Monthly Archive for May, 2012

The power of the “Cherry Principle”

It’s difficult to imagine a more succulent image than a bowl of cherries.

Indeed, if you had to choose one flavor for all things, wouldn’t you choose the sweet red berry?

And every parent knows that the active ingredient of bad-tasting medicine has more chance of getting inside a child if delivered with the motivating ingredient of cherry flavor. Even the most earnest plea known, “Pretty please?” can still be raised one more notch on the pleading scale by adding, “… with a cherry on top?”

But there is something about this vermillion varietal that begs a closer look, because everything about it is not sublime. Alas, the cherry’s single blemish is its pit – that tiny little seed that you can’t, or at least shouldn’t, eat. This dense little kernel is so potentially dangerous that some restaurants no longer sell cherry pies because if just one seed is not removed, teeth can get broken and a lawsuit could ensue.

So with that much potential danger to be found in a whole bowl of cherries, if such an offer were made to you, why would you still smile with sweet anticipation? Why wouldn’t you think first of the pits? Aren’t you afraid of them?

Well, the answer is yes; you are wary of cherry pits. But the fruit is so sweet you think of that first, which helps you overcome pit-o-phobia. Plus, you’ve learned that if you take the time to remove the pits properly, a wonderful and safe experience will result.

What if you saw the fruit of an opportunity first, instead of the potentially dangerous seed of a problem? What would happen if you thought of challenges in your small business like you do cherries: a sweet opportunity to be had if you can first remove the potential danger? How would your world change if you could learn how to do this? Perhaps the Chinese said this first because their word for crisis is spelled with the two characters that mean danger and opportunity.

The Blasingame Cherry Principle (BCP) proposes that finding opportunities among the many small business challenges you face on a regular basis should be done with the same logic required when eating cherries: Step one – remove pits; Step two – eat fruit.

Remember, there’s no crying in baseball and no whining in small business. So before you allow a challenge to cause your lower lip to protrude, remember that our most creative work is often forged in the crucible of tough times.

When dealing with a challenge, stay focused on the potential sweet fruit, not the pit.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: Who will you elect to be the next president?

The Question:
In about six months either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be elected as the next president.
At this moment, who will you vote for?

12% - Barack Obama

83% - Mitt Romney

5% - Neither

My Commentary:
The Republican primary process is practically, if not technically over, and all signs point to a contest this November 6 between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. Every day, one or more national polls are being released showing how these two are doing against each other either in general, or with regard to one group or another, such as independents, for example.

We wanted to know how Obama and Romney were doing with the small business electorate, so last week we asked this question of our audience: “In about six months either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney will be elected as the next president. At this moment, who will you vote for?”

As you can see, if our poll is any indication regarding small business politics, President Obama has some work to do with those who create over half of America’s GDP, employ over half of all workers and create most of the new jobs. Can he close the gap?

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I have talked to several experts on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, about the 2012 election, why it’s so important, and the prospects of the two parties. Click here to see the list and download or listen.

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

The Age of the Customer: the new normal

The shift in who has control – seller or customer – is causing the 10,000 year-old Age of the Seller to succumb to the Age of the Customer™. Understanding this is key to the survival and success of your small business.

For millennia, there have been four basic elements of the relationship between a customer and a business: The product, the buying decision, control of information and word-of-mouth. For the first time in history, two of these elements are shifting in favor of the customer.

1. In the new Age, control of the product or service still remains with the Seller, but has diminished as a control factor for at least two reasons: a) virtually everything you sell has become a commodity; b) customers have multiple shopping and purchasing options including traditional and online markets.

2. As it has always been, the Customer continues to retain control of the buying decision. Shifts in the next two elements represent the primary difference between the Age of the Seller and the Age of the Customer.

3. Not since Guttenberg’s printing press first made books available to the increasingly literate masses has there been such a shift in access to information. Indeed, innovations in the past 30 years made the entire universe of human knowledge generally available with a very low barrier-to-entry – including information formerly controlled by Sellers.

4. Once upon a time, knowledge about Customer experience was a function of the word-of-mouth maxim: “If a customer likes you they will tell one person, if they don’t like you they will tell ten people.” In the new Age, the influence of Customer experience has morphed and expanded from classic word-of-mouth to the disrupting phenomenon called “user generated content,” or UGC. This is the electronic posting of customer experiences, questions, praise or condemnation of a Seller’s products and services. If that old word-of-mouth maxim were being coined today it would sound more like this: “Whether customers like you or not, they have the potential to tell millions.”

Here are two Age of the Customer realities to which your business must be able to adjust: 1) customers have virtually all the information they need to make a purchase decision without ever contacting you; and 2) there is no place for bad performance to hide.

Write this on a rock… Your future survival and success depends on whether you embrace or disregard the Age of the Customer.

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For more information on The Age of the Customer, click here.

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Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!




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