Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Design for the Consumer

        Thomas Goetz had an interesting article in the February 2017 issue of INC. titled “Build Your Product for the Consumer, Not the Buyer.”  Goetz is a co-founder and the CEO of Iodine, a digital health startup based in San Francisco.  He is also the author of The Remedy.
        His example in the article is a mobile app for pharmaceutical companies to give to customers who use their medicines.  The companies were buying and giving out the app, but the consumers were not using it. 
        The app was too complex.  It had too many features. The problem was solved by redesigning the app for the end user, not the company buying the app. 
        This is a common problem with product management.  Technology constantly changes, but the basics of business never change.  As business owners and managers, we often have to get back to the basics. 
        It is easy to make the mistake of designing a product for your sales staff, wholesaler, retailer, or retail sales staff, and not the actual consumer or end user.  This can be explained because people often get bored with selling the same thing all the time.
        A sales person will ask for something they don’t offer because they may have lost a sale to a competitor.  Trying to be everything to everyone is also a major mistake.  A company must concentrate on what they do best. 
        Don’t make the mistake of assuming your personal tastes are representative of the market, but don’t ignore them either.  Do your market research.  Starting a business based on a perception of a product or service can be a huge mistake.  Sometimes test-marketing can be easy and cost effective. 
        I love to give a simple example about selling donuts.  I used to stop at a convenience store on the way to work when I was in the collector car business.  My favorite pastry is a plain, chocolate-covered cake donut. 
        This store had about eight trays of pastries,  When I would stop they would invariably be out of chocolate-covered cake donuts, yet the racks would be almost full.  Late in the afternoon, about a quarter of the pastries would still be there and would have to be thrown away. 
        The store manager wanted to have an extensive selection, but was not giving the consumer what they wanted.  I encouraged the manager to increase the number of plain, chocolate-covered cake donuts.  He put in a full rack, then two full racks, and eventually three of the eight racks were usually sold out in the late morning.  This product selection was quite boring, but the customer was happy.  And the store realized more pastry sales, less waste, and greater profits.  That is product management. 
        We have a great bakery where I live now with an extensive selection, but they don’t offer a plain chocolate-covered cake donut.  I am sure this costs them business, but it is great for the convenience stores that do offer the number one single pastry consumers want. 
        For more detailed information and examples of product management, market research, and selecting the right product read my book, Business Fits.  It is available on Amazon as an eBook or a paperback. 

God bless the United States of America.  God bless President Trump and guide him to make America great again.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Law and Order

The United States of America is a land of laws, and Americans value the rule of law above all.  Why, then, has our Congress allowed the president and the executive branch to take on near dictatorial power?  . . . What is needed in Washington is a president who will rein in the executive branch and work with Congress to make sure the legislative branch does its job.
Donald Trump – January 16, 2017

        One of the campaign promises President Trump made was to restore law and order and uphold the Constitution.  Unlike most elected officials, President Trump is actually attempting to fulfill his campaign promises.
        The legislative branch of government makes our laws, not the executive branch.  The executive branch enforces those laws.  Regulations by appointed bureaucrats are not law, but this is the path the government has taken. 
        No politician or bureaucrat should be above the law.  There must be no exceptions.  I don’t agree with the political strategy of forgiving law breakers after an election in order to unite the country.  This is wrong.  No one should be above the law.  I don’t care if it is Trump, Trumps staff, Hillary Clinton, the State Department, the IRS, or Barack Obama.
        Any government official that leaks confidential security information must be held accountable under the law.  People can’t be allowed to leak information for political purposes.  
Some appointed bureaucrats have been so politically biased against anyone who did not support the liberal Obama administration, that they are now afraid of losing their jobs.  They should lose their jobs.  And, if they leak confidential information, they need to be prosecuted.  There should be no excuses.     
        Trump has said that for every new regulation put in place, two should go away.  That is a good plan, but I would like to see him be even more aggressive on reducing the control of government over business.
        I have heard the lamestream media say Trump’s administration is in turmoil.  That is true if you call activity turmoil, because Trump has done more in the short time since his election than any President in my memory.  This is in spite of the Democrats doing more to block Trump’s cabinet nominees than at any time in our history since President Washington’s first cabinet.
        One political commentator said Trump had better change if he wanted to be elected to a second term.  This is ridiculous.  Why would Trump change what got him elected in the first place?  President Obama was more concerned with campaigning than doing the job spent his first 100 days campaigning.  Trump is doing what he said he would.  I am not sure he will even want to run for a second term if he can fulfill his campaign promises in four years, but the country will want and need him to run again.
        The liberals and the media are doing everything possible to undermine and slander Trump, but they better think carefully about what they are doing.  If they take this approach and Trump is successful, the Democratic Party may not survive.   Democrats have already lost over 1,000 elected offices at the state and federal levels in the last nine years.  Can they withstand another defeat?   
        God bless America.  God bless President Trump and guide him to make America great again. 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Divide - Divide - Divide

       The political elite try to divide and disrupt this country in every way possible.  I have had enough of this kind of divisive and partisan politics.  The people of this great county have also had enough.  That is why they elected President Donald Trump despite all odds.
      The media attempts to pick apart and read new meaning into every word President Trump says or tweets.  This political correctness is totally out of control.  Thank God Trump is a man of action and not just politically correct talk like most politicians. 
      The political elite and liberal Progressives continually try to divide the country based on religion.  They are concerned with protecting the rights of Muslims in spite of the fact that radical Islam wants to kill all infidels. 
       Where is the outrage for protecting Christians?  90,000 Christians were killed for their faith in 2016 according to the Center for Studies on New Religions.  Instead, we allow atheists to take away Christian’s right to worship as guaranteed under the first amendment.  
      Politicians and the media divide the country based on race.  The fact is that some of the people claiming racial discrimination are the very worst racists.  Black Lives Matter attacks the police when the police are exactly what is needed to keep their neighborhoods safe. 
        We have free speech (except for conservatives at liberal universities) and the right to protest in this country, but that does not include rioting.  These people are anarchists and should be prosecuted under the law. 
       The political elite try to divide the country by sex and sexual preferences.  They divide us based on level of education, age, state, area of the country and many other factors. 
      The most damaging division is between the political parties.  Members of Congress vote the party line too often.  Most issues are not that clear.  It makes me mad every time I see a vote totally along party lines.  Congress puts the party first, their donors second, and the people they represent last. 
     Congressional seating assignments should mix up Democrats and Republicans so they have to sit next to each other and talk to each other.  The idea of never crossing the isle is B.S. and has to stop.  The present procedures (like filibuster rules) in the Senate prevent productive legislation and must be changed.  Stop the divisions the political elite and media continually create.  We are all Americans and should act as such. 
        God bless America.  God bless President Trump and guide him to make America great again. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Why Own Your Own Buainess?

 There are a lot of advantages to owning your own business. 
·       You control your own destiny. 
·       You have the opportunity to control the amount of money        you make. 
·       You control the hours you work. 
·       You can build equity in your business, which you can later        sell or leave to your family. 
·       You may have better control of when you will be able to           retire. 
·       You may have the opportunity to be semi-retired and less          active in the business at some point in the future and milk        the profits. 

    Unfortunately, owning your own business is not a get- rich-quick deal, except for rare instances.  The down side of owning your own business is that there will be a lot of work.  Most business owners work more hours and harder than they ever did as an employee and often for less income than they received as an employee. 
    The investment in the business is your money and very personal.  It’s not some corporation’s money that’s impersonal to you and your family.  Investing your own money can make starting your own business vary scary. 
        Why do people want their own business?  Here are some of the most common statements I hear:
·       I’m tired of working for nothing.
·       I can’t stand my boss.
·       I want to control my own destiny.
·       I think I can make more money on my own.
·       I want to control my own hours.
·       I may get laid off.
·       I don’t know if I will have a job due to the merger.
·       I’ve been transferred and don’t want to move.
·       I’m tired of making money for someone else.
·       I’m sick of traveling.
·       I’m sick of the politics at work.
·       I’m just burned out, and I have to make a change.

        I have seen estimates that as many as 75% of all people dream of owning their own business.  As few as 5% of them ever make this dream a reality.  Why?
        Everybody has their own reasons for wanting to work for themselves.  For more information on finding the right business for you, read Business Fits.  It is available on Amazon as and eBook and as a paperback. 
        God bless America.  God bless President Trump and guide him to make America great again.