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Entrepreneur -- Some people, regardless of what they lack—money, looks, or social connections—always radiate with energy and confidence. Even the most skeptical individuals find themselves enamored with these charming personalities.

These people are the life of every party. They’re the ones you turn to for help, advice, and companionship.

You just can’t get enough of them, and they leave you asking yourself, "What do they have that I don’t? What makes them so irresistible?"

The difference? Their sense of self-worth comes from within.

Irresistible people aren’t constantly searching for validation, because they’re confident enough to find it in themselves. There are certain habits they pursue every day to maintain this healthy perspective.

Related: Are You a Leader or a Follower?

Since being irresistible isn’t the result of dumb luck, it’s time to study the habits of irresistible people so that you can use them to your benefit.

Get ready to say “hello” to a new, more irresistible you.

1. They treat everyone with respect.

Whether interacting with their biggest client or a server taking their drink order, irresistible people are unfailingly polite and respectful. They understand that—no matter how nice they are to the person they’re having lunch with—it’s all for naught if that person witnesses them behaving badly toward someone else. Irresistible people treat everyone with respect because they believe they’re no better than anyone else.

2. They follow the platinum rule.

The Golden Rule—treat others as you want to be treated—has a fatal flaw: it assumes that all people want to be treated the same way. It ignores that people are motivated by vastly different things. One person loves public recognition, while another loathes being the center of attention.

The Platinum Rule—treat others as they want to be treated—corrects that flaw. Irresistible people are great at reading other people, and they adjust their behavior and style to make others feel comfortable.

3. They ditch the small talk.

There’s no surer way to prevent an emotional connection from forming during a conversation than by sticking to small talk. When you robotically approach people with small talk this puts their brains on autopilot and prevents them from having any real affinity for you. Irresistible people create connection and find depth even in short, every day conversations. Their genuine interest in other people makes it easy for them to ask good questions and relate what they’re told to other important facets of the speaker’s life.

4. They focus on people more than anything else.

Irresistible people possess an authentic interest in those around them. As a result, they don’t spend much time thinking about themselves. They don’t obsess over how well they’re liked, because they’re too busy focusing on the people they’re with. It’s what makes their irresistibility seem so effortless.

To put this habit to work for you, try putting down the smart phone and focusing on the people you’re with. Focus on what they’re saying, not what your response will be, or how what they’re saying will affect you. When people tell you something about themselves, follow up with open-ended questions to draw them out even more.

5. They don’t try too hard.

Irresistible people don’t dominate the conversation with stories about how smart and successful they are. It’s not that they’re resisting the urge to brag. The thought doesn’t even occur to them because they know how unlikeable people are who try too hard to get others to like them.

Read the rest here:

1-23-2017, Entrepreneur -- 

1. Focus 

“It’s been said that leadership is making important but unpopular decisions. That’s certainly a partial truth, but I think it underscores the importance of focus. To be a good leader, you cannot major in minor things, and you must be less distracted than your competition. To get the few critical things done, you must develop incredible selective ignorance. Otherwise, the trivial will drown you.”

—Tim Ferriss, bestselling author, host of The Tim Ferriss Show 

Offer: Get The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss as a free audiobook with a 30-day free trial to


2. Confidence

“A leader instills confidence and ‘followership’ by having a clear vision, showing empathy and being a strong coach. As a female leader, to be recognized I feel I have to show up with swagger and assertiveness, yet always try to maintain my Southern upbringing, which underscores kindness and generosity. The two work well together in gaining respect.”

—Barri Rafferty, CEO, Ketchum North America

3. Transparency

“I’ve never bought into the concept of ‘wearing the mask.’ As a leader, the only way I know how to engender trust and buy-in from my team and with my colleagues is to be 100 percent authentically me—open, sometimes flawed, but always passionate about our work. It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent. They know what they’re getting at all times. No surprises.”

—Keri Potts, senior director of public relations, ESPN

4. Integrity

“Our employees are a direct reflection of the values we embody as leaders. If we’re playing from a reactive and obsolete playbook of needing to be right instead of doing what’s right, then we limit the full potential of our business and lose quality talent. If you focus on becoming authentic in all your interactions, that will rub off on your business and your culture, and the rest takes care of itself.”

—Gunnar Lovelace, co-CEO and cofounder, Thrive Market

5. Inspiration

“People always say I’m a self-made man. But there is no such thing. Leaders aren’t self-made; they are driven. I arrived in America with no money or any belongings besides my gym bag, but I can’t say I came with nothing: Others gave me great inspiration and fantastic advice, and I was fueled by my beliefs and an internal drive and passion. That’s why I’m always willing to  offer motivation—to friends or strangers on Reddit. I know the power of inspiration, and if someone can stand on my shoulders to achieve greatness, I’m more than willing to help them up.” 

—Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California

Read This: Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger | Amazon | | Barnes & Noble

6. Passion

“You must love what you do. In order to be truly successful at something, you must obsess over it and let it consume you. No matter how successful your business might become, you are never satisfied and constantly push to do something bigger, better and greater. You lead by example not because you feel like it’s what you should do, but because it is your way of life.”

—Joe Perez, cofounder, Tastemade

7. Innovation

“In any system with finite resources and infinite expansion of population—like your business, or like all of humanity—innovation is essential for not only success  but also survival. The innovators are our leaders. You cannot separate the two. Whether it is by thought, technology or organization, innovation is our only hope to solve our challenges.”

—Aubrey Marcus, founder, Onnit

8. Patience

“Patience is really courage that’s meant to test your commitment to your cause. The path to great things is always tough, but the best leaders understand when to abandon the cause and when to stay the course. If your vision is bold enough, there will be hundreds of reasons why it ‘can’t be done’ and plenty of doubters. A lot of things have to come together—external markets, competition, financing, consumer demand and always a little luck—to pull off something big.”

—Dan Brian, COO, WhipClip

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Entrepreneur -- I’ve always viewed zero as a special number. You can add as many zeros as you want in a sequence, and the end result is still zero. You can multiply any number by zero and you get zero. If you divide a number by zero, you get a spirited debate among mathematicians. 

The concept of zero has marveled mathematicians and philosophers alike, but businesses can also take something away from its unique properties. That’s because something magical happens when a price falls to zero -- all of a sudden, demand rises to infinity.

For software companies and startups that offer their services over the Internet, zero or “free” should be a central consideration in your business model. It was for me when I founded Wattpad, and it continues to be one of the core reasons we remain so successful today. Here are a few things to zero in on when examining this model.

Related: 5 Tips for Setting Your Optimum Price

1. Rapid user adoption

When Microsoft announced in August that its new edition of Windows 10 had hit 75 million downloads in its first month, many people reacted with surprise. After all, it took Microsoft six months to hit 100 million downloads for its previous release of Windows 8.

What was so different this time? What made this launch so special? The answer lies in the number zero.

By offering Windows 10 for free, Microsoft was able to capitalize on a wider audience of users and seed early interest for its operating system with developers. Similarly, when businesses offer something for free, they can speed up customer acquisition and build a user base much more rapidly.

Remember that there are many factors that prevent people from adopting a product or service -- price being one of them. By offering something for free, you completely eliminate a common question consumers have when deciding to try a new product -- “Should I pay for this?” 

Read the rest of the story here:

Entrepreneur -- Technology is changing the business world and unlike previous years, we now have three generations working side by side with each other: the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Millennials.  As digital natives, Millennials understand and use technology in a way that has created a seismic shift in corporate America – and also how we conduct business.

Whether you are a seasoned executive or a young entrepreneur looking for business management advice, you need to know the new rules of the workplace.

Here are five commonly believed business lessons that are now myths:

1. You need to pay your dues.

Historically, new college graduates were tasked with chores like getting coffee for executives and sitting quietly in meetings for the sole purpose of taking notes. Now, with the rapid influx of new technology, young employees are a huge asset. Yes, someone still needs to handle keeping the spreadsheets up to date and preparing conference rooms for big meetings, but don’t overlook these new employees when it comes to idea sharing and out-of-the-box thinking. If they feel that their ideas are taken seriously, they’ll often surprise you with a fresh take on age-old issues and will be motivated to work harder and longer. Many young adults are already starting and running their own businesses; the idea that you can’t be successful without a few years of slaving away at dreadful tasks is no longer true.

Related: The Truth Behind 12 Common Startup Funding Myths

2. Don’t talk money.

The new workforce is not shy when it comes to sharing how much money they make and gender-equality issues are being brought up in the media more than ever. If you pay your employees fairly and explain why each benefit policy is in place, your workforce will have nothing to complain about. Make sure your company is an even playing field that rewards great work and is an open environment where employees feel comfortable chatting with HR.

3. There’s no place for social media at work.

Can you believe that some companies still block Facebook from their office computers? The new workforce is about trust; trust that employees will use Internet access responsibly and will only share what is appropriate in a work setting. In fact, there are many benefits to having social media in the office. For example, encouraging employees to share company successes over social media is great for brand management and recruiting. Social networks are also excellent for professional networking.

Read more here: 

8-30-2016, Entrepreneur -- When I first took the helm as executive director of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center over a year ago, I brought with me 15 years of experience in the Silicon Valley venture capital community. I’d been through tech booms and busts, economic upswings and downturns, so I was feeling an abundance of confidence: Like anyone who’s been in a profession for over a decade, I (initially) found it easy to sit back and think I'd "seen it all.”

I was mistaken; in fact, my first year of leading the Center taught me, through the experience of others as well as my own, that when it comes to starting and leading any young entrepreneurial organization, every day is filled with surprises and unexpected lessons.

The Nasdaq Entrepreneur Center, for those who don't know, is a new San Francisco-based non-profit organization designed to educate, innovate and connect aspiring and current entrepreneurs. Since the center's 2014 inception, some 2,000 entrepreneurs have gained from its classes and programs. Through interviews I conducted with the Center’s Young Executive Advisory Board members, I myself gleaned five practical lessons that can help any entrepreneur who dreams of starting something big:

  • Customer problems are solved on a continuum, not with a single solution.
  • Data cannot be collected retroactively.
  • Patience for your company's most important problems is essential.
  • Strategy time is crucial.
  • Never deprioritize your team in pursuit of more working time.  

Here are the direct words of those entrepreneurs:

1. Aleda Schaffer, strategic partnerships manager, American Airlines 

'Customers are more than just a single problem they’re trying to solve.'

"Coming from venture capital, I was used to finding a single problem to solve. With the Center, I expected the single [biggest] problem to be an entrepreneur’s need to fund-raise -- and that this would drive the focus of our programming. But it quickly became clear that our customers needed a richer experience beyond just investor guidance; they responded to classes aimed at design thinking, sales and marketing, PR and media training and even organizational management. Don’t get me wrong -- they still wanted to meet investors, but it wasn’t a 'be all' solution.  

Read the rest of the story HERE.

Forbes -- “He doesn’t have a lot of experience managing people. Do you think he can do the job?” This is a phrase we hear more frequently as organizations fill the vacancies retiring Baby Boomers leave behind. Recently, a younger friend told me his experience of being hired after receiving his graduate degree. Most of the team he would manage had been working for the organization for more than 10 years and were his seniors by approximately 20 years. Some of them expressed frustration about being managed by someone so young and inexperienced. Were their fears grounded? How effective are newly appointed managers compared to the older and more seasoned folks they replace?

Frankly, being an older boss myself, I assumed veteran managers would prove to be the more effective leaders. But the data surprised me. In a recent article for Harvard Business Review my colleague Jack Zenger and I explored our database of more than 65,000 leaders and looked more deeply at managers who were 30 years of age and younger (455 leaders) and compared them to an older group of leaders over 45 years of age (4,298). Once we separated the two groups, we looked at the distinguishing characteristics of each.

When comparing groups, we strive to make them as similar as possible. But by the very fact they were promoted to managerial positions at a relatively young age, we realized that those in the younger group were primarily high potential achievers. It is not common to be elevated into a managerial job at such a young age. Of the younger group, 44% ranked in the top quartile on overall leadership effectiveness when compared to all leaders in our database. In contrast, the older group contained only 20% who were in the top quartile. In all, the older group was a combination of leaders who were exceptional, more that were good and an expected percentage who needed improvement.

When we looked at the 360 data of the younger and more seasoned managers we found the younger group was rated more positively on every one of the 49 items. This is both surprising and excellent news that indicates there are talented young leaders in our organizations who will be capable of stepping into key roles.

However, like my friend, younger managers struggle with proving their worth. From the comments and data we saw that younger managers were not fully trusted and that others often felt they were not capable of representing the organization. People also complained that young leaders lack strategic perspective and deep knowledge of their industries. It is true that some things are only learned over time. But before pass over promotion of a younger employee due to their “inexperience” you should know what they really have to offer. Here’s what we found:

  1. Welcome change. The younger leaders embraced change. They did a great job of marketing their new ideas. They had the courage to make difficult changes. Possibly their lack of experience caused them to be more optimistic about proposals for change. It was as if they did not know that changes would be hard to make happen. They possessed the courage to take on significant changes and were more willing to be the champions of change projects.
  1. Inspiring behavior. Younger leaders knew how to get others energized and excited about accomplishing objectives. They were able to inspire other to high levels of effort and production to a even greater degree than their more experienced counterparts. Their older colleagues tended to more often lead with “push” while they lead with “pull.”
  1. Receptive to Feedback. Young leaders were extremely open to feedback. They more frequently asked for feedback. They wanted more extensive feedback regarding their performance, and they found ways to both digest and implement the feedback. Older leader then to be less willing to ask for and respond to feedback from colleagues.

Read the rest of the story here:

In December we talked about how specialty retailers might strategically compete with Amazon. It strikes me that it might make sense to analyze how Amazon has embedded itself in the mind of most consumers, including yours.

INFORMATION. One of the things that specialty retailers claim to use as a defense against Amazon (any competitor for that matter) is knowledge. In our business, the strongest claim of course is install capability and skills. “We know how to properly educate a consumer” is perhaps the second strongest tool claimed by the specialty retailer. Let us focus on this idea. Specialty retailers know many of the intricate details that make a back up camera, audio system, Bluetooth, smart phone integration, etc… work properly. Often specialty retailers use this information to differentiate themselves from such on-line competition as Amazon. For sure, this is a great strength for specialty retailers and should be used often and with great conviction.

That said; take this small “mother-in-law” survey with a few of your family members, friends, customers or just plain strangers. Ask the following questions in this order…

  1. Do you buy from Amazon?                  If yes, proceed…
  2. Do you trust Amazon?                          If yes, proceed…
  3. Do you find the information at Amazon you need to make an informed buying decision?                                                                              If yes, proceed…
  4. Does that information come from the Amazon product page, user reviews, forums, third party resellers?

Not being a betting man, I’ll wager my left arm (not my right arm) the answer to question 4 includes at least two of the choices if not all.

The point is that Amazon aggregates a great deal of information specific to an item and delivers access to that information in a form comfortable to almost every Amazon shopper. Then Amazon offers a very low pressure add-on/alternative opportunity in the form of “other people who purchased this also looked at…” Then Amazon takes information delivery even further by offering the Amazon shopper other resellers than Amazon from whom the shopper may choose to make their purchase.

All of this information is available to the Amazon shopper, inside of the Amazon environment, in a very digestible and non-intimidating format. The consumer can choose to go as deep or as shallow in their information gathering endeavor as they are comfortable with.

The specialty retailer counteraction…

Qualify. Qualify. Qualify. Provide the consumer with exactly the quantity and quality of information necessary for the consumer to feel like he is capable of making an informed decision. Be in a position to go to the “Nth degree” of detail IF the consumer indicates he needs that detail to make an informed decision. BUT don’t try to “dazzle him with your foot work” or baffle him with big words or BS him when you are not sure. When you’re not sure, it’s best not to instruct your consumer to look it up at the factory web site. The factory is likely to take your consumer to another place to purchase. Better you should find and deliver the information to the consumer in a way that he is comfortable with.

If you don’t take this course of action, it’s OK.  Your consumer can get the information at Amazon.   

Mediapost -- In the world of in-car entertainment and connectivity, a buck’s worth of research and education is worth $100 of advertising. You can talk about your app suites forever, but if people don't know what you’re talking about, and if you yourself don't know which technology the people actually use (and why), you may be spending money to talk to a wall. 

It isn't an engineering and design talking point, either. Connected-car technology is climbing the feature consideration ladder, and when consumers use infotainment features, they are more loyal to the car brand. 

Automotive market research firm SBD and Nielsen delve into this in a new white paper based on data mined from Nielsen's AutoTechCast survey, which polled some 14,000 U.S. car buyers. One of the things the firms say right off the bat is that more and more people are specifically looking at how they can stay connected, and that is becoming the basis of their car choice. And while it sounds like a small piece of the buyer pie, 14% of respondents who said they would now place in-car telematics within their top three shopping criteria is a lot of people. Especially since a few years ago a connected car was one that had just hit another car in the rear. 

The study offers this idea of the virtuous cycle: “familiarity, interest, usage, satisfaction and loyalty.” Loyalty is driven by satisfaction; satisfaction by actual usage; which, of course, is spurred by interest in using the technology; which depends on how familiar a consumer is with it. One argument the firms make is that a marketer who only listens to what consumers say they want is doing negative reinforcement because they are making assumptions about what consumers are familiar with. They are going with what they know.

Business World -- The Internet of Things will continue to make inroads into the automotive industry in 2015 with the connected car technology. The year 2015 will witness more mainstream auto companies adopting connected car and advanced technologies.
Here are five auto technology trends to watch for in the coming year:
The number of vehicles that include a telematics option will increase: There are 14 automakers that control 80 per cent of the car market globally and each one of them has a connected-car strategy. In 2015, we’ll start to see these strategies apply to more car models as connected features, such as high-end navigation, telematics and infotainment, are included as standard options.
Advanced technologies will become a precursor for autonomous vehicles: Future-forward car manufacturers will start to push the envelope on enhancing advanced technologies such as adaptivecruise control and lane departure warning– further setting the stage for autonomous vehicles.
Competition for off-the-shelf aftermarket solutions will intensify: Overall, adoption for connected cars remains relatively low. For example, 200 million cars in the U.S. are not connected. The coming year will usher in more competition for solutions to benefit the aftermarket.

- See more at:

Consumer research company IHS recently projected that almost 80% of the U.S. population that are of driving age will own smartphones by 2016. We generally know how these devices are used as the average consumer migrates toward a fully connected lifestyle; checking status updates, sending and receiving texts, finding a restaurant, maybe even taking a call or two after posting a new selfie. 

The ways these devices are used in a moving vehicle are resurrecting the issue of driver distraction among major media outlets as well as state and federal regulators. Learning of the practical and disparate impact of this usage can provide additional business opportunities for all mobile electronics professionals. 

According to, a Department of Transportation website, there was a nine percent increase in the amount of vehicular injuries from 2011 to 2012 in crashes involving a distracted driver. Yes, you can be distracted while eating a sloppy burger, applying makeup or slapping the kids in the back seat, but this increase is likely due to more people using smartphones and other handheld devices while driving. 

The states have taken notice. As of February 2014, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that 12 states have banned all handheld in-car usage of cellphones and have made this a primary enforcement law, meaning that you can be cited for this offence alone and not in conjunction with another primary offence which was previously the case. In addition, 41 states have outlawed texting and all but four treat this as a primary offense. 

What about the practical issues? While driving at 55 miles per hour, sending or receiving a text takes your eyes from the road for an average of 4.6 seconds, the equivalent of driving blind for the length of a football field. 25% of teens respond to a text once or more every time they drive, and 20% of teens and 10% of parents admit to having extended, multi-message text conversations while driving. These are the people who admit to it; imagine the total percentage of drivers out there who are texting right now. You’ve seen them – weaving in a lane, blowing through a red light and braking hard to avoid a collision. 

There’s more. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, in a 2012 study, reported that newly licensed female drivers were twice as likely as males to use an electronic handheld device while driving. And in 2011 the Pew Research Center said cellphone owners between the ages of 18 and 24 exchanged an average of 109.5 messages on a normal day. Do you think they kept those smartphones in their backpacks while they drove? 

Remember the average age of a vehicle on the road today is 11.3 years, which means over 150 million vehicles are out there that need a hands-free solution and we can assume that a big percentage of those distracted kids are driving those cars. Advanced Bluetooth and voice control products are in your assortment right now, and they should be heavily pushed with the strong message that using a cellphone while driving will get you ticketed just like running a stop sign.  Have your customer imagine driving on the Interstate with their eyes closed for about 4 ½ seconds, the equivalent of sending or receiving the average text. Kinda scary, huh?

Getting past the negative sell makes the positive sell much easier. BT audio streaming is a joy once someone discovers it. Hands-free call making and taking isn’t distraction free but it won’t get you pulled over. And it’s a cool new in-dash receiver with a nice display, plus it also charges your phone (or e-cig…whatever) and is affordable – a bonus!

There is no silver bullet here – just a practical, sensible approach to selling safety and convenience. When a majority of your potential customer base is already distracted, they might likely appreciate what you are selling and reward you with their business if you know the facts and communicate the benefits with the understanding that you are not going to change their core behaviors. 

We are entering a new era where an increasing number of people are living a connected lifestyle.  More than ever, consumers will be seeking ways to improve their connected experience in their homes, in their cars and on the fly. As an industry, we must capitalize on helping customers achieve that experience by turning them on to more innovative, connected products and demonstrating them in ways that are fully relevant to their increasingly connected lifestyles.  

Background… My wife has and uses an eBay account. You may recall that eBay got hacked a few weeks ago and encouraged their users to change their passwords. When she tried to reset her password the site said, "We’re too busy, try later." In order to protect the checking account attached to her eBay account she attempted to remove the checking account from the eBay account. The notice from eBay indicated that a form of payment could not be removed while a transaction was pending. You can guess she made no such transaction so it follows that one of the eBay hackers was using her account. What to do…?

I called our bank and requested that they put a “deny access” to any PayPal and/or eBay request for payment. It was our attempt to prevent the bank from funding a fraudulent purchase. Now the point…

The “customer service” guy at the other end of the phone wants to know upon which transaction I wished to place a stop payment?

Me: No, I explained again, not a stop payment but a deny access order.

Bank: We have to have a specific transaction.

Me: We don’t have the transaction details. EBay claims a transaction is in progress and we did not initiate the transaction.

Bank: If you don’t want a stop payment the only thing you can do is to dispute the transaction when it posts.

Me: I don’t care what you want to call it, I don’t want a fraudulent transaction to post to my account.

Bank: OK we’ll call it a stop payment and hope that works. There will be a stop payment charge to your account…

Me: Not acceptable. May I speak to a supervisor?

Bank: Yes but I should tell you the supervisor will tell you the same thing. That’s all we have.

Me: Thanks but I don’t want to carry this discussion forward with you. May I speak to a supervisor please?

Bank: OK but you’re gonna hear the same thing.

Of course the supervisor apologized and 4 minutes later places the “deny access” order at no charge. Problem’s ROOT CAUSE…

Bank management does not empower the staff to “think” and look for a solution. It would have been simple for the customer service clown to say, “I can’t do that let me get a supervisor who can help”. Instead he felt empowered to argue with the consumer. Management has an obligation to set a solutions oriented culture that provides a superior experience for the consumer. Don’t foster this culture and you get customer service reps (sales people) who feel empowered to argue with consumers as opposed to providing thoughtful solutions. Sales? Faghettabowtit. 

3-7-2017, Canadian Car Stereo -- Recently [an online 12-volt publication] published an article on how millennials are keeping their used cars longer…I think this statement is untrue. I think people are keeping their used vehicles longer.

The study they are referring to states, that most younger new car buyers are not purchasing a new car until the age of 29. That means the younger generation who grew up on iPads and iPods will spend roughly 11 years in their used car. Let’s visually break this down. It’s 2017, if a millennial is now 18, he/she was born in 1999. If this “used car” was their first car, let’s say it is a 2004-2008 vehicle or if they are lucky they got a 2010-2014 vehicle.

Let’s go to the other end of the spectrum, a 65-year-old man or women, bought a new car at sixty. That would be a 2012 vehicle. Let’s pretend a young couple got married at twenty-one, and bought a new car and a house before starting their family. Fast forward today, they have a 4-year-old child. They would have bought roughly a 2013ish vehicle, they have a home and most likely are just finishing up car payments etc. Are they going to try and delay buying a new car, most likely? Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t have a crystal ball, but is your store set up to sell/cater to this demographic?

This article came out the same week Pioneer Electronics launched their “Fall in Love with Your Car Again” campaign. We can all laugh at these videos, but it does make you think.  Have you ever had your vehicle professionally detailed?  It gives you the same feeling. Most people looking to upgrade or replace their car’s radio is out of necessity not passion.  A customer has a 2008 Mazda 3 that does not have bluetooth for hands free calling or audio streaming.  But it does have a 3.5mm audio jack for a “media” input according to the extra button on their radio.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

12-7-2017, SBA -- As an independent retailer, you’ve got to use every weapon in your arsenal to get shoppers into your store this holiday season. But you may be underutilizing one marketing tool that’s right in front of your eyes: your window displays. Try some of these 9 tips to attract more customers with holiday window displays:

  1. Get inspired. Look at other stores’ display windows to get your creativity flowing, or search Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration. Pay particular attention to nearby retailers, since you don’t want your window display to blend in with theirs.
  2. Keep it cohesive. Your holiday window display should tie into your overall store decor as well as your business brand. A country-style Christmas tree won’t attract shoppers to a sleek, modern clothing store, for example. Using your brand colors can make your store window stand out while still staying in the holiday spirit. For example, if your logo is hot pink, how about a tree covered in hot pink ornaments?
  3. Create a focal point. You may be tempted to fill your window display with everything under the kitchen sink—after all, you’ve got so many great products in stock. But if your display is too crowded, it won’t catch customers’ eyes. Plan a layout with one big focal point to draw viewers in. Proper lighting can direct viewers’ eyes where you want them to go, so take advantage of spotlights to highlight key areas of your display. Leave a couple of lights on at night, when your store is closed—you never know when someone passing by might be intrigued enough to return during business hours.
  4. Consider your customers’ perspective. Make sure the focal point of your display is at eye level of customers walking by. Does your store need to attract attention from people driving by? You’ll need to think bigger to get them to notice you. If you’re located in a mall or on a pedestrian shopping street, your display won’t have to be quite so spectacular.
  5. Don't block the view. Big department stores can create window displays with backdrops that block the view into the store, but as a small business, you can’t afford to do that. Set off your window display by framing it with drapery, lights or holiday ornaments—people will still get a peek at all the goodies in your store. If you need to create a backdrop to get the display effect you want, make it short enough so the average passerby can see over the top.

Read the rest of the story HERE.

9-11-2017, -- I’m a people pleaser. It’s hard for me to say "no" to people who ask for something -- despite a reluctance inside of me. This has gotten me into trouble more than a few times in life and especially in business. Time is precious and slips by quickly but there is also no lack of things that have to get done in an entrepreneur's life.

For 12 years, I took life a day at a time. I had a dream but no goals for making it real. I just woke up each day hoping for something more. In 2011, I had had enough and began chasing my dream of starting a lifestyle business. This meant more work on top of a service business that took 60-80 hours of my week. It didn’t take long for me to realize that something had to give. I had to learn how to say no to open up room for the things that were important. Seeing how much time and energy was freed by saying no, I started looking at all the other areas of my life. Here are six things I said no to. Saying no helped me live a much better life and create the kind of business that I love.

1. Other people’s baggage.

Life is hard for all of us. Sometimes it’s easier to push your baggage onto someone else, maybe even without you realizing it. If you are trying to make changes in your life and someone reacts a certain way because of their baggage, it’s up to you to say "no". You don’t need any more drama in your life. For me, this meant ignoring some people on social media and purging negative people from my life. It meant ending the business partnerships that were not in alignment with the direction I was taking my business.


2. Situations that I knew would make me angry.

There are things in life that you know you don’t want to do. For years, I just rolled with it. I went to gatherings and hung out with people who I knew would make me angry. I got on "get-to-know-you" calls with entrepreneurs who were all talk and no action. I entered into collaborations with business owners that weren't serious. When I said enough and stopped, it felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. It freed my mind and business and helped me focus.

3. A business that I absolutely hated.

I had a service business in the vendor industry for 12 years and hated it. I felt stuck and believed that someone like me -- a high school dropout -- couldn’t do better. In 2011, I said "no" more and worked hard for four years to make my dream of being a global lifestyle entrepreneur a reality. I now wake up loving what I get to do for work and traveling the world. Saing no led to happier days.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

Sound impossible? Ready to start writing furious comments? Then you’re ready to have a real conversation about our industry. Throughout social media and mobile electronics publications, we have seen dozens of retailers step up their game by creating boutique stores and installation bays utilizing all the latest installation techniques catering to automotive enthusiasts. But what about the customers who buy elsewhere? How likely are they to come in to your store? 

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past ten years, you already know online sales are growing at an alarming rate and taking money out of our brick and mortar stores. Look at Radio Shack, Circuit City and Best Buy. Radio Shack is in bankruptcy, Circuit City is gone and Best Buy had to do a major restructuring of their store’s culture and core business practices. Did you know that an article in Forbes stated that Best Buy is growing by 17 percent in Q4 this year in online sales?

Let’s take an honest look in the mirror. People don’t buy from us for only three reasons. I call this the three P’s:

  1. Price: They found it somewhere at a lower price.
  2. Product: They did not see or were not shown the features they were looking for.
  3. Personality: They did not like your store or the salesperson.

Really take a moment to think about the three P’s. Have you ever wanted to buy something, and when you got to the store, something about it made you decide not to buy? These examples are about people who came into your store. What about the people we never see—the online shoppers?

The other factor to consider is that people are more comfortable sitting at home in their pajamas, reading reviews and purchasing in the security of their own homes than talking to a salesperson. The Ace up our sleeve in the 12-volt industry is that they need it installed and they need parts!

Remember, these customers are not your customers; they have already chosen to buy somewhere else. Why not try to get them into your store? The online shopper is already your best customer. Why? They already like car audio, they have a credit card and they need parts to install it. Another huge bonus of this customer is the possibility of an add-on sale—for example, a steering wheel adaptor, backup camera, sub boxes or any other product category in your store. How much would you pay to have a customer with these qualities in your store? 

To get online shoppers in your store, you must go where the customers are—online.  Place a banner on your website stating, “Amazon Certified Installation Center” or “EBay Certified Installation Center.” Then start using Facebook Ads. Don’t show your latest specials or installations. Instead, make sure your ad states, “Bought your electronics online? We would love to help you install it. We will test the equipment and provide any parts you need to install it yourself.” (You can word this any way you like, but you get the idea.) Only spend $20 a week on this ad, but target ages 20 to 35 (this is the biggest demographic buying online). Why not state, “We install audio products purchased online.” We don’t want to scare them off, we want to help them with their purchase. Once they are in the store, we can talk to them about installing it if they don’t feel comfortable. If you can get one person off a Facebook Ad to buy parts for a head unit installation, you will make $450 off one sale! Let’s break it down:

  • Data Retention Harness                      $250
  • Backup Camera                                  $100
  • Steering Wheel Adaptor                       $100

These are reasonable expectations for one customer from a $20 ad. That means $80.00 a month in ads becomes $1,800 in sales with four, yes, four customers. Keep in mind, this customer already has the expectation to buy. After all, they are coming down to your store to buy their parts! For the math gurus out there, that’s $21,600 in sales in one year. We are not shooting for the moon here; this is a very obtainable goal.

If you don’t know how to do Facebook Ads, sign up for my monthly newsletter at and I will send you a video on how to do place ads designed for the 12-volt market in your area. As salespeople, we waste $20 a week on all sorts of stupid stuff. For $20 dollars a week, you can create a new category in your store. Imagine if you could get one of these customers to have their online product installed: $200 x 12 months is $2,400. That is $21,600 + $2,400 = $24,000 for $1,040 in advertising. The biggest, BIGGEST thing to remember is, your ads are running 24 hours a day even when you’re closed. That’s the cheapest salesperson you will ever hire. What if you ran ads that read, “Do you have any used mobile audio equipment? We would love to help you install it yourself.” Once again, this is not your customer; these are new customers, but the other type of customer already enjoys car audio, so let’s get them into your store. Show them the newest products, like Apple CarPlay! 

By catering to “online and used product” customers, with the goal of one customer a week from each of these new categories, the potential business is $48,000 for $2,080 in advertising. This is how we increase your 12-volt business by 15 percent in 45 days by creating a whole new category for your store. 

As is my custom, I was reading an article the other day in TWICE; “The Internet Is Your Friend, Not Your Enemy.” The article was written by a well-respected CEO, ‘industry veteran” type who is quite capable. I perceive the goal of the article was to help brick & mortar retailers who constantly lament that the Internet is a significant cause of their business troubles. The article discussed the showrooming concept and how to make that work for the brick & mortar retailer. It talked about the need for a brand to have a significant Internet presence. It even discussed why it is OK for the brand to sell directly to the consumer and to brick & mortar retailers at the same time. I agreed with everything in the article. I was however disappointed by what was left undiscussed in the article.

I find this failure to identify the real issue and discuss it in frank terms most distressing and a little bit irresponsible. Kinda like pointing out that “the emperor has no clothes.” All his servants are afraid to say so for fear of reprisal, so they let him run around naked. It also reminds me of a man standing on a curb giving advice to another man standing in the middle of a busy street. The guy in the street is complaining that he is very likely to get run over if somebody doesn’t do something. The guy on the curb suggests to the guy standing in the street, “Look at the car driver’s eyes. If he sees you, he probably won’t run over you and you’ll be safe”. Not wrong advice. BUT wouldn’t better advice be something like “get the #$&@ outta the middle of the street!”

The point… The Internet is not the problem about which retailers lament! The problem is what brands allow to happen on the Internet. Before the Internet it was the gray guys in the warehouse district behind the bowling alley or the flea circus down the street or the guys in the back of the magazines. The Internet is simply the latest and most efficient tool.

In many cases, the brand has written agreements with its customers. The agreements often provide rules governing MAP, MRP, transshipping, at which address the retailer is authorized to sell, selling on the Internet, etc… So, the brand’s customer violates the Internet rule and sells at cost on the Internet or transships to an e-bay guy who sells at cost or, well you get the picture. What does the brand do in the way of enforcing its policies? NOTHING. Therefore the promise made by the brand to every customer who signed the agreement, follows the policies and expects that policy violators will be disciplined is worthless. (The brand’s un-written policy, “wink & nod,” is the subject of another issue.) The retailer is SURPRISED when his consumer “buys it at cost on the Internet.” Beyond surprise, now frustration and anger set in. Tears. Laments. Complaints. Threats. “Why I oughtaa…”

It isn’t the Internet that caused surprise, frustration and anger. It’s the brand partner’s failure to consistently enforce policy and create a more predictable business condition. I contend, if we seek to address a problem we ought to identify the root cause and advise “get the #$&@ outta the middle of the street.” Looking at one driver’s eyes leaves the guy standing in the middle of the busy street quite vulnerable to all of the other cars intent on running him over…

SURPRISE…? My @$$! We ought to know better.

I guess it is often tough and uncomfortable to have an honest discussion about a fact or set of facts. Some even consider it “bad form”’ or rude.  I consider it necessary. Such a discussion might even be empowering…What do you think?

At your service,

Ray Windsor
Leadership Systems

For more helpful tips and tricks, check out Ray Windsor's YouTube channel:


The other day I sat down at home to relax and watch some TV. Flipping through channels, I saw that one of my all-time favorite movies was on: the original “Star Wars.” As I watched, I was reminded why it’s so special to me. It wasn’t the epic space battles, brilliant musical score or quippy dialogue. It’s how it made me feel. Every time I watch it, I feel my troubles melt away, carefree as an 8-year-old boy.

Due to my fascination with the film and franchise, I learned an interesting fact: it wasn’t the sole idea of writer/director George Lucas. The basis for these movies is rooted in the teachings of the late Joseph Campbell, renowned lecturer, writer and mythologist, known for his immense wisdom on life.

You could say he was the Yoda of modern myth. He discovered that every story and every person’s personal journey follows the same basic structure, referred to as “The Hero’s Journey.” From this idea, Campbell came up with his most famous quote, Follow your bliss.”

With that in mind, it’s likely that you got into the 12-volt business for a reason. It could be that you were grandfathered into owning a store from family or from a job that began in high school doing basic installs, and you worked your way up the ladder. Whichever the case, you work in this business because you have a passion and drive that gives you what you couldn’t find anywhere else. You followed your bliss.

As a retailer, you already know that part of your job is to keep track of the latest trends on the market so you can be one step ahead of your competitors. In today’s market, that includes keeping an eye on the OEMs and what part of your business they could be impacting next. So comes the question: how do you stay relevant with your customers in the face of competition from an outside competitor? The answer is staring at you when you look in the mirror. Use personal identity to reimagine your business.

The first place to look is within. Passion is infectious. The more passionate you are, the more it will inspire your staff and customers. According to a study conducted by Philadelphia-based consultant PeopleMetrics, employees who are passionate about their companies are the best performers, regardless of industry, tenure or gender.

Another factor is the type of business you’re in. As a consumer, I know that I have certain preferences when I shop. If one store is selling a product I want for two bucks cheaper than the shop down the street, I’m not generally going to care who I buy from, unless I have a personal connection to one shop over the other. That’s where building customer relationships comes into play.

By using your company culture as a bridge to attract customers with similar interests, you allow people to connect with your shop on a personal level, making them more apt to come back. According to brand marketing expert William Arruda, small businesses should use their unique personal brand, or unique promise of value, to connect and maintain position with your core audience.

No matter what a competitor does to take business away, you can always counter by focusing on the side of the business that is often overlooked, such as aftermarket add-ons and accessories. These can include radio replacement interfaces and rear parking sensors. Just make sure they comply with the culture you’ve established. Logically, it’s much easier to sell a product or set of products that fit in with your store’s identity rather than to sell the same car audio equipment as Han Solo-Salesman down the street.

Using social media marketing (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and participating in local community outreach (like Little League Baseball) can be rewarding, traffic-generating promotions. However, when attending these events make sure your company culture and logo are well represented so potential customers can get a taste of your shop’s unique style. An example of this can be found in the Industry News section of ME’s December 2013 issue.

During the course of any workday there are challenges. No matter if it’s difficult customers, exhausted installers or even dealing with personal issues, never underestimate the importance of enhancing your shop culture with passion. As Joseph Campbell would say, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.” 


Mobile electronics manufacturers succeed or fail based upon their understanding of the market as well as the quality of their retailer relationships, and here is where all manufacturers can improve their game. Just when you think you have a handle on what it takes to succeed, a more careful examination proves that you have much to learn. 

I gained a lot of insight after reviewing and judging the Top 12 retailers in this year’s Retailer of the Year (ROTY) Award. In no particular order, I will share with you five lessons that every manufacturer should learn and understand from the Top 12:

1. The best retailers don’t rely on gimmicks to grow their business

The Top 12 retailers all had very straightforward approaches to earning the business of their customers, starting with an honest assessment of what products and services are offered and how each retailer possesses true differentiation from other retailers.  No “fake deals,” and few, if any, giveaways.  Manufacturers need to collaborate better with their best dealers and understand that broad-based, one-size-fits-all promotions will not necessarily work with specialist retailers.  Having a flexible, customized approach will earn more of the specialists’ business. 

2. The best retailers have commanded the art of the demonstration

These Top 12 retailers have system demonstration capabilities that are interactive, compelling, informative and convincing.  Many of these retailers utilize a system-selling approach which intentionally narrows down selection but offers the customer plenty of product choices while showing how installation craftsmanship makes the difference in performance and longevity.  We already know that the use of video displays is opportunity to showcase installation capabilities and other services, and some of these retailers took that to the highest level by using Apple TV and other tech solutions to pipe in photos, music and video content to create just the right in-store environment and to tell their complete story. 

3. The best retailers do more than car stereos

I’m sure this was born out of necessity, as traditional electronics product margins and ASP’s declined.  But most of the Top 12 retailers have successfully broadened their business into automotive accessories, fabrication, customization and detailing.  This bumper-to-bumper approach provides their customers with more reasons to spend their money with them. This takes a lot of commitment and risk; you can’t specialize in everything, right? But with careful assessment of their markets, the Top 12 retailers chose the right diversification strategies and most seem to be working well. Not all business extensions are successful, and a few of the Top 12 retailers were quick to make the necessary corrections with minimal pain. Manufacturers should pay attention to each retailer’s complete business strategy, find out what other revenue areas are succeeding and figure out creative ways to support those areas. 

4. The best retailers train their people, even if the manufacturers won’t

Manufacturer training is an area that has been on the decline for over a decade, with in-person training and instruction being replaced by online services and other hands-off methods. The trend is still troubling, however the Top 12 retailers are not sitting on their hands. They have all adopted training programs of their own alongside of industry training, with most of them embracing MECP.  The unspoken attitude here is that training your staff makes them more valuable, far beyond the direct or indirect expense of the training itself. Those vendors that offer informative, in-person training in addition to online resources ought to be strongly supported by specialist retailers – clearly these vendors have your long-term best interest in mind. Vendors that have decided to pull back on training as a cost cutting measure should reconsider or accept less business support. 

5. The best retailers know customers better than anyone else

Many of us career-long manufacturer members typically think that we know the mobile electronics consumer as well as any of our dealers…but in reality we don’t. Even after years of dealer roundtables, traveling through every market and having long conversations over too many beers, there are things we can learn about the end-user and what it takes to win their business. The Top 12 are in constant contact with their customers and have developed relationship-building skills that keep those customers for years (in some cases, multi-generational). It was impressive to see the community outreach, charity activities and local event participation.  Here is where manufacturers can take more of an interest; there might not be a short term buy-in opportunity but supporting these efforts can deepen their dealer relationships and create an appreciation that will be rewarded over time. 

Being part of the industry’s Top 12 retailers is a huge honor, and it doesn't happen without commitment, passion, constant learning, professionalism, relationship building, collaboration and reinvention. The Top 12 retailers are representative of all that is good in the mobile electronics industry – a love of music, craftsmanship and a job done extremely well. It is clear that a consumer visiting any of these fine retailers will have a great experience, learn a lot they didn’t know, and make some new friends. 

Keith Lehmann is a 30-year veteran of the consumer electronics industry, with executive experience in sales, marketing, technology and corporate management. Lehmann was most recently Executive Vice President of Kenwood USA Corporation, in charge of the company’s consumer electronics sector for over ten years. Today, Lehmann is a consumer electronics industry consultant as well as Managing Director of the Connected Car Council ( 

Given the popularity of college basketball and its annual tournament known as “March Madness,” I thought it appropriate to discuss the concept of a tournament and its affect on the human psyche. But first, here’s a seemingly unrelated book reference:

I recently finished reading the second book in a series called “The Reckoners”. The first book in the series, “Steelheart,” follows a group of freedom fighters attempting to rid the world of super-powered overlords and the book’s namesake antagonist, a Superman-esque villain that is impervious to all weapons. These powerful beings, called Epics, once mere ordinary people,  were corrupted when a powerful atmospheric event turned them into Epics. But due to their powers, every one of them was corrupted. As they say, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

I know what you’re thinking. What the hell does any of this have to do with “March Madness?” Good question.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, was known for many things. He was the first person in history to be named to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach. He was given the nickname, “Wizard of Westwood,” an appropriate title given his record of winning 10 NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons, with seven of the 10 coming in consecutive years. He was also incredibly humble, making no more than $35,000 a year—$151,918 in today’s dollars—and never asking for a raise.

Despite all of those accolades, Wooden is perhaps best known for his inspirational wisdom, stemming from his Pyramid of Success model. The model was aimed at giving players the tools to be successful in both basketball and life, inspiring players like Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar—both former UCLA players—to become future NBA greats.

There’s a point to all of this, I promise.

As you can see in the attached image, the pyramid is built with a list of carefully selected elements, consisting of virtues like loyalty, cooperation, initiative, self-control and team spirit, among others. These virtues all add up to the top section of the pyramid: competitive greatness.

For the 12-volt entrepreneur, this concept should be familiar considering that to be successful in any endeavor, one must be well-prepared to best the competition, or at least put up a good fight. Perhaps the biggest part of being accomplished is how to deal with success without it going to your head. In his book, “Wooden on Leadership,” Wooden said, “You must monitor confidence because it can easily turn into arrogance which then can lead to the mistaken and destructive belief that previous achievement will be repeated without the same hard effort that brought it about in the first place.”

This leads me to “The Reckoners” book reference from earlier. It’s easy to let success go to your head. You can have the appearance of success by gaining fame, professional respect and money, but that doesn’t mean you are achieving it in the best way possible to gain inner peace and self-respect. If you sacrifice any of the elements that make up the pyramid in exchange for the easy way, you will lose sight of yourself as a person and become a self-absorbed, arrogant bore on his way to “the bench.”

Much like the playoff brackets in the NCAA “March Madness” tournament, the pyramid requires patience and determination so that all steps are executed properly. It’s like building a sound system in an RV; it’s a large endeavor that requires planning, long hours and lots of equipment placed carefully in the vehicle. If any step is skipped, the whole thing could be a colossal waste of time and require even more hours to fix all of the errors. 

More often than not the teams that win the championships in basketball are those that follow the pyramid, or any other healthy leadership paradigm from their coach. Those that fail are like “Steelheart”; they take their natural, genetic talent and squander it without tapping into their true potential. If you don’t believe me, just read the words of the man himself:

“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

1-9-2017 -- Known as the largest electronics show on the planet, CES provides an opportunity for new innovation at the start of each year. This year, it did not dissapoint, providing a place for mobile electronics manufacturers to showcase new ideas to eager retailers and industry insiders.

This year's event took place at the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC) and featured some potential game changers for many companies. With a packed show floor, visitors from all over the world were able to see innovations that could affect them more than they know.

Perhaps the biggest innovation that many companies are developing products for, is the concept of OEM integration with an enhancement of sound quality. Kenwood has released its XR600-6DSP (MSRP $800),  a six-channel power plant that, through partnership with Automotive Data Solutions (ADS), upgrades select factory audio systems by supplanting, rather than supplementing the factory amplifier.

Sony displayed a demo vehicle featuring its RSXGS9 hi-resolution single-DIN head unit, which was reflective of where many car audio companies are going this year. This is largely thanks to a renewed interest in high quality sound from their customers. JL Audio, which again showcased off-site at the Palms Hotel and Casino, displayed its highly publicized C7 component speakers as part of this focus on quality sound. Attendees of the company's display were able to sit in a chair in the middle of a sound room to hear the speakers close-up. The C7 project was led by CEO and Chief Engineer, Lucio Proni, with a mission to create the finest-ever JL Audio component speakers.

Back at LVCC, but away from the North Hall, was Alpine, back in the mix with a new, innovative head unit, the iLX-107, an aftermarket in-dash receiver with wireless Apple CarPlay. The device utilizes direct Wi-Fi instead ofBlutooth to connect iPhones to the receiver, making it the first to market with the concept.

On the safety side, imageNEXT has parterned with American Road Products to bring OmniDRIVE, a connected car safety product, to the aftermarket in North America. The device that integrates 360º surround view monitoring (SVM) and blind spot cameras with a 5-channel DVR with optional dash-cam or driver cam that can be connected with wi-fi to portable devices in a vehicle. The product will be available for purchase through American Road Products. Shipping is scheduled for the end of March, tentatively.  

While some years bear few significant developments, this year's CES and Las Vegas showcase proved the aftermarket is an exciting place to be, one that is finding new ways to both compete and surpass the OEM presence. 

Find out more about what happened in Las Vegas in the February issue of Mobile Electronics. 

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