From time to time, I get involved in answering a tricky question. “What is this company worth?” Sometimes the question comes up when speaking to a business owner or executive who is truly trying to increase the value of their organization. At other times the question is raised from someone looking for investors or buyers. And then most importantly – I ask it myself when the buyer or investor might be me.Continue reading
A business owner asked me the other day, what was the best marketing strategy ever? I did not have to think very long. To me, the answer is Southwest Airlines in its early days. In a day when Southwest was competing with industry giants to launch a new airline, they broke through and succeeded by demonstrating that they were the airline you wanted to fly by doing the following things.Continue reading
This morning – October 1, 2009, a reminder popped up on my calendar. Today was the day my brother Rick retired officially from General Motors after 30 years. He started in the Newark, Delaware plant at the age of 18, the day after his birthday. Over the past three decades, he saw many changes, slow downs, strikes, and lay offs; but, he also saw innovations in manufacturing and new automotive technologies evolve.
He started at GM in a time when working as a GM employee was a safe bet for the future and retires in a time when many have to wonder what comes next. But, through it all, he was a hard working and dedicated employee, who delivered value, and through his working years at GM, bought a home, raised a family, and now in his ‘retirement’ years plans to focus his energies on building another business – his own.
I’m proud of him. He’s a great example of what it means to grow up in a GM Family. And I know that his own business will prosper because he brings to it a dedication to customer service and quality that will make his customers keep coming back and even more important – tell their friends about him.
Also today, I saw an article pop up from AdAge with another footnote to the GM Story. This one too was another goodbye – After Talks to Sell Fall Through, GM Says Goodbye to Saturn. The story chronicles Saturn’s story through it’s ads. It’s dedication to innovation and service, the commitment it had to its customers and in many ways the feeling of engagement it’s employees, dealers and customers had in turn with Saturn. Now with the Penske deal falling through, soon Saturn will be no more.
Saturn was once the shining star of General Motors, yet through years of corporate in-fighting and internal politics between the GM car divisions and the resulting challenges created for Sayurn, the fledgling brand could not grow to fulfill its promise. Now Saturn is becoming ‘GM’s orphaned child’ – with no opportunity for a new homecoming on the horizon.
Saturn employees and dealers put together a valiant fight to save something they believed in – a quality product, a new way of doing business, and commitment to giving the customer what they want through partnerships as shown in this – one of the last Saturn commercials. Unfortunately, it looks like this time, they could not win the battle.
the last car my brother ever built at the GM Newark Delaware plant,
was a Saturn SKY.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…
Have you ever had a dream where you were surrounded by people and then in an instant you were all alone? As if a wizard waved a magic wand and all of your friends disappeared? Continue reading
When you are talking about economic impact, small business is a BIG deal. For two years I had the opportunity to serve as the CEO of the Arizona Small Business Association and and on the Board of Trustees of the National Small Business Association. During that time. I sat and talked with many small business owners, toured their offices and factories, listened to their stories, and then traveled to the Arizona Capitol and to Washington D.C. to share those stories with Senators and Representatives. Continue reading
Have you ever wondered about our fascination with roller coasters ? People from all over the world have been flocking to ride these engineering marvels since as far back as the 17th century, although the earliest ‘thrill’ ride did not have rollers or wheels at all but rather flew on tracks of ice.
Roller coasters, as we know them today, have come a long way from the ‘ice mountains’ in the time of the Russian Czars, but some things still hold true. They fascinate us, they can make us nauseous, and often have us screaming as we fly up to the peak and rush headlong down into the valley. Step right up to the roller coaster. It is guaranteed to provide a rush of adrenaline and a wild ride. (History of the Roller Coaster – Wikipedia)
As I sat working on business plans and reviewing financing packages today, I suddenly struck me how much in common the roller coaster and the entrepreneurial journey really do have in common.
Think about it, entrepreneurs fascinate us, we watch successful ones like they are rock stars, and look away with a gulp at the poor guy who is losing his lunch – or his business – as he staggers away. Any entrepreneur will tell you, THAT can happen to anybody.
Like roller coasters, most entrepreneurial ventures labor rung by rung up that first great grade to reach that first big win, opportunity, or investor. And then reality hits, and there is so much WORK to do, and you are sliding down, before you begin the next great climb. It’s a wonder more of us are not throwing up our arms and screaming! If you stay the entrepreneurial circuit long enough, you are sure to hit its highs and lows. Even the legendary entrepreneurial success stories like Microsoft and Cisco have had their fair share of peaks and valleys along the way.
Like roller coasters, that struggled financially and almost disappeared completely during the Great Depression, entrepreneurs have faced times when economic conditions where almost too much to take. But then a spark of innovation, or a new idea gets them fired up all over again.
That’s the thing about veteran entrepreneurs, just like veteran roller coaster riders, as soon as the ride is over, they often get right back in line to take the journey again.
I wonder if a study has ever been done on what percent of entrepreneurs LIKE to ride roller coasters. Or, if serial entrepreneurs are especially addicted? It might make for interesting reading.
Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned…
Is your Twitter account starting to look like the house of that little old man down the road who never weeds his yard and never throws anything out?
Is it full of clutter, empty boxes, things that are broken, or that you never use.
Do you still have people on your Christmas Card List that sent you a card in 1995 and you have not heard from since?
Perhaps when you read this, you may think I have taken a page from Oscar the Grouch, but there are times when you need to bite the bullet and Clean Your House.Continue reading
The greatest message in the world will have no impact if no one is listening. This is not exactly a new concept. But if you forget it, you can get into BIG trouble.Continue reading
There are few things as powerful in this world as when people come together as a community to make something happen.Continue reading
Sometimes the best innovation can be as simple as doing the right thing.Continue reading