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Does your business resemble a Ferrari or Mini Cooper?

by Kevin D. Crone

February 3, 2014

3 Principles of Making Companies Work

The following are some notes from a recent coaching conversation I had with a client who has joined my 4 month project, “to ignite their business while they build future leaders.” Some of these insights may resonate with you and give you clarity around how things work. Better decisions and actions can follow clarity.

1) All the elements of the business needs to be connected in such a way that they produce the outcomes you want. Just as a Ferrari is structured so all the parts connect to help the vehicle produce speed and luxury, while a Mini Cooper’s parts are structured to produce gas efficiency and look cool. They both serve markets and are great.  What kind of business do you want? Please don’t give me some generic word-smithed mission. Who do you really want to be in the marketplace? For example, a high-end customized solution solver; or maybe a mass-producer of low-cost products?  It doesn’t matter, but whatever you are, organize and structure your business and the parts of the business to be aligned to support it.  How do you do that?

The overall structure begins with your vision and desired state and from analyzing who your customers really are, what they want, and your ways to distribute; then convert all of this to a distinct business strategy.  For example, to mass produce inexpensive parts cheaply and get them to customers.  The strategy is what you do and how you make money. Then you add the parts or elements that pull you towards your desired state. You can say it’s a Ferrari when, in reality, it isn’t. So put the right parts in place so it will be what you want.

2) The leaders are the holders of the Ferrari or Mini Cooper vision and business strategy. (What they want and how they will succeed). It better not just be about making money for the owners. If it is, then sell the business or turn it over to engaged, smart, aggressive people who will figure out how to compete and change customer’s lives. The fire does get dim for those leaders/owners who think they know better. Business can be boring if the leaders are just care-taking, and aren’t engaging employees to go to some desired/ required place together… an owner/ manager needs to recreate that place constantly. That is what defines them as leaders. Maybe an improved context or process, whatever, it is usually about improving or redefining the business and going for it.

3) So often businesses self-design by reacting, fixing pieces (elements) on the fly rather than figuring out what it is they want in the first place and putting all the appropriate parts/ systems/ processes in place to produce it. As a result, they just dive into theory after theory, topic of the month, or copy someone else because they are good ideas but don’t necessarily think what has changed in the market or what isn’t working in relationship to what they want.  You wind up with dysfunctional systems that are always being changed, may compete with each other, and the business is going back and forth between what looks like progress and something to talk about at meetings. Incidentally, this is why only 25% of change efforts ever work (Norton and Kaplan).

MMM Insight:

What are some of the most important elements/ parts of your business?

A) The offering should match up with the motives of its customers. Good luck with making your marketing and sales efforts your only tool to find and keep customers.  If you don’t do this, the market eventually becomes smarter than you, especially today. They walk.  You need to work on the impact you have on your customers. Do you really know why they would give you money? Markets change and we operate from a design from the past and/or from a different context. Your offering isn’t just your products. It is the total impact you have. Because of the internet most businesses are commoditized. That leads to competitive wars which can be a losing game. Here come the discounts. What are all the things you offer that truly fix the industry you are in and makes clients want to deal with you or at least give you a try? Once you examine this, make sure your offering matches up, then continue to engage your clients in examples of what they need to do and what you did for others, and ask them to try you out. The fastest growing companies in Canada win at this game.

This can be done. There are a zillion examples of companies growing because of their offering and companies going south because they either don’t match up or didn’t update or figure out the motives of their customers – but their competition did. Don’t assume you have done this and you get it. That is thinking from being in the business and not from working on it. Unless you plan to buy your products, you don’t have the only vote. Do this constantly.

B) Marketing and sales need to be completely joined today. You need to interrupt your present customer’s thinking with the issues you have discovered in your examination, then tell them messages they didn’t realize or think about yet.

Now attach your offering to these messages. Get the message out using all the channels you can. Maybe the old ways aren’t good enough. You need at least seven ways. (Social media posts, interactive websites, trade shows, workshops on issues, etc.)  Yes, you still have to ask for the order with a call to action.

C) Management. Are you ready to lead change and organize what needs to be done? What is management and ownership up for?

D) Leadership. Can you engage people to go there with you? Are you engaging them at figuring out what’s required? Are you bringing out the best in your people? Don’t talk down or get too caught up in your existence rather than the enterprise’s, instead, get into the wants of your people who execute.  The most important principle in human influence is Dale Carnegie’s advice, “Find out what people want and help them get it.”  Living this principle will help you get what it is you want.  This is the only way for leaders.

E) Capacity. Do you have the competencies and other resources to deliver on the offering to the number of customers you want?

F) Capital to support. Are you able to financially support whatever it takes to match up and deliver?

G) Market control or influence. Can you crank up the marketplace when you have to? Too many businesses are hostage to the economy within the distribution structure they have, or sit and wait for business to come to them. Good luck with that.

H) Market share. Usually the offering, brand, ability to influence the market with a better story and improved sales and delivery competencies, are the factors in getting more share. Who is taking whose market share?

I) Competition. Is it getting worse, staying the same or getting better? You need to study your competitors’ design, at least annually, in order to figure out what you are up against and how you can be better and differentiated.

J) Innovation. This usually comes from being dissatisfied with operations, asking big questions of the market, and studying the industry, your customers needs and putting teams on it to invent new, value-added ways.

K) Competencies. Are your people connected to the desired and actual state, the business strategy, and do they see what needs to be done and their role in it? Do they know how the parts are supposed to work? Are they getting better constantly so they can add value, grow into what’s required, contribute to the overall business capacity, and become turned on leaders of the future?

Analyze all these parts, scrutinize for the truth, and make sure the parts fit the whole. Keep out of books and theory for a while. You can have authentic thoughts that can cause creative action. Most thoughts are from book learning and the past. That isn’t thinking. Good luck at differentiating or innovation with only that. Innovation thinking comes from action that was stirred up by a new commitment that you declare.

See how all theses elements and your processes work together to produce your Ferrari, or whatever it is you want.

MMM Action:

  • Get at analyzing all this with a team of keen future leaders immediately.
  • If you need help give me a call directly on my cell: 905-330-9023
  • Consider joining a small group this winter that will be coached through their own analysis of how their parts contribute to the whole, and who will redesign their business sales and marketing strategies to help them find more customers, keep them and make more money. They will engage a small team in figuring out and implementing the new ways to market and sell in their competitive markets. They will improve their leadership skills and habits so that they can lead the changes required, build people and get the competencies they need.

Just ask for the outline here then call Chee at 905-826-7300. Or email me at: kdcrone@dalecarnegie.ca

Have a great week!

Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
(905) 826-7300 ext. 223
Watch Kevin’s 2.5-minute Video: Ignite Your Business!

A Special Invitation from Kevin D. Crone, Canada’s Monday Morning Mentor…

There was a day when sales worked!

In those days:

  • Product peddlers could start pitching with their product benefits and people would listen.
  • Whether salespeople dropped in or had appointments to see what their prospects or customers needed and take orders, buyers would give them the time!
  • Even professional solution-sellers could stop in to see customers, and the client would appreciate the visits and the solutions that were found for them!

No more.  Traditional sales don’t work the way they used to.  How are you supposed to grow your business these days? Now what?

There was a day – not too long ago – when being a thought leader would get you fans who trusted you and eventually they would go to you, as long as you could be seen on the Internet and through social media.

Well, where are the leads now? The sales?

The Internet has changed everything. Customers already know what their problems are, and they’re looking for solutions – but not from marketing, and not even from the very best solution-salesperson. Sales and marketing have changed and a lot of traditional methods are no longer panning out.

We have been engaged in a world-wide research project to find out more specifically what’s going on. We are now ready to share some data that will explain not only what happened, but the ways in which we all have to adjust to find and keep customers.

There are new ways to sell and market. We will explain it all to you at our next business leaders dialogue. Kevin D. Crone, Canada’s Monday Morning Mentor, and his son, Kevin Robert Crone, will be revealing that research along with a possible action plan for those who can see the need to adapt.

Kevin D. has been sending his Monday Morning Mentor emails and holding complimentary two-hour meetings at their Center of Excellence since the Great Recession hit in 2008, bringing help, ideas, and inspiration to those who were figuring out how to fight back. Don’t miss this one.

Join us on:
Wednesday, February 12th
3:00 – 5:00 pm
Dale Carnegie Center of Excellence
2121 Argentia Road, Suite 103
Mississauga, Ontario

As always, you will enjoy Kevin’s style, the peer conversation and the insights revealed in the new research.

If you have questions, please email Chee Vang at cvang@dalecarnegie.ca or call our office at 905-826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032.

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Read past issues in the Monday Morning Mentor Blog.

Consider this: Contact us today to speak to one of our coaches about the one or two things you need to change to have a better life/career/business.

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