Free Wi-fi

"Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /"

WiFi stands for “What I Find Interesting”

The internet revolution is over. The internet won. Of all the things that we thought would take over the world of business, the internet was not high on my list of things to make or break a business, but here we are. Of course, that doesn’t mean that the strategy ends at the wi-fi connection.

Your reputation on the internet, your webpage, your likeability, and your “tweetiness” will all show what kind of brand you are and whether people will spend money with you. Not once in my business classes in college did any professor explain that we needed to have a virtual presence and it needed to look really, really good.

But, here we are and all of us need to have a business plan for being seen by customers.

There are as many SEO Experts as there are websites and they all say the same thing – “You need to create a brand and announce it everywhere online.” That, my friends, is not going to happen unless you have a team dedicated to watching everything that anyone says about you and responds as well as adds great stories about your company every day.

I can save you time and money. The key to online success is to just be friendly. Earth-shattering isn’t it?

There are times when you should be talkative and there is the rest of the time. Those talkative times are when you have something great about your business that you want to announce to everyone. It adds value to your company to be new and fresh. Just adding noise to be seen every day is numbing and you will soon find your customers tuning you out.

If there is a new product, a place to find your coupon, or even an employee of the month, announce it and be proud. Business owners forget to bring something interesting to show and tell…yes, that is what the internet is. It’s a world-wide show and tell. The kid who brings a rock he found outside and doesn’t care more than to get talking to the class over with is forgettable. The kid who talks about getting a new puppy is excited and happy and someone to watch. Be the kid with the new puppy.

Also, find the right spot to talk. Facebook is not a great place to announce things any more. LinkedIn is only good for business to business. Twitter is even less great when you don’t have a lot of followers. So, what is the spot that your customers visit most? Ask them. A simple question to find out how they would like to hear from you. It could be an email, text, or mail. Whatever they want is what you use. Being everywhere is a waste of time and energy when your customers only listen is one spot.

Sorry to disappoint all the new marketing people who think they can make or break a business with their skills in using 140 characters or less. The key is being real and honest. When you don’t have something to talk about, it is OK to be quiet. When you are excited about your business, talk and show it. Simple.

Let me know what you are excited about in your business.

Bob Griffin
CEO and Chief-Bulldog-in-Charge

An Open Letter to the CEO of SEARS


Dear Mr. Ed Lampert,

When you took over as CEO of Sears I assumed you were hoping to make a lot of money and that you were the man for the job. As a small business and franchise consultant, I see a lot of guys who think they can handle the job. As a successful hedge fund manager, it is easy to see how you can take the leap from understanding spreadsheets to thinking that you had a handle on the pulse of retail. After all, there are spreadsheets at Sears.

I watched with great interest as Sears has turned from a family place to shop into a thrift store.  That is what you were working to make it into isn’t it? A smart, successful man like you can’t walk around Sears and think that you wanted people with real money to spend any of it there, so it must be a call to gather all the Walmart shoppers who want to visit a mall setting. Thrift Store in a mall! Genius!

I especially like the way you keep payroll down so you can add more to the bottom line. It took me forever to find someone to allow me to spend over $100 on a new battery for my car. This, I further assume, was to make me wander around the store searching for an employee so I could find more things to buy. I threw out my back carrying the battery, but I did see lots and lots of things on clearance. I will have to add a new rule to my Bulldog Rules for Business – “Make ’em wait!”

Your new tagline is “Life. Well Spent.” I get it now. I can’t spend money at Sears, but I can spend my life trying to find someone to help me. That old tagline, “The softer side of Sears”, was for wusses. Make ’em work to give you money! That must be the best strategy.

When I did find someone to help me he was helping someone else and I had to wait more. More genius! When he was done and the other customer wandered away, I was told I had to wait more since he needed to put paperwork in a little bin somewhere behind a wall. I am not sure what that was for since all he said was, “I’ll be back”, but it was apparently more important than me and my money. Whatever you told that guy his job was, he did it well. I waited for more than 10 minutes and then left.

There are many places to buy a car battery, but there is only one Sears. I think you can be proud of that. No one can be as service-oriented as you and your team. I can tell that you have them all trained that way. The recruiting and training process must be intense. Proud!

As I finish my letter to you, Mr. Lampert, I want to thank you for showing me what it takes to run a big box retailer. I know I am not ready for that level of, um, success. As for you, my retail friend, be ready for more success as things seem to be moving faster than you anticipate. Your spreadsheets can’t tell you the future. They only look at what has already happened. But, from what I saw, I can tell you things will be exciting this year. Exciting!


Bob Griffin – Bulldog-in-Chief
Business Bulldog, LLC

P.S. I will be happy to talk with you personally anytime, Ed. As a fee for my services, you’ll have to buy me one of those sweet clearance shirts that I can’t look at directly without getting dizzy.