Dish Network – Business Strategy Principles for your Home Business

Dish Network boasts an impressive clientele of more than 5 million monthly subscribers. Significantly, though they are only the second largest distributor of satellite television service, they have been voted #1 in customer service by J.D. Power and Associates. While every business has, by necessity, a different business plan, a careful look at some of the things Dish Network has done to be successful will yield a few principles that will help your small business to succeed.

Echo-Star owns Dish Network, and they are currently in negotiation with one of their channel providers because the provider is demanding a higher per-package, per-user fee each month. The demand, though an increase of only a few pennies per user, represents millions of dollars in the short and long term for Dish. I present the conflict here to demonstrate Dish’s commitment to minimizing costs. Rather than just rolling over and accepting the fee increase, Dish Network is demonstrating to their customers their commitment to providing their services at the lowest cost possible. For any business to be successful, and I assume that is the goal for your home business, it must bring in more revenue than it shells out. Being diligent in fighting to minimize your own costs will go a long way towards that end.

Perhaps the reason you started your own business was because you craved the autonomy that came inherently with “being your own boss.” No more corporate ladders to climb or be pushed off. No more answering to someone that knows less than you do about just about everything. Perhaps it did not take long to notice that absolute freedom is hard to come by. Unless you produce the raw materials, refine them, create a marketable good, and sell it completely on your own, your business decisions are limited somewhat by others. The webhost sets the monthly hosting fee. The bank sets your monthly car payment. Even the office supplies you use are priced by someone else. Dish Network’s taking issue with the fee increase represents their dedication to retaining some of that autonomy we all desire for our businesses. Even if you can’t set the prices, you certainly can negotiate them. Unless you are absolutely sure you are getting the best deal possible on the materials you purchase, make a phone call and talk to someone about it. In the end, the producer’s relationship with you, the consumer, affects their bottom line.

One of the biggest concerns Dish Network faced in the new millennium was how to continue to provide their award-winning customer service cost-effectively. Hundreds of thousands of new subscribers were adding themselves to the millions of current subscribers, and they all eventually needed help. Customer service was performed completely over the telephone at a cost of $5 to $15 each call. Dish looked to technology to provide additional venues where customer service interactions could play themselves out. This led to solutions that would be available through the customer’s satellite receiver at home and online solutions, where the customer could view and make changes to their account without requiring the services of an employee, thus providing the same customer service while cutting down on costs. The lesson that should be learned from this example is that technology, when implemented correctly, can save costs and increase the efficiency with which we are able to provide services to our customers. What tasks do you find yourself doing by hand over and over again? With a little bit of time and money invested could you automate the process, or allow customers to do the task themselves by putting on your website?

The magnitude of work required to produce and integrate Dish Network’s new customer service solutions is baffling. Now consider that they planned for and implemented the technological changes to their customer service process in less than five months. The home business principle to learn from this is speed is a necessity, not a luxury. To compete with your competitors, you need to provide the same product at a higher quality, faster speed, or lower price. What changes do you need to make in order to streamline your business? Is there something that you are doing now that you could do without? By all means, weigh your options carefully and make a decision you feel comfortable with. But once the decision is made, move on it. Your customers will appreciate your decisiveness and innovation.

Dish Network is a thriving, multimillion dollar business, due in large part to the way they analyze and execute their business strategy. Using equal discretion, innovation, and decisiveness could boost your business as well.

Add a Dash of Convenience to the Menu at Your Restaurant Business

While the familiar statistic about nine out of 10 of them shutting down in the first year has been disproven, restaurant failure rates are still quite high. A recent study found that 1 in every 4 restaurants closes or is sold within its first year of business. But the news isn’t all bad. The total number of restaurants continues to increase for one simple reason-Americans are eating out more than ever. The average person orders food at a restaurant twenty times each month.

How can a restaurant attract new customers? The most reliable way is by examining statistics and figuring out how and what people eat these days. For example, we know that younger people are far more likely to eat out. Americans from the ages of 16 to 27 eat out 24 times each month! As you might expect, most of those meals are fast food. But there is a lesson to be learned from this.

Express Menus

In a word, young people prize convenience above all else when they eat out. They want something inexpensive and fast. Many restaurants have begun to offer express menus for high school, college, and young professionals. These menus give younger patrons the ability to get a real restaurant experience at an affordable price in about ten to fifteen minutes.How do restaurants accomplish this awesome feat? Express menus typically include plates that can be prepared in only five to ten minutes.

A burger and fries, a Caesar salad, a BLT, a deli sandwich, or soup and a sandwich are all dishes that can be on the table within ten minutes. This will appeal not only to high school students who have gotten used to eating on the run, but also to younger workers.
Most employees prefer eating out, but they simply don’t have enough time on their lunch break to get in and out of the average restaurant. An express lunch menu is the perfect solution to this dilemma. The patron will know that he can get a fast and affordable meal and get back to the office on time.

Takeout

More than half of young people order out at least once a week. They either pick the food up themselves or pay a little extra to have it delivered. Some restaurants have taken heed of this growing trend and they have started offering takeout menus. As the takeout orders grow, it is often necessary to hire a delivery driver.Experts recommend starting slow and offering only a few simple dishes to patrons who want to eat their meals off premises. Larger meals can be expensive to pack and even messy. There is also the problem of mix ups, in which case the patron may demand a full refund and the restaurant will have to prepare another dish.

Online Ordering

An incredible 93 percent of teenagers and young adults between the ages of 12-29 use the internet on a daily basis. They chat online, shop online, listen to music online, and even order food online. Yes, that’s right! Online ordering is an increasingly popular way to arrange for a meal. The user simply visits the website of his or her favorite restaurant, browses the menu, and orders a meal. The meal can then be either picked up or delivered to the virtual patron’s address. Payment portals ensure prompt payment and customer safety.While online ordering began with the chain restaurants, many smaller establishments are getting in on the act.

Not only is it convenient for the customer, but it also brings in new clients for the business. There is also the extra added bonus of positive comments on review sites.A review site is forum where internet users can go to post their thoughts on a particular restaurant, hotel, or resort. Positive reviews on these popular sites have been proven to increase business at top-rated restaurants.Customers also appreciate the convenience of using their credit cards for online orders, as well as while in the restaurant. Every restaurant needs a merchant account to accept plastic for lasting consumer satisfaction.

Diet Menus

We have spent most of this article talking about younger restaurant patrons, but now we want to turn our attention to the largest generation in American history. With nearly 80 million members, the Baby Boomers (anyone born from 1946 to 1964) are getting older. And as they age, many of them are paying more attention to health. It is also important to note that while Boomers eat out a bit less teenagers and young adults they are actually more likely to go to a restaurant that doesn’t serve fast food.

Whether called a light menu, a diet menu, or a health menu, a special section that caters to patrons who are worried about their health is a great way to attract new business. Dishes that are low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol are the most popular entrees. Soups, salads, and smaller portions can also save the restaurant money on ingredients and prep time. Putting the calorie count along with other important nutritional information right on the menu is often appreciated.

How to Make Doing Dishes Easier

Let’s face it, doing dishes is a mundane task done so many times, you feel like you would rather do just about anything else but wash another dish or scrub another crusty, gross pot, pan or cooking utensil. Doing dishes is not a fun task. I have been scrubbing dishes for so many years. I have earned the title, “dishpan hands champ”.

My youngest child even hates doing dishes despite having a new dishwasher. It’s a chore. It’s a bore.

There are ways to make doing dishes easier, faster and more fun:

Wash those scummy dishes right away! Do what my mother in law does; she scrubs the dishes as soon as a meal is done. Literally! As she tells people to “take your time,” she whisks the still warm plates and bowls off the table into a warm sudsy bath awaiting her ultra clean dishes. She never has to scrub three day old putrefied stains and scum off her dishes.

Purchase paper plates,and paper bowls. Utilizing paper plates makes doing the dishes easier. You will have less dishes to wash every day, thus enabling your daily dish washing tasks to lighten up. Yes, you will have more garbage to throw away, and there will be more waste in the world, but you are helping the economy grow, and supplying jobs for people. Country dwellers can use paper plates to start a nightly outside fire to gaze at the stars.

Wash those dirty dishes after every meal. For people who lead super busy lives, with getting kids to activities, do the dishes at least once a day. Make doing dishes every day a major priority. Delegate doing dishes every day. Alternate family members by having one person do dishes on certain days of the week. Team family members up with oldest child and youngest child washing dishes together.

Make doing dishes easier by turning up the tunes to your favorite music, enjoying listening to whatever you enjoy while performing the most mundane task in the house, besides scrubbing toilets. Listen to classical music, jazz, eighties tunes or dance to the blues while scrubbing your troubles away.

Multitask! Do the dishes while doing something else. Help the kids with their homework. Place a load of laundry into the clothes washer and run back to the kitchen to wash the dishes.

Buy a dishwasher that does most of the work for you, or go out to eat every night. You can also perform the bachelor method of eating; stand at the sink and stuff your face. But you can’t serve a Thanksgiving meal that way, and the kids will only argue on who gets to eat over the sink tonight.