It often surprises me that nearly every department in a company has
systems except one. For example accounting operates in accordance with GAAP standards. The warehouse, customer service, and plant management all have their procedures. Yet, in perhaps one of the most critical divisions of any company, the sales department, employees and managers are often left to their own devices with only rudimentary processes defined.
Any task or job can become systematic. Systems built the pyramids. Wendy’s, for example, did not grow its business by hiring people and then challenging them to figure out how to do their job. Instead, Wendy’s success is based that there is a best way to take an order and then produce a burger. Discover the best way, document the most efficient processes, train everyone the same way. As a result, people work the system – and the system works and you can create measurable and predictable results.
Because of their system, Wendy’s can make almost anyone, despite of their abilities, into productive, effective employee. This fact – that good systems create effective people – operates in every area of work. Even highly skilled, highly educated professionals apply this concept. There are, for example, better ways to become fit, to get dates, to fly planes, and to bake a cake. Talk to effective professionals in any of these areas, and they will verify that they use effective principles, processes, practices and tools to complete these tasks.
They use a proven system.Read More
There is no substitute for legitimate media coverage. No amount of SEO, SEM, or search-driven press release schemes will obtain legitimate media. Bottom-line you need a well formulated PR plan to obtain press and nothing matches the power of real media coverage from real media outlets. Anything else just isn’t worth the time or the money so do it right or don’t do it.
Using the countless free press release distribution services – or even those who charge a small fee – to distribute numerous press releases to the media. These organizations sell their services with the rationalization that even if you don’t get media coverage; their service will get you plenty of Google or search ranking. My experience, to be a direct, is “so what?” A Google ranking on a press release that never received news coverage is not a valuable thing. It also lacks the third-party credibility that comes with legitimate press coverage. Remember press releases were called NEWS releases as in news worthy figure out how to make it news worthy or save your time and money. Unless you’re after search rankings or you have another objective.
In order to get the desired response, you have to provide quality content to their audience, make editors or producer’s job easier. Example, press releases that focus on tips for their readers from your position as an expert not only help the journalist do their job better but it also positions you as a valued resource. And in today’s media world, when so many news organizations are short on staffed and long press releases and information, those that provide valuable information to editors, reporters and producers are the ones that get rewarded.
How do you get media coverage for a pizza? Tie the pizza into the news. How? For instance during cold & flu season a garlic pizza that fights the common cold would probably get media coverage. So how can you connect your product or service with the news?
When consulting with clients or speaking to groups, the principal message I try to covey is that the media is not interested in selling your products or service. Their role is to provide newsworthy content for their audience. So give them what the want.Read More
What’s a Ford? I know what a Ford is: it’s a large or small, cheap or expensive, car or truck. If somebody says to you, “I bought a Ford,” not much was said. Did they buy a Shelby for $50,000 or a Focus for $13,000? There’s a big difference there. So to say, “I bought a “Ford” is saying nothing, because the brand doesn’t stand for any one thing! Get it?
Al Ries, international marketing expert, has said, ” Many, many, many brands today do not stand for anything, because they’re into everything. If you’re into everything, the brand can’t possibly stand for a single thing”.
When it comes to focus, one needs to narrow it, not widen it. With our company, Bert Martinez Communications, works with clients all the time looking for ways to narrow their focus and get them out of offering too much stuff. However, many businesses aren’t keen on the idea, because when one narrows their focus they have to drop some product line. So what happens in the short term? When you drop a products or services, you’re going to lose some business initially. And nobody wants to do that. To the average business owner, the thought is “You’re nuts, we can’t do that!”
I’ll give you an example. We were doing some consulting for a supplement retailer. Now, the clients has twelve products with a similar name. We said to them, “That’s too confusing. Let’s decrease it.” Their reply was, “No! We can’t do that.” You see, they know the percentage of sales each one of those 12 products brings in, right? So they think, “If we make it six products, it means we’re going to lose 34% of the business.” They look at the numbers and what will happen in the very short term, but they don’t look at the long term implications. The implication is when you simplify your product line, you make it easier for consumers to know what you’re selling and you’ll sell more, but not in the immediate short term.
Well, to make the point, let’s take Home Depot for example. Home Depot was the first home improvement store. Whatever that means, but to the average person it meant that if you have a “honey-do or home” project to do, you could go to Home Depot and get everything you need to complete your project (fencing, flooring, paint… you name it). Home Depot stands for home improvements DIY projects for the home. They not only sell everything home, but they sell it at a very good price. So, Home Depot is to home improvements what Wal-Mart is to shopping. Big selection low prices.
You see Google doing the same as Ford or Chevrolet, there’s Google the search engine, Google TV and Google phones, soon Google won’t have the same meaning it has today.
Toyota has done a better job, a Toyota stands for one thing while Lexus stands for something
different both are own by Toyota.
What does Kraft macaroni & cheese, Di Giorno Pizza, Tombstone Pizza, Kool-Aid , and Marlboro cigarettes have in common? They’re BIG brands that stand for specific word or idea and they’re owned by tobacco giant Philip Morris.
Don’t promise everything; promise one thing. Your product or service might be great at lots of things, but “lots of things” isn’t an idea that gets into the minds of consumers and isn’t an idea to get excited about. Focus on one key idea. Preferably one that is the opposite of the competition.
So a “narrow focus” is a long-term concept that can eliminate the short term issues, but it’s a tough decision at first.Read More
Fox Business| Fox Small Business Center | Jan 20, 2011 10:36 AM EST
Tips for Creating an Advisory Board
Advisory boards can be one of the most resourceful components of a company, yet entrepreneurs often stumble in putting this team together. If assembled correctly, an advisory board can help fill talent gaps, build networks and gain validity in the eyes of potential investors.
“As a first time CEO I need an advisory board to mentor me, to reassure investors that there is financial oversight and to have someone to go to when I need to make the right connections,” said GridTest Systems CEO Neal Roche.
Roche’s three-month old company tests technologies at electric-vehicle charge points. Over the next six to 12 months, Roche hopes to put together an all-star advisory team that will help the company grow. “The challenge is that it is one of 80 things you have to do as an entrepreneur,” said Roche, “and you are talking about building relationships with successful people who already have full agendas.”
Eric Chen, assistant professor of Business Administration at St. Joseph’s College and advisory board consultant, suggested entrepreneurs find active advisors who are respected in the industry. “You are judged on the company that you keep,” said Chen, “Once you are able to attract one or two of the very best [in the field] the rest will come.”
Great credentials, however, are not worth much if the advisor just sits there. Chen warned, “Choose those who will open up their networks to the company, those who will help coach your executives, those who will not hesitate to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty and those who will spend the time to periodically review the business and offer suggestions for improvement.”
Roche wants his incoming advisory board to serve as “a shadow executive team.” “I need someone who has had CFO experience and someone who represents industries I am going after” said Roche. Filling a need can be one of the most basic functions of an advisory board. “If there are holes in the management team, then look to fill them,” said Chen, “Ask, do we have the right team that can provide a lot of value for us?” Chen also suggested making sure entrepreneurs show their appreciation to the advisory board. He added, “Even if it’s a holiday basket, let them know that you care.”
Because advisory board members often work for free it can be difficult to hold them accountable. Consultant Bert Martinez of Bert Martinez Communications warned, “You might need to fire a few advisors to get the right people on your board.”
The interview process for an advisory board member can be similar to staff hiring. Martinez suggested entrepreneurs compile a pre-set of questions that lend to their industry. “The one question everybody should ask is ‘what are you expecting from this and why are you doing this?’” said Martinez, “You want to make sure that the person helping you out is motivated by the right reasons.”
Just as the entrepreneur needs to set standards for its board members, he or she also needs to learn how to work with this team. Susan Hammond, author of “Advisory Board Kit” warned that the entrepreneurs must
* •be able to take constructive criticism
* •be willing to open up all aspects of the business to the advisors’ scrutiny
* •be aware of his or her own strengths and weaknesses and those of the senior team as well as the opportunities and threats facing the business
* •have a vision of where he or she wants to take the business that can be articulated to prospective advisors
* •clearly delineate the roles and responsibilities of the advisors, the entrepreneur and the business
It seems like everywhere I go lately, I get asked the same questions. Business Owners and Entrepreneurs ask me:
“How can I increase my sales?” or “How can I increase my business?” or
“What’s the best strategy to survive our economy?” or something along these lines.
Everyone’s looking for answers and they want to know how to continued to prosper in good times and in bad. I may not have all the answers, but I can share with you my formula for success. Simple strategies you can use to grow your business:
1. Questions are the Answers –
Ask better questions, do you want to survive or do you want to thrive? If you’re asking the wrong questions your solution maybe be wrong too.
So start asking what can I do to grow my business? How can I obtain more from my existing customers? These questions start you down a path for growth.
2. Take Charge -
It seems like the media and everyone is saying, “The economy stinks” and they seem to be saying it all the time. It’s true for a few business segments but if you really study these businesses they were hurting when economy was great, now they have an excuse. It’s might be a little tougher out there. But if you’re making excuses, you’re not taking charge for your success.
Our economy is the ideal time to find out what really works, how you can not only survive, but how you can truly thrive. Leaders look for solutions. They develop action plans to put sales and profits back on track. Here’s one you can use to generate more leads, sales and profits.
3. Build Success upon Success
“A man only learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people” – Will Rogers
One of the first things I realized when I started out in business was how little I really knew. One of the first things I learned and I’ve been doing ever since was to associate with people I wanted to be like and learn from. Find out whom the successful people in your field are, what associations or groups are they members of and join those groups, to accelerate your learning and therefore your success.
Take a shortcut to success, associate with people who at your level or above.
I have you ever flown in a plane and did you peak inside the open cockpit door? Notice the pilot and co-pilot going through their checklist to make sure everything is working?
Pilots rely on systems to keep the plane in the air. While no system is 100% perfect, plane travel is one of the safest and most reliable ways to get around the world.
How about your business? Do you have a system to keep your profits soaring on schedule?
The key to consistent success is not to invent your marketing strategies as you go along. The key is to develop and use proven systems to bring in profits and effectively run your business in good times as well as tough times.
Discover the most cost effective system for increasing your profits.
What would happen to your business or your profits if you had to be gone for extended period of time? How fast can your company grow if doing all the teaching and training?
You need to develop systems that are simple and teachable.Read More