Are Business Manifestos Worth The Time?

For Business Owners ONLY

Mark Zuckerberg recently published an updated business manifesto for Facebook. Which begs the question, so what?

And these other questions may also jump to mind:

What the heck is a business manifesto?

Why is it important?

Should business owners spend time creating one?

A manifesto is…

“…a published declaration of intentions, motives, or views.” (1)

When applied to business, a manifesto says, “Here’s what drives our business. Here’s where we’re going. This is how we’re going to act along the way.”

It’s strategic. Aspirational. And hopefully authentic.

A business manifesto is important…

…for at least three reasons:

  1. Management must think deeply about its business to create its manifesto. The time and effort it invests produces insights into the business; it shapes and clarifies direction, and it helps make critical decisions.
  2. The business manifesto unites the entire company. By working through the process, managers identify, explore, and resolve a variety of differing views. Done honestly, the process broadens their understanding of the company. It aligns their thinking with company direction and each other.The resulting document then serves as a guide for the entire staff.
  3. The business manifesto influences how the world views the company. It underpins everything that’s visible to outsiders. When created authentically, and when reinforced by management, the manifesto’s themes are reflected in product design, marketing materials, legal contracts. It guides decisions and behaviour. It is felt by customers on support calls; it is experienced by suppliers in the specifications they receive.

As a public document, the manifesto acts as a self-selection vehicle for staff, suppliers, and customers. Powerful and dangerous stuff! Those that like the manifesto will be more inclined to work with you. Those that don’t, won’t.

The ability to guide, to align, and to influence self-selection makes the business manifesto a powerful tool. This power comes from its authenticity which is rooted in introspection, honesty, and trust. However, a failing in any of these will cause it to sound hollow, insincere, inauthentic. Which is worse than having no manifesto at all.

We’re going through the business manifesto process…

…at the FaceToFace Broadcasting Corporation. Difficult, interesting, and necessary work. And we’re not done yet! Read what we’ve come up with so far in our business manifesto, and let us now what you think.

Who You Are: Business Owner Survey Results

For Business Owners Only

For me, the highlight of any day is speaking with a business owner. It’s always interesting. It’s always motivating. And I always learn something new about people, business, or another corner of the world.

Which is why my annual survey is such a treat for me: I hear from hundreds of business owners everywhere (62 countries this year!) Thank you to everyone who contributed: I am profoundly grateful.

As you can see in the map above, entrepreneurs span the globe. If your country isn’t represented (I’m talking to you, Iceland and Greenland) then watch for my survey next year.

Here’s a quick summary of the survey responses.

You’re mostly owners with some advisors and corporate-types mixed in for fun. The average size of your business is 4.96 people and the average age is just over 3 years.

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The percentage of smaller firms reporting they’re profitable is lower than larger firms. No surprise to anyone, I’m sure. Smaller firms are either reinvesting their cash or they’re taking it home or they’re simply making less money.

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Older firms tell us that they’re more profitable than younger firms. Again, no surprise here. But look at the jump in the percentage of profitable businesses from 3rd to 4th year! If your business makes it past the deadly first year, things get steadily better.

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And now we get to my bias…

I believe that planning is critical to preparedness and success in business (or, indeed, any journey that has a specific destination). My survey suggests that larger and more profitable businesses do more planning. That said, does planning lead to profit or does profit lead to planning? The survey doesn’t answer that.

However, it does highlight that business owners who don’t plan have more concerns. In particular, a significantly higher percentage of non-planners worry about money than planners.

Also, non-planners are apparently less confident. They wish they had more guidance, know-how, clarity and inspiration.

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None of this should be news to anyone. Planning doesn’t magically generate cash. But it does create insight and awareness. It highlights potential problems earlier. It helps owners deal with issues proactively. Along the way they learn and get better and more experienced. And more confident!

I’m a huge fan of entrepreneurship in all its forms and I’m glad that it is now celebrated so widely. However, the promotion of business ownership has also brought a debate that questions the importance of business planning. Astounding, really, because no other complex field, whether architecture, engineering or airlines, ever questions the value of planning.

Whoops! I better stop here and get back to the survey…  🙂

Along with these general concerns, you shared hundreds of other very specific issues with me. I have read all of them and they are influencing my thinking and planning as we speak. I look forward to sharing these details with you after the summer break.

In the meantime, I feel privileged to be included in your journey. I look forward to working even closer with you this year to help you achieve your business and personal goals.

Pricing: The Most Important Single Factor In Business Success

For Business Owners Only

Pricing. It’s incredibly important to the success of every business. Too high, and nobody buys. Too low, and we don’t make enough money. We really need to price it ju-u-ust right.

It’s obvious that price affects revenue, margin and profitability because they all flow directly from what customers pay. But price also affects marketing, sales and our brand.

In fact, pricing supports or undermines just about everything we do in our business.

But very few people – even pricing experts – do it well. Most business owners make critical mistakes that erode price, leave money on the table, and leave them struggling with cash flow issues, often without knowing why.

So let’s do a quick pricing shoulder-check. Here are the five factors that should be considered in your pricing process, along with five key mistakes that are often made.

BTW, I’m putting together a set of videos and a detailed pricing worksheet that will teach you pricing mastery. Click here if you’d like to be notified when they’re ready.

The 5Cs of Perfect Pricing

Pricing properly requires us to look at the 5Cs of Competitors, Customers, Costs, Context and Confidence.

The first three, competitors, customers and costs, are those that are usually taught. Learning them gives you a solid foundation.

Context is seldom taught even though we intuitively understand it and it yields significant results.

And Confidence, as it relates to pricing, is never taught despite its critical importance to many business owners.

1. Costs

Most business owners shouldn’t use their costs to set prices. However, the seeming complexity of pricing leads many business owners to use a simple “cost plus” pricing formula.

They calculate the cost of their product or service and add a percentage. This becomes the price.

The appeal of this approach is undeniable: it’s simple and straight-forward. It feels scientific and, therefore, accurate.

But there are three main issues with this approach:

i. Costs are often calculated incorrectly. In particular, key things are left out. Things like a proper cost for the owner’s salary, debt payments, customer acquisition costs, and allowance for future business expansion.

ii. The percentage that’s added is often too low.

iii. The price that’s calculated becomes the “ceiling” price. In other words, the business will never charge more than this price.

A “cost plus” approach often results in middle of the road pricing or, more common, acts like a low-price strategy. Either way, gross margins and profitability are often squeezed.

2. Competitors

We should always look at our competitors’ prices when setting our own prices. They’re valuable reference points and we know our potential customers are looking at them, too.

The mistake we make here is to adopt their prices as our own. We let their prices become the ceiling. We adjust our prices to be equal to theirs or slightly less.

We make one of two assumptions here: first, that our competitors know more about pricing than we do. And, second, that our customers perceive our offerings as equal in value.

We’ve now capped our price in two ways (using costs and competition) and, even worse, we’re likely to adopt the lower of the two when they’re different.

3. Customers

Looking at things from our customer’s point of view (see “Customer Dreams” for a fuller discussion) is not done well, if at all. Which is surprising because they’re the ones that we ask to pay our price.

In fact, PriceWaterhouseCoopers said that “only 13% [of the respondents to their study on pricing] have a deep insight into customer willingness to pay.” And the respondents to their study were full-time pricing experts!

There’s no doubt that trying to understand a customer’s “willingness to pay” or the “economic value” that they receive from your offering is no easy task. But consider this: you already know that their “willingness to pay” is at least equal to your price (or they wouldn’t have bought from you). The chances are good – very good – that it’s higher.

We really must explore what our customers think of the value they receive from us. Otherwise, we’ll leave significant money on the table.

4. Context

As it pertains to pricing, context is seldom taught but intuitively understood by everyone: one hour of a plumber’s time is worth WAY more to you when a pipe has burst. It’s the same person with the same tools in the same house but we’ll gladly pay a significant premium.

By considering context, we start to see that an offering’s value changes depending on time and place and situation. In fact, there can be a lot of contextual factors which will seem daunting until we realize that each one is a potential opportunity.

The mistake here would be to treat our offering as if one price fits every situation.

5. Confidence

Confidence, or self-esteem, is at the heart of pricing for business owners. When we feel confident in ourself, our abilities and our business’s offerings, we expect our customers to value us highly and we feel comfortable setting our prices higher.

When we’re unsure of ourselves, or if we “feel guilty” about setting prices and asking to get paid, this infects our pricing. It creates a feedback loop which puts downward pressure on our prices and, if left unchecked, ultimately reinforces our lack of confidence by creating cash flow pressure.

In general, it’s important to adopt a rigorous pricing process that incorporates external perspectives and data points. This becomes doubly important when confidence is an issue.

Set Your Prices in 4 Steps

Revisit your pricing with the 4 steps below:

  1. Accurately calculate your costs. Include a full salary for yourself, factor in the future, and add a percentage for profit and the unforeseen.
  2. Assess your competitors’ prices, but don’t adopt them. Rather, consider how you differ from them and adjust your own prices accordingly.
  3. Explore the economic value your customer’s receive from your offerings. Use this understanding to move your pricing closer to their willingness to pay.
  4. Evaluate the effect of context on your offering’s value. Think creatively and search for opportunities where the value you deliver is increased and/or the effect of competition is decreased.

Bonus tip: use a properly calculated “cost plus” approach as your floor price, not your ceiling price.

GET NOTIFIED WHEN THE PRICING VIDEOS AND WORKSHEET ARE READY.
CLICK HERE.

What You Should Know About Using Debt In Your Business

The Entrepreneur's Stone

In my most recent survey, 49.3% of small business owners said that their business did not have enough money.

In today’s world of inexpensive debt, the solution seems simple enough:
Why not just borrow it?

Because, like any powerful tool, business debt is a good news, bad news story. The good news is that properly used debt supports your business and speeds its growth. But if it’s used unwisely debt can constrain or kill your business and even hurt you personally.

Here’s why.

THREE THINGS YOU MUST KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS DEBT

Business debt is a product like any other: the bank is simply selling you money. And like any product, it is tailored for specific uses in specific ways:

  1. Business debt is designed for low risk situations. Because of this, banks can provide money inexpensively relative to other kinds of business financing.

    But this also means that banks will only lend money when they are very sure to get repaid.

  2. Business debt often comes with a “security clause” to help ensure that the bank gets its money back. If the debt isn’t being repaid, the clause gives the bank the right to sell an asset belonging to the business, such as equipment, land or a building.

    Owners of small businesses with few assets are often asked by the bank for a “personal guarantee”. In the event that the business can’t repay the debt, the bank will require the owner to repay it personally. Ouch!

  3. A business is obligated to repay a business debt, regardless of what might happen. This is unlike an equity investment in which an investor agrees to share the business risk with you; if things go well, the investor is paid well. If things go poorly, they are paid poorly or not at all.

    This obligation to repay a debt takes priority over almost all other normal business payments, including your suppliers and staff. In a crunch, laying off staff becomes “easier” than not paying a business loan.

THREE PRINCIPLES TO KEEP IN MIND

The wise business owner knows all this and uses debt deliberately and appropriately. She is guided by these three principles:

  1. Don’t “spend” or “gamble” the money you get from a business loan. Invest it in something that you are reasonably certain will generate a positive return. For example, invest in equipment that will more than pay its own way by cutting production costs.

    Spending it on something like an unproven marketing approach is risky (see “low risk situations” above) and inconsistent with this type of financing. You could be left with no improvement in your business and a debt that you’re now required to repay.

  2. Ensure your business has predictable cash flow that is more than enough to cover the loan payment. This, in conjunction with the investment philosophy in the previous point, helps protect the business from unforeseen events like slowing sales or a sharp rise in expenses.
  3. Respect the bank’s right to ask for security, but protect yourself personally. If the bank is asking for a personal guarantee, it may be that they are seeing business risks that you don’t. Discuss this with them thoroughly and find ways to eliminate or minimize their need for your personal guarantee.

Finally, while not directly related to business loans, it’s a great idea to practice sound cash management habits like daily cash reconciliations and monthly financial statement reviews. These disciplines help you understand how a loan will affect your business. They actually make it easier to obtain a loan. And they help you track the on-going health of any loan you do get.

If you treat business loans like I treat my 10” chef’s knife, you’ll do just fine. My knife is a very useful tool but I treat it with a healthy dose of respect.

5 Point LinkedIn Profile Checkup: The Things You MUST Get Right

The Entrepreneur's Stone

Imagine you’re at a business get-together. The person you’ve just shaken hands with comes in real close, thrusts a book in your face, and starts incoherently babbling acronyms and something about sunsets. As soon as you can get away, you introduce yourself to the professional looking woman standing beside him.

That story describes my LinkedIn profile two weeks ago.

Believe me, it is embarrassing for me to share this with you.

But I never fully thought it through.

I never thought about how many business people are on LinkedIn. In a recent survey, 74.7% of my readers say they are “active” on LinkedIn.

I never realized how strongly LinkedIn influences the search engines for name searches. Search for your name, like I did here, and see what happens.

ag-com-linkedin-google-search

I never truly thought about how the Internet has changed the way we meet people, learn about people, and interact with people. For business people, LinkedIn absolutely dominates.

I’ve been learning from two LinkedIn experts in Edinburgh, Scotland. Dave Rattray and Miles Duncan from LinkedIn Success Blueprint are taking me through their entire, amazing online program. It starts with the five points below which, for me, eliminated the most embarrassing mistakes. See if they help you, too.

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The Five Things You MUST Get Right In Your LinkedIn Profile

1. Your Name
Yay! I got this one right. But I remember being tempted to put in my MBA beside it. Nope, said Dave and Miles, just your name. It looks better and cleaner in LinkedIn and, even more important, it helps the search engines find you. My last name is “Glassey”, not “MBA”.
See how to change your LinkedIn name.

2. Your Picture
Hey! I’m proud of my new book and I want everybody to know that I’ve written it. Yes, said Dave and Miles, we’re very proud of you, too. But you can’t put your book in your LinkedIn picture.

Think back to that business get-together: the first thing you want to do when you meet somebody, is smile confidently and interestedly at them. Right? The same applies online with your LinkedIn picture.

Also, they went on, keep your picture professional.No cats, dogs, kids, spouses, beer, wine, beaches. That’s for Facebook. For LinkedIn, it’s just you, dressed appropriately.

Oh, and don’t zoom in too close – you wouldn’t crowd somebody’s personal space in real life; use the same rule here.
See how to change your LinkedIn picture.

3. Your Headline
Funny, isn’t it? When people ask you what you do for a living, they’re REALLY asking, “Can you help my business?”

So tell them. That’s what the headline is for.

Originally, I phrased my headline in terms of what I did: author of Customer Dreams, creator of StratPad, EnBA. It wasn’t obvious how it applied to the reader.

The new version speaks to my target audience’s problems: business planning, cash flow, sales growth, etc.

And remember that the words you put into your headline are indexed by search engines. Next time somebody googles for “payroll” or “bookkeeping”, wouldn’t you want to show up?
See how to change your LinkedIn headline.

4. Your Background Picture
You can put anything you like in the awkwardly shaped area behind your profile EXCEPT sunsets. 🙁

The background picture gives you an opportunity to share a little more about yourself and how you can help the reader’s business. I’d err on the side of conservative professionalism.

Also, because this is a graphic image, you may want to get a graphic designer to help you put this together so that it looks clean and well laid out.

Lastly, the shape is tricky to manage. Get my free template to determine exactly where to place your images and text.
See how to change your LinkedIn background picture.

5. Turn OFF the “People Also Viewed” Box
The last thing you want is visitors to your profile seeing your competitors and clicking on them. But that’s exactly what happens in the “People Also Viewed” box that appears at the right of your profile.

Thankfully, you can turn it off.
See how to turn off LinkedIn’s ‘People Also Viewed’ box.

What Do You Think Of My Updated LinkedIn Profile?

I feel SO much better about it. Do you agree? Want to update yours? Just follow the steps below.

How to Update The Five Key Areas of Your LinkedIn Profile

To update the five key areas of your LinkedIn profile, start by signing into your LinkedIn account. Then, from the menu at the top, click “Profile” and “Edit Profile”.

  1. Change Your Name
    Click the pencil icon at the right of your name. Change your name. Click the “Save” button.
  2. Change Your Picture
    Move your mouse pointer over your picture. Click “Change photo”. Click “change photo”, update and adjust, then click the “Save” button.
  3. Change Your Headline
    Click the pencil icon at the right of your headline. Change your headline. You have 120 characters to work with. Click the “Save” button.
  4. Change Your Background Picture
    Hover over your background area and click “Edit background”. “Upload” your background image. Click the “Save” button.
    Get my LinkedIn background image template to help you create this tricky image.
  5. Turn Off the “People Also Viewed” Box
    At the top right of your browser, you’ll see a tiny square with your picture. Hover over it to see a drop-down menu. Beside “Privacy & Settings” click “Manage”. Click on the “Privacy” heading. In the line “Viewers of This Profile Also Viewed” click “Change”. Set the toggle switch to “No”. You should see it tell you that it is saved.

Beautifully done!

Now check out the LinkedIn Success Blueprint and start putting LinkedIn to work for you.

Bold, Strong, Unique: Muhammad Ali

The Entrepreneur's Stone

I was working on a new marketing campaign when I heard that Muhammad Ali had died. The campaign, which will honour business owners around the world, has the three words “Bold. Strong. Unique.” at its center.

That was Muhammad Ali.

Bold and brash and fierce – almost obnoxiously so – he spoke his mind as he felt, when he felt, and how he felt. He spoke loudly because he had to. Had to, to be heard over those who would pigeon-hole him; had to, to be seen by those who ignored him, ignored his identity, ignored his wishes. Had to, to bring attention to the grave social injustices of his day. And ours.

And he was strong. Not only in the ring where he dominated uncounted opponents in the world’s fiercest, toughest, most brutal sport. But outside the ring, too, where he lived his conscience in the public eye, regardless of the personal, reputational or financial cost.

One of a kind. Beautiful, graceful, coordinated, powerful, intelligent, thoughtful, moral, outspoken, colorful, courageous, flawed, human.

Muhammad Ali. One of my heroes.

Master Your Business’s Cash Flow

The Entrepreneur's Stone

I speak at a conference this week on how “Being in Control of Cash is Really, Really Awesome!“. Yeah, I know: I get all the sexy topics! 🙂

MY PRESENTATION describes cash flow as a complex, shifting web that touches everything in a company. I suspect the first question I’m going to get is, “Yes, yes, but what’s the single most important driver of healthy cash flow?”

Okay, okay. I’ll tell you.

THE CASH CHAIN

Cash is at the end of a long chain. Let’s walk back up the chain together and discover what really drives cash.

Start With Profit
At it’s simplest, cash comes from profit which is sales minus expenses. These are shown on the income statement so this is a great place to start. Lots of things going on here, though. And whatever we determine is important today will change over time. And the important things differ from business to business. Hmm, not so simple after all.

Outside Forces Affect Profit
Another complication: profitability’s contribution to cash is affected by outside forces. Accounts receivable, accounts payable, and loan principle payments (among other things) all affect cash significantly. Policies around collections, supplier terms and financing are very important.

Leading Indicators Predict Performance
In addition, lots of activity occurs long before things start showing up on the income statement. Things like product design decisions, the marketing effort, and the number of sales calls. A good business manager knows how critical these are. So she tracks them all using leading indicators and she learns how each affects her business’s cash.

Business Model Makes Key Assumptions
Go further up the chain and we find our business model. It was created when the business was very young and it shapes everything we’ve looked at so far. Assumptions about prices, cost of goods, and cost of acquisition are the pillars that support any business. Surely our business model is the most important thing affecting cash, yes?

The End of the Line
Well, maybe not. You see there’s one thing left that underpins the whole shebang. It’s that deep, confident knowledge of WHAT we’re all about and WHO we ultimately work for. This determines HOW we create and deliver our goods and services to the world.

This is business strategy. And your strategy is the foundation upon which your business rests and upon which your cash ultimately depends.

The strength of your cash flow ultimately depends on your business strategy.
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Apple is a great example of this. They deliberately created a strategy that reminds their team to create MAGICAL EXPERIENCES with which to DELIGHT PEOPLE. It tells them to imbue everything they do with END-USER FOCUSED DESIGN and SIMPLICITY.

We all know that lots of companies can create computers and music players and phones and tablets but none do it precisely the WAY that Apple does. Their way – their strategy – has made all the difference and has resulted in Apple’s enormous cash balance.

Unfortunately, “business strategy” is not a word that many business owners are comfortable with. It’s a term that seems to apply only to large companies. Not true.

Your company could have – should have – a strategy, too. A strategy that focuses and aligns all the links in your company’s cash flow chain.

Take this 60-second quiz to learn:

HOW GOOD WILL MY COMPANY’S CASH BE IN THE FUTURE?

Count 1 point for every statement you agree with.

  • I monitor my income statement every month.
  • Bonus point: I take immediate action when an unusual number appears.
  • I know how accounts receivable and accounts payable affect cash.
  • Bonus point: I have a collection policy in place which is enforced.
  • I have at least three leading indicators (metrics) that I check at least once a month.
  • Bonus point: All metrics have a target goal and a target date.
  • I know WHY our customers love us and WHY we’re distinctly different from our competitors.
  • Bonus point: I communicate this to my team often – at least once a week.

How did you do?

7 – 8: Outstanding! The links in your cash flow chain are strong and healthy.

5 – 6: Well done! You’ve got great fundamentals and are well on your way to outstanding. Keep up the good work!

3 – 4: Nice start! Learn a little more about AR, AP and metrics and you’ll soon feel the difference!

2 and under: This is the PERFECT moment to commit to learning about cash flow.
My new book, Customer Dreams, uses a simple story to introduce strategy fundamentals to business owners.

Who is your favorite LOCAL company and why do you love them? You can leave a comment below.

How to Innovate: 10 Steps That Increase Profit

The Entrepreneur's Stone

I recently spoke to a group of potential business owners on how innovation drives profit, and that inspired this post. There’s also a short video using the slides from the presentation; see the link at the bottom of this post.

REGARDLESS of your business’s size, stage or industry, innovating is critical to its success. Are you a small retailer? An electrician? A graphics designer? Innovation extends your business’s life and increases its profit. It’s not just for high-tech giants!

INNOVATION FROM BIG TO SMALL

Innovation Starts Industries
Every industry goes through a well known life cycle which is often illustrated as an “S-Curve”. It starts when somebody comes up with a radical new idea. An industry forms as new companies and new products are created that try and figure out the best way to make money from the idea. As the industry proves itself and grows, competitors flood in. Markets get saturated; profitability gets squeezed; the industry matures. Finally, the industry declines and companies consolidate, exit or die.

http://financetrain.com/industry-lifecycle-phase-and-ma/

From financetrain.com/industry-lifecycle-phase-and-ma/

Innovation Starts Large Companies: Kodak
Kodak took 125 years to go through its S-curve: a radical innovation to start things off, then rapid and prolonged growth continuously supported by innovation, eventually a struggle with saturated markets, and a Chapter 11 death.

Innovation Prolongs Large Companies: Apple
Apple’s success, ingeniously, comes from a series of interlocking S-curves. It created four distinct businesses under the same roof: Macintosh, iPod/iTunes, iPhone and iPad. Each started with a unique insight or approach, each has its own distinct life cycle, and each is rising and falling independently. The genius is that, like relay runners, each has taken the responsibility for Apple’s growth just when a previous S-curve was starting to decline.

Innovation Sustains EVERY Company
Like Kodak, Apple has kept up a steady stream of larger and smaller innovations each of which generates its own small S-curve. Every marketable innovation, large or small, product or feature or process, has its own small value life cycle. At first it is unique and so commands premium attention and pricing. Competitors soon imitate it, reducing its uniqueness and squeezing its price. Eventually, its innovative energies are spent and it must be replaced by the next innovation.

Our Companies Are Only As Good As Our Ability To Innovate
Smaller businesses follow the same macro S-curve as large companies, albeit in a (usually) shorter time-frame: a good idea starts things off, then some growth, some competition, and an inevitable decline. As leader, our job is to get the most from our company: extend its lifespan and increase its profitability at every stage.

Every innovation, however small, helps us achieve this.

Every innovation, however small, helps our business grow and strengthen.
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Of course, none of our companies have Apple’s resources and few of us have Steve Jobs’ creative genius. But we don’t need them. We simply have to keep our customers uppermost in our mind. We must learn what’s important to their long-term success. We then create solutions that help them get there. THIS is how we innovate. THIS is how we succeed.

HOW TO INNOVATE: TEN STEPS THAT INCREASE PROFIT

Increase your company’s innovation and profit with these 10 steps:*

  1. Change your perspective.
    Spend time every week (or every day!) thinking about your customer’s future, your customer’s long-term goals, and your customer’s aspiration.
  2. Change your language…
    …from short-term business transaction words (like problem, solution, price) to long-term human relationship words like feel, inspire, hope, and dream.
  3. Focus on your customer’s aspiration, not your offerings.
    It’s not about what you do; it’s about what your customer wants to achieve.
  4. Create a guiding principle…Innovate-Blog-Image-01
    …that clearly and quickly communicates why you do what you do, and who you’re doing it for. Use it to remind yourself and shape your team.
  5. Remember that not everybody’s your customer.
    Your customers are ONLY those who LOVE what you do and are willing to pay your price. Assess your offerings and your marketing accordingly.
  6. Repackage your offerings…
    …so that they fully support your customer’s long-term aspiration, not just their short-term need.
  7. Revisit your pricing.
    Your pricing needs to reflect the high value you deliver to your customers (re-read point 5). You’ve listened. You’ve innovated. Now you need to get paid for your unique and wonderful offerings.
  8. Choose three metrics…
    …that help you and your team stay focused on what’s truly important for the next 3 months.
  9. Repeat. I say again, Repeat.
    Re-read this list every three months. Want me to remind you? Join my blog.
  10. Enjoy yourself.
    Sure, business ownership requires hard work and has its stresses. But it’s gotta be fun, too. Otherwise, what’s the point?

* Want to learn more? Take a look at my new book, Customer Dreams.

What one SMALL innovation could you put in place right away? You can leave a comment below.

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Do you know somebody GREAT? Someone who SO gets this stuff? If so, you’d be doing me a HUGE favor by sending them this link. Thank you!

 

A Simple Lesson in Perspective [VIDEO]

The Entrepreneur's Stone

I confess: I’m a political junkie. I’ve been endlessly fascinated to watch the U.S. presidential story unfold.

That said, this is NOT a comment about politics but, rather, about strategy, tactics and perspective.

Trump’s ability to confound all comers including the Republican party’s entrenched interests has been remarkable. I’ve been wondering how he’s going to fight Clinton. And now, as he borrows from Bernie Sanders, I’ve seen it:

Political Perspective Change

Click to see this very short video. I’d love to hear what you think.

What’s the lesson for business owners?
Creative thinking yields innovation in ANYTHING. Innovation finds new things to build, new ways to build, new paths to market, new markets entirely…

What do you think? You can leave a comment below.