Despite higher costs and a weak economy, some businesses are lucky in increasing profits. Often, it’s a result of success from competing in a zero sum marketplace. Companies survive and gain market share when their competitors fail. But that’s often because successful firms know how to create luck.
Fear is a factor when companies underperform. But fear is also an acronym: FEAR, frantic effort to avoid responsibility. Fear is often the reason why people fail to perform.
Consider these typical situations:
– Do you let fear lead to paralysis from too much analysis?
– Do you give away your power when you encounter rude customers?
– Do you allow rejection in sales presentations to get you down?
-Do you idly sit as public officials create policies that harm your economic and political freedoms?
To create profits with strategic planning in a competitive marketplace and business adversity, here’s how to eliminate fear and create luck:
Create balance with an analysis and strategic plan. Don’t go overboard in planning, but look at your role in capitalizing on your strengths and weaknesses and identify opportunities and threats. Your best plans can go awry but you can minimize any challenges with the right amount of reflection for the performance of both you and your business, and execute with courage.
So, my question is how’s your strategic planning for the next 12 months?
Invest in your education. Learn from others how they deal with uncertainty in business. I’ve had literally thousands of telephone conversations with great mentors. That’s right, just a few personal meetings and countless telephone calls.
I love the business philosophy of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” author Robert Kiyosaki. Perhaps he’s been justly criticized for some of his investment approaches, but his anecdotal lessons are inspirational. For example, his ideas on networking are insightful and he’s got an unusual take on the Golden Rule: “He who has the gold makes the rules.”
Focus on marketing and sales simultaneously. Marketing is vital in creating a brand image. That might include public relations, a Web site, online prominence in social media and trade shows. Sales includes prospect and customer contact. Here are more tips to get strong results from your marketing plan.
If time and budget issues are taxing and you don’t have the right staff, consider alternatives:
To make a productive sales call, good marketing materials are an asset. And marketing results are stronger if your salespeople are effective. But sales and marketing usually requires two different skill sets. So consider a part-time independent contractor for marketing and commission pay for results-oriented salespeople.
Remember sales require an “inside job.” If you’re selling value, and speaking and acting with conviction, you’re destined to attract the right customers.
Create opportunities with partnerships and centers of influence. Develop relationships with influential people or groups and ask them for referrals. Look for ways to reciprocate. Rotary Clubs and chambers of commerce are good places to look for people who can be instrumental. They’ll help when you need it the most. I got my first two consulting gigs after being laid-off as a newscaster, and started meeting businesspeople over coffee. Using football as examples, here are nine steps for strategic alliance success.
Create great PR. My favorite PR example is my second client, the Utah State Fair, which was part of state government. After leaving the airwaves as a newscaster, I was hired in a 1988 Utah recession to get a $2 million state appropriation for repairing deteriorated historic buildings. At the time, asking for $2 million would be like asking for $65 million today adjusted for inflation. Legislators had been ignoring the fair and even rescinded funds they appropriated the prior year.
Effective marketing is both public and private. Following the lead of every dignitary who visits Salt Lake City, I advised my client to make a call on Mormon Church officials. Officially, the church didn’t influence public policy, but as a relative newcomer to Utah, I realized the head of the church was Ezra Taft Benson, who had been Secretary of Agriculture under President Eisenhower. Soon, a Mormon-owned newspaper published the headline: “Our Crumbling Fairgrounds.”
We scheduled events nearly each day:
For example, we took horse-drawn carriages to the state capitol “to take lawmakers for a ride.” Every newspaper published pictures with the caption, “Utah State Fair takes lawmakers for a ride.” (Actually, the veteran lawmakers ignored our invitations but the rookie lawmakers eagerly climbed into the carriages. But after the old-timers saw extensive pictures of the rookies, they eagerly cooperated on other PR efforts.) We hand-delivered bouquets of flowers donated by a grower to the morning DJs at the top 10 radio stations on Valentine’s Day to entice them to “Love a Fair.” During lunch that day, we delivered bouquets and messages to every state legislator and capitol employee.
The result: $2 million. (The following year lawmakers appropriated another $1 million without even being asked.)
We promptly issued a press release detailing how the appropriation was efficiently being invested so lawmakers wouldn’t change their minds again. If you need PR, but don’t have a budget? Here’s how to leverage the news media.
Cost-effective Internet options. Advantages in online marketing include: 1. Low overhead. 2. An opportunity to list a mega selection. 3. The Web is a great equalizer in competition. 4. International trade keeps getting bigger – remember you have the ability to sell outside the U.S.
A good barometer for advertising trends is national politics and how political candidates influence voters.Broadcast yourself.Check out YouTube. You’ll see an endless potpourri of video sales pitches.
Blog, publish or use online E-newsletters as options. Create effective press releases for your local media and don’t forget to insert them on the Internet.
There are numerous local e-marketing opportunities from local search-engine listings to Craigslist. But if you want to reach prospects who are good citizens with positive cash flow, my preference is a good local media Web site. Here’s more on how small businesses can capitalize on cyber strategies for profit.
Face adversity with courage and detachment. Many great strategies will trigger vindictive opposition. The competition in Utah for legislative funding was intense. We were victims of dirty tricks by other special interest groups. But we had fun and ran the race without ever looking over our shoulders.
Stay focused like Ichiro. Practicing good habits makes for good performance.Respect your opponents. Be defensive — like Ichiro. He does two things a lot of baseball players fail to do — he stretches all the time and he keeps his bats in a special carrying case to protect them against humidity. He doesn’t take his body or bats for granted.
Likewise with your prospects and customers, do not take them for granted. When businesses lose customers, my research shows 70 percent of the time it’s because their customers feel taken for granted.
Good luck with your strategies for creating luck to fly high with profits!
From the Coach’s Corner, don’t ignore your employees as opportunities for growth.
Pay your employees well. Be as generous as possible. Recognize them publicly. Employees are often more productive when they have a life – or job flexibility.
Treat your productive workers like you would a good customer, such as baseball or football tickets, nice dinners or their birthday off with pay.
Enhance organizational moral by making certain employees are best-suited for their responsibilities.
Look for opportunities to create a culture of personal growth. You’ll inspire loyalty and minimize turnover, which is a profit-destroyer.
So don’t forget your profit drivers – here’s how and why to partner with your employees.
Recruit employees on the four A’s of Hiring:
- Attitude — look for positive attitude. Will they go the extra mile and create opportunities to blog about your company on the Internet?
- Appearance — make certain they inspire confidence with a professional appearance.
- Ability — make sure they have talent.
- Angle — research their empathy skills – will they work well with peers and understand your customers’ angle or point-of-view? Do they know how to say thank you – instead of the boring phrase, “have a nice day.” Do they how to prevent buyer’s remorse with customers?
“Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.