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David Zahn

Innovation Does NOT Start with “Wants and Needs”

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Nearly every business SAYS they seek to be innovative and be more responsive to customer or shopper wants and needs.  Unfortunately, that sets up a conflict that companies may not even be aware of – focusing on wants and needs may divert attention from how true innovation occurs.  While both innovation and meeting “wants and […] [Read More]

Sacredness of Retailer and Buyer Relationships

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The pundits have come out in full force to assess and analyze the results of this most recently completed holiday season.  Comparisons to last year’s results are dotting the internet and financial/trade publications.  One analyst (http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-12-26/last-second-selling-scramble-summary-retailers-after-christmas-deals) compared the forecasted uptick to be approximately 4% over last year to the actual results of -3.5% versus last […] [Read More]

Growth Through Reduction

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Now that the New Year is upon us, nearly all executives are focusing their efforts in creating growth opportunities, expansion of capabilities, opening new accounts, and becoming bigger in one way or another.  If growth is the goal, then one seemingly counter-intuitive approach to accomplishing it is through reduction.  However, the reduction  is in the number, […] [Read More]

Stop Selling “Stuff”

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One of the tasks I occasionally get to do as part of my consulting and coaching assignments is to observe sales people as a “fly on the wall.”  I will accompany a sales person as they meet with their prospects and customers and just observe their interactions so that (depending on the assignment or project) […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Business Resolutions

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As the packaging and wrapping from holiday gifts are being placed at the curb for pick-up in overstuffed garbage bins, and our plans for celebrating ringing in the New Year begin to crystallize, many of us are considering what our personal New Year’s resolutions will include for the new year.  For some, it may mean […] [Read More]

Do Dollars Outweigh Ethics?

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Are capitalists, entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives allowed to use the explanation that, “the market will determine what is right and wrong?”  Does the ability to sell a product give a company permission to not question whether it is appropriate to sell it?  Can one choose to separate their morals and ethics from their business […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Managers – Learn from Athletics

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One of the most common analogies used by executives is sports.  So much so, that it has become a cliche with people throwing around empty phrases like, “step up to the plate” to refer to being opportunistic, “home run” and “slam dunk” to refer to big victories and easy outcomes respectively, and “throw a Hail […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Black Friday, Retail and Competition

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This past week and weekend saw news stories about sales, the conflict between familial holiday traditions and capitalism, and online versus “brick-and-mortar” stores.  Around the Thanksgiving tables across the country, shoppers were planning and plotting their strategies to get the best deals, others were engaged in considerable teeth-gnashing about the loss of the family component […] [Read More]
Categories: General

Perils of Sub-Contracting

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One commonly used business model for small services businesses is to become a sub-contractor for a larger business.  The common reasons why the larger business may seek a sub-contractor are as follows: The larger company may be in need of an area of expertise they do not currently have to complete a project they have […] [Read More]

Is It Possible Lulumon’s CEO Was Right?

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This past week, Chip Wilson, the CEO of athletic apparel company Lulumom seemed to have stuck his foot in his mouth twice.  That is; after he had to make  amends for a quality issue not too long ago that left customers wearing the product a little more exposed than they had intended while stretching and […] [Read More]