Tag Archives: Value

Spirit of Entrepreneurship Alive and Picking

By Jeff Bowman

I’ve always lamented the fact that times have changed and due to circumstances both real and imagined, kids today are not introduced or encouraged to earn a buck the good old-fashioned way, working.

As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I was initiated into the world of professional sales at a very young age.  My father was a member of a community organization called Civitan, and at Christmas time I was sent out down the street to take orders for delectable chunks of fruitcake, which I would subsequently deliver a couple of weeks later.

My brother played rep hockey, so there was always the fundraisers, chocolate bar sales etc, which I would again hit the good neighbors up for. Most of these activities took place during my formative years before I ventured out on my own and got a paper route when I was about 9 years old. I delivered a route that went a fair distance from my home, riding my mustang bike with the banana seat and the high back bars with my paper bag balanced precariously on my monkey bar handle bars.  There was little worry that I would not return home safe at night, and on collection night going from door to door until dark collecting the weekly $.50 stipend I never encountered any problems. Over the course of 2 years I got to know my clients well, developed a rapport with a great many, opened many new clients and often received treats, a bite to eat or a drink of pop.  This familiarity soon grew to other paying jobs like painting a fence, cleaning eaves troughs and even picking up mail for clients while they were on vacation. I seemingly always had, and still do have an entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s not often that I see a lemonade stand, collections by kids for a charity or even newspaper carriers anymore. (excellent video calling Paperboys in the 50’s “The Biggest Little Businessmen of our time”) As I said times have changed. On Saturday night a couple of 10-year=old boys approached me while I was planting flowers. Bold as can be, one asked if he could assist me by removing the weeds on my lawn.  For only a toonie he would save me the aggravation. I grinned from ear to ear. Entrepreneurs! I agreed, and the boys went about their business with a long-handled weeder.  I offered a brown bag, but the one boy said, that he puts them in a backpack he was carrying, and disposes of them at home. I couldn’t believe it!

After about 15 minutes they approached and asked me to have a look at the lawn. I smiled and causally threw a few glances around. I told them I was impressed, and asked my wife to pay them (yes I did). We gave them $2.00 for the job and an extra $.50 for disposal. It must have been their first tip, because they were quite thankful.  Now they will understand how good customer service relates to money! We watched as they walked to the houses along the street, no one else seeming to offer them work.  I thought to myself, that it was a damn shame no one was willing to let these kids work.

Like I said, times have changed, but I’m glad that there are still some kids out there who are willing to ask for work and do a good job. I would have given these two a couple of bucks even if I didn’t have weeds, just for having that entrepreneurial spirit!

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Filed under Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, Sales

I’m Mad as Hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!

By Jeff Bowman

Unique selling point, differentiation, value proposition and customer satisfaction are all terms  common to sales and marketing professionals.

In an environment where we are easing out of a recession, consumers clamor for value in whatever they buy. Hard earned dollars are spent  on products and services that offer a good value in return.  Coupons are clipped and used more frequently, percentages off retail price or in simpler terms an actual cash value discount are offered more frequently to entice  customers.  In consumer items, it is value in terms of cost per unit or serving.

Good business owners know and understand this, and in most cases respect the power of the consumer to understand, compare and make the value call when it is time to purchase.

Why then is it that we as consumers are constantly being mislead by the large corporations that produce  food and health products that we use every day?  I am exasperated each time I pick up a product where the package size has been changed, reshaped, remolded, or made environmentally friendly – a ploy to downsize contents.  Wake up consumer!

The marketing spin that corporations use in an effort to disguise a lower value offering is ridiculous.

Now I am from the generation that believed a person could simply put a mask over their eyes and become a super hero. “Who was that masked man?” In fact as it was pointed out to me yesterday Clark Kent was disguised only by reading glasses.

I can see through the spin.

When ice cream went from a round 2 litre bucket, to a square tub, that made sense because it fit in my freezer better. What didn’t make sense was that the contents were then reduced to 1.5 litres for little or no price change. Cereal boxes have gone from the large family size to pint size boxes that hold no more than 5 or 6 bowls of cereal.  But they did it for me because now it stays fresher!

Yesterday I lost it. I bought Minute Maid Orange Juice.  It seemed different somehow.  When I got it home, I saw the difference when I put it in the fridge next to another juice can. 330 ml, has now become 295ml.  A 10% difference!  Pennies right, who cares? Consider that you add 3 cans of water to the concentrate to make the juice to drink. Now you are down 140 ml of juice.

It didn’t stop there.  I went to my local sub shop that advertises $5.00 footlongs, to ease my hunger pangs.  I measured that sub when I got home.  10 inches! 2 inches less than what they advertise. Enough to inspire sub envy in any man! Should I have taken it back?

The examples are endless today. Is it okay to give your boss 15% fewer work hours for the same salary? Is it okay for athletes to perform at 15% below the previous year? Why don’t schools drop the pass average to 41% instead of 51%?

I just don’t get it! In an age where the Internet can influence the masses in mere minutes, why do corporations continue to dupe us with decreased value offerings? The answer is, the majority of us do nothing.

Don’t you think you have a right to speak up when you get cheated? Business ethics dictate that companies offer customers the best value for their dollar.  Those that do should prosper, those that don’t should hear about it.

I can’t hear you!

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Filed under advertising, Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Sales

Value comes at a price

By Stephen Rhodes

Businesses face great temptation to lower their prices during in poor economic times.  In recent weeks it seems that everything is on sale or just reduced,  or 50 per cent off. Some of it is seasonal, of course, but some of it is desperation.  Many businesses will buckle to the great temptation and regret it later.

Shopping cartWe all know there is “no free lunch”  and “something for nothing” establishes the value of a service or commodity at precisely nothing. If your brand is built on volume and price that’s fine, but if your brand is built on quality and service, reducing your price simply hurts you long term.

Anyone can be cheap but only one will be the cheapest. Is that turf you want to own coming out of a recession? Likely not.

Instead focus on adding value. Talk to your customers. Listen to their problems and be a  problem fixer. They are in this downturn too, remember.

Consider their plight. Service their needs. Provide added value, but don’t drop your price. Good value comes at a price. Don’t cheapen it.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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Filed under Branding, Managing, Sales, Stephen Rhodes