Want a noteworthy differentiator? Futurize Your Business.
Futurize your business in shifting markets with these simple and systematic steps.
Only two elements are required to apply them:
1. An open mind
2. Resourcefulness, not competitiveness.
Here’s your action plan!
* Keep a log of personal and staff meetings even if you are the only employee. (Binders work well and are easily updated and amended.)
* An effective action strategy is to consistently meet with vendors who support your business. Have a breakfast round table and ask these types of questions of each other:
Why are you in business?
Restate your answer at least three times. For example, if you are an interior designer, do you sell furnishings and decor items or prestige, comfort and support your client’s creative expression?
Practice with professions that touch your business and see what evolves out of the discussion:
-Service station attendant
-Hotel reservation agent
Keep adding to the list, and you will find interesting ideas you can apply to your own business. You want to be able to access who your list members know.
The next steps . . .
Insulate your customer base while attracting more. This requires attention to what matters to them.
-Use Customer Insulation and Bridging! You will have to be brutally honest with these entries. In fact, have the round table give you feedback.
-Why would you use your services?
-Why do customers use your services? (Consider: reputation, price, value, quality?)
-Where do your customers come from? (Referrals, phone book, coupons?)
-What do I have to stop DOING to start BEING __________________! (Productive, profitable, approachable????)
A stark analysis of these questions will reveal highlights and gaps in your business. Once your vision is clear, and you’ve redefined how you want to conduct your business.
-Apply the Everybody Reward System (ERS)
This doesn’t eat time-It does require consistency.
-Eliminate secrecy, and let everybody “buy” in, even to discomfort,
-Reduce wasted resources! For example, start a recycling program, redeem cans, bail cardboard and flow it back into the company.
-Offer extraordinary ThanQs (rewards to include others supporting your employee like partners, children, family members)
-Put surprise on your side. Apply “Catch ’em in the Act!(” to reinforce behavior you want repeated.
-Catch ‘Em in the Act™—Publicly offer unexpected reward/recognition/ compensation/participation-encouragement to continue their vision and positive behavior.
-Reward only exceeded expectations.
-Use of a company vehicle
-Gift certificates for choice
Hire Traits and Talents, Not Credentials
Examples for hiring practices:
Use the first part of the interview to set the company tone and explain your vision. Explain your expectations in black and white terms.
Then ask the candidate to repeat it back.
-Ask yourself, “Do they share my vision?” You’ll know within three minutes!
-Ask them to define what business you’re in?
-Avoid an “enough rope to hang yourself. . .” mentality.
-Be clear about what your job descriptions are in terms of what the company needs, your preferences, and the meaningful events during the year-business anniversary celebration, trade shows, and company events.
Review the participation in one month-Do they share and understand your vision? Do they understand what role they play in the big picture?
Find out what excites them: $$$, belonging, leadership, recognition-public or private. If encouragement is not provided in a meaningful way, it’s like giving someone a surprise party that hates surprises! (You’ll know in 15 minutes)
Company Self-Assessment Data
Excellent survey opportunity-Vertical Response or Survey Monkey are easy to use and distribute.
Who are you attracted to for clients?
Whom do you attract?
Who do they think you are?
Who do you think you are?
How do people find you?
Promote memorable imaging—Mental perceptions of who you are and what you do.
Where is your location? Describe how to find you.
What does your image say about you?
Does your logo support who you are?
Are your materials representative of your level of commitment, service?
Is your message about accessibility in how to do business with you?
Awareness saves your resources.
Marketing resources are often reactive rather than planned.
Keep a log and have your team participate: How important is marketing to your business?
What would it take to raise your respect for marketing services?
How do you effectively use promotions?
How do you effectively use events?
Where are you in the process? If always in the middle, you need help!
What is your plan to achieve the next level?
How are you doing it right and delivering on the promise?
Halo effectiveness-publication placement & association with others who address your market
Avoid “good enough” thinking
Avoid underestimating expectations, “Nobody knows the difference anyway”
Where are you “playing” and with whom?
How do you prioritize campaigns.
Where can you shine in the calendar year? Avoid holiday clusters.
Is anyone out there? Select your targets, don’t just shoot!
How do you determine your pricing foundation-reactionary, dreams, perceptions and actualities?
Define Your Marketing Style
“If you overheard people discussing you and your business, what would you like them to say about you and your business. See how close the answers are. Can you really separate them?”
How to Achieve Profitability in a Non-Profitable Environment
Find the gold mine in niche treasures and existing contacts!
Tighten your audience appeal and marketing campaigns.
Define and develop your:
* Influencers (people who don’t buy from you, yet tell the world!)
* Similar business. What are they doing? Go the other way. Otherwise you sap energy and resources mimicking others. The idea has to be original to someone, why not you!
* Resources-Don’t fritter time and resources in a dry pond! That’s not defeat, that’s smart. Smaller fish have less economic impact than big fish! Collectively, a business is healthier with many fish.