Look Like Sizzle, Be The Steak
You've heard marketing and advertising gurus quip, "Sell the sizzle, not the steak." Advertising initiatives best reach their target audience with benefits and the "wow" effect, not the value or features of their product or service. This may work well to get customers in the door. But once they're in, you better have some substance. How can you ensure you uphold the integrity of your business and still maintain the "Wow Effect"? It just takes well executed strategic steps for business AND personal development:
1. It's Already Done
Act like the goals you are working so diligently to achieve have already been reached. Walk with that confidence. Treat your leads like customers, your customers like guests in your home, and your staff like family. When you approach goals like a "done deal", you open up creativity reserves to think outside the box, access resources you didn't know you had and create opportunities for success previously unforeseen.
2. Get There From Here
It is not enough to act like you have arrived; you also get to devise a strategy map to get you there. Ask for your customers' input through surveys, polls, feedback forms. Have your sales force pay customers' a visit, just to see how things are going. Send a birthday card, send flowers, and send an article clip that can prove useful to a client. Never miss an opportunity to create relationship. The best way to ensure you don't miss opportunities is to create a plan.
3. Who Cares?
Make it fun and fulfilling to work in your company. Engage your human resources department to implement career development initiatives and placement programs that allow employees to choose their career tracks. Keep them in alignment with their skills and experience, as well as your staffing needs. Develop opportunities for your employees to volunteer in the community. Build a house for Habitat for Humanity. Run a marathon, or half-marathon. Sponsor a scholarship with your local high school and choose employees to be part of the selection committee. It increases your visibility, their corporate involvement, and your company gets to be a good corporate citizen. All for a good cause. Invest in your employees and in your community. Show you care.
4. Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say
Address issues as they come up or as soon as appropriately possible. Sometimes we let things slide or leave things unsaid. This devalues what's important to you and insults the intelligence of the other person. Be open in your communication.
5. Create Win-Win Solutions
The belief of "looking out for number one" is so embedded in our collective consciousness that we have forgotten we are ALL #1 because we are all one. When you create win-win solutions, you not only generate good will among peers and supervisors, but you develop a reputation for fairness and professionalism. Everyone collaborates with a collaborator.
6. Acknowledge the Feedback
When customers take the time to write a scathing letter or make an irate phone call about horrific customer service or product quality, they are providing you with a valuable opportunity: Free feedback that you didn't ask for, didn't pay for, didn't market for or followed up on. It just fell on your lap. So thank your customer for being committed enough to your company to give you feedback on how you can improve your service. Give something away or at a steep discount. You have a choice: Swallow your pride, or dwindle your profits.
7. Invest in Your Employees
Celebrate birthdays. Give your Employee of the Month the coveted parking spot for the whole month. Offer direct deposit. Reimburse tuition 100% for courses in which they received an A grade. Publish accomplishments in the company newsletter. Have a company picnic. Offer discounts with common vendors (cell phone company, local bookstore, banks, dry cleaners, etc.). Host a company-wide, week long brainstorm session on how each department can increase its productivity and profitability by 30% within a certain timeframe.
8. Go Back to Kindergarten
When you take lunch, take a walk to a park, eat leisurely, and come back to the privacy of your office for a quick 20 minute power nap. You'll feel refreshed and replenished. Don't have an office? Build a nap center for all employees. Make it fun and, most importantly, nourishing.
9. Tie Up Loose Ends
Pay the parking ticket. Write that letter. Clean out your files. Make up with that client. Enroll in school. Back up your computer systems. Run the Clean Sweep Program on yourself, then your department, then the company (for more information, email us at email@example.com).
10. Give Yourself a Makeover
Lose the 15 pounds. Get that haircut. Buy fresh makeup. Reinvent your wardrobe. Give your car a paint job. Rearrange the furniture in your office or lobby. Give away old clothes. When you get in the habit of installing new practices and letting go of old ones that no longer serve you, you generate and circulate fresh energy.
11. Keep Your Commitments
When you say you are going to do something, do it, or else renegotiate another arrangement. Very few things are as difficult to earn back as your credibility and the trust of those who deal with you.
12. Play a Big Game
When setting your goals, ask yourself if you are stretching. Set your goals high enough to have to stretch for them. Make your growth systematic and strategic. If your goal is to call 20 leads this week, to close one sale, what would you have to do and believe about yourself to make it possible to call 50 and close three sales? If your goal is to go to dinner with your brother, just to reconnect, how about stepping it up and actually saying "I love you?" You know you are playing a big game when your first reaction is a big whine "I can't do that!" Yes, you can. Surprise yourself.
13. Be a Contribution
How can you make your customers' life more livable, your employees' work more enjoyable, and your community more cohesive? Everyone wants to know, what's in it for me? When you focus out, you immediately speak their language and enroll them in playing yours. No one plays with you if they think you are not on their team. So join them. And they will join you.
Monikah Ogando is President & CEO of Ogando Associates, Inc., a business consulting and coaching firm that works with start up and expanding businesses to implement action driven and results oriented strategies for profitability and a rewarding company culture. You can reach Monikah by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Window Cleaning Business Case Study
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Recognizing Employees? Contributions Can Go a Long Way
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In this paper, I will:
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When it comes to cost, how much can you afford or not afford?
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1 Overlooked Key to Small Business Success
Is this you?
Is Your Success Predetermined?
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Franchisor Prospect Checklist Sample Form
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California Department of Corporations Attempts to PR Their Benefits to Consumers
On Monday the Department of Corporations in California revoked franchise registrations of two franchising companies. In a Press Release the Department said; "The CDC has taken enforcement actions that have resulted in the revoking of registration of two franchise businesses operating in California... also ordered to stop the offer and sale of unregistered franchises in the state." There reasoning was that the two companies in question had not completed registration or sent in paper work on time or completed the forms. What the Department of Corporations did not tell you was that they are known in the franchising industry as being the most inept of all franchise registration states. The American Bar Associations franchise forum has had many a franchise attorney admonish the Department of Corporations. I can personally say we had our registration application in limbo for 10-months due to the Department of Corporations ridiculous bureaucracy. (I run the company; http://www..CarWashGuys.com ).
Boat Detailing Tips and Procedures
Auto detailers are often asked to clean boats and detail boat trailers. There is an easy and efficient way to do this with little effort. Washing and waxing boat trailers is an easy sale. Be sure to offer the boat owner a trailer wax. Let the owner know that a heavily waxed trailer is more rust resistant even when used in salt water. They can wax now or repaint later. To remove rust, brush on two coats of Ospho Acid, available in paint stores and marine supply shops. It will change the chemistry of rusting steel from an active to a passive state and stop rust cold.
Small Business Stress Buster: Completion not Perfection
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Beginning an Internship Program
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Starting a Virtual Assistant Business
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Site Selection - Slice of Life, A Car Wash and Detail Center DownTown
There is a continual trend we are seeing which I can remember participating in over a decade ago, when cities were trying to figure out how to increase sales tax revenues when the large box stores outside of town came into nearby or surrounding areas. For instance a big and easy example would be Wal-Mart. Sam was smart and built his stores just outside of town near towns, which drew from neighboring towns of 5,000 or more from three to five directions. If you look at an over lay of Wal-Mart stores to an atlas of that state you will see the rural America can get anything they need at the best price without driving all that far.
Electronic Franchise Disclosure and E-Signature Future for Investors
It has been discussed allowing Franchising companies to electronically disclose franchise documents to the public and prospective franchisees. If the Federal Trade Commission wants to make UFOC information available electronically through email to catch up with the newest technologies then it will get complaints and make up another rule saying no unsolicited UFOC maybe sent through email.
SBIR vs STTR
SBIR vs. STTR: If you are participating in the SBIR program you may also want to consider participating in the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program. The STTR program is considered SBIR's twin sister, although there are some added hoops one must jump through in order to participate. Like SBIR, the STTR is the US Government's way of providing "seed" money to spawn technology growth. The key difference however is in the structure of the effort, whereas a small business must partner (via a subcontract) to a university or non-profit research institution in order to acquire STTR funding.
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