Here's some good news that I hope will give you hope in your own business growth. In my more than 25 years of working with big and small businesses, I find that most companies have what it takes to be a success - a huge success. You're probably one of them!
So, what's the problem? Why do so many business fail, despite having the right stuff? Here's why. Their marketing and business development strategies are out of order and out of sync with the organization's goals and objectives. In other words, they focus on a task or strategy that fulfills one objective - but not their primary objective(s).
As business owners, we take personal accountability seriously and it's easy to blame ourselves when things go array - or, not the way we had planned. Personal accountability is a major factor to your success, however most challenges and obstacles in business are easily solved if you have your sequencing correct.
Here are three ways to get your business in order and ramp up your marketing and sales functions.
1. Do the "Thing" that Needs to Get Done the Most - First
Recently, I met with a friend of mine who wanted some insight into his website. I asked him if he had followed up with a personal thank you note to each of the people he had a series of meetings with in New York City, and reached out to them on LinkedIn, as well - again with a personalized message. Nope - he had not.
There's nothing wrong and everything right with having a web site that represents you and your brand. Ideally, that should be done prior to taking your expertise on a road show, however the real immediate opportunity is to follow-up in a personal and meaningful way after meeting with prospects face-to-face. Oftentimes, we procrastinate or don't do what's most important first for several reasons. We dread doing it, there are 10 other things on our to-do lists, etc. Not a great idea. We must determine what our primary goals and objectives are and do the next right thing to get the football down the field. We can deal with the broken coffee maker or copy machine later.
Get your priorities in order and take action on the most important things that need to be done . . . first.
2. Think Through Your Goals and Financial Objectives before Investing Time and Money
This is an extension of my earlier point. I have countless examples of decisions being made by businesses in a state of panic, overwhelm, - or making little to no decisions based on fear, procrastination, or simply being too close to the business to see things objectively. I recently heard actor Terrance Howard say that his grandmother told him if he didn't know what to do - "to do nothing." Howard's grandmother's philosophy is to simply stop and in allowing the stillness you'll be better able to make the best decision. I agree, but just don't wait forever.
Here are some of the things I see going on with businesses that might have been better off re-thinking or re-ordering the timing of these choices.
- Moving into large office space before their time and incurring additional unnecessary overhead
- Creating a brochure (don't get me started on my brochure rant) for the wrong target Avatar
- Hiring the wrong people for the right job and not making the necessary changes needed for progress, etc.
When your organizational goals are not in alignment with the very activities you are committed to investing your resources in - you're losing time and money and... customers, which means revenue.
We all have blind spots in our businesses.
This is a classic case of the cobbler's children having no shoes.
No shame in that because again, there's hope. Hope alone though is not a business plan. Business owners are notorious for busying themselves with tasks to feel that they are productive and making a consistent contribution to their company. The problem is, you expend time and energy on primarily non-revenue generating activities. We can't be all things to our companies if we wish to expand. Seek out an accountability coach who can offer some objective sound advice as you grow your business and re-order the tasks at hand. Hire out your weaknesses, as well.
3. Make it a Habit to Follow through and Follow Up on Great Ideas and Opportunities.
One of the blessings (and maybe curses) of being a marketing and reinvention catalyst is that I see opportunities where others don't. The challenge is to know what opportunities are best put to good use and in what order. The driving force behind my desire to help people who have talent, drive and ambition is their lack of ability to seize the opportunity and make a better life for themselves because their actions are not in sequence. Often times, their follow-through is not there either.
My dad was a commuter to a prestigious catholic university in Central Massachusetts. He was fourth in his graduating class and had an opportunity to get his Masters of Business from... none other than Harvard University. He declined because he didn't want to live in Cambridge, MA. Say what? Later, he was invited to be on the partner track at Price Waterhouse but it would require a move to Chicago. Neither of these opportunities did my dad capitalize on and were never discussed with my mom. He told me these stories just years before he passed away.
My maternal grandfather was self-educated due to having to leave school during the Depression. He became a stockbroker and his innate ability to create and seek out opportunities for himself was undeniable. He was also an inventor who was fortunate to have a younger brother as a patent attorney who filed numerous patents for inventions he designed. The best and most memorable that I recall was for tires to have a color underneath the black rubber that indicated your tires were wearing. Brilliant. Not sure if he ever got the patent, but the idea was a great one that was not capitalized on. Anyone reading this from Goodyear or Michelin - I want a commission!
Nothing breaks my heart more than to see someone not live up to their potential. This is why I'm so committed to work with businesses that are seeking out a reinvention to enhance their life and profitability of their companies.
Chances are, you simply need an objective sounding board to help you get your business "In order" by re-sequencing your marketing and business development strategies. I'm here to help.