Get a lawyer son

I was in court on Friday for the Geezer’s assault on me. The staff who were witnesses were also subpoenaed to appear.

He denied punching me or hitting me with an office chair, but admitted only pushing and shoving me.

However they argued he was a fine citizen an a pillar of the community. They handed up references to support that claim.

His lawyer claimed he lost control of his company after 20 successful years through some machiavelian means. His laywer also said I took control of the company when he suffered a debilitating stroke two years ago.

Successful company? Please explain the three company liquidations since 1995.

The stroke was news to me and his siblings. It’s a pretty amazing recovery to assault me 12 months later and stand in court unaided after 2 years.

Anyway, he deeply regretted losing his cool and pled guilty to common assault.

The court accepted the guilty plea, did not record a conviction and put him on a six month good behaviour bond. A great result for him and I’m actually very happy as well. So win-win for all. 😉

Then we dealt with my request for an Apprehended Violence Order. They didn’t want a bar of it and offered to extend their undertaking to not contact me without our lawyers being present. After some discussion we’re in court in February next year on the AVO. In the meantime his undertaking is part of his bond.

The next round is over 10 years of long service leave he and The Wicked Step-Mother claim I owe them.

But it goes to show that if you ever get into trouble with the police, You better get a lawyer, son, you better get a real good one.

Making tough decisions

My Western Australian operation is a mess.

The manager I have over there was a fantastic sales rep and a all round good bloke. Unfortunately he isn’t generating the results I am after. I don’t think it is his fault as such, but he obviously isn’t the right guy for the difficult job of turning that state around.

So I have choices:

1. Coach him through a turn around
2. Find a new manager
3. Shut down the operation and liquidate the stock over there
4. Shut down the operation and freight the inventory to the east coast

I haven’t decided what to do yet, but I need a decision before the end of November. Whatever happens I also need to decide whether to do it myself or get my sales manager to fix it – it was his idea to hire the WA manager in the first place. Not that it absolves me of responsibility for WA, it is my company after all. This is time neither of us can spare in the Christmas selling season.

I’ve been hoping it would turn around into Christmas, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ve never fired anyone for not making something happen before.

New Name Needed

I’ll need to rebrand the book, toy and gift company in the new year for two reasons. I’m not talking about or Wealth Esteem brands here.

Firstly I cannot get a good trademark on our current brand names. That means that any brand equity I build is at risk to similar named companies or to new entrants with more money to spend.

Secondly the warehouse sale has shaken me and my staff up. We have renewed passion for our business. Staying enthusiastic in the face of bad market conditions has been tough. We’re celebrating our wins at the moment. So our current name does not go with warehouse sales, retailing or the growth strategies we are developing.

Branding theory or fashion falls in two camps at the moment. One camp says to choose a descriptive name that tells customers exactly what they’re getting. We Buy Houses is a good example. Any doubts about what they do? This allows a company to rapidy capture immense mind-share in a crowded market space.

The alternate view is to create a name that is evocative but made up. That lets you build real brand equity. Looking at the world’s most valuable brands shows Coca-cola at number one, the rest of the top 10 being similarly fictional or family names (like Disney and Ford. Possibly IBM as the only descriptive brand brand in the top 10 but how many people know what it stands for?

So while the biggest play is to invent an evocative name, it takes money, time and luck to build it to the top. But once that brand grows beyond it’s home town its value rises exponentially.

What do you all think?

Warehouse sale continued

Last weekend’s sale was 60% better than I’d hoped. At 11am on Saturday people were lined up nine deep at the cash register.

As a result, I’ve rebooked the ads and we’re on again over the next two weekends. The ad booking got messed up for this weekend so we are only in one local paper at 75% of the size. We’re getting that insertion free. Next week I’ve extended to the Bankstown Torch and back to bigger ads.

This weekend may be a bigger drop in sales due to the smaller ad and circulation. It will be interesting to track that.

I have the cash register dockets to analyse now, hopefully I’ll integrate that info with future data. But I had an ancient cash register which only allows 4 departments and no detailed sales analysis. That is no way to re-design a business model, so I was looking at a better (expensive) point-of-sale system when we found one in a box in the back of the warehouse!

Hoo-boy we were excited to get that working. It’s a 486 running Windows 95 linked to a barcode scanner and a cash-drawer. The software is a DOS program called Quixale 2.6 from about 1995! Anyway I changed the company name for the printout and now it is unregistered. Dumb move especially as I had backed up the wrong directory. So now the software wont work and I can’t find the original spelling.

Anyway I’ve spent this evening looking for open-source POS software and have found a couple of canditates.

In a way it’s a good thing as I was worried about the 486’s stability. So now it will be driven by a newer PC running software we can get data out of.