Monthly Archives: February 2015

Forgotten Investing

Money management giant Fidelity studied its customers’ accounts, and the ones that performed the best were the accounts the owners forgot they owned.

Over 10 year periods of time, it’s hard to argue with owning and reinvesting the dividends from world dominating stocks. Very, very few investors are disciplined enough to beat the returns from world dominating stocks. Microsoft, WalMart, IBM, and similar stocks may not be exciting, but historically they sure have paid off.

The above advice is certainly not new. So why do most investors do something else? Majority of people are competitive and want to beat the averages.  That explains why people trade in and out and consistently under-perform the market averages.

Consumers Critical Hot Buttons

People will go to almost any lengths to avoid being inconvenienced and to avoid painful experiences.

Those are huge factors driving online sales. But wait, aren’t they just as important in the business each of us are in?

What is your business doing, right now, that inconveniences customers? What things do your customers view as a real pain when they purchase goods or services from you?

Many of us ask customers how we can serve them better. And we usually get answers that don’t help us or them much. Customers don’t want to think of ways to make our business better. Customers care about what makes their experience with us better.

Change your question to:  What part of your experience with us  frustrates you? Inconvenient’s you?

Whole industries are getting turned upside down by new approaches to serve customers. Think about buying a new car or truck. Most of us hated the idea of visiting dealerships and having to face car salespeople. Along came TrueCar.com which lets you identify what car you want to buy, with which accessories, and then tells you which dealers have that vehicle in stock and what you will pay for it. You then call the dealer and make arrangements to go in, drive the car, and then make the purchase for the Internet agreed price.

Now there is a new player that will help you find the car, arrange financing and get your insurance all at once…and then they’ll deliver the car to you, typically within a week.

Next meeting with your employees, ask them what your company does that is inconveniencing or frustrating customers. Then test those assumptions by asking customers. Address their needs quickly…or risk other businesses solving those problems and taking your customers.

Apply above to employees and investments.

What things does your company do that frustrate employees? Make their job more difficult? Or less satisfying? What are you doing that encourages your employees to look for other jobs? If you don’t know, ask!

Keep above in mind as you look at investment opportunities in new fields of technology, medicine, science, etc.  Who has products or services that make people’s lives better or easier?

Thieves Are Not Stupid. Are You Smarter?

Tips to protect you from thieves

These came from long time friend, hospitality President, and noted author, Greg Plank.  If you are looking for a great humorous read on the Hotel industry be sure to get Saving the Saint George

   1. LONG-TERM PARKING:
Some people left their car  in the long-term parking at   San Jose while  away, and someone broke into the car. Using the information on the  car’s registration in the glove compartment, they drove the car to  the people’s home in   Pebble   Beach and  robbed it. So I guess if we are going to leave the car in long-term  parking, we should NOT leave the registration/insurance cards in it,  nor your remote garage door opener. This gives us something to think  about with all our new electronic  technology.2. GPS:
Someone had their car broken  into while they were at a football game. Their car was parked on the  green which was adjacent to the football stadium and specially  allotted to football fans. Things stolen from the car included a  garage door remote control, some money and a GPS which had been  prominently mounted on the dashboard. When the victims got home,  they found that their house had been ransacked and just about  everything worth anything had been stolen. The thieves had used the  GPS to guide them to the house. They then used the garage remote  control to open the garage door and gain entry to the house. The  thieves knew the owners were at the football game, they knew what  time the game was scheduled to finish and so they knew how much time  they had to clean out the house. It would appear that they had  brought a truck to empty the house of its contents. Something to  consider if you have a GPS – don’t put your home address in it…  Put a nearby address (like a store or gas station) so you can still  find your way home if you need to, but no one else would know where  you live if your GPS were stolen.

3. CELL  PHONES:
I never thought of  this……. This lady has now changed her habit of how she lists her  names on her cell phone after her handbag was stolen. Her handbag,  which contained her cell phone, credit card, wallet, etc., was  stolen. Twenty minutes later when she called her hubby, from a pay  phone telling him what had happened, hubby says, “I received your  text asking about our Pin number and I’ve replied a little while  ago.” When they rushed down to the bank, the bank staff told them  all the money was already withdrawn. The thief had actually used the  stolen cell phone to text “hubby” in the contact list and got hold  of the pin number. Within 20 minutes he had withdrawn all the money  from their bank account.
Moral of the  lesson:
a. Do not disclose the  relationship between you and the people in your contact list. Avoid  using names like Home, Honey, Hubby, Sweetheart, Dad, Mom, etc….
B. And very importantly,  when sensitive info is being asked through texts, CONFIRM by calling  back.
C. Also, when you’re being  texted by friends or family to meet them somewhere, be sure to call  back to confirm that the message came from them. If you don’t reach  them, be very careful about going places to meet “family and  friends” who text you.

4. PURSE IN THE GROCERY CART  SCAM:
A lady went grocery-shopping  at a local mall and left her purse sitting in the children’s seat of  the cart while she reached something off a shelf… Wait till you  read the WHOLE story! Her wallet was stolen, and she reported it to  the store personnel. After returning home, she received a phone call  from the Mall Security to say that they had her wallet and that  although there was no money in it, it did still hold her personal  papers. She immediately went to pick up her wallet, only to be told  by Mall Security that they had not called her. By the time she  returned home again, her house had been broken into and burglarized.  The thieves knew that by calling and saying they were Mall Security,  they could lure her out of her house long enough for them to  burglarize it.

Four Basic Truths to Help You Navigate the Financial News

Dictum Number 1: People do not get what they want or what they expect from the markets; they get what they deserve. 
 
Dictum Number 2: The force of a correction is equal and opposite to the deception that preceded it.
 
Dictum Number 3: Capitalism doesn’t always take an economy where it wants to go; but it always takes an economy where it ought to be.
 
Dictum Number 4: The severity of a depression is inversely correlated with government’s efforts to stop it.
From Bill Bonner onThe Daily Reckoning, Oct. 31, 2014.