Business Blog for Company Owners

by Jim Stein
April 14, 2017

A half-century ago, Marshall McLuhan coined the phrase, “The medium is the message” to make the point that the context that info resides in (the medium) has a significant impact on the reception of the message; thus, the medium combines with the content to create the meaning. It’s why your company’s profile presented in the Diamond Certified Directory (if you qualify) powerfully elevates your company for quality. It’s why the high-quality/high-trust positioning of our Diamond Certified Resource website is the most powerful context for your potential customers to access Deep Info™ on your company: your essential company articles, expert video and article tips, personal profile, key photos, and company video.

Each month, Read more

by Jim Stein
March 24, 2017

Now’s about the time that our never-ending rain will stop. Indeed, the winter storms are subsiding, and as surely as spring follows winter, renewal begins. Spring sets the stage for sunny skies, flowers blooming, birds nesting and new grasses growing. For consumers, moods brighten, house projects are planned, cars are serviced and winter-delayed health appointments are booked. For you, it’s a time to achieve performance numbers, optimize employee skills, satisfy customers and generate more referrals. Read more

by Jim Stein
February 10, 2017

We have exciting news! The Diamond Certified program just got even better. With a big upgrade of each company’s digital presentation, you’ll attract and sell more to quality-seeking customers if you qualify for Diamond Certified. With the launch of your company’s Deep Info™ creation campaign, we’ll help you get the right articles, tables, tips, photos and videos so prospective customers will feel confident they have ALL the information they need to choose your company. With the roll-out of our new Diamond Certified Company Digital Advantage, we’ll help you keep up with your own company’s website, digital marketing, and social media without extra cost and big amounts of your time.

Your Best Page Ever is About to Get Even Better
Let’s quickly do this together now. Read more

by Jim Stein
November 28, 2016

thanks2016Our entire team at American Ratings Corporation wishes you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving season. For me, this is the time of year to thank special people and reflect on outstanding deeds—an ideal precursor for personal and business planning.

Besides focusing on family members and friends, I’d like to take stock of what we’ve achieved with the Diamond Certified Resource this year. I’m thrilled to report that both consumer awareness of and preference for Diamond Certified companies were very strong in 2016. Read more

by Jim Stein
October 25, 2016

sweet-spotI’m sure we agree that growing your Quality Customer base is the right path to building your company for the long haul. It’s your Quality Customers who allow you to produce good-margin work, nurture staff members who take pride in their work, and grow a cash flow cushion and the actual value of your company. So, it’s surprising when I come across owners who say that ANY customer who’s willing to buy from them is a Quality Customer. I disagree. I define Quality Customers as not just those with enough resources to afford your services, but of these, only the ones who seek quality and are willing to pay for it and whose basic nature is that they have integrity and want fair dealings. Read more

by Jim Stein
September 23, 2016

“Just because I have a method to my madness doesn’t mean I’m not mad.”
– Anonymous

shoes-1What upsets us may not upset our neighbor, or our spouse for that matter. The return call promised within two days that still hasn’t come a week later, eyeballing a piece of wood on a framing project that looks sub-quality, wading through a complex bill and finding no one to explain it or staring at our shoes in the waiting room while the 15-minute expected wait stretches into its second hour. All of these are problems in the Process of the work, not the Outcome, yet they greatly affect the relationship between a customer and a company. Read more

by Jim Stein
August 22, 2016

Competition is a fascinating game. It starts with the concept of supply and demand. If you had no competitors (supply), all of your customers (demand) would be obliged to buy from you when they wanted the services you provide. Quite a pleasant thought, but alas, reality is stark and unrelenting. We live in America: the land of abundance; competition; free enterprise; and fragmented, crowded, noisy markets.

I hate to tell you this, but demand for your services will not really go up next year.
pie chartIn most local service industries, consumer spending isn’t likely to go up or down much year-over-year. After all, here in Northern California, population growth is around 1% per year. Read more

by Jim Stein
July 25, 2016

A few years back, I was giving some fatherly advice to my then 20-year-old son. I was certain that the advice I prescribed him was wise and would be carefully considered. After I finished pouring forth my golden words of wisdom, much to my surprise, rather than getting a thankful in-kind expression of gratitude, he simply looked me square in the eyes and said, “I’m not you.” And to make his point perfectly clear, he immediately repeated the phrase, even gratuitously prefacing it with, “You don’t realize…I’m not you.”

OK, you can see where that was headed. To my credit, I didn’t counter with, “Of course you’re not me, but consider these issues and possible solutions.” I was actually struck with the simplicity and power of his reply. Read more

by Jim Stein
June 24, 2016

Diamond Certified is the brand that builds your company (if you qualify). It means Quality, Helpful Expertise and Customer Satisfaction, backed by a Performance Guarantee. To create this meaning, we’ve operated the most accurate ratings of local companies available. We’ve spent $50 million+ promoting the meaning of Diamond Certified in the Bay Area over the past 15 years, and we’ve delivered 10 million directories to local Quality Consumers. Plus, Diamond Certified companies have handed out more than 3 million Diamond Certified brochures to help prove their top rated, quality status to local consumers. Read more

by Jim Stein
May 20, 2016

Sometimes you just have to say, “Hey, by doing that, we’re killing our brand!” If you don’t, you’re not paying attention. Your brand’s meaning and power change every day. Do good things for your brand and it builds in power and meaning. Allow bad things to keep happening and your brand becomes tarnished and weak. It’s so important for your company’s long-term success that we’ve decided to create a list of brand building and brand killing actions and decisions that you, as a manager, can do a lot to control. Read more