May 2017


Consignors: Proceed at Your Own Risk

The couple had such high hopes when they opened their consignment shop. They got their inventory for free, they reasoned and since the real estate turnover in their upscale neighborhood was brisk, they should have a steady supply of both consignors and customers. The neighborhood, too, welcomed the new business enthusiastically. Within a few months […]

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online selling

Addressing the Uncertainty of Selling Online

You might be a crook. Your products might be of poor quality. You might not deliver once you’ve got my money. You might have misrepresented your product. These are the attitudes of the nearly one-third of U.S. Internet users who are still not buying online. With about 245 million Internet users in the United States, […]

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supply demand sign

Following the Supply-Demand Antiques Prices Triangle

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been following a discussion of antiques prices on a LinkedIn forum. The participants are all dealers, and the conversation continues as I write. Supply and demand antiques pricesIt’s been a lively discussion, and the general tone of the thread is respectful, which I find refreshing. Here are a […]

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customer service

Customer Service Policies: Help or Hindrance?

I couldn’t have been more embarrassed. I met some out-of-town friends for lunch, and I picked up the tab. We were in a small-town, mom-and-pop restaurant; the kind where you pay your bill at the register. I handed the clerk the bill and my debit card, and she said “I’m sorry sir, we don’t take […]

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auction sale

Has eBay Lost Its “Auction Edge”?

I miss Meg Whitman. You remember Meg: She was president of eBay back when it used to be an auction site. Meg’s philosophy was that eBay was in the business of connecting people with people; i.e., person-to-person trading. Ms. Whitman’s vision ended five years ago (2008) when John Donahoe took over eBay as CEO. Now, […]

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yelp online reviews

Six Fixes for Your Online Reviews

Whenever I travel, my first order of business (after checking into a hotel) is to browse through the yellow pages. I can tell a lot about a town’s economy by looking through their phone book: What types of businesses are around, how many of each type and where the business center is. In a city […]

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Is Nostalgia Fostering Better Mental Health?

It was pure nostalgia. The classic car cruise-in was a hit, judging from the size of the crowd. Classic and antique cars were parked up and down Main Street in Galax, Virginia, and more were circling the block in an impromptu parade. Radios blasted 1950s Doo-Wop and Rock n’ Roll; every 20 feet one song […]

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Finding a Cost/Services Balance that Pays Off

Most of us who have determined to run our own business have done so for one reason: To be our own boss. Master of our destiny. Captain of our ship. We soon find that our most important skill is the ability to make decisions, because we are faced with dozens of them each day. Marketing […]

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home auction

Hanging Out Your Shingle on the Web

If my grandfather knew I’d become an auctioneer, he’d roll over in his grave. Back in the Great Depression, my family was one of many that were turned out of their homes by a bank foreclosure. Since auctioneers were agents of the bank, the family’s ill will toward the bank transferred to all auctioneers. Nary […]

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customers looking

Customers Are Looking for a Reason to Buy From You

Back in 1897, it was rumored that Mark Twain had died. Twain was unaware of the rumor until a reporter showed up at his door inquiring about his health. The reporter, disappointed that he missed a big story, went on his way. Twain was amused by the incident and later recounted the tale for the […]

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