Location, Location, Location

Like everything else, the secret to Coffee News readership is location, location, location.

The placement of the stand inside the restaurant is crucial to the paper’s readership. When a lot of people see it, some of them will grab it. If they read it once, they are likely to read it again, and again, and again.

If they never see it, they never read it.

Here are a couple of pictures I took last week while delivering Coffee News in Concord, NC.

Coffee News Location 1

Delivery 2

Coffee News Location 2

Notice how, in both restaurants, our stand has a special location, adorned by flowers. Both are located at the entrance.

I don’t want a busy-body in the corporate office to read this blog, call the local store, complain about “corporate policy,” get somebody in trouble and get our paper kicked-out — so I’m not disclosing the name of the restaurants here.

Suffice it to say that both of these pictures were taken inside major national chain restaurants — the biggest of the big.

Both of these locations were challenging at first to get into at all. Some of this chain’s locations still will not let us in now.

At first, the stands were located in much harder-to-find areas. in one case, it was on a messy window ledge full of brochures and business cards and postcards (all clean now).

Who moved them to these perfect, prime locations?

I have no idea. Somebody in the restaurant did this months ago.

How did we get such great locations?

1. Longevity. We’ve been delivering to these locations for three and a half years.
2. Consistency. We’ve never missed a week.
3. Fun, positive material in Coffee News.
4. Smile and a wave from the delivery person (one per week).

Counting steps while delivering Coffee News

My wife and I support the household by publishing Coffee News, a free, weekly paper — available in restaurants. It’s a franchise, and a fun business, and a good bit of work. We do our own graphics and printing, which generally takes the better part of our weekends. But we get to do this work at home, and we enjoy it.

steps delivering Coffee News on Oct. 1, 2009
steps delivering Coffee News on Oct. 1, 2009

For the past year, we’ve hired out our delivery. We’re still doing so in some areas, but times being what they are, many small business owners are watching their expenses and doing more of the work themselves.

We’re no different.

A few weeks ago, we started delivering our own papers in Salisbury — and last week we added the routes in Concord and Kannapolis. That’s getting close to 350 deliveries.

Knocked it out in two days last week. They were long days. This week, we’ll probably make it a three day job.

I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s given me a chance to see a lot of people, improve our distribution by adding new restaurants to the route, and improve the locations of our stands inside the restaurants.

I’ve also put out a lot of new stands, replacing many that were broken or dirty.

I’ve still managed to answer the phone and sell new ads.

But most of all, it’s good exercise.

My New Year’s resolution was to walk 10,000 steps a day in 2009. It’s October now, and I haven’t missed a day.

Once, I had a problem of some kind with my stomach. It gurgled and it hurt, all day. I spent most of the time on the couch, watching TV and sleeping. The walking was tough that day, but I still got the 10k.

Another day, I had a tooth pulled, took some pills for the pain, and didn’t think I’d feel like walking. I was surprised to find that I had a very nice walk in the woods that day. The weather was beautiful and I had a good buzz from the pills.

And there were those days, in the heat of summer, that I was out walking at midnight and the pedometer’s date changed to the next day — at midnight — before the device registered 10k. I still finished the steps, but it wasn’t reflected on the pedometer. I had to do a little math the next day in order to make sure I got the whole 10k and stayed on track.

In July, I got the bright idea to set the time on the pedometer two hours early. As long as I’m done with the steps by 2am, nobody knows the difference and the reading feels 100% legitimate.

Last week, both Thursday and Friday, I got well over 13,000 delivering our papers.

When I was working in the schools, as a technology facilitator, I often walked quite a few steps in the computer lab — and to various computers and printers in classrooms and hallways in the school building. I wore a pedometer then, too — and often registered between 6k and 8k steps per day.

I’ve gotten as few as 8k delivering Coffee News. Once, I challenged myself by deliberately parking a short distance from the locations and got 17k.

10k is a good number. 13k left me a little tired.