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  #11  
Old 05-21-2008, 08:34 PM
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Hey Steve,

Good question. I think when you are looking into starting a business you first want to look into a need. I have been in service, sales and retail all my life. I really enjoy service first and formost. Because you can see your finished product or job that you have done. If you go into something were there really is a lot of competion you want to look for something that you can do that will stand out ahead the others. Something that the customer will remember you for. One thing I do in our business is I offer my time to find parts that are hard to find. It makes repeat customers. And there are other things that I offer. When our delivery trucks are on the road we offer to pick up lunch, run errands, or even pick up parts from other suppliers for them. Of course we only do this if we going in that direction to start with. But we always ask if we could help. In the hot summer months we carry coolers in our trucks and offer ice cold drunks to everyone even if there are constructions workers on our we to a customers location we stop and offer them drinks. It really is amazing what extra sales this brings in.
As far as starting bare boned or jumping in feet first. At first I always had this ideas of things to start and didn't have the funds to start anything so I would start "bare boned" and someone would come a long with my idea and pass me by and be successfull. So I bit the bullet and moved up and ran with the big dogs. But you must do you research and be prepard plus also be prepard for failure. Sometimes you my have to fail before you can succeed. Something else you must have is the drive in you gut to make things happen. I think this comes from HOW BAD DO YOU WANT IT and no one can help you with this but yourself.
A guy in business told me one time that a business is like a bus and you need to make the right choices of how you want to fill the bus to keep it on the path to success. Making sure that you have the right people in the right seats on the bus. I thought for a moment and then I said, #### with riding on the bus I wanted to drive. I have always remembered that. Do you want to ride the bus or do you want to drive. I have found that it has been hard to keep the bus on course. But you have to make that decision, drive or ride.

I will be the first to say that you don't want to drive around an empty bus either. Good employee's are hard to find, but that is another topic that would take a while.

I guess if I had to do it over again, starting out, I would find something that I enjoy to do and you can make a living at it and I would jump in feet first.

I hope those that read my posts don't take it wrong and think I am one that has or had it made. No matter what you do in life it is hard work, marriage, family, childeren and business. And always keep those that matter the most by your side because they are great support in the the time of need and they to when learn from your actions.
I dearly love what I do and I, we , have been very, very, blessed.

Steve,
Thanks for your questions. I look forward in the evening to set down to see what you have to say.

Thanks again,
Charlie
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  #12  
Old 05-21-2008, 11:08 PM
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Hi Charlie,

You have so many great things you said in the last post, I wanted to pick one part out at a time because I know a lot of us would love to hear your insights.

Quote:
Originally Posted by [b
Quote[/b] ]And there are other things that I offer. When our delivery trucks are on the road we offer to pick up lunch, run errands, or even pick up parts from other suppliers for them. Of course we only do this if we going in that direction to start with. But we always ask if we could help. In the hot summer months we carry coolers in our trucks and offer ice cold drunks to everyone even if there are constructions workers on our we to a customers location we stop and offer them drinks. It really is amazing what extra sales this brings in.
Now I know this may or may not translate well into lawn care but I think it will open all our minds to being creative in the way we attract customers.

Can you tell us a little more on how doing things like picking up lunch or carrying coolers with ice cold drinks can help a business grow?

All to often, I think we all see the way to gaining new customers is to hand out flyers or business cards, but with what you are describing, a business owner really needs to sit back and see things from a bigger perspective.

How did you come up with these marketing ideas?
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  #13  
Old 05-22-2008, 08:36 PM
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Hey Steve,

Competition is so tuff out there you have to be creative.

I have always tried to think of ways for the customer to keep me on their mind. So when they need something they will give me first call. We also buy lunch for the customer that has bought the most for the month. For the the next four customers that purchase the most, we buy breakfast. Then every quarter we give away dinner for the business owner and wife and his employees of the business that has purchased the most in a quarter. Its funny, because we have customers always calling to see where they stand in purchases made or who is ahead.

I have also contacted some of the local clubs in the area and offered a special discount on purchases made if they can show me proof of been a club member. This works great.

All of these ideas and things that we do are all having to do with makeing more sales. It has brought in people that are first timers or someone has told someone about us and they come in.

As far as the drink coolers, our trucks are very well marked and as we hand out drinks we also talk about our business and what we do. And we might hand out a buisness card.

We try to explain to everyone that we make it our business to care about them and there needs not to just treat them as another number or what we might look like on the stock market (ha which we are not on any market).

I have a good friend that is a vet. When he makes his farm vists his wife makes fresh cookies for everyone.

As far as where do I get the ideas. I just try to look at what people like and listen to there wants. My wife always laughs at me because, we will be together and I would see something that would give me an idea for something to try.

Don't take it wrong I am always working on inventory, sells, profits, expenses and the all mighty bottom line. We do run a business.

But I think if you treat everyone like a human and supply A1 parts and service at a far price you will do just fine.

You can do the same thing in the lawn care business as I do. Make your customer feel special. I have went as far as finding out my customers family. The wife, the childeren, birthdays. Try to be there when there is a death in thier family or a wedding. Don't make them think that all you are out for is to take there money. I think forming relationships is a big part of do busniess.

I am one that tries to spend every day with a smile on my face and I am always laughing and making jokes. I love life even if it kicks you in the ###. Always help those that need you. Life is what you make it.

One last thing ( I promise ). We are always inside the box looking out. Take time and stand outside and look around, it's amazing to see what you might be missing.

Thanks as always,
Charlie
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  #14  
Old 05-23-2008, 08:09 PM
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Hi Charlie,

Those are fantastic ideas. With all these marketing ideas you have used in your business, which do you feel would translate best to the lawn care industry?

Could you do anything with drinks as you have done? Or possibly with buying breakfast or dinner? Could any of that translate?

Would it work better to land residential or commercial clients?

Do you often find yourself thinking of things that might work well in one of your businesses but not well in another?
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