Stay for the espresso, but know when to say when on the power.

New York small cafes are not getting a charge from lingering customers.
New York small coffee houses are not getting a charge from lingering customers.

Finding that your local cafe is discouraging your use of the outlet? If you are, you may be a fellow New Yorker. Wall Street Journal reported on how small New York coffee houses are limiting patron time on plugging laptops and mobile devices into electrical outlets. This article caught my attention because I recalled examples of balancing the velocity of customer service versus retaining customers who would potential get a second cup of coffee or bagel from staying around.  Acquiring a new customer is important, but so is retention, particularly when acquisition can have a high expense.

Banks underwent a similar challenge. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, ATMs provided quick services that increased customer convenience. But after the merger of investment and commercial banks during the 1990s, banks found that the same proliferation of ATMs made upselling additional financial products and services — loans, CDs, and investment management — difficult. Why? Customers were no longer inside the banks at lengthy time intervals to conduct basic transactions, let alone to offer additional higher margin products.

Small businesses must be concerned about the velocity of sales, but there can be some intangible benefits for having regulars who stay long enough for the upsale (good word of mouth, encouraging small meetings that bring additional customers). A minor sense of analytics — simply seeing how long customers linger versus number of sales during an hour can give a small business owner an idea if lingering a wee bit longer benefits the store.

Linked In — A starting point for networking online

Note: This post was updated as of November 21, 2014

Linked In, the business online network where professionals search for positions, sales, and information, reached the 40 million use mark recently. I have maintained a profile there since 2007.

A lot has changed over the years. Back at the beginning, I enjoyed participating in the Q & A sessions.  Over time, the Q& As have been removed – today, users can create posts.  Yet even today I have noticed that there are many users who still have some usage questions or are so 1990s with just posting a profile and not developing the details.

In response, I am borrowing a perfect quote from Alan Weiss in his book Million Dollar Consulting, pg 108 —

Joining organizations and taking the time to network is an investment, no different form buying office equipment or creating a marketing piece. You are negligent if you don’t focus on achieving the maximum return from that investment.”

So for convenience I have added the link to the Linked In usage video. The short webeo (Okay, “webeo” is my own slang, but I get rights to any usage of the word on a T-shirt!) explains how one develops their network to best use. You can see the webeo (Okay, I’ll stop with the webeo!) here.

May the winds blow good networking and good fortune your way!