Friday, May 6, 2022

Thurby Thursday Derby at Churchill Downs

You may be interested in some of these shots. Always a great time. Firefighters are awesome so I included! Escanaba Polo Mallet Company supports our local first responders; especially firefighters.








Wednesday, April 13, 2022

First Bad Review: What We Do Next?

Bad reviews are going to happen and we at Escanaba Polo Mallet Co don't shy from learning. Updating our Amazon listing I noticed there was a low review (1 out of 5 stars). To my horror I also noticed they posted video!!!! Within that video was a broken shaft right next to the head. The best approach is to tackle the problem by acknowledging there are things that can be done. 

We can learn a little something about customer complaints and what they mean......

We have an upset customer! Something wasn't right and the customer felt a little disappointed with the value. We should keep in mind that customers pay for products and they expect a certain quality when receiving those products. 

You can find the listing and video on our Amazon post HERE. Apparently when he took his first swing it broke. Unless he hit a rock I would suspect the shaft was already compromised in some way. To improve service and quality you have to do a little internal research. 

In our case we had a broken shaft. You can see from the video that it is broken right at the head. We want customers to receive the quality they expect so evaluate our options to tackle the problem. 

1. It could have been defective when we built it.

2. It could have been damaged during shipping.

3. Could have been damaged at customers location.

Since we can't control what happens at the customers location we do have some control over our quality and in some cases our shipping. Focusing on what we have control over makes sense. 

This is what we did.......

1.) adjusted packaging to include additional padding.

2.) quality inspect every mallet before shipping.

3.) send a customer an email thank you message that lets them know we return items they are unhappy with. 

4.) see if we can track back the customer and "make it right" for them. With luck maybe we can have the video removed. Fingers crossed! Will let you know....


Saturday, April 2, 2022

Sales vs. Marketing: Escanaba Polo Mallet Co. Example

Sales and marketing are two different functions of the same organization. They almost seem the same and people often confuse the difference as they interchange them in layman conversation. One way to look at the difference between sales and marketing is by formulating a concept of each. Sales is the activities that lead to a purchase (more micro) while marketing is the aspect of getting people involved (more macro). While it seems like they are splitting hairs it is important to understand how some activities in small business like Escanaba Polo Mallet Co. lead to bigger brand outcomes.

You can see the difference
between sales and brand activities.
(Kotler, et. al. 2006)
In large businesses you will have your own marketing department and in turn specific sales associates that may be calling customers (any other sales activity) to make a sale. In small businesses the process is a little different because marketing and sales might be part of the same activity and employee function. Let us look at small business example.

Small Business Escanaba Polo Mallet Co. Example: Start-up Escanaba Polo Mallet Co. has few staff resources and in turn must manage most of its own marketing functions (Oh great now that I say that every predatory sales company is going to spam my email!!! 😤). The sales of the product often leads to branding. One might be contacting customers and in turn talk about their company as a new product and a way of doing business. Your often building your brand based on your sales and perceptions of the new company (i.e. selling polo mallets as a sales activity but quality and return service as a brand.)

As a Escanaba Polo Mallet Co. grows you will want to be mindful of how your sales and marketing activities leads to a branding your company from its beginning. Consider other activities such as a strong website, solid presentations, return/service policies, clean presentation of your business, quality of products/service, store front, display, etc. to help people formalize a conception of your business. Keep in mind how the first impression and feeling often sticks with customers a long time. Don't destroy the brand over a single sale!

Kotler, P., et. al (July-August 2006). Ending the War Between Sales and Marketing. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2006/07/ending-the-war-between-sales-and-marketing



Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Six Box Organizational Model for Small Business: Escanaba Polo Mallet Co. Example

Businesses thrive when they continuously seek new levels of organizational performance. Learning organizations adapt and those that are dying fail to adapt. Escanaba Polo Mallet Co is a new start up so we have lots of learning to do. Sometimes we can make decisions on the cuff and other times we need a model to help us formalize options. Marvin Weisbord (1976 p431) combines "bits of data, theories, research, and hunches into a working tool that anyone can use.". Below you will find the 6 boxes for formulating a conception of a business and where it can improve. 

1. Purpose: What business are you in? (Mallets and possible future polo gear)

2. Structure: How to divide up roles and responsibilities. (We are small so roles are multifaceted)

3. Rewards: Do activities have incentives. (Incentives are based on performance of the business.)

4. Helpful mechanisms: Are there adequate coordinating technologies (Process of scaling with technologies.)

5. Relationships: How the organization handles conflict. (Easy return policies and active constructive dialogue. Support our products with exceptional customer service)

6. Leadership: Does someone keep the other boxes in balance? (Yes...small business ownership means many hats)

The model does well simplifying/oversimplify) and considering the wider factors in organizational management. It is provides an opportunity to view the organization from different perspectives to highlight potential issues and determine whether a strategy is being effectively executed. Business is a process of consistent improvement and having models such as this can help in formulating a proper review. You can gain some more insight at Guide to Weisbord’s 6 Box Model

As a start-up we are small so many of the roles will be multifaceted. However, as an organization grows and creates specific roles there will be increasing complexity to these boxes. They aren't able to be answered among a few people and will lean more into formal analysis (or at least as formal as possible.) Using this as a guide as we grow helps to ensure we are thinking through the many options and having a balance approach.

"Weisbord, M. R. 1976. Organizational diagnosis: Six places to look for trouble with or without a theory. Group & Organization Studies 1(4):430–47."

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Small Business Success is Self-Confidence: Escanaba Polo Mallet Co.

Small Town America Needs Confidence
If you like the picture Donate to Orphans
Confidence counts for a lot in our lives and is substantial to the success of a small business that must continuously overcome challenges. Overconfidence creates undue risk while confidence assesses new information to make accurate assessments of success (or failure). Without confidence you are unlikely to start a business or succeed through the positive and negative aspects of society to maintain your business. Your personality and your business are often intertwined during the initial stages and your belief in yourself is key to longevity.

One way to improve on confidence is to think about the different possibilities and the truer likelihood of success or failure within the market. If you aren't sure you certainly can take a blind leap of faith but it is often better to try and find opportunities to narrow those gaps of missing information. That isn't always easy when you lack the self-belief to start walking down the path to success. 

I read an article in Forbes by Caroline Castrillon entitled This Is The Secret Ingredient For Small Business Success that discusses the nature of confidence. I stole their APA Dictionary of Psychology of underconfidence as, “a cognitive bias characterized by an underestimation of one’s ability to perform a task successfully or by an underrating of one’s performance relative to that of others.” (Its a very informative article so I suggest you read it.)

What we find is that underconfidence, just like overconfidence can impact our decisions and in turn our outcomes. They may often seem subtle but add up in profound ways over the many series of choices we must make. While underconfidence leads to certain outcomes we can sometimes overcome those difficulties as we weigh and balance options. Consider the following...

1.) Look for information before making major decisions.

2.) Listen to your inner self and match that with logical analysis.

3.) Be open to different possibilities and outcomes. 

4.) Stay in touch with industry changes and pay attention to what others are doing.

5. Bounce ideas off of others (Get a consultant if you don't have someone to bounce)

6. Recognize that business is a process and failures often lead to success. Just keep working on it!

Escanaba Polo Mallet Co. started as a hobby and slowly has continued to grow and enhance its abilities. This was not a business that one needed to live off of and thus it was possible to take the time to build and enhance it. It is just in the launching start-up stage but has a fairly solid grasp of its processes, method and future options. Each problem was an opportunity to learn and share and not an insurmountable obstacle. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Small Business and Effective Websites: Our Website is Like A C+

Websites are the modern business calling card and are essential for staying competitive in an e-commerce arena. People adjust within the first few seconds and will either stay or leave/”bounce” depending on how they view that site. In today’s world websites are more than just convenience they are essential to modern business. Core elements of strong design are often related to proper navigation, purpose, easy of use, and other important concepts. The key purpose is related to attracting and motivating visitors to take some action such as a purchase.

Looking at the study A Literature Review: Website Design and User Engagement we find there are essential elements to strong website designs. The authors reviewed significant literature to compile what they found.

  • navigation (62.86%), 
  • graphical representation (60%), 
  • organization (42.86%), 
  • content utility (37.14%), 
  • purpose (31.43%), 
  • simplicity (31.43%), and 
  • readability (31.43%).
As you design your website consider the differences between that which works and that which isn't going to work. The website becomes increasingly important for consumers. It should stand out and be easy to use. When people are browsing information they only take a few seconds to look before deciding what their next action is. 

When I look at Escanaba Polo Mallet companies website/blog I realize that we are just "ok" (like a C+). There is some where that can be done to create more dynamic content, display and activities. That would require an upping of the game of creativity and really taking time to improve the site. So what you can take from this is if you have a small business you can consider thinking about these elements and keep them in mind. Don't try and be the best website but try and be the most effective website.

Garett, E, et. al. (2016). A Literature Review: Website Design and User Engagement . Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 6 (3). Retrieved https://www.ojcmt.net/download/a-literature-review-website-design-and-user-engagement.pdf