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Category: Business

Embrace Rejection

A couple of years ago I received this email from an editor in response to my pitch application for an open freelance writer position:

“Thanks so much for your submission. Unfortunately, we had a really strong group of writers this time around, so we won’t be able to bring you on board. Good luck with everything, though.”

If you thought that was bad, check out this email response:

“After much deliberation, we have decided to move forward with other candidates whose skills more closely match our requirements at this time. This was a difficult decision and, we realize, most likely a disappointing one for you. We hope that you will look upon the selection process as a valuable experience in your on-going personal and career development.”

You’re probably wondering why I kept these messages. I do it for two reasons. It helps me remember how far I’ve come when I look back at them.

For each of these messages, I have about 20 to 30 other messages telling me how much they were inspired by a piece I wrote or how happy they were with the service the team I lead provided.

Plot twist: I don’t keep these messages. Well, the majority of them anyway.

Why?

Remembering rejection lets me know what I’m made of. Resistance can either build or break. I choose to let rejection build me up to the level that no opportunity is big enough for me to not shoot my shot.

“What if?” is a 50/50 question. At least rejection lets you know where you stand. What you do with that information will determine how successful you decide to be.

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Anticipating Customer Needs

I work in the logistics industry which has been recently tabbed as an essential service during the Coronavirus pandemic. More specifically I work in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) market.

While some logistics companies report  a decline in freight, there’s been a spike in mine. As grocery shelves empty out, our customers ramp up more restock orders across the country.

Thankfully I have a team of skilled individuals ready to handle the increase in freight volumes and the specific challenges coordinating suppliers and trucking partners.

As a manager of over $35 million worth of commercial CPG freight (notable cereal and canned food brands) it’s my job to stay updated with the current market trends and advise my customers accordingly to ensure they continue to have a competitive advantage over their competition.

Doing analysis such as year over year trends on volume and annual freight spend helps me anticipate my customer’s upcoming needs. But I also have to be nimble enough to recognize if those needs could potentially change due to shifting market conditions.

It’s not good enough just to know your clients initial needs. You already have their businiess, so the focus now  should be how to keep it long term. We need to be bold enough to risk predicting the future and make calculated decisions based on it. The more you do the better you’ll get at anticipating correctly.

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Know What the Market Wants

One of the first pairs of kicks I bought to flip was the Nike Air Max Penny 1 “Pinstripe”. I got a great deal on the last pair from a Foot Locker outlet. They were considered retro silhouettes from Nike so I thought for sure I could make at least $50 on a resale. After about a couple of weeks, I ended up selling them for the price I paid.

No buyers bit on my marked up online offers. That shouldn’t have been surprising to me since I purchased them from an outlet store. And you know if it’s from an outlet, then no one wanted them.

Lesson learned.

Ask yourself this: Is there a strong market for the product or service you are offering? If yes then YOU can determine the value. When applying for a new position, do you have skills that are in high demand? Don’t be afraid to name your price when negotiating a salary. Value is synonymous with what the market needs, and if there happens to be a shortage of that ‘need’.

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It’s Not All Innovative

Amazon recently opened a full size “cashier-free” grocery store in Seattle WA.

The 10,400-square-foot “Amazon Go Grocery” store uses cameras and sensors to detect which products customers pick off the shelves, allowing shoppers to pay for a bagful of groceries without the help of a cashier.

Some see it as a controversial, job-killing business model that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos himself had dismissed three years ago.

Others will be overjoyed at the possibility of bypassing long grocery checkout lanes.

I, on the other hand, am still trying to figure out how I’ll price match without a cashier to assist me. Looks like the cashier-less stores will keep more money by reducing headcount and controlling the price points as they see fit.

Real innovation should help us all save more time AND money.

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