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Jul 26, 2013

Defined: Artistic Business Development (ABD)

Artistic Business Development(ABD): action. 

ABD is a process of developing your business in an artistic fashion. Meaning, you take the process of developing your business from an artistic platform. This will enable you to think outside the box, thinking creatively. You will gain an advantage over your competition by attaining this outer edge of thinking. Artistic Business Development is key when you think there is zero room for growth. This is essential for a CEO looking for a bigger view and larger growth.   

Jul 25, 2013

Ensuring Your Partner Goals are Large and In Charge

Are you a partner with someone in an endeavor? If you are a serious business person, on one level or another you have become partners with another individual. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, in order to further your business and your influence you must partner with like minded individuals to further the agendas of all. 

Partnerships in business are must touchier than a romantic relationship. This is because you are most likely dealing with more than one person within the partnership. Meaning, a company has many people that run the engine room. Even though you might be dealing with one, two, or a ten person council, you will always be dealing with all of them.

Think of the partnership as a win-win situation. Never strive to get just what you want. In fact, I would suggest that you strive to give them more than what you will be receiving. This will build up, and eventually come back to you ten-fold. *Note: Give them more but be strategic about it, giving what you think they will benefit most from. 

The key to ensuring that your partner(s) has goals that are align with yours is s system of constant communication. You need to have in place a system that will keep the flow of information constant, either on a weekly or monthly basis. Any further out from there you will start to degenerate in your communication strength. The key component to this strategy is that the flow of communication is focused and clear. Make sure that you are clearly understood if you make a change to the goals that have be set. If they state something that isn’t clear, make sure to get the clarification from them before moving on.

When taking on a partnership a set of established goals should be at the top of the list. Even if you “think” those goals are understood. 

Jul 24, 2013

Create an Additional Product to Boost Company Validity

What are the chances you could create another product or service that would boost your company’s validity in the market place? The chances are extremely high.

Every business has the potential to create an additional service or product that will allow for growth and brand expansion. This key element is paramount to the longevity and full potentiality of your business at large. By expanding into more services or products you will tackle and influence other demographics. Not to be blind, if this is true you must take time to do market research in that new area of interest. Since you are venturing into a new demographical space with your brand, you want to ensure you are making a solid impression on the new customers. Act as if you are starting all over, reaching out to your very first customers. The difference is you will have the knowledge or your brand and your business as ammunition. Therefore, you will be entering a space you’ve never been in, without flying “brand blind”. Do you homework and strive to dominate that demographic.

The new product or service can be introduced to your current customer base as well. Announce it as a big event in where they should get in on. You will reinvigorate them, and inject positive reinforcement of your brand. For the customers that you may have had issues with in the past - meaning you didn’t meet their needs - you will have a chance now to spark a new interest in them.

An additional Product Boost Includes Two Things:

  1. Researching the New Demographic(s)
  2. Announcing to Current Customer Base

This will give your company a wider influence, enabling you a longer reach into the market place. Just as in the case of The Virgin Group, you will will be apart of several different areas of people’s lives. This will equal a greater impact of your brand, establishing longevity. 

Jul 23, 2013

Identifying your season is key for ultimate business performance

Just like in nature, business also has seasonal changes. The key to mastering your business and it’s longevity is in knowing what season you are in and what season you need to plan for. In this article we will break down how to identify these components that many business owners miss, equalling in unconscious failure. 

What is a season?

A season in business terms contains two essential elements: 

  1. The change into the season
  2. The new season itself

These two components are exact as to what is missed by most business owners. Most believe they can set up shop and remain consistent in their services and leave it at that. This is a huge misunderstanding. As time changes, everything changes. People change, environments change, markets change, money changes, and demographics change. When the season changes, you MUST change with it or you will be left behind. In essence, image this: Image you prepared for winter. You attained the right clothes, heated your house, checked to the forecast, and gathered the materials you needed to endure a brutal cold. The winter came, as promised. Then left, but you continued living the same way day in and day out as warmer weather approached, wondering why you and your family were burning up in your heated house wearing your four layered outfits. This is exactly what happens to business owners that refuse to embrace changes in the socioeconomic landscape.

So the first step is to allow yourself to embrace change. Because, no matter if you want it to happen or not, change will come in one form or fashion. 

The second is rather easy considering the wealth of information available to us at this stage in the game. In fact, the problem might not be with implementing the step but filtering through all of the information provided. In this second step you will simply look at what you current market is experiencing and gain a perspective as to where it appears it is going in the future. This sounds like a head analytical task that will eat up hours of your time. This simply isn’t true. If you know exactly who you are catering to as a business you will know exactly were to look. Look at what they are reading, watching, listening too, talking about, and wanting for the future, and etc. Once you have a handle on this, make the move now to change(incrementally)to the new standard set by your customers. Don’t be alarmed if you find out that what they want in the future seems odd or out of place for your market. This should be future ammunition geared toward the fortification of your business. Another key action would be to look at sub-categoric markets relative to yours to see what they are doing in anticipation of changes by their customers. This will give you a broader sense of what is going on with your customer base and an added edge over your competitors. 

When you implement strategies that embrace these two simple adjustments within the business landscape, you will be ready to change and survive the test of time no matter the season. 

Jul 22, 2013

Is your office area clean?

Cleanliness is key to productivity and in this blog entry we will discuss why. Today, more than ever there is increasing unclean influences from pollution, cross-contamination, and unclean workers. Stats are reporting that less and less people strive to keep their hands clean in the workplace. This should alarm you, however. This should inspire you to take action in your own business. Let’s start from the ground up. 

1. Are Your Floors Clean?

This may seem like something that “everyone does”. But, the question still remains; are your floors clean? Take a look in every corner, edge and under carpet. This is key because dirt and bacteria can foster over time. This can cause mold and allergy irritation amongst employees. Ensure that every floor place is cleaned with industrial grade cleaner so that you know you’ve covered your bases. 

2. What’s On Your Ceiling?

Just like the floors, it’s vital that the ceilings are clean as well. If not, imagine for a moment all of that uncleaned dirt following on the heads of customers and employees. This is simply gross, and should be taken care of immediately. Have your cleaning staff to take 3 days a week to look at the nooks and crannies of the ceiling cleanliness integrity. This will also help keep the air clean as nothing will be falling into the air to be breathed in.

3. All Surfaces!

Make sure all of your surfaces are clean at all times. This may mean checking the front desk counter throughout the day - no matter - this is worth it. Just think if a customer came in, leaving with a dirty hand just because they inquired about your services, never going past the front desk? This WILL leave a lasting impression. Every surface an employee, customer or executive touches should be clean enough to eat off of.

These are only three out of the many possible areas that need to be kept up with within your business atmosphere. However, these are the areas that anyone and everyone running a business can influence on a daily basis that is sure to increase the quality of business you offer.  

Jul 21, 2013

Marketing Sectors: What works and what doesn’t

Have you heard the expression, “If a company isn’t marketing or selling, they are spending money.”? This is a business adage that has remained true for decades in the modern marketplace. This statement is incredibly true. However, there is something to be said about just throwing money at a marketing campaign that doesn’t work. Marketing is a science, based in a core of psychology and human behavioral studies. This is why many small business see lack of growth when the leaders have little education in marketing and intuition towards their core customers. The key here is to identify an exact marketing plan that will hit on the triggers of your central demographic. When you hit these triggers, your customers are compelled to buy your product. 

There are many marketing sectors: Radio, print, internet, phone, television, and a combination of them. This is where many companies run into issue. The question is, should we diversify our marketing efforts or concentrate on one way of campaigning? The answer is neither. The answer to marketing success is picking no more than 3 mediums of advertising for your marketing campaign. Furthermore, the marking message within the three vehicles you choose must match in every aspect. If they don’t match your customers will get mixed messages as to what you are offering.  

Jul 20, 2013

Is your organization planting seeds of individual success?

As our business grows, you are getting excited as to the possibilities that now stare you in the face. With more growth comes more responsibility, opportunities, and deeper learning. However, as this whirlwind takes us over we need to focus in on the people that have made this radical change possible - planting seeds in their favor. 

In the ideal situation, you acknowledge those people and you plant seeds of inspiration in them by contributing to their future success. But as successful people we know that isn’t enough. We can go one step further and look to plant physical seeds of growth in their lives. This doesn’t mean giving them money to do with what they please. This means ASKING them what they need in order to make their life a more of a success. Whether it is at work, at home, or in their personal life what will aid them in creating the life that they want.

Start at the person closest to you, asking them what they need. At first they will address issues at work, in which you should redirect. Ask them if they have an easy commute to work. Ask them if they have adequate meals during work hours. Yes, these things directly influence their performance at work, but they also cross over into influencing their personal life as well. Most people spend 8-10 hours out of a 24 hour period in your organization. This means you hold tremendous influence into how they shape their life. If you were to shift their schedule, they would have to rearrange their life. Therefore, by ensuring aspects of their lives that cross into their work life are satisfactorily met, you will have a happier person and conclusively, a happier organization.     

Jul 19, 2013

Does Your Leader have a Leader?

We can get caught up in our positioning as leader in an organization. But as a leader is it important that we have leaders to look up and to idolize. This doesn’t mean we should “suck up” to people that we admire, but simply learn from them what we can and make sure we respect them when we are around them. 

As leaders and role models keeping ourselves in check can be a difficult task. When we take on the role of a leader we can tend to forget how things work at the foundation of the organization. Therefore, it is important to have another leader in a different organization that you are accountable too. This means someone that you talk to on a regular basis that asks you honest questions and plays the devil advocate. This will help you stay in line and your thoughts in order.

As business professionals we keep constant goals in relationship to business growth. Sometimes, as in all humans, these goals can become blurred as we get caught up in other goings-on. When we have an accountability partner that is also a leader, he or she can keep us focused on those core goals. Saying things like “This doesn’t match with what you told me last month?” and “Are you sure this aligns with your goals for this year?” Questions like these will require you to take a step back and look at what you are doing in terms of where you want to go. This friendship and alliance with another leader is one of your most valuable assets as a business leader.   

Jul 19, 2013

Risk Taking: A Massive Benefit

Risk is a word associated with putting yourself, or your organization, in a position where failure is a remote possibility. This type of action can lead to all sorts of trouble if given the power.

When a business takes a risk, they are stating that they believe in their organization enough to place it up for failure. This is bold statement. You are essentially taking a move towards a failure in the outright sense. The interesting part about about risk taking is that the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward. Is this only true for those that win each battle the wage? No, in fact it is said that those the crumble while taking risk stand to gain the most benefit. Why? Because they learn how to win every time from that one loss. This means, that in every risk taking endeavor the loss of anything is but a fantasy.

Your risks lead to one of two things: Wins or failures. Wins you learn from and failures you learn from. This is all in a point of view. Most people view losses as losses and not what can be learned from those losses. This is a key component to business risk taking. We are chiefly scared of losing, failing, or dying. And anything associated with these three we tend to avoid at all costs. Through this, we tend to avoid risks because “risks” are directly associated with one or all of those three things we are attempting to avoid. Interestingly enough, we could stand to relinquish everything if we don’t take risks. For we we remain stagnant, our organization will not grow. Therefore, it is impertinent that we take calculated and strategic risks in where we are able to see both sides of — winning and learning through loss.  

Here are JHM Claim’s John Harvey Murray on his top 6 business risks: 

1We tend to assume that large losses only happen to big businesses or in connection with large projects. Sadly, this is not always true. I remember a claim involving a plumber who had gone into a school to install a disabled toilet. He went into the roof-space to get to a water supply and tried to cut into a pipe using a hot torch. The flames from this set the roof insulation alight. The fire soon spread and burned down half the school. I also remember a falconry display at a county fair in Scotland when a vulture was caught in high winds and blown off course, into the airspace at Glasgow Airport, causing several flights to be re-routed. It is the context which matters, not the size or value of the job itself.

2. We tend not to think about certain intangible risks. We usually insure our laptops and mobile ‘phones, but what about the data on them? Apart from the Data Protection Act issue, how important is the data to us? We know about Health and Safety, but what about our potential liabilities arising from stress, harassment, discrimination, or unfair dismissal? We protect our property but do we protect our reputations? One unfortunate tweet can go a long way. A genuine but minor complaint can do a lot of damage if it is handled badly, or not at all.

3. We tend think of remote risks as being considerably more remote than they really are. If something is a million-to-one, it means it will affect six people in the UK this year. Will you or I be among them?

4. We often do not think about consequential losses. We always insure our buildings for the cost of rebuilding in the event of fire, but how is the business going to carry on while we are waiting for the rebuilding to take place? Do we have a plan? Does that involve extra cost? Is that insured?

5. We usually expect third party claims to come one at a time. All too often, however, several people claim to have been injured in the same incident, and the limit on most liability policies is “per incident” not “per claim”. So we need to think how many people could possibly be hurt by anything which might go wrong. This is especially important if we are involved in public events or other crowded venues.

6. Finally, we may be reluctant to admit to the seriousness of some risks out of fear of having to spend a lot of money on measures to control them. It is easy to forget that prevention is better than cure. It is also important to look for cost-effectiveness when considering various options for controlling the risks. Sometimes there are simple, low-cost measures we can take. I once found a skip full of paper, wood, and other combustible material placed against a wall where it was under the eaves of a large building. If anyone set fire to the skip’s contents, it was highly like;ly that it could have spread to the building. Moving the skip to the opposite side of the yard was not expensive!