Passing a recently renovated Tim Hortons, I came across a small bird feeder with “Fly Thru” written on it. This small inviting touch had me thinking about how different Burger King and Tim Hortons are. Talk of a merger between the two companies is at a massive high this week. While it remains to be seen if the two will actually get together, I wanted to share some of my thoughts about how these two companies might fit. If the companies’ operate separately, this may have all been me jabbering on. But, since that’s unlikely, I wanted to give my perspective on why this merger looks like a bad idea.
I am, as it turns out, surrounded by many who wish to woo the fickle mistress of business and good fortune. They want to work at something in a moral way, be empowered to make their own choices, and create a company (or more) that might actually be bigger than them. Generally, the immediate goal is to have the idea they start affirmed by either money or a customer base. That doesn’t come easy when many of the ideas you have are wrong. I recently came across a great list of first-time of misconceptions, and added a number of my own items too it.
Recurring or automatic billing is simply the process of automatically billing a customer on a regular interval. Sometimes it’s monthly, weekly and even yearly. Generally, companies on the Internet love this type of billing because they get to store a credit card and bank on a regular income stream. That looks good on the balance sheet. Where it doesn’t look good is for the customer, as many of the companies the I have encountered use repeat billing tactics to abuse the customer’s goodwill. I’m going to offer some serious sins companies make when billing automatically and suggest some ways to improve the process.
Recently, we had the displeasure of, once again, assisting a client with a new Windows computer for his business. The scenario was an all too common one: A need is identified for a new or replacement device but the company can’t wait for Dell to ship the machine out. What happens next is why we at Calwell always recommend customers never purchase business desktop PCs from a big box store.
Now, there are always exceptions – so it’s important to acknowledge them. Apple computers will be the same no matter where purchased, and some big box companies do sell business-ready PCs. Our advice is simply a guide to save you disappointment. In this context, we consider Best Buy, Staples, Wal-Mart, Costco and Future Shop big box stores. Companies like Tigerdirect and MDG are more difficult to apply to this list, but may still apply.
Recently, I met a 70 year old former engineer, who by all accounts was in great shape for his age. I remember thinking I’d like to look that good at 70. He had been a mechanical engineer for more than forty years and recently left the industry he enjoyed to retire. These days, he tells me travel and leisure take up a good portion of his time. We struck up a conversation about length of work, working on what you love and why he left. This gave me great perspective on work, the future of the work we do, and how long I might continue to be an IT Guy in an industry filled with younger folks.
I run a small business. I handle customer service and I’m also a customer to other businesses. Often, the phrase “The customer is always right” is mentioned in passing or sort of in jest when someone talks of a customer/business disagreement. There is actually a history to this phrase that dates back to the early 20th century. But I wanted to talk about whether, as a consultant and a business owner, is it really true that the customer is always right?
You may not know this, but before I moved this blog to the Blogger service (in it’s current form), I wrote a number of articles that, after the switch, were archived. I’ve decided that it might be cool to bring back some of these and see if they are still relevant today. One such blog entry was created in the spring of 2003. Back then I was looking to understand the scenarios that PST (or called RST) was going to need to be charged on various services. Of course, with this year’s change to HST, most of this is depreciated, but still interesting. My notes are interspersed.
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While at a Starbucks at Victoria Park and the 401, I came across, Kash Shahzada. He seemed like a very nice fellow, dressed well. He did not appear to be working at one of the nearby office buildings at all. Actually, while I glanced over to him, he had a book that said “How to deal with people” or something to that effect. The book was sitting in a fold up style of duo-tang that had more papers, possibly brochures. Hard to tell, I just glanced over. The truth is, you can tell so much about a person just by observing. I should listen to my observations more.
The question everyone always asks almost immediately when you first meet them is “What do you do?” or “Where do you work?”. After this, I often try to deflect the conversation to something else – or try to make a silly comment to the effect of “I’m Unemployed”. Sometimes, when I’m pressed, I will admit that I’m Self Employed or that I own my business. I have pondered this more than once though; why is it so hard to say I’m self-employed?
One of the most amazing things about technology is how easy it can make our everyday lives easier. This is apparent in everything from tablet computers to smart phones. But, one of the most under appreciated things I see every day with technology, is when all sorts of things are used in unconventional ways to make tasks easier.