Not business as usual
Costco members use ingenuity
to meet today’s challenges
HOW ARE YOU coping
with today’s current
Are you adjusting your
business strategy? We
asked these questions
of readers in a recent
edition of The Costco
response shows that our
are as creative and
resilient as we expected.
Here are just a few of the
many ideas we received.
If you have developed
new strategies for your
business, we’d love to
hear from you. Submit
your ideas to: connection
@ costco.com. Please
include “save our business” in the subject line.
Think outside the cage
OUR 30-YEAR-OLD family-owned business sells pet birds
and supplies, and offers training,
boarding and grooming services.
These times have really hurt
our business in that people are
not traveling as much—so no
boarding—and fear of job loss
means no adding birds to their
households. We needed to
rethink our business.
I have several pet birds that
I have used in training classes
as demos in the past, including
Marvelous Mel, my sulphur-crested cockatoo, and Miranda,
my scarlet macaw. With these
feathered assets, I came up with
the idea of converting one of my
boarding rooms. The Jungle
Room was born!
We began promoting on our
Create your own think tank
Web site and in e-mails to our
current customer base.
We advertised in a local
We participated at the
local Costco business
We now have a new
facet to our business: chil-
dren’s birthday parties with
a parrot show. Our birds get to
perform, which they love, and
children get to experience their
antics and beauty. We have
added a new source of revenue
and more traffic to our shop. Our
business has evolved once again
and we will survive this eco-
nomic crisis as we have others
in the past.
Kookaburra Bird Shop, LLC
An article in The Costco Connection on
the advantages of joining Yelp (“Yelp your
biz,” February 2009) prompted an idea. I
made a few calls to business associates in
different sectors from my own and we
arranged an informal get-together as a way of
exchanging ideas and information on what
strategies had worked (or not) for us within
our markets. We have had three very fruitful
meetings since then, and every session has
brought us all benefits in marketing ideas,
business leads and a sounding board for
brainstorming new ideas.
It is very easy for directors of small
businesses to feel isolated and to assume that
they are the only ones not getting the results
they would like.
Whilst business books offer some solu-
tions, there is nothing to beat local knowledge.
The Entertainment Company
South Queensferry, West Lothian, UK
Spruce up your attitude
I have worked for the past 24 years as a
hairstylist at a successful salon in West
Garden Grove, California. At the beginning
of the year, business really slowed down.
I decided to first start with myself—to
reinvent my look. I gave myself a shorter,
sassy haircut and weave. I lost some weight
and updated the clothes I wore.
When my clients come in for appointments and the topic turns to the economy, I
speak in a positive way and encourage my
clients to update their images as well. It has
been amazing to watch! My business has
improved, and my clients come in one way
and leave feeling energized and looking great.
I am even getting follow-up phone calls from
clients thanking me for the encouragement.
Not only is my business back on track,
but I feel that I am contributing to the well-being of every client.
Huntington Beach, California
Hit the road
After years of practicing in veterinary
hospitals, I realized that I did not need a mil-lion-plus-dollar building to practice good
medicine! The large expense of the land,
building and employees all add to the cost.
So I converted a 28-foot RV into a custom
mobile veterinary clinic—complete with
exam room, lab and surgical suite. This busi-
ness model has a low fixed-over-head cost, and the clients love the
great service, convenience and mul-tiple-pet discounts. My wife is my
office manager and technician, so we
do not even have any employees.
Our “lean and mean” business has
continued to grow. Our clients have also told
us how much more affordable our services
are compared to local large animal clinics
that have very expensive overhead.
Now if only human doctors would start
making house calls again …
Dr. Mike Thomann
Charlotte, North Carolina
Let your light shine
To keep my business alive through the
recession, I have dialed down normal marketing like magazines, radio and yellow pages, and
jumped headlong into guerrilla-style marketing. One of my best successes has been nominating my business for awards. I’ve won a
number of local, regional and national awards,
and each one comes with free publicity.
Dr. David W. Powers
Surfside Beach, South Carolina