Customer Service: Small Business & the New Entrepreneur

(Excerpt: Chapter 4 Communication)

Communication may be subtle or over-the-top. It may be active or passive. regardless, it is vital to world-class customer service. For fish, outbound communication is subtle and passive. The water's surface is a barrier that, unless absolutely clear, a rare occurrence, the fisherman cannot see the fish directly. It is a decided advantage for the fish in an enterprise in which it enjoys very few advantages.

Unfortunately for the fish, its passive and near invisible communication of presence has been defeated by human technology: radar. Boat fishermen can take advantage of this technology to identify the contour of the bottom of a body of water, the depth of the water, even as it changes constantly, and, most important for the fisherman, the  presence and relative depth of fish in small or large groups.

The fisherman has even more technology to facilitate communication with the fish that uses radar as its basis for manipulation. Knowing how deep in the water a draft of fish may be, the fisherman can adjust the weight of the fishing tackle to accommodate reaching and sustaining its depth to match that of the location of the fish. Further, some fishing reels include a counter to show the length of line that has been paid out.

We are no different in our enterprise marketing efforts to identify and attract potential customers. We have our various communications enhancing tools, and a growing number of media choices with which to communicate. With the advent of the Internet and its burgeoning abilities, we can not only add to the media and content by which we communicate with customers, we are able to create detailed demographics of potential customers and their buying habits. We can target specific customer needs and wants. We can modify a general advertising campaign to target specific customers who meet certain demographic models we wish to attract.

(Note: also provided design of cover art and internal illustrations)

Failure Modes & Effects Analysis

(Excerpt: Chapter 1 Introduction: What is a Failure?)

What is a product, service, or design failure? Manufacturers have struggled over this question ever since Og, a celebrated caveman, first decided to market his invention: a long, sharp sliver of obsidian with a blunt end which he wrapped in a strip of leather to provide a comfortable grip. the result was a tool he called a "knife."

For all we know, he may have called it a "bok;" it does not matter. A lettered fellow came along many thousands of years later and told us that names matter little; remarking that roses have a sweet smell regardless of their moniker. The fact that this fellow happened to bear the name of one of Og's later improvements on his knife, a spear, is not of any consequence, either.

His product was quickly recognized for the revolution tool it was. It came into high demand and Og became a wealthy man beyond his wildest dreams by selling knives to all the hunters in the tribe. But Og had a problem that affected his success. Not all pieces of obsidian he found for his production volume were of the same quality. Some of his knives broke when wielded by his customers. What did they do about it?

(Note: also provided design of cover art and internal illustrations)

The Crisis of Hair Loss

(Excerpt: Chapter 4: We Did Not Invent Hair Loss in 1950)

We love grandpa, and we're pretty certain that he did not invent baldness in a laboratory accident that had seriously contagious results.

the problem is, we've been able to depend on photographic evidence for less than two hundred years. In that time, we have not seen many photographs of chrome-domes. Remember the hat, which is prevalent in old photographs, does serve a purpose to hide a multitude of sins. Before that, we have painted portraits of men who wore wigs; big ones with long, curly hair, and even ribbons.

Were these men, particularly those who showed evidence of some wrinkles around the eyes and forehead, cheeky jowls, and perhaps some stressed button holes, also bald? Probably.

On the other hand, we do not see many cave drawings of men with hairy heads. they were either minimalist drawings, or they did not live long enough to worry about hair loss. Likely the latter is true. We were not, then, at the top of the food chain and did not have strong defenses against enemy tribes. But, we witness a number of modern young men, even in their teens, who start losing hair, so the lack of evidence of bald spelunkers is happenstance.

Non-Fiction by Richard Heket

Competing Against Big Players: the winning hand of the cloud

(Excerpt: Introduction)

Regardless of your industry and commodity, business is a robust competition on a table that can no longer depend strictly on professionalism, quality, reputation, and customer delight. The time was, not so long ago, if you held these four cards, and held them in spades, you were meeting and exceeding customers' demands with a winning hand against your competition.

However, as the pop singer, Sting, crooned, recognizing the features of spades, clubs, and diamonds, he lamented, "That's not the shape of my heart." Nor does it acknowledge a fifth card that does not need any particular shape.

"I wanted to write about a card player, a gambler who gambles not to win, but to try to figure out something... some kind of mystical logic in luck,,, some kind of scientific, almost religious law..." Sting said in a 1993 interview.

He could have presaged the dilemma faced by gamblers in 21st century business - B2-whoever-is-willing-to-buy. We speak particularly of the small players who are faced with the four elements above, like playing card suits, and yet, cannot break into competition where the players are big, the stakes are bigger, and the objective is to win, science and religion aside.

The achievement of customer delight, not just satisfaction, is still a consistent, desired winning hand. If Sting is a customer, whether he's a private, residential client, or his entire business enterprise looking for your commodity to fulfill a worldwide, repetitive need, is there a fifth element, a fifth card, already in play, but by no means a wild card? Is it one that will delight; maybe with a shape of heart that can even beat spades? Times have changed, radically, in favor of the small player who wants to think, and achieve big.

(Note: also produced deign of cover art)

The Road Taken

(Excerpt: Chapter 2 Look down the road)

A dream cannot come true until there is a dream.

Any purposeful determination in life must begin with the plan to accomplish it before any thought to its completion, to "go the distance" can be considered. Otherwise, without a plan, we merely strike out and hope for the best, if we hope at all. if our sight down the road is shortened, limited literally by a horizon, we should at least expect that over the horizon, it may appear much as does our sight within the horizon.

Imagine the fear of early voyagers, setting out across an ocean they could not see across, yet expecting, hoping, at least, that there was land somewhere on the other side. It is that expectation that drives us forward if we will allow our courage to overtake our fear.

​But without first making a plan, we will take the journey at our peril. If the journey as an actual voyage, what provisions must we have, and for how long a time must they be prepared to sustain us? Who should be our companions and what skills should we possess? What is our aim? Do we intend to return? What contingencies should be available?

(Note: also provided design of cover art and internal illustrations)