Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Embrace Change, Beware of Change (Part 2)

Last week I encouraged you to Embrace Change.

This week a few words of caution.

Change for the sake of change without consideration of the past and an eye on the future is full of risk, sometimes too much risk.

I have had clients who wanted to move their radio ads from one station to another every 3 months because they felt it only took three months to become established and they moved on to the next group of radio listeners. It doesn't work that way.

Instead of simply changing by stopping something and starting something else, perhaps you need to add something to your business marketing.

In the 8+ years I have worked for a group of radio stations, whenever we changed the format of a station, we threw away the thousands of listeners of the old format in the hopes of finding a new and better audience for our advertisers.

The most recent change we did in the past year was more transitional, more cautious. We added a 3 hour talk show to an all music station, then 9 months later added another 3 hour talk show. Now, instead of 24 hours of music, we have 18 (to preserve the old audience) and 6 hours of talk to attract a new audience. Depending on the results we may add more talk programming in the future.

My recommendations to you:

Keep tabs on trends, investigate where they are going.
A short-term fad is now a couple of weeks.
Anything lasting a month or longer may be a trend to consider.

Know your strengths, weaknesses, core values, and reasons for your past and current success.
With this knowledge, you will begin to see what NOT to change, and what you can adapt to meet your marketplace.

Your comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Embrace Change, Beware of Change (Part 1)

97% of all paying employment will change in the next 50 years.

I just made that statistic up.

But it doesn't matter what the numbers are, we live in an era of change where the technology will make some peoples lives better, others lives will become worse.

What determines if your life becomes better or worse?

The way you handle change.

The changes will occur outside of your control.

So you cannot stop the changes, only learn how to adapt.

Let's take the coffee shop I'm sitting in right now.

The Firefly has been around since 1999. Some of the original employees still work here. Others have come and gone but are part of the Firefly family.

A few years ago they added a second location in the downtown library but it didn't feel right so they shut it down.

They still grind their own coffee and use the non-automated equipment to "pull shots" of espresso. Starbucks is a different story. Starbucks automates as much as possible to create consistency in all of their worldwide locations.

So the Firefly has developed consistency by training their employees to do things the "Firefly way".

The Firefly has also embraced change by adding an arts & crafts section so people can browse and purchase some unique gifts while they are waiting for their beverage.

The Firefly also has free wi-fi, one of the first public venues to do so. They encourage loitering as long as you buy something. Ever been in a restaurant for 2 hours without getting some hostile looks from the staff?

One of the owners is a talented carpenter and he has built and designed furniture and also their latest addition, a three compartment recycling center for plastics, paper, and regular trash.

There are regulars who come in every day or every week. They have a winning formula.

Contrast this with a former coworker of mine who worked in the plastics industry for years and was resistant to change. He liked his job at one time, but as the plant evolved, he resisted, and as a result, he was replaced since the job he use to do did not exist and he never trained for a new one.

I'll take this one step further today.

Your clients and customers (The Marketplace) have embraced the internet in multiple forms as part of the new normal.

No, not everyone has a smart phone, and everyone is not on Facebook. But the world continues to move the web and related communication tools into the mainstream.

Which means if you don't have a website, you are out of business to many of your customers.

If your website has not been updated in the past 3 years, you are out of business to many of your customers.

If you are not participating in social media, you are out of business to many of your customers.
Next week, a few warnings about change.

Your comments are always welcome.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Say No before you Say Yes

Over eight years ago I joined the company now known as Summit City Radio. This was my second venture into radio advertising sales, and I knew what needed to be done as I had been the the radio business since my teen years.

I started out with high standards as far as what I would accept as an ideal client and my first two were exactly what I was looking for.

Then I started to expand and try a few other ways to work with advertisers and my business grew and grew and I was very busy.

Problem was, some of my clients were not fitting my ideal client profile and they either required more work or they failed to get the results they were looking for. Sometimes both.

Over the years, I've become pickier.

Every month I tell people that my radio stations are not the best choice for what they are trying to accomplish.

Actually, what I usually do is advice them on what they need to do with their business in order to be prepared to handle what will come from the radio advertising.

Usually that means they need to get their "house in order" so they can handle new customers properly.

Advertising and Marketing will only amplify all that is wrong with your business.

Say No to promoting your business until you are really ready, but don't delay either.

Every day that passes is a day that your potential customers are spending their money with your competitors.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

ScLoHo Moving Day

Just a quick note that it is moving day for the 4 ScLoHo Blog sites.

I will continue to use the Google Blogger hosting platform, but each now has their own domain name:

ScLoHo's Really is moving from ScLoHo1.blogspot.com to ScLoHoReally.com

ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom is moving from ScLoHoNet.blogspot.com to ScLoHoCollectiveWisdom.com

ScLoHo's Social Media Adventure is moving from ScLoHoSocial.blogspot.com to ScLoHoSocialMediaAdventure.com

The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo
is moving from ScLoHonet-TheBook.blogspot.com to ScLoHo.info

I am doing this on a Saturday which typically is the slowest traffic day for the ScLoHo sites because there may be some downtime as the transition occurs. They say it could take 24 to 48 hours for a transfer to complete, but so far, it has been less than an hour.

All of the sites should automatically redirect, however for future reference, I would urge you to save the new domains in your bookmarks.

Thanks for your support.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Name Game

Last month I was reading on a subject that I've thought about off and on for years:

The significance of your business name.

Our parents are responsible for our given names, we are responsible of the name of our company, product or service.

Look at a few big names:

Ford. The company founded by Henry Ford was the only major automaker that did not take bailout money from the government a couple years ago. They remain strong. Their name is good. We all think of cars and trucks when we here the name Ford.

I.B.M. Do you know what those letters stood for when the company was founded over 100 years ago? Click here for the answer.

Let's look at food. McDonald's was pretty much a 1 location hamburger joint in California until Ray Kroc took over from the two brothers and spread the McDonalds name across the globe.

My grandparents started some businesses in New England include a restaurant, Howard's Restaurant that went thru three generations before it was sold to a long time employee who kept the name due to the value of the name.

Remember that phrase, the value of the name.

Locally, we have a place called Calhoun Street Soup, Salads and Spirits. Nice place, good food, but they are stuck... on Calhoun Street. They could go the IBM route, and start using their nickname CS3, and open additional locations in the future.

Some business names are self centered and tell you nothing about who, what, or why a business exists. Brian Smith Corp. Sally's. JP Enterprises. I'm sure you can find a few in your town like this too.

You need to pick a name that creates a brand and allows for future growth.

Are you creating a business that you will want to sell off one day? It might not be wise to use your name. Very few Howard's Restaurants survive when the family is out of the picture.

One more thought on the subject of business names.

Make one up.

Throw some letters together.

Make sure it is pronounceable.

Have a reason for the name too.

Google did that.

So did Yahoo!

ScLoHo was just an email address based on my first, middle and last names. Take the first two letters of each and you get a ScLoHo.

Use it enough and it becomes a personal brand. Add a couple of descriptive words and file the paperwork and you have a business. ScLoHo Marketing Solutions.

Do enough marketing and you grow.

What are your thoughts on this whole business name subject?

picture of my grandparents Mr. & Mrs Vern Howard who passed away in the 1950's

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Lost Your Mojo?

Last week I received a very important announcement from Yahoo!

Dear Scott Howard,

Thank you for being a Yahoo! Mail user for the past 7 year(s). We look forward to bringing you an even faster, safer, easier-to-use Yahoo! Mail very soon.

In the coming months, we will ask you to upgrade to the newest version of Yahoo! Mail for your account ABC@yahoo.com. All Yahoo! Mail customers will be asked to upgrade. But in the meantime, you don't have to wait, you can have the newest Yahoo! Mail today.

When I clicked on the link in the email, it went to a page that featured this video:

After watching the video, which told me nothing except using Yahoo Mail would be messier, I clicked on the links that would actually tell me what was new and improved.

I was disappointed.

Yahoo Mail was trying to be like Gmail. But they already lost their mojo with me.

About 5 years ago, I stopped using my Yahoo Mail account and switched over to Gmail from Google. The primary reason for my dumping Yahoo was the spam filtering that Gmail offered was so much further advanced from what Yahoo was doing.

I had given up on Yahoo Mail and only kept that email account alive by forwarding Yahoo emails to my Gmail account.

Now it appears that it has taken 5 years for Yahoo to catch up with where Google and Gmail was 5 years ago.

In the meantime, Gmail continues to offer improvements so Yahoo will always be behind.

What about your business?

Are you constantly playing catch-up or are you leap-frogging your competitors.

It isn't enough to say, "You know that service or product that they (insert competitors name) offer, we have it now too."

By the time you have caught up, you've lost your Mojo.

According to the Urban Dictionary:


The word originally means a charm or a spell. But now its more commonly said meaning sex appeal or talent.


1. Self-confidence, Self-assuredness. As in basis for belief in ones self in a situation. Esp. I context of contest or display of skill such as sexual advances or going into battle.
2. Good luck fetish / charm to bolster confidence.
3. ability to bounce back from a debilitating trauma and negative attitude

In this ever changing world, you always risk being left behind. Especially if you wait 5 years.