• Secrets for Stress-Free Finance

“We are in the Joy Business”: The Intangibles of Cake

November 9, 2018

“We are in the Joy Business”: The Intangibles of Cake November 9, 2018 On a recent edition of “North Fulton Business Radio” on Business RadioX I interviewed Gloria Mattei, who along with her husband Sergio owns Nothing Bundt Cakes in Alpharetta – Milton. I started the interview by asking Gloria to give a general introduction. Did she mention the way cakes are made, all the different flavors, decorative accessories, her beautiful store, or her location? As obviously essential as all…

Warren Buffett on the One Difference in a Great Business

November 6, 2018

Warren Buffett on the One Difference in a Great Business November 6, 2018 You’d think management is the most important investment consideration for Warren Buffett, the man commonly regarded as the greatest investor of our time. On the contrary, notes Buffett: “the extraordinary business does not require good management.” Think about this:  not only does an exemplary business not require exemplary management, Buffett says, it doesn’t even require good management. The most important factor in a great business, Buffett says,…

“Make Others Cool”: Microsoft, Empowering Customers, and Better Pricing

October 15, 2018

“Make Others Cool”: Microsoft, Empowering Customers, and Better Pricing October 15, 2018 When Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s CEO in 2014, the company was stagnating. Windows 8, a lynchpin of the company’s attempt to remain relevant in the smartphone and tablet revolution, had proved to be a major disappointment. The development community had had enough of the company’s arrogance. The company’s stock price had drifted sideways for years. Not long after Nadella’s predecessor, Steve Ballmer, announced his intention to retire, Bloomberg…

Peter Drucker, Women’s Shoes, and What Customers Really Buy

October 12, 2018

Peter Drucker, Women’s Shoes, and What Customers Really Buy October 12, 2018 It’s not a stretch, by any means, to say that management consultant Peter Drucker defined ground breaking management practices which American corporations and non-profits still operate by today. Management by objectives, “SMART” goal setting (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely), decentralization into smaller, independent teams, and the importance of knowledge workers are just a few of the concepts first promulgated by Drucker. In his book Management: Tasks, Responsibilities,…

Cincinnati Chili, A Broken iPhone, and the Emotions of Customers

October 5, 2018

Cincinnati Chili, A Broken iPhone, and the Emotions of Customers October 5, 2018 In 1922, brothers Tom and John Kiradjieff, immigrants to Cincinnati from Macedonia, opened a small food stand next to the Empress Burlesque Theater. They perfected a meat sauce, using spices such as paprika and allspice which were common in their homeland, to be served over hot dogs and spaghetti. In 1949, a former employee of Empress Chili, Nicholas Lambrinides, opened his own restaurant, naming it Skyline Chili…

On Why B2B Service Providers are No Different Than Coffee Retailers

October 1, 2018

On Why B2B Service Providers are No Different Than Coffee Retailers October 1, 2018 My taste in coffee is plain. Give me straight black coffee. I don’t care much about the label. I don’t pay attention to where the coffee beans are sourced. I’m generally indifferent on where I buy. I’m perfectly happy to stop at the local convenience store for a $1 cup of coffee. My college-age daughter, on the other hand, loves Starbucks.  This time of the year,…

Pricing, Quality, and the Last U.S. Manufacturer of Marbles

September 25, 2018

Pricing, Quality, and the Last U.S. Manufacturer of Marbles September 25, 2018 Offshoring and video games decimated the U.S. marble industry and left only one domestic manufacturing standing: Marble King in Paden City, West Virginia. How did they do it? As this Inc. profile indicates, they competed on quality, not on price:  “‘When other manufacturers tried to compete on price and couldn’t do that, Marble King consistently strove to be the best marble maker in the world,’ says Gerald Witcher,…

The Death of Subway’s $5 Footlong and the Lingering Pain of a Jingle

September 20, 2018

The Death of Subway’s $5 Footlong and the Lingering Pain of a Jingle September 20, 2018 What’s one of the worst ways to build a brand? For me, it has to be putting a discounted price in a jingle which sticks in customer heads long after the rationale for that pricing strategy has gone away. Remember the Subway $5-foot-long jingle? Amid franchisee grumblings and declining sales, the sandwich chain has announced that the $5 footlong promotion is going away for…

Posting Prices and Value Propositions on Your Website: A Property Inspector’s Example

September 11, 2018

Posting Prices and Value Propositions on Your Website: A Property Inspector’s Example September 11, 2018 I recently addressed the problem of getting the “What are Your Rates?” question at the beginning of a phone call from your website or social media (and well before, obviously, you’ve had the opportunity to have a value conversation with a client). One obvious solution is to simply put your prices on your website. I’m generally not a fan of that strategy, and particularly not…

Matching Vision and Talent: How One Videographer Invites a Value Conversation With Clients

August 27, 2018

Matching Vision and Talent: How One Videographer Invites a Value Conversation With Clients August 27, 2018 In a recent post we discussed how to respond to a client who asks about a price before there has been a value conversation about their needs. Trenton Carson and I recently discussed this problem as he experiences it with his video production company, TC Productions. He frequently has people who ask in passing “how much does a video cost?,” as if purchasing a…

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