Entries in strategy (4)

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.


Picture credit

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.



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

Two things you need to know before launching a new product

Many businesses launch a product or business based on financial metrics.  There are however two metrics which cannot be overlooked.

Do you know who you know?

You need to understand who you know in the industry.  Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Who do you know directly in the industry?
  • Do you have contacts who can put you in contact with people in the indusrty?
  • Can you employ someone to give you access?
  • Can you quickly find the players?

Who you know what you know?

You need to know your stuff.  You need to be an expert.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Would you consider yourself an expert? (Malcolm Gladwell in his book outliers suggests you need 10,000 experience to be considered an expert)
  • Can you buy the expertise?

If you score highly in both attributes, then by all means consider your financial measures when prioritising.

If you are not so strong in one of the attributes, then be prepared to take a longer path to success.

If you are not strong in either, then be prepared for a long wait.

A takeaway thought:  It's not important who you know, but it important to know who knows what you know.

If there are 8 ways to sell, there must be more than one way to train

In my previous post I described the 8 ways to sell anything.  This post got me thinking. There are 8 ways to sell almost anything, so why do we use the same training methods across all organisations and across all staff in an organisation?

Your sales strategy can be measured against two key criteria.

1.    How much staff need to understand the customer

This key criteria measures how much the server/seller needs to understand the needs of the customer. For impulse selling there is little or no need to understand the customer, whereas for cross-selling the staff member needs a high understanding of the customer’s requirements.

2.    The level of staff involvement

This criteria examines how much staff need to be involved in the purchase. In the case of impulse selling, the staff are not required because the customers effectively close the sale themselves. In a cross-sell situation the sale will not be completed without a high degree of staff involvement and confidence along with a healthy dose of (dare to say) salesmanship.

The embedded pencast walks describes where the different sales approached fit on this criteria and why training should be more than a one size fits all.

Click here if you cannot see the embedded podcast