March 1, 2016

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Welcome to March! Can’t believe it? Me neither! I’ve been in office for only 3 months, but it feels closer to a year. We have gotten so much done since I’ve been mayor! It’s time once again to review the past week…

On Monday, I met several walkers to raise money for MS. They stopped for lunch at the Anna’s Pizzeria, and what a great bunch. Later that day we had a 2-hour economic planning session where we helped prepare the economic study for South Salem Street, between Friendship and New Hill. The biggest take away was that we all want to make sure the important intersections are able to be developed for commercial use in order to serve the future residential population there.

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On Tuesday, the development community provided similar feedback to the economic study professionals. Then I went to the Apex Area Teacher of the Year awards, sponsored by the Apex Chamber of Commerce. It was great to meet several principals, whom I did not yet know. Then we had a Planning Committee meeting where we discussed possible proposals to move the Veridea project forward and then possibilities for off-site non-residential in mixed use zonings. Lastly, we had the town council meeting at 7pm to finish up the agenda from Feb 16.

On Wednesday, I met with the chair of the Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources Advisory Commission. We discussed some minor tweaks to the concept plan for Pleasant Park and had a nice coffee.

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On Thursday, I went for Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Training to get a handle on how we ask for, and sometimes receive, state funding for sidewalk, street and other transportation projects. I then met a land buyer for lunch, my treat.

On Friday, I met with a council member and a business owner to discuss how we can continue finding ways to make Apex a great place to work, as well as to live. And on the weekend, a young lady from Skip-Its interviewed me on leadership and humility.

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In the coming week, we have our first regular meeting of the town council for March tonight, where we will have mostly presentations and a few new business items on the agenda. Looking forward to a breather soon. It’s busy, but I love it.

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Raleigh Council Mulls Restricting Business

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Raleigh Council Member Wishes to Clamp Down on Signs

Raleigh Council Member Wishes to Clamp Down on Signs

If a business owner wants to put a sign in his window, should he be allowed to put that sign there and exercise his right to advertise his business in a manner that’s not a public nuisance?

The city of Raleigh found out about one business’ use, or intended use, of an electric-powered sign placed in the window in order to attract attention to their real estate business.  And the planning board of citizen advisors and planning department staff are now looking into the possibility of tightening up the sign laws.

The placement of signs in the windows of a business is a practice long supported by free American business people for 250 years.  And despite this history of free enterprise and exercising private property rights, council member Thomas Crowder has gone on record citing his desire to “make Raleigh more attractive”, mitigate the “safety risk if police cannot see within a business” and address lit signs that “are like the sun”.  In other words, he’s making a case for regulating the type and amount of signage in a shop’s own windows.

Mr. Crowder goes too far in citing these as valid reasons for writing the new regulations. Mr. Crowder, do you wish to regulate signs out next to the road right of way?  Fine.  Keep them, low, static and safe for drivers.  It’s understandable to try and prevent the NC 17 and 24 effect that Jacksonville and the surrounding areas suffer, with so many billboards and lit signs.  But you want to stop a shopowner from putting signs in the window of his store?  Hands off our business. Government should stay out so long as it’s not a public nuisance or patently offensive.  When you say people complain about signs that are “bright like the sun”, your hyperbole belies the fact that you know down deep you’re overreaching and need to resort to exaggeration and emotion to gain support for your regulation.

The matter is expected to be presented to the Raleigh city council in one to two months.

Should electronic window signs be considered OK in the city limits?  Or are they the first step on the slippery slope of becoming “too Vegas”?

Excellent Service is the Key to a Thriving Business

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Last year, our company took on a new customer and agreed to deliver a set of services during a specific timeframe, at a given price. The project had some problems, mostly due to the customer initially understating their need and changing the requirements mid-stream. Even though it was difficult for us, and we let them know this, we honored the agreement and helped them, even when no one else was in a position to do so. We didn’t let them down and we didn’t take advantage of them, even when they had no other good options.  They came back to us a month later for their next project.

Your business needs customers to survive. But no business can survive without repeat customers. Customers will come to you the first time for many possible reasons: low prices, good reputation, selling what they need or being in a convenient location. Customers will come back if they get good service. That might mean they received their product quickly, or that the service was delivered promptly, with high quality.

When you are proactive in letting customers know the status of their order or service project, when you honor agreements and pricing, when you help them get out of a difficult situation, and when you don’t “nickel and dime” them, they appreciate that level of service. At the end of a successful business transaction, they will remember that you gave them what they wanted, when they wanted it, and at the price they can be happy with.

This is what brings customers back, over and over.  Repeat customers bring repeat revenue for your company and create a baseline of income for your company.  Then when you add new customers on top of that, you get growth and a build a company that not only survives, but thrives.

Commit yourself to excellent customer service and watch your company thrive.