What is Special about July 1st?

I’m often asked, “What do you do besides making gift baskets?”

Well…there’s always spending time with the man who is the air beneath my wings, and he’s been doing that for over 50 years now.  And there are grandkids and two dogs that need attention and walks.

But gift baskets are only a part of my business.  We ship them (as well as gourmet gifts, property manager gifts and more) across the country. But I also try to give back to the industry that has been so good to me.  I’ve learned how to build a successful business, how to create a website that ranks high on the search engines, how to create a blog that ranks in google, and more.  Once upon a time, I was the one searching for information about how to build and grow a business.  And I found some wonderful people who wrote books that I could read, magazines that I could subscribe to, and were willing to share their knowledge.

Knowledge is power and it’s up to those of us who have some knowledge to not keep it buried under our hats.  Share it and it seems to grow and expand while leaving room for new knowledge to be learned.

For a number of years, I’ve operated an online directory for the gift basket industry and along with two wonderful ladies who have the same commitment (Sandee Overstreet and Pam Monroe) publish an online magazine for Gift Retailers.

Tomorrow (July 1, 2011), we will be sending out a link to all our many subscribers of the July/August issue of Gift Retailers Connection magazine.  Each bi-monthly issue is somewhere around 50 pages of dynamic information with ideas of how Gift Retailers can grow their business.  And, if you are a Gift Retailer but aren’t a subscriber, you aren’t going to get the link to this practical, down-to-earth, wealth of information.  Subscribe today at GiftRetailersConnection.

Gift Retailers Connection

Do you have a Follow-Up Plan?

You’ve contacted a potential customer — or perhaps he contacted you.  Maybe he’s interested.  Maybe not.  But how can you make sure that his memory of that initial contact isn’t just that a memory to be filed away in his brain, never to be taken out and dusted off again?

The answer is Follow-Up.  And it’s a whole lot easier if you have a plan in place.  Some ideas that you can pull from your follow-up file and send to him periodically.  This doesn’t have to be expensive.  But it does take a bit of time.  And that little bit of time can easily convert a lukewarm customer into a buying one.

Some ideas to get you thinking:

  • Thank you cards
  • Postcards that you’ve created in advance for this purpose
  • Product samples. Include a tag or not to make it more memorable.

How about a tea bag – “Working with You is Our Cup of Tea”

A bag of Coffee Flavored Candy – “Thanks a latte for visiting with us last week.”

A gift-wrapped small box of candy –  “When you need a gift, remember how sweet ours can be.”

  • A couple for a future purchase.
  • Birthday and holiday cards.
  • A clipping from a newspaper or magazine that would be of interest to them.
  • A small plant in a flower pot –  “Let us help you grow your business.”

You’re a creative entrepreneur.  Put on that thinking cap and make a list of follow-up ideas that fit you and your business.  And then put them to work!

Dirt Roads

I was visiting the Pioneer Museum here in Flagstaff on Saturday and discovered that someone had left a stack of copies of something that newscaster Paul Harvey wrote.  This isn’t about business but isn’t business about life?  I don’t think any of us really want to go back to the good old days (which weren’t always so good), but it sometimes helps today if we remember yesterday.

Here are some excerpts from what he wrote:

“What’s mainly wrong with society today is that too many Dirt Roads have been paved. . . People that live at the end of dirt roads learn early on that life is a bumpy ride.  That it can jar you right down to your teeth sometimes, but it’s worth it, if at the end is home, a loving spouse, happy kids and a dog.

There was less crime in our streets before they were paved.  Criminals didn’t walk two dusty miles to rob or rape if they knew they’d be welcomed by five barking dogs and a double barrel shotgun.

Our values were better when our roads were worse.  Dirt roads taught patience.  Dirt roads were environmentally friendly.  You didn’t hop in your car for a quart of milk.  You walked to the barn for your milk.  For your mail, you walked to the mail box.

At the end of Dirt Roads, you soon learned that bad words tasted like soap.  Most paved roads lead to trouble. Dirt Roads more likely lead to a fishing creek or a swimming hole.  At the end of a Dirt Road, the only time we even locked our car was in August because if we didn’t some neighbor would fill it with too much zucchini.

Two Rabbits

My grandma used to tell me that “if you chase two rabbits, both will escape.”

She must have known that I was an idea person.  I love creating ideas but following through from start to finish takes a whole lot more effort.  It’s all too easy to have a great idea for a website, a business, or even a product and get so enthusiastic that I just want to get going on it.  But when I do that, Grandma’s words (and that mental picture of two rabbits running in two different directions) keep coming back to haunt me.

I have lots of ideas.  Websites I want to build.  E-books I want to write.  Products I want to create.
But I’m creating idea files.  Learning the “how-to” that I need.  And working on completing one project at a time.

Those last two rabbits both got away.


More is Sometimes Less

Money Magazine recently reported that a recent study showed that shoppers were more likely to stop for a free sample of jam when they were offered lots of choices.

When 24 Flavors were offered for tasting  – 60% of Passersby stopped

When 6 Flavors were offered for tasting  – 40% of passersby stopped

BUT even though they liked lots of choices to taste, too many choices can paralyze a shopper when it comes to making a purchase.  Having lots of choices made the same shoppers far less likely to buy

With the 24 Flavors – 3% of those who stopped actually bought the jam

With the 6 Flavors – 30% bought the jam.

This is something to keep in mind as we create our websites, brochures, or even presentations.  It’s far better to determine in advance which products will be the best liked and limit the number of choices.