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John Riddell Jr.

Stories by John

New directors to be sworn in at TVA Thursday

Four new board members join utility

Four new board members join TVA

  • Oct. 5th, 2010  |
  • By By Dave Flessner
  • Comment  |

Certainly in this day of “every sale is an important one,” even the thought of walking away from an opportunity (firing a customer) is counterintuitive for most small-businesses owners.

For readers of this column, it is no secret that I place much emphasis on revenue generation as the key to survival for small businesses.

Despite the inherent optimism of most small business owners, the reality is that many are continuing to struggle mightily.

While the nation's unemployment numbers continue to hover around 10 percent, starting your own business continues to have a definite allure for many.

We often overlook a profession that was at one time an integral player in our country's development and movement west.

A few years ago I wrote a column about customer service and how a dissatisfied customer will, on average, tell about 10 others of his or her bad experience.

"Caveat emptor," or "buyer beware," is a well-known slogan of advice for prospective buyers of just about everything.

The March Madness basketball tournament has just ended, the Masters golf tournament is coming up and baseball, our national pastime, now is in swing.

More effective selling continues to be the best antidote for this terrible malaise known as the Great Recession.

Continuing the theme of the last few weeks regarding ideas to assist with sales, this week's column will deal with a very real challenge confronting both customers and vendors.

The good news is that most entrepreneurial managers know that their only solution to this economic mess is to drive hard on the revenue line.

While Wall Street continues to enjoy apparent success, many small entrepreneurial businesses on Main Street find themselves in a daily doubting of their ongoing viability.

At the risk of appearing too Scroogelike for this time of year, I'm afraid that these next few months will be a greater challenge to small businesses than the previous 18.

During this time of year it is certainly common for many companies and their decision makers to slow down a bit, sort of ease into the holiday spirit.

If you are a small business and you are still keeping the lights on, congratulations!

In this time of significant business challenges and given the fact that customers are the lifeblood for every business, is there such thing as a "bad customer?"

Today's column will take the efforts put into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) exercise and transition it into a productive direction.

The last column dealing with strategic planning for small businesses brought in a number of comments and questions.

For many of today's small businesses, their idea of a strategic plan can be summarized in one word -- "Survive!" While there is no question that this is a most challenging time, it is also a very good and inexpensive time for planning to survive longer. Some might refer to this as updating a strategic plan.

For many small businesses, just sticking around until next month is an ongoing challenge. It is so easy to read about the significant gap between those unemployed and the quantity of job openings and automatically fall victim to doom and gloom.

As the recession drags on, everyone is trying to find the magic bullet, that one thing they can do to make it all better. The good news is I have found it and the better news is you can implement it immediately.

The ongoing business challenges are forcing many entrepreneurial firms to radically change their business models.

Have you noticed how common it is these days for any article focusing on improvement in today's challenging business environment to include the need, even the requirement for, that magic word "innovation?"

If you've noticed that there is a bit more tension in your everyday life, you are probably not imagining it.

While it is not surprising that the recession continues to wreak its own brand of havoc on small companies, it is interesting to note that two specific mindsets are clearly emerging, both directly connected to a concept of competitive strategy.

Many may recall these words as one of the cornerstones of the Reagan administration’s policy regarding Soviet nuclear capability.

Those of us who have the good fortune of working with creative and innovative entrepreneurs also know of the emotional peaks and valleys that confront these dedicated individuals.

As promised last week, today’s column addresses a customizable tool that will enable anyone to be a more effective salesperson. The only requirement is personal discipline and commitment.

Figuring out how to dress properly for outdoors activity can be difficult, even more so at times like now when the seasons are changing. Maintaining a modicum of comfort while exercising in the midst of a 30-degree temperature swing compounded by gusty wind conditions can be a major challenge.

It is an unfortunate sign of our times, but entrepreneurs and senior citizens have something in common — they are easily identifiable targets for scam artists.

Very early in their adventure, successful entrepreneurs recognize a key difference between building a business and running one.

Warmer weather is bringing out the folks! From cyclists to joggers to walkers to crawlers, it seems like you see them all on the Riverwalk and the Market Street Bridge.

Certainly one of the most common tools used by today’s salespeople is the ubiquitous Power Point presentation. You would think, given the difficulty in getting on busy people’s calendars, that the value of a prospect’s time would be understood and reflected in the quality of the presentation.

Established and successful businesses have long known the value of a structured mentoring program.

We know that outdoor activity provides a respite from the trials of modern society. But sometimes it can do far more, as I found out on a recent bicycle ride.

A rifle versus a shotgun — two weapons whose intended impact on a target are significantly different.

The economic downturn with its subsequent layoffs and disruption leads its victims to react and position themselves to avoid a repeat of the trauma. Interestingly enough, many casual bystanders, having seen friends and family go through such events, come to much the same conclusion.

The need for developing close customer relationships has never been higher and the same can be said of the rewards.

Maybe you have seen the recent pictures on the news of folks up North and in the Midwest trudging through the snow, pole-like devices clasped firmly in each hand. Adding to the picture are the Russian bomber hats, the scarves, the mittens and the steam pouring out of their mouths.

Perhaps you have seen the 2009 retail forecast estimating that approximately 200,000 stores would close this year.

When you are coming off a slow period, it is very important to build up positive momentum and to do it fast. The old saying, “Nothing succeeds like success” takes on an even more critical role for every organization trying to rebound from a slump.

Rigor mortis is defined by the New Oxford American Dictionary as “medicine suffering of the joints and muscles of a body a few hours after death, usually lasting from one to four days.”

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