BKBG Blog

The Case for Conflict in Family Businesses
May 9, 2019
The Case for Conflict in Family Businesses

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..." Dickens iconic introduction to A Tale of Two Cities frequently resonates in family businesses. Most business leaders confront the best and worst of times, and how both ends of the spectrum are dealt with often determines success or failure. In family businesses, conflict is taken up several notches, and that conflict can destroy personal and professional relationships. That's one of the reasons most family businesses do not survive to the third generation.

Josh Baron teaches a class in family business conflict at Columbia Business School. He relates to his students that both too much and too little conflict have equally adverse effects on a family resulting in limited growth, poor decision making, competitive disadvantages and in the worst case the sale, split or demise of the company. 

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How Not to Lose 90 Percent of Your Customers
May 2, 2019
How Not to Lose 90 Percent of Your Customers

Here are a few amazing statistics from the Luxury Institute: 

  • Most luxury brands lose 80 to 90 percent of their customers in a given year. 
  • Luxury brands are hard pressed to retain 50 percent of their most loyal customers. 
  • Less than 15 percent of luxury customers claim to have a relationship with a sales professional.

Let’s translate the loss of up to 90 percent of luxury customers in a given year to kitchen and bath showrooms. It’s not a hard stretch to state that most showrooms have the potential to lose up to 80 to 90 percent of referrals from existing customers in a given year if they fail to deliver an experience that their consumers expect from a high-end showroom. The Luxury Institute points out that there is a tremendous upside opportunity for high-end retail. Customers who have a genuine relationship with a sales professional typically will buy double from that brand and be loyal to that brand for a longer period. 

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Your Competitive Advantage: Curation
April 25, 2019
Your Competitive Advantage: Curation

Robb Best told us at a recent BKBG Conference that the human brain is only capable of choosing between two options. If you present too three or more, customers' brain will shut down and refuse to make a decision. That's why 30 percent of people who come to a showroom will walk out for the simple reason they have been given too much information. That's why Robb claims that a wall of faucets promotes sensory overload and is one of the worst ways to display products. 

Sensory overload is a compelling reason for a customer to buy from a brick and mortar showroom versus purchasing on the Internet. If you searched for a farmhouse sink on Houzz.com, you would have more than 77,000 choices. How can anyone confidently make a decision when there are more than 77,000 options. And therein lies a brick and mortar showroom's competitive advantage. Curation is a competitive advantage not available online. Showroom sales professionals and showrooms can appeal to a customer's five senses and have the opportunity to determine the best option (not the least expensive) for each client. 

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Email Mistakes To Avoid
April 18, 2019
Email Mistakes To Avoid

By the end of this year, there will be an estimated 5.6 billion email accounts. That helps to explain why email is the dominant medium to market and communicate. Think about how many useless emails that you receive daily. The people who you are trying to influence likely receive just as many. How do you stand out in a cacophony of claptrap? Avoid these common email mistakes identified by Hubspot:

  • Misusing reply all. Only use reply all if your response affects more than 70 percent of those receiving the same email. If only a few people need to see your response in a chain, hit reply and use CC to send your message to appropriate parties.
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The Key to Making a Positive First Impression
April 11, 2019
The Key to Making a Positive First Impression

How do you make a great first impression? You need to project warmth first and then competence and be perceived as having both writes Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy in her new book Presence. Most people erroneously believe that competence is more important than warmth. Let's face it, when a prospective customer walks into your showroom, they want to feel confident that you have the skill to design their dream bath or kitchen. However, Cuddy claims that warmth or trustworthiness is the most crucial factor in creating a positive first impression. If a prospect does not trust you, there is no chance you will win the contract regardless of how talented you might be.

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The Habits of Highly Productive People
April 4, 2019
The Habits of Highly Productive People

What are the keys to becoming more productive? According to a recent survey of nearly 20,000 readers of HBR.org, they are:

  • Plan your work based on top priorities and act with a definite objective.
  • Before you leave for the day, plan the next day's schedule, emphasizing priorities.
  • Identify the goal of each appointment/meeting.
  • Develop and issue an agenda for each group meeting with a status of the agenda item and the expectations of the team.
  • Identify the goal of reading lengthy material.
  • Before writing a proposal, report or another type of analysis, develop an outline with a logical order of key points you want to cover. 
  • Develop effective techniques for managing a high volume of information and tasks.
  • Develop daily processes that become routines, such as dedicating X amount of time to a specific task or designating a particular time of day to look at emails.
  • Make sure that you leave time in your schedule to deal with the unexpected and emergencies.
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Amazon May Not Be The Threat It Once Was
March 28, 2019
Amazon May Not Be The Threat It Once Was

Amazon sells more than 550 private-label and exclusive brands on its e-commerce platform. Many of the private label offerings have been introduced in the last two years, creating shock waves throughout brick and mortar retailers and claims of unfair competitive advantages from manufacturers of everything from apparel to consumer packaged goods. Those initial fears that Amazon would devastate more established industries have proven to be unfounded. A recent Marketplace Pulse study of 23,000 products sold on Amazon found that consumers are not more inclined to buy Amazon private and exclusive brands even when Amazon elevates them in search results even though Amazon owns more than 50 percent of all online spending in the U.S.

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Create a Better Email List
March 14, 2019
Create a Better Email List

Weekly, BKBG provides Shareholders with content in the Elevation Blog. The information in the Elevation Blog posts is likely of interest to your existing and prospective clients. The material is a tool that will help you appear on the first page of Google searches without having to pay for Ad Words, and you can use it to build your email list. Did you know that email marketing is one of the most cost-effective mediums to promote your brand? A recent study found that email marketing that works generates $50 in return on investment for every one dollar invested. With a 50 to1 ROI, it makes sense to build your email list. Here are several suggestions for doing so: 

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Show and Tell
March 7, 2019
Show and Tell

There may not be a more prophetic insight from Apple founder Steve Jobs than his statement, "Some people say, 'give the customers what they want.' But that's not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they're going to want before they do...People don't know what they want until you show it to them." 

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Build A Company People Want to Work For
February 28, 2019
Build A Company People Want to Work For

Today's job market is incredibly tight. Most anyone who wants to work can find a job. Unemployment levels are at their lowest levels in the past 50 years. The current environment places a premium on the need to provide a workplace and culture that attracts and retains best-in-class talent.

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