The business of business hinges on so many things; willing consumers, a solid brand, selling something folks really want/need and...leadership to pull everything together. That's where my friend Steve Farber comes in.
Thought you might like that. Steve nails it when he talks about the education system, teachers and how, positive change can start right now in classrooms without having to wait for the gears to grind. Looking forward to sharing this with my friends who wrestle with education issues...daily.
Sunday Morning Coffee is that visit we have talking about the stuff that went on in our lives or the lives of others. What did we find funny, sad, serious or silly? This isn't much about business...we'll get back to that tomorrow. This is just coffee...with friends.
My friend Ralph Rosenberg is out of a job. Ralph headed the Iowa Civil Rights Commission for seven years and when our mutual friend "Governor-for-Life" Terry Branstad returned to the Statehouse...Ralph was out. It's much the same for many who worked under former Democratic heads of state. I'm sure Governor Branstad will find somebody to take the job...or he'll suggest that it be privatized and give a contract to Mel Gibson. Stay tuned.
You've heard of a "Tweet-Up" right? How about a "Sample-Up". That's what happened Friday evening at the Urbandale Hy-Vee where about 25 folks gathered to sample wine, cheese, hummus, bread and beer. Oh...and buy some too. A hat tip to @CDSills from @UrbandaleHyVee for doing this. There were plenty of smiles in that isle...
Speaking of Twitter - Have you ever spent thirty-minutes looking at what folks are Tweeting about? How many times they have Tweeted. If they follow people or simply "broadcast" what they think is news? Try it sometime. Take a word...maybe "Iowa" and plug it into the search. Some interesting insight on folks. I feel a business blog coming on.
Been a tough week. The Memorial Service from Tucson (Which local and national media decided was not important enough to broadcast in it's entirety so those without cable or satellite had to watch on-line.) was, I believe, a step to healing. The news that Monks from Iowa crafted the casket for nine-year old Christina Green...another connection to the tragedy and listening to six people, whom I know well, that lost their jobs all spelled F-U-N-K.... No, not you Dave. Sorry to bring it up.
Our daughter-in-law took a leave of absense from her teaching job. Burned out and scared at 26..."It's a horrible environment and the kids are beyond nasty." It's what happens when inmates run the asylum and we lack the guts to fix what we all know is so very wrong with "the system".
My friend, Tobias Eichberg, has released his book: Ag Trade Show Report 2011. If you manufacture farm equipment, or provide services to agriculture and you attend "farm shows" this is a "must have" planning document:
And...speaking of books - My long time friend John Benage, who currently calls San Antonio home, called me last week to help him with the publicity of his book, Oak Grove. Seems that a publisher is interested in this piece about growing up in Rural America and he needs an agency to help out. I was honored that he thought of us...thank you John.
Last Sunday Aaron and I put in a "new" toilet - Actually he did the work, I was there with the flashlight and words of encouragement. It took us some time and I've got to finish the flooring...but check the price! $25 from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore! The old toilet (pink!) the faucet and some other items now go BACK to the ReStore as a donation. BTW - If you are looking for a tiny toilet for kids (when big people sit on this your knees are under your chin) it's at the store...later today.
Did you hear about Gusto's Pizza? It's going to open in Des Moines...very, very soon. Sounds like a fun time. Have a look at the video:
OK...very cool. Feeling much better!!
That's a wrap! Have a wonderful Sunday! We'll get back to business tomorrow both here and at Webcast One LIVE- It's the Metro Monday Edition of Insight on Business and we're talkin' baseball! Catch it live tomorrow at Noon Central. If you want to continue the conversation leave a comment here (below), shoot me an e-mail, head to our Facebook Page or let's connect on Twitter - @MichaelLibbie (business & personal) or @InsightADV (business baby...all business).
agriculture, Citidal Broadcasting, Des Moines Register, Ed Fritz, farm machinery, farming, Gustos Pizza Des Moines, Insight on Business, John Benage, Kyle Munson, Politico, Radio, Ralph Rosenberg, religion, Samuel Auen, Social Media, Speaker John Boehner, Sunday Morning Coffee, Teaching, Terry Branstad, Tobias Eichberg, trade show report 2011, Tucson, Twitter, Urbandale HyVee, Webcast One Live
There is a loud noise coming from "Social Media Experts" telling business that, "Bury the Website! You no longer need to be tied down. All you need is, Social Media."
There is this growing group that preach "all Facebook...all the time" and they are dead wrong...for right now.
We like to think of a well constructed website as your business anchor. The place where people can go and learn more about the depths of your business, your offerings, how to make contact with you and what you do. This same website, if constructed well, can help you increase sales through e-commerce and be the rock that you tie your social media adventure...to.
So, no...build a great anchor, a fantastic port...and then use SM to connect with consumers, to listen and to drive people to "The Mother Ship". Someday it may change...but not...now.
Let's say you have a bunch of retail centers and all those retail centers carry just about the same stuff. They are all located in prime sites where your target market has easy access to what you're selling. Yet...one stands out as a shining star with record sales while the others simply do...OK. What is the difference?
Three things: Staff, Selection and Merchandising.
Too simple....right? "Come on Michael, everybody knows about this. There is nothing new here." No? Then how come it happens time after time after time?
Yesterday I saw this first hand. I was making the circuit of Hy-Vee Garden Centers. (Hy-Vee is a regional supermarket group with over 220 stores in the Midwest.) Over the past several years supermarkets have gotten into the lawn and garden business. Makes sense...people are already walking through the parking lot. Why not give them the opportunity to buy something else?
My purpose was to see if these stores were carrying a particular product produced by one of my clients, how it was being displayed and if staff knew anything about it. While it is a very small sampling one store stood out above all the others we visited.
The Urbandale Hy-Vee Garden Center...rocks. And, they rock for three reasons:
Staff - They know the products and they sell by building relationships. I visited with "Al" whom I am guessing has been retired from "his other job" for some time. Not only did Al know about the products I was searching for but within minutes he was attempting to sell me. And...it was all sincere. I counted at least eight employees who were engaged with customers. Nobody went without a, "Hi, great day! Did you see _______?" No closed end questions like, "Did you find everything you needed?"They were busy...selling.
Selection - Of all the garden centers we visited this one had the most...stuff. There was something for nearly every budget. I'd suspect the inventory was double that of the other centers we walked.
Merchandising - I think, far too often, retail forgets about this aspect of the sale. Not only was the selection huge; everything was set up with a plan. From outdoor seating to fertilizer the displays were attractive, informational and directed. There was a mix of products, colors and shelf space. There are major investments in water gardens (in a parking lot!) signs are tasteful and music (soft jazz) is playing at just the right level. Shopping became...a party.
Pretty simply stuff...but it also takes time, money and a driven commitment to do it right. These guys...do it right. Maybe because Jerry Kluver (above) runs the ship? Maybe...but they "get it" and I have a feeling now that Jerry is more involved with Hy-Vee Corporate...the rest of the Hy-Vee Garden Centers won't be far behind.
So, what about your retail center? Could it use a bit more attention to three simple rules?
Last night I had the opportunity to hang out with a couple dozen folks at a very non-structured gathering of the Central Iowa Bloggers(CIB) at a “TweetUp” in West Des
Moines. Our friend Drew McLellan brought Steve Farber to town. WHO is Steve Farber?
Here is a link. He was out promoting his new book, Greater Than Yourselfand spent a couple of days seeing and meeting loads of folks in the creative business community. His new project is all about helping others to succeed. In a nutshell the book encourages us to build up others and make the world a little better by helping them become greater than ourselves. That unselfish dedication to not only lend a hand; but also a boost through teaching and pushing and most importantly, investing in others. What is the reward? Giving is really getting.
You and I have had those people in our lives…. and today on the radio show, Insight on Business, I spoke about two people who did for me what Steve Farber talked about...they took their time and talents and worked with me to make me a better person.
Folks like Dr. Herbert Jonas who taught me so much about my faith and how to serve others by going out of our way to show them we care. For over two years Herb drug me to meetings, prisons, hospitals, speaking opportunities all in an effort to teach me. In the end, and in a most dramatic way, he entrusted me with something very valuable. I think of him daily.
Or Dr. Clarance Tompkins a Methodist preacher who, along with many others, built a place called Friendship Haven. When I was hired, the first non-minister and first non-Christian, to head up the Development and Public Relations office Dr. Tompkins spent hours and hours sharing with me his knowledge and passion for fund raising. I'll never forget his words, "Never ask for money. Share the dream and the money will follow." And, he was right.
So...in your life...who has touched you in a way that has made a difference. And the follow up might be...have you passed it on to help make somebody else, Greater than Yourself?
So, my wife comes by the office the other day and tells me she is depressed. (I can understand that...considering to whom she is married.) But, this time...it wasn't about me!
It seems the Urbandale Public Library is going to discontinue loaning out books on mp3. At least that is what a staffer told her. Not a big deal for you maybe...but to her.
She was told that it just does not pay for the library to loan out mp3 versions of books because, "...nobody is asking for them".
You mean with thousands and thousands of iPods and telephones equipped with mp3 capability along with a host of home players on the market...nobody is asking for books on mp3?
We think people just don't know. Seems that once you are inside the library there are several signs letting you know they are available. Even a scan of their website yielded little information. Maybe there might be more interest and action IF the library actually let folks, who don't come into the building on a regular basis, know?
For those of you lucky enough to live here in the Des Moines, Iowa area we invite you to have a look at our radio show blog for Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country. More photos and a better outline if you click here.
Each week we talk about living the rural lifestyle complete with projects, tips and stories of importance to those of you living on small farms or acreages.
This week one of our guests will be Michael Leo. Michael, from Austria, has always dreamed of having a vineyard. So...with the help of some friends (Yes, that is me on the only piece of mechanized equipment allowed past week) we planted about 1,000 grape vines on a 3 acre hillside just south of Des Moines. He'll be on the show talking about that experience and how living the rural lifestyle here is so different than living that lifestyle in Austria.
That's Highway 6 - Your Road to the Country heard each Sunday morning at 8am on 98.3 WOW-FM. If you can, come on by for a visit.
Michael P. Libbie - Insight Advertising, Marketing & Communications where you can always make contact with us (NOT for manual labor) by clicking here.