Jan 18 2015

ZEST! The Competitive Edge.

“Z”. . . ZEST

                                                                                ZEST (not the soap) I am referring to you and your business . . . ardor, élan, gusto, joie de vivre, lust, oomph, passion, pep, pizzazz, tang, vitality, energy, zing,  zoom, zip,  zap . . . either you’ve got it or Leaping Consultant . . . . . . . .

If you’ve got it, you can make it better. Start here now. If you don’t have it, you can get it ignited here, now. Free. No strings attached. No gimmicks! Just you and your business, and me.

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Sounds good, you say, but who cares? Uh, your customers, your employees, your suppliers, your investors, your lenders, your community . . . and your family. Does that work for an answer? This is not just another lecture on motivation. It’s about operating your business with a competitive edge.

Let’s get to it: When did you last ask a few customers why they do business with you instead of with __________ (fill in the name of a leading competitor)? Oh, you did a survey? Well, that’s great, but there’s nothin’ like the real thing, Baby, goes the old song, and there’s nothing like straight eyeball-to-eyeball answers.

Whatever you hear back, by the way, accept and be appreciative. Do not criticize. Do not “Yes, But.” Do not argue or dismiss. There’s a reason for everything. Take it in. Write it down. Smile and say thank you. Go off and think. Odds are pretty good that the answers you’ll get will have something to do with your attitude and approach.

In other words, HOW you deal with customers, employees, and others around you is what determines more than anything else why your customers are your customers. And it’s that reputation that attracts other customers. So, if these assumptions about how you deal with others are even just half right, you already have a competitive edge.

It may simply need –like the holiday carving knife– a little sharpening. Start by asking yourself if you and/or someone else who works with you have been partly or largely responsible for positive customer feedback. Do you appropriately reward that behavior when it comes from others. Rewarding positives breeds more positives.

If you get feedback that attributes your business strength to other factors –price, quality, convenience, etc.–you need to giddy-yap over to your customer service counter/person/policy/strategy/whatever, to fix it or make it better.

Why? Because in this lousy (that we keep hearing is great) economy, it is frankly not a good sign that anything other than your outstanding service should be the #1 factor quoted by customers. You cannot any longer compete on price or packaging or quality or convenience or sustainability. Anyone with the know-how and gumption can beat you on those points.

But no one else can be you!

No one else can treat people exactly the same as you, and therein lies your single greatest and unique competitive edge — it’s the differential that you, exclusively, can offer. Have you ever by-passed others and gone out of your way to deal with a particular business because you relate better to the source? Of course you have.

We all seek individuals and entities we feel offer more integrity, more authenticity, a better reputation, provide more extras. So your customers are different? What’s keeping you from adjusting, over-hauling, boosting or perking up your business approaches and attitude NOW? Aren’t roadblocks, after all, a matter of choice?

Choose more of what works. Put a little spice in your spirit! And remember what you put out and how you come across – your spirit — is yours alone. No one else has or can use your strengths.

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Hal@Businessworks.US  931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jul 27 2011

Midweek Crisis

Guess what today is?

                                        

It’s Wedsssdaaaaay!

                                                                  

                                 

Wednesday is business panic day.

The orders, checks, and promises that haven’t yet appeared need to be nudged to get them in before the weekend and the house will be crawling with friends, neighbors, and in-laws all weekend so Friday is dead-in-the-water day on the job, which means –YIKES! –the orders, checks, and promises have to be in by tomorrow.

Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!

So what’s the short story version? If you’re the typical entrepreneur (I know, there ain’t no such thing, but there are typical entrepreneurial behaviors), you have been running by the seat of your pants (or skirt) so long that you get yourself under water without a snorkel because you simply skip over that ugly time-consuming task of planning.

Then midweek brings crisis . . . brainfreeze without a Slurpee . . . om top of the usual Wednesday collision course, there’s also that REALLY important project you’ve been putting off that needs desperately to get done, and now it has to stay on the back burner for another week. Will there ever be enough time?

Truth? No. There’ll never be enough time. 

And my best educated guess is that most small business owners and operators would almost rather have a tooth pulled than have to sit still for more than 10 minutes to map out a plan for the week every week. But, y’know what? Y’gotta!  Those who take a deep breath, settle into a comfortable chair and plan the week . . . win.

Think of it this way: If your competitors do weekly action plans, and you don’t, they win. If you both do them, you keep the playing field level. If you do them and they don’t, you take the lead. If neither of you do the,, someone else at your heels  surely will, and will surely win.

Ah, but where to start? Start with the old stuff that’s already in the hopper. Hit on it hard as you come out of the box on Monday morning. Make the calls, write the emails, motivate and inspire. Once the old stuff is moving, jump to the new tasks, contacts, ideas that are presently in the works and that need to get pushed into the spotlight.

Save the unexplored concept stuff for last. Yes, you may never get to that last category, but, hey, y;gotta eat, right? As the current Administration in Washington has conclusively proven, hopes and dreams don’t put food on the table. Let the experimental new ideas simmer. This is not the time to back away from what’s in your face.

Keep focused on the here and now as much as possible. List and combine (but chunk up) “to do” items, then prioritize them in order of immediacy. Cross them off with a highlighter (so you can return to see what was completed) as each task gets done. These pages (dated) are worth saving (like a journal), even for tax records.

Fast-paced status report review meetings are best held (with agendas distributed Friday afternoon) as early as possible on Mondays to help map out the week. (Friday is the worst day for this for a hundred reasons). Oh, and if you’re not both feet into the tech business, do it all in writing on pads. Laptops and handhelds distract attention. 

                                                  

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Hal@Businessworks.US  302.933.0116 

 Open minds open doors

 Thanks for visiting.    God bless you. 

  Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Mar 28 2011

The Recession Still Roars

Reported today on Sirius radio’s America’s Newsroom . . .

One of every eight American

                            

homes now stands empty! 

 

Based on today’s news . . .

This “one out of eight” no doubt

                             

includes The White House!

 

 

Double-speak –such as that evidenced in tonight’s feeble address by Mr. Obama in attempting to justify his unauthorized headstrong reaction (instead of a measured response) to the challenges and sickness of another nation’s madman leader– doesn’t work for America’s people.

And guess what? Double-speak also doesn’t work for the business you own and/or run and/or manage.

Small business owners, first of all, know instinctively how to practice responding instead of reacting.

If we don’t, we’re out of business. Period.                

  • It is lack of leadership that has emptied American homes. It is lack of leadership that has led America to falter and approach other nations balanced on weak knees.

  • Lack of leadership is what brings down business enterprises and national governments alike. Clearly, America’s White House is as empty as the two suits that run our country.

  • Lack of leadership, in the form of poor management, is responsible for 9 out of 11 new businesses failing within the first 2-3 years of existence (source: The SBA)  

~~~~~~~~

                                                                                          

We —as small business owners and managers, and entrepreneurs– must learn from this place in history.

Incompetent leadership cannot be covered up with great oratory and superficial reasoning. We, the electorate see through it. While the facade pictures that are verbally painted may convince those who know not how to think for themselves, they no longer appease or hook those with intelligence.

When we cover up business incompetence, we lose customers; we go bankrupt. We lose.

If you or I were to run our businesses with the same Johnny-come-lately, wimpy, and universally arrogant intervention approaches that were expressed tonight by Mr. Obama, God bless us all.

He has done everything possible to undermine and smother small business because he fails utterly to understand it. He has in the process led us into world disgrace. His assessments –in addition to being unrealistic– are inflammatory to say the least. Talk about pouring gasoline on a fire!

You and I cannot make our business problems go away by giving a political speech and calling it an “explanation.”

We cannot avert financial collapse by offering endless apologies (or simply printing new money!).

We cannot achieve success by concentrating on competitors. 

                                                                 

Sad and unfortunate as it is, thousands of people die every day by acts of terrorism. When –and before– those forces become genuine threats to our existence, we need to act quickly and decisively and unapologetically to protect and preserve our interests.

Do we like what’s happening in Libya? Of course not. But Libya offers no such threat to America. The more the U.S. tries to become the world’s police force, the less effective the U.S. becomes. The more your business tries to monopolize a profession, industry, or marketplace, the less effective it becomes. But you already know that!

Do we like what all our competitors are doing. Of course not. Do we engage them apologetically and make that be productive for us? Are you kidding? Those who succeed in business are those who focus on their businesses, not on what other businesses are doing, or not doing, that may be distasteful. 

When it’s possible to help other businesses without putting your own at risk, go for it! Until then, strengthen yourself so you can get to that point. That works for business and business works! Being consistently authentic and honest and demonstrating integrity works for business too. Will shallow-minded ego-crazed politicians ever get it?    

 

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302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jun 10 2009

Management & Staff Training Program Tips

Good Trainers Are Actors.

                                       

Make Sure To Set The Stage!

                                                                                 

     More and more companies and organizations that have tightened their belts the past couple of years have begun to loosen their training budgets because they are recognizing that investments in training must be ongoing regardless of how crunched revenues become.

     Without continuing training efforts, competitors move in and take charge of sales, customers, markets, communities, quality employee candidates, vendor relations, and entire industries. Status quo is not an option. 

     Having designed, delivered and facilitated nearly 2000 training programs, seminars, and workshops, I feel uniquely qualified to offer forth some wisdom to companies and organizations that are planning or setting out to conduct sessions of their own.

     Following is informed, free advice—small stuff that adds up to big bucks—that will save you time, money, energy, and aggravation. It will help insure that you get your money’s worth out of your training dollars:

     Give program facilitators (especially “outside professionals” you’re paying fees to) advance access to training facilities, rooms and equipment. Allow them adequate (by THEIR definitions, not yours) set-up and workspace “psych-up” time prior to actual scheduled sessions. Insure their privacy during these periods by keeping access by others restricted, including locked doors and covered windows.

     Much of what a facilitator does that’s effective depends heavily on presentation staging, on having familiarity with the setting and the equipment, on having comfortable and uninterrupted rehearsal time, on being able to set up a room and seating and control devices and practice session agenda steps.

     Conscientious leaders, teachers, facilitators like to do “dry-runs” with the use of easels, tripods, display tables, computer and screen projection equipment. They want to make sure of not tripping over a tripod leg as they walk backwards to emphasize a particular point.

     They don’t want to get to the board and find no markers or chalk. Laptop projections and sound system connections can be critical. Some who conduct programs require special lighting, chair and desk arrangements, wall display areas.

     BOTTOM LINE: Don’t expect a professional facilitator or trainer or workshop/program/seminar leader to simply stroll in at the appointed session time and conduct an effective session. You will positively NOT be getting your money’s worth if you do.

     THINK GREEN: Ask for or prepare 2-sided copies of printed handouts whenever possible. Use or encourage note taking and written exercises be done on the backs of typed scrap paper whenever possible. Maintain room temperature slightly cooler than the usual level throughout the session (vs. constant back and forth adjustment). Active sessions generate more heat.  

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Input welcome anytime: Hal@TheWriterWorks.com (”Businessworks” in the subject line) or comment below. Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals, good night and God bless you! halalpiar  # # # 

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