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Posts Tagged ‘business owner’

Hard Truths and Dominating Your Local Market

March 8th, 2014 No comments

If a business routinely treats their customers like dirt, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that sooner or later, that business will suffer and likely be forced to sell out to someone more savvy or close.

If a business owner treats its staff with disrespect, it is self evident that even in a tough economy and job market, the staffers will sooner or later find their way to a better place. In the mean time, can the disrespected staffers be expected to perform their best for the owner who maligns them?

If you are an association leader and don't get along well with people who have a differing view point than you do – alienating some, losing some members and creating avoidable adversaries along the way – would it be a surprise if the results of such an association leader would be slim at best?

There are a number of hard truths that every professional person must face. The above are so obvious, that they are shared to make a point. The hard truth is that 4 years into our industry's recovery from the bottom hit in 2009, we are faced with yet another wave of challenges.

But as John F. Kennedy wisely said, “When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.”

written-chinese-crisis-composed-two-characters-one-represents-danger-the-ot ... -opportunity-john-f-kennedy-copyright-2013-lifestyle-factory-homes.jpg

Brutal Winter and CFPB Regulations

The combination of a brutal winter up north and new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulations represents a genuine crisis for some in our industry. Don't get me wrong, some will come through this profiting more than they did before. Some are doing well in the very areas that others are struggling. But others will fail or will have to hand over the keys to their business to someone else, likely at a distressed price.

marty-lavin-jd-manufactured-home-community-owner-on-board-spy-sea-.jpg

One of the more successful professionals in our industry – Marty Lavin, JD – who has been:

  • in retail with an operation that sold 5,000 homes a year
  • operated a manufactured housing finance firm that originated more loans than some of the chattel lenders we have today
  • survived a big downturn in the land-lease communities business, and still successfully owns and operates to this day
  • is an industry attorney who dealt with some of the biggest names in our industry and the likes of mortgage giants, Fannie and Freddie

said to me in his 6 million dollar list price 72' boat, “Tony, the problem is not the product!” (more from Marty Lavin, linked here).

We have a great home, at an incredible value. We have not done the sales training and marketing needed to grow the business. Who says? The likes of former Fleetwood manager and current state association executive Jay Hamilton:

We are an industry that for years has desired the best for our industry representatives, our customers and our distribution system but for all these years have been hesitant to:

  • invest financially in training our people,
  • marketing our product's image,
  • updating our technology,
  • improving our delivery system, etc..

Manufacturers and Retailers have made some bold attempts at the previously listed task but always fail to follow through because they don’t see immediate profits from marketing or training programs. 

We are an industry that has the need for all of our profits to be immediate. Future growth and maturation always loses out to the need for immediate results and immediate profits. 

jay-hamiltong-executive-director-georgia-manufactured-housing-association-gmha-posted-mhpronews-com(1).jpgUntil we are willing to train our people well, invest in technology, invest in customer service, invest $ in creating a brand image with the understanding that is will cost a percentage of our industry profits and will not necessarily produce immediate results we are doomed to keep repeating our same mistakes over and over.

Thank You,
C. Jay Hamilton
Executive Director
Georgia Manufactured Housing Association

At the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, I'll be presenting on the topic of Dominating Your Local Market, version 2.0. A variation on this topic drew praise and a standing room only attendance at the Louisville Show.

You'll also have the opportunity to get the latest in

  • Manufactured Home financing, including information from lenders not present at Louisville
  • Commercial Land Lease Community Financing, both moderated by Dick Ernst of FinmarkUSA.com
  • Manufactured Home Community Lessons Learned Panel Discussion, moderated by Jenny Hodge
  • The Importance of CRM for your Retail or Community sales operation, a panel discussion

and more!

standing-room-only-2014-louisville-manufactured-housing-show-seminar-room-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-.png

If you're marketing fails to attract enough of the good credit customers who are third party financeable or cash buyers in significant numbers, in the Dodd-Frank/CFPB era, you may not make it.

Learn more about what you need to do differently in today's market, at the free panel discussions and seminars linked above at the rapidly approaching Tunica Show.

You won't find these same topics all in one place at one event anywhere else in the U.S. at this time, so don't miss this opportunity. More information on the free business building seminars at the 2014 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show is linked here. ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

The Thing Needed

September 6th, 2013 No comments

It can be very helpful to go back in time, and compare 'then with now.' The downloadable attachment below has many relevant points, and it was written years before I got into consulting. The points in sharing this are many, and can benefit all with an open mind. One of the points are that the basics – the fundamentals – are among the keys to success, and this article has a number of those fundamentals!

The article attached was first published in the November 1988 issue of what was then call the Mobile/Manufactured Home Merchandiser, later re-named, Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine. While much has changed in technology, terminology, attitudes and styles, it is surprising how some of the basics then are just as true today as when the attached downloadable article was written.

At the time, yours truly was the proud owner of a manufactured home retail center that was growing rapidly, in spite of the economic collapse that had taken place in oil-boom-to-oil-bust Oklahoma. My personal part of the business was marketing and sales – sound familiar? – while others at our center did a very fine job of other necessary functions like bookkeeping and lender relations, service and delivery coordination.

During a time when 80% of the retailers folded then in Oklahoma (sound familiar to the MHIndustry post 1998? Or the MHIndustry post 2008?), humble S&L Homes (we sold repos for S&L's, new and other pre-loved homes) was growing, growing, growing. We hit the top 1% of all retailers in the U.S. our third year in operation, all during a down market when other dealers that were far better established vanished.

Why? How?

Please read the article, because many of the basics then are the same basics today.

Are there differences? Sure – like change “mailers” for “email” or social networking. Change print for the Web. Change TV and radio for YouTube!

The reality is that we can market better today for less, for those who are willing to learn and do it. We can also sell better then than now, for those who are willing to dig in, learn and do.

My road to business ownership was not easy. There was no rich relative, no SBA loan and most of the 'training' came from reading and a handful of seminars, but also boat loads books and audios personally invested in to advance myself.

A tag line came across a public service announcement the other day that applies to all of us.

Learn to read. Read to learn.

That same issue of the Merchandiser had articles from people like Guy Laird (remember him?) and Bill Carr (still active!) that were among the many that I devoured every month. I would have proverbially killed to have had access to all that we share on MHProNews.com monthly, because reading was the path to learning more and earning more.

In my career run up to opening S&L, yours truly managed at 3 retail centers and assisted at a 4th before jumping into ownership.

If you are an owner, encourage your people to learn more. Yes, someday, they may leave you. But in the mean time, you will be earning more and so will they! The good performance of some tends to lift the performance of others.

So the rising tide tends to raise all ships.

If you are an employee or contractor, absolutely make it your business to learn all you can. Read daily (yes, every business day). Go to meetings, attend seminars.

Learn not just from the present, but from the past.

Learn from every mistake. Learn from every success.

Keep a good attitude!

Sure, a smile came when my eyes revealed how much younger I looked in the picture on the last page of the attached article! I wonder what happened to the others in that photo, after the business was profitably sold, we eventually lost track of each other (no email or Facebook then).

What we did as signage then, would not be what I would do as signage today. We'd be talking social networking and lots more online stuff in such an article.

But much of it applies – attire, attitude, training, marketing, sales basics – so much that you may want to read and re-read this, because it covers the fundamentals – the basics of success – quite well. But you can decide that for yourself!

Near the end of the attached article, there is a phrase yours truly typed 25 years ago. Doing what is needed. Doing the things needed is the only pathway to success.

No one will hand it to you. Everyone has to earn it in some form or fashion! Do what is needed, whatever that 'thing' is. It will pave the way to your future. ##

Download the article

Increasing Sales in a Down Market –
Mobile/Manufactured Home Merchandiser, November 1988 – by L. A. Kovach.

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for September and see the other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 815-270-0500 |

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Problem Solving, MH Marketing and Selling

July 13th, 2012 No comments

I was recently reminded of this saying by Albert Einstein:

Albert Einstein

See more free inspirational posts and posters at this link here.
 

I was also reminded that some us of over the age of 40 or so may not be completely sold on the idea that the Internet is here to stay. Let me share some statistics below on Internet usage, but first let me make a simple observation.

There was a time when radio and TV where young and new. Not everyone bought a radio or TV right away. In fact, there are still millions in the world without either one. But if you would suddenly lose all of your TVs or radios, life would be quiet different, right? Do you think the fact that some don't have TV or radio keeps advertisers from using them? Of course not, you market to reach as many of those as profitably as you can!

For those "mom and pop" business owners who have no website or internet presence, and who don't use email, guess what? Odds are good that over 3/4 of your employees, customers and suppliers do. So even those who are not web savvy have customers or residents posting about you online. Odds are good that even if someone is literally blind, someone has talked to them about something they saw or read online.

Every business has an image, just as industries have an image. The smart business owner or executive wants to at least help shape the image of his/her own business.

I promised you some statistics, the first bakers dozen are courtesy of hub spot bloggers…here you go, enjoy:

1) In 2012, the audience of internet users in the U.S. will expand by 3.1% to 239 million, representing 75.6% of the total population. (Note, keep in mind that infants and some toddlers don't surf…yet).

In other words…

2) More than 3/4 of the total U.S. population will be online in 2012.

Mobile in 2012

3) Mobile internet users will reach 113.9 million in 2012, up 17.1% from 97.3 million in 2011.

4) Smartphone users will reach 106.7 million in 2012, up 18.4% from 2011.

5) In 2012, 94% of smartphones users will be mobile internet users.

6) All mobile phone users will reach 242.6 million in 2012, up 2.3% from 2011.

7) Mobile shoppers will reach 72.8 million in 2012.

8) Mobile buyers will reach 37.5 million in 2012.

9) Smartphone shoppers will reach 68.6 million in 2012.

10) Smartphone buyers will reach 36.4 million in 2012.

11) Tablet users will reach 54.8 million in 2012, up 62.8% from 33.7 million in 2011.

12) iPad users will reach 41.9 million in 2012.

13) In 2012, 76.4% of tablet users will be iPad users.

Now, looks can be deceiving. Even if someone doesn't (yet) own a computer or smart phone, some go to the library or a neighbor's home, or use one at their workplace.

A 2011 study by the National Association or Realtors said this:

Information sources used in home search:

  • Internet: 88%
  • Real estate agent: 87%
  • Yard sign: 55%
  • Open house: 45%
  • Newspaper ad: 30%
  • Home book or magazine: 19%

Actions taken as result of Internet home search:

  • Walked through a home viewed online: 63%
  • Found agent used to search/buy home: 10%
  • Drove by/viewed a home: 63%

NAR says that most people shop for a home for an average of 12 weeks and see inside an average of a dozen homes before buying.

Rainmaker says that many shoppers start 6 to 12 months in advance of their purchase.

I've seen another report that suggests that this 2011 number hunting their home online may be low, that it is now actually 94%.

What do such facts mean to you?

Well, it depends of course on what part of the Industry you are in. But let's say you are Business to Business (B2B). It would be hard to find a business person these days who isn't online every day at their work, emailing, surfing the web doing research, etc.

For those who are doing Business to Consumer (B2C) out reaches, you better have a good website. Perhaps you should be more than one place online, for reasons we can cover in another column. It also means that if you are marketing or advertising to home shoppers (or should be) the person who is buying from your competitor who has great web presence shopped them online an average of 3 months ago, before they purchased their home today.

Many websites have 'myth busters' or FAQs as part of their manufactured home website. There is only so much you can do in a print ad, radio or TV spot, but you can provide tons of information on your website. When someone comes to our site here, they view many pages before leaving. When your website appeals to your audience, your visitors will do the same thing too.

If you aren't using a blog, don't have a social networking strategy, have never even considered why successful realtors will have dozens of websites and hundreds – or thousands – of pages online, chances are, you are missing more business than you can possibly imagine.

The popular definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things the same way and expect a different result. Or to rephrase what Einstein said, You can't solve a problem by thinking and doing the same things the same way as before.

We've seen proper marketing and sales results climb dramatically for companies that have used the smart, cutting edge approaches we teach. that every smart business guy would say, if I could invest a dollar to make a buck fifty, they would find the dollar. Well, what if you discovered a way to make 2 or 3 dollars or more for every dollar you invested?

Why not call me for a private conversation about your marketing and sales problems, interests and needs? ##

Posted for

Tim Connor
Marketing & Sales,Website,AdvertisingMHSpeakerTrainer-Manager
MHProNews.com= The MHIndustry's#1 News, Tips and Views you can Use.
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