Take the E Road
Before going online in 1998 with a parts-ordering service, Suffolk-based Land Rover specialist Mansfield Motors (www.mansfield- motors.com) was a local garage serving only local customers. 'The furthest we ever delivered to was London,' says founder Duncan Mansfield. Three years later, its web site gets 2,000 hits a day and orders come in from 110 countries worldwide.
'We took pounds 48,000 online in the first three months of the year,' he says.
Mansfield knew the export potential was there but it had proved hard to tap by traditional means. 'Land Rovers are truly international products, but mail order never really worked for us,' he explains. By contrast, the net offers ready access to global markets from Finland to New Zealand.
'Compared to the cost of catalogue production and advertising, e-commerce is cheap.'
The site, designed by a net professional (and regular customer), is fully transactional and offers secure online purchasing as well as popular bulletin boards, technical help and links to other Land Rover sites. The extra content is important, says Mansfield, because it encourages return visits and generates stickiness.
He plans a pounds 7,500 revamp of his e-commerce activities, to include foreign-language ordering, an e-mail newsletter and use of the customer database to target promotions. He is gung-ho about his company's virtual future.
'I can't believe how fast it's growing. E-commerce will account for half our turnover by Christmas.'
Break That Habit
You may find your quaint little traits a comforting reminder of who you are, but to others they can be irritating, unhealthy and unprofessional.
Why not do them a favour and change the bad for good?
KNOW YOUR ENEMY. Identify your worst habits and the situations that trigger them.
DON'T OVERLOAD YOURSELF. Efforts to become a better listener and to quit smoking simultaneously will fail.
ACT IMMEDIATELY. Once you've decided what you want to change, get changing. Delay now and you'll never do it.
GO PUBLIC. Tell others of your intentions. The prospect of being humiliated in front of colleagues is a powerful motivator.
WORK AT IT. It takes three weeks to establish a new habit.