Commentary & Recap: Futurist Libey Examines the Present at MeritDirect, Part 2 of 2
Last week, we recapped the first half of the keynote presentation given by investor, catalog owner and motivational speaker Don Libey during the MeritDirect Business Mailers Co-Op in White Plains, N.Y. In part 2 of our recap below, Libey touches on the importance of having unique products, offering convenience, hiring the right people and getting enough capital.
Here are the other six of his 12 pointers for running a thriving B-to-B multichannel business in 2009 and beyond. (For part 1, click here.)
7. Product. If you don’t have enough new product to excite people and steal market share, you’re missing the boat, Libey said. “This is a beautiful time for product development,” he pointed out. “Not only can you buy it cheap, but you can get people to tool it for you for nothing because they need the work.”
8. Convenience. Libey asked: Why is Zappo’s so good? “They have 9,000 choices in my size, can get anything I want and have it to me tomorrow morning by FedEx, and I can return it by FedEx. Sure you pay more, but it’s worth it for the convenience,” he pointed out. His advice: Make shopping easier in all channels. Constantly say to yourself, “waymish,” which stands for “why are you making it so hard,” continued with “for me to give you my money?”
9. People. Hire mediocre people, get mediocre profits.
10. Investment. Underlies almost everything. “Most of us are cheap,” Libey said. “We’re too cheap to invest where it leads to success, so we invest the least amount where it's least needed.”
But he noted that compared to dead products sitting around warehouses that’ll never be sold and poor data accuracy, both of which “will bite you in the behind,” it’s cheap to invest in the future, quality talent, systems, products and so forth. “Successful companies invest money to make money,” he said. “Do this in good times and bad.”
11. Strategy. Know what to do if recovery happens in the next few years — and what to do if it doesn’t.
12. Capital. Every successful company is well-capitalized, Libey noted. When the economic recover comes, such companies already know how much they’re going to need and already have it lined up. Acquisitions are difficult because banks won’t give a lot of money now. But if you’re undercapitalized, you have a problem.
“Either get some money from somewhere, or accept the fact that you won’t get big and it’s a survival game for you,” Libey said. “But if you’re well-capitalized, you’ll have opportunities for acquisitions, international expansion, product expansion and customer acquisition expansion.”