Surveying Small Business Solutions

During the past year, many small business owners in Canada & USA have participated in one or more of the surveys that we conducted including several on in the dental industry at tradeshows, such as the American Dental Tradeshow that took place in October in San Antonia in 2014.

nice view after the tradeshow..

As people on our email list may recall, I had been asked to evaluate a number of orthdontists and a dentist in Richmond, BC. This project has important marketing policy consequences for many dental business owners around North America including the ability of persons such as you to obtain reliable information on a dentist as many of you use resources to find medical professionals that aren’t actually all that accurate and simply a marketing ploy. Many local newspapers that give out quarterly review awards are an excellent example of that.

Oh wait.. did you not know about this marketing ploy?.. and guess what, you’re probably a part of it!


Have you heard about municipal awards given out to Business owners?

Well .. that is actually if cleverly disguised marketing ploy that preys on regular fold.

What happens is business owners actually pay to be considered as one of the best within the city – the payment is usually a substantial amount. Therefore, a very small amount of business owners actually partake in the survey. Let’s say only 5 out of 100 dentists within a city pay for it. Now, out of those 5 dentists, whoever compensates the newspaper the highest amount, usually wins the so-called “survey” the remaining four are then mentioned as notable dental clinics!
Therefore, next time you hear who has the best invisalign or braces in Roseburg Oregon, just conduct your due diligence or take a closer look at how the newspaper selected the winners!

So here’s a relevant solution that our team at PlanetUSA is working on – we want to address & tackle this problem for people that search for services, from limousine companies to dental work.

If you were previously involved in either the screen line count survey (counting limos) or the patron survey (interviewing passengers) which measured service and availability.  At this time, we are recruiting surveyors to work on Friday and Saturday nights from 10:00 pm to up 4:00 am post the busy Christmas season from Dec 30 to Jan 29.  I am seeking persons to interview people on the street and at club venues.

I would ask for a minimum commitment of surveying at least 4 nights out of the possible 10 nights during this period (5 weeks x 2 nights = 10).  There may be fewer survey nights depending on the number of surveyors I can get and their productivity.  The payment is similar to last time about $100 per evening (to be finalized).

 Since you participated before, your experience is valuable and ensures that this important project is implemented more effectively.  Note that the screen line count survey won’t occur until November.  If you are interested, please send me an email with the subject line “’want to participate in service study” and fill out the Conflict of Interest statement that will be provided by PlanetUSA reps.

Of course, this offer is open to any of our readers in North America that are interested in understanding the under-workings of small business marketing and consultation work, or even how to create a fantastic product from scratch – this is a great way for them to get their feet wet.

If you have some reliable friends who want to participate, please forward this email to them to fill out and send to our team.  Any conflict of interest does not disqualify you from participating but simply protects you from liability in the future.  I would appreciate my readers respond as soon as possible.



SouthWest Strategy Part 2

Southwest, aka SW can lower all fares to break even on the routes that Continental and United have entered. This will force them out of the routes as quickly as possible and produce the least risk that they will be able to secure a competitive position. SW is currently facing external and internal problems as a firm. As SW expanses into new locations, the company’s corporate culture will become diluted due to dis-economies of scale.

We are not talking about a small duct cleaning operation here which requires a handful of participants to make the operation work.


It will take a larger amount of time and money to communicate with a larger group of employees. Also it will be increasingly difficult for employees to feel the same type of family environment, since upper management has less time to allocate to each area due to increase size. This could course conflict between management and employees. The corporate culture of SW is its main competitive advantage and if the culture is diluted and “negatively” alters in any way, it will affect SW’s profitability.

The external problem the SW is currently facing is the increase in direct competition from United and Continental. There is a medium barrier to imitation for other companies to copy SW. There it is easy to copy most of SW’s tangible and intangible resources, since the resources are standardized. It is the capabilities and for SW that will be difficult for other companies to imitate.

Although other companies can hire SW employees (Donald Valentine) to get insight and intangible resources, it is the execution of its corporate culture creates the capabilities that SW has. Therefore even if they hire out SW employees it will still be difficult, but not impossible for United and Continental to copy SW’s capabilities since it strategically committed to do things a certain way due to being large and establish companies (high bureaucracy and power distance, which causes hostility between management and employees). Larger companies have larger inertia, so it takes more effort and time for these companies to imitate SW’s business model.

This was a real life case study with took place just under 2 decades ago, as you can see from the stock price, the company did not only strive really flourished – using some of the strategies we mentioned.

Note that with your business, you don’t get access to insights very easily because we can sometimes become restricted by our own minds. I would highly encourage you to step back from the trees & look at the beauty of the trees.

The SouthWest Strategy

Let talk about one of the greatest airline companies on the planet that started from the USA. They also went through a geographical expansion phase reach, and that hindered them in maintaining their phenomenal corporate culture.


Potential Solutions:

-Increase training of new and existing staff members
-Create a new headquarters in new geographical areas
-Continue with training program aka Basically do nothing out of the ordinary. SW is focused on building their culture and doesn’t necessarily need to do anything more.

-Create incentive programs for corporate culture

Incentive programs such as bonus’s depending on customer or staff feedback. The drawback is that it may erode culture as employees game the system and as it clashes with the culture.



If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.”- Sun Tzu

Two major airlines with resources are entering SW product space. As a result, SW stands to lose marketshare, revenue and profitability.

-Weaken their balance sheet

SW has an absolute competitive advantage that Continental Lite and United’s Shuttle cannot mimic. On any route, SW will be able to lower prices further while remaining profitable. Thus the competition will not be able to compete in the space indefinitely, the longer they remain in the space the more money

they will stand to lose. Our recommendation is based on encouraging their investment, so when they eventually leave, SW is in a position to significantly grow our market share.



SW will publicly announce the exit of several routes because of the competition from United and Continental. As a result, SW will announce the sale of the aircraft’s on this route. SW will then search through its fleet for the 737’s that require the most maintenance and more importantly, are the most

fuel inefficient. By overloading Continental and United with 737’s, when they decide to exit the low

cost fare market, SW will be able to repurchase the aircraft at a discount. SW has two options in this situation.


They can wait for Continental and United to leave the industry on their own accord, or, if SW

becomes worried of their competitive threat, can reenter the route and charge at cost to drive out their

profitability. In either situation, they benefit from the repurchase of the 737’s and from the decreased

financial strength of their competition.

To be continued..

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