The size of zero

Have you found yourself in conversations recently, trying to figure out the new fiscal nomenclature?

When we hear about Congress passing stimulus measures that will cost billions of dollars, and when we think about the cumulative impact that recently enacted appropriations bills will have, we are into the rarefied atmosphere of trillions, not billions, of dollars.

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that we have, perhaps, lost the meaning – and impact – of zeroes and their affect on our economy and our future?

Currently, we’re focused on how these billions and trillions can fix our economy’s immediate future, but let’s think about what $1 million, $1 billion or $1 trillion might look like with a different image.

For example, if you had a stack of $1,000 bills and kept adding to it, when you got to about four inches, you’d have $1 million.

How about $1 billion?

You’d have to keep adding to that stack until you reached 358 feet high – about the same height as a three-story building. For some perspective, our Chamber building is just slightly taller at five stories.

If you want to imagine $1 trillion, that stack would grow to 67 miles high – the length of almost three marathon races.

The most staggering number, however, might be if you tried to imagine the national debt – currently stationed at $10.9 trillion and counting.

That stack would match the distance from Denver to Oklahoma City – 670 miles.

By the way, that number has grown too large for the National Debt Counter clock in New York City’s Time Square to display.

Do you have other images that would help people – perhaps your 5th grader or your elderly aunt Ellen in Centerville, Iowa – understand this new fiscal nomenclature?

I will post my favorite responses to this challenge on my blog.

Google may have anticipated all of this when it named itself in 1998 – after the common misspelling of a Googol.

What is a Googol, you may ask?

At the very least, it’s a number followed by a lot of zeroes. One hundred, to be exact.


Give your customers a “Wow” experience

Categories: Tameka's Tips

You’ve heard it said many times, and I’ll say it as well. It costs more to gain a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer.

During these challenging economic times, I know that funds are tight and you need to do those things that will bring you best return. Committing time and resources to increase your level of customer service is a worthwhile investment.

Think about how you can create a “WOW!” experience for your clients. An excellent tool to help you do this is the KANO Model. Just Google “Kano model” and you’ll find out how to use this tool to discover your customers’ “Wow! experience”.


Rose-colored glasses OK at Denver flower shop

Categories: Cup of Joe

A love of flowers led Jil Schlisner to buy an existing flower shop in 2006, rename it and build her business by creating inspirational, beautiful atmospheres for clients.

She believes people should wear flowers more often, in the form of corsages and boutonnieres—and on ordinary Wednesdays, not only proms or weddings.

Moss Pink Flora & Botanicals, located on E. 23rd and Dexter streets in Denver, provides clients with beautiful shopping environment, as well as personal attention.

“Getting to know my clients on a name-by-name basis creates a much-appreciated personal touch that seems so old-world in our culture these days,” said Schlisner. “A friendly familiarity in a business that deals much with intimate and emotional events and situations really goes a long way.”

In the current economy, Schlisner and her staff are also looking for ways to offer their clients “simple luxuries” like May Day baskets for less than $20, as well as other “promotions that focus on the positivity of life without going to excess.”

Their goal is to build business based on positive customer experiences shared by word-of-mouth, in addition to attracting new clients with Web and e-mail marketing.

Schlisner credits the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center and Counselor Jim Olp for “giving her hope.”

“I had no idea how to go about buying a business. [Jim] gave me the straight facts and helped guide me through the process,” she said.


Small Business is quacktastic at Englewood rubber duck emporium

Categories: Cup of Joe

Jennifer Brown and Steve Kudron are preening their business for what they hope to be a year of flying high.

The pair specializes in rubber ducks of all feathers – from devils, to referees to monkey and cow ducks – at their soap shop-turned duck dealership, the Quacker Gift Shop, in Englewood.

In December, they moved their business and thousands of ducks out of the basement of their home and into the 3,000-square-foot warehouse and storefront, following a year that saw more than $95,000 in sales.

Kudron and Brown started their business – formerly called The Soapbox Co. – in 2005, selling homemade soaps, some of which contained loofahs and rubber ducks.

When customers began asking to purchase the ducks, sans soap, the idea for the Quacker Gift Shop was hatched.

The couple got help from Jim Olp at the Metro Denver Small Business Development Center, who they say has helped them every step of the way, to push their fledgling idea out of the nest.

“We’ve got our ducks in a row,” the couple said.