Be mindful of the triple C’s at all times:
Your Company, Your Customer and Your Competition.
It’s important to have a 360 view of your business universe so that you are prepared to never be caught by surprise and never miss an opportunity. At the point where the three overlap, you’re in the zone.
· You’re focused on their needs and wants
· At the same time, you’re keeping up with the trends, not just current, but anticipating and maybe even creating future ones
· You’re always staying in touch with them
· Where are they weak
· Where are they vulnerable
· What aren’t they doing that you can do
· What are they doing that you can do better
· What skills do you have in house – are you maximizing them
· What are your assets (especially intellectual property and capital – this means your employees)
· What kind of culture have you created that everyone lives in – internally and externally
For more on the subject, check out some strategic insight offered by the Harvard Review
There’s a new book, that just came out, called “Significant Business Results… Ten sales secrets that your competitors know and use!” The author is Franne McNeal, a serial entrepreneur, business coach, the youngest person ever to be awarded a training contract with the City of Pittsburgh among other things such as restructuring, training and development at such places as PNC Financial Services, and SmithKline Beecham. She’s a certified Kauffman Foundation FastTrac facilitator, and Adjunct Faculty for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Initiative. She started her first business while still a student at Princeton University. I occasionally facilitate with Franne and she is an amazing force.
So why should you care about Franne’s credentials and book? Well, creating your product is only part of the story of a successful entrepreneur. You then have to get it out the door (or to shameless plug the first chapter in my book, “Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing” – “ If I build it, they will come”.. I guarantee NOT if you don’t market, which goes hand-in-hand with sales). Franne tells you how to accomplish this in 10 steps – with exercises and examples sprinkled throughout the book at just the moments you need them to help you get to the next step. Her 10 chapters give you an idea of what you will learn when you read the book (and grow your business if you practice them):
1- Define Your Target Market
2- Create a Powerful Offer
3- Use Testimonials for Social Proof
4- Generate Unlimited Leads
5- Create Immediate Sales
6- Use Scripts to Increase Sales
7- Create Repeat Business
8- Double your Referrals
9- Reverse Risk to Increase Sales
10- Create Added Value
It’s a great book for your armamentarium – even if you know most of the topics covered, it’s always good to have a refresher.
Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing.
She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.