Time for Plan “B”…

March 31, 2020

(NOTE: Most of this post was originally the contents of an email to the Milford Business Association members in Milford, Michigan.)

Anytime a crisis hits people quite naturally formulate a quick plan to deal with it. If you recall, I wrote about having a plan way back on March 20 in my post “What is your plan?” Doesn’t that seem like a long time ago? The Corona Virus crisis is turning out to be one in which that plan (we’ll call it plan “A”) isn’t working out for most. It’s time for plan “B”.

Plan “A” is the one that most bought into initially, which said, “I’ll just wait out the next two weeks” or “I’ll just close until April 3 or April 13”. That last plan was what many small business owners used as Plan “A” in my area. Plan “A” was a very passive plan – the hunker down and wait it out plan.

Now we have been told it will be at least April or May before we can even think about easing the restrictions on travel, crowd gatherings and working. It is clear that at least half of the year will be gone before America starts the road back to something approaching “normal”. No matter what you may have believed going into this crisis, it is clear that it is time for Plan “B”.

For the small business person, Plan B is a proactive one that deals with the reality that this situation is liable to be with us until late summer and that you need to figure out how to do business under the rules that have been imposed by government. For almost all, that means finding a way to do business without being able to welcome visitors into your physical stores.

Many small businesses already had a web site or a presence on Facebook and other social media sites. Now is the time to expand and leverage that presence to allow your customers to do business with you. If your web site didn’t have an eCommerce capability before, now is the time to add it or highlight your alternative. You need a way for customers to order and pay through your web site or via a phone call. It is also the time to figure out how you are going to deliver products to customers – on-site pickup or delivery, somehow.

For some small businesses in the services industries, it may well mean delivering your services via on-line sessions, either interactive in real-time or pre-recorded. Churches are using both methods during the shutdown and some fitness and health related businesses, such as personal training and yoga have already launched on-line classes.

The keys to creating a Plan “B” that will get you through this is understanding the needs of your customers and making it as easy as possible to do business with you while the shutdown lasts. You can do that through advertising, offering incentives and making the shopping and delivery experiences as easy as possible.

You can start with the assumption that the customers do not know what you are doing during the crisis. Begin your road back by informing them of your plan B – how to do business with you; what your hours of “operation” will be; where to go on line (web site or Facebook) to see your goods and how to order products; what incentives you will be offering; and how they will get the goods or services that you provide. For some, it is also about informing the customers about your new, spring product lines. This crisis hit right when that seasonal transition was to take place.

In the same “What’s your plan” blog post I described the four phases that people go through in crisis situations. Most are now exiting phase three and entering phase four. They are starting to put some creative thought into how they will live under the constraints imposed by this crisis and they are looking for ways to get the things that they need and want. It is up to you to tell them how to get those things from you.

Communications with your customer base is more important now than ever. Using ads in your local paper (like the Spinal Column in the Milford, Michigan area) to reach your local base is a critical part of that communications. People are home all day and have time to read those papers. Your ad in the local paper can tell the customer base many things – “I am still here”, “I am open for business”, “I am working hard to help you get through this crisis”, and “We will get through this together”.

So, take some time to craft your message for plan “B” and get it out there to your customer base. I think you’ll find a very receptive audience that is ready to find a way to do business with you.


Tenacity Grand Opening in Milford

October 12, 2017

Tenacity store frontThe long awaited and much anticipated Grand Opening of the new Tenacity store in Milford took place this morning. The Tenacity owners, Genise and Eric Horsley,  use the motto “Shop With Purpose” for the store and plan to donate a portion of the proceeds from each sale to two charities that they have taken to heart – The Milford chapter of the Northwest OaklandTenacity card image Abolitionist Hub, which is part of the Michigan Abolitionist Project or MAP; and they will also be supporting Hope Centers of Grace in Pontiac.

Genise and Eric have long been stalwart supporters of local charity causes in the Milford area, but they have taken as a more personal cause the Human Trafficking problem in Michigan and in the Detroit area in particular. Michigan is the number two human trafficking state in the entire U.S., due in part to its location close to an international border. Here is a short uTube video on the Human Trafficking issue.

Genise and Eric wanted me to mention that there is an important event Hope Gala invitecoming up on October 19th – The Welcome Home Gala (Hope Against Trafficking), which will raise money to enable the Hope Against Trafficking organization to buy a number of safe houses in the Pontiac area for girls and women who have been rescued from captivity. They will be there and hope that you can attend, too.

There’s a very good possibility that someone whom you see often is a victim of humanHope against trafficking card image trafficking and you just don’t recognize how to spot it. I’ve posted a guideline from the hopeagainsttrafficking.org web site to help you recognizing that someone is being kept as a slave by a human trafficker – Identifying a victim.

So, take some time today to stop by Tenacity and take advantage of Tenacity Grand Opening Signtheir Grand Opening special prices. You’ll be helping with the fight against human trafficking, too. You still have lots of time. They are open today until 8 PM. Say hi to Genise and Eric and thank them for their support of this great cause.

There is also an event coming up next Monday for men only at the Milford Knights of Columbus Lodge at 212 Union St. Mr. Mel Braggett, Founder and Director of Night Angels, will talk aboutMens event on human trafficking how men can help with this problems of human trafficking. The human trafficking problem is not just a women’s problem and sometimes men get frustrated when they start to understand the nature and the sized of the problem. Maybe this event will help with that frustration and anger.

 

 

 


Don’t end up as a flat squirrel…

February 1, 2017

From a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog come these words of wisdom – “Right or wrong, make a decision.  The road of life is paved with flat squirrels.”  (Anon)

The Anon family has provided some of life’s best quotes and written material (see my post on Anon). Today’s quote is undoubtedly from a modern decedent of the Anon family, since the phenomenon of flat squirrels on the road didn’t occur until the invention of the automobile. We have probably all encountered the occasional squirrel who runs out in front of our car, stopped and then can’t decide whether to go on or go back. That moment of indecision unfortunately seals its fate all too often and a flat squirrel results.

squirrelSome people have the ability to make snap decisions in any situation, while others (and I count myself in this number) seem to hesitate while they try to gather more information upon which to base a decision. Many times an opportunity will pass us by while we are pondering the alternatives. To an extent, we have become flat squirrels, because we couldn’t decide whether to go on or run back to safety.

The need for more and more information before making a decision is really based upon the inability to deal with the uncertainty that is usually found in any decision; but you must develop an ability to accept that uncertainly.   Andy Stanley put it this way – “There will be very few occasions when you are absolutely certain about anything. You will consistently be called upon to make decisions with limited information. That being the case, your goal should not be to eliminate uncertainty. Instead, you must develop the art of being clear in the face of uncertainty.” Failing to act or acting without clarity of
purpose will result in you becoming a flat squirrel.

Arianna Huffington offers this helpful advice – “We need to accept that we won’t always failure2make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes – understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” For many the fear of failure is stronger than the perceived rewards of success, so doing nothing seems to offer the safer path. The view of the flat squirrel is that of a flat earth, with no ups or downs but also with no dimension. We may not always be right, but we don’t always have to become the flat squirrel.

Perhaps Wayne Dyer’s advice on choosing first what your attitude in life will be is most import. Dyer said –  “One of the most important decisions you’ll ever make is choosing the kind of universe you exist in: is it helpful and supportive or hostile and unsupportive? Your answer to this question will make all the difference in terms of how you live your life and what kind of Divine assistance you attract.” Choosing to live in an worriesoptimistic and supportive world can help prevent us from become flat squirrels.

Living in a helpful and supportive environment doesn’t mean delegating your decision to others, but rather, when needed, seeking their advice and support for the decisions that you have to make. Many insecure people seek to base their decisions only on the advice from others. Thomas Sowell saw the danger in that when he said – “It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.” Imagine if you will a bird sitting in a tree beside the road telling the squirrel, “Go that way. No, wait!  Go the other way.” If the squirrel listens to the bird, he ends up flat on the road of life. And what about the bird? Well he say’s “that stupid squirrel made the wrong decision” and then flies away. The bird paid no price for heeding the advice he was giving.

It is almost as bad to base your decisions too heavily upon how you think others wilsorry 3l react – Heath Ledger said – “If you make decisions based upon people’s reactions or judgments then you make really boring choices.” How many times have you looked back on bad decisions in your personal life and realized that you were just “going along to get along” or maybe you’ve said to someone else (or at least thought), “Gee,
I thought that’s what you wanted.” Those are the words of regret from a flat squirrel who couldn’t make a decision on his own.

In the end, one may ask for and receive advice and knowledge from others, but the decision making is always a very personal and lonely process. That’s not necessarily bad.  Thornton Wilder pointed out – “The more decisions that you are forced to make alone, the more you are aware of your freedom to choose.” The insight that you have that freedom; that your decisions need not be based upon what others tell you to do or what others may think of your decisions, eventually leads you to the next great decisionsinsight –  “Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.” –  Myles Munroe. If you can get your priorities straight and base your decisions upon those priorities; you will go a long way towards avoiding becoming a flat squirrel in life.

Nike has used the same catch phrase for years – “Just do it.” Perhaps in the end that is the simplest and most straightforward way to look at the decisions that you have to make in life. If your life is properwoman-prayingly centered and based upon the priorities established by a strong faith, the decisions that you have to make will come more easily and are more likely to have good outcomes. Steven Covey was quoted as
saying about business – “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” That is good advice in life if you keep your faith as the main thing. Do that and you won’t have trouble making decisions and you won’t end up as a flat squirrel.

Keeping a balanced life and keeping the main thing the main thing takes work and sometimes some help or guidance is needed. Local author and life coach Norma Nickolson norma-nickolosonof Wise Owl Enterprises has just published her latest book that can help with that –  Living a Balanced Life Journal . You can visit her website at https://wiseowlenterprises.org/ for contact information for Norma. Both the book and the web site benefit from Norma’s collaboration with Marla Schalow of of Jademar Design. Norma and Marla are accountability partners who regularly meet and hold each other accountable for the things that they tell each other they are committed to doing. You should try that with someone, too. Perhaps, if you feel accountable to someone to get done the things that you said you would do, you won’t end up as a flat squirrel on life’s road.

Have a great and decisive rest of your week.


Special needs equipment vendor day at Kids in Motion

April 29, 2016

Families caring for special needs children often have their hands full already and anything that can save them time and make things easier is usually appreciated. Mary Hydorn, the founder of  Kids in Motion Pediatric Therapy Services came up with a great idea two years ago to save time for families that require special equipment as part of their care regimen. Families would often have to research several different vendors to find the various devices that they might need.  Mary invited all of the vendors that she could find who have devices that might be needed by the families of her patients to participate in a demo day at her therapy center at in Highland Michigan at 2636 S. Milford Rd., Highland, MI 48357. That vendor day was so successful last year that she is repeating it this year. Below is information from her press release about the day.

Please save the date and share with all who could benefit from our 2nd Annual Equipment Demonstration Day being held Saturday, May 21st 1 -4 pm, rain or shine.

2016 Equipment Vendor Day Flyer

2nd Annual Equipment Demonstration Day being held Saturday, May 21st 1 -4 pm, rain or shine.

Kids In Motion Pediatric Therapy Services, 2636 S. Milford Rd.,Highland MI 48357

Several vendors will be present to demonstrate all different types of equipment for the children who have physical impairments. This is a one stop shop to try out and maybe even get fitted for special needs equipment all at once.

Equipment vendor list flyer

 

Items such as: wheelchairs, standers, walkers, seats, bikes, scooters, gait trainers and some fun stuff & services too!

So save the date and save yourself some time by getting out to this event if you live in the Huron Valley area of Michigan.


Where do you go to learn how to rock…

April 25, 2016

Where do you go to learn how to be a rock musician? Well, in Milford, Michigan, you go to the Michigan Rock School. I’ll bet most of you didn’t know that we had a Rock School in Milford, did you? Well, we do and it just moved to a new location and last week it sent out this press release –

 MICHIGAN ROCK SCHOOL EXPANDS, MOVES TO NEW LOCATION IN DOWNTOWN MILFORD’S MILL VALLEY CENTER

MILFORD, MICHIGAN, APRIL 22, 2016 – After nearly two years operating inside the Suzanne Haskew Arts Center (The SHAC) in Downtown Milford’s south side, Michigan Rock School has moved.  While still in Downtown Milford, the performance-based music lesson studio is now in the Mill Valley Center building, which also houses Starbuck’s Coffee, and Village Bar & Kitchen, amongst others.

metal rockerFounded in May of 2014, Michigan Rock School began offering private lessons on guitar, drums, bass, voice and piano, and integrating rock band rehearsals, songwriting workshops, and other dynamic group programs into the curriculum.  The school caters to both kids and adults, and encourages all students to apply their musical talents through regular performances.  The SHAC’s industrial space provided a flexible environment for the schools non-traditional lesson programs, as well as a nurturing community supportive or music, arts, and creativity.

“As our business picked up and the SHAC also became busier, it became more difficult to operate our programs in the same space.  In the new location we will be able to offer more private lessons, and expand on our group classes and rock band programs.  We even have plans to build a small stage for intimate “coffee house-style” performances,” said John Kozicki, owner/instructor at Michigan Rock School.  “I’m grateful for the relationships that I’ve made on Milford’s south side, but I’m also looking forward to connecting and working with other businesses on the north end of Downtown.”

Michigan Rock School is still working with the SHAC to host monthly open mic nightsgirl rocker inside the arts center, and teaming with River’s Edge Brewing Company for an afternoon of performances on their stage during Milford Memories.   Also on the schedule for the summer is a summer-long beginner guitar class, a two-week songwriter’s camp in July, and rock band camps beginning in June.  Additionally, Kozicki has brought on new instructors for both private lessons and to facilitate group programs.

An open house is scheduled for Saturday, June 4 from 11:00am to 3:00pm at the new location.  Guests are welcome to come see the new facility, learn about lesson programs, enjoy some live entertainment, and play free video games on the classic Ms. Pac-Man machine.  Michigan Rock School’s new address is 525 N. Main St., Suite 100.

For additional information, please contact John Kozicki at (248)766-4220 or via e-mail at mailto:michiganrockschool@gmail.com or visit their web site at www.michiganrockschool.com

Rock on, Milford!

 


There’s a new dentist in town…

February 2, 2016

I usually don’t get all that excited about a new dental office opening up in the area; but the new, Milford Family Dentistry office on Union St. came along just at the right time to get my attention. My dentist of 30+ years over in Commerce recently retired, as did my dental hygienist of 20+ years. My wife and I originally started going to that dentist when I lived in Orchard Lake and we didn’t mind driving back over to them for the 16 years that I’ve lived here in Milford; however, it will be a relief to have a local dentist right here in town.

The Milford Family Dentists offices are in the building on Union Street that housed the
practice of Dr. Barbara Huckabee for many years. When Dr. Huckabee retired, Drs. ToddMFD_dentists Napieralski and Brian Wisniewski , along with their associate Dr. Melissa Jett decided to open a location of their practice for Milford in the building. Todd and Brian met as roommates at the U. of M. dental school many years ago and when they graduated they went into practice together in Chelsea, Michigan over 23 years ago. I got to know Todd aMFD building on Unionnd Brian and Melissa, as well as their staff at a recent Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting for their new office in Milford and then at an open house that they hosted that evening. What a fun group. I think you’ll like the doctors, their staff and the modern equipment that they have installed in the grand old house that they occupy.

As both Todd and Brian explained it, they had been looking to expand their practice into a new location for some time; but they wanted to find just the right place; someplace with the small town flavor, culture and ambience that they love about Chelsea. Milford provided that atmosphere and the perfect backdrop for what they hope will be a long and successful practice here. Based upon my impressions of all three of them, and the entire staff, that should be no problem. All three doctors are outgoing and fun loving and very easy to talk with and all three are also excited about being able to sample Milford’s many fine restaurants, which is something that Chelsea can’t match. They also hope to become deeply involved in the fiber of the community and can’t wait to participate in our many community events, parades and festivals.

I had some trepidation about finding a new dentist, since I hadn’t had to worry about that for 30+ years; but all three doctors put my mind at ease right away. They even made it easy to talk about trying to decide on which of them to see, since they have the practice set up so that any or all of them are available to all patients and they expect that clients will eventually just settle in with whichever one with which they hit it off best. They encourage new clients to come in and visit with one of more of them, to see if there is a better fit with one or another – no pressure to choose and no pressure to stay with any choice. I like that.

One thing they discovered about Milford right away is that there are several Milford’s around the country and another dentists’ office called Milford Family Dentistry in Milford, New Jersey had already claimed the .com Web site name that they wanted.MFD cropped-header Getting to that Milford Family Dentistry office would be a heck of a drive; so, if you need to find a dentist in the Milford, Michigan area; I encourage you to visit the Milford Family Dentistry offices at 402 Union Street. That is one block east of Main Street. If you want to find out more about their practice in Milford, visit their web site – http://milfordfamilydentistry.net/ . They are currently open Monday, noon until 6 PM, Tuesday 9 AM until noon, Wednesday 9 AM until noon and Friday 9 AM until 1 PM. As they build the Milford practice their hours will expand and they hope to have early evening hours on some days to accommodate people who can’t get out of work to go to the dentist.

So check out the new dentists in town.  Tell them that Norm sent you.


Get real…get a pro

October 13, 2015

The rapid acceptance and use of smart phones has had dramatic impact on our society, not the least of which has been felt in the areas of photos and videos. The availability of the tools with which anyone can take a high quality picture or shot a video has turns a few worlds upside down – the snapshot photography business and the nightly news to name two that have been most dramatically impacted.

Let’s be honest, the advent of the phone-based camera was the final nail in the coffin of such companies as Kodak, who were focused upon providing film for amateur photographers. Sure, they provided film for commercial applications such as medical imagining, but the sweet spot for them was the amateur home photographer. Everybody switched to digital very rapidly, including their commercial customers. Even the professional photographers switched, because they could see early on the advantages of the digital world.

What was sometimes lost or overlooked in the rapid transition from one media to another was the fact that the value add of the professional photographer was not (and is not) to be found in the technology of his equipment; but rather in the photographers “‘eye “, experience and skills. There is a technique in setting up the perfect photograph that does not come from running around with your smartphone and snapping shots of everything that you see.

memorable moments headerTo paraphrase an old saying – “In the land of selfies, the man with a photographer is king.”

No matter how many pixels your cell phone camera has, the pictures that you take with it will never come close to the results that you get by using a professional photographer. Sure, they use digital cameras these days, too; but did you ever see what goes with that high quality camera on a professional photo shoot? You would probably see backdrops or special lights and reflecting sheets or umbrellas and you might recognize the special, high-quality lenses and filters on the camera.

But, what you can’t “see” are the the years and years of experience at work, making sure that the lighting is just right, that your head is at just the right angle and all the other skills that go into composing a picture.

What you won’t see in the pictures that professional photographers produce is just as important – bags under your eyes, smile lines or acne blemishes or even distracting background objects or people. It’s called touching up and all pictures need some amount of it. What differentiates the pros from the amateurs is that fact that they actually know how to use the important touch-up tools like Photoshop and others to get great results – after all, it’s their job.

Professional photographer Bill Abram brings over 30 years of experience and know how to every session. Even better is the fact that he brings the sessions to you. There’s no need to visit a studio somewhere. Bill will come to your home or business or meet you on location. Bill’s expertise extends across several specialty areas such as business and family photographs, wedding photographs and albums, product pictures, real estate pictures and professional head shots for models and business people. Bill also does sports shots, either individual athletes or team photos. Bill also specializes in glamour or boudoir shoots, which produce results that will thrill you and your partner. You can see examples of Bill’s work at http://www.memorablemomentsart.com/

So get serious about your pictures of family or your senior picture and get real about your product photos. If you just want another silly picture to post on Facebook go ahead and do a selfie of yourself; but, if it is important that the pictures look really good or professional, and not just goofy, put away the Selfie Stick and call a professional.

Call Bill Abram today at 877-640-8150 and set up an appointment for him to come out and talk to you about your picture needs. When the impression that you want to make with your pictures is serious, get a serious professional. There will be time enough later for more silly selfies.