In any type of business there are bound to be some that seems to be more successful than others when it comes to Growth, Acquisition, and Retention. Why so? This is because while the principal goals of a successful business are the same, there are still some very important new age mantras that guide the direction of the business.
Every successful business model leaves clues. We don’t need to reinvent the wheel; we only need to model them. Success can be modeled. If certain principles work very well in some business, it can certainly work in other businesses as well.
There are business mantras that make business people successful. I have learned them from many successful business leaders while I do my consultations or during my keynotes- a close interaction with leadership teams of various organizations during conference or summits. What I have learned is that result driven performance is achieved through consistent application of strategies, plans and actions. Most often strategies germinate from business mantras. Every business mantra is a seed and with right caring you can develop you’re your own unique business strategy.
What is exciting about these mantras are they can be used as workable formulas for your business right now.
Here, then, are new age mantras to embrace which can help you be successful, no matter in which business you are participating.
1. Over deliver the under promised
How will you build a strong reputation for your business among a competitive market?
The answer is reliability and credibility for delivering a little more than what is promised. Your word is your bond, so take your commitments seriously. If you promise to do something, do it in advance. It could be delivering a product or service a day or two ahead of schedule. Managing customer’ expectations are not about just about keeping a promise, it is about exceeding them.
In other words your success in customer service is what you do after, all that you are expected to do.
The ‘wow’ factor in your service is always about surprising your customer. Customers like to be surprised. When you do that little extra out of nowhere, a customer will feel a pleasant surprise and that surprise is the ‘wow’ moment that a customer will never forget. This is the secret to winning customer loyalty, even if the customer is just new to your product or services.
In every business you can innovate ways to create that surprising wow moment for your customer. Remember you do not promise surprises. You deliver them as surprises. It may be a simple gesture that you value a customer for the business like giving away a complement.
2. A failure in management is the failure in communication.
As business grows overtime, the importance of maintaining and continually strengthening the level of communications throughout a company grows at an exponential rate. First off all; successful organizations communicate from the inside out. Inside out communication starts with what the management believes. These beliefs must be shared as common values within the organization. These beliefs become the core factors to gain a customer’s trust and loyalty.
First of all great leaders communicate and instill their beliefs to their followers.
Secondly you must communicate exactly what outcome you are after. Most of the companies assign jobs to people with certain activity instructions. Since the outcome or the result of the activity is not well conveyed, employees tend to get trapped on activities that produce unfavorable results.
All people working within the organization should have answers to these three questions. Most of them know ‘what’they do like the knowledge about the products and services they offer. Very few will know ‘how’ they do it like the process of manufacturing or the USP of the products. Majority of the people working within the organization do not know the answer to the third critical question- ‘why’ they do it?
The answer is not money or profits. They are only the result of what they do. The real ‘why’ behind what they do must be answered- the motivating factor. Why do people go to work? What is the primary reason that motivates them to do their job apart from their salary? What gives them the drive to serve a customer? There are so many ‘whys’ just like that. If you can find answers to ‘why’ then you have found the real motivating factor for people to work in your organization.
Everyone within an organization will start communicating from within (from the inside out) once they have found the answer to ‘why’ they do what they do. Once this task is achieved, dead lines will be met. The service will improve. Once you know the answer to the ‘why’, you can get away with ‘any how’. Bottom-line every task will be achieved on time.
3. Know your ‘ideal’ customer.
Almost all business people know who their customer is but very few pay attention to who their ideal customer is. In every business there are ideal customers who are the backbone of business. It is easy to find out who your ideal customer is. Your ideal customer is someone who is very happy with your products and services. He or she; not only religiously and repeatedly use your products but also bring in more customers to you. Ideal customers are excited about your new offerings. They are the ones who will grab your products the very moment they are launched. They are your raving fans. They will stand in queue to grab your offer, like in the case of Apple when they launched iphone in the US market.
Every successful business has ideal customers. They keep coming back to you for more. In fact 80% of your company’s total revenue will come from your ideal customers. In other words 20% of your customers will bring in 80% of your total revenue. This 80/20 rule or the Pareto principle is scientifically a proven mantra of business.
If you look into your total business revenue, you can find the 20% group- known as the key accounts. It is not the customers you lack in business. What you lack is the number of ideal customers who belong to the 20% group which is responsible for your 80% profits. Imagine if you can increase your ideal customers to 100%, then your business will grow almost four times.
Many customers who are in the bracket of 80% can be converted into your ideal customer base or you could extend your marketing to reach out to more new ideal customers.
4. You don’t get a second chance to make the first impression.
Books are judged by the covers by those who do not read them. What if you have less time to make your impression? Others tend to perceive you in less than 30 seconds. Perception is reality to the observer. So present yourself in the best way you can.
Presentation is everything. To sell your ideas, products, and services in business, you need to make effective presentations- to your management, to your team, to clients and even over the phone. The challenge is that you only get one chance to get it right.
Preparation is the key to effective presentations. Your presentation is not complete till you rehearse them several times thoroughly. There are reasons why performers work so hard to rehearse. Famous Singer Madonna rehearses a song more than 500 times before she performs it on stage. Rehearsals give greater control on the material. Once the matter you deal with is almost part of you then your spontaneity will do the magic. How do you make an effective presentation? It’s simple.
Write down your main points, put them in a logical sequence and rehearse them out loud. If possible record it yourself to get your own feed back. Seek out trusted colleagues who can give you a constructive criticism. Once you feel that you are impressed with your presentation, and then you are presentable. Practice gives you the confidence to be relaxed and stay cool under pressure.
Develop a natural style in your presentation, let be in your sales pitch or an elevator pitch or even a negotiating situation. Act cool.
5. Change is the only thing that is constant
Greek philosopher Heraclitus noted the constancy of change 2,500 years ago- and what was true then is true even today. This is one business rule that will never change. Your best selling product today, no matter how hot and wanted by the market will have to undergo the finite life cycle. Once upon a time, before electricity was invented candle manufactures were the richest in their community. Not today. No joyride lasts forever. Things that were cutting edge in the past are forgotten today.
It has been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. You can invent the future of your business if you can engage in a bit of ‘scenario planning’. Imagine how your business will be like after 5 years, after 10 years or after 20 years? What changes will take place in the way you market and sell your products and services?
What can replace your business? Sometimes the biggest threat to your business is not a competitor; but a new technology. A change in technology can wipe out a business completely, like how cell phone replaced land line phones, email changing regular posts and how an Apple ipod changed a Sony walkman etc.
Always be watchful about new trends. If you can’t start the trends, make sure you keep an eye on them. Get industry exposure and be informed about all aspects of your business. Look out for ways to constantly innovate and improve your products and services. Most often we are experiencing the change without our conscious knowledge. Awareness is the key. Act on your ideas, even if you find it crazy and whacky, it surely gives you results. Most of the ideas you can build on and perfect after several trails.
Brainstorm with your teams, leave no suggestion by anyone unnoticed. Have an open mind ready for fresh ideas and perspectives.
6. What makes you number one is your urgency to be number one.
What makes you reach the top? It is the same thing that got you started- a sense of urgency. If you would have manipulated time by putting off for another time, you would not have got started in your business on the first place.
People who are the movers and shakers in this world have a sense of urgency. They want to be the first in everything they offer. They want to be the fastest growing company.
You may be the most competent, or the most talented intending to do things tomorrow but a less talented who believes in the power of now can beat you in the competition because the less talented is a day ahead of you.
Sense of urgency is one of the greatest motivating factors and it is an antidote to inaction and procrastination behavior. How can you do something right later; when you think you have no time to do it in the first time?
Your urgency will determine how fast you want to accomplish something. Sense of urgency puts you on the move and you can build a faster momentum for growth and expansion.
People with sense of urgency are more energetic than people who have a habit of postponing things. Deadlines will give you the motivation to move faster and move ahead in time. The very act of beginning something gives it a momentum all its own. Don’t just start early but finish early. Put an ASAP note to all your daily chores and goals.
7. Work smarter with leverage
What’s the point of working 48 hours a week, for something that can be achieved within 24 hours? Success is about how effective you are, not how long you work.
A smart worker uses leverage while a hard worker does not use enough leverage.
When Archimedes said “Give me a lever long enough and I could move the world”, he was talking about the power of leverage. Leverages are created to meet human challenges from time to time. Leverage is what made humans smarter and made us shift from Stone Age to information age.
The power of leverage is not a new concept, Egyptians used leverage in building the pyramids thousands of years ago.
Here’s some great example so that you can be more clear of how powerful leverage tools can be. When you look back in history, 5,000 years ago, humans leveraged the power of wind to propel their ships across the vast seas. Therefore, humans can carry more loads can cross the seas. Another example is that a bird utilizes its wings as leverage tools to fly. Humans observed birds in flight, and then used their minds to discover how humans could also fly.
If you don’t use leverage for your business, you must be working for someone who is using you as their leverage directly or indirectly. “In the broad definition of the world, the word leverage simply means ‘the ability to do more with less’.
Expansion of any business comes through leverage. Leverage is a means of developing and growing a business using the efforts and resources of others.
A real estate investor uses leverage when he secures a loan to buy a piece of income producing property. An employer uses leverage when he hires an employee. A franchisor uses leverage when he grants a franchise. There is nothing wrong with using leverage to make money off the efforts or resources of others. The greater the leverage, the greater the income you will have.
8. Hire people who are more talented than you.
You can’t do everything yourself and do it all well. Everyone needs help with something or other. So find experts who excel at what you don’t do particularly well. Don’t just get help, get expert help; hire the best you can find.
Finding and hiring outstanding employees is one of the most important things a business owner or a manager can do. The hiring process involves three stages. The first stage is the preparation stage called ‘talent mapping’. This means looking for the right talent and skills for the right job. You can make a list of 20 most important qualities you need in the person to fill the job. The more clearer you are about the person who fits the job, the easier will be the selection process. The second stage is searching for the right qualified applicants. Thirdly it is the interviewing stage for the apt selection of a talent.
Interview all candidates personally, face to face. Ask them specific questions regarding how they would handle some of your actual problems. As much as you evaluate the background, education, skills and intelligence of a job candidate, you must also consider their personality and compatibility.
Always go for your gut decisions. Hire people who are more talented than you but never hire somebody smarter than you. It’s always the smart ones who own companies and use employees as their leverage. What separates an employer from an employee is that an employer risks everything for opportunity while an employee looks out for job security.
9. What gets measured, gets managed
If you want to make sure that certain things get done, make sure that you have a way and means to measure them. Develop data from the numbers you get. Know the ins and outs of accounts. Understand your customer acquisition cost. This means the amount of money you spend to get a customer. If you place an ad for Rs.10, 000 and you get 10 new customers, your customer acquisition cost per customer is Rs.1, 000. Develop a data on your ‘customer’s life time value’. This data means how much money a customer will spend on your products and services during their life time. If your products and services are frequently used by a customer, your customer life time value is higher like in the case of FMCGs. Companies like coca cola spends billions of rupees in customer acquisition cost, because they know a customer’s life time value. Imagine how much colas one customer will eventually gulp down in his entire life time!. Get a data on your ‘return on efforts (ROE)’. For example, how many sales calls does it take to close one customer? How many average visits does it take to close a customer?
Some businesses have embraced the concept of ‘balanced score card’-a report card that specifies and weights the various performance criteria for excellence. The worker is then periodically ‘graded’ by his or her supervisor. Simply making those performance criteria clear and relevant to all can be a big step toward encouraging people to walk the talk- because what’s get measured is much more likely to get done.
10. Do not neglect your health
In business and in life, only the fittest will survive. If you are not in solid shape physically, its lot harder to be in peak shape both mentally and emotionally. You get tired more easily and minor stress and work pressure can knock you down. Your healthy business is a healthy extension of you. Exercise regularly. Stop digging your grave with your teeth. Adopt healthy eating habits. Quit smoking and watch your alcohol intake. Get the rest you need. Your fitness equals your energy. Your energy equals your performance and your performance equals your results and success at the end.
Be disease free. Have no hyper tension or blood pressure. You can keep your cool. No one likes to work for an irritable tyrant, people who chew them out at the slightest provocation.
When you are fit both mentally and physically, your natural passion will flow through you. Passion energizes ideas; it creates the excitement that drives success. Your enthusiasm will attract more people on to you and you will gain more supporters. So, develop your own healthy lifestyle by changing all your unhealthy lifestyle.
Eat lots of green vegetables and drink lots of water.
Pay attention to your health if you do not want to be the richest man in the graveyard?