Life is Like a Jukebox …

JukeboxLife is like a jukebox … let the music play on. And so it goes. Sadly, too often we don’t hear it, or it’s just background noise, because we are so ‘busy being busy’ with our daily routines.

It is not until we are awakened from our sleep walking by one of those life-altering defining moments (i.e. birth, death, illness, marriage, divorce, job change or loss, buying or selling a home, relocating, etc.) that we tune in to life and the world around us. It’s only then that we start to pay attention and hear the music loud and clear. Sound familiar?

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.”

Given what my wife has been through these past 3+ months in battling cancer for the 2nd time, after being cancer-free for the past ten years, I’m not sure I subscribe to this notion any longer. Stuff happens, both good and bad, daily as life’s music plays in the background. And in this fast-paced world today, I’m starting to believe that life is a 50%/50% proposition. Continue reading…

Customer Experience: It’s a Journey

The customer experience truly is a journey. If your goal is to build customer relationships for life, then there are some logical steps to take to move those relationships forward in a positive way.

In the previous two articles we addressed ways to dramatically improve financial performance without major investments, and the importance of retaining profitable customers for life. Now let’s discuss how to establish those lifetime customer relationships.

Customer Experience

The life-cycle of any great business relationship begins with the initial contact and progresses forward from that point. However, the experience doesn’t have to be overly complex. At the end of the day we all want the same thing when it comes to the customer experience. Each of us wants to feel important.

How do we enrich the customer experience, and begin to establish those lifetime business relationships?

Continue reading…

Who Wants Customers For Life?

Más ventas y beneficios. Mehr Umsatz und Gewinn. Plures venditiones et expletia. Yes, in any language “more sales and profits” are the magic elixirs for a business. However, one of the most overlooked and misunderstood benchmarks for business success is the Lifetime Value (LTV) of a Customer.

In a May 2014 blog article I provided a number of ways to help business owners improve their revenue and profit projections with minimal additional cash outlay. In this article, we will focus on the importance of retaining profitable customers for life.

Who wants customers for life?

The short answer is … every business owner who wants to remain in business for the long haul. The chart below illustrates why retaining 100% of those profitable customers should be a top priority for any growth business.

Profitable Customers

Profitable Customers

When you look at the landscape of the majority of businesses, a limited number of key customers often dominate the profits achieved. In a typical business situation 20% of the customers’ can account for as much as 75% – 80% of the profits. This principle is called Pareto’s Law. Continue reading…

It’s Time to “Up the Ante”!

Yes, it is almost that time again. Mid-year is just around the corner and you know what that means. The halfway point of the 2nd quarter is generally when muscles begin to tighten (you know which ones I’m talking about) for many business owners as they reflect on their year-to-date financial performance.

BIG QUESTION: How are you going to overcome the current budget shortfall with only 2.5 quarters remaining in the calendar year?

Time to Up the AnteIf you’re behind in your financial projections, it’s time to “up the ante”! No, I’m not suggesting that you just open up the check book and toss money at the problem. In fact, here are some recommended ways to dramatically increase revenues and profits with only minimal investments.

There are three basic ways to grow a business – increase prices, sell more to existing customers and sell to new customers. The primary goal for any business owner should be to get more customers to buy more, and more often. So, start with the basics and go from there to determine what actions are necessary to improve results. Continue reading…

Shrink the Learning Curve on Everything

In the fast-paced, ‘get it and go’ world we live in today, shrinking the learning curve on new things has become a virtual necessity, and one way to stay ahead of the competition. In most areas of life, there are tangible benefits to getting better, faster and accelerating our ability to acquire new competencies and skills.

In his book, Outliers: The Story of Success, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell stated that it requires 10,000 hours of practice (10,000-Hour Rule) to master a specific task. Unless you plan to become a brain surgeon, most of us don’t have 10K hours to devote to the mastery of new competencies, skills, projects or tasks.

Learning Curve

So, what are some proven ways to shrink the learning curve and move from “you don’t know what you don’t know” to mastery without cutting corners or sacrificing quality?  Continue reading…

Competitive Advantage: A Fleeting Fancy

Competitive advantage is the favorable position an organization seeks in order to be more profitable than its competitors. It involves communicating a greater perceived value to a selected market(s) than the competition currently provides.

In effect, competitive advantage occurs when a company acquires or develops an attribute or attributes that allows it to outperform its competitors. Notice the words perceived value and currently have been underscored above to make a point. A competitive advantage can be short-lived because of three critical factors – market perception, innovation and time.

Competitive Advantage

Now, there are a plethora of ways to differentiate your product/service or company from competitors in order to gain a perceived competitive advantage. Some of the more common ways include: Continue reading…

Are You Final Four Worthy?

The Men’s NCAA Division I Basketball Tournament is the sporting event I most look forward to each year. March Madness has been in full swing for the past couple weeks with some of the very best match-ups in tournament history.

Although I will not be collecting $1 billion from Warren Buffett this year, I did enter my bracket selections like I do every year. It is really not about the prize money. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d graciously accept it if I won. However, for me it’s more about enjoying great basketball games and seeing how many of the teams I selected are able to reach the Final Four.

March Madness

What does it mean to be Final Four worthy? Continue reading…

Entrepreneurship: The Path to Prosperity

It is a path well-traveled, but not without peril. Being an entrepreneur is risky business and the odds are stacked against you. You’ve seen the statistics, 50% to 75% of all new business starts fail within the first 3-5 years.

So, why do so many people choose entrepreneurship as the path to prosperity?

The reasons ‘why’ are numerous and whether entrepreneurship was thrust upon you due to a job loss, or born out of a desire for change, we all share a common goal. All of us are seeking a better life and to build something special that we can take pride in.

Prosperity

Although the path to prosperity can’t be assured, here are some things to keep in front of you that will help you reach your destination. Continue reading…

Is Social Media the Next ISDN?

“The stench of vaporware hung heavily in the air.”

This past year the Telco’s unceremoniously laid the Integrated Services Data Network (ISDN) to rest after more than 25 years of failed promises and lackluster performance. Will social media for business suffer a similar fate in the not too distant future?

Social Media

The comments above will no doubt raise a few eyebrows from my friends in the social media community, but it is a question worth considering further. Continue reading…

How to Overcome an 8-8 Mindset

No, this is not another article rant about the Dallas Cowboys performance on the football field in recent years, although there are some similarities we’ll draw upon here. This article is about you – if you are one of those business leaders who seems to be stuck in neutral and unable to find the magic formula to move to the next level.

None of us grew up with the notion of being average, just being good enough. Whether in sports, music, grades, business, etc., we have all been in-grained with the idea of being the best in our chosen pursuits. Does this seem realistic? There is nothing wrong with the quest for excellence. However, not everyone can be a top performer. Real life just doesn’t work that way.

Are your expectations aligned with reality?

Let’s talk for a moment about the ‘BIG LIE’. The big lie is what we tell ourselves when we’ve a bad day or when things aren’t going the way we had hoped, “Things are going to get better”. Continue reading…