It’s an unlikely source for great business advice for entrepreneurs. A story about Billy Beane, the general manager of a major league baseball team at the bottom of the ladder – the Oakland A’s. Crushed by the big budgets and big name players of teams like the New York Yankees and the Cleveland Indians, Beane is forced to take a risk and do something no team has done before – abandon traditional recruiting methods and employ computer-generated analysis to acquire and trade players. And in doing so, he changed the face and landscape of the game forever.
The following quotes from the movie were never really meant for you and your business and yet, they reveal some fantastic truths about life and success that will make you a better owner and leader.
1. You’re not solving the problem. You’re not even looking at the problem.
It is very easy for you to be distracted by all the issues and rhetoric swirling around the actual problem. The more you (or others) have personally invested in the status quo, the more you will be prevented from seeing the real problem for what it is. Seek advice and perspective from people outside your industry — those inside will be emotionally attached to the way things have always been done and thus, they have become part of the problem.
Your number one objective is to determine what the actual issue is, and solve it. You don’t have time to get caught up in meetings talking about why it is a problem or re-engineering band-aid fixes that have not cured it in the past.
2. We’ve got to think differently.
Your business really isn’t that different from the Oakland A’s baseball team. If you’re a start up or a small-mid size business, you’re likely working under some tight (and possibly unfair) resource constraints. If you want to grow and to challenge competitors that have much deeper pockets, you need to level the playing field or you need to change it completely. It is impossible to beat anyone if you insist on letting others dictate the terms. You must start by thinking differently. What would need to change in order for you to have the advantage? What can you do differently right now to achieve your objective? How can you adapt or modify your approach to get what you want?
Playing the game on your competitor’s terms is no longer a viable option. It can only lead to frustration and failure.
3. He passes the eye candy test. He’s got the looks – he’s great at playing the part.
Success often depends on good scouting and recruiting. A common mistake that most of you will make is to recruit team members that you like (and have something in common with during the interview) or who look the part. In order to ensure the survival of your business, need team members that can actually do the job that you need them to do. It doesn’t matter whether the candidate has 15 years of experience at a multi-national or comes highly recommended from so-and-so. None of that amounts to a hill of beans if they cannot do the job. If you want to boost your success this year, get the right people on your bus. If you need a good hitter (someone who can close business) don’t hire a semi-retired catcher who is charming in the interview.
4. Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players, your goal should be to buy wins.
It is important to get the right people on your bus. However, in order to do that, you need to figure out exactly what needs to get done and hire people who can do it. Don’t get caught up in fancy titles, big salaries, stock options and what looks good to the outside world. If you want to be successful you must be in the business of plugging gaping holes and buying outcomes.
If you need more customers and sales, hire someone that you know can and is incentivized to close business. It doesn’t matter what you call him, what matters is that he can produce the result that you need to survive and thrive in your business.
5. Why do you like him? Because he gets on base.
Step 1 – figure out what success looks like for the role you need to fill. Step 2 – don’t hire anyone without a proven track record of achieving that outcome. Step 3 – Get rid of (or trade) anyone who can’t fulfil their role or who is polluting the office environment.
6. Where on the field is the dollar I’m paying for soda?
It is good to be frugal and smart with your money but it never pays to be penny wise and a pound foolish. If you want to grow your business profitably, focus on the items that will have the biggest impact on your bottom line and cash flow first. There’s no point focusing on shaving one or two thousand dollars off your fixed expenses if you’ve got $25,000 tied up in dead or slow moving inventory. To make good decisions and take action that boosts your bottom line, you need to measure and track your financial KPIs regularly.
7. I’m not paying you for the player you used to be, I’m paying you for the player you are right now.
While you might get away with recruiting based on potential, in the end, you can only reward based on results. Time and time again I have seen business owners struggle with the decision to let salespeople, who are not meeting their targets, go. The decision is really a very easy one. Someone has to go. It’s either them or you. You can’t win a baseball game without putting runs on the board and you can’t build a successful enterprise without hitting sales targets consistently.
8. It’s day one of the first week. You can’t judge just yet.
Patience is a virtue. Don’t pass judgment judge too soon. If someone’s not performing or the team is not quite gelling, take some time to investigate, ask questions and make adjustments. All changes to the team will have a natural breaking-in period.
Too much tolerance can become a vice. Good performers tend to contribute value very quickly – both in terms of their attitude and work ethic. The typical 3 month probation period is more than enough time to make a fair evaluation. When the writing is on the wall, have the confidence to cut your losses and move on.
Despite the Oakland A’s disadvantaged revenue situation, Billy Beane took his team from bottom of the ladder to World Series contender in just a few months. By re-evaluating the strategies that produced wins on the field, they built a winning team with only one-third of the salary budget of the New York Yankees. To do this, they had to do more than just play better a better game of ball. They had to transform the playing field completely.
Discipline and attention to details is more important than ever if you want to succeed in challenging economic times. Take a look around… competitors are closing their doors – which means more potential customers for the businesses that DO survive. And in times like these, it’s going to take more than “thinking outside the box” and goodwill with existing customers to secure the survival of your business.
You may have been lucky over the past few years – you may have found it possible to operate without a detailed, written plan and systems/processes. But the global economic crisis has changed all of that. If you want to thrive, there is only one thing that is for sure – uncertain times call for deliberate decisions and proven practices. So here are my top tactics to recession-proof your business.
1. Begin with the end in mind
If you don’t know exactly where you are going, how will you know when you get there? Now is the second best time to decide on your strategy, set your goals and document tactics and timelines. Keep it simple – write a 2-3 page summary of what you intend to accomplish in 3 months, 6 months and 12 months.
2. Focus on cash flow not profit
You cannot buy a house or a new car with “profit” from your business. Make it your mission this year to develop and maintain a weekly/monthly cash flow forecast for your business. This is not hard to do but it does require discipline and a simple excel spreadsheet. If you need help, I recommend that you consider signing up for Imagineering Profit. With just a few numbers from your Balance Sheet and Profit and Loss statement, Imagineering Profit can calculate your cashflow for you and give you the insight that you need to get your company operating in the black!
3. Collect your debt NOW!
How many days does it take to collect your debts on average? Whatever it is, make it your goals to reduce this by at least 10 days. You may be surprised to know that if your annual revenue is around $500,000, you could save yourself up to $2,500 in interest carrying charges simply by collecting your debts 10 days quicker on average. Pay attention to customers who are taking longer than usual to pay. Now is not the time to be extending too much credit if you are concerned about their ability to pay.
4. Rank your customers
Do you know who your best and worse customers are? Have you ever tried to calculate how much profit you are making from each customer or group of customers? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, today is the best time to start tracking and measuring this.
5. Fire your worst customers
Everyone knows that is cheaper and easier to garner incremental business from existing customers. Some even argue that it is 6 times cheaper and 75% easier to convert a sale from someone who already knows and trusts you. If you have unprofitable customers, get rid of them and focus your attention on your best customers.
6. Trim your product range
Contrary to popular belief, it is better to have money in your back pocket than tied up in stock sitting on your shelves for months on end. The longer it sits and does not turn over, the more it actually costs you in lost opportunities. Spend 2 hours today calculating which of your SKUs or stock lines are your worst performers; make it a priority to sell those quickly to release some much needed cash. Consider reducing your overall investment in stock. Compile a spreadsheet of all the SKUs you carry and then run two separate columns – one for how many units you sell on average of each per month and the other being the total units on hand. If your stock gets delivered quickly, you should never be carrying more than one month’s worth of sales at any given time.
7. Monitor your breakeven and key numbers
The most important day of the month is the day that you break even and start making a profit. If you don’t know which day of the month that is, you need to find out today. Knowing this number allows you to monitor your performance and take measures to correct issues right now. Waiting until the end of the year for your accountant to produce financial statements is not a good idea – if you are behind, you need to know now so that you can correct the situation.
21 Feb 2012
Botox is either a miracle cure for migraines and worry lines or a toxic scam – it all depends who you speak to. Fuelled by our obsession with youth and beauty, it is estimated that more than a quarter of a million injections were given in Australia last year alone.
When did we decide that older does not mean wiser, and in fact, now means unattractive and unwanted?
Somewhere along the line it has become unappealing to let others see our emotions. The smile and frown lines we have come to expect and rely upon, are disappearing. If a person’s appearance is frozen and expressionless, how do we know what they are thinking and feeling? And more interestingly, does anybody even care? Are we trying to mask the facial clues or cover up the underlying emotions?
We now have infinitely more tools to articulate ourselves but do we really have better communication and relationships? More and more we find ourselves relying on highly impersonal means – SMS, Facebook, Twitter and email – to keep in touch, convey information and build relationships.
It seems like we are talking to everyone but not really connecting with anyone.
Only 7% of your communication is attributable to your words and 93% is conveyed by non-verbal means. Even though it is largely unconscious, you rely heavily on body language to discern what is (and is not) being said. Without these vital clues, you must make assumptions to fill in the gaps and hope that you are right. Oftentimes, you may find that you have missed the mark completely.
In essence text messaging, social media and email are the communication equivalent to Botox.
They allow you to defy time and distance by reaching MORE people but connecting with and accomplishing far LESS. What happened to the good old days when you picked up the phone and spoke to the person you needed to be in touch with or met them in person?
Perhaps we’ve all just become far too busy for such primitive means?
Technology does have its place in our personal and business lives – but when is the last time you shot someone an email in order to avoid speaking with them? Have you ever sent a message and later discovered that the person on the other end took it the wrong way? I would bet you can think of a handful of examples where you have used technology in order to sidestep a difficult situation.
My point is this – if you want to build effective relationships and influence others you need to take responsibility for the effectiveness of your communication. While it may be easier to cut corners, inject fillers or hide behind technology, the wrinkles it creates will eventually come to the surface and bite you on the cheeks. Not only is it cheaper to grow old and communicate directly, it is also more beautiful and less addictive.
Click on video above to see and hear Rhondalynn in action.
You may be surprised to hear that 95% of your prospects don’t really understand you message. You have to understand that your potential customer is simply in pain (in some aspect of his life) and he is looking for the solution. So he has come to you… and what do you do?
Let’s take a look at your last ad, press release, email or even the home page of your website. If you are being honest, I would bet that more than 60% of the prime real estate here is focused on YOU – your brand, your product/service, what you are doing and why you are doing it. And if you are using visuals they are probably of your products, your machinery, your location or even YOU.
And if you are like most business owners, the last 40% of your time and space is spent trying to cram as many words as you can into this bottom section to let your prospects know just how much you can do. In my experience, most of you are spending way too much time trying to impress your audience with fancy words and descriptions.
Here’s the bad news – you’ve already lost your potential customer. In fact, you put him to sleep about 2 minutes ago.
Your brain accounts for 2-3% of your body’s mass but uses 25% of your body’s energy. This is a very important fact to know if you are trying to influence or persuade others. Your brain is the 2nd most energy consumptive organ in your body – if you don’t give it what it needs, it will control your thinking. For those of you who are hungry right now, you know exactly what I am talking about.
From a survival perspective, the brain doesn’t like to use more energy than it has to. If you can make it easier for your customer’s brain to grasp your message, process it quickly and decide, you are more likely to get a YES.
Just for fun, I would like to introduce you to one of your customers… well, at least the decision making brain of one of your customers.
The part of your customer’s brain that decides is the same brain that you and I share with this crocodile. This part of the brain is solely focused on what? Survival, that’s right. Does Mr. Crocodile care about your brand, your products, your photo or your features and benefits? No. Does it care about win/win? No. It is solely focused on itself and physical survival. This part of your customer’s brain gets triggered within 30 seconds and is permanently tuned into the WIFM (what’s in it for me) radio station – constantly scanning to protect itself from pain or death.
So what does this mean for you? To the extent you understand the pain of your customer and are here to help him solve it, he will listen to you or read what you have to say.
Let’s come back to your marketing message for a moment. How can you use this insight for your next ad, press release, email or your website?
First, you are going to stop wasting your most valuable real estate talking about your products, your background, your brand, your philosophy or who you have been certified by. Your clients do not care. If this box represents 100% of the time and space that you have to get your message across right now, you need to spend 80% of it:
– Showing your customer you understand his pain
– Recreating his pain
– And offering THE solution with proof you can deliver
This means that you should never waste it with a lame opening statement like “Introducing our new spring line”, “welcome to our newsletter” or “here are our latest clearance items”. While important to you, they mean nothing to the part of your customer’s brain that decides. They are like a bedtime story for your customer.
If you are using photos or video, and I highly suggest you do for reasons that we will cover in a session together very soon, you want to select visuals that support what? That’s right – recreating or demonstrating you understand your customers pain. This is not the time or place (if you are an electrician for example) to show a picture of you and your van. That photo is about you and not your customer’s pain. Remember your customer is tuned into WIFM radio station.
Also, if you are going to feature your brand or logo, it does not belong up here in this important 80% area.
That leaves only 20% for your call to action and contact details, which is plenty of space if you have captured your prospects attention up top in the 80% zone.
Do you remember when I made the bold claim that 95% of your prospects don’t really understand your message? As you can see, the reason for that is really very simple – your customer has come to you in pain (in some aspect of his life) and his crocodile brain is solely fixated on finding THE solution. This part of his brain, which is responsible for decision making does not have the time or patience to sit around reading or listening to information that is all about you. If you don’t capture his attention in the first 30 seconds with something that is relevant to his pain, you’ve lost him. He can’t possibly understand your message no matter how clever or funny it is because he’s not even paying attention – his reptilian brain has already moved on to look for the solution that will keep him alive or cure the pain .
I want you to assume for a moment that you are dying of thirst. Would you be willing to sit for an hour while I substantiate my credentials, talk to you about why I started my company and educate you on the value and qualities of my pure spring water? Or would you simply get up, walk across the street and find the water that you need to survive?
What if you were dirty and itchy? Would you be any more willing to listen to me focus on my brand or my product for an hour? How long would it take before you just got up and found something to wash yourself with?
And what if your house were on fire? Would you kick back and read 3 pages of stuff on my website about how great my water is or would you rather find someone right now who can help you put out the flames?
The bottom line is this – the quickest way to connect with your customer and get the attention of the decision making part of his brain is to let him know immediately that you understand his pain and can cure it. If you do this well upfront, he will listen to whatever it is that you have to say.
This insight will help you go from boring your prospects to convincing them and that’s good for your business.
There are always going to be several things constantly competing for your time – marketing campaigns to design, team members to manage, customers to respond to, business opportunities to explore, issues to follow up, personal commitments etc. However, whenever you try to work on too many things at the same time, inevitably none of them ever gets done. Business success often comes down to focus.
To assist my clients in staying on track and keeping things simple, I developed the following list of 5 simple techniques/questions to put things into perspective. When in doubt – check the list for guidance.
1. Has Anyone Died? If not, relax and calm down. As long as no one has died, it’s really not that serious and there is a solution to every challenge you face.
2. Are You Trying to Eat an Elephant in One Sitting? Breaking things into bite sized chunks makes the world of difference. Having broad high level goals are good but having an actionable plan is essential. A detailed, step by step plan can help you to identify how you can get from where you are to where you want to be. Remember, a journey of 1000 miles begins with one step.
3. Are You In A Bad Neighbourhood? If you are not in a good place emotionally, change your physiology immediately. That means get up and get moving, put on your favourite song or do the “dance of joy”. Whatever it takes, do it NOW.
4. Are You Grateful For What You Already Have? It is impossible to bring more of what you want into your life if you are feeling ungrateful about what you already have. It has been said that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. In many ways gratitude is a bit like that – it’s not what you say, the mere words that count, but sum of the words and the heartfelt emotion behind them.
5. Are You focused on What You Want or Don’t Want? Whether we realise it or not, we are visualising things all the time – visualising either what we want or don’t want. If you are relentlessly focused on the negative outcome and are riddled by fear that WILL impact your reality.
It’s very easy to get so caught up in the emotion of emergencies, disruptions and day to day activities that you can easily lose sight of what is most important to your business success and well-being. These simple tips and questions will help you stay more in touch which is what is most essential to you and your compelling future. These techniques (and keeping a sense of humour) are vital to helping you to stay in focus with your ultimate goals and business success.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2314715