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Building Trust October 27, 2007

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Building trust.
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p5130012.jpg More profit! A 2002 Watson Wyatt survey showed that companies where trust in the leadership was high had three times the total return of companies where trust in leadership was low. The Big Dogz know that trust is the biggest key to their success. It is amazing but true that less than 2 out of 5 employees trust their leadership. This lack of trust translates into significant negative impact on the bottom line. So, what are some of the benefits associated with high trust?

  • Multiplies creativity
  • Saves time and energy
  • Higher productivity
  • Less turnover
  • More initiative
  • Higher growth
  • More revenue

 Trust is not a one time event; it is a series of actions over time that creates a foundation where people can take risks with you. What are some of the risks that people could take with you?

  • Ask you for help when they need it
  • Tell you the “real” status of a project
  • Give you ideas to improve your business
  • Provide feedback to you on your performance as a leader
  • Inform you of danger in your proposals

 Without trust in your leadership, people will not take these risks with you. You can build trust in your leadership by engaging in specific actions. Here are a few:

  • Make solid decisions that help the company and people
  • Communicate effectively
  • Adopt ideas from your people
  • Provide honest feedback
  • Keep your promises
  • Apologize when you hurt someone
  • Ask for help when you need it

 These actions sound simple, and they are! However, building trust is not easy. It takes focus, commitment and practice. We all know what we need to do to create trust, but we don’t always do it.  

Take the attached self assessment about how you are building trust in your leadership. Use the self assessment to help you focus on and practice effective trust building actions. Make sure calibrate this self assessment. See my post on self assessments. https://growingmybusiness.wordpress.com/category/self-assessments/


Missing the Public Relations Prize October 27, 2007

Posted by David Dirks in Buzz Marketing: Lowest Cost/Highest Payoff, Public Relations Strategies.
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In addition to writing to this blog, I also am a freelance outdoor writer.  I have a weekly outdoor column (www.recordonline.com) and have published in other outdoor magazines.  But that’s not why I’m writing this particular post.  This post is about illustrating what a lost opportunity to get free publicity really looks like.

As an outdoor columnist, I have to write 52 columns a year, at a minimum.  The need for new and fresh material is constant…well, weekly.  In the seven years I’ve been writing that column, I can count on my hand the number of outdoor guides (people whose incomes and livelihoods depends on taking people out on fishing or hunting guided trips) who have approached me with a column idea that I could pursue.

Or take the couple who emailed me only recently to tell me that they opened a tour service for guided hikes, mountain bike rides, and kayaking adventures…last June!

So, here I am, a local outdoor writer who publishes an outdoor-oriented column every week in a newspaper that has one of the largest circulations in the area (+300k).

If you’re an outdoor guide who depends on getting the word out about his/her services and you can’t afford to advertise…what do you do?  You contact the local outdoor writer with some column ideas!!!  If you own an outdoor tour guide business that is located smack dab in the circulation area of the newspaper…what do you do?  You contact the local outdoor writer before you open your business with a press release announcing your new business (for starters).  Then how about some story ideas?

How sad.  There are people who are in business and don’t recognize an opportunity to share their knowledge and skills with readers of a large circulation newspaper…and get some needed publicity to boot?

How hard is that?  Apparently very, very hard.  As a marketer and freelance outdoor writer, I’m just amazed by the lack of interest, follow-up…call it what you will.

Yes, there have been a few that recognized the opportunity to get some press.  Those are the very few who have the ability to step forward and make things happen.

What about you?  What public relations opportunities are your creating for your business?  What local writers or columnists would be interested in hearing some of your story ideas?  What are you waiting for?

Increasing store traffic and sales per square foot October 18, 2007

Posted by David Dirks in Building Foot Traffic, Increasing Your Profitability, Sales Tactics.
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One way to increase store traffic, regardless of how small or large your square footage, is to create a bargain bin and go deep. Select slow selling inventory, or buy low-cost but popular utility items and place them in a well noted area DEEP WITHIN YOUR STORE. Make people have to walk through the entire store to get to your ‘bargain bin’. Make sure every time you advertise, you mention your bargain bin. Bargain bins can add value only if the merchandise is priced well but not below cost. They work if you constantly add to the bin, keeping it fresh with new product.

Your goal is to make sure that each customer has a chance to see other high-margin items or ‘sale’ items on their way to the bargain bin. The combination of picking up more sales per customer and moving low margin merchandise at high volumes mean more overall profit for you.

The key is to make your bargain bin worth making the trip for. It should take on a life of its own. I’ve been to many retailers who create the bargain bin but forget to keep the inventory full and fresh. What you have then is nothing for anyone to get excited about. People want to know that there is a possibility of ‘discovering’ some exceptionally well-priced merchandise in that bin. The search for the customer almost becomes more fun than buying the product itself.

I don’t care what business you’re in, you can do this and be on your way to increase both your store traffic and sales per square foot. Oh, and if you do it right, you’ll improve your profitability too.

Management By Walking Around October 10, 2007

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, MBWA.
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p5130012.jpg  Want to know what is going on? The Big Dogz use a technique called MBWA — Management By Walking Around. This technique was made famous by Tom Peters in his book “In Search of Excellence”. MBWA is quite simple and can yield amazing intelligence. Here’s how you do it.  First, you must get out of your space and get out where the people are doing the work. You walk around or observe them doing their work and you ask two questions:

  1. How’s it going?
  2. Is there anything I can do to help you?

 Let’s look at what answers you might get. To the first question you might get something like “great” or “super”. They know from past experience that telling a manager that things are anything but great results in a lot more attention than they want! So you will hear this answer for awhile.  

The second question will generally result in “Nothing” or “No, not really”. What they are really thinking is “Yes, you can get out of my work area.” Most workers do not believe that managers can help them; at least they do not have experiences with manager that can help. Get used to hearing this response for a while also. But be persistent, keep asking the same questions. Eventually you will hear something besides the stock answers. 

Your workers will get together over coffee or lunch and remark about how weird you are, coming around asking these questions. Finally one of them will figure out something for you to do. It will be simple and you will be able to do it. It may not be in your job description or something you would actually want to do. Maybe it will be something that they should do. But, you will be able to do it! As an example, during a problem solving session where you walk in you ask how it is going, they will respond everything is going OK. When you ask if you can do anything for them, they might respond “Yes, you can go get us some donuts.” 

Now alarms should be going off in your head! This is a test. They are checking to see if you really mean it when you ask if you can help. In this case, immediately find out what kind of donuts they want and go get them. Do not press for anymore information. Wish them success and let them know you are available to help. Then leave. 

If you passed the test (you went to get the donuts), you will now be given more responsibility when you ask if you can help. They will give you successively more important tasks to do for them. And, when you ask “how is it going?”, you will get much more information than you thought possible. One caveat on how you respond to this information. Always acknowledge the information and thank them for sharing. Do not take any action until you get a response from the “Is there anything I can do to help you?” question. Don’t offer to take action or even make a suggestion on how you can help. If you act without permission, you will get to start over! 

Be alert to the timing of your MBWA tours. Stay away from start, lunch and quitting time boundaries. You do not want people to think you are checking up on them. It is effective to schedule your MBWA tours mid morning or mid afternoon. Tuesdays and Thursdays are effective times. Your people will get used to you doing MBWA and some of them may actually look forward to seeing you. 

Experiment with MBWA. Try it at least six times before you give up on it. If you are not currently using MBWA, your people will wonder what is going on. It will take a while to start working. Once they know you are sincere, you will start to get access to important information like the Big Dogz. Start your MBWA experiment today!