Vision

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Chaos in the Marketplace | Extraordinary Business

I was speaking with marketing guru Joel Alpert of MarketPower at an event last week, discussing the idea of positioning and clarity of the marketing message. During our conversation, Joel was kind enough to give me some marketing pointers (I am a strategist, not a marketer, Joel!), one of which was the  importance of presenting your goods and services in a manner so that people can quickly ascertain what what your company offers and who it is targeting.

For example, Aepiphanni is a business strategy company.  We help business leaders create extraordinary businesses.  If we decided, suddenly, that we wanted to sell memberships to timeshares, potential buyers would begin to doubt us as a company because they couldn’t make the connection between business strategy and timeshares.

While, logically, maintaining consistency with your brand is a no-brainer, I cannot tell you how many business leaders I run into who are trying to sell so many things that they really have no identifiable brand or trademark expertise.  Their projects, products or services, while good, don’t ever reach the potential that they could because the business leader cannot devote enough time to a single focus in order to make it exactly what it needs to be.  People are hesitant to purchase from their companies because they don’t truly understand what it is they will be purchasing.

This is especially important in the professional services industry, since we are selling experience, education and Aepiphanni’s.  If we decide that our organizations need “multiple streams of income” and they have nothing to do with our core business, nor serve our core market (see your mission and vision statements!), something is going to suffer.

Keep in mind – the clearer and more aligned your business is, the easier it will be for your potential market to purchase from you.  The more scattered your sources of income, the more confused you and your business will appear.

Be extraordinary.  Avoid the chaos.

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,Focus,Mission,Vision,Market,Marketing,Products and services
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Digging out of the Sales Slump – the 4 “R’s” – from Doug Grady

Getting to the top isn’t ever going to be a free and easy ride.  There will be bumps in the road, there will be pitfalls, detours and everything else.  Doug reminds us that through it all, we need to stay focused.

“You’re ridin’ high in April, shot down in May.” –Frank Sinatra

If you are reading this you are likely in one now currently or are remembering a time when you were. The dreaded sales slump. It happens- even to the best of us. Sales can be a hero to zero business. The highs can be heavenly while the lows are at best bearable. When you find yourself in one, consider the 4 “R”s.

• Remind– Take a big breath. Remind yourself that you have been successful in the past. If you have been in sales for awhile, think back to a time when you were on a roll, in the zone, selling at your best. What was different about your attitude, energy, and activity? What were you feeling, focusing on, and driven toward? Strive to regain that energy and mindset.

“This too shall pass.” –Persian proverb

• Refocus– Set specific, measurable, achievable goals for the next 30 days. There are 2 types of goals to set: activity and outcome. You need both to increase the velocity of getting out of a slump. Activity goals address # of calls, presentations, networking meetings, referrals, etc you are committing to. Outcome goals address # of sales, $ amount and other relevant “bottom line” sales results. Yes, I know this is sales 101, but let me guess- you haven’t done it in awhile. Just do it.

“When you find yourself in a hole…, stop digging.” –Will Rogers

• Re-energize– get back in the gym, go for a run, listen to some of your favorite music. Get up earlier and focus on your goals. Turn off the TV- read and listen to inspirational, educational, or motivational material. Get around inspiring people. Buy yourself something pretty.

• Re-commit– This is more important than the first 3 combined (the first 3 tend to make this one easier). Decide what you are committed to and get to it.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness… the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” -Goethe

Pick yourself up, get back in the race, you’ll be “back on top in June.”

Happy Selling,
Doug Grady

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 Business,Sales Strategies,Commitment,Focus,Vision
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Jump Off the Bridge! | Extraordinary Business

Forrest Gump, the Robert Zemeckis character from the film of the same name, got up one morning and started to run.  He reached the edge of his property and continued to run.  He reached the edge of his city, his count and his state and continued to run.  People choraled around him as he covered mile after mile after mile, not quite knowing why, but seeking out a reason to identify with Forrest, whose only goal was to run.
Then one day, he stopped running.  No one knew what to do.
You see, Forrest was not a leader.  The people following him were like a flock of sheep.  They had no reason to follow him.  He provided them no guidance, no direction, no goals and no vision.  He could have been the poster boy for, “if your friends wanted to jump off a bridge…”
Excellent leaders build excellent visions for their companies.  They decide where the company is going to go and what it will “look like” when it gets there.  It is a thought-out vision that comes from  the very reason the company was started – to fill some void for a certain population.  It is a vision that is expressed to every member of the team – leadership on down – and lived out, daily.  It is essential to your hiring and reviewing practices.  It is managed as simply as, “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”
Building a vision for your company is an investment in time, sometimes money, sometimes other resources.  Clarity and commitment to the vision is truly something that must happen within the realms of the leadership circle.  Fulfillment of the vision must be a result of permeation through the entire organization.
Those that operate without a vision are like sheep roaming without a shepherd.
Be Extraordinary.  Create an Extraordinary Vision for your company.
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: Vision,Team,Leadership,Extraordianry Leadership,Excellent leaders,direction
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Jump Off the Bridge! | Extraordinary Business

Forrest Gump, the Robert Zemeckis character from the film of the same name, got up one morning and started to run.  He reached the edge of his property and continued to run.  He reached the edge of his city, his count and his state and continued to run.  People choraled around him as he covered mile after mile after mile, not quite knowing why, but seeking out a reason to identify with Forrest, whose only goal was to run.

Then one day, he stopped running.  No one knew what to do.

You see, Forrest was not a leader.  The people following him were like a flock of sheep.  They had no reason to follow him.  He provided them no guidance, no direction, no goals and no vision.  He could have been the poster boy for, “if your friends wanted to jump off a bridge…”

Excellent leaders build excellent visions for their companies.  They decide where the company is going to go and what it will “look like” when it gets there.  It is a thought-out vision that comes from  the very reason the company was started – to fill some void for a certain population.  It is a vision that is expressed to every member of the team – leadership on down – and lived out, daily.  It is essential to your hiring and reviewing practices.  It is managed as simply as, “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem.”

Building a vision for your company is an investment in time, sometimes money, sometimes other resources.  Clarity and commitment to the vision is truly something that must happen within the realms of the leadership circle.  Fulfillment of the vision must be a result of permeation through the entire organization.

Those that operate without a vision are like sheep roaming without a shepherd.

Be Extraordinary.  Create an Extraordinary Vision for your company.

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: Vision,Team,Leadership,Extraordianry Leadership,Excellent leaders,direction
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Eat That Elephant!! | Extraordinary Business

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

Of course, there are a million other witticisms that are added to the old adage, but the point is still the same.  If you try to take on elephant-sized goals all at once, they will immediately appear unappetizing.  However, if you look at those same elephant-sized goals as a series of smaller goals, you can begin to look at success.

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: Perspective,Goals,BHAGS
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Eat That Elephant!! | Extraordinary Business

How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

Of course, there are a million other witticisms that are added to the old adage, but the point is still the same.  If you try to take on elephant-sized goals all at once, they will immediately appear unappetizing.  However, if you look at those same elephant-sized goals as a series of smaller goals, you can begin to look at success.

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: Perspective,Goals,BHAGS
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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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Extraordinary Business: Plan for Growth

When your business grows quickly, things don’t “naturally fall into place” like you might hope or think.  Many businesses actually go out of business as a result of growing too fast and not having the infrastructure to support it.  The way to avoid some (and I do mean some) of the surprises that go along with growth is to have modeling and a process that will help you see and address some of the obstacles.

When we do strategic planning with businesses, the first thing that we do  is to help them determine what they would like to do over any given timeframe.  That could be to earn a certain amount of money, get to a certain plateau in their business or even sell the business and get a certain amount of profit as a result.  No matter what it looks like, we have to begin with the end in mind in order to begin to map out what steps will be required to get there.

Often, the goals that our clients have is to grow, exponentially, over a certain time period, which, inevitably, requires changes in the infrastructure.  For example, if you are a “solo-preneur” or a one-person shop, suddenly, accounting, marketing, research and other tasks become overwhelming as people begin to ask for more of your time.  You suddenly faced with the need to get some help, possibly without the spare brainpower to determine what the best course of action to take would be.  Do you hire a bookkeeping firm, a bookkeeper or an intern?  What are the things that only you can do, and what could you possibly hire a Virtual Assistant to do?  Do you have a sales strategy that will allow you to constantly add new clients, wherein you can even make these decisions?

Getting from point “a” to point “b” will require a bit of a road map, however, you must also consider the capacity of your vehicle.  Running full steam at an extended period of time will cause you to crash.  There is no “maybe,” “might,” or “possibly.”  It will happen.  Therefore, you must know your capacities.  How much work can you get done over the course of a day?  At current strength, multiplying this out through the course of a year, will you reach your goals?  What do you need to add to it in order to reach those goals?

The other piece of the puzzle is capability.  When you begin your journey, you are pumped and ready to go.  You are able to keep the organization aligned, your customers appreciate the business.  You have the capability to do a great job.  How do you maintain that?  How do you ensure that the last customer will have the same great experience as the first?  How do you ensure that as the company grows, you are able to maintain that experience, the same product quality, the same delivery experience, as you offered in the beginning?  These questions, too, must be answered, and in a way that is consistent with your brand.

None of these things naturally fall into place.  Don’t wait until you are in the growth phase to begin planning.  Run the business as if you expect it to grow. 

Growth takes work and planning.  Knowing the needs your business will have at any phase of its growth is imperative to the long-term success of the business, and your personal fulfillment with what you do for a living.

Separate from the pack; Lead 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,Business,Capability,Capacity,Small Business Consulting,Leader,map,goals,vision,growth
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