“Caffeinating an entrepreneurial nation” is the slogan of 1 Million Cups, a program developed by the Kauffman Foundation in 2012. In just four years these weekly meetings have expanded to over 100 cities across the US, where they are made available at no charge to participants. The Kauffman Foundation, established in the mid-1960s by the… Read More

In the world of music, quarter time usually indicates a waltz.  But in retailing, fourth quarter time means more of a jitterbug as we try frantically to keep up with the demands of our customers.  Since this week officially marks the start of the 4th quarter — Christmas in now just three months away —… Read More

If you haven’t upped your game when it comes to customer service, you may face a real challenge trying to compete with online shopping options.  You need to give shoppers an in-store experience that surpasses sitting in front of a computer screen wearing p.j.s and having products magically appear on their doorstep the next day.… Read More

Here is yet another threat from the online giant that is already having a serious impact on large and small retailers: Amazon could be setting up a “locker” in the vacant storefront next door to your shop. According to the Amazon web site, “Amazon Locker provides….a self-service delivery location to pick up and return your… Read More

Lands’ End, our business neighbor in nearby Dodgeville, Wisconsin, recently sent out an email blast about their “Cup of Customer” tradition.  The “Cup of Customer” is a message sent out to Lands’ End employees first thing in the morning, and is defined as “a pick me up” from a satisfied customer.  The cute image above… Read More

One of my sales reps reported facing a dilemma recently. She stopped in a store she sells to while out shopping with friends, and was surprised to find the young employee behind the counter listening to music on his phone — with headphones on. She was not sure whether she should report this to the… Read More

The idea of a flash sale may have originated in the world of commerce, but there is no reason why a bricks and mortar store can’t create a sense of urgency among its fans using this technique.  The key is to make the offer very exciting so that consumers feel the need to respond right… Read More

If you’ve borrowed money to capitalize your store, you are probably paying around 8% interest on the loan. Assuming you can’t negotiate that down to a lower rate, you may want to look at what you are paying for toilet paper. Yes, you heard me right.  If you can’t save money on your business loan,… Read More

“I don’t want someone who’s just friendly — I want someone who is knowledgeable,” posted a consumer in the comment section in a blog about what customers want.  As we all know, a cheerful staff is an important part of making customers feel welcome. But having a well-trained sales staff is a key  means of differentiating… Read More

One of the interesting social science experiments in Elizabeth Dunn and Michael Norton’s Happy Money has to do with expiration dates.  They discovered that consumers logically said they would prefer a gift certificate to a local pastry shop with a two month expiration date rather than a three week deadline. But in reality, only 6%… Read More