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Stop Wasting Money on Marketing!

Okay, before you have a heart attack, let me me explain my position on this topic.

Yes, you will need to market you product and services, however, of all your ad and marketing dollars spent – Do You Know If You Are Getting a Return on Your Investment? Even the great marketing & advertising executive, David Ogilvy stated “50% of Advertising works, I just don’t know which 50%.

The issue is not if marketing & advertising works, it is really a question of what type of Marketing works for you and your business?

Five Fundamental Strategic Questions for Leaders

Growth StepsEvery Excellent Leader stays totally aware of their organizations growth. More specifically, the Leader is the Navigator for Organizational Direction.

Therefore, the Growth of the Organization is – or will be – a “Top of Mind” activity.

There are five fundamental Strategic Growth questions you can use to measure the success of your growth plan in the current economic environments.

What Has Changed without Your Awareness?

This weekend I watched parts of several football games – both college level and professional. And, while watching them I had an aha moment regarding how things change without us being aware of the changes.

My aha was regarding the offensive lineman and specifically their technique. What I was playing football, lineman were not allowed to grab the defensive player at any point. In fact, we were taught to grab our own jerseys and basically use our arms as big flippers to hit our opponent. Therefore, it was easier for the defensive players to attack the offense and make plays.

Today the rules of the game have changed. It appears an offensive lineman can grab as much jersey as he wants as long as he does get outside the opponents arms. Therefore, watching these football games was an exercise in watching basically wrestling matches at the line of scrimmage.

My initial thoughts were – wow I could have really good if I could have grabbed hold of the defensive player’s jerseys during a game. With my long arms this would have stopped my opponents dead in their tracks and I would have won even more of these battles.

Okay, so what does my story of football have to do with leadership today?

Marketing Email is NOT Dead

Okay,I know most of you feel if you get another Marketing Email you will explode. And, some people regularly complain about the number of emails they receive every day.

Yes, I feel that way on occasion = especially with the uninvited spammers who seem to get pleasure with filling my inbox with all types of offers and screaming “buy my stuff!”  Truthfully, these are the emails giving emails a bad rap.

The facts are the world revolves around your email. Even the social media is email needy. That’s right – even social media uses email. Think about it. To sign up for a social media account the first thing they want is your email address. Then the social media accounts use your email to notify you about events, connections, likes, group activity, articles of interest to you and on-&-on.

Yet, every time I listen to a Marketing or Business guru, they are always pointing out the need for an email list of customers and prospects. In fact, several state…

Trends for 2014 and beyond for the Business Leader

As a new year begins to unfold I assume you have taken the time to review the results of this year. Reviewing the results of the year is very important – if you are interesting in results and execution.

The fact is plans are a dime a dozen – everyone has plans. There are Strategic Plans, Business Plans, Marketing Plans, Sales Plans, Developmental Plans, New Development Plans and Key Account Strategic Plans. However, plans without an extensive review and comparison to expectations is only a sheet of paper with writing or numbers upon it.

The key is the execution of the plans which directly relate to the results and outcomes your organization or business  unit accomplishes. This is the time of the year to take long looks, dialogues and focus upon what has occurred against what was planned. By focusing on your results, you can put together an improved plan for the future.

Recently, I had the opportunity to listen to one of the futurist thinkers of our time and he pointed out four specific trends occurring in our business environment for us to reflect upon. By reflecting I mean taking a hard look at your industry, apply what you learn about these trends and then assume something is going to happen in your marketplace with a definitive impact upon your plans.

The four trends are…

  1. Smart Devices are taking on more emphasis
  2. Amazon is going after new industries
  3. Technology and Social Media determines your business level
  4. Robotics are coming fast

Let me explain how these trends will impact organizations.

Interesting Customer Service Trends – Good or Bad?

Over the weekend I began to think about the trends in Customer Service and I started to feel a little uneasy about some of my realizations. So today I felt the need to write about Customer Service and I would really like to see your thoughts on these trends. So be sure to leave me a comment below after you read this Trend Update.

Okay, first let me say that in my opinion Customer Service is a Critical Business Function. An excellent customer service mindset can create a company – Zappo’s; it differentiate one company from another – Apple vs Microsoft after the first Apple Stores were opened; and finally, you can create Customer Loyalty due to the way situations are handled – Nordstroms who is very proud of their level of customer service and only have One Rule for New Employees…

Welcome to Nordstrom

We’re glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

Now Nordstrom has a brilliant idea – simple the rules, trust their people, train their people in customer service and make use of Good Judgment – which I assume contains a heavy dose of “common sense.”

While these companies are doing well (with the possible exception of the current APPLE) there are some trends growing in the “me -too” world of corporate business. These trends are…

People Add Complexity to Small Company CEO’s

Often when working with some of our small business clients I have felt (and heard) the frustration of the founding entrepreneur when speaking about their business. What gives? Is the question I have asked myself and the founder of these companies.

Well, I finally got the answer from research done by James Fischer.

While most people focus upon the sales or profit growth of any organization as the cause of this frustration, they are wrong. The real culprit is a growing number of employees. This fact has been overlooked by some very smart people until this research exposed the true.

Top Five Challenges for Start Up Companies

If you are like me, then sometimes you learn new things and actually state – “I wish I had known this 5 – 10 – 20 years ago.”

This is a common theme as leaders and entrepreneurs grow in experience through the school of hard knocks and trial and error. For this reason, I have decided it is time to share information, knowledge, experience and wisdom with others – so just maybe, they will not have to ask the above question.

Now the reason it is important to understand the five non-negotiable and threatening challenges to a Start-Up organization is quite depressing. Research shows that 80% of new businesses fail in the first five years. Seems the 80/20 rule is still accurate when applied to the percentage of surviving start ups. Only 20% of the start-ups make it to their fifth year anniversary.

Some very good research into what is needed for a company to successfully grow (and remain in business) is for the leader to focus on the most important things in their business during this time period. James Fischer conducted this research and formulated guides for the leaders and CEO’s to navigate the Growth Curve for Small Businesses.

This research covers companies with 500 employees or less. – Yes, even the sole owner or one person shop is impacted by the information contained in this model.

So, let’s look at the Five Non-Negotiable Challenges a Start Up Company in Stage One of the Growth Curve must focus their time and energy on mastering.

Voss Graham Certified as a Growth Curve Strategist

LOCAL BUSINESS COACH RECEIVES CERTIFICATION AS A

GROWTH CURVE STRATEGIST

EEOC and OFCCP-compliant assessment company distinguishes Voss W Graham with Growth Curve certification

Memphis, TN – February 10, 2013 – TTI Performance Systems, the world’s leading source for research-based, validated assessments has designated Voss W Graham of InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. a Certified Professional Growth Curve Strategist on February 1, 2013.

With this certification, Voss Graham is qualified to perform an X-Ray to determine a company’s current stage of growth; critically assess a company’s past, present and future to get CEOs focused on the right things at the right time; and identify the hidden agents – defined as 27 Challenges – that are impacting the company’s ability to grow, and develop a plan to solve those issues.

Business Lessons from the Elections

Over the weekend I took some time to think about the recent Presidential elections and how one party beat the other party. I did this to think from a strategic prospective and to learn how business owners could learn from this process. Now it is important to know this is not a political discussion regarding political parties and their respective platforms.

This is a deeper review of the mechanics or strategies used to win. What was different and how did this difference lead to a competitive advantage? And, the important point to take from this is simple – there are right methods to use regarding the Internet. The question really is – are you doing the right things in your business to win a competitive advantage?

The most interesting aspect of the election centered upon the use of the Internet – the difference between the right and wrong way to engage your customers.

Here are a couple of key points about the use of the internet…