Your CEDIA Plan of Attack
August 30, 2006

Last month, we talked about getting ready for CEDIA EXPO. Now that many of you are here at the show, let’s talk about strategies. Certainly, you want to take some courses. But the bigger part is seeing new products and meeting with existing or potentially new suppliers. Have a plan. As we discussed last month, you need a plan for working the show—who to see and when. CEDIA EXPO is an extremely efficient way to see suppliers and conduct business in the course of a few days; where else can you get all of your business partners together to meet at one location? If you need

Be Prepared for Your CEDIA Vendor Visits
August 3, 2006

How much real preparation do you do for CEDIA? It’s a great show and a great time, but the key to getting the most out of your experience is to adequately prepare before you go. Of course you want to tour the show, see all the neat products, possibly take some courses. But you also want to meet many of your vendors, especially the ones you’ve developed relationships with over the years. For most dealers, vendor meetings should be of primary importance. These meetings should be professional and informative. To accomplish this, you need to be well prepared. In my many years as a vendor, I found

The Income Statement
August 3, 2006

Your income statement details your revenues or income—mostly your sales—and your expenses. The difference between the total revenues and total expenses is your profit or your loss. So your income statement is essentially your bottomline report card. You already know that, most likely. But it’s also a gold mine of information about your business. Sure, it’s good to know that at the end of the month, your revenues exceeded your expenses, but other valuable nuggets are buried in this report. Merchandising and Sales Focus For example, the income statement can provide insight into what you are selling. The smartest dealers divide their revenues into categories that correspond

Shed Light on the Coming Analog Darkness
June 16, 2006

On February 18, 2009, analog (NTSC) broadcast signals will cease, if current legislation holds. No longer will antennas on analog TVs be able to receive analog broadcast signals, because there won’t be any. Those who use a VCR as an analog tuner? That setup will no longer work either. Customers with cable or satellite service will have solutions via digital-to-analog conversion through their set-top boxes, but not everyone who has cable and satellite has it in every room. Those with anything that receives an off-the-air analog signal will be out of luck in those rooms. The government is saying, effectively, “Too bad. You need to get

The Numbers Don’t Lie
June 9, 2006

Are you looking at the numbers? Your business generates them everyday­—not only financial ones, but others that can help you improve your business’ performance. The numbers can give you guidance on what you’re doing well and where you need to change. Here are some examples of particularly helpful numbers: Front-door traffic counters. If 50 customers walk through your doors every week, how many actually buy something—what’s your closing rate? Years ago, when the electronics business was almost all cash-and-carry, it was easy to measure and analyze your closing rate. Now, especially at the C-tail level, low closing rates are instructive in alerting you that customers are leaving

Orientation Day
June 9, 2006

A friend asks, “How’s business?” and you respond, “Great!” And hey, why not? Your store remodeling is finished and your vignettes look terrific. You have the most professional team you’ve ever assembled and sales are way up over last year. You finally have enough flat-panel inventory to sell, and all of your installation crews are busy. Funny thing, though. A week later, you find yourself scrambling to make your payroll. How can that be? What went wrong? Why are you still struggling to pay the bills? Your problem may not be with what you know, but instead with what you don’t know. In other words, it’s time you

All Hail the Sixth “P”
March 14, 2006

I don’t know who first started the five “Ps” in marketing, but I first applied it to business in the 1980s and it still holds true today. If you’re unfamiliar with them, the five “Ps” are Product, People, Place, Price and Promotion. Some marketing books specify only four “Ps,” excluding People. I’ve had conversations with some of those authors, contending that People are a key component and that four “Ps” aren’t enough. So I’ll probably be excluded from the annals of great marketers by taking the already disputed five “Ps” and adding a sixth. The five “Ps” are thought to cover virtually every aspect of marketing and

The Death of TiVo?
April 1, 2005

Will the DVR pioneer go belly up, or has it just begun to fight? By Cliff Roth When TiVo announced last month that it had signed a deal with Comcast, America's largest cable TV operator, to offer TiVo-equipped set-top boxes, the stock price of the struggling PVR/DVR innovator shot up by almost 50 percent, from about $4 to $6. Talk about lowered expectations: back in 1999, two years after TiVo began operations, its stock price peaked at $75, and regularly traded between $30 and $45. What happened? Although it arrived in the era of the dot-com boom, TiVo was a different animal, a consumer