Blogging is your VOICE!

I was asked to write a blog consistently for our website. Never knowing what it took to blog and what was expected I turned to the source that knows… the internet. It turns out that people have been writing blogs before it was ever called a blog.

Even though hieroglyphics (caveman blogs) have been around for millions of years it wasn’t until January 1994  Swarthmore student Justin Hall created the first blog ever, and in December 1997 online diarist Jorn Barger coins the term “Weblog” for “logging the Web.” Then Programmer Peter Merholz shortens “Weblog” to “blog” in April 1999 (from to become what we now call blogs.

Now it has become a valuable tool to tell a story, write about an experience, or tell someone about yourself. In some case some blogs are so popular they have been sold for millions of dollars. There are over 152 million blogs on almost any subject and some so obscure you would never have imagined someone would write about it.

So why blog for your business? Most businesses/corporations use it to talk about their products, their people, or in some case about their visions. Some individuals use it to tell their stories or to reach out to others that might want to learn about what someone went through in their life. A blog is an outlet and opportunity for someone you don’t know and might not ever meet to get to know you. Best of all it’s FREE and only takes minutes out of your day.

Like all of us every day we are one day older and hopefully one day wiser. Blogging is great for business and for you it’s the perfect way for someone to learn about you as a person, your vision, and hopefully what you can do to help someone become wiser and hopefully why they would want to do business with you. Do you have to blog every day? In my opinion no, but doing it once a week will keep people coming back to your website to see what’s new in your business or your life. Consistency is the key to create a following and you might be amazed as to how good it feels when you do write. Until next week. Enjoy!

-Bill Elizondo, August 24th, 2018

Time waits for….

I have a friend in the real estate business and he told me that if I was waiting for the price of land to come down that it would be a long wait. So far, he has been correct but let’s not forget that he is in the business of selling.

The value of land increases along with supply and demand forces that are at work around it. Many investors have correctly predicted the expansion and growth of a commercial or residential area and have done well at selling time.

Land is very well laid out for all to see. Sometimes there are changes but essentially what you see at a specific location today is a lot like you will see after the passage of time. Some wines age gracefully and become more valuable. Not so much with beer. Another associate of mine who was invested in a beverage company explained the value that the brewer (manufacturer) realizes from placing a prominent date upon their product. We believe it is for the determination of freshness and it is, but it also reminds the seller of the age of the product.

I have purchased many vehicles and have never done so with the intent of creating an outflow of cash that would exist long enough to erode the expected return or economic value that I was looking for at the time of purchase.

Inventory is dollars. It is cash. It is beer. When it loses freshness, it must be poured- out. Only a desperate and thirsty customer would drink an old beer or buy an over-age and problematic vehicle. I know that there are dealers who have sold an Orange Gremlin that sat on the lot for 182 days and surprisingly enough even signed off on the title when the loan paid out.

But let’s not talk about the one time in a 25- year career event. Should we not examine the fortunes which result from the more effective and reasonable management of vehicle inventory? Whenever I spend time consulting with a dealer I first discuss inventory.

The vehicle purchase is occasionally the problem. Buyers sometimes make mistakes or fail to recognize well disguised defects which become apparent after the fact. The first loss is the best loss. Managers receive vehicles into inventory that are certified or that have passed inspection but in the most efficient system that I ever operated we gave the manager a great tool. The right to rescind the deal.

If a dealership manager evaluated a vehicle which was assigned to or purchased by the store with a valid and documented reason for disposal then we took it back. It became a buyer or management problem rather than an eventual cost or customer problem. Trust me, the loss or breakeven was a great investment and helped avoid numerous other possible issues.

In a recent study of multiple web sites from dealer prospects I focused on the issues which involved customers rating the dealership. Overwhelmingly, the results were always the same. If a customer was happy with their vehicle they might offer to write a positive review. I will assure you that a customer with a broken car can be very vulgar and disparaging to you and your business and that they will write a negative review.

Managers can force the issue on vehicles which lack in operation, appearance and cost if they have the proper tools. First, they must realize that expenses when extended outside of policy boundaries will not fix the problem. Appearance or cosmetic issues can be just as damaging especially if the price is not modified or adjusted. Vehicles that do not operate satisfactorily during testing will not serve well if sold and passing problems on to customers is contractual suicide.

The cost of land seems to be ever-increasing even if the grass isn’t mowed or improvements are not made. Vehicles depreciate when being operated or when sitting in your inventory and the reasons are many. Inventory management is a specialty that we teach. From acquisition, inspection, re-conditioning and merchandising as well as dealing with warranty and issues after the sale. We are here to help with training and operations.

After all, we like the real estate agent are in the business of selling and time stands still for no one.

-Mike Eskina, July 20th, 2018

2014 Woman’s British Open Champion

A question I frequently get is, “What was going through your head when you made that putt on 18 to win the British Open?”. The same thing that was going through my head when I hit my 3 wood in on 18 (which hit the pin). Also, the same thing that was going through my head on the first hole on Thursday. Total commitment. The truth is, we never really know. In any endeavor, we have an end result in mind – we take the needed time to hone the necessary skills, we prepare externally, and then come time to execute. Sometimes the result is better than anything we could have expected, sometimes a fail. Regardless of the result, the process is most important. Yes, I was nervous on the 18th hole, I knew whatever was about to happen was going to be a big deal. But I was also nervous on the first hole, and there are times I get nervous in every single tournament.

There are two points I’d like to emphasize here:

  1. As with any “major” feat, I didn’t do this alone. My Dad taught me from a book in a homemade net in my driveway to get me started. A kind man let me sneak in the practice facilities for free as a child, and my college coach took a chance on me and let me walk on the team at UCLA. There are countless others who have been part of my journey, even an anonymous donor who sponsored my junior tournaments. It’s very important to recognize all the people who help up along the way, and just as important to keep helping others in turn.
  2.  In anything we’re trying to accomplish, we need to create a process, and make commitment a habit… whether it’s hitting a 3 footer to finish a practice at dusk, or whether it’s a putt to win the British Open with the world as your witness. Make the same commitment.

– Melissa “Mo” Martin (2014 Woman’s British Open Champion), July 13, 2018

Working for a dollar an hour …

My first job (besides babysitting) was in produce department.  I started out sorting potatoes; taking out the stinky rotten ones. This was not fun, and I wanted to get it done quickly. I learned that “slopping” through it was immediately apparent, so I just got a rhythm going and got it done efficiently. This led to getting to sort other produce that stunk less. Soon I was able to help do some of the more fun stuff that the boss worked on. 

The day came when the boss was out sick. The truck had delivered produce and I knew that it had to be put in the cooler. I also had been taught to “rotate” the cooler first. I went to work and got it done.  I was back to sorting the produce when the store manager came up apologizing that he was sorry, time and had gotten away from him and we were going to hurry to get that stock in. He was totally shocked when he came out of the stockroom and asked if the truck had not come. He nearly hit the floor when I showed him it was already done. The next day the produce boss was there, but one of the butchers in the meat department was sick. The manager came and got me, and I learned how to wrap and price the meat.

After that I worked both departments. It all came apart when the USDA inspectors came in when I was cubing steaks.  The store was fined (because of my age), I could not work in meat department, and my hours were cut.

I was finally offered a job as a cashier.  Soon when it was not busy, I started cleaning up the check stands. Before long they were keeping stock in the office, so I could refill the gum and snacks.  My hours increased, and I was again the person with the most part-time hours. A friend of mine asked how this was possible. I told her my story and she started doing the same and getting more hours. Some of the others started to complain but were told to work as hard as us and they would get more hours. I even heard the owner that ours was the best run store he owned.   

I certainly learned valuable lessons from that first job:

  1.  There is always something that needs to be done.
  2. If you are always doing something, whether it’s your job or not, you will be rewarded.
  3. Even if you are not monetarily rewarded, the feeling of accomplishment I felt was well worth it.
  4.  Always do all your job and as much as possible of your boss’s job, they will notice!

I was extremely fortunate to have had such a wonderful experience there. I did not even understand it at the time, but what I was learning was LEADERSHIP!

-Joyce Guest, July 6th, 2018

I can see clearly now…

I was driving home after a business meeting, I had a cooler with cold water, plenty of fuel and the 231 miles should be behind me in just over three hours, barring traffic or construction. I wanted to get home by supper time, enjoy a nice home-cooked meal, sleep in my own bed and spend the upcoming holiday weekend with my wife.

My cell phone alerted via the weather app and I was approaching the two counties where it was said that a storm would produce high wind and hail. My thoughts then turned to my new truck and images of ping pong sized balls of ice bouncing from the hood and windshield. I could see the thunderstorm on my left coming from the South-Southeast. I pulled over on the roadside recalling my always used business advice given to many a client, “It is a poor plan that admits no modification.”  I reached into the console and pulled out the road atlas. Let’s see, Missouri now Kansas now Missouri again. Got it. Travel 21 miles to Butler and take 56 West for 18 miles then resume northbound on 69 highway. Here we go.

 Soon after taking the detour It began to rain and I set my wipers at intermittent mode which worked well for about ten miles. Then the deluge. Hard, heavy rain began to fall. As I turned up the wiper speed one setting at a time, I went to maximum wiper speed before I could clearly see the road. That’s when the thought (and the song) hit my mind, “I can see clearly now, the rain is gone; I can see all obstacles in my way.” Almost immediately the rain began to slow and then fall lightly. I was heading North in only a few minutes this time following the storm. Had I continued with my original plan I would have driven directly into its’ path.

Obstacles to business plans are sometimes predictable and sometimes from the blind side. I frequently tell associates and clients that, “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” As with my road trip I was fortunate enough to have technology and open minded enough to amend my plan. I must admit that in my younger days I would have opted to forge ahead and try to out run the storm. However, even with my weather app and GPS technology I did get a little archaic when I referenced my road Atlas. I liken that to looking that up in your Funk and Wagnalls rather than doing a Google search, but hey, it worked.

My life’s work has been to develop business plans and do analysis for auto dealers and entrepreneurs, finance representatives and lenders and others who need to see more clearly regarding their prospective or current business plan or model. Like any other field of work, we look to those who can offer success stories and share experiences when they did try to drive through the storm and what those results turned out to be. Oh, and for anyone who needs consulting and training or the best technology available in a DMS please contact me at your earliest convenience.

I have a special offer for the first to tell me who the artist was and the year the song was released.

Talk soon.

-Mike Eskina, June 29nd, 2018