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How Important is Consistency?

How Important is Consistency?

by Danny Summers

consistency

 noun
con·​sis·​ten·​cy |  \ kən-ˈsi-stən(t)-sē

definition: an agreement or harmony of parts, features or service to one another or a whole

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Finding Your Balance

Finding Your Balance

by Danny Summers

Let's face it. Spring is a marathon and you and your entire staff are exhausted near the end. It's Week 23 and the energy level is waning. I thought this would be a good time to make suggestion. How can you and your team find your balance in the next few weeks?

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Developing Your Most Valuable Asset

Developing Your Most Value Asset

by Danny Summers

As a Garden Center Owner or Manager, I challenge you with this question: What is your business' most valuable asset?

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It's Time!

It's Time!

by Danny Summers

Time is Very Important! We begin with the same amount of it every day. What we do with it can make a world of difference. At the same time, I hear from many of you time management is increasingly more difficult (and more important).

This is why we have decided "It's Time" will be our over-aching theme for The Fall Event 2019. It's Time can take a number of meanings for each of us. Take a minute to think about the following statement and how you would (or should) finish the sentence:

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A Tale of Two Sears and "A Road Not Taken"

A Tale of Two Sears and "A Road Not Taken"

by Danny Summers

 

This past week in the WDR, Steve Bailey spotlighted recent announcements by Sears Holdings they will shrink and streamline their produce offering in the coming months as they try to reorganize AGAIN. Steve's parallel here was a challenge to Group Centers to be vigilant about the products you are offering. He has recently told me he often sees centers getting lazy on controlling inventory (and turns) when sales are strong and times are good and therefore not maximizing their profitability.

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Telling the Story - the Standard of the Superbowls Past

Telling the Story - the Standard of the Superbowls Past

by Danny Summers

Robert is always pushing us to "tell a story". He says every ad needs to tell a story. Looking back at some of the best of previous Superbowl ads, it seems there are a few common threads the very best share that come to mid... puppies and kids of course. And there are others that really just tell an inspiring story.

Before we step back in time, I want to share just one from this crop of Superbowl ads. It is the Kia 2 minute spot. It begins with a young boy in a cowboy hat telling the story about a small town in west Georgia. It really is a true story of a small town of "unknowns" creating something special.



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Simplify

Simplify (one word says it all)

by Danny Summers

simplify [sim-pluh-fahy]
verb (used with object), sim·pli·fied, sim·pli·fy·ing.
    •    to make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier

It is a very basic, two syllable word but the process of simplifying something is not always easy. Building on what I started at the top of this GROUPtalk (One-Man-Band), I want to share some thoughts on this challenge. For many of our centers today the above graphic could easily represent a flow-chart of operations. Adding complexities throughout time just piles on layers of things to do. These are things you most likely feel are important and are "must-do's. At the same time the graphic also could represent your job responsibilities.

If you are an owner or manager, you have the power and ability to change this picture. Some months back I reminded you of the ultimate "Gatekeeper" and I showed you a picture. Do you remember who is was? It was The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz. Remember anyone wanting to enter Oz had to come through him. That's the position I see many of our center's owners or managers in today. This has to change. It is called Team-Building and Delegation!



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Trends - an interesting observation.

Trends - an interesting observation.

by Danny Summers

Recently I participated in a webinar covering a collection of "trends" across the globe. It was produced by an international company in the business of collecting a tremendous amount of data and trying to put a sense of order to what they see. At first glance, it appeared to be all over the board. Of course, there were lots of modern, high tech gadgets and activities and some trends you recognize as "way-out-there," but one observation began to appear throughout that we should appreciate and leverage in your business. The first comment that led me into this path of thought was:

"We're the same old humans with the same old human needs."

Wow! That, in the middle of a bunch of high-tech, "way-out-there" trends, grabs you and brings you right back down to earth. As you see so many weird new trends, this type of very basic statement brings a sense of grounding. It's a very organic statement if you think about it.

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We Sell Fresh Air!

We Sell Fresh Air!

Observations by Danny Summers

I recently subscribed to a publication devoted entirely to Visual Merchandising and Store Designs for retail (actually its name and acronym is VMSD) and in its December issue that arrived last week, the cover story's headline was "FRESH AIR." You can see the front cover below right.

At first glance you have to ask yourself... "Are they selling plants or other things?"

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Making the Emotional Connection

Making the "Emotional Connection"

by Danny Summers

Robert Hendrickson has pushed The Group for years now on some of the very best ways to tell your story and build that unique, emotional connection with the customer. This is the extreme opposite of selling by price and certainly much more effective than selling by the old standard of "feature and benefit" marketing.

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Peer-to-Peer (P2P) - Group Learning at its best!

The Fall Event 2018
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) - Group Learning at its best!

by Danny Summers

We have the schedule set, speakers and sessions are in place, our hotel is ready for your reservations, and we have our registration now open and ready for you!

New for 2018: We have taken what we learned the last several years about Group peer-sharing and combined it with each presentation. We are calling it Peer-to-Peer (P2P). Each major session will follow this pattern. First the featured speaker will share his or her presentation. Then, we will have P2P Tabletalks on the subject, followed with the best ideas of P2P as well as Q&A with the speaker for collaboration and inspiration.


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What is a Customer Worth?

What is a Customer Worth?

by Danny Summers

Several weeks ago you may remember I asked these questions:

  1. What is a Customer Worth to You (over a lifetime)?
  2. What is the cost to obtain a new customer (in dollars)?

The reason I asked was because I was reading comments from owners or managers who were having issues with seemingly unreasonable customers and it sounded like they were ready to say "Good Bye" to the customer(s). Before you ever get to the point of "firing a customer," I believe you need to have at least an idea of your answers to the above two questions. I understand sometimes you just can't please everyone and the answers to these questions can vary greatly, but this is a fundamental idea.

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Decision to Change Your Business Name

When is it Time to Change Your Business Name?

by Danny Summers

 

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A Passion for Learning!

A Passion for Learning!

by Danny Summers

To begin, can we agree... Sharing is a function of Leaning!

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John Kennedy is Now Available On Demand 24-7-365

John Kennedy is Now Available "On-Demand" 24/7/365

by Danny Summers

I have an important announcement!

 

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Every Plant has a Story!

Every Plant has a Story!

by Danny Summers

When Karen and I were at the new SNA Conference at MANTS last month, the Conference Chairman, Dr. Richard Olsen, Director of the US National Arboretum, suggested one of the roundtable topics of "sharing more of the story behind the plants." Obviously, when I heard this I immediately thought of Robert's constant encouragement. But how does this relate to the plants we sell or help us in the garden center?

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Leveraging City Color Programs

Leveraging City Color Programs

by Danny Summers (with lots of help from his friends!)

Opening my emailbox this week and seeing a promotion from Tim Elbert's Four Seasons Nursery in Central Point Oregon gave me a flashback moment to last fall when there was a great discussion and swap of ideas (and important Do's and Don'ts). If you are a Group Client and were subscribed to GroupEs at the time, you may remember it.

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Gatekeeper or Team-Builder-Part 2

Gatekeeper or Team Builder - Part 2

by Danny Summers

Last week we explored two distinctly different types of owners and managers I see across garden center management today. Do you remember... the Gatekeeper manages by receiving all or most outside information and decides who in the organization needs to know what, who to distribute the information to, and who needs to know, on a limited basis.

At the same time I hear numerous owners and managers saying these types of comments: I have to much to do. I have to much on my plate. I can't possibly do anything more. I am wore out. We work all the time. It's got to get easier.

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Gatekeeper or Team Builder-Part 1

Gatekeeper or Team Builder - Part 1

by Danny Summers

In my position I get to observe a number of patterns in business management. And doing so, you see the real differences in how owners approach their business. There are some trends I want to highlight here and challenge you to assess where you are in your business management style. First, let's discuss two distinct types of owners or managers I see at work today.

The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper manages by receiving all or most outside information and decide who in the organization needs to know what. Who to distribute the information to, who needs to know, on a limited basis. In my mind, the ultimate gatekeeper was this guy. When Dorothy and her unusual "team" approached the Emerald City gate at Oz, they were stopped by the Wizard. At that point, to get into the city, they had to get past The Wizard of Oz. This is a fitting comparison to what see in some businesses today.

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Supporting Shelburne Farms

Supporting Shelburne Farms

by Danny Summers

I know when everyone first saw Shelburne Farms listed as part of our Tour Day at this year's Fall Event, they had to wonder "what does this have anything to do with garden centers?"  Right?Karen and I had heard some details of how wonderful Shelburne is... just like "the cousins" property Biltmore Estate. But it wasn't until we went there for the first time, did we begin to understand its mission today:

"Our work focuses on education for sustainability. That’s learning that links knowledge, inquiry, and action to help students build a healthy future for their communities and the planet. There is something for learners of all ages at Shelburne Farms, with a focus on agricultural, environmental, and cultural topics."

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