Select Page

Jan Bolick

Exploring for Business Success

Since September or so, I’ve been working with one of the Chapel Hill Vision 2020 theme groups; the one called Community Prosperity & Engagement.  The group has identified three goals for recommendation to Town Council.  One of these goals is:  Foster the success of local business. Next step is for the group to develop recommended strategies for achieving each of the goals. So….how do we go about Fostering the success of local business? It’s been an interesting exploration. A few weeks ago, while talking with a friend  who calls on businesses of all kinds in the Chapelboro area, I asked, “From all your visits to various businesses in town, what do you observe as their biggest need?” His quick response, “Customers.” I’m not sure what answer I anticipated but that one surprised me…perhaps with its simplicity. After all,  one thing all businesses MUST have to survive is customers. And then he went on to say, “Most every place I go to is empty…not a single customer in the place.”  And then he added, “Just a bunch of stuff in an empty store except for one bored worker sitting behind the counter reading a book or texting.” How depressing.  And then he said, “There just aren’t enough people in Chapel Hill to support all these businesses – good economy or not.” So what do we do about this? Have fewer...

Read More

Do a Grouch a Favor

One of my favorite days to celebrate and promote is Do a Grouch a Favor Day.  Yes – there really is such a thing.  And it’s tomorrow. I’ve always wondered why the creators of this occasion chose February 16 as the date to celebrate.  Is it because more people are grouchy two days after Valentine’s Day?  From too much candy?  Or because they got no candy?  Or because he gave her flowers and gave them to another woman too, like in the movie Valentines Day? Whatever the reason for date selection, the short list of possible reasons from above...

Read More

Happy Duke-Carolina Day

Some treat it like a national holiday.  Meetings get cancelled.  People head home early.  Traditions abound. One of my traditions for Duke-Carolina Day is to re-visit the story of that especially famous game back in 1974.  Not just because it’s famous, but also because of its benefit for people in business who are frequently faced with tough goals and deadlines.   Many managers, teams and individuals give up or stop too soon.  I’ve certainly done it many times. Pushing to the end (and preparing for it) is both an art and a science.  Well demonstrated in the story below. Several years...

Read More

The Power of a Mosquito

The Chapel Hill 2020 process is flying by with discussions, workshops, presentations, report out sessions packed onto the calendar.  All focused on developing a plan for an even better Chapel Hill.   I’ve had the pleasure of co-facilitating one of the theme groups  with Gary Saleeby & Marlene Rifkin.  Through much discussion, the group has  established three primary goals, one of which is to foster the success of local business. Why is it important to have successful business in Chapel Hill?  Reasons listed during various discussions include: To provide jobs for citizens. To provide job diversity and hopefully higher...

Read More

Furniture & More For Less

Just because your budget has been cut, doesn’t mean you can’t get what you need to operate your business and maybe even grow revenue so that your budget won’t be so tight in the future. That is – IF you know about UNC Surplus.       UNC Surplus is like a gigantic yard sale except there’s a roof and it’s ongoing. Their stock changes constantly, but they always have chairs. Some are on wheels. Some aren’t. Some have arms. Some don’t. Some have soft bottoms. Some don’t. Some look relatively new. Some don’t. Some are one of a...

Read More

Lessons from Ben & Jerry's

“The greatest mistake you can make is to be continually fearing you will make one.” Elbert Hubbard Did you celebrate with Jerry last week? In case you missed the scoop, he was in town (that’s him, THE Jerry of Ben & Jerry’s, on the right) to celebrate the grand re-opening of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.     Ramses and hundreds of others waited in line to celebrate with free samples of ice cream and – here’s a twist – pretzels.  Yes they now sell pretzels too.  Auntie Anne’s Pretzels.     Links at bottom of page will take...

Read More

Rich Wives and Golden Geese

Chapelboro reader, Julie Budd from Budd Marketing in Burlington, was driving down the road and saw a man at the intersection of I-40 and Highway 68. He was holding a sign that in her words, “made me chuckle”. It also reminded her of a recent article and request for fun and interesting signs ( See: Five Favorite Signs from 2011 – link below.) And so Julie stopped and, with his permission, took this picture and sent it to me. Julie referred to him as “clever”. He is clever indeed. With his sign, he makes light of a tough situation,...

Read More

Fire Department Shows Signs of Good Business

Like many of us, the Chapel Hill Fire Department puts up a wreath as part of their holiday décor.  For the past ten years, theirs has included a sign which shows many signs of good business.    Chief Deputy Matt Lawrence is in charge of the “Keep the Wreath Green” campaign designed to remind citizens of the dangers of the holiday season and to urge them to do their part in preventing deadly home fires.   To help citizens do their part, the fire department pumps out information – online, in the media and at Christmas tree lots. Sure.  Sure. ...

Read More

Five Favorite Signs from 2011

Stop.    Do Not Enter.   One Way.   Dead End.   No Parking.   No Trespassing. Do not disturb.   Cash Only.   No refunds.   So many signs.  Most of them negative.   Limiting.   Restrictive. Reminds me of that song from the early 70’s by Five Man Electrical Band:  Sign, sign, everywhere a sign Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign? How refreshing it is to see a positive sign.  One with good news.  One that shows care and concern.  Maybe even with a clever  or inspiring twist.  ...

Read More

Simple Question. New Ending.

Tis the season for strategic planning and holiday cooking – a perfect time to share this story as a reminder that a simple question can change the way we do business. Or the way we cook a ham. A year or so ago, Terry Hamlet, President of S.H. Basnight & Sons, and I were working on a project, looking for a way to get different results. As we explored, she recalled the day her mother, Dot Hogan Basnight was showing her how to cook a ham. One of the steps was to cut the end off of the ham...

Read More
Translate »