“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Why did I think to start my business in the first place?
One of the common dilemmas that I've noticed during my 12 years of consulting to small business is that some business owners have com-pletely lost sight of why they decided to go into business in the first place!
Ten key ways to communicate more effectively
I recently ran a company conference for one of the oldest and most respected manufacturing companies in Australia. It was seeking to develop a proactive response to its challenging and highly competitive marketplace. What I noticed, however, was that everyone was very concerned with what they were doing but not one senior manager present could actually tell the rest of the 35 members what they hoped to achieve by doing what they were doing. While each business unit manager had a very clear mission statement which illustrated and defined what business they were in, they had absolutely no idea of the end results they were expected to deliver.
This reminded me of the time one of my female clients came to me with a really great business idea. She wanted to be in the home care business. She had carefully conducted a market research study and had identified a viable marketing opportunity - to create an up-market home care service for senior executives who did not have the time or the inclination to do the housework.
Why did I start up my business in the first place?
She had resigned from a very successful position in a real estate company to start this business. She wanted to make it easier and more cost effective for her cus-tomers to care for their most important investment and asset - their home. From her real estate background she realised that she could offer a service that was not yet available. She wanted to be a trusted and efficient resource by providing reliable contractors to service the home, on time and at the lowest possible cost.
But then what do I hope to achieve by doing what I want to do?
We both agreed that this was a great concept for a start-up business and just as she began to busy herself with the list of tasks she had to complete to get started, I interrupted her flurry of activity by asking that really important question:
So what do you hope to achieve by setting up this business?
She looked at me as though I had insulted her and started to direct her answers around points like "Well, I'll be providing a vital service for people in need," and me, being devil's advocate, replied:
But how will you know that you are doing it successfully?
What I was trying to achieve with this small business client was no different to what I was trying to facilitate with the 35 senior managers at the company conference. It was attempting to get them to quantify their businesses or their business unit's key outcome. In other words, a picture or a summary that would describe what success looks or sounds like, in both the short and long term.
Marketing efforts get wasted if you can't accurately describe your picture of success!
For a senior manager it meant the construction of a measurable outcome, something like:
"To generate sales of $x and contribute a 12 per cent increase in profit in the y product division by z time period."
For my female client it meant the construction of a different kind of measurable outcome:
"To create 12 new customers within the next four weeks who contribute to the business a turnover of $x and a profit of $y."
It was as though a light globe had gone on in their heads. They could now see they had something very specific to aim for.
You can't direct your marketing efforts effectively if you aren't 100 per cent clear about what you hope to achieve.
So perhaps you should take some time out to decide exactly what evidence you need to see. Write it down in quantifiable terms so that your precious efforts and resources are focused on delivering exactly that.
Always begin with the end in mind!