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Create New Memories…

When my father passed away it nearly did my mother in. He had not only been a loyal devoted spouse, but her best friend. She felt bad going to all the places they had visited together now alone. The memories of their past flooded her mind.

I advised her to go there again with someone else or alone and create NEW memories. They wouldn’t replace but would add to the ones she had with Dad.

When you reinvent yourself it might be wise to create new memories to add to the ones (or replace them – your choice) from the past. Experience your environment in a new way. Discover something you haven’t noticed or experienced previously.

When reinventing your business, work on creating new experiences for the people you target or market to. What can you do for them that no one (especially you) have done for them before?

Delta Airlines took in the elite mileage customers from NorthWest when they acquired the company. They created a whole new level of service and perks for the “Diamond” level they created. They added perks to the other levels (Platinum, Gold and Silver). Delta created new memories to add to and replace the previous ones they were known for.

How can you create new memories and reinvent yourself?

The Business You SHOULD Be In…

Do you welcome complaints for avoid them at all costs?  Do you listen to them, or do you try to defend your policies and actions? You have choices when people complain to you. It all goes to how you view their comments and your own attitude toward what they are saying.

Start viewing your complaining customers as your greatest source of feedback. They are the lifeline of your business.

If your customers want something from you that is reasonable and will make more money for you, why wouldn’t you want to satisfy them? I talk to leaders every week who refuse to offer services to their customers that they COULD offer, but they choose not to. It’s against their “policy.”

What your customers want is to be heard, not educated. If you feel they need to be educated, then they aren’t the ones who need the education.

You do.

Get into the listening business and quit giving solutions to problems that don’t exist. You will find you will become much better at solving problems in a language everyone understands… everyone who wants to be heard, that is.

Will You Adapt Next?

I never knew a world without television. The medium became a household item about the time I was born. My daughter, 19 has never seen a rotary-dial phone (or channel selector on a television) except in a museum exhibit. The Class of 2013 has never known a time when luggage didn’t have wheels attached to it.

So many changes take place in your business and industry that you have to stay ahead of the curve to stay in business. For instance, there will be a day when your customers will do most of their transactions either with an app on their phone or a card swiper on yours.

My assistant’s sons attend a school in South Carolina where all of the students have iPads and use them in various ways to do homework, record lessons and look up information on the internet during class.

While meeting with some union leaders lately, they told me that their members stay in touch through their smart phones than through printed or email newsletters. Blogs are replacing memos and post-it notes.

What is changing in your sector or industry that will make you the dinosaur in just a few years? What are you planning to do to stay ahead of your eager and more connected customers or members?

The clock is ticking. Changes are taking place.

You may choose to stay in the lead, or move out of the way for your competitors who are ahead of the changes. It is no time to play it safe or do business the way you always have.

While you read this, someone was adapting to a changing business climate and making necessary adjustments to capture more business.

Will you adapt next?

Is it Time to Re-Boot?

I heard a comedian say several years ago that if Microsoft made cars, they would stop working for no reason; we would simply restart them on the road and drive along as if nothing were wrong with that.

Funny, but true! You know you can solve most computer freezes, cable/satellite disruptions or malfunctions on your cell phone by simply turning them off and back on again.

It is called rebooting. It gives a fresh start to the process.

Reinvention is rebooting your life, your career, your sales, your marketing, your target group or your management. Most leaders try to fix everything when it freezes up.

What in your life would get better if you just stopped trying to fix it and simply restarted or rebooted it?

Recessions Never End!

There, I said it.  The sooner you come to grips with this, the sooner you will stop doing what you have done and start doing something new, creative and different. Realizing that the changes we have seen since 2008 will be here to stay will force you to act differently and get into the game of life.

Circuit City and a host of other companies have already gone out of business because they couldn’t transition and sell like successful businesses who aren’t waiting for the recession to end.

Major storms always change the landscape. Economic storms do the same.

Many people are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for “The Recovery.”

What a bunch of losers! Even if there is a full recovery, things have been changed so much that you won’t be able to do business the way you did 5 years ago or 10 years ago ever again. Life on the other side will be permanently different in ways only intuitive thinking people can imagine.

The two most expensive items we buy are cars and houses. Cars will be made different and houses will be bought, sold and priced different this year and forever. Don’t assume everything else will remain the same.

Don’t believe me? I learned to drive in 1972. The next year we suffered through a recession brought on by the “Arab oil embargo.”  After that, fuel prices increased drastically – and we never bought gasoline the same way again. We learned the phrase, “Self service pumps.”

Remember going to the airport to pick up someone and standing at the gate to greet them? After 9/11, we never traveled the same way again.

After today banks won’t ever sell mortgages the way they did; construction companies will bid differently and build differently; news media delivery will continue to change; and health care distribution will be forever changed.

What is changing in your business and how can you capitalize on the changes and meet un-met needs like no one else?

Are You Really Rewarding Creativity?

Develop and promote incentives for employees who openly make you look better.

Offer rewards for people who are creative. Google has fostered a culture of innovation and creativity for many years. So has Southwest Airlines – the leader in airline customer service. New ideas and experiments are rewarded – not punished. You need to see your business through the eyes of the people who are already on your side and want you to succeed. Hire creative people and don’t tie their hands to hamper their natural instincts.

Don’t punish new, innovative ideas in meetings. Reward them publicly. Many people have great ideas but are silenced by a culture of negativity that comes from the top.

Make risk-taking a natural act that gets recognition and rewards instead of penalties and more work. Your staff will support you if you support them. Nothing is more frustrating than satisfying a returning customer and then get reprimanded by a territorial micro-manager.

Don’t forget the customers are the most important people in your business. So are your most creative staff.

Your importance lies in how you reward them for using their unfettered creativity.

What You Learn While Standing In Line For An iPhone 5

Apple has gained a reputation for a culture of innovative designs and products. Innovation also defines their target community. Earlier this month, Apple unveiled the new iPhone in what was easily one of the year’s biggest buying frenzies, it seemed everyone WANTED, NEEDED, MUST get their hands on the latest gadget the very day it came out…before the price had a chance to drop to normal levels. Within days they had to push back the release and delivery due to a glut of orders.

Yeah, the price will drop, though. Why? Apple knows you want to beat the rush and are willing to pay the most, so they didn’t discount their latest and hottest product. They never do, instead using this phenomenon effectively to their advantage – and their bottom line profit!

The newest, hottest products are never discounted and they sell out because the perception is planted in everyone’s mind that they are valuable. Watch how inexpensively you were able to buy a Kindle a couple of months after the iPad was introduced.

Conversely, the more valuable the product, the less likely the discounted price. Can’t you just see the ads? “Pick up your new BMW today while the introductory prices are in force.” “Be the first to purchase a Yumi Katsura wedding gown during our special discount days program.” “Dr. Turner offers brain surgery for 50% off at his new practice!” Yeah, right. Line me up for that one.

Quit dropping your price and start adding value to what you do or produce.  People will line up and pay MORE for added value!

Have Some Employees Become Your “Dinosaur”?

There are people in your organization who are costing more to have them on your payroll than they are justifying the cost. They are either: chasing business away; crippling the business you have; or not attracting enough business to cover their salary. They have become your dinosaur.

That’s not my fault. You knew this before you read it.

I had a contract worker who was hired to turn prospects into clients. He only did that once in the 14 months he worked for me for a reduced fee (I found out later). I was paying for supplies and overhead to retain his services, in addition to constantly training him. It was costing me much more than his production was bringing into the business.

I began to get calls from other consultants  and authors whom he was targeting to work for as well. I found out he wasn’t working for me as much as she was trying to get more people like me on his list. It just couldn’t go on.

I had to make a decision… and I did. I called it off in a nice, professional manner. He was very understanding and felt it wasn’t working out, either. I secured more business within weeks by freeing myself up to do more efforts that had been neglected. It worked better for him,too now that I set him free.

What people are costing you more business than bringing in for you? Who is wasting more of your time to train, supply or manage than you could spend on more productive individuals?

There are people in your organization who are costing you more than their salaries, space and support. They are a dinosaur that needs to leave the museum. They need to freed up to pursue what they were intended to do.

Set them free and free yourself.

How Easy Can You Make It?

It’s All Greek to Me!

In college I was preparing for seminary.  The Old Testament is written primarily in Hebrew; the New Testament primarily in Greek.  So I took one class in basic Hebrew, followed by one in Greek.   It made sense as I was going into the ministry.

The first day of Hebrew class, the professor told us how Hebrew is read from right to left, the characters are different and there are really no vowels. But he said we would make it through the course and he would make it easy for us.  He did; it was fun and I aced the class.

Then I took ancient Greek. The first day, that teacher said, “Have any of you heard the phrase, ‘It’s all Greek to me?'”  He said that is because the ancient Greek language is very difficult and hard to read and understand.  He said it was even difficult for him to plan the lessons. He doubted most of us would pass.  I barely got by the next three months.

The first teacher explained the process, but in terms that made it easy to understand. The second one sold us on the difficulties we would endure and offered little help or hope.  Do you get the idea?

How hard is it to do business with you?  How are you selling the value, benefits and ease of your sales, service and products?  How are you compensating people who find the process hard and trying?

No Discounts? MORE Profits for You!

Elmer’s Restaurant President Jerry Scott shelved discount coupons in order to concentrate on value and service. The result is growth in a competitive industry where many have struggled to find a profit or niche.

Elmer’s could have specialized in pies, like Shari’s; discounts like Denny’s or one segment of the market, like Chili’s. They chose to specialize in great portions at great prices. Jerry says, “Discounting has been replaced with TV, radio, and community events.”

He said this strategy led Elmer’s to increase full price sales and define their image in the market. Sure, a lot of places bet on discount coupons to bring people in but Elmer’s put their money on the sure winner of creating a value people would pay more for. And they have.


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