The photo below is of a business, not a recycling bin.
A few weeks ago my niece and nephew pitched an idea to my wife and I. They had started a small business in their neighbourhood collecting the recyclables from nearby homes. Having gotten into a nice routine there, they were ready to branch out into our subdivision.
Impressed? Yep, I was. We signed up, and, as the annual AGM of our homeowners’ association was coming up, we helped them distribute info to other residents and they signed up another customer in addition to us.
Their pitch was compelling.
I am in New Orleans attending the American Rental Association trade show. I find it a great annual update on the latest in the rental industry, an opportunity to learn at the many seminars, and a time of networking with peers in the industry who face similar challenges. Yesterday the show opened with a keynote talk delivered by Peyton Manning, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback and five-time NFL MVP (and New Orleans native). He offered some insight into leadership qualities that reach across industries and even sports. Read on.
Photo from: http://www.athletize.com/peyton-manning-wallpaper/
Peyton observed that decision-making is the currency of a successful business leader, and that to help leaders make decisions they must have people around them who will give unqualified answers and critiques. Honest opinion from the team will help a leader implement the vision for the enterprise.
Lately there have been a number of instances in my personal and professional life that have left me pondering this question. Was the person I just dealt with an amateur or a professional? I don’t mean are they professional as in highly educated, or amateur as in doing something in their spare time. I’m talking about one masquerading as the other. Read on (and my apology in advance if this sounds a bit like a rant).
Bus Sotp (c) Ross Parry
I’m a firm believer in entrepreneurial spirit. On the other hand I am also a realist. Just because you are an incredible carpenter does not mean you are going to be able to open an incredible carpentry company. A magnificent cook is often well served continuing to cook for friends in their home and not heeding the advice of those same friends who say, “you know, you really ought to open a restaurant.”
I can’t tell you how many stores I have been into lately that seem to have no clue whatsoever. The joke is clearly on me and the rest of the people who allow such a business to continue in operation. How else could a business that says they open at 9 stay in business when in fact they really mean, 9 ish… sometime between 9 and 9:30. Why would I expect that a question on availability of a certain size be met with anything other than, “I don’t know.”
I enjoy what I call the ‘process of business’. That is, I love researching a business, working the mechanics of getting it launched and going. As soon as it gets formed I normally start looking for something else to do, a new business. The recession forced me to dial back my new business starts. Now, its startup time again. Read on.
Over the past several months, with two seriously energetic staff, I have been in one of the most pure startup modes I have ever experienced. Massive Media is one of the companies under the Massive Group umbrella. It has been around for several years now as an advertising sales company for Cayman Airways in-flight magazine, Cayman Airways Skies, published by HCP/Aboard. This, then, is Massive Media’s second startup, so to speak.
The first was, in many respects, like the other businesses I have started. There is an idea, company formation and registration, trade and business licence application and grant, business cards, website, and we are off to the races. This second startup round is completely different.
Well you’re either reading this because you just love hats or the silly title pulled you in and I have just one paragraph to get you to stay. Well here goes! Have you ever seen a hat with an instruction manual? Well, in a bit of an homage to Canada where I am for about 10 days, let’s talk about the Tilley Hat. More specifically, the brilliant marketing and customer loyalty enjoyed by the brand. Read on.
Tilley Endurables, as the manufacturer of the eponymous hat is nothing is not customer focused. They compete in a space that is seriously crowded. There are dozens of similar products on the market and yet there is something of a mystique about the company that other firms just cannot match for all the money in the world. What is it? I call it authenticity.
The brand is authentic. If there is one takeaway to be gained from the four page instruction manual every Tilley hat includes in the ‘hidden pocket’ it is that a brand can gain global recognition by being authentic in its approach to the product and its clients.