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Sunday, January 31, 2010


I have another interview scheduled this week. I've been interviewing people who's organizations are doing something well in the area of Business Operations, for inclusion in my upcoming book.

I've been a bit surprised at how difficult it is to find people to interview. You would think that most people would jump at the chance to talk about what their organization is doing well. It doesn't have to be the entire organization, doing something well in one area is enough for my needs and enough to inspire other people to improve their performance.

I also ask everyone I interview if they can refer me to someone else that they think I should speak with. But not one person has recommended someone else. Is it that no one is really happy with their suppliers, customers, or anyone else they do business with either professionally or personally? If that's the case, I need to change that. That's why I'm adding all the great information I'm getting in these interviews into the book.

If you know of any organization that's doing something well in the way of Operations, please let me know. Contact information would be even better, but just the name of the organization will give me a start.

First Sale

My first sale on Amazon! Since the book is under my control and with a new price, that is. Sometime this morning someone bought a copy. Here's to many more. The Year of the Ox (my year) transitioning into the Year of the Tiger (roar!). It looks like it's going to be a good one.

I've started placing ads, so we'll have to see how sales are affected by that.

Golden Ox Publishing

Monday, January 25, 2010

Temporarily Out of Stock

Amazon received my books two days ago, but they're not In Stock yet. Their system seems to know what's going on, up to a point, but it looks like a few tweaks are in order. I sent them an Advanced Shipping Notice, so they knew they were coming - but that wasn't reflected on my page. Could have said More on the Way or something. Now I know they've received them because I tracked the shipment. My page has been updated to Temporarily Out of Stock, but the books they've received are not In Stock yet.

I'm still looking into advertising. I'm creating a list of the larger APICS chapters around the U.S. and Canada and the price of ads in their newsletters, if they have one. Most are pretty reasonable, so I'll give them a try. Reasonable, that is, if it results in sales.

I've rearranged the boxes in my apartment so you hardly even know they're there. Hardly. Well, they're mostly out of the way, sort of.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Toolkit Update

It's been a few days since my last post, so here's an update. I shipped my first order to, so in a couple of days my page will show "In Stock", which I suspect is an important selling point. I still need to do a little editing and updating of the page, but for the most part I'm setup on Amazon.

Still researching possible advertising venues. APICS magazine is a bit pricey for now, so I'm looking at some APICS chapters that send out monthly newsletters to a relatively large number of people. I found a few good prospect, and will place a few ads there. Looking at other organizations and publications too. This takes time. But I'll have a pretty good start for future releases (mine and others).

Here's one version of the ad I created. Pretty straightforward.

I still have a list of things to do, but this week I was busy working on a proposal to do some Lean training for a local company. Also spent time last weekend at the APICS District Meeting that was held her in Honolulu, then had lunch on Monday with the Mission Peak Chapter representative and dinner Tuesday with the Portland (OR) chapter President. That's why I stay involved with APICS, the friends I make.

I've got a writer's group meeting tomorrow. Unfortunately, my writing hasn't been keeping up to pace, but I will get more worthwhile feedback, so that will be good.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Still Moving

Well, where are we at with the book? We almost up and running on Amazon. The update price and information is there, they just need to order from me so that the availability status says "In Stock".

I've completed my application to Powell's Books. I'm already on their site because I was on their shelves in Portland (Oregon), but they show Out-of-Stock. So I need to be registered as a vendor with them so they can stock the book again.

I have to finish the Barnes & Noble application.

At this point I'm not looking for one of the big distributors. I'm going to look into some smaller distributors that focus on business books and/or the independent bookstore market, because I think they will put more effort into the sales & marketing side. Not much, realistically, but more than the zero I would expect from the big guys.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


My books arrive Wednesday. 900+ pounds on a pallet. I figure about 25 cases or so. I will be getting my exercise that day. Anybody want to exercise with me? For now they will be joining me in my apartment, which means I'll be making about 25 trips up and down the stairs. I'm tired already.

I'm still waiting to hear from Amazon regarding my application and all the particulars of getting the book on there, or transferred over from the original publisher.

I was also looking into getting it onto, or keeping it on, Barnes & Noble and Borders. Barnes & Noble has a program for small publishers to list and stock their books, but Borders only works through one of the major distributors. That got me thinking more about using a distributor or wholesaler or not. Here's what I'm thinking.

At this point do I really need my book listed on every possible book selling website? Or is Amazon, where it seems the vast majority of people go, and Barnes & Noble, as well as my own website, enough? I'm thinking that I'm pretty well covered with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, my website, and personal sales when I give presentations. Then, if sales are going gangbusters I can re-evaluate. If the book was brand new it might be different, but since it's a few years old already (though the material is no different than if it were written today) the distributors aren't going to put as much effort into selling it. If they would anyway. I suspect I'd have the same complaints I had with my publisher. They have much higher selling, and newer, titles that the smaller market titles get little, if any, marketing effort.

The Small Manufacturer's Toolkit

Golden Ox Publishing

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What Bad Economy?

Went to Ryan's at Ward Center last night. Apparently they are not affected by the current economy, because they sure acted like they didn't need my business.

In contrast, I was at Kona Brewing today, and they were just the opposite. Attentive service, friendly staff, a very pleasant visit. And, of course, the beer was good.

Which one do you think I'll avoid, and which one do you think I'll return to?

There's a lesson here for your business.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Working the Numbers

Well, been doing a little calculating. Looking at how many books I'm going to have to sell to make money. On the bright side, I'm confident they will sell at the new lower price. $39.95 as opposed to the original price of $79.95, which was then raised to $93.95. I wonder if they really meant to take my advice and lower it to $39, but that somebody typed it wrong and it came out to $93?

To sell them, Amazon is a must and probably the primary channel, at least to start. The thing with them is that they take a hefty cut, 55% discount off the List Price. Sure they've got all the operations and the overhead that goes with it, but that's pretty steep. But besides Amazon, what else to do? That's a big question.

There are wholesalers and distributors, and there are the bookstore buyers. Some bookstores only buy from the largest wholesalers, and if you're not listed by those wholesalers you won't get in those bookstores. Some distributors supply the large wholesalers. It's all a bit convoluted. Especially if you're a small publisher or self-publisher.

Bookstores only want books that sell. That makes sense. So the wholesalers and distributors only want books that sell. That makes sense too. Large publisher's books are, on a whole, more likely to sell because 1) they have bigger marketing budgets, and 2) they go through a very rigorous vetting and production process meaning that the quality of the final book is likely to be very high.

But, with the proliferation of small publishers and self-published books there are plenty of distributors willing to service them. But here's where the decisions come in, many distributors want exclusive rights to distribute your book(s). That has advantages and disadvantages, so you have to decide. I won't go into that right now, but I'm at the decision making point right now.

Stay tuned.

The Small Manufacturer's Toolkit

Golden Ox Publishing

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Some Days

Some days just aren't as productive as others.

Did I mention that this new publishing venture is on top of my regular work? So, regular work, writing the new book, running, then the new publishing biz. So if I don't get as much done on any particular day it's not a surprise. Did a few things, but nothing worth mentioning.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hawaii Rugby Report

Hawaii Rugby had a great 2009 and is poised for another great year in 2010. I have got to make time to get out to more games this year. Here's what I received in my inbox today:

In February 2009 USA Rugby President, Nigel Melville visited Hawaii, followed by Matt Sherman, current Rugby Head Coach at San Diego State University and Back Line Coach for the Eagles. Nigel Melville, was impressed with 4 Hawaii Youth Rugby players and had them sent to the mainland to try out for the USA U19 team. All 4 players made the team. Lopaka Morris has continued to play for the USA U18 team including in the summer against England.

Hawaii's first U19 team to play in the Nationals in late May placed 4th in the tournament. Hawaii's select side consisted of players from the Big Island, Maui and Oahu, and Salesi Lino who played in one game (due to injury) was impressive enough to make the first tournament team. Hawaii now has an automatic slot in the Nationals.

During Spring break 2009, GW Graham Secondary School from Canada, was the first out of state team to participate in the Annual Hawaii Youth Rugby Invitational. UH Youth Rugby Club won the U19's and the Big Island Select took the U17's. The 2010 tournament (3/15 to 3/17 SEVENS,.... 3/18 to 3/20 FIFTHTEENS ) has 3 teams from Canada (already with tickets) and 1 from California already committed.

Early May 2009, HYR State Championship was played on Oahu and the Kahuku Red Raiders won the U19's, the Waimea Boars the U16's and the Kona Bulls the exciting U13's. The Kona Bulls is one of the new HYR teams on the Big Island that has all 3 age categories covered from U13s to U19's.

In mid December, Frank Merrill and the Pacific Coast Grizzly's U17's select side did a 3 island tour of the Hawaiian Island where they were victorious in all 3 matches. This tour has been a catalyst to Maui who now has 3 youth club sides. A tournament in Hawaii as early as this December between a Hawaii All Star team, 2 Canadian All Star teams and the the Pacific Coast Grizzlys to be played on all 3 islands.

April 13th 2010, Napier High School from NZ is playing a Hawaii team on Oahu, is another test of our local talent.

The University of Utah Rugby team has a $9,000 scholarship specifically for a Hawaii rugby player for 2010. This is hopefully the beginning of the deluge of academic/athletic opportunities.
Hawaii Youth Rugby has made some giant leaps this past year and there is no turning back. There are so many people responsible for this achievement. It starts from the parents, players, coaches, supporters, sponsors, league organizers and tournaments all the way to the President of USA Rugby, Nigel Melville.

And the adults:

Rugby Hawaii Union is ready for the next chapter which is to join USA Rugby for the first time.

2009 was a historic year also for adult/senior rugby because we had 4 Woman's (Aliamanu Blues, Laie Park Rookies, Windward Tehines, and the Lady Raiders) teams in the league for the first time in Hawaii. The championship for the Woman's Division was won by the Laie Park Rookies.

The Men's Division Champions saw a repeat from 2008, the Islanders RFC. The Islanders were also successful on their Summer tour to the Sevens Tournament in Arizona where they successfully battled a 15 team competition to an unblemished record and championship.

Later in the Summer, rugby was a participating sport in the Aloha State Games.

October 9/10th during the Fiji Day Festivities we had a 7's tournament and also a coaches and referees clinic conducted by USA Rugby. A lot of rugby knowledge and the Rookie Rugby was shared in those days plus the Aloha/Bula spirit.

Several players from our union are having opportunities to try out for the Eagles and there will more in the future. The door will also open for countless other opportunities that will advance our local players.

There you have it. Great stuff, due to the hard work and dedication of a lot of people. I don't understand the name change of the Union, but don't let that distract you from the wonderful state of Hawaii Rugby.


Well, got a little bit done. Started the Amazon setup process. It's pretty straightforward, just takes time. With the book already there I'm not sure of the next step, but either way it takes them a day or two to process what I've done so far.

Got a little bit of writing done, but I'm not moving nearly fast enough. I write slow to begin with (I run slow too, I wonder if there's a theme here) and I keep getting interrupted. I have to write my articles for the Vietnam Supply Chain magazine, which eats into my time. But that actually works out pretty well because I use a lot of what I write in those articles in the book. It changes and expands for the book, but the basic ideas start there. Well not actually start there, the ideas usually start from what I'm writing or will be writing in the book, and they come out in a quick magazine format article before circling around back into the book. Something like that. Still, need to focus on the writing. Focus, focus.

But late now, so time for bed and recharging so I can write and work tomorrow.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Work, Work, Work

It's Sunday. Fired up the computer. Now where to start? Here's some of the things I have to do or think about:

I have to work on and finish the new book. That should be the number one priority, as it's been in progress way too long. I should have finished it by now. Right now I'm in the middle of a major overhaul. Not so much the content, but the structure. It just wasn't quite right before. But I got some great feedback from the writer's group I meet with, and when I put together a presentation based on the book I realized it didn't flow right. So, write.

I have to register and get everything set up on Amazon. The book already has a page there, but I have to more or less "transfer" it or take it over. Everything is there on the page, but they don't have any inventory and the price is still the original publisher's price.

I did update my consulting company website, the page where I show my book. That wasn't the top priority, but it was pretty quick and it needed to be done.

The inventory of books that I bought will be arriving any day now. What to do with them? By me estimate it should be about 25 cases. And heavy. I've got room at my place, but do I really want them there? Not really, but do I want to pay for a storage unit? Not really, but seeing as this is a startup operation, cash flow is a concern. Might be a good reason to do more purging of junk to free up some room.

Start planning the second printing of the book. I believe the book will sell at my new price, so I have to start planning ahead. Do I print it as-is, or do I "update"? As-is would be easier, I've got all the printer files, but what do I need to change since the original publisher reverted the rights back to me? I need to find out. But I'm more inclined to make some minor changes and publish it under Golden Ox Publishing. I'm planning on re-writing it (at some point) to make it appealing to a wider audience, but that's still down the road.

I'm planning on, or at least seriously exploring, publishing it in other countries and other languages. I've sent a copy to my magazine publisher in Vietnam and we've talked about the possibility of publishing it there. I'm also thinking about Korea and China, and am thinking about a Spanish edition for the U.S. market. There is already a Russian edition, but I think that publisher went out of business. France, Germany, and South Africa are possibilities. If anyone has other suggestions, please let me know.

I have to look into shipping options and bone-up on the costs and advantages and disadvantages of each (U.S. Postal, FedEx, and UPS). It's not something I do every day, so another thing on my list.

Advertising and marketing. Hmmm hmmm... Got to do it, but what's the best bang for the buck with this book? My first thought is the APICS magazine. I'm guessing their ad rates are pretty much standard for the industry and reach, but it seems a bit high to me. Of course, that's probably just because I'm cheap. I'm going to contact some APICS chapters, the larger ones, and inquire about paid advertising in their monthly electronic newsletters. Other organization's magazines are possibilities too, especially ASQ and IIE, as they published good reviews when the book first came out. Which means that it's probably the right market/audience.

Well, there's more, but I've got to get working on some of these items, especially the writing. In between all this I have to write my articles for the Vietnamese magazine.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Year of the Ox

It's 2010 and it's the start of something new. It's the start of Golden Ox Publishing. I thought I'd try what many other blogger's have done before me and chronicle the start of this new venture. Where to start?

I've started a book publishing company - Golden Ox Publishing. I started it to publish my upcoming book, Deliver On Your Promises - Success Through Business Operations Excellence. I started it because I wasn't entirely happy with the publisher of my first book (The Small Manufacturer's Toolkit), a large, international publishing company. Yes, they were very good at some things, basically all the things involved with book production, but when it came to marketing and selling they fell woefully short. It's a good looking book, I have to say, but it was overpriced from the beginning and didn't sell well. Also, I learned one of the big secrets of publishing with the big companies. You, the author, is primarily responsible for marketing. Although they have all the knowledge and resources for marketing books, they are mostly reserved for the best sellers. As an unknown author in a niche subject, you get pretty much nil. Not completely, but it sure felt that way.

I kept telling my contacts at the publisher that the book was overpriced. I wrote it for a specific market, which I know pretty well, Small Manufacturing companies and the owners, managers, and others who work there. Priced at $79.95 originally, they were not going to sell in large quantities to this market. So totally ignoring my requests to lower the price, they actually raised it, to $93+. Can you believe that? I couldn't. I tried and tried to get them to lower the price, but to no avail, and sales were going nowhere. That meant that not only were the books not getting into the hands of the people who can really use it, I was not getting any royalty payments. I know the book is good, and useful, because I have gotten nothing but great feedback and reviews. The book had very positive reviews in three trade magazines; APICS - The Association for Operations Management, ASQ - The American Society for Quality, and IIE - The Institute for Industrial Engineers, who apparently have changed their name recently (I'll try to find copies and/or links and put them up on my website). And the feedback I've gotten from people who bought and read the book has been great.

Since I was getting nowhere with the publisher, I asked them if I could buy the rights back to the book and maybe the remaining inventory. Being a large buerachracy, there was a lot of back and forth with questions and offers and counteroffers, but I finally got it. I obtained the rights to the book (print version, not electronic) and bought all the remaining inventory. Now the fun begins.

I was planning on starting the publishing company to publish my next book, but it's starting now with my first book. I have the rights and I received the first couple of boxes of inventory. Now I have to market and sell and plan on what to do next. That's what this new thread of this blog will be all about. I'll lay out my plans and keep you up to date with my progress. Please feel free to let me know what you think. This is going to be what they call "a learning experience." And, of course, if you want to buy a copy just let me know (but as for now please check Amazon first). That will be the subject of another post...

Oh, and I will be lowering the price to a more appropriate and reasonable $39.95.

In The Fold

There is no right or wrong way to fold a towel. Sorry ladies.