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vision

Stick to the vision and the plan

By | customer centric marketing, Value Proposition, vision | No Comments

Today I had a conference call with a prospect who was looking at running a campaign. It was clear that the campaign was relying on a lot of external factors and was not in his core competency or something he felt comfortable doing. This is a common scenario for SMBs as lead generation becomes more of a marketing skill set and less sales. PlanningMaking decisions about what work to take on or what lead generation campaigns to run always come back to two key questions:
1. What are we really good at?
2. What is our vision for this business?

If it doesn’t tick both of these core questions then it is best to walk away, no run!
Don’t get me wrong I am all about Audacious but always ask the question:
Why am I doing this? We sometimes get so caught up in the doing that we forget to check-in and see if it is the best use of our time and resources. If you need to outsource it and it still ticks all the boxes as an activity that is worth the effort then great.
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When you have a well defined purpose and a well defined set of values or business principles it makes big and every day decisions easier. It gives you a filter. Bernadette Jiwa from TheStorytelling.com has a great download 20-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-launching-an-idea. Most of these questions can be applied to any marketing or business decision.

Resources

Vision Mission and Values2

KickStart Your Small Business in 2014

By | customer centric marketing, Customer experience, Marketing Strategy, Small Business Marketing | No Comments

Is your business sucking the life out of you? What are your goals for 2014 as a small business owner?

There is something about the comfort of an old t-shirt as p.js or a nice pair of warm socks that keeps you turning back for things of comfort. I guess the same can be said for setting goals for your small business. It is comforting to just go with the flow, rather than set some ambitious goals that make you get out of your comfort zone. But without the end game in mind, your small business becomes a job can have you working 80 hours a week and sucking the life out of you.

As Brian Tracey says in his goal setting sessions, “success is goals.”What do you want out of life? What do you want out of your small business? What will make you happy? Seems simple, but most us seem to do what is easy or do what we have always done even if that means our business runs us, instead of us running our business. We put our heads under the doona and hit the snooze button, rather than take the challenge of changing and do that brisk walk when the alarm button goes off in the morning.

For me, to grow my small business and even keep it afloat it is about knowing what are the important questions to ask? It is being able to make the right decisions on a day by day basis that takes me that ideal company I have in your mind. To do this I have to be able to picture that vision with real clarity. Here are some aids I have found that will help you ask those tough questions and set the stage for a great 2014 and a business you want to run. A year that you will look back at and say, “yeah, 2014 was a great year for me and I am getting closer to that vision I have for my company and my life”.

  • Have a vision for where you want to goIs your business sucking the life out of you? What is it would you like your life to look like? John Jantsch Goal Setting Video is a must resource. John has a exercise of describing your business as it is 3, 5 years from now and what does it look like? Goal Setting I find it useful to have a personal vision and a company vision.

 

  • Set some realistic but stretch revenue goals. We all need money to live. We need our small business to provide for us. What do you want your income to be now and in the next 1, 3, 5 years? I do this every revenue setting exercise  every year. I sit down and write an amount that I need and would like to make. Guess what? I come within 5% of  this figure year on year. Each year I try and stretch the figure and each year I reach it. I guess it is because once I have a target I plan my plan to support it. I do everything in a purposeful way. As a consultant,I find it useful to set, monthly, weekly and daily targets that sharpen my focus. It is a real measurement for me in terms of how I am tracking . http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/ is a great tool for this purpose. I love Freshbooks.com for time, invoice and estimate tracking. (heaps better than MYOB in my book).

 

  • What do you need to invest in yourself to reach your roles

 “Success is something that you attract, by becoming an attractive person.” As Jim Rohn says “work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Personal development is an area all about developing skills that will serve you well in growing your business and making better business decisions. An extra skill I have developed digital marketing have served me well. Podcasting and writing has enabled me to reach you. What do you need to be able to make better decisions this year. How can you be the expert in your industry? Invest in yourself.

  • Build a great team around. Zig Ziggler says, “if you can help enough people get what they want then you can probably get what you want.” This give to get mentality is already used in content marketing to great affect. We can no longer interrupt, persuade or buy people’s attention. We need to earn, give and educate to receive it.  Building a great team around me is critical to business success. I spend a lot of time on communicating and sharing with my team so we are all on the same vision with clear goals to get there. I also focus on having fun.
  • Get a Coach or Mentor. The biggest growth I got in one single year was when I took on a lifeline.  A Lifeline concept was introduced to me by Keith Ferrazzi when I read his book, Who’s Got Your Back. This is a person that I could banter with, share ideas, and would be accountable to. As a small business it is easy to feel isolated. Networking groups help but there is nothing like having that person who as got your back.  I am lucky in that I found this person just when I was ready and he has shaped my approach to business. He shares the same value set as me and I respect his opinion. However he has a different approach to me and asks me the tough questions and always has my back. I do the same for him. I remember interviewing Linda Hailey another successful small business marketer and she did this with her competitor. They would have lunch and share information, ideas and learn. Who can you ask to mentor you? Most people will say yes.  It is a must for small businesses.
If you are ready to set some goals for your small business and get ready for a great 2014 book in a session with me!

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Other resources

Brian Tracy – Goal Setting

Vision Mission Values Template

Who’s Got Your Back by Keith Ferrazzi

Your True North Exercise

 

 

Who do we intend to be? Why are we here? What’s the point?

By | 1 | No Comments

tomPeters_preorder_167x275.pngThe first question businesses often face when creating their vision or strategic direction is that of what are we going to sell or business model?  Perhaps more important questions according to Tom Peter’s latest book, The Little BIG Things are  “who do we intend to be? Why are we here? What’s the point?”

Customers and employees have so much choice, there are so many “me too’s” and they are choosing to  for work and buy from companies those companies that are remarkable and they really like. Thus, the questions around the companies values, vision and value proposition have never been more in the spotlight than right now.

When you look at these questions they are really at the core of your businesses identity and  your brand. They go beyond dollar and cents or product and services and speak more to customer needs and employee satisfaction. Who do we intend to be? This forces you to think about your behaviour. Evaluate how you play, what role you fulfil? How you are thought of ? Why are we here? It is more about what are the reasons beyond financial. What sort of environment do you want to create in the workplace?  What is the customer experience like? What is the point? is about the legacy you are likely to leave.  Are you memorable?

When I am creating a vision with CEOs I am often surprise how meaningless they become because they have lost sight of the key reason that the company exists. What customer problems they are trying to solve? What gives their work meaning? Companies that have asked these key questions often have a brand and a culture that is remarkable, defendable and authentic. Customers and employees want companies to care. People identify with companies that stand for something valuable to them.

As a CEO a clear, deep, and profound understanding of who you are and what you stand for, and what you want to be known for is critical. So much of the personality of a company is dictated by the CEO values and behaviours. Look at Virgin and Richard Branson, Apple and Steve Jobs, or Microsoft and Bill Gates. So like it or not, you are a brand as a CEO, it is just whether that brand is well-known or not and whether it resonates with the product and service and culture you are trying to deliver.

It is not enough to be known for what you do — you must be known for what you do differently! What are your values? What do you love? What do you hate? What are you insanely great at doing? What are you most proud of? What do you want to be? What is important and valuable to you? What do you want to be known for?

I contend that as a CEO, these are questions that you need to answer first and these are the hardest to answer. Once you have the answers, it is all about keeping that promise and living out that story of who you intend to be consistently in your brand promise, in your vision statement,  in your value proposition and in the way you do business.

Being consistent, authentic and clear provides employees and customers a level of confidence and trust that they can depend on. The disconnect between saying what you think you are and not behaving that way, is the fastest way to damage your reputation.

So key roles for the CEO are as follows:

1.A critical step is to define values that make the brand remarkable as define everything you do and don’t do under the name of your brand. Tom Peters suggests thoughtfulness as a key value today because it is so underplayed. Who do you intend to be in the marketplace?

2. Have a clearly defined brand mission, vision, and values. Authenticity plays a pivotal role, as does getting your staff involved in the process. After all, it is how you and they embody these ideals that will enable your brand to be authentic, consistent and remarkable. It is critical that staff understand the question: Why are we here? The answer should be something they can believe in and be proud of.

3.Brand building happens at every touch-point with the consumer and employee. That doesn’t only mean the product packaging or how our stores look. It goes far beyond that. It includes the support that we provide to our channel partners, how we met their needs, the personal service for our athletes, and the interaction of our service staff in every single moment with the customer.

4. Create the culture the mindset and motivation of every single employee and that they can make a difference and contribute. Happy employees equals happy customers. For employees it  includes our staff newsletter, work function, lunchroom,  bathrooms whether the CEO is approachable, how they make contributions and if they are heard!

6.Be ambitious. You have to want to create something really special. More than anything else you need to realise your leadership shapes the culture, environment, people, strategy and your offering in the marketplace. People want to work for and buy from people they really like and aspire to be.

5. Let the world know how you are different and what contribution you are going to make and you will be on the right track! Be proud, act proud and shout loudly.

Start with the vision

By | small business marketing | No Comments

I have been working with a client over the past few months and we have been going back and forth with marketing strategy and in the end we have had to come back full circle to what is their vision. It has made me ask many questions. Here are a list of strategic questions you need to answer before you can move forward in implementing any marketing strategy.

Make sure you get all of these sign off and right.  It is worth spending the time on these as it will ensure that your objectives are right and then you focus on the right strategies to execute.

  1. Our purpose – what we do?
  1. Our vision – what we want to be known for?
  1. Our mission – single minded focus of a goal?
  1. Our value prop – why our customers choose us?
  1. What is our culture – who we are?
  1. Our values – what we stand for and believe in?
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