Posted tagged ‘Business’

Zappos – Hope for Us All!

July 6, 2009

I saw a great news report on Zappos by Nightline.  Zappos is pretty much the world leader in online shoe sales, and gaining ground in other areas as well.  They do this by giving outstanding customer service, and by making the customer feel 100% at ease with purchasing online.

Normally, buying shoes is all about trying on many pairs and styles until you find the right fit.  Ordering them online can be dangerous and a hassle.  Zappos makes it hassle-free by giving free shipping, and free shipping again if you need to return them, and you get one full year to return for a full refund.  That’s awesome!

Zappos also takes incredible care of their employees.  Everyone goes through an extensive training program and everyone gets cross-trained so that they understand the big picture.  Plus, they get incredible benefits, like free food at the company cafeteria and free food from vending machines at their offices.  Now that is cool, but I also think it is unfair (I will explain the unfair part in a minute).

Clearly, the Zappos business model is all about winning by treating both their customers and their employees in a fantastic way.  The more they sell, the lower the prices and the better the service can be.  Happy customers translate into profits and Zappos then puts that back into employee benefits and training, resulting in even better customer service and more happy customers.

Now for the unfair part.  I think it is really unfair that only the employees get the benefit of the free food.  I mean, there are a lot of hungry people in the world, and some of them are even their customers. Since Zappos is number one in online shoe sales, they are clearly big enough to be able to afford letting anyone who is hungry join their employees in the company cafeteria (they could even put vending machines on the outside of their offices to make it easier).

I know some of you are thinking I have lost my mind!  You are thinking, “Now wait a minute, Ziglar, those employees worked for those benefits, and there is no way that Zappos can feed everyone, it will put them out of business!  And if they go out of business, then everyone loses; the company owners, the employees, and the customers.”

Ok, so you caught me in a little trick.  Don’t worry.  Zappos is pretty smart and will not let that happen.  I even have some information that Zappos has established border security and an official checkpoint for visitors.  It seems you can’t just wander in to Zappos HQ and chow down unless you are invited.  They understand that their best chance of feeding the hungry is by staying in business.

How to grow your business using the Internet

July 11, 2008

How to grow your business using the Internet


Using the Internet to grow your business/opportunity is a great way to build value and customers at very low cost, and become an “expert” along the way.


Three simple ideas I like a lot: the newsletter, the blog, and the podcast. 


The benefit of a free e-newsletter is it allows you to reach out to your audience without waiting for them to come to you.  Effective newsletters are usually very short and have valuable current events information in them.  People are so stressed for time that anything over a page in length, unless it is very specific to the reader’s interest, is too long.  I think a two-paragraph newsletter every week is much better than a two-page newsletter once a month.  Frequency is a winner, and giving people a way to link back to your site or phone number every week is a great strategy.


A blog allows you to go deeper, more personally, and to cover more subjects that your reader wants.  The best part about a blog is the comments that your readers give – these will strengthen your core message and you learn faster what your reader/customer wants.  You can always plug your blog in your newsletter and on your website.  Linking to other blogs is also a great way to build traffic and value.


A podcast is great in that you can cover the same type of information in a different format.  If you are doing interviews, you can take the nuggets from the interview and also include them in your blog and your newsletter.  Many people listen to podcasts while they are driving or working out, so you typically catch them in a different frame of mind than reading a newsletter might.  Also, the person you interview usually likes the fact that you are going to use the recording in a podcast that you will market, and you can often get them to link to the podcast from their website, creating more traffic for you.  It’s a win/win.


When you do a healthy combination of  newsletters, blogs and podcasts, you will often end up with enough content to create a product you can sell, and even better a prospect list (your readers and listeners) who will buy it!

Keeping customers informed of price increases and other not-so-good news

July 9, 2008

 With fuel and energy costs going up, so are prices on almost everything else.  I can’t think of many products or services that don’t require energy at some point! 


So when do you inform your customer, and how?


Most people hate passing on not-so-good news.  It’s never fun, especially when the news can turn around and cause you pain as well.  The answer to this question is fairly straightforward – if you were the one getting the bad news, when would you want to know it?


Most companies and people have plans in place that will be impacted by a price increase.  The sooner they get the news, and the easier it is for them to understand, and the longer they have to adjust, the better.  So tell them right away.  Most reasons you come up with to delay telling them benefit you, not them. 

Watering Your Business Part II

July 3, 2008


“I want my garden to be the best in the neighborhood,” the man thought as he ran down to Home Depot to buy some water hoses and sprinklers.  Less than an hour later he was out watering his garden. 


Each morning he started the watering and changed the sprinklers around.  This plan worked well for the first few days until he had to start traveling.  He asked others to help out, but they just didn’t care as much as he did.  Some plants got too much water, some none at all.  Then, over several months, most of the plants started looking yellow and sickly.


Realizing the best he could do just wasn’t cutting it, he decided to call the Green Gardener again.  After hearing the dilemma, the Green Gardener said, “You have several things going on in your garden.  Have you thought about putting in a sprinkler system that automatically gets the right amount of water to each type of plant?  Also, have you taken a soil survey to make sure your plants are getting the right nutrition?  It’s wrong to assume that all plants will thrive getting the same amount of water and the same nutrition.  Most important of all is you will need to check up on your garden yourself on a regular basis.  No one is going to care as much as you do!”


Think about how these gardening tips work in your own business.  Each of your people needs different amounts of water (motivation) and nutrition (skills training), and they need it on a regular basis.  Most of all, they need their manager to check in on them on a regular basis.  Even people who are mostly self-watering and feeding do better when the right leader inspires them and gives them power food!