Connect with us


How to Keep Everyone in the Family Happy, and More of Your Questions Answered

Can’t get your business to the next level? Maybe this is the problem.




How to Keep Everyone in the Family Happy, and More of Your Questions Answered

How long does it take for mass media brand building campaigns to work?

For long cycle products and services that people don’t need very often, like those provided by a jeweler, the bad news about mass media is that it will take three to six months of weekly advertising before you begin to gain any real momentum, says ad man Roy H. Williams, who has worked with some of the country’s biggest independent jewelers. “The good news is that the longer you use mass media, the better it works.” There are some important variables, says Williams, including:

  • Do your ads capture attention or are they easy to ignore?
  • Do your ads speak to a felt need, or are you answering a question no one was asking?
  • Are you a known, trusted and respected seller?
  • In your category, what name will customers typically think of first and feel the best about?
  • What percentage of the public considers you to be their preferred provider?

And there is more good news: Traditional mass media (drive-time radio, billboards, print), the cornerstone of most brand-building efforts, has never been cheaper. Williams says that used properly (meaning going narrow and deep with unrelenting frequency), and with the support of good SEO, the results can be profound.

“The goal of branding is to build a relationship with future customers. When a relationship has finally been established, you become who these people think of immediately — and feel the best about — when they, or any of their friends, need what you sell.” It is then that your growth becomes super-charged. But it requires faith because there can be a long period before harvest.

Being part of a family business is terrific but also really challenging at times. Is there a “best approach” that would allow us to enjoy more of the positive and less of the negative?

Boundaries and well-defined roles for each family member with everyone clear on what is expected of them can a go a long way to helping in this area. If you don’t have one yet, put in place a formal business plan (agreed on by everyone) that includes detailed descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of each family member, as well as the financial expectations of the business. It is also important to have regular meetings to discuss any issues that may be impacting the business. If communication is an issue, bring in an outside mediator or advisor who can provide unbiased and objective advice. Allison Strongin, who owns Kirk Jewelers in Miami, FL, with her brother Jeffrey Newbauer, says they too initially struggled with the balance between work and family dynamics but eventually found their groove by leveraging each family member’s strengths: “The best thing we did was find a role everyone could be successful at. Jeff heads up our sales and watch inventory management, along with less glamorous roles like handyman and IT specialist. I handle the jewelry inventory, our e-shop, marketing, and most of the other operational roles behind the scenes. Jeff’s wife Malena is the head of our repair department. It was amazing how defining these roles gave everyone the space they needed and ownership over their part of keeping the business running smoothly,” she says.

Our growth has flattened, and it seems no matter what we do with our marketing, our prices or merchandising, nothing helps get us to the next level. Where are we going wrong?

There could be any number of reasons, from changing demographics in your market to the emergence of a new competitor, but something that holds many businesses back is a personal blind spot of the owner that hobbles the entire operation. These blind spots are often rooted in deeply held beliefs, such as the view that money makes the world go around (so if you just pay your employees more they will work harder, or if you discount your merchandise, you’ll sell more).

As the name suggests, the hard thing about blind spots is that the afflicted person can’t see them. That means unvarnished outside perspective is required. “Ask people for feedback, and they sometimes tell you what you want to hear. Ask them about blind spots, and they’re more likely to tell you what you need to hear,” says the behavioral psychologist Adam Grant in his latest book, Think Again: The Power Of Knowing What You Don’t Know. Grant recommends starting with the question: What do other people know about me that I might not realize? Beware that what people tell you doesn’t always make for comforting listening. But brace yourself and you might be able to make the big strategic shift that allows you to take your business to the next level.

Over the last two years, I’ve seen a jewelry friend pay a high price as a result of what seemed like a petty lawsuit. How can I protect myself against the same thing?

There’s nothing you can do to ensure you never get sued, but there are steps you can take to limit the costs of defending a legal claim. If you’re worried about employee lawsuits, you can buy liability insurance that specifically covers such actions. Or you can institute a severance program that awards a standard payout to employees who sign a release vowing never to sue you.

Small-claims and local courts are increasingly pushing parties to take their cases first to a mediation program, which in many instances — but not always — should be your first option. And you can support this by including a binding arbitration clause in all your contracts. That will keep disputes on the fast track and out of the courtroom. Keep up with labor laws in your state and start the search now for a lawyer who knows the business.




This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular