Get Your Company FIT & Your Bottom Line FAT

Issue #5 - December 2004     

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In This Issue...
  • Article:  If you aren't known for something, you're known for nothing
  • Coach's Corner:  Look for perfection before you can move on 
  • Tip of the Month: Save on shipping costs

"If you aren't known for something,
       you're known for nothing"

Today, we're talking about branding with Emerson (Skip) Robbins, one of the most successful independent retailers in the country.  Skip is co-founder of Robbins Bros., The World's Biggest Engagement Ring Store, currently grossing over $100 million annually, as well as founder of E. E. Robbins, The Engagement Ring Store. Within the last five years, E.E. Robbins has opened two locations, one in Seattle and one in Bellevue. It now grosses close to $10 million annually.  Skip is also the owner of Emerald City Marketing, a branding and marketing company, as well as Sure Nature, a health supplement company.

Many people both talk and write about branding. And many people think that they're doing it.  But I'm not sure that's really happening.  So, tell me in your own words how would you define branding?

I agree with you, it's a misunderstood and way overused cliche. Basically, in one sentence, what do your customers know you for? It's as simple as that. If your customers can't sum up who you are and what you're about in one sentence, you definitely aren't branded.

So, one measure of a well-branded company is that you could walk up to someone's customer and ask them what they know them for and they would tell you.

If you said "Starbucks," you'd say they're known for coffee.  If you say "McDonald's," they're known for hamburgers and fast food. Nordstrom is branded for quality clothing, shoes and service.  But service would be their brand. That's what they're brand is about.  Volvo would be about safe cars.  In one word are you known? And what are you known for?  If you aren't known for something, you're known for nothing. continued

Look for Perfection Before You Can Move On

I read a recent interview of a fitness coach in which he commented how important it was for his clients to first accept the weight they're currently at before they can start to lose it. "Clients are constantly saying things like, 'My life would be so different if only I was 50 pounds lighter,' or 'I can't wait to lose that extra weight so I can fit into that sexy outfit,' who most often fail to take the even first steps to a healthier lifestyle."

It's a bit of paradigm isn't it? Until you can embrace where you're at right now, you can't move on to really do what you need to change your life.

Business owners tell me how much better everything would be if only they were in that great new location down the street. In the meantime, their staff can't sell, their store is need of a good dusting, their credit rating stinks, and they've got inventory that’s been sitting around since dad ran the place. It's easy to jump in and give advice to someone in this situation but I often find that it isn't taken.

One way of looking at life is to believe that everything happens for a perfectly good reason, even if we cannot always see or know that reason within our own lifetime. The point here is to look for and find how an event, problem, situation or trait is perfect, even if it's clearly not. Seek to understand and recognize the perfection first, instead of imaging how your life would be different if you weren't in this situation.

When you think of it, it's kind of perfect that problems happen because they give us an opportunity to make significant changes in our lives. Life comes at us as a series of messages. If we miss a message when it comes in, it will turn into a problem, and eventually a crisis. 

Businesses don't just go under. Chances are a series of messages came in that we weren't paying attention to at the time. We can choose to listen to these messages or ignore them. Only when we listen can we then begin to take responsibility for our part of the problem and take steps to prevent it from happening again.

If you respond to a situation, versus just reacting to it, you give yourself the ability to ask, "What is the perfection in this situation?" Listen to the answer and let your curiosity lead you to the greater truth, and solution, to your situation. 

Think of this response – what's there that might be perfect? - as a muscle you can practice and build up. It's an active inquiry, not a passive acceptance, and it's incredibly empowering. 

Tip of the Month: Save on Shipping Costs 

Need to return faulty merchandise to your vendor? Ask for your vendor's FedEx number so the shipping cost is on their dime, not yours. (December's Tip is thanks to the True Story Performance Group.) 

Do you have a management tip? Send it to If yours is selected, you'll receive a complimentary BRS Road Map.

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