Posts Tagged 'Marketing'

Don’t Squat With Your Spurs On – 27 days until the launch of “Running the Gauntlet”!

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This is cowboy wisdom 101, and can be just as wisely applied to your business mantra:  Don’t squat with your spurs on.  Or translated, never stop selling your company.

Businesses always need to be selling themselves and the changes they are making through everything they do.  It’s just commonsense and not doing it is like squatting with spurs on.  You can do it but it’s gonna leave a mark — and it’s gonna hurt.  In other words, be smart or get stuck.

Whether in-your-face or subtle, targeted to thousands or millions, business-to-business or consumer targeted, off or online, a business must make the effort to market and sell itself or it will die.  That’s the only way to grow bigger.

Selling is not a negative term just like change is not a goal in itself but a chance to build on success to create a bigger future for a business.

Change offers a chance for businesses to see their markets and their customers in new ways—a chance to consider new strategies, investigate and invest in new technologies, invent new ways of doing business, test things, and more.

It’s about opportunity; that’s what’s most appealing about it.

In order to capitalize on these opportunities and grow, businesses always need to be selling themselves and the changes they are making through everything they do.




Better is Better

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The most important message for small businesses and this final mirror test is not “get a tank” but “think and act like a tank.”

Know what your weapons are and how to compete with them.  Know your targets and know your tools.  Most business owners don’t and will never have all the tools to deal with everything on their own—so don’t pretend to.

Bigger-is-better tank-like approaches are almost always fueled by greed.  They are unrealistic, and sooner or later destroy your business.

Think big enough but not bigger than you are.

Common side effects:

  • Spending more and generating less
  • Expanding before succeeding
  • Decreasing profit percentages

The answer is not always a flashier website, bigger media campaign, or newer office.  Make what you have right now better than anyone else’s and build that bottom line with an eye on profit (instead of revenue)—that’s what keeps your business fogging the mirror.




Work Across the Seams of Your Company

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The gauntlet of change is cruel, and change agents are exposed to all of its dastardly personnel.

Since this is the case, leaders need to be seam operators – they operate across the seams of the company.



Two things seam operators don’t do:

  • We don’t get involved in day-to-day processes outside of setting the operating principles.
  • We don’t need to know too many details; we’ve already been through a lot of this before, and we don’t need it explained again.

I tell my team all the time, “I don’t want to know or hear about how sausage is made unless someone died.  I get it.  It’s sausage.  Tell me what I need to know to get things moving.”

Find out what is breaking down within the seams of your company.  Change agents identify problems and then find ways to fix them or bring in people who can.


Pareto’s Principle

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In order to drive your change, you have to know who your best customers are.  If you are not sure, just remember Pareto’s Principle, or the “80-20 Rule”, which states that 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your clients.

This is as true a rule as I have ever encountered, particularly in small business, which is why so many business books continue to cite it.

I like to call my 20 percent “pie” and the 80 percent “ice cream”.  The pie is the substantial and filling part of the dessert; it supports the ice cream, which fills in the spaces. 

Questions to ask your best customers (the 20 percent):

  1. What does my business mean to you and your business?
  2. Why do you come to me?
  3. What are you planning and how can I fit in?
  4. Where are your biggest needs?
  5. What are your dreams?

In order to make and keep new customers, get to know everything about the “pie” people, but work hard to maintain and keep the “ice cream” people.


Add Value

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Do you know how much I love the warm cookies they serve at the Doubletree?  I think about them when I am at other hotels.

We often focus on adding value with your customers, that’s easy… get to know your customers and their business better than they do.  But what about the value within your own company?

As mentioned in an article by Fast Company, research shows that the more leaders achieve, the more we tend to want to “be right”.  Suggestions at the CEO level can come off as an order to your employees, even if you don’t want them to.

If you want to add value to your customers’ experience, then make sure to add value within your own company first.

  • Spend time with your employees asking them questions.  You will turn your employees into your customers’ associates.  They will all start working to improve your bottom line
  • Involve everyone in every aspect of the business.  I believe in complete transparency and making everyone feel like they are involved in the big picture (something you cannot do in many big businesses)
  • Chart progress. Set clear goals and follow budgets – but don’t pick out the small mistakes.  Trust your people enough to make small mistakes that won’t cost you much, but are of great value for them to learn from.
  • Reward good behavior. Remember to keep your company’s mood positive.

If you create brand ambassadors within the company, then it will expand to outside the company.  Running through a gauntlet is a lot easier when you have a stampede to run it with you.


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