David Letterman is famous for a segment of his show entitled: Stupid Pet Tricks.
Pet owners bring their pets to his show and the pet does some trick and everyone applauds. Pet tricks and pet videos are popular these days.
Business people do some really stupid tricks too but they are not quite as enjoyable to watch and usually mean the decline of their business.
For example: Before Circuit City went into bankruptcy, some corporate person got the bright idea that they would fire all of their knowledgeable, commissioned salespeople and replace them with minimum wage sales clerks. It did reduce their overhead but it also reduced their sales. Maybe they would have gone out of business eventually anyway but inexperienced, unmotivated sales people are a quick path to failure. There were some people cheering about Circuit City’s foolish decision and that was all the people at corporate headquarters of Best Buy and Wal-Mart who gained sales from Circuit City’s decision.
Another interesting move is what the government has done with General Motors. It’s hard to believe they put into a place a board of directors who have absolutely no experience in the car business. Same with the appointed “car czar”. These people don’t have the knowledge of the auto industry that Lee Iacocca had when he brought Chrysler out of bankruptcy the first time. I’m sure the new General Motors CEO, whose experience was with AT&T, is a competent CEO but what does he know about the car buying public? He probably will be able to reorganize the management structure, reduce costs and run an efficient business operation. But will he be able to manufacture a car that the public wants to buy? Can he turn GM around?
Recently, I took a flight to Philadelphia on one of the major airlines. I was surprised at what I saw. The major airlines have instituted a policy of charging twenty dollars for your first checked bag. And what do you think happened? When I was waiting to board the plane I noticed that almost every person had a carry-on bag and wanted to put it in the overhead compartment. The plane was sold out. No extra seats on the flight. To watch this mass of people trying to save twenty dollars by putting their luggage in the overhead bins was comical. Unfortunately, it was also unsafe. Across the aisle from me I observed a woman trying to put her carry-on luggage in the overhead bin and she dropped it on the head of a senior citizen. I understand these types of stories can be rather common these days on the airlines. Although the airline will take in more revenue and need less luggage handlers, they have also given airlines like Southwest an opportunity to take away their customers.
When you are making decisions about your business, think it through. Not only does it cut costs but does it benefit the customer? Don’t make the mistake of doing stupid pet-like tricks that will hurt your business.