This Month’s Topics:
Do You Have a Technician’s Addiction?
Instead of working on their businesses, most owners are trapped working in their businesses, slaving away and grinding it out. Instead of working on tomorrow,
they are preoccupied with working in today. They end up majoring in minor things. They worry about office supplies instead of office processes. They focus on
accounting details instead of holding their employees accountable. They worry about the company’s vision plan instead of planning the company’s vision. They react
with short-term, short-lived fixes instead of proactively creating long-term solutions. They fixate on their mail, email, or cell phone calls instead of communicating
their expectations to their key managers or employees. They obsess with doing things right instead of doing the right things. They do the wrong type of work really well.
They are chasing their tails!
Are you trapped in the body and mind of a doer instead of a leader? Be honest, do you fall into the routine of doing the work of an employee or
technician instead of the work of an owner or leader? Do you neglect such areas as vision creation, strategic planning,
establishing priorities and goals, organizational design, business system development, profit improvement, team development,
employee accountability, etc?
Odds are you were probably a successful technician that caught the entrepreneurial bug several years ago and bought, inherited or started a business related to your
technical skills. You are too comfortable with and good at handling such details. Such expertise, unfortunately, has a strong tendency to suck you into the nooks
and crannies of the business. For you, the technical day-to-day guts of the business are addictive and tough to escape. Sadly, a technician’s mindset and mode of operation are insufficient for running a business. These technical assets can be real liabilities and traps for an owner trying to be more proactive and strategic.
For example, maybe you were a gifted house painter that thought, “I can start a painting business on my own”. From the get go, you probably functioned in a technical capacity and never grew your leadership capacity or the business systems.
You are worried about selling and performing painting jobs. You probably didn’t worry about how to design and build a painting business with you as CEO. Rather, you dove in, got busy being busy, and started functioning as a painter, chief salesperson,
estimator, bookkeeper, materials supplier, quality control supervisor, etc.
Consequently, you function as a jack-of-all-trades painter that also happens to own a house painting company. You are more technician than leader. Instead of focusing on the business of painting, you focus on the technical work of painting.
You probably spend far too much time painting or micromanaging your other painters and not enough time painting your company’s future.
Because of your technical comfort zone, you are trapped doing the work of a painter, not the strategic work of a leader.
Similarly, if your background is selling, finance or production, your bias will get you buried in the selling, financial and production details of the business. You must escape your technical conditioning! Hire others to handle such matters, if necessary.
Business ownership is all about strategic leadership, not technical doer-ship. Few owners understand and appreciate such critical distinctions. Tragically, owners mistake a technician’s orientation for that of an entrepreneur’s. They mistake busy-being-busy activity for accomplishment. They confuse hard work for intelligent work. They have a technician’s addiction to detail work. Sadly, they work and think like employees instead of owners. They do the wrong type of work. They fail to grasp that running a business is strategic, entrepreneurial, visionary, and requires strong leadership.
Need help transforming into a strategic leader? Let us help.
Wayne Pratt– Owner/Head Coach – The Growth Coach, Leadership & Business Coaching.
Avoiding the Heat from Cold Calls
I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle; victorious. – Vince Lombardi
Does every marketing strategy involve some sort of cold calling? I’m here to tell you, it should. I’m also here to tell you cold calling strategies look different to successful marketers. I’m going to give you 3 things to work on this month to help you change your view of cold calls, and be victorious in your efforts.
1. Define your message
Every good message has a heart, has a purpose, but it also has limits. Don’t try to sell everything to everyone. Sure, the world goes ‘round and when the snow melts it feeds into rivers, which feed into lakes and thousands of aquatic life are sustained. But when you are selling snowboards, all you need to focus on is the snow.
Cold calls never end well when you don’t know what you want to say or try to say too much. Smart people know the conversation isn’t going anywhere and end it as soon as they can and they usually leave you feeling pretty crummy.
Now, if you have a message that speaks to them, draws them in or defines a need they have, they will listen. Even better is when you have a message that is limited you can start to qualify your cold prospects to determine if the conversation is actually a loss or not. To the undefined message every call or every drop-by is a quality prospect; but if you’re looking for qualified leads, 50 cold calls where 30 didn’t even come in range to your services, turn into 20 and if you had 4-5 interested clients in those 20 qualified cold calls you’re looking at a difference between a 10-15% success rate and a 20-25% success rate. Did you have to have those 50 conversations? Yes, but you were able to have conversations, not sales pitches.
10,000 hours of practice is what most athletes say it takes them to get to the professional level. So why do you think you can just perfect your message in a few hours and expect people to think you’re professional? Practiced or rehearsed doesn’t mean it’s fake or insincere. In fact how insincere does it seem to a cold call when you stumble around your words or can’t make eye contact? Practice brings confidence.
How do I practice, you might ask? Pick those who are more forgiving: family, friends, or your own employees, we’ll call these the: Test Group. Give yourself a goal to practice on 4 unsuspecting Test Group members a day. Do NOT delay your practicing because you don’t think your Test Group cares or due to any reason based on your feelings. Believe me when I say the Test Group cares more about your message than some cold call prospect and you need practice!
When you’ve had some Test Group conversations, it’s time to start focusing your practice on the cold calls.
“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” J. R. R. Tolkien
Cold calls are about lead qualification and setting appointments, don’t lose your purpose or forget your message. Here are some places to start:
- Join networking groups, where your message can be heard on a consistent basis.
- Select office parks where a good percentage of offices require or benefit from your message (the more honest you are with yourself the better your results will be).
- Trade shows – set up a booth or just go and deliver your message.
- School events, what’s wrong with cheering on your kid’s game and talking to the mom or dad next to you?
When cold calling starts to become a natural conversation, or a valuable message it changes your perspective on the entire approach and afterwards you will lay on the field tired and maybe bruised a little from rejection, but you will feel the burning satisfaction that only comes from a job well done!
Guidelines to a Good Looking Website
So you have established your business and you are in the groove of running a successful operation from day to day. Now you are ready for more customers and revenue! What’s a better way to do that than getting a website!? A website is the best way to gain more attention for your business. Since everyone and their mother now use some sort of web browsing, you would be missing out on millions of potential dollars in the next ten years if you don’t have a website! But wait! You can’t just create a website with a snap of your fingers. Well you could, but it might end up looking like this site.
Creating a website takes some time and brainstorming. You want your website to portray your business as it really is or better than it really is. There are several questions and business requirements we ask of our clients when planning to build a website for them. For instance, we figure out what color scheme they want the website to be. Clashing and abrupt colors such as pink and teal put together can really hurt the eyes. Seemingly, dark colored websites are also a strain on the eyes, often requiring white font to be used for content. These days, a bright, warm, and inviting website is the way to go. Try picking cool colors that complement each other. Our favorite online tool to use when picking color schemes is here.
Next, you should consider using a web safe font for all your content. Fonts like Comic Sans and Papyrus are only good in certain situations, not for informational content. Furthermore, fonts like these make content hard to read and can cause in the web surfer to leave your site for good. Instead, try using web safe fonts that are easy to read. Here is a good article that discusses a few good looking fonts to choose from.
Now the hard part! What do you want to put on the website?! What pages are you going to need? The answer to this question will be the foundation of your navigation system. Usually website navigations have four to five categories or page links. The links within these navigations are usually something like Home, About, Services, and Contact Us. Keep the description of these links short so the navigation can fit at the top of your page or somewhere the user can always find. You want the user to always know where they are. If they get confused or frustrated they may just leave your site.
Now comes the time where you either need to come up with pictures for the website or ask your web developer to provide them. If you choose to provide the pictures yourself, make sure they match or complement your color scheme. Don’t end up putting a website that looks like THIS. Also make sure to select a layout of your content and pictures that is not confusing or misleading.
A basic website start up is not so basic after all. A new good looking website takes time and dedication to plan and develop. If you need help with designing your website, just give us a call!
How I can attract new customer with information certification
All of us know that being in business today means working hard to provide the best products and services which will build loyalty with your current customers and attract new customer as well.
When I attend sales and marketing seminars, I hear a lot of presenters talk about the term unique selling proposition or “USP”. Basically, that term means, what I do for my business is unique to me and sets me apart from my competition. How do I present and inform both my existing customers and potential customers about my USP and why they should choose my business over my competitors?
We all know about the traditional ways that we can create a USP, for example, we all know what it’s like to sit in an ER waiting room for hours waiting to be seen by a medical professional. Now we hear commercials on the radio where you can go online and schedule your ER visit. This is the hospital creating a USP to attract new customers. There are businesses that stay open late, or open early as a convenience to their customers as a USP.
In today’s article, I’d like you to consider the USP benefits of ensuring that your business is complaint with the laws and regulations related to protecting customer’s personal identifiable information (Pll). For many businesses, complying with regulations is rarely seen as a USP. I understand that it just doesn’t sound exciting to say “We are compliant with state, federal, and industry regulations”. In fact, if you put that on your marketing materials as your Motto or tag line, you are just plain boring.
However, let’s explore some ways to not only make this USP exciting to your current and potential customers, let’s also explore how certification can protect the business you have worked so hard to build.
Making Certification Exciting
First let’s understand some facts about a data breach. Every day, your customers and potential customers hear radio, TV, and internet ads about identity theft. The truth is, almost everyone has been the victim of identity theft or knows someone who has had their identity stolen. Ask yourself this question, do I have an expectation that those that I entrust with my personal information will protect it. The answer is yes. Studies have also shown that when a company has a data breach, 20% of their customers will stop doing business immediately. 40% will consider moving to your competitor, and 5% will consider a lawsuit.
When presented with these facts, Many or our clients ask us what they should do. My answer is don’t stick you head in the sand and pray that it doesn’t happen to you. See this problem as an opportunity to add to your USP. Currently, almost 87% of businesses are doing nothing to address this problem. So if you lead out and tell your current and potential customers that you have addressed the issue, you are telling them, you take protecting their identity seriously. You now have a USP that you can use on your website, letterhead, email, automated attendant, business cards, marketing literature, etc.
There are some companies that offer consulting in the area of data breach, but we have only found one company that provides a turn-key system that will guarantee compliance with all state, federal and industry PII regulations, and offers a certification that you can use as a marketing tool. If you are interested in understanding more about what it means to be compliant and certified, a great place to start is at our website, www.mmasystems.net. Click on the free analysis button and answer the 20 questions. Your answers will produce a Preliminary Risk Assessment that will give an insight on where you stand as being compliant.
Is compliance really that important?
Business information is now a primary target for today’s thieves. Protecting against privacy breaches, identity theft and fraud happening through your business isn’t just SMART, it’s the LAW. Let me give you a few examples:
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee agreed to pay the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)-$1.5 million to settle potential HIPAA violations back in March of 2012. In this case, 57 unencrypted computer hard drives were stolen that contained protected health information (PHI) for more than 1million individuals. This fine was less than 10% of the true cost of the incident, as the organization spent more than $17 million in corrective actions.
In a more recent case, a class-action lawsuit was filed in April 2013 against Adventist Health System/Sunbelt, Inc., alleging it violated patient privacy by failing to prevent emergency room workers from selling access to the healthcare organizations’ medical records databases.
However you may personally feel about what Edward Snowden did in revealing how the NSA compiled information, he represents one of the worst security and data breaches in American history. As the investigation continues, his digital footprint shows that he may have been accessing documents as early as 2009 when he was employed by Dell. This is just plain messy and many companies will be affected before it is over.
As it seems to be with many things in life, this problem of protecting customer PII is a lot like being handed a lemon. Whether you like it or not, you are already holding the lemon because you own a business. The laws and regulations are not going away. So I return to my original question. How can I make compliance a USP for my business? For me, the answer is to embrace the challenge, become certified, and then market that certification to every customer and potential customer. Tell them; Do business with me, my company is certified in protecting your PII. If your potential customer is comparing you and your competitor, the certification may be the one thing that tips the scales in your favor to win the business.
-Rusty McCurdy – CEO, MMA Systems