Monday, February 13, 2017

Just Another Smart Company

Bremont's US Navy F14 Watch
I've spent a lot of time working on capability statements that describe the benefits an organisation can provide to its clients. Central to these is the concept of a unique selling proposition (USP).

Unique things organisations do makes them stand out from other suppliers. Their USP describes their strength in a market that nobody else has.

Two young men with a history in aviation, Nick and Giles English commenced Bremont Chronometers and their USP can be seen in this snip from their site:
Time began for Bremont in 2002, when we embarked on a journey to make beautifully crafted pilot’s watches of exceptional quality. Inspired by a love of flying historic aircraft, of watches and all things mechanical, our timepieces had to be tested beyond the normal call of duty.
They have decided to focus on pilot's watches and interestingly, most of the materials they use in constructing their watches come from old aircraft, ejection seats and even the wartime cryptography machines used at Bletchley Park.

Bremont watches are all hand made and they stand alone within a watch industry that has hundreds, if not thousands of players producing a cornucopia of chronometers. Bremont watches are indeed unique in every way.

If you visit their site, and I highly recommend it, you'll see they are producing military watches for various countries targeting specific parts of the military operation eg, Navy, Air Force and specific squadrons. Click here to be astonished at how many different watches there are for the various branches of the military.

In a world where watches are ubiquitous, Nick and Giles have come up with a smart idea about how to differentiate their products from all the others. Not only that, they are doing what they truly love - being involved in and with the aviation industry.

If you love what you do and manage to keep the debt collectors from the front door, you are indeed fortunate.

What firms do you know that warrant the "smart" tag? Let me know in the comments and maybe I can write a piece on them. 


Photo acknowledgement: Bremont Chronometers

Sunday, January 22, 2017

When you reach the end of your working life

When I first began studying adult education at age 34, I was motivated greatly by all the new and interesting things I was learning. 

I had commenced my working life (14 years of age) as a boilermaker-welding apprentice, spent a stint in the Air Force (RAAF) during the Vietnam fiasco, and been a police officer for 10 years. 
Attending university as a mature age student, married with two children was an opportunity of a lifetime. I took to it like a duck to water and never looked back.

One of the subjects that most held my interest was educational psychology. Psychology came alive for me as I could see its relevance and presence in the world around me. 

One of my favourite psychologists was Erik Erikson and his "Eight Ages of Man" impressed me greatly as being inordinately accurate.

I was in Erikson's Sixth Stage when I began university study; "Intimacy versus Isolation". His description of that stage fitted my circumstances very well - love. I'd met my life's love and with her created two children.

Now, after a working life of 51 years, I am well in the Eighth Stage, "Ego Integrity versus Despair" which is worth describing here:

As we grow older (65+ yrs) and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and are able to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life.
Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.

Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom enables a person to look back on their life with a sense of closure and completeness, and also accept death without fear. HREF

I retired from the full-time workforce on 30 June 2012 and continued doing some casual contract work for a government agency until June 2016.

Now I'm retired and I wonder how I ever had time to work. I occasionally miss the social aspects of managing a team and working, but I volunteer for a Veteran's Support group, play golf at least three days per week, do some construction/maintenance jobs at my daughter's house, and travel, travel, travel. 

I'm in the Eighth Age and look back on my life with a sense of closure and completeness and accept death without fear. It's a wonderful place to be considering the many who never make it.

It's also time to wind back some of my internet accounts and some of the other accounts that helped me network, mentor, learn, contribute, and simply be part of wonderful communities.

A new stage of life, new interests.

I truly hope that, like me, you reach Erikson's Eighth Stage and have time to enjoy the fruits of your labour before taking that journey from which noone returns.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Retailers who miss up-selling opportunities

My caravan at a site
When I bought my new caravan several years ago, I had never had anything to do with caravans or caravaning before - I was a complete novice.

My friend Michael, who had owned caravans and also bought the same caravan I had bought, gave me a list of all the accessories I would need, none of which I had even thought about.

It was a Saturday, so we drove to a nearby caravan, camping and fishing supplies shop where I bought:

  1. A drinking water hose and fittings
  2. An inline water filter for the drinking water hose
  3. A sullage hose without fittings (not available)
  4. Two tie down ropes for the awning
  5. A pair of multigrip pliers
  6. A step to get into the caravan
  7. Several plastic wheel chocks, toilet chemicals and a few other things

I walked out of the shop having added about $500 to my credit card.

The caravan had a bare-bones 40mm plastic water pipe near one side of the caravan. That was where we had to fit attachments to reduce it to a 25mm diameter so we could attach the end of the sullage pipe. It took us four or five trips to different hardware shops to eventually cobble together something that would work - another $16!

What occurred to me was that the company who sold me the caravan didn’t mention the need for any of these extras, most of which weren’t optional.

Had they been wise enough, they would have either sold these accessories with the caravan at additional cost or offered new caravan owners a starter’s pack of accessories. Here’s what you will need, tick the box if you’d like us to add them to your purchase price.

Here was a sales opportunity lost.

Admittedly, $500 worth of accessories is nothing compared to a $55,000 caravan, however, sell enough caravans and it not only provides a better service - one-stop shopping for customers, but it would aggregate into a decent additional income.

The options to be selling some of the towing accessories etc is also one that should have been adopted. Throw in some travel books; a camp stove - possibilities are endless.

Some firms are smart enough to sell complementary accessories where the opportunity presents. Is your company?

Who do you know that could expand their inventory and increase their turnover?