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Are You a Commodity?

By | Marketing, Sales, Strategic Planning, Uncategorized | No Comments

“A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one. ”


Henry Ford

Ford Motor Company Founder (1863-1947)


The iPhone 5 released last week.


Over the weekend, I overheard someone bemoaning the iPhone she currently has. “It’s so bulky,” she complained.


The New York Times gave the following review:

“Faster chips, bigger screens and speedier wireless Internet connections are among the refinements smartphone users can count on year after year in new models, most of them in familiar rectangular packages. They are improvements, to be sure, but they lack the breathtaking impact the first iPhone had, with its pioneering fusion of software and touch-screen

How many people do you know with a smart phone? How many have more than one or have “upgraded” the same day they were able? Good product – saturation has not happened yet..

Many businesses complain because their product or service is a “commodity.” This is not true if you have found your differentiation and are providing a superior experience. However, the superior performance has to be visible and readily recognized to the client.

Often we feel we are doing more and providing better value than our competition. Here is a short test to determine if it has an impact:

1. Does your customer ask for the added value before you provide it?

2. Do you have to point out the value for your customer to recognize it?

3. Is your value based on credentials that hang on your wall?


If you answered yes to any of these, your customer may not be aware of the value you provide. Time to educate them.


Add Value:

5 Reasons Your Marketing Doesn’t Work
Reason 2: Tactics Instead of Strategy
(Poulsbo Chamber Office – September 26, 11:30p-1p)


Leadership Boot Camp
Next-Level Leadership
(Cafe Noir – October 5, 8a-12p)

Step Into The Darkness

By | Follow-through | No Comments

“Stop complaining about what you’re not getting, and start creating what you want.”

Dr. Phil McGraw (1950 – )


Motion. Action. Momentum.

One of my Scout leaders always wanted us to have a plan. One problem: it seems that plan was all we ever did. When it came to our activity night, we had no activity, so we planned. No follow-through was ever decided on between activity nights. The next week we planned because no one ever did anything.

Does this sound like your business. Big, hairy, audacious goals. Annual plan. Flop at the end

Sometimes it’s not the goal that flops. We don’t know how to make it happen. There comes a moment when you have to step into the darkness, having faith there is solid ground beneath your feet.

What scares you? Do it anyway. Take that step today

Where Did Your Week Go!?!?!

By | Time Management | No Comments

“By failing to prepare,
your prepare to fail.”


Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)
Known as “The First American”
(Note: This quote is also attributed to John Wooden)


We often get to the end of the week and ask: “What did I do all week!?!? Wasn’t I busy all week!?!?”


I usually ask this question when I have not planned my week. I let my week drive me rather than me directing it. I would go from appointment to appointment and work on projects when I thought of them. At the end, I had lots of OK meetings – sometimes not with the right people. I had worked on several projects – but not completing any of them.


Here are a few things I have found to be most effective for me:

  1. Plan the year
    Know each month what your marketing, operations improvements and staffing changes you will need.
  2. Plan the month
    Get important events on the calendar – chamber luncheons, education opportunities, family commitments. Make sure you block out time for doing your books, making new contacts and working on following through with your annual plan.
  3. Plan the week
    Plot out on your week when you will work on which project and what part of the project. Make sure there is time for your paperwork and accounting – I have found those are the most procrastinated tasks.
  4. Plan the day
    Make a to do list before you start the day. Some prefer to do it the night before, others first thing in the morning. I don’t believe it matters. Once you have your to-do list, put a time to it. Respect your own time and don’t let other people destroy your plan.

Would love to hear if this helps you or not. Is there something that you do differently? Send me an email or leave a comment!


Catching Butterflies

Catching Butterflies

By | Marketing | No Comments

Catching Butterflies

My six-year-old daughter surprised me in the car today when she asked me what butterflies eat. My brain scrambled to access some long-forgotten biology class.

“Nectar,” I replied – proud that I could remember such a minute detail.

“Don’t bees eat nectar, too?”

(How does she know that . . . ?)

“Yes, I guess they do. I think humming birds eat nectar, too”


“So if I get a whole lot of nectar I could catch butterflies?”

“Well, it might not be that easy. You have to make sure the nectar is in the right place where a butterfly will find it and it has to be the right season for butterflies. The bad news is you might catch some bees (she hates bees) but if you are lucky, you might also get a humming bird.”

Immediately I saw the correlation to marketing. Just having what they want is not enough. You have to reach them at the right place and the right time.

Thanks for the marketing lesson, sweetheart.

David Mitchell

By | Uncategorized | 82 Comments

David is a Business Consultant and Coach focusing on helping small businesses become more profitable and stable. David helps businesses create systems that permeate into the Building-Blocks of Business: Marketing, Operations, Management, Controls and Finance. With these systems, businesses are better capable of responding to opportunities, exceeding customer expectations and surviving downturns in the market.

David’s first business venture was at the ripe old age of 11. He landed his first commercial contract at 13 with 84 Lumber. Since then, David has received his MBA from Texas Tech University and has managed many businesses and projects successfully. Most of these businesses have been start-ups or turnarounds. His education, experience, never-say-die attitude and the heart of a teacher have played an integral role in helping many businesses succeed.

In addition to his passion for business, David volunteers in developing Kitsap youth. He is a volunteer coach for Bremerton’s Blue and Gold Wrestling Team and East Bremerton Peewees Baseball. He also serves as the Committee Chairman for BSA Troop 1560 and teaches Leadership Training his local BSA District.

The greatest blessing in his life, however, is his beautiful wife Sarah and their two children: Josh and Rachel

Dave Mitchell+

Reflections on Fatherhood . . .

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

“One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters.”

George Herbert (1593-1633)
Welsh-born English poet, orator and Anglican priest


As we gear up for Father’s Day, and anticipate the gift the kids made at school (teachers are getting pretty creative these days), I remember my own dad.

I consider the wisdom he tried to pass on to me. I ponder the sacrifices of time, money, effort, toil and pride. It makes me grateful to have had a man like this in my life. I know others who were not so lucky and that there are many children growing up today who wont have a man like that in their lives. I am grateful.

Looking back through the lens of maturity and age (though Sarah often doubts my maturity), I see better the life challenges he faced and the resistance I gave him. I realize, too, that one of his wisest decisions was marrying my mother

May we stand on the shoulders of giants. May our success be because of the example set by our fathers.

Nothing Happens Until Someone Sells Something

By | Marketing, Sales | No Comments

“Nothing happens until somebody sells something!”




I once walked into a physician’s office on a cold call. The first thing out of the receptionist’s mouth was: “What are you selling?”

I chuckled. My response was simply, “We are all selling something.”

I’m not” she said.

“Sure you are. You are probably paid by the hour. You have a certain set of skills that include customer service, answering the phone, the knowledge of how to appropriately schedule a patient, set up their chart, answer questions, etc. You sell your skills and time for an hourly wage and maybe some benefits. You had to convince the doctor that you were the best qualified and the best choice for the position.”

“I’m his wife” she said coldly.

“That was probably the most difficult sale of your life.” She chuckled and nodded. I got the appointment.

We are not only selling a product or service. Everyday we sell ourselves, our capabilities, our ideas, our dreams. The hardest sale is never for money. The hardest sale is when someone buys with their trust, commitment, faith, confidence, or love.

Three Cs of Marketing

By | Marketing, Sales | No Comments

You’ve heard of the 4 Ps of  marketing. Allow me to introduce the 3 Cs of promotion:

        1. Content
        2. Clarity
        3. Consistency


Does the ad or message have anything of value? Does it reach somebody or is it just a pretty, ego-boosting piece for your business? Will it interest anyone but you? Are you emphasizing benefits important to customers or features you think are cool? Writing content is not as easy as you think.

Make sure you are writing to your customer – not yourself or your competitor. Even when we develop it our selves, our message can become mixed depending on our mood or the problem of the day. Don’t go it alone. Get someone else to at least proof read it for you. Of course have a point to the marketing. What do you want your customer to do?

All too often, we abdicate our marketing to the newspaper ad salesman, the yellow pages, or the graphic artist. The trouble is that with five people developing messages, every message will be different. Your business card, pamphlets, website, presentations, and even your communication with your employees should carry the same message.

Of course your 3 Cs need to based in your marketing plan. Too many tactics without an overriding strategy can send you in too many directions without ever getting any traction.

Happy Hunting!

Manage What You Measure

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

There is no substitute for a good bookkeeper. When working with your bookkeeper, make sure you communicate what measurements you need to run the business. Financial management is more than just counting your expenses and knowing what is in the account. When you are designing your accounting process and how to structure your book, keep a few things in mind:

  1. What will success look like?
  2. What key ratios do I need to make sure my expenses are reasonable for my revenue?
  3. Are there different services or products that I need to measure and consider which is my most profitable?
  4. What measurements do my employees need to see that will tell them when they are successful?

This is only the beginning of the questions you need to ask. If your bookkeeper is not asking these questions from the beginning – get a different bookkeeper.

Drip Marketing

By | Marketing | No Comments

As I begin my own drip marketing, I ponder the efficacy of it. Blogs, newsletters, emails, Facebook posts, pop-bys, phone calls – this list can be endless to keep in touch with those who have a direct connection to you and are potential referral partners, clients, or other fans.

What is a drip campaign? Simply put, it consists of measured “drips” that you provide to your current, past and potential clients. Included in your list should also be your referral partners. As you develop your campaign, you have to identify what categories your contacts fall into. Then determine what small drips you can provide to your database that is going to accomplish two things:

  1. Provide value and establish your business as the authority and expert.
  2. Create “top-of-mind” that helps them remember you are around and available to them.

Here is a great example of how drip marketing works. A mortgage originator decides to send a “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” email to a certain category. This is a group that is accustomed to receiving messages from him and have a well established relationship with him. One of his previous clients responds directly to the email stating they have been thinking about refinancing for a few weeks. Result: Our mortgage originator reminded the client of his presence and the good relationship they had. A refinance resulted in a few hundred dollars worth of commissions and the client now has another reason to tell her friends what a great guy he is.