Time-Management: Bandwidth | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Time-Management: Bandwidth | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice 

Over ten years ago, I spent a month south of America; Mexico. With no smart phone, tablet, or laptop. So I frequented an internet café. Paid a fee. And then listened to the familiar sound of dial-up. It was fun, a throw back, minus the frustratingly slow page loads. In hindsight, whatever I attempted to do in that café would be limited by bandwidth. So is true in life. 

Too often, we lose interest in daily routines, processes, and patterns, which are extremely helpful. The trick is to maintain perspective. We want new, difficult, and larger responsibilities. We often think like the early settlers of the 1900’s in the great land grab, instead of land, we are grab up responsibility. Too often in pursuit of our American dream we dig wider and not deeper; this can lead to a bandwidth issue. If we were computers, it would be like having dial-up and 40 applications open at once.

Ways to know if you are exceeding your personal bandwidth?

If you are accomplishing everything and people wonder what you do, you are safe. But if you look stressed out, are forgetful, moody, and have no time for friends, family, and other, there is a good chance you need to adjust your obligations. You are exceeding your bandwidth. Remember the people you work with are not your loved ones, and an over investment can lead to stress. Spending time with loved ones (Friends & Family) is an example of a healthy counter balance and can produce eustress, good stress. Too much of anything follows the Law of Diminishing Returns, even healthy counter balances. Work hard, work smart, and work long hours, but do not become a workaholic. The days are long, but the years are short; A workaholic loses sight of family, friend, future, and the big picture. There is nothing wrong with working 60-100 hours a week if relationships with family, friend, and other are also healthy. Each of us has 24 hours a day, eight to sleep if you want, and 8-14 to work. That can be 6-7 days a week. Just as long as you have counter balances.

If you are exceeding your bandwidth because of P.R.?

Remember you must network; networking builds trust. Trust leads to contacts, contracts, investors, partnerships, supply chains, everything. Just remember to keep a healthy perspective. If investing time in these relationships is negatively effecting your family, friends, and other, think “calendar synchronization.” Ever left a job and thought I will keep in touch with those friends, but never do? This is an example of “calendar synchronization,” relationships that exist because of schedule, goals, or professional network alignment. Investing time in these relationships is a must, but like many things, guided by a cost-benefit analysis (CBA). When these mutually beneficial relationships AKA “calendar synchronizations” are taking too much time from friends, family, and other adjust your time investments. Friendships and family must be invested in, especially if you are working 60-100 hours a week, 49+ weeks a year. They are your Rock of Gibraltar. When you keep important things at the top of your daily, weekly, monthly, yearly to-do’s/goals, you will always be working on the right problems. Scaling up/back work is the right kind of problem to have; saving your family/marriage is not.

Life is full of chaos and disorder as is, do not bring additional chaos into your life by exceeding your bandwidth. If there is too much wind, build windmills, if there is too much rain, build a rain catcher, and if there is too much information and not enough bandwidth, close some applications. How do you scale back once you are deeply rooted in things that rely heavily upon your human energy, knowledge, position, and authority? Pivot.

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Marketing: Share Of Mind, Share Of Market | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Marketing: Share Of Mind, Share Of Market | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Forget boom, recession, recovery. Checks pay for payroll, product, and marketing; rinse and repeat. Right? I mean throw in the bills and other costs of doing business but this seems to be the business cycle. If you had to choose, what was paid it would be payroll, product, and of course marketing. So how do you know which marketing pieces are the best investment when you are as flat as possible? Business is seasonal, streaky, and under increased pressure, requiring financial acumen and marketing genius. Not many things are worst then wasting money on a marketing piece that needed to have a Return on Investment (ROI) but did not procure one client. The first key, understand the difference between Share of Market and Share of Mind.

Share of Market

Typical share of market pieces include shared mail (RSVP, Money Mailer, Valpak, Groupon, Living Social, Amazon), direct mailers, Magazines, newspaper ads, email campaigns, and sales teams. Marketing is rarely either/or but a continuum, most often functioning as both share of market and share of mind. One certain way to decipher where on this continuum the piece sits is to include a marketing code. Always use a marketing code on your marketing pieces. For instance,I purchase a marketing piece in April of 2015 with RSVP I put on the bottom corner of the coupon 0415RSVP. Then in a program or spreadsheet I enter the price and then track how many dollars the marketing piece generates, typically ballooning over the next three months. I then run a return on investment. Say I spent $1 dollar and made four, then my ROI is 4 to 1. This is a great return for marketing pieces, but some can get as high as 20-30-40 and others can still be profitable as low as 1.2. If you do not track the cost of the marketing piece and the dollars generated from that piece, all though in reality it may be share of market, we can only consider it share of mind. Which is much harder to track and less measurable.

Share of Mind

Typical share of mind marketing pieces are billboards, radio, television, P.R., and social media. These pieces might not get the phone to instantly ring. The reason is they are not targeted marketing. In reality, the whole population is not your potential client base, but those that are might watch or hear and be compelled to purchase. These pieces put you in front of clients and non-clients, capturing mind share versus a share of the market. Catching customers closer to when they are purchasing can increase the return on share of mind marketing. Both are very important. The key is to use them wisely.

If you do not play darts, you never hit the bulls’ eye. Marketing is testing, iterating, testing, and iterating. A Go-To-Market Strategy is clear in rear-view or when following an innovator. It takes years to develop a market strategy, a marketing tailwind, analytics, trends and pattern recognition. Marketing is the tree that needs to be pruned, just make sure you know the difference between the trees.

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Customer Service: The Last Outpost | William Nozak | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

Customer Service: The Last Outpost | William Nozak, MBA | Harper’s Hut Shaved Ice

First impressions may be last impressions.

Someone once said your only competition is anyone that improves customer service. So let’s assume this is in the Business-Bible. Let’s create some additional assumptions for the sake of an argument. First, price does not matter up to a certain asymptote. Obviously value, supply chaining, competition, among other things define price in the real world. Secondly, all businesses in a specific vertical are equally matched on everything (no comparative advantage exists i.e. All businesses are innovative or not, location doesn’t matter, etc). This leaves customer service as the last outpost

Other advantages aside, customer service, price, and innovativion are outposts. How you manage and value these outposts differentiates your business. “The times, they are a changin.'” In ten years, outsourcing, supply chaining, and technology have created global competitors that can beat your price and innovation outposts. Plus, price and innovation are effected more so by external forces than customer service. Minimum wage, insurances, property costs, etc., effect price, and we can only create what we know how i.e. other industries create innovations that positively or negatively affect our innovations.

In any case, we must err on the side of customer service. Customer-service-savvy professionals will dominate industries that once had zero need for the competency. The day of the highly skilled, but deficient in customer service professional is fading; more valuable are the moderately skilled with appreciable customer service skills. Employees must view customer service through three lenses: the  customer, the business, and the market, in order to be worthy of competitive wages. Anyone that improves customer service in your vertical is a threat, so, Without these lenses how will your team see them coming? The last outpost is customer service.

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