Topic: Business 101

So, Let’s consider: Xmas shopping in the land of covid 0

So, Let’s consider: Xmas shopping in the land of covid

Well, it’s the first week of October! You know what that means, right? Yup, it’s time to start shopping for Christmas!

Frankly, I think all these stores bringing out all their xmas trinkets at the end of July is more than a bit overboard, overpowering, over uncalled for and in general over annoying. When I walk into a place like Walmart this morning and see rows and rows stacked full to the top with all kinds of xmas BS, I’m wondering why someone hasn’t done a terrorist act on the place for over merchandising the Winter Solstice. Frankly, it was a serious temptation.

This year brings with it the added concerns of how local, perhaps smaller, businesses are going to survive it to Thanksgiving, let alone the Winter Solstice celebration. And, I find myself asking: “What’s more important, making Jeff Bezos richer by shopping on Amazon or the Walmart family by shopping at Walmart stores…or is it more important to do what I can to help the local businesses through their covid struggles to survive?” I think the answer is simple: The locals win.

So, this year is going to be a bit different. Look to your local businesses for gift certificates. You may even have to ask for them as this may be a new product line that they’ve not thought of before. Look for your local bookstores, eating or drinking establishments, specialty stores, corner grocers, theaters, art stores, hobby and craft stores, even your local mechanic! Hey, everyone’s going to need an oil change SOMETIME next year! Get creative.

If you’re a small merchant, business, eating establishment, or whatever, be thinking about how you can market gift certificates for people to use your establishment creatively and in a means that would make for an acceptable and welcomed gift for them to give to someone else to have.

Now, I’ll also expand this to small business that may not be in your neighborhood. Personally I’ve dealt with a family owned and run bakery in Baltimore for years. Every year I call Maria Voccaro at Voccaro’s bakery for my panetone’s and cookies. They’re a family run group in Baltimore that I’ve dealt with for over 30 years and I’m not going to stop now. I use them as an example but all of us know of a small, local or not so local, that we can send our business to in this time of mutual need. We need our small businesses to survive. Small business is by far the largest portion of employment our country has. And, they need us as much as we need them.

Perhaps with our help this year, they’ll still be around next.

I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.

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So, Let's consider: The business plan from a high level 0

So, Let’s consider: The business plan from a high level

Undoubtedly you’ve heard the true’ism that “those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” This is just one of the laws of life and business.
Today, we’re going to look at the business side. It’s called a “business plan”. Now, we’re looking at this at a very high level right now and in a future consider we’ll dig in a bit deeper, maybe even take it in parts and look at some of the planning strategies.
The business plan is an organized document where you have spelt out what you plan to do, where you plan to go and how you plan to get there.
We start out with the summary. This is also sometimes referred to as the “executive summary” – depending on how much ego you have on the table. This is a synopsis of the big picture’s entire plan with all the major areas briefly enumerated – including why you think this idea will succeed.
This is follow by the business description. Here you explain your company or endeavor. Included would be things like where do you plan on locating your company or corporate functions(offices, manufacturing, distribution, warehouses, etc.). How biz are you planning your operation to be? What kind of operations are you planning, what are you selling and who are you selling it to?
Next we need to look at the environment you’re going to be operating in – sometimes called industry or market analysis. What are the markets you plan on being in? Who and what are your ompetition and how do they fare vs what you plan on presenting to the market place? How big is the market that you plan on selling in and are there any current trends and directions that you will have to deal with or plan on capitalizing on?
After this section, we need to discuss your products and how you plan on selling and marketing them. What kinds of strategies are you going to use, how will the products be branded and marketed? What is your target market and how are you going to penetrate and succeed in it? Any particular promotional campaign concepts that you plan on using or niche identifying monikers, etc., that will be used to set your products apart from the rest of the market space?
Now, let’s discuss how things are going to happen. Operationally you need to detail what you and your company will be doing on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to be successful. Are there any special raw material sources that are a concern and needed? What kinds of processing take need to take place, how, and where? If you’re dealing internationally there will be transportation and legal logistics as well as currency issues you need to consider.
Finally, there’s the question of who is going to do all this work. How many employees and how are they distributed not only in terms of location but as well as function. If you need specialty talents you need to list them. How many? Where can they be gotten and how much are they going to cost? What resources are they going to need to be productive? And why are these people qualified to be doing what you need to get done?
OK, so in six paragraphs, we’ve over viewed what some companies spend many pages spelling out. How much you need to spell out and in what depth of detail will depend on you and what your plans and ideas are.
Now, it’s time for you to venture forth and be a success.

I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.

So, Let's consider: The art of listening 0

So, Let’s consider: The art of listening
“Can you hear me now?” We’ve all seen that annoying advert with the guy wondering around with a cell phone to his head, wanting to make sure that he’s being heard. Granted this video clip is pure propaganda for a cell phone vendor, but let’s think about this concept a bit further and deeper.
Everyone wants to be heard and understood. It’s not only part of good communication it’s also part of accepting and feeling accepted. And, with good mutual acceptance and communication comes trust and the development of many other good things not only in personal lives but in business as well.
So, let’s look at how we can develop our listening skills a bit.
Pay attention
Nobody likes to feel like they’re being ignored while they’re trying to say something they feel is important and relevant to someone else. So, if you find yourself in an environment filled with distractions, noises or anything else that takes your attention from someone trying to talk with you, simply move to a different room or a quieter place of the room you’re in. If it’s bad timing, simply state so and suggest a better time and place where you both can meet to give the speaker and the subject the attention it deserves.
Engage the speaker and ask questions
Many times it’s a good idea to ask a few clarifying questions just to make sure you’re both thinking along the same lines. It also helps to show interest in the speaker and topic and aids in building rapport with the person(s) you’re talking with. And, when you may need a little time to think about what’s being presented and what your responses might be, it helps to buy you that time.
Let your body show you’re listening
Face the speaker directly and establish eye contact. Facing them and looking at them helps establish that you’re not just there physically, but also mentally. If you need to take a few notes, do so. Sometimes I find that writing notes on the back of their business card helps me not only remember what I was talking about, but where I may want to take the conversation at a later time, and it’s always nice to have the person’s contact info on the other side. Also, avoid looking around while you’re talking, this is not only distracting to them but discourteouse as well.
Listening is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. Yet, it’s an important building block in communication and business. People will really know and understand that what they say matters when you listen, and listening is a very worthwhile investment in the development and maintenance of any relationship.
So, now, go forth, and listen.
I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.

So, Let's consider: How can you be more confident with that presentation or in what you do? 0

So, Let’s consider: How can you be more confident with that presentation or in what you do?
OK, so you’re having to do a presentation of some sort. It could be to the client, the boss, your church, some small group, or where ever you find yourself. It could even be an informal meeting in the hall. Then, you feel yourself and your voice start to shake. You look them in the eye and your whole mind goes to yogurt. So, let’s take a look at this.
Confidence in yourself goes a long way in selling your message and getting it and you accepted by your target. The nice thing is that confidence can be learned, developed and even faked. So, let’s look at a few ways to help you believe in yourself and by extension, others will believe in you.
Slow down…
You’re generally not being timed with a stop watch and you’re not calling the race at the dog track, so you don’t have to talk fast. Slowing down gives you more credibility and your audience has more time to understand and digest what you’re saying. If you talk too fast your audience will think you’re nervous and it lowers their comfort level with you. Speaking slowly and deliberately will tell people that you’re thoughtful and what you have to say has credibility.
If you have notes, bring them…and use them…
If you think that having and using notes will compromise you and your position, it won’t. Even the most experienced speakers and presenters use notes and keep supporting information handy in case they have to refer to it. It’s part of being prepared and it shows strength in your position.
However, having said that, don’t read from them as you would a script unless you have to quote a specific passage to support your presentation or answer a question. Notes and reference material are with you to help support your presentation, not be your presentation.
The audience is your center of attention…
The people that you’re talking to and working with need to be the focus of your attention. They’re your audience. Look at them when you’re talking to them, even if it’s just one to one.
Looking at the audience gives you the chance to read them and to judge how they’re receiving your message and if you need to make any mid course corrections. Are they confused? Does something need to be clarified or expanded? Establishing and maintaining eye contact builds rapport with your audience and with that confidence in your presentation.
By focusing on what their needs are and what’s important to them, so take the attention and emphasis off of you and place it on to them and your message. If their attention is wandering to counting ceiling tiles or what’s for lunch then you need to be moving to either get more enthusiastic and involved in your topic, move on to the next line item or order lunch.
Speak to the point…
Some people call this being direct. Get on topic and stay on topic. If you meander, hem and haw, pause, stumble about or starting using what is clearly filler, then you can expect to not only lose your audience, but your credibility and confidence.
Practice delivering what you want to say without distracting verbiage that trends away from the message you want to deliver. The higher comfort factor you have on fluid delivery of your presentation, the better both you and your audience will feel.
Be what your audience looks at…
OK, sometimes presentations requires visuals or what you’re presenting needs to have large pictures for people to see. That aside, YOU need to be what people see when they look at that stage. You need to be that center of focus that the audience thinks is as large as life. Stand and walk confidently. This may take some practice but it’s time well spent. Presenting a confident image of you as authoritative in what you are presenting will make or break your presentation.
Be mentally ready and strong…
The old adage of “if you think you can, you can; if you think you can’t, you won’t,” is as strong here as it ever was. You have to be in a confident frame of mind to deliver a strong, effective and credible presentation. Believe in yourself and others will as well. Show that you believe in yourself, what you’re doing and others will believe in you as well.
I like to watch how others do their deliveries. Youtube and things like TED talks are great examples to use to study delivery styles and methods. You also get to sometimes see how people recover from a mistake. Learn from other peoples successes and failures. And, always, feel free to improve and make their methods fit your mold.
Vene Vidi Vici…
Now, it’s time to go forth and conquer. Expect to stumble a time or two, that’s all part of life and learning. It’s not stumbling that’s important, it’s getting up and continuing on that is.
I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.

There's nothing wrong with saying "I don't know…" 0

There’s nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know…”
Have you ever been stuck having to listen to someone trying BS their way through a question or subject when they clearly don’t have a clue what they’re talking about? This happens frequently in meetings and other gatherings and you really just want to wave your big “Silence is Golden” sign above the crowd…or maybe just slip them a note that says the same thing?
It’s simple. Just learn how to say the three words: “I don’t know”…. There will be times when you’re put on the spot or asked to comment on a topic that you’re not up to date on. Sometimes these events are a surprise, sometimes you just draw a mental blank. It happens. Perhaps it’s something that you should have known but didn’t. And, this gives you a chance to do some further research in your spare time…
Perhaps you can even save face by volunteering to find the answer and supply it in an agreed to method and venue…
Face it, we’re not all knowing gods and we’re not supposed to know every answer all the time. Be honest and forthright with people and they will respect your candor and honesty.
You’ve been there before and you’ll be there again. Just a simple “I don’t know”, properly placed, may be all you need to say… But it would be a good idea to find out for next time.
I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.

Verizon gets a lesson in remedial business management 101 0

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Verizon gets a lesson in remedial business management 101

Any current or former Verizon user that read this past Friday’s Wall Street (4/21/17) had to get a good chuckle out of the article on how Verizon had posted its first quarterly loss due to customers leaving them for the competition.


For those of us that have been constant and loyal Verizon customers for many years, we’re finally seeing Verizon(VZ) waking up and realizing that the basic tenets of undergraduate business school concepts still hold true – it’s the CUSTOMER, stupid!

Back in 2011, VZ decided to punt unlimited data plans from the cell phone service plans it provided.  Further, and even more annoying, if you wanted to upgrade your cell phone hardware, it meant having to buy a new service plan as they wouldn’t let you grandfather your old plan with any unlimited options, to the new phone.  Well, there was a way around it and I still kept my unlimited plan when I upgraded, much to the chagrin and consternation of VZ.  You can’t imagine how many spam calls I’ve gotten over the years from VZ telling me how much greater the new plans were – but of course they were NOT unlimited data and would charge me a tonne of bucko$ after a certain data useage – not to mention slower speeds for actually using the unlimited data you were paying for.  Add to that when you had to leave your current units for iPhones or whatever, VZ had removed the automatic hotspot capabilities that allowed you to turn your cell phone into wifi hotspot.  But, you could buy more hardware at a high price and pay more money to get the same functionality you had before.  This attempt to ripoff customers didn’t last very long.

Enter AT&T, Sprint and everyone else with their unlimited plans, acceptable service hardware and all at a much cheaper price.  Basically, someone at these companies had a clue at what doing market analysis really is and actually figured what the customer really wanted and how to make money selling it to them!

It didn’t take much marketing from the competition for people to realize that the Verizon bimbo that was always wandering around asking if anyone could hear him, was costing them too much and they didn’t have what they used to and more importantly WANTED.  It also didn’t take too long for the Verizon bimbo to realize this as well and he switched from Verizon.  Gee, go figure.

According local sales reps in the stores, the very recent and sudden changes in plan offerings to include unlimited data and much better pricing structures was a huge surprise that they were only informed of, literally, until minutes before the public was.  Kind of sounds like VZ had a major “oh shit!” moment and a major reality check! Gee…wonder why….

My guess is that in the future business schools will be adding this to the litany of case studies that undergraduates will have to endure.  It would make another of the many good case studies of how you will lose market share by not offering what the customer wants and is willing to pay, as well as being too arrogant to be aware of your market competition and think that just because you’re currently the 800 pound gorilla on the playground that things can’t change against you…and quickly!

Interestingly enough, we’re seeing other former market share “gorillas” thinking the same thing and also seeing that they’re losing market share.  In my opinion, this list would start with none other than IBM…

I’m Don Rima and that’s the view From Where I Stand.