I am what is called a serial entrepreneur. What it means is that I have started multiple businesses and have no intention on stopping until I run out of ideas. The problem of course being I NEVER run out of ideas.
I owe this all to my first business. It gave me the money, the time, and the confidence to try more things. This is both a blessing and a curse.
You see I like to work. I like to analyze things. I like to figure out how to make something into reality. I like to compete, and I like to win. To quote Moneyball ” I hate losing. I hate losing more than I like winning.”. It really is that bad.
When I start a new business idea I begin with vetting the idea to see if it even has the wheels to work. Once I do that I vet it again and try and see what the flaws are in my plan. I look at the customers that would use or buy what I have. I try to figure out how I am going to get those customers. THEN I look at the competition. I size them up and look at all their weaknesses and try to put together something that overcomes all the weaknesses they have so that what I have is superior in every way. I do not want to enter a marketplace. I want to dominate it in every way and become the name in that business. No reason to race for second place.
Several of my companies have started simply because I was angry that I could not get a certain service or product and figured I could not be alone in this or that the ones that existed sucked so badly that I knew I could do better. More often than not I have been right.
Customer service sucks at most companies. When I started Wedding Day Sparklers I answered the phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Why? Because it freaked people out. They could not believe someone would be answering a phone at 5 on a Saturday. I used to always say, why not. How tough was it really? I forward the calls to my cell phone and program in the WDS number so when it rings I know it is a business call. It was not ringing non-stop. It was easy to do and every person that called was amazed.
Is it really that simple? Ya, actually it is.
We are launching a software program that will kick everything that exists in the balls very soon. One thing I am insisting on is 24 hour help. Either live IM or phone or whatever. I have written emails to tech support before to get responses 3 days later. That does not help. I want anyone who is willing to give me money for my product to be able to actually use it and get questions answered.
Imagine when you go shopping at a grocery store. I am constantly amazed when I see long lines. You are making your customers wait to give you money? That seems so strange to me.
Speaking of that, here is a great story on how to make people happy. I was at the grocery store on Dec 23rd or 24th a few years back. The place is, of course, a complete zoo. The lines are long. everyone is cranky and then…..BLAM the credit card acceptance stops working. So here we are, in line, with groceries, and waiting for the store to get it working. People are getting crabby. Real crabby. Myself I was ready to walk away from the cart of food I had. I was really getting myself worked up when all of a sudden the store manager just walks up with several packages of cookies and says “would you like a cookie?”. I look at him and with a huge smile said yes. Now I was happy and munching on a cookie and so were the other people.
Just a cookie. That is all it took to calm the herd that was about to tear that place apart.
Sometimes people just want a cookie.