Location Matters

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  I snapped this photo two blocks from my son's hospital. Business 101: If you're going to open a cat clinic, don't put it next to a Chinese restaurant. If you're going to open a Chinese restaurant, don't put it next to a cat clinic. If you're in need of a cat doctor or Kung Pao chicken, would you think twice about visiting either of these businesses? The right location is one of your most powerful marketing tools. Choose wisely.   … [Read more...]

Could You Be A Top 5?

3rd Hole Looking Back, Championship Links, Royal County Down, Northern Ireland

My friend Steve Rae regularly writes in this space on this day. He's busy traveling Ireland with his friends playing some of the world's most beautiful golf courses. Yes, yes, I hate him, too. Yesterday, he played Royal County Down. What's that mean, exactly? Well, I'll let my favorite golf writer and contributing editor to Golf Digest, David Owen, tell you: If you could take just one golf trip, anywhere in the world—the golfer's version of the Three Wishes Problem—where would you go? You might … [Read more...]

Godin: What’s Your Job?

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I try not to quote or link to Seth Godin very often (not because he's not amazing, but because it's too easy), but: 1. I'm seeing him speak in person for the first time today, and 2. His short post yesterday is such a great exercise. In "What's Your Job," Seth wants to know your answer to the titular (not what you think it means, Ryan) question, but he opens the post with this crucial clarification: Not your job title, but your job. What do you do when you're doing your work? What's … [Read more...]

How To Motivate Support Staff with Incentives

photo credit: CarbonNYC via photopin cc

Struggling to keep your support staff motivated? They may feel as if they do a lot of the work at your business, but don’t get any extra compensation for it. Here’s what you do. At the beginning of the year, hand out 4 cheques* to each staff member who doesn’t work on commission. Unsigned. $250 for 5% over sales target $500 for 10% over sales target $750 for 15% over sales target $1000 for 20% over sales target You sign them when the team hits each target. Here’s what … [Read more...]

Growth, Business Models & Saying “No”

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We’re preparing to add three new divisions to our company. They were born on a napkin at Panera during an amazing company retreat last November. Growth’s exciting, but it can - ironically - also be devastating. If you climb too fast, you touch the sun, and you burn. Then you fall. Ask Icarus. We measure success quarterly using the Net Promoter Score system, and our last three quarters have yielded perfect 100s. We don’t want to jeopardize the client delight that helped us grow to where we … [Read more...]

21 Good, Fast, and Cheap Ways To Improve Your Company This Year

If you think you can or you think you can't, you're right. -Henry Ford quote

Whooosh. Suddenly, we're already in Q2 and last Christmas seems a lifetime ago. Before you know it, your company will scatter for summer stuff. Second quarter's when stuff gets done, yo. Like all bucket lists, the only thing that stands between you and checking stuff off them is execution. I hope you find them helpful! 1. Ask every employee for one suggestion on how you can make it easier for your customers and prospects to do business with you. 2. Reward those employees whose … [Read more...]

5 Key Steps for Long Range Career Success

photo credit: Fernando X. Sanchez via photopin cc

A successful career takes a long term plan and plenty of hard work along the way. Here are 5 steps for planning ahead for long range career success. I recently had coffee with a young friend just starting out in his career. He has people skills out the wazoo and is working with a business and product he believes in. He’s a snappy dresser and a genuinely nice guy. He’s already miles ahead of his peers in building a successful career. He doesn’t need my advice. But as the mother of people … [Read more...]

Strategic Planning

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Once you’re secure in your goals and values, you have to look at how you’re going to accomplish your goals wearing those values. You need a strategic plan to create systems, policies and procedures that factor in not only your values, but also things like: your competition your market potential your limiting factors assets you may not be leveraging blind spots human resources If your goals are realistic, and your values are true, the strength of your strategic plan will … [Read more...]

Some Easy Math Homework For The Weekend

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Four Questions. Ready? Begin. 1. What’s the value of a customer over the course of her lifetime? I want you to picture a regular customer, and I want you to think about how much that customer’s average ticket is and how often they buy from you. Multiply the average ticket by number of visits between now and when she no longer needs what you sell. But you’re not done. Your customer-for-life has friends, doesn’t she? If you’re as good as she says you are, her friends are going to want to … [Read more...]

When You Don’t Have All The Answers

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Ask the best possible questions. That's good advice until the end of time. These are the 31 strategic planning questions we ask of every client. Many of them are referenced and even given more depth in other parts of the blog, but this is the big list. It’s been refined over the years, and obviously context plays a big part of where our diagnostic sessions with new clients take us. But, for today, know simply that - if you’re willing to put in the time and do the work - these are the … [Read more...]