Saturday 30 October 2010

Changing what’s normal - Business Building in the 21st century Part 3

I have a thriving business today because I have embraced 9 massive changes to business building strategies and tactics that have occurred over my 19 years in business for myself. See my 25th and 28th of October blogs for my insights on the first six changes. Today I am exploring the final three.

6) generalist to niche

Once I tried to be all things to all people. I learned the hard way that I can only truly serve people in certain niches. Are you open for business to everyone or are you the go to person for certain people?

7) provider to partner

I was once a provider of certain services and usually I was hired for a specific period of time to provide a specific solution or meet a particular need. Today I don’t provide my clients with solutions to their challenges or problems, rather I partner with them to discover their own solutions. A consequence is that I get paid for the value that I provide rather than the time it takes.

Do your customers/clients see you as a partner or a provider? If your answer is provider then it won’t be long before someone makes your customers/clients a perceived better offer and you will lose their loyalty. Being perceived as a partner is a key way to build loyalty and therefore retain customers/clients.

8) service to experience

Providing our customers/clients with great customer service is a given today. Provide less than high standards of service and people will simply go somewhere else. What kind of experience do you provide for your customers/clients before they buy, when they buy, and after they buy? Unless your answer is memorable across the board, then you are not building the business you could be and not only are you are missing out on significant income and profits, you are most likely go backwards.

9) strategic planning to strategic synergy

I have had to read 100’s of strategic plans over my two decades as business advisor and mentor, and for a few years I helped to create them. In the past decade I have partnered my clients to separate determining strategy from the plans to execute it. I agree with Alan Weiss that strategic planning is an oxymoron!

I define strategy simply as the big picture how to get from where we are to where we want to be. Tactics are the actions we take to execute our strategy. As a general rule six words are all you need to describe your strategy!

The great writer Ernest Hemingway thought the following were six of his best words: For Sale: Baby shoes, Never worn.

Inspired by Hemingway, my friend and colleague Kwai Yu, founder of Leaders Cafe, asked the following question on a LinkedIn discussion: Who are you? Could you tell the story of you in six words?

Kwai received hundreds of extraordinary responses which inspired me to think about a way I could best teach people about strategy! I now work with my clients to help them describe their strategy in 6 words and when this is accomplished it becomes one of the best engagement of people tools I have ever developed.

Could you describe your strategy in 6 words?

There you have it, 9 massive changes to business building. How do you measure up?

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