Townsend, Tennessee
July 5, 2009

Welcome to the Fishing Report.  It is overcast and we had a nice rain shower this morning fairly early.  A heavy fog is hovering over Little River as it winds through Townsend from the National Park.  I see that a lot.  I describe it to others.  It is probably a more remarkable phenomenon to those who see it for the first time.  Instead of a river it resembles the path of an old steam engine running along the tracks.  But it’s a river and the steam is fog though both are vapor.

Fishing is great.  It is much better in the Park than it is in town.  The trout are taking nymphs down deep and dry flies.  The water temperature is cool for this time of year.  That is good.  The flow in Little River is getting low.  It is even lower than normal which has been rare if at all this year. 

Fishing will be best in the Park early in the morning and in the evening.  With the cloud cover today it should be pretty good all day, but still better early and late.  I would use terrestrials such as ants, beetles and of course Green Weenies. In the evenings I would use a Yellow Sally Stonefly pattern.

The Tuber Alert is HIGH!  The donut boat regatta is moving downstream and there are a lot of sailors.  To avoid them you might need to hike a little today.  Most of them will report back to home tomorrow. 

The lakes are probably crowded as are the streams in the Park.  This weekend is a water holiday. 

We had a great time last night.  We went to a cookout with some of our good friends and afterwards three of the guys put on a fireworks show.  It was grand.  And from our view we could see other people doing the same thing including the town of Greenback.  There was only one mishap in our show.  A bottle rocket veered off course and headed straight for me.  I had immediate recall of my days in the Army.  Though I didn’t actually participate in combat, in training they were always shooting something at us.  Luckily, last night the incoming fire hit the ground before reaching me. 

Business has been slow.  June was not good and July isn’t starting out any better.  I’m working on our customer database to look for trends.  I chose a sampling of 1,309 people who live in ours and surrounding counties.  I’m looking at sales, frequency, years as a customer, lost customers, mail order and e-catalog customers and new customers.  We have that information because when you shop here we ring up your sale under your name and all that data is in your customer file.  We can sort data on just about anything.  That is how I know that 30% of our customers tie flies.  I can run a sample of say 3,000 customers then run the same parameters again but exclude those who did not buy from the fly tying material category.

Some customers have not been in for a while. Maybe we lost them.  

Most customers quit patronizing a business because of employee indifference or perceived employee indifference.  Nothing makes a customer madder than having someone help them who doesn’t care. 

We don’t have that problem.  But there is another side of that.  You might have someone on your staff who cares but doesn’t come across that way.  Back when I had several stores I required all of our managers to take the Dale Carnegie course, “How to win friends and influence people”.  I took it twice, once when I was 19 years old then again in my late 20’s.  In that course you learned what people liked about other people.  Most of what people like is “personality” and “people skills”.  Personality and people skills can make or break your career if you are dealing with the public or if you are a leader of others. 

Personality and people skills are acquired.  People are not born with them.  You learn from the people you grow up with, from your parents, by reading books or taking classes. 

I have been a salesman all my life.  I have worked with many sales people.  Sales people call on me every week.   The good ones have a common trait that makes them succeed.  Of course they know their products.  They are bright enough to determine what the other person is thinking and what they would be interested in buying.  And, they can read body language. But the good ones are likeable.  The best ones are loveable.  The best ones are also very good listeners.  They may be good talkers, but they know when to shut up and listen.  And, they never appear to be indifferent.

When business is slow you start evaluating yourself and your company.  You look at your people, the store, the bathrooms, marketing, product selection, outside influences, inside influences, you look at everything and you take action.  Running a business is a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed doing it for over 35 years.  I guess I’ll keep doing it from now on.  I love the challenge.

I guess you can sit back and blame slow business on the economy.  "There is nothing I can do about it". That is not true. An economic slowdown is a great opportunity.  It is an opportunity that doesn’t come around but every few years.  Some of the best opportunities occur before and during recovery from recession.   

Have a great day and thank you for being here with us.

Byron Begley
July 5, 2009   

Respond To: byron@littleriveroutfitters.com

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