Sorry I have been away for a while, but with the Christmas/New Year festive season just gone it has been a mad house of activity!!!
One thing that did occur over the festive season was the myriad of business insights - both good and bad - that came across my path and over the coming weeks I am going to share them with you because they are wonderful examples of what to do - and what not to do - when you run your own small business.
Lets start with a positive business insight - we were over in Victoria, Australia, to see relatives over the Christmas period and while there we visited Melbourne, Victoria's capital city.
The power cable to a hard disc drive that has some of my business information on it was not working properly so while in Melbourne I was trying to source a new power cable.
Every store I went to allegedly listened to the problem I had and then immediately tried to sell me a new hard drive!!!
The number of times I had to say "I don't need a new hard drive - I simply want a power cable for the one I already have" defies belief!!! LOL
When each sales person finally "got it" the standard line went something like "We can't sell you the power cable on it's own, but it will cost you less to buy a whole new hard drive".
This is where "Ninja Dean" (also known as Evil Dean!!!) came out of retirement and politely asked "That sounds great - and how do I get the data off my old hard drive to put it on to the new one?".
The blank look and the occasional "What?" completed the picture so out of the store I would stomp vowing never to return to it again!!!
After this had happened to me about 4 times I was ready to call it a day when - by chance - I happened across the Jaycar Electronics Store in Melbourne.
When I was living in Melbourne (20 odd years earlier) Jaycar was the "go to" store for car sound systems (I had purchased numerous Pioneer - my sound system of choice - systems from them over the years) and I happened to notice that they were now promoting themselves as selling "all things electronic".
What did I have to lose? In I went and I will say right here and now that the service I was provided with should be put in to some kind of "Super Retailers Handbook" to be taught to every person who ever embarks on a career in retail sales.
The young guy who served me must have spent at least 5 to 10 minutes asking me every manner of question to get a very clear picture of exactly what I needed and after clarifying every conceivable point possible he walks up to a cabinet, pulls out an empty hard drive case and says "This is exactly what you need".
He then goes into detail about being able to sell me a new power cable, but (to quote him) the most likely problem is that the solder inside the box itself has probably broke away from the wiring and if he sold me just the power cable on it's own chances are I would have exactly the same problem when I got home.
When I explained to him that IT hardware and "hard disc drive changeovers" were not my forte he walks away, returns a short time later with a "dummy hard drive" and steps me through the complete process of how to remove the hard drive from the old case and insert it into the new case.
Keep in mind that while this is happening there are customers everywhere and at no time did I get the impression that this guys was in a hurry to get rid of me - I was his total focus of attention until he was confident that I was completely happy with my purchase and understood exactly what was needed to be done to get my problem resolved.
I walked out of Jaycar a most satisfied customer - so much so that all of you are now hearing about it - if you can provide this level of service to your customers, do you think they will do the same thing for you and your business?