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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: August 2005

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Nine fresh ideas to better your business

Forget “to-do” lists, make a “stop doing” list; more.

[componentheading]BOOK CLUB[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Hold A Treasure Hunt[/contentheading]

A best-selling children’s book has sent readers on a million-dollar treasure hunt, with clues leading to 12 jewelry items scattered around the country. Rules for A Treasure’s Trove: A Fairy Tale About Real Treasure for Parents and Children of all Ages: treasures are all located in the continental United States, in public places, and don’t require anything to be lifted or moved. Hidden items range in value from $8,500 to $450,000. (The contest is scheduled to end on December 31, 2007.) Could a localized version of this event work in your community?

[componentheading]FULL STOP[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Make A List[/contentheading]

Okay, just about everybody regularly creates “to-do” or “start doing” lists. But Jim Collins, author of Good To Great, wonders whether you have a “stop doing” list. Think of all the harmful, unproductive (or even less productive) behaviors you engage in … and put them on your list. Let your “stop doing” list help you focus on the things you need to do to make your business great.

[componentheading]FEEL FACTOR[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Make An Impact[/contentheading]

Writes Raytheon CEO Bill Swanson in The CEO’s Secret Handbook, recently excerpted in Busines 2.0: “You remember a third of what you read, a half of what people tell you, but 100 percent of what you feel.” When communicating with your staff, your goal is not to tell or teach people what to do, but to make them feel what they need to do.

[componentheading]ÜBER-MAIL[/componentheading]

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[contentheading]LOOSEN UP![/contentheading]

Want to liven up your overly-formal direct mail letters or email bulletins? Michael Corbett, author of The 33 Ruthless Rules of Local Advertising, says that you need to stop thinking about the thousands of anonymous customers who will be reading your message. That will inevitably make your prose stiff as a redwood tree. Instead, imagine you’re writing all of your messages to your cool Aunt Bessie. That will help loosen you up.

[componentheading]JUST ONE SECOND[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Give It For Free[/contentheading]

In 1998, NationsBank (now merged with Bank of America) held a “Magic Moments” campaign during the holiday season. For two months, each day there would be a one-second interval when any purchase made on the NationsBank Visa card was free, no matter how much was charged. By changing the time frame (perhaps a “magic minute”), could you try a similar campaign this Christmas at your store?

[componentheading]GIMME FIVE![/componentheading]

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[contentheading]Slap Your Hands[/contentheading]

The fast-growing chain of Christian surf and skateboard shops, C28 (short for “Colossians 2:8”), has a fun idea that might work for some jewelry retailers … well, at least those with younger shoppers. Fridays at the store are “free high-five days.” Everybody who enters gets high-fived. Cool, no-cost way to show your enthusiasm!

[componentheading]BUNDLED UP[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Save On Services[/contentheading]

As new telephone services — e.g. cell phone, pager, broadband Internet access — became available, did you add them one at a time? If you did, you’re probably paying more than you have to for all that techno-communication. Call your service provider and see how much you can save with a bundled plan. The savings could be substantial.

[componentheading]COOL TOOLS[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Get These Free![/contentheading]

It’s been a banner year for amazingly useful computer tools. In the past year, two of the best we’ve come across have been Google’s “Desktop Search” which makes finding anything, anywhere on your computer easy, and Skype, the free Internet-to-Internet telephone service, which gives you (usually) crystal-clear communications, anywhere in the world, for free (as long as the other person you’re speaking with also has a Skype account.)

[componentheading]SHRIMP TALES[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Try to Go Viral[/contentheading]

One of this year’s most popular online viral marketing campaigns is the “Shrimp Buddy” campaign promoting Long John Silver’s. In a series of films, a man takes a summer vacation with his best friend — a six-foot tall shrimp. Funny concept, and actually very do-able for anyone with a video camera and a sharp sense of humor. Check the film out at www.shrimpbuddy.com. Could you do a similar film in your community/region? Then, just upload onto your website and let the virus spread.

[span class=note]This story is from the August 2005 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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