Growth Through Subtraction

The old adage that “you don’t get bigger by getting smaller” does not always apply in the modern world. In order to thrive in today’s fast-paced global marketplace you must think differently about what is essential to growth, and where and how to invest your time and limited resources.

Big corporations have gotten it wrong for decades. To artificially “pump up” stock prices and appease shareholders and the board of directors, they have historically downsized and reorganized during the fourth quarter to improve short-term financials. However, if you do not make fundamental changes to improve operational performance, this is a “slowly bleed to death” strategy that ultimately leads to disaster.

“When you remove just the right things in just the right way, something very good happens.”—Matthew E. May Continue reading…

Sales Funnel vs. Sales Process

“Sales Process” most often refers to the repeatable set of steps your sales team takes with a prospect to move them from an early stage to a closed sale. Many of the articles I have read on this topic refer to the Sales Funnel and the Sales Process as the same thing. However, my view of the two is somewhat different.

From my vantage point, you should have a clearly defined Sales Process for prospects and existing clients. Why? Because the sequence of events, hand-offs, deliverables and timeframes may be different for prospects vs. clients. These key differences should be understood by you and your sales team in moving prospects to clients, staying in-touch and building those long-term business relationships.

The “Sales Funnel” on the other hand, reflects all of the active sales projects that result from the various interactions with both prospects and clients.

Our BLF ELITE Mastermind group has been working on the areas of Sales Process and Funnel Management for the past two months. And I want to share some thoughts with you from our work in the hope that it will help you build more effective sales processes for your business.

Sales Funnel … Is opportunity driven. The Sales Funnel provides a visual snap shot of all of the active sales opportunities that you are working on, and their various stages of completion from warm lead to Customer Acceptance. It is also the virtual “lifeline” for your business to both new and existing customers in driving sales revenues. Continue reading…

Get to Know Your Customers

Get to Know Your Customers Day is observed annually on the third Thursday of each quarter (January, I'm Your CustomerApril, July, October). This is a day to reach out to your customers and get to know them better. However, should it really be necessary to designate a day each quarter to get to know our customers?

Getting to know customers (all the time) is a requirement for building a successful and thriving business or practice!

We have heard it recanted over-and-over again, “People do business with people they know, like and trust”. A large measure of building that level of trust is staying in touch. Likewise, the primary goals of any business are what? Get more profitable customers to buy, buy more and buy more often. Continue reading…

Get Your Head Out of the Cloud

Get your head out of the Cloud! Yeah, I’m talking to you (and me) and everyone else out there. Whether your business is online, offline or both, we all need time away from the keyboard and out in the ‘real world’ in order to effectively grow our businesses.

Although it has been said many times over that advancements in technology have brought us closer together, I contend that it has done just the opposite. While technology has made it easier for us to engage machine-to-machine and automate various aspects of our daily work lives, it has also diminished the “human touch” in the process.

The Cloud2

At the end of the day, however, building a profitable, scalable and sustainable business still comes down to people and the human interaction that happens in the marketplace between consumers and suppliers. That personal connection is still a key differentiator. Continue reading…

Competition Is Not a Bloodsport

Unlike the early days of the industrial revolution, competition is not a bloodsport in the rapidly evolving, global marketplace of today. Instead, coopetition and collaboration have become the watchwords for this new era of global expansion and commerce.

When AT&T first entered the computer industry in the mid-1980s, it was their clear intent to dominate an industry controlled by IBM, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Unisys, Wang, Data General and others. Although AT&T had been the defacto market leader in telecommunications since its inception, they soon learned that different rules of engagement applied in the computer business.

Fencing Sport

In order to survive and thrive as a new entry into the computer industry, AT&T had to learn to “plug and play” with everyone, including its direct competitors. To meet their over-arching business goals it was no longer about crushing the competition, but more about developing collaborative solutions that addressed the needs of the marketplace, by working together.

You don’t become a market leader in today’s fast-paced global economy by attempting to lord over the competition or your customers. Continue reading…

Relaunch of the Business Leaders Forum℠

Are You Passionate About Spending More Time Working ON Your Business And Learning Strategies To Help You Achieve The Results To Move Beyond Your Vision?

Growing a business in today’s challenging economic climate can be a daunting task for any business leader. Are you struggling to find the right formula for success to take your business to the next level and beyond? Do you need expert advice to help you …

  1. Develop a “game plan” to improve your sales and profits outlook, launch new products or services, and/or marketing initiatives?
  2. Change your business direction, enter new geographic markets or develop new sales channels?
  3. Get a new business venture started and develop the blueprint that will lead to future prosperity and growth?
  4. Develop new leadership skills and competencies, and discover YOUR personal plan for success?

The Business Leaders Forum mastermind program can help you address these critical business challenges, and achieve the results to move beyond your vision in a balanced way!

I know what you’re thinking … here we go again with yet another hollow sales pitch that makes wild claims but delivers little to no value in return. Well, not this time! The Business Leaders Forum℠ is a proven strategic mastermind program first launched in September, 2009 that has helped numerous entrepreneurs, small business owners and business leaders over the past several years dramatically improve business performance, while helping them achieve their personal and professional goals.

NOW, we have incorporated the very best elements of this highly regarded mastermind program into a new, advanced business leaders’ series. 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…

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…

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…

Preparing for Success in 2014

Preparing for success in 2014. What does success look like and what should we do different in the new year to reach our goals? When we start the planning cycle for a new calendar year that is generally how the conversation starts, isn’t it?

In reaching our lofty goals, we generally begin by identifying what we need to do differently in order to achieve success. But is this really the optimal starting point? Let me offer another approach to help you successfully reach your goals and financial targets.

Success

Rather than focusing on what to do ‘different’, focus on what to do ‘better’ as a first step. Continue reading…