Jun 16 2011

PIE-EYED?

Not “Pie-eyed” intoxicated

                       

. . .Pie-eyed as in bleary

                      

from studying

                                                     

 too many pie-charts!

 

Actually, if you have this ailment, you are either reading too much of USA TODAY, or you are reading too much into your competition.

Try the following exercise on behalf of the entrepreneurial professional practice or small business that you own or operate or manage or partner with. It will give you an “Aha!”

  • First, draw a pie. Whatever kind you like is fine. Next draw a slice that approximately represents what you think is your business or professional practice share of the primary market you’re engaged in (SOM, as corporate biggies call it).

  • Do something to highlight it: color, fill it in, draw your favorite fruit into it, add crumbs or a topping if you want.

  • If your slice is too small to fit any decorative ingredients, put an arrow off to the side that shows your sliver and decorate your arrow (or if the sliver is simply a reflective glint off the pie tin, you may want to consider closing down and trying some other business . . . or there’s always government work that requires no pies and no thinking).   

  • Next, assuming you do have a reasonable or promising piece of the pie in front of you, take an educated guess at what you imagine the sizes of the other market portion slices that each of your key competitors controls.

  • Draw in and label those slices. Are you still with me, or have you been nibbling?

  • Now stand back (or lean back) and take a good, hard look at this pie. It’s a graphic representation of the market your business is in. What’s going on in the middle?

  • Scribble a little tornado into the dead center of the pie, overlapping all the tips of all the slices. That is where everyone in your market is killing each other, fighting to get a bigger share.

                                                               

Just think about how much time and energy and money is spent in that little area of commotion. That little battlefield becomes so consuming and wasteful that many business owners and managers fail to see what else is happening.

Pay attention for a minute to what’s outside the pie (the box, the bun). What do you see? Endless space? More pies?

Have you, in other words, been staring at one star in the sky and not noticing the rest of the solar system? Or beyond? Have you been focused on one tree and ignored the forest? How about just concentrating on your one slice and seeing only what else is in the pie? There is a limit to the amount of toppings you can add, you know.

So why not (are you ready for this?) . . .

e–x–p–a–n–d—– t–h–e—– p–i–e—–?—–?—–?

What happens to your SOM when you make the pie larger? Yes, yes, the competition grows bigger too. But are you in business to succeed or to kill your competition? When you are the entity responsible for making the pie bigger, you are also going to capture the lion’s share of the increased market because you are the one opening the floodgate.

Instead of we’ve got better stuff and we’ve got cheaper stuff and we provide better service deals, what about looking around to see how many prospects there are out there who do not own or use ANY of your existing market products or services, and then take the high road that “We want EVERYone to experience this type of market offering!” 

Not sure? Call or email me. I love making pies bigger. Yum! Happy weekend. See you Saturday!  

                                                   

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Hal@Businessworks.US or 302.933.0116

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

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

Make today a GREAT day for someone! 

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Nov 04 2010

When Reality Sucks!

Tired of Reality?

                                                     

Ache for Fake?

 

Comes a time for every professional practice and business owner or manager to step up into the world of make-believe, and take a brain break from daily work realities and nightly reality TV.

I’m not talking a week in the islands or weekend at Disney World or some quality after-dinner minutes with kids or pets. These are all wonderful brain breaks recommended for every working human.

No, I’m talking about introducing a new ingredient in your daily schedule. You already read, right? But do you read right?

Are you filling your head with world news, industry news, market news, balance sheets, income statements, cash flow analyses, and all those advice articles: “How To Be A Better Leader”; “Saving Your Business From Financial Collapse”; “Why Motivating Customers AND Employees Is Like Juggling Seagulls”?

Ah, and even in the car, and late night TV, is it more business news?

Are you getting like one of those Washington DC-area C-Span junkies?

                                               

There is more to the world and more to your life than that. There is also more to your business than what you absorb from dwelling on business. And what might that be? Try INNOVATION!

Innovation doesn’t happen when you lock yourself up in a closet for a bunch of hours and suddenly come sweeping out with the magical answer (Note this analogy, those of you who retain creative services, which involves the same dynamic).

Innovation, it should be said, ONLY STARTS with a good idea. Ditch-diggers can come up with good ideas. For innovation to set in, you need a brain break!

Innovation means taking an idea

all the way through to fruition.

It requires comprehensive analysis of the product or service, the market, the competition, the creation and production options, the developmental costs and timelines, the human and operational resources needed, and so on and on, up to the point of launch countdown, and projections that go beyond that.

To foster and nurture innovation and innovative thinking requires a different mindset than is typically engaged on any given workday. The kind of free-spirited thinking that you evidenced when you started your business or professional practice or managerial job.

That attitude is not born of trade journals, online and traditional business media sources, or the rest of what you do every day!

Innovation comes about

from a mental shake-up!

It surfaces when you challenge yourself to look somewhere else besides the worlds of reality that cling to your shirtsleeves 5-7 days a week.

Yes, indulge yourself with travel and friend and family visits, and playing with your kids or pets (or the neighbor’s kids or pets). Take more photographs. Paint. Draw. Write. Get out of the rut.

One of the best ways to take this daily journey to increased productivity and innovative thinking is to do more reading — but not business stuff. Stop choosing excuses. Replace some of that reality overload with visits to fantasyland.

Go buy two FICTION books that look interesting to you. You might even find it surprising that you really CAN enjoy a novel. Set aside 20, 30, 60 minutes a day for it!

Anything from comics to Nelson DeMille’s serious humor stories, or Annie Proulx’s probes into America’s heartland, to Harry Potter books (you thought these were just for kids?), Richard Russo’s and Kent Haruf’s mainstream Americana stories, or a good mystery or suspense thriller. Just NOT business. And NOT nonfiction. And shelve the biographies and memoirs.

Your head needs to swim in make-believe. 

                                                                  

Do this conscientiously for just three weeks — your business cannot help but grow quicker and more brilliantly. Dangerous side effects: Your family, friends, and associates will actually enjoy being around you more. And (Aha!) less stress ( !) and new leadership opportunities!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

931.854.0474 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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Nov 03 2010

Business in “The Whiplash Age”

Are you and your business

                                       

MARCHING or STUMBLING?

 

You’re a business owner or manager, right? So you rarely know if you’re coming or going, never mind marching or stumbling . . . or jogging for endurance . . . or, for that matter, running scared.

Probability is that these are merely indicators of the degree of rigidity and/or speed you move according to how wildly your entrepreneurial fires are burning. Hmmm, now there’s a thought-provoker.

And it doesn’t help much that we’re living in “The Whiplash Age.” I feel my neck snap back in astonishment almost every day as I hop, skip, and jump through the process of discovering emerging technology methods and products . . . and bamboozling ideas! 

Considering we’ve gone from blackboards and filmstrip projectors to greenboards and overhead projectors to whiteboards and 16mm film projectors to newsprint pads on tripods, video projectors, PowerPoint, virtual meetings, virtual offices, txtmsgs, Twitter, Facebook, and handheld electronic devices (not even to mention the audio metamorphosis of reel-to-reel, then 78rpm/33 1/3 rpm/45rpm vinyl records, to 8-track cassettes, pocket and mini-cassettes, CDs, DVDs, boomboxes, sattelite radio (whew!) . . . and from crank-ups to cell phones . . . WHERE are we going next?

                                                                                

Of course you should answer this for yourself, but you may get some ideas here: http://bit.ly/bDOOVf

What are you doing to keep pace? Is your business keeping up with your market? With your industry or profession? 

Perhaps you’re ahead of yourself? http://bit.ly/bWXxIq

Are you over-spending? Under-spending? Over-communicating? Under-communicating? Are you being taken advantage of by advertising agencies that claim to be Internet experts?

How about Internet specialists who claim to be marketing experts? Just because someone anoints him or herself as an SEO or web design guru, doesn’t automatically qualify as expertise in marketing.

In fact, odds are excellent that Internet savvy techies know next to nothing about marketing.

ASK.

Ask what any of these people know about the psychology of selling, about verbal and nonverbal communication, about how to deal with traditional media rate cards and package structures, about branding.

Ask when they last wrote a branding themeline that established a clear market leadership position.

Ask for examples of major sales boosts that could be attributable to their work.

Ask for specifics.

                                                                                       

If you can’t get satisfactory answers to these questions, you may have the world’s greatest Internet expert in front of you, but don’t pay a penny for marketing services that do not clearly trigger your market’s emotional buying motives. http://bit.ly/bwkfdr

Look at it this way: If I haven’t a clue about what makes your customer tick, then I also have no clue about how to attract prospects for you, or create interest in what you have to sell, or know how to stimulate desire for your services or wares.

And if I can’t do those things, I certainly have no idea of how to bring about action or how to prompt and promote feelings of exceptional customer satisfaction. http://bit.ly/bMDGcy

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

www.TWWsells.com or 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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Jul 07 2009

UNDERMINING LEADERSHIP

Get your hidden agenda

                                               

out of the closet!

                                        
  • CLIENT or BOSS or PROSPECT: Here’s a project we’d like you to do. Please tell us how you would do it, how long it would take and what kind of budget you’d recommend.
  • CONSULTANT or MANAGER: Who’s the project for? What’s the purpose? Who or what’s being targeted? When do you need it done? What’s the budget you have to work with?
  • CLIENT or BOSS or PROSPECT: Don’t worry about that stuff. We’re not sure of the target and we have no due date or budget; you tell us what you think.
  • A WEEK LATER: “We’ve reviewed your proposal and we don’t like the target you selected, we think it should be done quicker and it’s too expensive.”

                                                                                

Whaaaaaaaaat?

     Every business or organizational group works on two levels: The level of the task represented on the surface, and the level of the “hidden agenda” — the undisclosed needs and motives of individual group members.

     Personal goals, values, attitudes, and fears impact the ways that individuals react to or respond to the group’s surface task. Hidden agendas siphon off valuable energy that can be used to accomplish the task at hand.

     People play power games by withholding information. By not telling the person(s) on the receiving end of an assignment, what the parameters are for a particular project, the CLIENT or BOSS or PROSPECT undermines prospects for success. By assuring him or herself of increased personal control, she or he is simultaneously dooming the project to failure.

     Hidden under the surface, you’re likely to find many individual conflicting pushes and pulls. Group members (according to a University Associates Handbook for Group Facilitators) have personal and subjective needs for belonging, acceptance, recognition, self-worth, self-expression, and productivity.

     The needs of one disgruntled or over-zealous or manipulative or misdirected individual can block the needs of another, or of the entire group, or the entire project. These blockages can be resolved in a minute, or drag on for years…in some rare instances, a lifetime.

     The Pfeiffer & Jones Group Facilitator Handbook suggests:

I wonder if we have said all that we feel about the issue. Maybe we should go around the table and ask for individual comments so that we can open up any further thoughts”

…as being the kind of statement a leader might ask anytime that hidden agendas appear to be threatening progress. 

     When you detect a hidden agenda, get it out of the closet!

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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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May 14 2009

MANAGE TIME CHUNKS, NOT TICKS…

Discombobulated? 

                                                                                 

     When overwhelm strikes, like a tsunami, and you dive under the nearest pillow or cannonball into your hot tub from the second floor deck, or run screaming down the hall that little chickens are falling from the sky, you may be on the cusp of committing to some daily psychotherapy explorations, but you’re probably normal. You may simply have spent too many years locked in your office.

     We all feed ourselves to the clock and occasionally become time-stricken. Great, you say, to hear so many others share this misery, but, you say, whassup with how to get out of the clock before it chews off my feet –or head, depending on how close it was able to get to me when the hickory-dickory docked?

     The answer, my friend, is not blowin’ in the wind. It’s in chunking up your day so you’re never in any one place mentally or physically or emotionally long enough to get gobbled up by Old Man Time. In other words, start planning your daily schedule by “CHUNKS” instead of by hours.

Motivational guru Brian Tracy suggests we ask ourselves, “What is the most valuable use of my time right now?” as many times as we are able to think of it, day after day.

He says that asking ourselves this question consistently makes us more productive and guarantees success.

                                                                           

     If you’re finding yourself lost in your work for days on end or corkscrewing yourself into a bottleneck of problem-solving, you may want to re-visit some of what you might have forgotten about the art of delegation, and you may want to simply start taking more breaks.

     Some of the world’s most UN-productive people are those who dedicate their efforts to their work so single-mindedly that they eat lunch at their desks, cannot relax around family or friends, injure themselves anytime they try some kind of exercise that takes them away from their jobs, and have to have it be a real effort…to smile ;<})

     When you can chunk up your work schedule, your exercise, family time, your goals, decision making, even travel, you will be happier, healthier, and more productive more often. Remind yourself that your body is not a machine, that you ARE your body.

     I mean imagine that carnivorous clock noted earlier eats your body, now what? What’s left? Don’t give me “heart and soul” stuff here. Think it through. You run a business. You know how to think. Do you know how to chunk it up? Give it a shot. What have you got to lose? More valueless time?    

# # #

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Hal@Businessworks.US     302.933.0116

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Many thanks for your visit and God Bless You.

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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