

If you follow me at all, then you know I recommend 2 resources for small business:

It’s strange, isn’t it? When we receive a medical diagnosis that we need surgery, have a terminal disease, etc. – guess what? It’s common to seek a second medical opinion.

Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs front cover

Image via Wikipedia

But why don’t we do it for other professions? Why don’t we do this for business consultants, SEO experts, Social Media consultants, marketing professionals, etc.?

My experiences with SCORE and SBDC is that the advice is very good. But it might not be right on the money for all situations. This is why I reserve the right to seek another opinion. Perhaps the counselors background is not familiar with our business aims.

Let me share some stories where it was wise to seek a second opinion. I won’t mention the business names but will call them A, B, etc.

Example 1

In the first case, I took an auto in to mechanic A. The windshield wipers were not working. He looked at the system and said I needed to replace certain components. The total cost would be around $400. I politely said I’ll get back to him.I took it to a second mechanic. He mentioned the vacuüm wasn’t functioning right and it would only cost $20 to tune it. It worked perfectly after the tuning

Example 2

I have a furnace that’s around 10 years old. For a couple of years I didn’t get it cleaned. Then it went out. The furnace A guy cleaned it. But to insure it worked properly, he recommended around $1500 in new parts. I politely said I’ll get back to him. That was last year. The furnace worked perfectly the entire season.

This year, I decided to try service B. The technician cleaned the furnace and did a safety check. Guess what? He said it was functioning perfectly and would last a few more years.

Example 3

I had mechanic A rotate my tires. They mentioned that my Hyundai Santa Fé is coming up for the 60 K maintenance tune-up. They recommend putting in some part that would only cost around $80. But the labor to put it in would be around 6 hours. The total bill would be a few hundred.

Now Hyundai doesn’t recommend this service.

Now when I finally get close to the 60 K service, I’ll get an estimate from a couple other auto repair places I know. I’ll bet none would recommend what mechanic A endorses.

Example 4

Health Minister Launches

Image by DUP Photos via Flickr

Sometimes you can’t get a second opinion. If you read last week’s blog post, you will learn about the Bruno Groening Circle of Friends. You know that since the early part of this century, they had medical doctors validating this healing.

I give some flyers to  an international organization.  I ask the bookstore manager to put them in their bookstore.  Now in the past, they have displayed flyers on Reiki, Therapeutic Touch, meditation, yoga, etc. They say they want to give it some thought. You see, they don’t want to give the public the impression a healing modality is medically sanctioned

But here is the issue. For years, they endorsed Therapeutic Touch. This is a healing modality practiced by nurses. Now one of the past presidents promoted it. This healing modality has been used in hospitals.

The other was a PhD professor of nursing at New York state university. She had a few generations of PhD nursing students conduct research on Therapeutic Touch. Many were double-blind studies and I even looked at a few thesis examples myself. The most successful experiments were conducted among pain relief.

So they endorse and promote therapeutic touch, which was researched by PhD nursing students. Yet they are afraid of a healing modality around since the early 20’s. Only because medical doctors are giving the lectures and validating the healing modality?

And just last week, I talked to a friend’s son.  He’s in his four-year of medical school.  He says the school is making alternative/complimentary medicine in the curriculum.

Here’s what I suggested the manager do

Suppose any outside scientist (i.e. not affiliated with your group or friends of mine) would to look at my examples of Therapeutic Touch and the Bruno method – including the presentation by nurses/doctors and research by nurses/doctors.   They would have to conclude that the same principles of scientific method and logic applies. It shouldn’t matter who started a discovery – nor who scientifically validates it. The same rules of science and philosophy apply.

Please do this, regardless if you do or don’t decide to post the literature. Why don’t you and perhaps some other staff members attend the lecture yourself? This way, you will be better informed if they have another lecture in 2012 and I approach you wish some more literature.

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It would even be better if the you and/or the staff members are familiar with and experienced therapeutic touch. This way, you would have some healing modality to compare/contrast it with at the public lecture.
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Here’s a couple of points from Bruno Groening directives to consider:

  •  The Circle of Friends is non-denominational and is not connected to any religion. People from all the great world religions belong to it.
  • In accordance with Bruno Groening’s example, there is no diagnosis, therapy, examination or treatment in the Circle of Friends. Medication is not recommended, prescribed or distributed, nor is anyone advised against visiting doctors or undergoing therapies or operations.
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My second opinion:
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The manager was very nice and decided to display the flyers.  But I did have to render a second opinion first.
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From my perspective, a person can receive traditional medicine and surgery, homeopathic medicine, Therapeutic Touch, Bruno Groening healing approach and prayer support – all al the same time.

Ask for a second opinion.

Don’t get locked into one source of advice – especially for a fee. This is not only true of medical services but any business service. It even applies to free ones like SCORE and SBDC. Reserve the right to contact another SDBC center or another SCORE adviser. Seek a second opinion.

 

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