What’s the key to building a growing, profitable business? How do you build a leadership team that can help you lead your markets? I’ve spent the last twenty five years working with and leading many of the world’s best run high growth businesses. I’ve spent my career recruiting and developing many of the world’s best leadership teams. I’ve been involved in merger and acquisition activities for several high growth mid-market organizations who have achieved sales exceeding $900 million in sales less than 10 years after their founding in manufacturing, software, and information technology markets.
What have I learned that can help you build a high performing leadership team? I found four factors that all successful high growth businesses have in common. If you focus on these key elements when your recruit and develop your team, you can build your own high performing leadership team. Continue reading
Why do we fail to sell potential clients? Why do so many great deals fall apart before the end? What’s the elephant in the room that’s keeping your life from taking off? In a word, it’s trust. I think it’s easy to say, but not so easy to understand. Since its Mother’s Day this week, I thought I might share what my mother taught me growing up about building better relationships with people. I think it directly applies to selling and all other ways of being persuasive. As you already know, mothers can be extremely persuasive. Continue reading
Iron Man 3 debuts this Friday at the Movies. What marketing lessons can we learn and apply from this marketing juggernaut? What can we learn about differentiating our business in a crowded market from Tony Stark? How might we apply Iron Man’s marketing magic to our business development efforts? I thought it might be fun to share several lessons that can help you get the business results you want from your marketing efforts. After all, if it’s not fun and quirky, it’s just another superhero movie. Continue reading
To create a growing business that thrives beyond its early stages, most businesses need to generate three key plans. What are those three plans and how do they help you build a high growth business?
When you look at the most successful businesses, you discover that each of these plans plays a unique role during different stages of the business’s growth. Over the next several months, we share why you should consider having these plans completed and what it can do to add value to your business. I work with you to create solid plans that not only produce better results today, but allow you to create long term growth for your business.
We are launching a new blog called High Growth Business Report at http://www.highgrowthbusiness.com, designed to take on the unique challenges your high growth business faces with sales between $5 million and $100 million per year. I’m very excited about launch this new blog on Thursday. I hope it helps you build the business and life of your dreams. Continue reading
Have you ever walked into a business and it seems all the employees are just putting in their time? They look at potential customers as a distraction to the work they have to do that day? If the business has multiple locations, you wonder why some of their locations are down in the dumps and others are creating incredible customer experiences. I thought it might be helpful to share several key ideas to help you build a motivated workforce. Because your business can only grow if everyone is committed to growing it. One of the biggest challenges a high growth business faces is creating a culture of high performance.
Let’s talk about five things I’ve learned that help create a high performance culture. If you can move your people through these challenges, you’re on your way to transforming the way your business grows, increasing both value and visibility so you can be sell it. Continue reading
I’m sure you get calls every day from people you don’t know about things you don’t need. As you begin developing your own market development plans, have you included everyone on your team that will be impacted by your decisions? Your business development results are only as good as the team supporting your efforts. So how do you involve your whole team?
In the past, I ran marketing for a large specialty retailer. I used to get in trouble with my boss all the time because I made sure the cashiers and customer service people were trained on the weekly ads and special events. My boss would say he had sales people to sell and the cashiers and customer service people had other jobs to do. I knew, without a doubt, several customers a day would come in and be introduced to my business by team members who normally didn’t interact with customers but, for whatever reason, they had to deal with customer questions. Continue reading
What’s the most important part of your mobile solution? I got several notes from entrepreneurs telling me that they think that developing systems for their business is crazy. They don’t need to systemize their business to succeed. They told me systems thinking is something out of an earlier century. People need to be free if you want to get great results from their efforts. These are very good questions and comments. I’m asked these questions a lot when I work with clients on increasing the sales value of their businesses.
My 30 years of buying and selling businesses has taught me that businesses that have good systems are worth way more than those with charismatic leaders, great sales professionals, or superior operations teams. Here’s why, if I’m buying a business, I want to know that I’ll get the same, if not better, results than you are getting now. If I have to count on you for my results, it’s not a great investment for my organization. Continue reading
How do you find the best organizations to partner with in your market? Do you know which other companies are working with your best clients? Where do they work in your client’s organization? Can you get your client to introduce you to the other companies? As your business grows, you might want to consider investing in building a better partnership strategy that can help both partners get better business results. Over the years, I’ve seen many organizations bought and sold because they met through a mutual client.
I’ve put together a partnership framework I use when I’m trying to identify good partnering opportunities for my clients. I thought it might be helpful to share it here and see how you could improve your partnership opportunities. As one of the critical elements when looking to sell your business, many buyers are looking to see who your partners are and how well that partnership is adding to sales and profits. I’ve seen several larger organizations buy smaller organizations based on several key partnerships in emerging technology markets. This acquisition allows them to jumpstart new practices with a blueprint they can rollout across their organization. Let’s look at how I find partnership opportunities. Continue reading
What do you need to do to use mobile to its greatest advantage? Before you start developing your mobile solution you might find it helpful to consider how marketing is evolving. You might consider several elements of your marketing strategy as you begin developing your mobile experience for your best clients and customers. Mobile may be a unique platform but it requires leveraging the changing demands of your clients.
The first major shift is away from decisions and toward customers’ experience. This shift means that you must try to understand what your customers want in dealing with your organization. Every organization is different but customers today want to feel part of what you’re doing and being. For this reason, you need to think more share than sell with many of your mobile applications.
The second major shift is from product to values. This shift means that if you’re a commodity, your business is in trouble. Many of today’s consumers are looking to buy from companies who share their values. The good news about this is that most organizations have a good handle on what they value, from being cool to being green. Shared values create an opportunity for ongoing dialog with your best customers. When you are sharing you can communicate more often. If your mobile technology is not creating shared values and experiences, people opt out.
The third shift is from waiting to wanting it all and wanting it now. This provides an opportunity for faster adoption or failure for your new products. When you look at many mobile applications, you see a very short adoption curve for new products and services. The market gives you an instant answer to if your product is going to take off or die on the vine. There is a tremendous prospect to build strong relationships with new customers because mobile offers an incredible opportunity to leverage community and connection. Hot ideas move quickly across mobile platforms, bad ideas die quickly. Adopting a “ready, fire, aim” approach may serve you well in this new mobile era. The amount of time for your learning curve is decreased exponentially. If you’re not careful, all the insight you receive from the market can overwhelm your market research teams. You must find new ways to manage your product development processes. Experimentation is required to understand how to best maximize these new systems.
The fourth shift is trust matters more in this mobile era. Customers buy faster but also expect you to be more on the edge with what you offer. When you look at many of the mobile applications, you see they have bugs and problems. Today’s mobile consumers expect you to solve the problems. When you look at an application you get to see all of its development issues in real time. If there’s a bug, and there will be bugs, your detractors will be out sharing it on every social outpost including right under your product description in the app store. So consider how you support your product. If you build a great solution, your application can go viral in minutes. Building real time systems to support this new world can challenge even the most innovative organization.
Why this is critical is that most applications cost less than $10. The customer does not expect a $10 experience. This economic model challenges the way you roll out your new products because you must exceed your customers’ expectations. All of your customers!! The disgruntled customer is given an unheard amount of power to decide your fate. You must decide how to connect and how to provide fixes to your clients. Your response is your destiny.
When you look at these four shifts, your mobile strategy is as much a mind shift in marketing as it is a technical shift. Yes, you can put your product catalogue in an app and call it a day, but you’re not going to get rabid customers with that strategy. All you’ve done is make your products even more of a commodity. By shifting your marketing view point, you can create a customer experience with your mobile solution. This customer experience creates a strong, repeatable client base, which in turn, increases the value of your business in the eyes of potential buyers.
Next Monday, we will share a new strategy framework to help support these challenges. Over the next several years mobile is not only going to change the way you do business, but the value of your business forever.
So, you tell me that people over 60 don’t use current mobile technologies. Only 30% (ages 47-56) of younger boomers and 28% of boomers between ages 57-67 are currently using mobile and smart phone technologies. Now, when you look at the saturation of earlier generations, you might wonder why you should develop mobile solutions for these older generations. Here are five facts that you may not know about the baby boomer generation. I hope this information changes the way you look at the baby boomer generation.
The first fact is most boomers see old age as occurring after 80. Most of these individuals feel as if they are into their middle age well into their 70’s. The oldest baby boomers are in their late 60’s. So when you talk about old people, they don’t think you’re talking to them. You’re talking about their parents, who are in their 80’s and 90’s. Most baby boomers see themselves as 10-15 years younger than their chronological age. Most boomers don’t fear technology like older people, such as their parents, do.
The second fact is over 50% of people this age exercises on a regular basis. This means they get out and do more than prior generations at similar ages. Many believe that they are in better shape today than they were ten years ago. They don’t plan to vegetate in a rocking chair watching the grass grow any time soon. They’re very open to using technology to help them get the most out of their active lifestyles, such heart monitors and pedometers.
The third fact is they tend to be more involved in their communities. In many cases, they are much more actively involved in earlier generation’s lives and health. They also respond more positively to lifestyle driven advertising. They have more time to pursue their lifetime interests and, in many cases, creating a second career doing something they love, such as photography, nonprofits, and involvement in outside sports. Not to embarrass anyone here, but many older people have told me about their increased interest in the opposite sex for both relationships and more. They are joining dating communities based own their own criteria and social groups. Boomers have no problem using technology to learn and share more about their interests and passions.
The fourth fact is 72% percent of boomers intend to keep working past the traditional retirement age of 65. For many, new vision and hearing technologies have increased their ability to keep happily engaged in their work and their careers for a much longer time. This means additional financial capabilities to buy more luxuries for themselves and other members of their extended families. The increase financial capabilities also means boomers are ready, willing, and able to buy mobile devices to stay current in the work force and that they think will help them stay in touch with their extended families.
Finally, the fifth fact is the increased activities of these individuals require an increasing use of technology to support their more active lifestyles. They value their time and are more likely to spend that time learning how technology can increase their enjoyment of their lives.
Boomers enjoy sharing new things with family and friends and are more likely to share with others using these new social technologies. Mobile technologies offer many time saving devices and programs that allow them to buy many different products quickly and in a cost effective way.
You can be the next big thing for boomers by brainstorming how to take advantage of this huge population demographic. Avoid the stereotype that everyone over the age of 35 is technophobic, and you’d be amazed at the people you can reach with your mobile marketing.