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Sustainable Communities | Extraordinary Business

One of the mistakes that many business owners make is that they focus most if not all of their energy on the sale. They push and push and push – advertising, newsletters, webinars, talks, etc, down the throats of would be buyers, making the marketplace a virtual cutthroat alley where few dare to enter.
The problem with high-pressure sales is that the sales are often one-time, with little to no loyalty and few if any repeat visitors. While this is the tactic for sharks – consuming whatever scarce resources are available in a short amount of time – it is often not a sustainable business model.
A sustainable business model is one that embraces and participates in the communities in which they serve.  Members of the business community include:

  • The Marketplace – including customers, clients, potential clients and other businesses
  • Vendors – people who we purchase goods and services from who essentially make it easier to do our business
  • Employees – people who work for us and essentially are the driving forces behind our businesses
  • Investors – who have demonstrated and put money behind the foresight that our businesses were going to be extraordinary
  • Community – The community in which we draw all of the other members of our communities from. They might be considered the Macro Community, while the others are a subset of them, or the micro community.

In business communities, all members of the community – essentially stakeholders – are all interested in moving toward a higher level of being.

  • The Marketplace benefits by having its needs met – you provide them with a specific set of goods and services that are the right products or service at the right time for the right price
  • Vendors benefit by having you purchasing goods and services from them that you use, in turn, to provide goods and services to the marketplace
  • Employees benefit by having a job, a steady paycheck, benefits and some stability. They, in turn, help you expand your ability to take the goods and services you have purchased from your vendors, and get them to the marketplace.
  • Investors benefit by getting a return on the time and money they’ve invested. They extend your vision of providing goods and services to the marketplace by providing money to make purchases.
  • Communities benefit by receiving tax revenues as a result of the sale of goods or the payment of employees who are helping you get goods and services to the marketplace.

Without all members of the community, your business would cease to exist. In turn, the community is better off as a result of the existence of each other. As you can look at the many failed communities around you, communities wherein there is no equal exchange, shared beliefs or interests and objectives, are not sustainable communities. Therefore, it would be logical to embrace your communities.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Business growth,Communities,Market,Marketplace,Vendors,employees,investors,extraordinary business,extraordinary leadership
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Sustainable Communities | Extraordinary Business

One of the mistakes that many business owners make is that they focus most if not all of their energy on the sale. They push and push and push – advertising, newsletters, webinars, talks, etc, down the throats of would be buyers, making the marketplace a virtual cutthroat alley where few dare to enter.

The problem with high-pressure sales is that the sales are often one-time, with little to no loyalty and few if any repeat visitors. While this is the tactic for sharks – consuming whatever scarce resources are available in a short amount of time – it is often not a sustainable business model.

A sustainable business model is one that embraces and participates in the communities in which they serve.  Members of the business community include:

  • The Marketplace – including customers, clients, potential clients and other businesses
  • Vendors – people who we purchase goods and services from who essentially make it easier to do our business
  • Employees – people who work for us and essentially are the driving forces behind our businesses
  • Investors – who have demonstrated and put money behind the foresight that our businesses were going to be extraordinary
  • Community – The community in which we draw all of the other members of our communities from. They might be considered the Macro Community, while the others are a subset of them, or the micro community.

In business communities, all members of the community – essentially stakeholders – are all interested in moving toward a higher level of being.

  • The Marketplace benefits by having its needs met – you provide them with a specific set of goods and services that are the right products or service at the right time for the right price
  • Vendors benefit by having you purchasing goods and services from them that you use, in turn, to provide goods and services to the marketplace
  • Employees benefit by having a job, a steady paycheck, benefits and some stability. They, in turn, help you expand your ability to take the goods and services you have purchased from your vendors, and get them to the marketplace.
  • Investors benefit by getting a return on the time and money they’ve invested. They extend your vision of providing goods and services to the marketplace by providing money to make purchases.
  • Communities benefit by receiving tax revenues as a result of the sale of goods or the payment of employees who are helping you get goods and services to the marketplace.

Without all members of the community, your business would cease to exist. In turn, the community is better off as a result of the existence of each other. As you can look at the many failed communities around you, communities wherein there is no equal exchange, shared beliefs or interests and objectives, are not sustainable communities. Therefore, it would be logical to embrace your communities.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Business growth,Communities,Market,Marketplace,Vendors,employees,investors,extraordinary business,extraordinary leadership
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Getting the Word to the Masses | Extraordinary Business:

My wife and I recently bred puppies and sold puppies.  An incredible experience with lots of hard work, dedication and cleaning.  When the puppies were ready to be sold, for some reason, we approached it with, “if we build it, they will come” mentality.  It took much longer than we expected to sell any, despite the fact that they are cute, fun, purebred and the sire comes from a great bloodline.
Many business leaders approach their marketing with the same perspective: they’ve got a great product or service, and feel that simply because they exist, they are entitled to market share.  Furthermore, they feel as that business cards, brochures or a website will do the trick for them.
For very few, it will, initially.  But it is not sustainable.
For the rest of us, a haphazard marketing approach will NOT get our products and services sold.  Sending out a bunch of postcards once in a blue moon does not constitute a marketing strategy.  Nor does putting up a static website (a website that simply signifies that your company exists).  Nor does random marketing.
What works well is a concert of planned activities, executed with some level of consistency toward achieving a specific objective, or a marketing strategy.  Once you have a marketing strategy, you can develop a marketing plan.
A marketing strategy is going to be the overall objective or set of objectives you would like to achieve by a certain timeframe.  It might be to increase revenues, increase brand recognition, launch a new product, raise money, promote an event, offer a new service or launch of a new business or business unit or  a combination of any number of them.  The marketing strategy should have some metrics (we want to reach 1,000,000) and a time period (over the next year) an objective (in order to build a strong name in the marketplace) and a vehicle (using the internet) in order to reach a certain goal (50,000 new clients).
It should be aligned with your business planning (what happens if 500,000 people call with questions?  What if you actually get 50,000 orders?).  It should not be so specific that you “lose sight of the forest because of the trees;” e.g., you would not include all of the details of how you are going to accomplish said strategy.  That is where your marketing plan comes in.
Getting the marketing strategy “up and running” and keeping it going is essential to the long term sustainability of the company.  There will be companies that will brag that “they’ve never done any marketing,” however, connecting with people, the pricing strategy, the products offered, the company  positioning are all part of marketing.  Letting people know about it, and staying in front of them is how you keep your business in business.
Get the word to the masses.  Build an extraordinary business.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Marketing,marketing strategy,business building,marketing plan,sustainability,extraordinary business,extraordinary leadership
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Getting the Word to the Masses | Extraordinary Business:

My wife and I recently bred puppies and sold puppies.  An incredible experience with lots of hard work, dedication and cleaning.  When the puppies were ready to be sold, for some reason, we approached it with, “if we build it, they will come” mentality.  It took much longer than we expected to sell any, despite the fact that they are cute, fun, purebred and the sire comes from a great bloodline.

Many business leaders approach their marketing with the same perspective: they’ve got a great product or service, and feel that simply because they exist, they are entitled to market share.  Furthermore, they feel as that business cards, brochures or a website will do the trick for them.

For very few, it will, initially.  But it is not sustainable.

For the rest of us, a haphazard marketing approach will NOT get our products and services sold.  Sending out a bunch of postcards once in a blue moon does not constitute a marketing strategy.  Nor does putting up a static website (a website that simply signifies that your company exists).  Nor does random marketing.

What works well is a concert of planned activities, executed with some level of consistency toward achieving a specific objective, or a marketing strategy.  Once you have a marketing strategy, you can develop a marketing plan.

A marketing strategy is going to be the overall objective or set of objectives you would like to achieve by a certain timeframe.  It might be to increase revenues, increase brand recognition, launch a new product, raise money, promote an event, offer a new service or launch of a new business or business unit or  a combination of any number of them.  The marketing strategy should have some metrics (we want to reach 1,000,000) and a time period (over the next year) an objective (in order to build a strong name in the marketplace) and a vehicle (using the internet) in order to reach a certain goal (50,000 new clients).

It should be aligned with your business planning (what happens if 500,000 people call with questions?  What if you actually get 50,000 orders?).  It should not be so specific that you “lose sight of the forest because of the trees;” e.g., you would not include all of the details of how you are going to accomplish said strategy.  That is where your marketing plan comes in.

Getting the marketing strategy “up and running” and keeping it going is essential to the long term sustainability of the company.  There will be companies that will brag that “they’ve never done any marketing,” however, connecting with people, the pricing strategy, the products offered, the company  positioning are all part of marketing.  Letting people know about it, and staying in front of them is how you keep your business in business.

Get the word to the masses.  Build an extraordinary business.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Marketing,marketing strategy,business building,marketing plan,sustainability,extraordinary business,extraordinary leadership
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Asleep at the Wheel | Extraordinary Business

Have you ever walked into an establishment and felt like you were interrupting the employees from doing…nothing.  The place might be clean, even sterile, the lights adequate, but not quite bright, and the customers in the place quiet, too quiet.

You can’t help but excuse the place, “Well, I am here just to pick up a widget or two,” knowing that if there was another place you could get it, you would be there in a heartbeat.  Nonetheless, out of curiosity, you begin looking for the management, and you see a slightly disheveled individual, who appears dead on his feet, and moves with all of the intensity of watching paint dry.

Asleep at the wheel.  Nobody is steering the ship.  This phenomenon is a JOB phenomenon.  It is what happens in a business when their is no enthusiasm for what is going on.  There is no vision, nothing to hope for.  Nothing that makes anyone in the place jump out of the bed Monday morning and say, “Gee, I can’t WAIT to get to work!”

How about your organization: are you and your team asleep at the wheel?  What are your stakeholders thinking about your business, your products or your services?  Are you one of those that thinks that you are so good that you don’t have to run a decent business?  Are you so focused on the bottom line that you take the commitment out of the business?

To stand out in the marketplace, to build an extraordinary business, you’ve got to put the time and energy into creating a committed culture in your organization.  Characteristics (and benefits!) of committed cultures include:

  1. A commitment to quality and consistency
  2. Pride in the workplace
  3. Shared commitment to the organization’s success
  4. Shared vision
  5. A unified mission, meaning one that all employees can embrace
  6. Clear and open communication
  7. Free-flowing ideas and growth
  8. Passion for (internal and external) customers
  9. Low turnover
  10. High attraction rates for high quality talent
  11. Trust and openness
  12. Growth

While this is not an overnight change, it is one wherein the benefits far outweigh the costs.  Looking back at organizations that have done exceptionally well, you’ll see leaders that were committed to their employees, their growth and interests, and employees who were committed to growing the organization.  You’ll see teams that are awake at the wheel.

Be committed to your employees.  Grow and extraordinary business.  Be awake at the wheel.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Company Culture,Employees,Management and Leadership,Business Growth,Extraordinary Business,Mission,Vision

 

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Asleep at the Wheel | Extraordinary Business

Have you ever walked into an establishment and felt like you were interrupting the employees from doing…nothing.  The place might be clean, even sterile, the lights adequate, but not quite bright, and the customers in the place quiet, too quiet.
You can’t help but excuse the place, “Well, I am here just to pick up a widget or two,” knowing that if there was another place you could get it, you would be there in a heartbeat.  Nonetheless, out of curiosity, you begin looking for the management, and you see a slightly disheveled individual, who appears dead on his feet, and moves with all of the intensity of watching paint dry.
Asleep at the wheel.  Nobody is steering the ship.  This phenomenon is a JOB phenomenon.  It is what happens in a business when their is no enthusiasm for what is going on.  There is no vision, nothing to hope for.  Nothing that makes anyone in the place jump out of the bed Monday morning and say, “Gee, I can’t WAIT to get to work!”
How about your organization: are you and your team asleep at the wheel?  What are your stakeholders thinking about your business, your products or your services?  Are you one of those that thinks that you are so good that you don’t have to run a decent business?  Are you so focused on the bottom line that you take the commitment out of the business?
To stand out in the marketplace, to build an extraordinary business, you’ve got to put the time and energy into creating a committed culture in your organization.  Characteristics (and benefits!) of committed cultures include:

  1. A commitment to quality and consistency
  2. Pride in the workplace
  3. Shared commitment to the organization’s success
  4. Shared vision
  5. A unified mission, meaning one that all employees can embrace
  6. Clear and open communication
  7. Free-flowing ideas and growth
  8. Passion for (internal and external) customers
  9. Low turnover
  10. High attraction rates for high quality talent
  11. Trust and openness
  12. Growth

While this is not an overnight change, it is one wherein the benefits far outweigh the costs.  Looking back at organizations that have done exceptionally well, you’ll see leaders that were committed to their employees, their growth and interests, and employees who were committed to growing the organization.  You’ll see teams that are awake at the wheel.
Be committed to your employees.  Grow and extraordinary business.  Be awake at the wheel.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Company Culture,Employees,Management and Leadership,Business Growth,Extraordinary Business,Mission,Vision

 

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It’s Been Done, Before | Extraordinary Business

King Solomon, the third King of the Nation of Israel, said that “there is nothing new under the sun.”  It’s all been done before.  Everything is just a reiteration of something that has been done in the past.
Just as it was true at the time of Solomon, looking around, you will find that it is just as true, if not truer?  Think about it:

  • How many iterations of the restaurant are there?
  • How many iterations of the fast food restaurant are there?
  • How many iterations of the fast food restaurant focusing on hamburgers are there?
  • How many iterations of the fast food restaurant focusing on hamburgers and fries are there?
  • …and on and on.

That goes to show you that

  1. Someone has probably done what you are doing before
  2. Whether they’ve succeeded or failed, there is an opportunity to learn.

Given the challenge of overcoming adoption, meaning the ability for the market to accept and purchase a new product or service, when you see other players in a marketplace that is underserved means that there are people who do understand the value of your product or service, are willing to pay for it.
While very few people would say that they are “keeping up with the Jones,” these days, the first thing that many people look for are testimonials.  When purchasing a book at Amazon, most people stay away from the 1-star books and look for the three, four and five star books.  The books that are “yet to be rated” might get picked up by people who like to be the first to review a book, but most likely won’t get picked up by the bulk of the reading population.
Case in point, look at the movie industry.  Many times, movies will live and die by the reviews of screeners and reviewers.  Movies that get rave reviews become blockbusters…the crowd is influenced by the initial purchasers.  Movies that get few reviews often leave the movie theatres after a few weeks.
So when you bring your product or service to market, or as you operate, and look around to see what others in the marketplace, realizing, the others are, to some level, substantiating your existence.  What will make the difference?  It could be your target market, your delivery, your type of branding, your marketing budget, and on and on.  Nike isn’t the only sneaker (tennis shoe) company in the world.  There are others that do as well as them, or better.  Still, there are new products coming to market every day.
Your goal should be to stand out in your industry, with your products and services.  You might carry the mantra, “while it’s been done before, six ways until Sunday, it hasn’t been done my way!”  Because essentially, people do business with people.  I don’t care how you slice it, they do.
Stand out.  be extraordinary.  Run an Extraordinary Business.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Business,extraordinary,decisions,marketing Strategy,industry,marketplace,stand out
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It’s Been Done, Before | Extraordinary Business

King Solomon, the third King of the Nation of Israel, said that “there is nothing new under the sun.”  It’s all been done before.  Everything is just a reiteration of something that has been done in the past.

Just as it was true at the time of Solomon, looking around, you will find that it is just as true, if not truer?  Think about it:

  • How many iterations of the restaurant are there?
  • How many iterations of the fast food restaurant are there?
  • How many iterations of the fast food restaurant focusing on hamburgers are there?
  • How many iterations of the fast food restaurant focusing on hamburgers and fries are there?
  • …and on and on.

That goes to show you that

  1. Someone has probably done what you are doing before
  2. Whether they’ve succeeded or failed, there is an opportunity to learn.

Given the challenge of overcoming adoption, meaning the ability for the market to accept and purchase a new product or service, when you see other players in a marketplace that is underserved means that there are people who do understand the value of your product or service, are willing to pay for it.

While very few people would say that they are “keeping up with the Jones,” these days, the first thing that many people look for are testimonials.  When purchasing a book at Amazon, most people stay away from the 1-star books and look for the three, four and five star books.  The books that are “yet to be rated” might get picked up by people who like to be the first to review a book, but most likely won’t get picked up by the bulk of the reading population.

Case in point, look at the movie industry.  Many times, movies will live and die by the reviews of screeners and reviewers.  Movies that get rave reviews become blockbusters…the crowd is influenced by the initial purchasers.  Movies that get few reviews often leave the movie theatres after a few weeks.

So when you bring your product or service to market, or as you operate, and look around to see what others in the marketplace, realizing, the others are, to some level, substantiating your existence.  What will make the difference?  It could be your target market, your delivery, your type of branding, your marketing budget, and on and on.  Nike isn’t the only sneaker (tennis shoe) company in the world.  There are others that do as well as them, or better.  Still, there are new products coming to market every day.

Your goal should be to stand out in your industry, with your products and services.  You might carry the mantra, “while it’s been done before, six ways until Sunday, it hasn’t been done my way!”  Because essentially, people do business with people.  I don’t care how you slice it, they do.

Stand out.  be extraordinary.  Run an Extraordinary Business.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].
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Technorati Tags: Business,extraordinary,decisions,marketing Strategy,industry,marketplace,stand out
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Extraordinary Business: Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes, we have those days when you can’t help but look around you and say to yourself, “This is ridicules!!” The funny thing is, in fact, that it probably is.  So many things happen that are outside the realm of our control that we cannot possibly plan for every scenario!

There’s an Aepiphanni for you.  LOL!

At this point, the easiest thing to do, especially as a young (new) entrepreneur, is to throw in the towel and go find a job.  There, you’ll probably get a nice paycheck, maybe even benefits, a set work schedule, predictable work to do and at least a lower level of responsibility.  You have to ask yourself, though, what are you missing?

Businesses, as a whole, go through the same ebbs and flows you go through, as a business leader.  The health of the business is always at risk.  Maybe it’s financial, maybe it’s your product or service, maybe it is customer or employee retention, maybe it is something else altogether.  It is the nature of business.

In either case, realize that these things happen.  That’s reality.  That is what gives your business life.  That’s what makes it grow strong and leave a mark in the industry.  It isn’t how the business handles things when things are going well that makes a different.  It is how the business continues to move forward when things get rough.

As the business leader, it is your responsibility to buckle down and keep things moving forward.  Recognize that you cannot control the situation.  Gather information, gather your people (advisors) around you.  Seek out the root cause of whatever the situation is, and make a plan to move forward.  Even if it is a temporary plan, do something, realizing that most situations don’t resolve themselves.

Be extraordinary.  Run an extraordinary business.

Aepiphanni Business Consulting: The Business Strategy People is a Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders and executives. We specialize in helping leaders create extraordinary businesses.  We welcome clients in the personal and professional services industries, including Creative and Design Services, Software & IT Services, Professional Services and Healthcare Services.  As always, we welcome your comments, thoughts, questions and suggestions.  If you are seeking a business assessment, or have further questions about creating your strategy or developing your vision, please give me, Rick Meekins, a call at 678-265-3908, or email us at [email protected].


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Technorati Tags: Extraordinary Leadership,Extraordinary Business,Challenges,progress,what to do,plan,responsibility,reality check,business
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