The reality of today’s economy has one overriding message: “If you’re not telling your story correctly and directly to your customer, you are doomed to fail.”
Marketing is not the process of describing a topic, product or list of product features. It is not about how many videos or brochures you can produce. And, marketing is not demonstrating how much you know about your product or service.
Marketing is the process of emotionally engaging a potential customer by explaining what’s in it for them. Before people will buy from you, they must believe that there will be a measurable return for their money – that they can clearly see the “value” to them of your product or service. If they don’t see value, you’re not marketing, you’re just “describing.” Defining your value in such a way that your buyer sees their solution in your product is the number one thing you must do.
I’m always amazed when I meet business owners or executives who think that they can simply copy someone else’s successful action and it will automatically be successful for them.
While the concept makes sense, it’s dangerous to assume that it’s a simple “cut and paste” process. Simply copying what another organization does not mean it will be successful for your organization.
Yes, you should study what others do and “adapt” those tactics that make sense to your business. The keyword is what you do to “adapt” that technique.
When you just “copy and paste” what others do into your business, you quickly lose your identity and what makes you and your business unique to your buyers. In other words, you’re following the crowd and you become more concerned with monitoring average performance versus creating significant differentiators for your business. I learned a long time ago that the definition of average is the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Hardly a place where you should expect to be successful either in the short-term or, for that matter, the long-term as well.Continue reading →
Chris shares eight characteristics of an exceptional company. Wishing for an exceptional company to run does not occur just because you want it. You must first understand the criteria on how an exceptional company is judged.
Chris Ruisi’s “Step Up and Play Big Moments” is all about personal and business success. Chris’s goal is to offer today’s entrepreneurs, CEO’s and business leader’s practical guidance, tips, strategies and tactics that work in today’s challenging business climate. Chris brings his practical and successful experience at senior level management and Board positions to help his listeners cut through the clutter to Step Up and Play Big. Also available on iTunes.
It’s that time again. You know that time that happens every year around now when we start to think about what worked and what didn’t; and what we need to do in the coming year to achieve business success. Here are 10 tips you can use to help give you the edge going into next year: Continue reading →
As the economic recovery begins to gain traction, employers – both big and small – will be in the hunt for new talent at all levels within their companies, up to and including the executive suite. The question is, will they hire the best people or future problems?
When hiring at any level, an employer – before they even sit opposite a prospective job candidate – should have the following information completed: Continue reading →
Around this time of year, business owners are knee deep in summer fun (and they should be because they work hard). There are times when you have to take a break, recharge, and begin to plan for the future. It’s a proven fact that when you change your exterior surroundings and activities, your mind gets renewed!
The dilemma that many face is when they’re ready to “get back in the game”, they ask themselves, “Where do I start and what do I do first?” In most cases, they have no clear answer or path. The result: they waste valuable time and money doing the wrong things. Here is a list of steps that a business owner or leader can take to get the momentum going in the right direction to plan for their future and build a stronger business. Continue reading →
Some people, when they hear the phrase “a sense of urgency” immediately think that a crisis is brewing and the pace needs to be stepped up to get back to normal, or what we commonly call the “status quo”. However, in today’s business climate and the ever-changing priorities that come with it, can any company really afford to “get back to status quo” for any extended period of time? I don’t think so.
Developing and maintaining an ongoing sense of urgency should be the norm for any company wanting to take a competitive lead in their marketplace. In fact, a sense of urgency should become part of the company’s daily culture and be reflected in everything that they do. This will give them an edge over those who cling to a “business as usual” strategy.
Creating and maintaining a sense of urgency culture in a company doesn’t happen without a great deal of effort to bring about this change, and an even greater effort and commitment on the part of its leader to get the process started, as well as have the courage to stick with it. In essence, the leader needs to take bold action to set the expectation for a sense of urgency culture, and then set the standards for how accountability to it will be measured. Make no mistake, a sense of urgency culture starts with the leader.
To get started creating this sense of urgency culture within your company, consider the following:
You have to create an orientation towards decision making and action. While reviewing data on which to make a decision is important, you don’t want to get so caught up in data review that you end up studying all the sides of a circle. At some point, a decision needs to be made and action taken. If you make the wrong decision, make another to make it right. Customers and clients want fast action; if you can deliver it correctly, you have a competitive advantage.
All of the processes within your company must be results driven. Sometimes as companies grow they create layers and layers of rules and procedures. Eventually, they put too many in place and find it difficult to undo them because they have become deeply engrained into the company’s daily operations. The result is that the company becomes slow and cumbersome in the delivery of its service promise – it loses any hope of having a competitive advantage. The leader needs to cut through this bureaucracy (and all of the obstacles that it creates) and eliminate anything that slows down the decision making process and impedes the achievement of the company’s goals.
The leader needs to re-focus his team’s attention on achieving measurable outcomes – real and measurable results. When companies exist just to maintain the status quo, their teams focus on and measure the wrong things. To them, checking off items on a project list is how they define successful. They become lost in the weeds of tasks and don’t give the desired outcome the attention it deserves.
All around us, every day, we experience what the lack of a sense of urgency looks like. As such, it stands to reason that if you make the decision to create and nurture a strategy built around a dynamic and ongoing sense of urgency, you will earn a competitive advantage. Am I right?
Your future success is a choice; you have to choose to want to be successful.
Just before he died, renowned playwright George Bernard Shaw was asked to name a famous deceased man whom he missed the most. Shaw replied, “The man I miss the most is the man I could have been.” This was an interesting response from Shaw in his final days.
There is never a good time to question lost opportunities and go through the “would have, should have, or could have” analysis. But imagine having to realize what you did not accomplish when you don’t have any time left to change the outcome! Talk about a “worst case” scenario! So why wait until it is too late? Why not take action now and begin to create the destiny you want?
I sometimes ask clients to write their epitaph outlining in detail how they want others to describe them as a business professional, as well as a person in general after they have left this earth (you know kicked the bucket). This exercise gives the individual the opportunity to describe the person they want to be. Once developed, it gives them a future goal or vision to aim for; it gives them a “purpose”. The obvious question then is, “How does one go about creating their future ‘self’ or the person they want to be?” Consider these suggestions:
Create the description – Answer questions like – When asked, people will list __________ as my three greatest business accomplishments. People will describe me as a _____________leader when confronted with a challenge. My employees will describe me as their best leader because of how I handle __________. When it comes to achieving results I will be described as _________. The one sentence that others will use to describe me would be _________. (You get the picture.) This is your ideal future so take the time needed to cover all of the bases. Apply the same approach to your personal and family relationships.
Compare the tomorrow vision to who you are today – This is a tough request because you have to be honest and candid with yourself. Now, I don’t want you to beat yourself up or lament over your shortcomings. Actually, this can be a very positive effort because there is no downside to it. The goal is for you to get better over time and that’s a good thing! You want to identify what needs to be addressed in order to close the gap, over a reasonable time frame, between the “today you” and the “tomorrow you”.
Make a list and set some priorities – In other words, create a plan using the information developed from your today versus tomorrow comparison. The plan should address those skills that you will need to learn as well as the habits you will need to develop. Be realistic. Focus on no more than 1 or 2 items. Learning new skills or developing new habits is hard work and your focus needs to be on the quality of your learning and not how fast you can learn. Set interim learning goals over a 90-day period. At the end of each 90-day plan, evaluate how you did and create a new 90-day learning plan. When you achieve the learning goals, pick a new one and start the 90-day learning plan process all over again.
Be specific in your 90-day plans – Take each of the learning goals you have set in your 90-day plan and break them down into very specific next steps, tasks, or “to-dos”. The more specific you are, the greater your chance of success. After you have identified the next steps, set specific times that you will work on them. Use your time wisely. This effort is just as, if not more important than what you currently do. Why? Because when you get better your business and everything else around you gets better also. Your 90-day learning plan should be designed to encourage you to take smart learning risks. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes when you start to use you newly learned skills or habits. Take the risk and learn from the experience.
Believe in yourself and play the role now – Have confidence in your ability to be successful in creating the “you of tomorrow”. Have no doubt or fear. Start acting like that person right now – today. Will you make a mistake here and there? Of course you will, but like I said, “learn from the experience”. To act like you’re already the “tomorrow you” will require every bit of self-discipline and persistence you can muster. Why? Because the task of creating your future is hard work and you will encounter many risks and barriers. When you combine the need for hard work with the reality of having to take risks and deal with barriers, you have to confront many situations to take the safe route or worse yet, quit and give up.
Remember, your future success is a choice. You have to choose to want to be successful. Giving up or quitting is a choice. Doing nothing is also a choice. To quote a line from an Indiana Jones movie – “choose wisely”.
There are times when most of us run the risk of being swept away into the “crisis of the moment” and disappear into that dark hole that gets described away with that famous comment – “where did they day go?” The usual follow up comment is “I’m beat and I have no idea if I accomplished anything”. For those of you who are not sure what I’m describing and for those of you who don’t want to face up to the reality of the issues, consider if this scenario sounds familiar:
Do you find that during any given week you waste time and money and miss opportunities?
Do you find yourself involved in “fire-fighting” moving from crisis to crisis? Are you very busy, running from task to task and meeting to meeting but still see no progress being made?
Be “The Master” of these distracting challenges; use any of these top 10 tactics:
You need to have a vision (3 years out) for your business or career. Without a specific vision, there is no way that you can set realistic goals to move forward.
Without specific goals, there is no way you can determine what are the most important tasks, you should be working on.
If you’re expert at “fire-fighting”, it’s nothing to be proud of. You may actually be the cause of the flare ups.
Make sure everyone on your team know what they must do; why they do and how to do it
Make sure your team is trained and proficient in their roles.
Set performance expectations; communicate them and then hold them accountable for meeting the standards you have set.
Always have a daily plan, outlining what the top 1 to 3 things are that you must accomplish that day.
Identify what barriers might stop you from achieving your goals for the day. Have ready a contingency plan if you get stalled.
Do you find that nothing gets done, unless you do it? Are you properly delegating or are you just taking on other people’s problems because?
Schedule a 1 hour appointment each week with “yourself”. Put it on your calendar. You need the time to re-group and re-focus on the right things.
Noting more to add – trust me, this “stuff” works. But, you must be committed to work the stuff. You have the tools to regain and maintain control. It only requires your commitment to get started.
Quote – “By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one may unfailingly arrive at his chosen goal or destination” – Christopher Columbus