Entrepreneurial News®

The Right Political Climate

We’re an entrepreneurial blog, not a political one, but the gist of this post is entrepreneurial.

Donald Trump did much to encourage entrepreneurs, with lower tax rates, more liberal depreciation and other things.

Most of these the Biden administration has undone. But their uncertainty on social and ecconomic policy has not helped.

So, we’re going to propose a method by which a center right political climate could be developed and retained.

First we start with reelecting Donald Trump. Despite his style, he’s effective.

However, one thing he didn’t do was develop a successor; Mike Pence doesn’t have the charisma to be President, which is why he’s so far down in the polls.

We recommend DJT appoint Mike Pompeo his running mate. This is, we think a winning ticket. Pompeo is vastly respected internationally and can keep the Chinese and Russians in line.

After Trump is termed out, in 2028, Pompeo runs for President, is probably elected, and he chooses Ron DeSantis as his running mate.

After 8 years of Pompeo/DeSantis, then DeSantis runs on his own, and is probably elected. He’ll still be young and will develop more charisma.

By that time, some of the Republican bench might be ready to step up to VP.  J.D. Vance of Ohio comes to mind.

The idea of all this is to keep the Democrats out of power until they adopt a more centrist attitude. The US is a center-right country, has been for a long time, and should stay that way.

Biden was center left at one time, but sold out to the progressives for a bunch of money. RFK Jr. and Newsom might have potential, but at the moment, I don’t think they’re electable.

So, there you have it. Let’s keep the ‘right’ political climate, and we’ll all be happier.

The Corporate Hairball

When cats get too much of their fur, they get sick and cough it up.

The present corporate obsession with being ‘woke’ and pandering to the LGBT community strikes us as a little like a corporate hairball: the companies all spent too much time preening themselves, at the expense of their main markets, only to get sickened by their customers who punished their stock values for being so narrow minded.

Parenthetically, we think that being ‘woke’, in the sense of being aware of your markets, is probably a good thing, but the term has gotten a bad rap, so it has to be avoided. We’re sure that the adpersons can think of a suitable replacement.

We hope that our main readership in the SMB community didn’t commit such silly mistakes. We don’t know why the big companies did, and why their CEOs didn’t apologize, but they didn’t.

We had a client years ago, Taser, who makes the stun instruments, and when the devices first came out, they weren’t nearly as good as they are now, and were roundly misused by their major market, the law enforcement community. Taser got severe adverse publicity from the general public, even though the misuse wasn’t really their fault.

The owners and managers of Taser didn’t want to believe that their client base could be so stupid as to misuse their product, and it took some persuading to get them to apologize to the public, but they did, and did a lot of public relations (which is where we came in) with their customers. But a better product emerged from the chaos, so that was good.

We hope that the managements of Bud Light, Target and the others who committed these corporate faux pas have learned from their mistakes.


DIRECT TV Instructions

We just reprogrammed two remotes sent to us by DIRECT TV to replace two that broke, and we noticed a common problem with the instructions: You have to MANUALLY turn on the TVs, to get the remotes programmed.

It’s a simple thing, but you have to engineer the instructions to overcome all sorts of potential misunderstandings.

We will say that the DIRECT TV customer service reps were unfailingly helpful. Our large TV is hard to program, and the instructions are better than they used to be (we had to have a tech out to program them the last time they failed), but we’re offering this one small improvement:

“Turn on the TV manually, using the power button, usually on the back of the TV. If you can’t find it, consult your TV owner’s manual”.

The way the instructions are written, they imply you can turn on the TV using the new remote, once you’ve powered it up, which isn’t true.

You’re welcome, DIRECT TV.


Get All Those Markets

Recently, there have been a spate of marketing missteps by companies that should know better, such as Bud Lite and  Miller Lite.

We don’t think it’s just a beer thing.

For some reason, many current marketing managers let their ‘woke’ ideology get in the way of sound marketing decisions.

For example, Bud Lite because of a mistake in using Dylan Mulvaney a niche influencer at best, to advertise their beer, which is a mainstream product and was using mainstream media, caused a 12% sales DECLINE as the US is heading into the holidays and the summer. And has to redesign their packaging to stress normal patriotic Bud Lite themes. The CEO of Bud Lite still hasn’t issued an apology over the mainstream media channels, which he should.

Similarly, Miller Lite featured some bikini models in a recent ad using mainstream media, and alienated some feminist groups. No counter ads using say, the Chippendales drinking Miller Lite and running in feminist-oriented media.

The point of these two problems is that marketers should either pursue mainstream themes if using mainstream media, or niche media if doing a niche ad. Either is ok, but don’t confuse the two, because you’re confuse and alienate your core markets.

Figure out which strategy you’re going to use, and then design the ad to influence the target market to buy your product. Or, remind the target market you’re still around and would value their purchase of your product.

And maybe, just maybe, do some retraining of your marketeers.



What We See in ’23

I gave a business talk last week to my local SERTOMA club on business conditions for the balance of 2023, and I thought I’d share it with you.

  1. There’s not going to be much of a recession (although we’re biased here in Arizona by the good economy), even given another 0.25% rate hike by the Fed.
  2. Interest rates are still historically low, but whether funds are available is a good question. I recently bought some shares in Western Alliance Bancorp, partially so I can get access to their thinking, and the stock was historically dirt cheap, because of the problems with Silicon Valley Bancorp. Local banks like WAB still do a lot of lending.
  3. Business conditions are pretty good, but not in the metro cities in blue states, because of theft and labor conditions.
  4. Now’s the time to tune up your web site and make sure it’s producing the leads you need. Talk to your webmaster and make sure you’re on Google Local Search.
  5. Now’s also the time to tune up your sales force and make sure leads don’t fall through the cracks.
  6. If you’re doing relationship selling, and we hope you are, make sure your sales reps have contacted all the customers that you haven’t heard from lately.
  7. Don’t pull back on your innovations, but check the estimates of share you might get, and make them a little more conservative. Heck, we’re restarting our online business school, www.businesssuccess.school, so we’re putting our money where our mouth is.

So, have all these in place by next week. 🙂


We’ve stressed making it easy for your customers to do business with you, but Progressive Insurance might not have been listening.

If you insure with them, they have an app called Snapshot which is mandatory to get the best rate. It tracks where and how you drive. Fair enough, and we’ll overlook the legal problems with such an app, which isn’t voluntary if you want the best rate.

But, getting the app on your phone is needlessly difficult, because Progressive wants you to download it through the Apple Store. Their reps don’t know why.

Free advice Progressive: put Snapshot on your own website, eliminate the Apple store (and I say that as an Apple shareholder) and save your policyholders some money.

You’re welcome.

Match Your Media to Your Market

Maybe it’s the spring weather in much of the US, but some marketers who should know better are spending a lot more money than they need to advertise to some segments:

  1. Bud Light appears on MLB network with an ad selling Bud Light to trans people. Big money, narrow market guys. But, you got Kid Rock to shoot up a case of Bud Light, so your normal market is clearly watching.
  2. Nike has a trans guy modelling a sports bra in TikTok ads; they pay him, so it’s not free, but how big do you think this market is, Nike? And, again, you got some adverse press on Fox News, so perversely, you might have hit the sports bra market.
  3. Two elderly guys, maybe gay, are celebrating the purchase of a house, which is fine, but does it make sense to put it on main Fox cable?

The point of these three vignettes is that all three advertisers should have researched the media that might appeal to the markets they were trying to reach, and then run the ads using those media. Saves a bunch of money, guys.

You’re welcome.

Export, Dammit!

Business conditions haven’t been the best in the last year or so.

I’ve also noticed that manufacturing in the US is losing jobs.

The US dollar is down compared to other world currencies, too.

I’m wondering why more manufacturing companies, large and small, aren’t apparently exporting if at all. The down dollar makes your US goods cheaper in foreign countries.

When I and a partner owned a manufacturing company, exports kept us going strong during a couple of recessions.

We fell into exporting, when a couple of our national suppliers recommended us to foreign companies, the foreign companies contacted us, we set up export terms, without any assistance from any US export agencies. We self-financed the exports, because in Reno, Nevada, the banks barely understood what our company did, let alone that our products were exportable.

Exports strained our balance sheet, because it wasn’t uncommon to wait 60 days for payment. Our parts were shipped in containers going across the ocean.

Eventually, our exhaust products were stocked by branches of four national companies around the world. We were honored to be included in their lines of business; but the export business wasn’t without problems beyond financing: you haven’t lived until one of your air intake parts fails in a South African mine, lunching a v-12 diesel engine and causing $20,000 in repairs (in 1986 dollars)

Now, there is EXIM.gov, which provides financial and technical support for exporters. And there is insurance for payment of export invoices, usually through EXIM.

Look around for US trade missions in your closest big city….they will act as overseas agents for you.

All things considered, just do it!

Get Focus on Your Business Idea.

I had a nice chat last Thursday with a young aspiring entrepreneur who probably left our lunch a little crestfallen that I didn’t readily embrace his idea for a few business. .

The problem was that he hadn’t focused enough himself on his business idea..

He didn’t know who his customers were and whether they’d embrace his idea, because he hadn’t done any research on his customers. He also didn’t know if his software product was unique, because he hadn’t done his Google/Bing research.

Research is much easier to do now than it was when I started Marketing Doctor, because of the internet. We’re not sure yet what role chat/GPT might play in market research, but we’ve got a client for whom we’re doing new product research right now, and we have a Zoom meeting on April 12 moderated by Peter Liefer of Primeview and the client is attending.

He’s got a prototype in production and we’ll probably do a focus group of possible users, because the idea hasn’t generated much interest on cold calls, even with product descriptions..

Our young prospect had a website, but. it was a bit off, because he didn’t have customer research data. but it was serviceable at this point in his corporate life. We suggested he tweak it and relaunch on GoDaddy and spend some money customer research and on search engine optimization to see what happens.

What he seemed reluctant to do is talk to some prospective customers and find out if they liked his software product idea.. Customers don’t bite, and the frequently have useful ideas. But you’ve got a couple of minutes to pitch your product or service to potential customers, so you’ve got to get your rap down pat. We offered to help him with that, too.

But, we don’t work for free. So, we hope he’ll go back to the thinking stage, fix what he’s got to and then sit in on one of our business owner sessions.

As consultants, we’re agnostic on ideas, because we have to evaluate products and services on potential markets. .

We Don’t Have Anything to Fear From Chat/GPT

I’m surprised Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak have come out publicly and called for a slowdown in the pace of implementing artificial intelligence and chat/gpt.

Both of them, as disruptors, should know better.

You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube, or the genie back in the bottle, to use a couple of well worn metaphors.

The reason you can’t is there will always be some genius out there who doesn’t conform to what society is telling him or her to do, and that person will go ahead with their implementation of whatever they were working on..

For example, shortly after I started this blog, I see on Liz Claman’s Fox Business Show the head of Adobe Digital Systems announcing that they have in Beta testing an AI version of Photoshop, which allows you to just write out in the chat/gpt box what you want to see, and it creates it in about the same time that chat/gpt creates internet content.

Parenthetically, if you’ve ever written code or done the scut work of filling in designs for internet pages, you think that chat/gpt is great.

In a broader sense, there will probably be some dislocations among some people, but this dislocation.  has gone on as long as there have been innovations. Millers, weavers, buggy whip makers all found something new to do after their industries were innovated out of existence.

People acquire new skills and adapt.

That’s what thinking is for. I know it’s probably racist to hold such a radical view, but it is what it is. .

You wokers can go pound sand. Don’t be a bunch of Luddites. And Elon and Woz, you might rethink your position on this new thing called AI.