Consistently Grow Revenue at Record Levels – Article 2 of 2

The first step in consistently growing revenue is strategy.  You know you have a good strategy when your revenue growth is over 20% and/or at the top of your industry group.  However, growth is not easy to sustain.  There are roughly 23 million firms in the US, of which only 4 percent get above $1 million in revenue. Of those firms, only about 1 out of 10, or 0.4 percent of all companies, ever make it to $10 million in revenue and only 17,000 companies surpass $50 million. Finishing out, the top of the list, the top 2,500 firms in the US are larger than $500 million, and there are 500 firms in the world larger than $11 billion.*

Article 1 focused on the importance of strategy and having the right personnel on your team to help forecast the future.  While this is essential to building a high-growth organization, I have seen many an organization develop great strategy and forecast well and still not get it done.

Last weekend, my client and friend, Raul Segredo, CEO of Avionica, became the star of this article. Raul runs a very successful and fast-growing aviation company. He took me flying in a six-seat airplane. In our mission for the day – going to lunch – he took me through his routine, one that I believe exemplifies the way to consistently grow a business at record levels: having everything you need to see on one page, looking at leading indicators, and great communications systems.

Pilots regularly do exactly what the CEO needs to do. When we got to the plane, Raul had a routine that I will call leading indicators for a safe flight.  He inspected the entire plane to make sure that everything was the way it should be (equipment check, fuel check, etc).  He did not take off until he knew that he was not putting himself, his plane, and his passenger in danger.  He knew where we were going and had the flight charted on how to get there.  He had the proper training and knowledge to adapt to conditions if unexpected events occurred. . While we were in flight, he had everything he needed to see on one panel to stay on course and fly a successful mission. Lastly, had anything gone wrong, there was a communication system in place to address issues.

Goal Alignment

Goal alignment is a key to consistent growth. The best way to do this is to reduce your strategic and business plan goals to a “one-page” format.  Not only is this achievable, it is imperative.  The concern of many leaders is that there are a lot of moving pieces in their business and their tendency is to want to control all of those pieces.  This causes a lack of focus and too many unfinished things.  Rather than trying to feed the entrepreneurs’ desire, the one-page format forces them to focus only on what is most important to them “now.”  Using this methodology, everyone has the same control panel but with differing measurements, depending on their roles and responsibilities.  Some of the columns are the same for all, such as core values, vision, company targets, and brand promise.  However, there are columns on the control panel that are specific to the individual/department such as: accountability, actions, and measurements. On this control panel there should be no more than 3 key priorities and core measurements of focus.  In the end, all align with the CEO’s control panel.  By utilizing this method, you provide for complete alignment throughout the entire organization

Leading Indicators

As an affiliated coach with Gazelles, Inc. we are called upon to help the organization implement the growth tools talked about in “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” by Verne Harnish.  As part of its strategic planning processes, an organization must identify core stakeholders and processes that drive growth.  Once identified, it is imperative to have the 2 or 3 leading indicators that will let you know in advance (e.g. revenue and profit) that you are well on track to do well.  By focusing on these leading indicators you will better execute on your strategy and thus better sustain your growth.

A great example was a technology development firm that was growing over 100% per year.  After 4 years of consistent growth at incredible levels and being on the top of most highly recognized magazines’ (e.g. Fortune and INC) lists, they were seeing a decline in performance and turnover in employees who were considered stars.  Originally the CEO thought that the company was outgrowing his people. Ultimately, he realized that he was burning everyone out.  As a result, the company developed a new leading indicator of “Employee Hours.”  They looked at all of the projects and made it a company requirement that all projects were staffed and planned to fit within a “60-Hour Work Week.”  This became a critical leading indicator to their success and sustained growth. This goal actually revolutionized the way the company thought, improved quality, reduced cycle time, employee retention, customer satisfaction, and actually increased growth.

Another great leading indicator that is highly recommended for every business is Net Promoter Score (“NPS”).  In “The Ultimate Question,” author Fred Reichheld introduces the NPS as the way in which leading firms transform their customers into promoters.  The survey focused around one simple question, “Would you recommend us to a friend?”  The analysis shows that on average, if a company increases NPS by a dozen points versus competitors, it can expect revenue growth to double.  This is a radical change from the customer satisfaction score, which is totally ineffective in predicting success for a company.  .

Communication

You would think by the title of Patrick Lecioni’s book, “Death by Meeting,” it would be about companies having too many meetings. Actually, the point of the book is that companies have too many bad meetings. Your organization must have a system of daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly meetings that focus communications around what is critical to driving your businesses, preventing bottlenecks before they happen, and promoting teamwork. Design meeting agendas to discuss those topics that will drive your business, using the information you already prescribed in your “one-page” plans.

Summary

Growing consistently at record levels starts with strategy.  Once you have developed a good strategy, you may not grow as much as you should because of poor execution of strategy.  The key is to learn from my friend Raul to be a good pilot.  Have a good flight plan that you can fit on one page, use leading indicators to identify issues early, and have a great communications system so you are able address problems rapidly and maximize growth and profits.

Review our website to understand how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business, or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or shoreh@activategroupinc.com. We bring proven tools that lead to new ways of thinking that lead to better results.

* Excerpt from Mastering the Rockerfeller Habits by Verne Harnish.

State Your Goals the SMART Way

The first step in successfully executing a goal is to state it properly. You know your goal is well stated when anyone who reads it knows exactly what you are trying to accomplish and in what time frame. The better a person states the goal, the easier it is to create the action plan. An acronym commonly used for stating a goal properly is SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistically high, and Time-based).

While these criteria seem simple, they are actually not easily achieved. If they were, everyone would be reaching a lot more of their goals. Very briefly, let us discuss what each of these criteria really means:

  • Specific – You say exactly what it is you want to do. Hazy goals are doomed to failure. For example, “We are going to establish a new training program for our supervisors by 10/1/XX.” You are not defining what you want to train them to do.
  • Measurable – The goal must be stated in a way that allows you to definitely know whether it has been achieved. In addition, you should be able to see whether the trend is negative so that you can modify your detailed action steps accordingly. For example, “We are going to increase the frequency of meetings with our hourly staff.” How often would you consider acceptable, and what do you want to communicate about?
  • Attainable and Realistically High – Goals must be lofty enough so we do not trip over them. If the goal is too low it will not stimulate anyone to put forth extra effort. On the other hand, if the goal is unrealistic no one will take it seriously.
  • Time-Based – When do you want this goal completed by? Be honest, are there goals you have talked about for years that are still on your to-do list? It is probably because you have not committed to a deadline.

The following is and example of a SMART goal:

  • Get 10 appointments with decision-makers in the hospitality industry that employ more than 250 people and are located within 50 miles of Miami area by the end of the quarter.

Once you have stated your goal in a manner that meets all of the SMART criteria, you then need to consider whether they achieve WAY (Written, Aligned, and Yours).

It is not unusual to meet people who have goals they have not communicated to anyone. Even worse, they may not be written down anywhere. In personal and organizational circumstances, it is always best to write your goals down for the following reasons:

  • Helps clarify your thinking
  • Keeps your goal from unconsciously being altered
  • Helps strengthen commitment
  • Simplifies the communication process
  • Provides a framework for measurement
  • Allows you to compare them to other goals

A common reason goals do not get achieved or take longer than expected is improper alignment. Goals may not be aligned for reasons that include:

  • Creation by separate people or departments
  • Failure to consolidate goals in one place to review congruence
  • In our desire to be optimistic, we are unrealistic
  • Incomplete or nonexistent action plans that underestimate what it will take to achieve our goal.
  • Failure to prioritize goals, thus giving them all equal priority.

Lastly, if a goal is yours, it is much more likely that you will be internally motivated to achieve it. It is hard to get excited about somebody else’s goals. This is primarily due to the fact that most people act based on their own self interest.

If you have goals that are not communicated succinctly to everyone, who is responsible for accomplishing each part of the plan, and what is the likelihood they are going to do it? People like to have purpose and know where they are going. We use goals to focus individuals and organizations in the same direction. When we achieve goals, it increases energy, which has a positive impact on results, thus further increasing energy, increasing focus on goals, increasing results, increasing energy, and so on. It is that simple!

If you want to achieve more goals, make sure that you state them in a SMART WAY! Review our website to understand how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Reference and excerpts taken with permission from Leadership published by Resource Associates Corporation, Mohnton, PA

Superior Performance Requires Mastering Core Values: Article 1 of 2

If you study any organization that exemplifies sustained superior performance, you will find a remarkable culture. While it is true that you need products or services to make money, the prevailing attitudes and behaviors that characterize your people are what fuel success. In other words, the core values practiced on a daily basis have helped top companies be more successful than their competition.

A Case in Point – “XYZ Company”

The best way to get your attention is through the eyes of a real company. This company seriously underperformed against its competition. Its curse was that its performance level provided an adequate income for its main shareholder and leaders. What it did not want to address was what everyone who visited the company could see.

XYZ Company had approximately $1 Billion in sales. I met with the senior management team to understand the circumstances faced by the company. They were looking for someone to conduct training with their sales force. While it would be nice for me to have an engagement to develop 150 sales people, I always first assess the company’s real need. What this company needed was more sales, not training and development.

The facts where alarming. I found that the company did not have clear goals, did not fire non-performers, did not have good hiring policies, did not tie compensation to performance, etc. In the end, I asked the magic question, “What is your company’s core values?”

Silence followed. The leadership had never defined and implemented core values to make this company great. What resulted were unwritten core values that were unflattering:

  • Mediocrity – Sales people were not working hard or trying to be the best. When selling to customers, they would give in on price because they believed they were second-rate compared to their competition. Very few sales people would proactively go to training and when training was offered by the company, they would not show up.
  • No Accountability –    If people did not hit their sales targets, it really did not matter, particularly if they had been with the company a number of years. They were just “forgiven” and still paid handsomely.
  • Mistrust –      The organization would not follow-through on initiatives. They would talk big and act small. Consequently, when they said they wanted to create change, nobody took them seriously. In addition, while the leadership indicated they had a “consumer-oriented” strategy, 80% of its products were “commodity-based.” The company generally operated as if their strategy was “low cost.”
  • Disrespect –   Senior Management would begin initiatives only to have the CEO come and usurp them.

XYZ Company was growing slower and had lower margins than their competition even though their product is just as good and in some cases better. Many of their employees, including senior management and sales people, came from the competition. While they thought sales training would solve their problem, they were not facing the core issue, which was values. My recommendation was to address the real issue first so they could get a real return on their training investment.

Find Your Core Values

This does not need to be a long exercise, and I do not recommend copying someone else’s values. I have worked with many companies. Typically, we can bring together the senior management team and identify and define core values within 1 to 4 hours, depending on how large the group. It can be fun, and it is critical to really understanding what is important to driving your company’s vision.

As demonstrated above, if you do not plan your core values, they will happen anyways, and the results can be devastating. When it comes to a company’s culture, the longer you wait to define and instill the right core values in your organization, the harder it will be to achieve your ideal culture and thus maximize performance.

Here is an example of the core values of one of my small-company clients whose growth is greater than 20% per year:

  • Responsibility – Take leadership for delivering our vision.
  • Excellence – Strive to be the best.
  • Integrity – Commit to doing the right thing.
  • Stewardship – Fund the future.
  • Respect – Treat everyone with dignity.
  • Innovation – Approach challenges with an open mind.

Conclusion

As mentioned at the start, if you study any organization that exemplifies sustained superior performance, you will find a remarkable culture. This culture is defined by the core values that are established by the leadership. Once you have defined your core values, the hardest work begins. While it is important to know what your values are, it is equally important to institutionalize these values. Part 2 of this article will tell you how!

Review our website to understand how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business, or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Superior Performance Requires Mastering Core Values: Article 2 of 2

If you study any organization that exemplifies sustained superior performance, you will find a remarkable culture. This culture is defined and constructed around the core values institutionalized by your executive team. In other words, the core values, when practiced on a daily basis, help top companies become more successful than their competition. This article discusses how implement core values into your organization.

It takes discipline and diligence to create a culture. You must instill your core values in everything you do, every day, and in every way. The number one reason core values do not get ingrained in many businesses is that most senior executives do not live them. If the top three executives (e.g. CEO, COO, and CFO) are not role models, you may expect that the rest of their employees will not consistently exhibit the company’s stated core values.

Once you have developed your values, execution through spaced repetition and consistency is imperative. This is the most difficult and important part of forming your culture. Everything we have learned in life we have learned through spaced repetition. Think about how you learned the multiplication tables. Indeed, this is the method the advertising world uses to imprint the messages they want us to receive. Likewise, an organization must develop a system for all employees to regularly hear, see, and act the company values.

In Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, by Verne Harnish, in the chapter “Mastering the Use of Core Values,” he does an excellent job of identifying how to institutionalize core values into your organization. Mr. Harnish has put together the following checklist to make sure that you do not have a gap in building core values into your business. If you have not read this book and want to accelerate the growth of your business, I highly recommend it!

  • Storytelling – Everybody enjoys a good story, and many great leaders have taught through parable or storytelling. Identify some “legends” and current stories that demonstrate each value. Stories can provide explanations for any core values that might seem unusual or cryptic on their own.
  • Recruitment and Selection – Design your interview questions and assessments to test a candidate’s alignment with your core values. Then, rate the person in terms of their perceived alignment with each core value. Your goal, after all, is to make sure your new hires fit in to your organization’s culture.
  • Orientation – Once hired, your new employee must be brought into the culture. Like many social organization initiations, orientation (you do have one?) is when you can inculcate the company’s core values. Consider organizing your orientation around the teaching of your core values.
  • Performance Appraisal and Handbooks – Core values should provide the framework on which you build your performance appraisal system. With a little creativity, any performance measure can be made to link with a core value. In addition, organize your employee handbook into sections around each core value.
  • Recognition and Reward – Organize your recognition and reward categories around your core values. You also gain a new source of corporate stories and legends each time a reward or recognition is given that highlights a core value.
  • Newsletters – Why struggle to come up with a catchy title for a newsletter when some word or phrase from your core values will do beautifully? Highlight a core value with each issue, incorporating stories – yes, more stories – about people putting these core values to work for the betterment of the company.
  • Themes – Use your core values to bring attention to your corporate improvement efforts. Milliken, the textile manufacturer, takes one of their six core values and makes it the theme for the quarter, asking all employees to focus on ways to improve the company around the theme. The Ritz-Carlton chain goes to the other extreme and highlights worldwide one “rule” everyday. In either case, establish a rhythm that keeps the core values top-of-mind in a repetitive fashion.
  • Everyday Management – I’ve found that managers and CEOs can repeat core values almost endlessly without it seeming ridiculous – so long as the core values they’re using truly are relevant and meaningful to their employees. When you make a decision, relate it to a value. When you reprimand or praise, refer to a value. When customer issues arise, by all means, compare the situation to the ideal represented by the value. Small as these actions may sound, they probably do more than any of the aforementioned strategies for bringing core values alive in your organization.

Conclusion

One of the hidden secrets to maximizing corporate growth and profits is the establishment of core values. If you want to see employee satisfaction, employee retention, customer loyalty, new business growth, vendor loyalty, an improved pool of job candidates, innovation, and brand improvement, focus on core values. The rest will follow.

Review our website to understand how an executive coach or business coach can help you increase the success of your career and business, or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Take Control and Increase Growth: Article 3 of 4

The purpose of this article is to help business owners understand the key daily decisions that influence dependence on external funding and either limit or expand the growth potential of a business. There are essentially 4 decisions: 1. cash; 2. people; 3. strategy; and 4. execution. This article (#3) addresses strategy, which is the primary driver of growth. If you are not growing in the top tier of your industry segment you have a strategy problem.

The first and most common strategic move for most CEOs in a difficult economy or a sales stall is to “do nothing,” the definition of which is “insanity.” The CEOs won’t admit they’re doing nothing. They will make minor tweaks to their existing strategy, if they even have one, and delude themselves into believing they made significant changes. Or, their big changes only affect the internal company. Growth and sales are always about the customer. The root to a growth issue is the customer’s perceived value of your product or service and whether someone is willing to invest/spend their money with you. When customers stop spending money with you, what they are really saying is that they don’t see enough reason (e.g. value) to give their money to you. This is why this intense focus on cost control today is a big problem. While it is important to manage businesses in a prudent manner, we must balance that with addressing customer needs and wants. Many of the changes companies are making today actually exacerbate their growth problem, negatively affecting customers by reducing the quality of the products and services they receive. What their customers need is more value and service, but companies are moving in the other direction. Rather than cut costs, I suggest spending what it takes to address your customer’s changing needs.  Otherwise someone else may get your customers.

In the typical “do-nothing strategy” leaders believe that their growth issues are due to external forces, everyone else is experiencing sales declines, or some other self-limiting belief. So they keep doing the same things, cut costs, and try to wait things out. This strategy has some hidden costs that are never measured such as:

  • Lost customer goodwill;
  • Increased mistakes from exhausted employees;
  • Loss of good people;
  • Sloppy decision-making from a tired management team;
  • Missed business opportunities because the “cost control” mentality prevented an “investment” mentality; and
  • Lost market share because new companies entered your market space, and old competitors took some of your market share.

The second path that many CEOs take is to try to redefine their business model. This strategy rarely works, is highly risky, and almost never necessary. It assumes that what the company currently does and its core competencies have no value in the marketplace. This is highly improbable.

The best strategic course of action for a company to take to reignite growth is to utilize strengths already possessed in ways that are important to a specific target customer base. Many times companies define their target customer too broadly or use the wrong criteria, such as company size, geography or some other inappropriate specification. The secret to dramatic increases in growth typically already lies dormant inside your company. You need to recognize it and match it up properly to customer needs. A book called The Inside Advantage by Robert Bloom has captured the essence of identifying more clearly your desired core customers and aligning their needs with your capabilities in a way that dramatically increases growth. If you have a strategy problem here are some thoughts from Inside Advantage and some additional ideas to consider:

  • Can you describe your strategy in one sentence? If you can’t you do not have one.
  • Can you vividly describe your core customer in one sentence? This may not represent your predominant client mix today.
  • How can you adapt your unique offering to this core customer in a way that you can own and leverage and cause more of them to buy from you?
  • What will your persuasive strategy be to convince your core customer to buy your uncommon offering instead of the competition’s?
  • How does everyone in your organization need to change the way they do things to own this strategy?
  • How are you going to make your strategy well known to your target customer?
  • What are your brand promises, and how will you measure them?
  • What is the X-factor/bottleneck/shortage/chokepoint in your industry, and how are you going to control it to give yourself an exponential advantage?
  • What are your top 5 external opportunities and threats?
  • What are your top 5 internal strengths and weaknesses?
  • What are your core competencies?

Contact me today to learn how Activate Group helps individuals to increase their success and works with organizations to attain consistent revenue and profit growth rates of at least 20% annually. Call [phone link=”true”] or e-mail me at shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Join Top Leaders at Lunch Workshop to Learn How Successful Companies Are Selling Their Way Back to the Top.

Many companies have spent the last 12 to 18 months focusing their efforts on cutting costs and hoping a turn in the economy. Unfortunately, most have found that one cannot cut their way to growth. During the downturn there have been many companies that were able to grow; two things were critical to that growth: 1) a good strategy and 2) stellar sales team.

This led to “After the Cutting How Successful Companies Are Selling Their Way Back To The Top.” Dave Kurlan will bring actionable solutions to answer some key questions that has been bothering business leaders for years:

  • Recognizing, finding and attracting ideal sales super stars;
  • The differences between salespeople who might sell vs. those who actually will;
  • How to spot a sales winner in the first twenty minutes of the first interview;

In the turning economy, it is the best time for companies to invest in building a sales all-star team that will sell their way to the top. You’ll learn about the effect that hidden strengths and weaknesses have on sales and profits.  You’ll hear real-world case histories that will shed light on lost opportunities, slipping margins, rising cost of sales, compensation, complacency, market share and turnover. You’ll discover the top five things on which sales managers should be spending 85% of their time.  In just two short hours, you’ll learn more about growing your sales organization than in an entire lifetime of business!

To get more information and to register, visit http://bit.ly/dhzHj7

Get ready for the event that will show you how companies are growing and increasing their market share.

If you are a business owner, COO, CEO or any high-level business executive, you should be at this event with speaker Dave Kurlan.

In two short hours you’ll learn:

  • If your pipeline is for real or just a pipedream;
  • If you are using helpful sales tools or useless time wasters;
  • How selling has changed in the last year & whether your salespeople can adapt;
  • Sales management’s role in the recovery;
  • The five most important things you can do right now to boost sales;
  • Why your salespeople are struggling right now; 
  • What to do about delayed closings and lack of new business;
  • Much more… 

This top-rated workshop has been taking the nation’s CEO’s and Presidents by storm.  You’ll learn about the effect that hidden strengths and weaknesses have on your sales and profits using what you already know about baseball.  “The basic principle of his approach is to break the sales cycle down into four stages that map to the four bases. Getting to first base (‘suspects’) means getting an appointment. To get to second base (‘prospects’) means that they have an urgent need what you are selling and you have ‘speed on the bases’. By third base (‘qualified opportunities’), both you and they are completely qualified to do business with one another. Getting back to the home base is reaching closure, where you have made the perfect pitch and they have bought a real and valuable solution,” said Dave Kurlan, best-selling author of Baseline Selling.

April 8th is just around the corner. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/dhzHj7

Conflict Avoidance Hurts Teamwork

A great way to tell whether you have a strong team is by the amount of regular, healthy conflicts that occur in meetings when decisions are being made and if decisions are really being made at all. It is often said that if everyone agrees than someone is not needed. This may be true but the real issue may be that the team dynamics in the organization has been broken. This breakage may be causing key people that can be contributing to stop contributing.

There are many leadership missteps that may be killing and destroying teamwork and cause conflict avoidance. Here are a few examples of when a leader can destroy the team.

  • Stopped being curious and really does not listen to people when issues are raised in meetings.
  • Intimidating or threatening so subordinates have fear of reprisal so they do not want to speak up.
  • History of judging people in the room (and voicing those judgments) when opinions differ from theirs or are not strong and thus people do not want to be vulnerable.
  • Appears to only be self interested.
  • Tendency to interrupt other team members before their idea may be completed.
  • Makes personal attacks when they are not getting their way.

According to Pat Lencioni’s book Five Dysfunction of Team, “fear of conflict” is one of the five dysfunctions that are critical to teamwork.  The leader has to make sure that this behavior is not tolerated, and that topics focus on the issues that need to be resolved. If everyone is not weighing in and openly debating and disagreeing on important ideas at your meetings, look for passive-aggressive behavior behind the scenes or back-channel attacks. What organizations find is that healthy conflict saves them a lot of time and leads to better decisions. The role of the leader is to practice restraint and to allow for conflict and resolution to occur naturally.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Stop Competing on Price

It is not unusual to find companies that have made a lot of changes to the business only to find that those changes had little impact on its ability to increase market share, or worse yet, caused market share to decline.

It is also common to go into companies and find only a small percentage of their clients/consumers showing loyalty. The predominant discussions among their salespeople revolve around price. Many business owners mistakenly believe there is nothing that can be done to change client/consumer focus on price.

Declining market share, stable market share, and disloyal clients/consumers mean that a company does not have a suitable strategy or that its strategy is not being executed well. There are some companies whose strategy is to have the lowest prices in the marketplace (e.g. Walmart), and they have the scale, systems, and infrastructure to continually keep costs lower than their competition, allowing them to earn a sizeable profit because of the volume they generate. As long as a company has the capacity and/or can find enough vendors willing to put products on their shelves so that price/volume mix is worth the return on effort, it is a good business model. The challenge is that this is a tough place to play. Technology is constantly changing, and many businesses find that there is always someone willing to sell cheaper. So then what?

People often spend more time figuring out how to build their fantasy football teams, plan their vacations, and handle other unimportant matters than they spend on building their business strategy. While strategic planning is more difficult and is likely to result in some mistakes, not putting the proper time into strategy is inexcusable. Business strategy should be revisited at least quarterly in every business. Most companies do not make the time, and it costs them millions in future revenue and profits that they’ll never see.

A big part of building a strategy that helps avoid price competition is having the ability to segment the potential client/consumer base and target ownership of specific segments. The more segments you want to own, the higher your cost structure. The better you position and execute your segment ownership plan, the more you will grow. The key to segmentation is not looking at market segments by customer size, geography, industry group, or other traditional demographics. The key is to look them by the need or want that your company can best serve. Here are some examples:

  • Are they the type of customer that only looks for lowest price, no matter what?
  • Are you in the hospitality business, and are they looking to be pampered?
  • Are you in the fitness business? Are your target customers the ones whose doctors have told them that they will die before they are 40 if they do not trim 40 pounds?
  • Are you in the hearing aid business? Are your target customers those who have lost their hearing and are very sensitive about the issue and want to do business with people that understand their pain and can provide them with a proper experience to deal with this sensitive issue?
  • Are you in the transportation, freight forwarding, and logistics industry, and your clients are always squeezing you for lowest price? Could you charge them a lot more and still save them a lot of money if you helped them solve the inefficiencies in their logistics functions?

When developing your strategy, you must understand the potential marketplace at least 3 years out and project how you think your industry is changing in terms of products, customers, technology, delivering products and services, sophistication of employees, and other pertinent matters. Once you have considered these factors, you need to segment the different types of clients you have and which segments you want to own. Then you need to build your strategy to own them. If you are primarily competing on pricing and do not own any segment today, you have a tremendous opportunity to improve your growth and profits. Just take the time to build a winning strategy.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To contact Howard Shore please call [phone link=”true”] or email him at shoreh@activategroupinc.com.

Are You Remarkable?

There are many questions you need to ask yourself every day to determine whether or not you are remarkable. Would you be proud of the things people say about you or not?  Did you do enough for anyone to notice you or not? Did you stand out in a positive way or not? Would people want to work with you again or not? Would people want to buy from you again or not?

Success in your career depends on the personal brand you build. Whether, you are a leader, manager, or subordinate the rules are the same. It does not matter whether you are new in the job or a seasoned veteran you are going to be held to similar standards. Regardless of your functional area, education level, or language you speak people will be watching, listening, and recording.

Develop the questions that would help you build the perfect personal brand. Ask yourself those questions daily and see how you do? Ask yourself why you do well or why not? Keep asking why until you find out the keys to making yourself more remarkable.  The more positive remarks you receive the higher your success.  Conversely, the more negative remarks you receive the more likely you will have less success.  Try it!

Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies and people that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please or contact Howard Shore at [phone link=”true”] or shoreh@activategroupinc.com.