It seems that the small town store is a dying commodity in America these days. Less and less are the Mom and Pop stores around with the family doing the work together. It is a tradition that goes to the foundation of our country and the backbone of the economy and entrepreneurial spirit of our nation.
So why is it that such a tradition so embedded in the fabric of our society seems to be in such peril? Is it the transition from brick and mortar to online mediums and cell phone access the root cause?
Like many other companies, we are reaching out and exploring new mediums like social networking on Linked In, Facebook, G+ and others, and find that it really helps but leaves the customer experience flat. Without continual blogging, videos and interaction, the site stagnates and it is difficult to achieve volumes of users that basically self entertain posting comments pictures and activity.
The question if a small store should venture into new areas and mediums of communication is answered easily by a resounding yes, but that entry must be a tempered one and measured by the basic yardstick of business. Does the activity generate revenue more efficiently than other activities.
It is easy to waist endless hours working a marketing plan with time and then achieving no results only because you hope it will one day be successful. Its the same as throwing money at advertising that doesn't work, hoping someone is looking and might come by and might buy something. But this only addresses the marketing. Can a small business produce advertising using social media outlets that will compare and compete with larger more established groups and generate adequate cash flow and profit for the effort. I believe that they can but not as often as one might think. I don't think the ability to generate interesting and relevant marketing plans and campaigns are the sole issue in the decline of small business.. Something else is changing.
The globalization of products, growth of huge box stores to distribute them with unparalleled efficiency and that are specifically designed for smaller markets come into play as well. They have access to distribution, planning and products that a local small store will pale by comparison. Bigger volume allows for lower prices which further drives customers away. site and marketing will never achieve the likes of Lowe's or other major box store retailers or Amazon for distribution and access to goods and products. Honestly look at your buying habits, do you spend more for information, service or convenience?
I think the issue for smaller hometown stores are deeper than simply marketing and new technology use or the introduction of box stores in small communities. I think the fundamental expectations of our society and consumer buying habits are changing at a pace most small businesses can not handle. I have seen there is expectation of instant satisfaction in the new generations derived by our recent access to all things, all knowledge, instant gratification and availability to it 24/7 via mobile technology, 24/7 mega stores and individual designed targeted marketing by mass retailers on and off line.
Availability of Information also is contributing to the decline. Mobile technology empowers consumers. No longer are at the mercy of small business pricing, availability, store hours or the hording of information on the know how to get a job done, how much it should cost, or time schedules stores have traditionally controlled in the hometown small markets. With mobile technology, if they don't get what they want, the information they seek, the price they desire or the timeframe for satisfaction that is expected, the modern consumer will simply go to YouTube (We have over 60 videos at HTTP://youtube.com/askthemowerguy) and find over a million videos on How to do this or that, price shop on Google or validate the information given by the salesperson in real time often in the very showroom or the local store, order the product online and walk out. The local store is more and more becoming a free showroom for online discount retailers so that you can see the product locally, but buy it directly online.
Bottom line is small business no longer exists. If it is to compete technology and social interaction online must occur to be found, to sell and communicate. It is no longer an even playing field bracketed by geographic isolation. 24/7 competition, delivery and satisfaction exists now in every market. Small business must participate to grow as the consumer will go around them otherwise. Customer service still remains key to success but a focus must be made to become relevant to the new generation of consumers who are the next group of consumers replacing the past generations.
What do you think?
Is there a new generational gap developing, much greater than in the past tearing at the fundamental fabrics of our economy and society? Is the expectations between the generations for immediacy of support achievable by smaller firms? Is new technology and the growth of mega online and box stores a death blow to established traditional small firms?
Are the kids willing to take over the store as the parents age knowing that these challenges exist?
Share your thoughts as we go on this adventure ourselves. Your opinions matter.
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The Video Lesson
Spark plugs come in many shapes and sizes The most common are the W14LM-u for non OHV, and the Q16PRU-11. W22 Plugs are used for trimmers and two cycles. The insulated shank is shorter.
The issue is that plugs work in heat ranges and are different lengths for most applications these are the generic cross over for almost any application and work well
MOST COMMON SPAK PLUG FOR SMALL ENGINES WITHOUT OVERHEAD VALVES (ohv) W14 LM-U
Nippon Denso Spark Plug, w14LM-U (short ended), PLUG, SPARK (NGK B4LM, CHAMPION CJ19LM)
Carlsbad Small Engine
$ 7.23 $ 6.29
The Q16PRU-11 is first, followed by the W14LM-u and then the W22MP-U
Below is the MOST COMMON WEEDEATER OR CHAINSAW SPARK PLUG W22MP-U
MOST COMMON PLUG FOR OHV ENGINES, AND MORE EXPENSIVE ENGINES LIKE KOHLER AND HONDA LOOK FOR THE LONGER SHANK LENGTH Q16 PRU-11
I hope that helps. Be sure to visit the carlsbadsmallengine.com web site or the store Carlsbad Small Engine in Carlsbad, NM for all your parts needs, repairs or just to ask a question
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