Disruption Doesn’t Mean Dysfunction

Disruption as a noun means “disturbance or problems that interrupt an event, activity, or process.” To cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way. For business, however, disruption is viewed in broader terms as ‘disruptive innovation’, a term first introduced in 1995 by Clayton Christensen, the author of “The Innovator’s Dilemma”.

“A disruptive innovation is an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances.”

Fast forward to today, what does disruption look like in 2017? Businesses generally still have two options when faced with disruptive innovation. Try and hold on to existing market space by doing the same thing(s) better, or attempt to capture new markets by embracing new business models and technologies, and adapting to rapid change.

“Change is good if it leads to improved performance, highly engaged employees and more satisfied customers.” 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…

2017: A Year of Triumph and Success?

Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s hard to believe that the New Year is well underway. We’ve already packed away the Christmas decorations, dusted off the holiday cheer and are slowly getting back into the swing of our daily lives and routines.

While we are just getting started on our prosperity plans for 2017, the Chinese calendar year for 2016 is coming to a close. The Chinese New Year does not officially begin until January 28, and is the year of the (Fire) Rooster. The Rooster symbolizes the dawn and awakening, where triumph and success can only be achieved at the price of hard work and patience.

“The dictionary is the only place where success comes before work.”

This coming Saturday, January 7th, my mother will be celebrating her 103rd birthday with the Angels. I mention this because Mom was a wonderful example of what hard work and sacrifice is all about. Mom was adopted at an early age and grew up in the Depression era. Growing up she had to overcome extraordinary obstacles, including dropping out of school after the 9th grade, to help her adopted family out financially and “earn her keep” in order to survive.

Key to Success

Now we all know that success requires hard work and sacrifice, but what else? What is the key to success? 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 (at a deeper level) 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…

Success Is a Continuous Journey

What is this “success” thing we all spend countless hours thinking and talking about and preparing for? Will we recognize it when it gets here?

The dictionary tells us that success is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose, or the attainment of wealth, honors or power”. This infers that success is a destination, place or thing with a beginning and an end. I would argue that our desire for success is the driving force within each of us that propels us forward throughout our lifetimes.

We all want to believe that our lives have purpose and what we do is recognized and valued. It’s only when we stop trying, stop moving forward in our quest to attain success and personal fulfillment that we fail. As Richard St. John reminded us in his 2009 Ted Talk, “Success is a continuous journey, a journey that begins with our first step”.

Success Is a Journey

The popular belief that “people are as successful as they choose to be” is highly misleading. Continue reading…

Networking: Stop ‘Bobbing for Apples’

If you sign-on to Meetup.com, you’ll find there are approximately 130,000 Meetups (884 within 25 miles of my office) happening at any given time that represent opportunities to network and build great new relationships.

With this over-abundance of networking opportunities at our disposal, why do many small business owners struggle to make networking work for them?

The short answer is that most are not prepared for success when they walk through the door. Yes, networking can be time-consuming, frustrating and expensive if you don’t take the time to adequately prepare in advance.

Bobbing for Apples

As my good friend Jeff Klein, the author of ’30 Seconds to Success’ and the founder of Speaker Coop says, “There are only two reasons to network – to get referrals and give referrals”. 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…

Let the 2nd Half Begin …

“Every success is built on the ability to do better than good enough.” – Unknown

Let the 2nd half begin … and so it has!! Sorry all of you raving NFL fans, it is not football season just yet. We’re talking about the 2nd half of the calendar year and you know what that means? It is time to step up the action!!!

 

Time to get serious about closing out the year strong and setting the stage for an even better new year to follow. Much the same as in sports, why do we humans always seem to have a greater sense of urgency in the 2nd half (of the year) than we do in the first half?

Most would say it’s a result of their efforts to recover from a slow start, an unexpected downturn in business or a major setback that put them behind in reaching their annual goals. I say it is simply human nature. We all go through cycles in life and business, ebbs and flows, much like the four seasons. As a result, our pace or sense of urgency is largely influenced by the cycle we are currently in, and how we are performing.

How can we create a greater sense of urgency for ourselves and our respective teams regardless of the business cycle? 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…

Let’s Stop Talking About Goals

Let’s stop talking about goals. There I said it. Like many of you, I’ve seen far too many articles posted these days that focus on goal-setting. Be honest, goal-setting is a total waste of time, unless it leads to results. It is time to shift the conversation.

Success Planning

There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, “The best goal is no goal at all”. I would not go quite that far. However, what it means is that we should stop allowing ourselves to be limited by certain goals, and stay open to the possibilities ahead of us. Continue reading…