Catalyst – The Newsletter: Don’t Blame Amazon

So, the other day, the Kids Action Company I own (Play.Fit.Fun) had an obstacle course03-spencer-rubin-portrait set up at an event. A business owner I know was there and was complimenting me on the set up. With one of the challenges, we have canvas sand bags holding a piece of equipment down, and he asked me where I got them. I told him I needed a certain size, and looked at many retailers but could not find any… so I ordered them on Amazon.

At this point, he exploded and went on a minutes-long tirade of how Amazon and others like them have killed traditional business. I didn’t say anything at the time, as we were quite busy with kids going through the obstacle course, so I did not reply.


Amazon is Amazon. You can order almost anything, and have it at your doorstep the very next day. That is what happened with me, and my sandbags. KABLAM! Easy to find, easy to navigate, click-click-click, fast process, easy-easy-lemon squeezy!

Speed and convenience are a drug. People experience it, and want more. They expect it.

Has on-line business drastically impacted brick and mortar business? Of course it has. You can see it everywhere.

But it is not their fault if your business is down. It’s yours.

So how do you battle all of this? Easy and hard at the same time.

  • Be amazing! Warning: this takes a huge amount of energy!!!!!
  • It begins with you Mr. Or Mrs. Business owner or manager!
  • You set the tone. You set the example for your people.
  • Hire better! Don’t hire crap!
  • Train better! Train more! Never stop!
  • Have exceptionally, exceedingly high standards for customer service and engagement!
  • Keep asking/inviting people into your business!
  • When you think you are doing it all correctly, think again! Have a consultant, or another business owner secret shop your business and point out the blemishes.
  • No blemishes? Don’t go there. You got em! You are lying to yourself if you think this. Find them, and demolish them! Never stop seeking them out, and destroying them.
  • Care! Care about your employees! Care about your customers! Show it! Be the best at it! In your business, and in your industry!
  • Have weekly staff trainings…But call them strategy sessions! Go over what went well last week, what did not. Encourage the ugly stories, because those are the ones (ugly as they may be) that help you get better. The fun/fuzzy stories are just celebrations of what went right.
  • Care about your people! Treat them well! Did i mention care earlier? I did, but care needs to be mentioned again!! Team build with your people! If they are good, and work hard, recognize that, reward them, thank them…And for god’s sake do everything in your power to keep them!!

Even with the challenges facing business owners today (online offerings, speed, convenience, etc…) many local, traditional businesses are doing quite well.

Remember, you have a choice. You have chosen to do what you do. So, no whining, no complaining. No one wants to hear that anyway. Do something about it, and don’t blame others for your woes.

Be awesome, set awesome examples, have awesome service & engagement, hire awesome people, set up a regular awesome training program. Ask your awesome employees for their awesome input and insight. They are your boots on the street. They are the humans your awesome customers see first. This will give you valuable information, and it will show you care about your employees and value your input. Empowerment! Powerful Empowerment!

Oh, and one last thing…you never get to think any of this is done. Once you have done it, you have to keep doing it, so make it a habit. Make it a daily, weekly, monthly, annual part of your game plan.

Spencer Rubin is a sales/marketing expert who has spent 25 years in the industry. Spencer has become a passionate advocate for the success of small, local business owners. To sign up for Spencer’s weekly Catalyst Newsletter. Contact 971-732-4745.