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…

What’s Different About This Year?

Hard to believe that we are already two weeks into the start of a new calendar year. Where has the time gone, and what’s different about this year?

Well, here are a few things that are different about the start of this year compared to 2013 …

  • We’ve had record snowstorms and cold temperatures in the Midwest and East.
  • To start the year, the #1 song on the charts was ‘The Monster’ by Eminem and Rihanna.
  • Last year’s Super Bowl winner has already been knocked out of the NFL playoffs.
  • The Dallas Cowboys failed to make the NFL playoffs (oops, nothing different here).
  • 2014 is the ‘Year of the Horse’ according to the Chinese zodiac calendar.

You know, however, that is not where I’m headed when I asked, “What’s different about this year?” Let’s explore a few things you can do to make 2014 different (better).

New Year

Nothing changes until something changes. Continue reading…

10 Life Lessons from Holiday Cooking

This year ‘The Boys’, my son Daniel and I, decided to do most of the Christmas holiday cooking. It was our way of giving ‘The Girls’, my wife Laura and daughter Melanie, a much needed break to relax and enjoy the holiday. My crazy idea!!

Sweets & Treats All Done

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves in for when we started, but 11 recipes and 12+ hours of meal preparation, cooking and cleaning up our messes later, we had learned a lot from this experience. Here are some of the life lessons we took away from our holiday cooking adventure: Continue reading…

Leadership: Coming to Faith

With the holiday season upon us, we tend to make a religious connection when we read the words “coming to faith”. However, for the purposes of this article I want to move the conversation in a slightly different direction.

What is faith? By definition, it is the “confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea or thing”. Applied to leadership, faith in this context can be viewed as the confident belief in our ability to lead and our capacity for leadership.

How confident are you in your ability to lead and your capacity for leadership? 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…

What Does a ‘No’ Response Really Mean?

What does a ‘no’ response really mean? The previous article addressed some of the common language, communication and media challenges we encounter when attempting to connect with the market. Now let’s shift gears and discuss what a no response really means and more importantly, what to do about it to improve response rates and sales results.

No Response

Regardless of the method of communication – i.e. direct mail, email, social media, text, etc. your goal should always be twofold. First, to grab the prospective buyer’s attention and second, to move them to an eventual sale.

In doing so, it helps to work the industry averages in your favor. For example, the typical open rates for email campaigns vary from 15% to 30%, and the response (click) rates from 2.5% to 3.5%, based on factors such as industry and company size. For direct mail, the response rates average between 1.5% and 4.5%. And improving on the industry averages should translate to better close rates, if you have a compelling value proposition and offer.

So, what are some of the steps you should take to improve response rates? Continue reading…