Getting back to the basics
Michael Greene -- Home Textiles Today, 5/7/2001 12:00:00 AM
The trouble with most "biggies" is that they don't pay attention to the thousands of l'il gals and guys that surround them. In fact, as I've noted before, there's no such things, really, as biggies. They are nothing more than l'il gals and guys bunched together on an organization chart.
And if you read closely between the lines — especially these days of whoops! and whams! — you find that every time a biggie falls flat on its quarterly report (that means that the earnings dropped 2 cents a share! wow-e-e!) some l'il guy, Joe, in a very visible office, wakes up and says: "I think I'll go looking for another glass windowed office for 'new opportunities.' " When I was a kid that was called receiving a pink slip.
So what's my yakkin' all about? It seems when the going on the carousel is easy and brass rings are falling into corporate laps, it's "We did it!" But come the revolution and the carousel isn't turning fast enough: then "Joe didn't do it … goodbye."
A lot of it has to do with the "know-nothing" stockholders, stockbrokers and pundits in the gladiator arenas of Wall Street. The crowd wants someone to jeer. Years ago we had lions, but that's nasty stuff today and kids will picket your stores.
And talking about little gals and guys, why don't manufacturers look to little retailers when they need to find out what's cooking out there in our never-never land? These gals and guys have been out there in the battlefield for eons through rain and sleet and snow plus hunger and thirst. Instead of spending a lot of bucks on paper experts, MBA-ers and Ph.D.-ers, find yourself a mama and a papa — retired preferably — and hear the real stuff, straight from the kitchen table. Do it and don't tell Wall Street, because it's too simple to impress them.
And get yourself out of your office cage. March around with a hot dog in your hand instead of lunch at a fancy joint, and look around for the signs of the times. Stuff like one in a shopping center I spotted: "More parking in the rear of the building. Walking is good for your health."
Or the one on my favorite church's bulletin board: "Come early, sit in the back and sleep here." Straight to the point.
And what with summer just around the corner, an old attention-getter will probably be: "Come in and be comfortable. We're prayer-conditioned."
Silly stuff? Nope. Smile and the world will still smile with you.
One of the great challenges in retail is, how many ways can you say "sale." These days, with computers available, if you're not talking about bears and cats and dalmatians you're not up to Madison Avenue loftiness. However, the other day I saw a "sale" sign making loads of sense and was right on target.
It read: "Lower Prices On Things You Buy Regularly!" I adore it! This guy was finally pushing what his customer buys regularly and not some battered stuff that was crowding the warehouse and begging to be dumped. Established winners instead of bad guesses or shoddy quality.
You'll never have anyone telling you what a great move you made, but the ringing of the cash register will be music to your ears.
Thanks, again, for listening.
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