Wednesday
Sep242014

Not even Monopolies are immune

You're not immune!

What's safer than the Taxi business right?

Well in San Fransisco, Taxi business has dropped 65% as their customers move to Uber, Lyft and Sidecar,

Why? Because the Taxi service was renowned as being shit, and the newcomers used technology & service to scoop up the business.

You still need to serve people well, even in a licensed monopoly. You're even more exposed if your in a small business.

65% revenue drop. Ouch.

That's why I do what I do. It can be fixed.

http://www.govtech.com/local/San-Francisco-Taxi-Owners-Cabbies-Join-Forces-Against-Uber-Lyft-others.html

Picture credit

Tuesday
Sep232014

Don't blame the politicians

I hear businesses whining all the time.

"Oh the economy is terrible."

"The politicians are wrecking everything."

Blah Blah

I know a lot of businesses that thrive regardless. It's not about your excuses. It's about your People and your Processes.

Get your people relationships sorted.

  • Get you sales sorted (make calls maybe?)
  • Sort your Strategy,
  • Back-office,
  • Customer service, and 
  • Supplier management sorted.


Boring. Yeh well that's the stuff your biggest competitor has sorted.

 

Thursday
Sep112014

Two sentences defines Apple's purpose

"We love to make great products which enrich people's lives" Apple's CEO Tim Cook at the launch of the Apple Watch on 9 September 2014.

"We believe this product will redefine what people expect from the category"

Love or hate Apple, one thing is clear.  They are clear on Purpose.

 

Thursday
Sep112014

Customers don’t care about your goals.

So - why are you in business?

To make money right?

Sure you need Sales to exceed your expenses.  Everyone gets that.

Most people would also say you need goals.  I accept that too.

But here’s the problem.

Your customers don’t care about your goals.  And they couldn’t care less about your profits.

Customer Tug-of-War

You’re in a tug-of-war with customers.  They want you to make “less” profit by dropping your price.  You want the opposite.  You both dig in.

Go on, admit it.  Customers can really suck sometimes.  Everyone seems to be taking a bite out of you.

How do you reconcile this problem?

Some businesses try to ‘satisfy’ their customers - every customer.

You shouldn't sell customers anything and everything.  You only sell what your company was created to do. It’s called  authenticity, and customers love it.

If you’re a high end fashion brand and your customers come in asking for cheaper alternatives, will you go down the line to ‘satisfy’ them?  Or will you be authentic and stick with what you do? 

The starting point is knowing what your company was created to do, it’s purpose.

Ask yourself one question: “Why does my business exist?"

It’s a tough question because you can only define purpose in terms of how the outside world views your business.

It’s about one thing

It becomes a question of value.

You need to know what your business brings to the world, it’s value to the world.  It's not about what you ‘offer' the world.

When you think about the offer, you are thinking about yourself.

This is the tough part. You need to see value from the customer’s perspective, but start from what you want to do in the world.  

Poor Yahoo

Let’s look at Google and Yahoo as an example.

Yahoo started life as a search engine, even before Google.  And yet Google’s share price is now $597.78 and Yahoo at $39.59 at Sept 7, 2014.  Google is 15 times more valuable.

Let’s look at how they defined themselves 10 years ago.

Google in 2004 ~ We maintain the world’s largest online index of web sites and other content, and we make this information freely available to anyone with an Internet connection.

Yahoo in 2004 ~ is a leading provider of comprehensive Internet products and services to consumers and businesses through our worldwide network of online properties.

Google was focused on what it was; a search engine.  It maintains that focus.  

Yahoo wanted to be “leading” but didn’t lead.  They focused on what they offered.  Yahoo offered products and services. 

Big deal, so does everyone.  

Yahoo was looking for ways to make money and lost sight of why it was there in the first place.


Source: NASDAQ

You don’t have to be a financial whiz to know Google is doing better.

Your customers are selfish

Back to your customers.  

They only care about what you can do for them, not your goals.

They don’t even care about your Purpose.  They only care about their value.

You don’t define Purpose for customers.  Purpose is yours.  It’s your single point of clarity.  Home base.

Part of the problem is that all the fancy management words are confusing and seem too blend together.

Now, you might be thinking that purpose, mission, vision, goals, strategy and tactics are different words saying the same thing. 

They're not the same.  Purpose is often forgotten because it’s mixed up with Mission, Vision and Goals. You need to be clear on the difference.

PURPOSE: Why

MISION: What

VISION:  Outcome

GOALS: Specific targets

STRATEGY: Your choices

TACTICS: To-do list

And it all starts with Purpose. 

Next up, we’ll look at the 6 things that define a valid Purpose.

But for now.  Start thinking about your Purpose.

End note

Yahoo in 2014 changed dramatically ~ is a global technology company focused on making the world’s daily habits inspiring and entertaining. 

Google in 2014 just tightened some wording ~ Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful

Tuesday
Apr292014

What managers can learn from Saints

In April 2014 the Catholic Church canonised two saints.  Both Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII were inducted into the catholic hall of fame for their acts as exemplars of their religion.

The Catholic Church is one of the oldest institutions in the world.  Modern companies are lucky to survive 10-20 years, but this organisation has lasted for 2,000 years.  A big part of all religions is the worship of people who do extraordinary things, or who other people will follow.

Let's have a look at the process, and you will see some lessons which could be learned in our own companies.

Importantly, a saint is to be publicly venerated by the whole Church.

When declaring a saint, the church looks at:

  • The life of a person. It looks at what the person did, how he/she reacted to the events of life, and
  • Is the person still alive in the faith of the people?

The nomination comes up from a local branch (diocese) and then makes its way up to Rome.

Now the question of miracles.  The recognition of a miracle verifies that the person is with God and has intercessory power with Him. The Blessed person does not grant the favour herself but intercedes with God on behalf of those who ask the favour.

Here are some lessons from the sainthood process.  Start from the end.

  1. Have a good idea of why you would recognise stars (e.g someone for others to look up to or emulate).
  2. Design a prize (a way to celebrate the stars)
  3. Make a big deal of "publicly venerating" them.  So celebrate!
  4. Have a defined process for recognition.
  5. Get nominations from everyday people.

Whether or not you are religious, you have to admire how religions recognise their stars, whether it be the Jewish Tzadik, the Islamic Mu'min, the Hindu rishi or guru, and the Buddhist arhat or bodhisattva.

In business, we should think beyond the token employee of the month, or employee of the year, we could go further.