Popularity Of A Game Behind The Game Itself

Nearly every person in the world who can access a computer (and many who can not) have heard of the popular game, called Minecraft. By now I should not need to describe it to you beyond the fact it is a highly customizable game with infinite amount of options. This obviously could spell the recipe…

Nearly every person in the world who can access a computer (and many who can not) have heard of the popular game, called Minecraft. By now I should not need to describe it to you beyond the fact it is a highly customizable game with infinite amount of options. This obviously could spell the recipe for a game that would take the world by storm. But the key word in that last sentence is “could.” Because the game itself was no guarantee for automatic fame. There are many, many behind the scenes events and actions that took and take place to boost the game's popularity. The reason these behind the scene events are so important is that it may teach companies, even multi-million dollar companies what they've been doing wrong. It is also an amazing business psychological study to pay attention to for anyone.

Probably the basis for all of Minecraft's popularity is how personal the game is. I do not mean personal to the player (though that is important too and people get very attached to the worlds they create), I am referring to the maker, who goes by the name Notch. Notch is the creator and founder of the company Mojang. But what is unique about Notch's approach to his gaming community is his personal approach through all forms of social media and how he speaks to them on a familiar level. Typically when larger companies such as Bethseda, Square Enix, and others make any announcement relating to their game they do so as a company speaking to its followers.

Notch's unique approach of making his company seem more a group of gamers than a true company makes his fans feel as if they're being listened to by a friend rather than a giant or someone above them. What's more is the language he uses. His words are very common lingo amongst gamers and “those in the know.” Therefore creating a true sense of community so fans feel they're part of Minecraft, not just players.

It does not go unnoticed however, that Notch has made decisions that many question, even his own team. For example he once told someone who could not afford Minecraft to pirate (or use an illegal copy they could obtain for free) until they were able to afford Minecraft. This welcomed scorn from many larger companies and other start-up companies. But to the community-it was golden. It was a perfect example of how Notch was “one of them” not a corporate big wig.

While Minecraft is indeed a new age game that's breaks all the rules of traditional game, it is not so different from its creator. Notch too uses new age tactics and maneuvers that from any traditional stand point would have you teasing out your hair. But it has given a personality to Minecraft and its company. Even though none of us are game designers, it is clear those methods are being used today all the way down to a retail level where we can observe retail chains such as Wal-mart trying to be more friendly and one of us as opposed to be a big unknown corporate.

TIME and MONEY Always Follow WHAT YOU VALUE Most

I am constantly reminded of this through many of my conversations with leaders, business owners, and CEOs of companies. When we talk about “where they allocate their funds” and “where they have employees spend their time” it becomes very clear what they value most in their company. And it works just as well from a…

I am constantly reminded of this through many of my conversations with leaders, business owners, and CEOs of companies. When we talk about “where they allocate their funds” and “where they have employees spend their time” it becomes very clear what they value most in their company. And it works just as well from a personal perspective as it does a professional one. I'm not qualified to provide therapy to individuals in these areas (that's what my wife and daughter are trained to do) so I will stick to the business side of this discussion.

Where this becomes critical in my conversations, as you can imagine, is relating to their BUSINESS STRATEGY and their CUSTOMERS. Knowing where their most valuable resources of time and money are being allocated is a great indicator of where the focus is of the business (or non-profit). It simply provides a ROADMAP for what is important and future direction.

For example, if a business owner tells me he is putting a bunch of money into some new machinery to make an even better product, he is telling me he values ​​his products above all else. If she tells me that they are going to be investing some funds and putting together some key events to recognize and reward their employees, she is valuing her employees. It's actually a pretty simple analysis to perform on a company. The key is to get the CEO to be honest and open about where they are spending their time and money … this is often times more difficult than you might think.

Here is a GUIDE that can help you think about this issue as a leader in your company and give you some insights into what is happening vs. what you want to happen …

  • How is current income used … this is straightforward look at the allocation of income in your company. It can be as simple as a level breakdown of where income is being spent inside the organization. How much goes to product maintenance and creation? How much is allocated to employees (salaries and non-salary expenses)? How much is allocated to the experience you deliver to your customers? How much is allocated to further expansion (geographically or current space)? You get the idea … this is simply an analysis of where income is being allocated.
  • How are current profits used … this analyzes how much and where investment and “opportunity funds” are allocated. How are they allocated in the areas listed above for income allocation? How much of the profits are put into these areas … investment dollars … R & D and innovation allocations? This is an important analysis since it requests where we are investing our “extra” money where we think we can make even more money?
  • How are outside Investment dollars used … this is similar to the profit analysis since it focuses on what you do with “additional opportunity funds” in the business. Use the same analysis as you did for the profit analysis since they are similar, only coming from external sources.
  • How does the Leadership team use their time … this provides a high level analysis of where the leaders in your company allocate and invest their time. Do they focus on products / services, customers, innovation, solving issues, etc.
  • How do your employees allocate their time … where do your employees spend most of their time? This is similar to the leadership question only it focuses on what employees are doing and where leadership leads them to spend their time. This is usually best answered by asking the employees, not their managers.

After analyzing the results of these questions, you will have a much better idea of ​​what the company values ​​the most … not what people might say they value the most but what is actually valued the most by the organization.

Here's the FIRST PROBLEM with the results of the analysis. When I ask leaders how IMPORTANT ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS to the organization the answer is always a resounding and emphatic, “They mean the world to us and without them we would be nothing.” However, in reviewing the analysis, their CUSTOMERS ARE NOT AT THE TOP OF THEIR TIME AND MONEY ALLOCATIONS. We have a DISCONNECT with what they are saying is important and what appears to be important based on how they are allocating their money and their time.

Here's the SECOND PROBLEM with this issue of being disconnected … CUSTOMERS KNOW YOUR ALLOCATIONS BETTER THAN ANYONE. Customers are not idiots or stupid … they know what is going on by how they are valued by your employees. Telling the customer you have lots of new products coming down the line they will love is nice but it does not show them the company is INVESTING IN THEM. It shows the company is investing in cranking out more products / services to make more money off of them so they can crank out some more products / services. Customers figure this out.

Customers know it is not being invested in them. And they reward you by treating you like a COMMODITY. When you do not crank out the best and latest products / services, they will find another company that does. They will not be LOYAL TO YOU … they will be LOYAL TO THE PRODUCT / SERVICE. This does not offer differentiation or uniqueness today, it just means you are either the “top commodity” to the customer or you are not and they spend their dollars accordingly.

CUSTOMERS CAN AND WANT TO BE LOYAL TO YOU!

They want to engage with you, provide you with valuable feedback, give you insights others can not get, and spread massive word-of-mouth about you. But you have to SHOW YOUR CUSTOMERS you are willing to INVEST YOUR TIME AND MONEY into them. When they see your leadership and employee time and money being invested back into them, giving them a TRULY REMARKABLE AND MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE, they will reward you by being your LOYAL ADVOCATE and telling others about you … WORD-OF-MOUTH.

It can really be this simple. We all reward those that invest in us. It happens in both our professional and personal lives. And while I'm not the personal expert, I do know one thing … if you invest your time and money into personal relationships with your spouse, friends, significant others, and family, they reward you with loyalty and love … and they are not shy about telling others about you and their experiences they have with you. It works as well (or even better) in your personal life as it does in your business life.

I would challenge every leader to honestly evaluate where you are allocating your TIME and MONEY … this will give you some great insights into what you and your company VALUES the most. It might not be what you want … or what your customers or employees want … but that's where the opportunity lies for leadership to change the direction of the ship. Rethink the business strategy with your customers being at the center of your time and money … the difference will shock and amaze you. And your competitors will not know what to do when they see your customers becoming LOYAL ADVOCATES and bringing their friends with them. Give it a shot … what you will not lose are your best customers!

Think 180 – Your Business Will STAND OUT – Like Hotel Drisco

Everyone wants to be a little better (and different) than their competitors … maybe a lot better … and the battle is getting more and more fierce every day. The Business Owners and CEOs I talk with tell me this is one of the top “initiatives” they constantly have going on … how they can…

Everyone wants to be a little better (and different) than their competitors … maybe a lot better … and the battle is getting more and more fierce every day. The Business Owners and CEOs I talk with tell me this is one of the top “initiatives” they constantly have going on … how they can be better than their competition. Unfortunately, I believe they are thinking about this the wrong way …

Most leaders and companies focus on three primary areas to beat out their competition … PRICE, FEATURES, and SELECTION. To effectively compete and win (some of the time), they feel the need to lower prices or offer some additional features on their products / services the others do not or add some new products / services to the list they already have. These all can work … for a short period of time. Then a competitor comes in and “one-ups” you in these areas and you are back to square one … only to repeat the cycle and try to do it again.

This is exhausting, discouraging, and expensive … and usually does not lead to where you wanted to go in the first place … being different. This is playing the COMMODITY game, which is very difficult (if not impossible) to win in the long term. Competitors keep changing places and the only ones that benefit are the customers purchasing these products / services. They win because prices drop and deals get sweeter … but unfortunately THEY ARE NOT LOYAL to you or any of your competitors … they are ” loyal to the deal .”

In today's fast moving, “low barrier to entry” world, this trend continues until some new company comes in with something completely different and hits all the companies in the industry hard. They have a completely new model for the product or service and they can pull a big chunk of your customers away … immediately. This collapses many companies in today's world … they have gotten so “lean and competitive” that they can not sustain a major blow like this … so they close their doors.

BUT THERE IS ANOTHER WAY TO PLAY THIS GAME … AND WIN!

Starting today, think 180 … 180 degrees. Think completely opposite of what your competitors are doing. Think of what your competitors do that your customers do not like … and do that. Think about what causes your customers to be upset, what costs them time, what frustrates them … and do the opposite. Think about blowing up your model to do something that you know the CUSTOMER WILL LOVE instead of just trading customers back and forth because of the latest “deal of the day.” This is what THINKING 180 gives you … a competitive advantage your competitors can not match … because it's an opposites of what they do.

Here's a great example and story to illustrate the point. It was told by Jason Fried, Founder & CEO at Basecamp about his experience with a hotel, Hotel Drisco , in San Francisco. I would encourage you to read the entire post he made about his experience … he does and awesome job talking about his experience and how the hotel Drisco figured out the “180 way of thinking” about their business. How they took a basic commodity … a hotel experience … and turned it into a memorable experience for their guests.

In case you do not have time to read the entire post, here are some highlights …

“When I walked in the place felt historic and cozy, wood paneled walls, classic human scale lobby, some comfortable creaks in the floor, and a wonderfully polite but never in your face staff.

I get to the room. First thing I notice is that the windows are cracked open a bit. It's a lovely warm spring day, I'm sure it was intentional. A gentle cross-breeze whispering welcome. It's the kind of thing I'd do at home if the weather was nice outside.

There are some booklets on the table. I pop one open and turn to this page: 6 bottles of complimentary water. Now … When you're a paying few hundred bucks for a room you might expect free water, but as anyone who's stayed in a hotel let's know, there's plenty of bottled water around but it usually wears a $ 5 or $ 7 price tag. So a hotel that does not play games and try to nickel and dime you on water feels like a very special place indeed. And not just a bottle or two, but six, and they're conveniently located in a few different areas so one is always near by. Thoughtful.

I paid roughly the same room rate at a Marriott recently, and there was not any fruit unless I wanted to order the $ 15 fruit plate from room service. And they were also happy to sell me bottled water at $ 5 / pop, too.

The Drisco did not slip a bill. Instead they left a little bag on the door handle. We know you're leaving, so here's a few things that might help. A TSA-approved bag, a microfiber cloth to clean glasses or electronics, and some mints. Probably cost the hotel a buck or two max. Absolutely worth it.

I was left with this impression: The Drisco was on my side. I recommend this place whole-heartedly. “

And not only did he have an awesome experience, he TALKED ABOUT IT to thousands! He was so impressed that he took the time to write about it on Medium and tell everyone about it in person and on social media channels. This was marketing for the Hotel Drisco that cost nothing … zero dollars … no ads, no flyers, no e-mail campaigns … just WORD-OF-MOUTH from an incredibly trusted and respected customer.

Hotel Drisco gets 180 thinking … do you? Could this work for your business? I think it can work for every business on the planet. You just have to get your head around it and change the way you have been thinking. Believe me, it is not easy … leaders struggle with this every day and it is one of my missions to help them see the other side of this mountain … how to get to 180 THINKING. If you have gotten excited about this at all … we should talk … you have taken the first step to doing 180 thinking … CONGRATULATIONS!

Why INVESTING in Your Customers WINS Today And Tomorrow

It doesn’t matter whether you are an investment advisor or product manager or the owner of your business, there is one thing everyone wants… a Return on their Investment. If you think about any aspect in business, there is always this looming question, “What’s going to be the return if we invest in this product…

It doesn’t matter whether you are an investment advisor or product manager or the owner of your business, there is one thing everyone wants… a Return on their Investment. If you think about any aspect in business, there is always this looming question, “What’s going to be the return if we invest in this product or service or customer or employee or _________ (fill in the blank). “Customer Investments” are another area that is difficult for most executives to get their arms around when it comes to ROI. That might sound a bit silly since they are the ones that pay you the money for the “return” on everything you do, but it’s often an issue. What if it was a “customer appreciation” event… how do you measure the ROI of giving back to a group that has already given you their money? They will pay for and reward you with their loyalty and word-of-mouth… because you invested in them and gave them something they truly want… an EXPERIENCE that is all about them.

The Importance of Business Systems

“If you can not describe what you are doing as a process, you do not know what you're doing” – W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993) What are business systems? Business systems are documented procedures setting out how your organization operates. They are processes, usually combining actions taken by people and some form of automated application, organized…

“If you can not describe what you are doing as a process, you do not know what you're doing” – W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993)

What are business systems?

Business systems are documented procedures setting out how your organization operates. They are processes, usually combining actions taken by people and some form of automated application, organized in such a way so as to meet a given set of business objectives. Such systems can generally take place without the business founder / owner's direct action, over and over again, as efficiently as possible.

Examples of processes may include how your staff should answer the telephone, how they take and pass on messages; the procedure for raising, approving, placing and receiving orders; the process for generating, checking and sending out client invoices, as well as receiving payments and following up on outstanding bills etc.

Regardless of the size or type of your business, it is likely that you already have set procedures in place covering many functions within your organization, which employees follow out of habit or as directed by their supervisor / manager.

Business systems are the manual for your business; the “know-how” of any business that many business founders / owners typically hold in their head, and have not gotten round to putting onto paper.

Why implement business systems?

There are many reasons and just as many benefits for having established and documented systems in your business, some of which include the following:

1. They provide a framework for your operations and an effective structure to support your business.

2. They improve consistency: production, delivery, customer service, after-sales care etc.

3. They improve results and / or productivity, because you and your employees do not have to re-invent the wheel every time.

4. They provide a better work environment for your employees, as an effective system will contribute to clearing roles and responsibilities as well as providing staff with some guidelines to refer to.

5. They ensure compliance with legislation, safety regulations or any other legal requirement specific to your type of business operations.

6. They give your business the ability to expand and they facilitate business growth, as they will make your business more attractive to any potential investor or buyer.

What system works best?

Although there are similarities across many functions, such as Accounts, Human Resources, Sales, Stores, Logistics etc., unfortunately there is no one perfect, one size fits all system that works for all companies. Any system will need to integrate the company's business objectives, its people and the way it provides its products or services.

It is important to have a well-designed system, customized to your type of operation, and thought out by people at all levels within the organization.

Such a system will be more likely to be followed by all employees, because they have been involved in its design, and they understand the value that having a system in place brings to the quality of their work and the service they provide to customers.

One point to keep in mind is that having great people working with poorly designed systems – or no systems – is likely to lead to an under-performing business. On the other hand, great systems without good people will not work either, since the additional benefit of involving employees in designing a system, or simply in documenting the processes they are following.

Equally so, employees who have been trained in your business systems should also feel empowered enough so that they do not feel they just have to follow a given script without using their head.

For this reason, it is important to encourage feedback not just from your customers, but also from your employees and to use such comments to review and to continue improve and develop your business systems.

A Discussion on The Need for Novel Ways When Opening Up Brownfield Sites

The most successful projects are those that tap well into local community including local authorities Communities, SMEs and others to help develop innovative solutions such as financing strategies, creative environmental response programs, and cost-effective site preparation strategies to transform these brownfield sites into charming and vibrant spaces communities will be proud of. Such transformations can…

The most successful projects are those that tap well into local community including local authorities Communities, SMEs and others to help develop innovative solutions such as financing strategies, creative environmental response programs, and cost-effective site preparation strategies to transform these brownfield sites into charming and vibrant spaces communities will be proud of. Such transformations can take years or decades to plan and implement often in stages to help meet the needs of every party.

The Barriers

These are projects that will most often face formidable physical and financial barriers for speedy redevelopment of what often appears to be abandoned open fields.

Other challenges often lie bene what the eyes can see and these can include presence of buried wastes, contaminated soil, and presence of buried industrial foundations, pits, footings and foundations.

This will most certainly translate into large sums of money and time that would be required to prepare future sites for redevelopment. This is the reason local consultants and contractors and all other stakeholders need to come up with a staged planning approach in the form of environmental response actions / impact assessments, excavation and demolition of buried basements and other structures, and site preparation, all timed to correspond to the availability of any brownfield redevelopment incentives on which success of the redevelopment often depends.

Novel Approaches

Costs and time can quickly spiral out of control without coming up with novel and simpler ways of approach of such developments.

Financing : Such novel ways can be helpful in helping mitigate environmental and site preparation costs and coming up with creative funding models such as using multiple, leveraged brownfield financing sources. Successful schemes that often run into the millions of pounds can be of multifaceted models with a combination of any of private, government, regional, and local grants and loans and tax arrangements financing which easily add an extra layer of complexity to these types of projects. Thankfully, most bring about immense benefits to local communities.

Engineering: dealing with waste from brownfield sites will most certainly be one of the leading challenges to their success. For example, 100,000s of cubic waste may have to be removed only to be replaced with an equivalent amount of clean fill.

Using this traditional approach of removing and disposing of the waste in a landfill and replacing it with imported fill can come with a huge bill with results often against the aims and objectives of these types of projects in terms of delivering on environmental sustainability.

An Alternate approach will be to swap the waste fill for clean soil from beneth roads and parks in the development site and cap the fill with pavement and landscaping. This can be a good and sustainable approach to reduced environmental and human health risks, reduced resource use, and save millions in costs, in the long run helping the project economically viable. Consulting engineers such as building materials consulting engineers can help safety compliance by testing all backfill on the project to ensure the project specifications are being delivered.

Involving the right sets of innovative engineering consultants to work along the project will help not only ensure compliance but reduce project costs. For example, sometimes during basement excavations, a variety of contaminated media, including more coal ash, hazardous wastes, PCB-contaminated sludge and soil, and soils contaminated with chlorinated solvents and gasoline are encountered. Consultants will be able to characterize these and have them properly disposed.

Another example is when during construction, constructability challenges are again encountered which may need properly addressing in such ways as removal of fill, installing subsurface concrete structures, or having to deal with former wastewater treatment facilities, pipes, utilities, contaminated soil and other debris. Such challenges can only be resolved through careful planning which might lead to replacing the excavated basements with clean fill for parts where future homes would be built and with waste fill for where roads and parks would lie.

The right consulting engineers will also come in to help when its required that demolition and remediation specifications are followed to the letter such as maximum reclamation / recycling of materials removed from the site to maximize the sustainability of site preparation activities. The amount of recycling to be done can often run into the 10,000 tons of concrete, steel and other materials to be recycled.

To Be CUSTOMER OBSESSED – “Burn the Ships”

Describing this is pretty simple … executing it seems to be incredibly difficult. The concept of “Burn the Ships” is well-known, understood, but often not embroidered or followed. It's one of those great statements to get people fired up. But when it comes to actually making it happen, it comes up short. If you are…

Describing this is pretty simple … executing it seems to be incredibly difficult. The concept of “Burn the Ships” is well-known, understood, but often not embroidered or followed. It's one of those great statements to get people fired up. But when it comes to actually making it happen, it comes up short.

If you are not familiar with the term, allow me to give you an easy definition. “Burn the Ships” means you are all-in, 100% engaged, committing everything to the activity or journey you are on … it simply means there is no going back. It was coined a long time ago to explain that when explorers got to an island, they were not leaving. Without burning the ships, the crew keeps thinking, “If things go bad we can run back to our ships and sail back to where we came from where it is known and safe.” But if the captain burned the ships, there was no going back … they had to figure out how to survive and settle on the island.

It is a great analogy in business. Having worked with leaders in many different companies over the past 30 years has shown me how incredible this can be for a company … and their employees know whether they have burned the ships or if they still have a way to go back to the way things were. Without burning the ships you get phrases such as …

  • The ” flavor of the month ” – things are always changing … something new happens all the time
  • Shiny Objects ” – there is always something new and exciting to catch your eye and pursuit but do not worry, there is always a new shiny object out there
  • Do not get married to the change ” – if you're married you are stuck so do not get married to the new changes since we want to go back to the old way of doing things
  • The latest brainstorm ” – when leadership has a new idea and wants to implement it but the employees know that they can delay it until the next brainstorm

These are the kinds of things that kill innovation, momentum, and change inside an organization. Do any of these sound familiar in your organization? If so, may be time to think about “burning the ships” and communicating to your employees, “We are not going back to the old way of doing things so let's all work together to make this a a phenomenal successful.”

This phrase has never been more important in my world than in helping CEOs and Business Owners understand that being CUSTOMER OBSESSED and moving their company from GREAT TO REMARKABLE is a “burn the ships strategy”. It is not just “something we are going to try and see how it goes.” It requires the leadership team and employees to be ALL IN or it will fail. I know that sounds harsh, but it will. Customer Obsession is not something you can do half-way or even most of the way … it has to be all the way to make it successful … which is why most will not change.

CUSTOMER OBSESSION IS WHO YOU ARE, NOT WHAT YOU DO .

It becomes part of the DNA of your company … it is who you are. It gives you purpose and answers the WHY question of “Why are we in business?” We are in business to obsess over our customers and treat them better than anyone else so they feel awesome and more important than they did before they met us. “This is being Customer Obsessed.

You can not get there when everyone feels like there is a “ship” to run back to … the old way of doing things. If the employees feel like this is an “initiative” or a “project” or something that has a “start and a finish,” it will fail. You might get better as a company by focusing more on your customer, but you will not become REMARKABLE or MEMORABLE. And you will not get the massive WORD-OF-MOUTH that comes when you are memorable and remarkable.

Treating Customer Obsession as something less that “all-in” will also come up short on results. You will not see the big benefits in your business. They will not talk about you, they will not share what you do, and they will not set you apart from all your competition. You might be one of the best but you will not stand alone and “head and shoulders” above everyone else.

I would also argue it probably will not be worth it if you do not go all in because you will still incur significant costs (time, resources, and capital) but you will not get the commensurate rewards (lower marketing costs, higher margins, more customer retention / loyalty, and advocacy). And I always believe if you are going to spend the resources, you should benefit from the rewards.

CUSTOMER OBSESSION is awesome … it is a way of life both your customer and your employees will love … because there is a singular focus … THE CUSTOMER. It's really easy in many ways because everyone is doing something that answers the question, “Is this going to make our customers life better than it was before they interacted with us?” If the answer is no, then you are not “all in” on customer obsession. This makes things really simple … everything a company does is to help answer YES to that question … everything.

And the best part is your CUSTOMER KNOWS IT . They see it, feel it, and love it! It's what separates the great companies from the remarkable ones. It's what gets talked about and shared.

Some companies do this RANDOMLY … not every day with every interaction. We termed this “RANDOM ACTS OF EXCELLENCE AND CHAOS” in our BOOK , “Creating and Delivering Totally Awesome Customer Experiences.” This means that some days you deliver awesomeness and some days things are a mess. The customer gets confused about who you are and what is the norm. And when customers get confused, they defect and leave. Randomness might seem better than average … but it's not. It causes the customer to not know what they are going to get … this creates fear … not a good thing for customers to be feeling.

If you want to be ALL ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS, then BURN THE SHIPS and go ALL IN . It's a strategic decision about the direction you want to take your company, not an initiative or project. It will become WHO YOU ARE and WHAT PEOPLE TALK ABOUT when it comes to your company. It's an amazing place to be and there are many examples of companies who are Customer Obsessed. You know it when you visit them … from Fortune 500 down to the “mom and pop” store on the corner where you pay 20% more but love the way you are treated. They exist and they are REMARKABLE !

How to Get MORE of Your No 1 ASSET – Your BEST Customers

When I talk to CEOs and Business Owners about their customers, they can always tell me who their BEST CUSTOMERS are and why they are number one. It's easy … they know who they are and they know what they buy. But when I ask them what they are doing to get more of these…

When I talk to CEOs and Business Owners about their customers, they can always tell me who their BEST CUSTOMERS are and why they are number one. It's easy … they know who they are and they know what they buy. But when I ask them what they are doing to get more of these types of customers, this is where the answers get a bit fuzzier.

It usually has something to do with sales and sometimes marketing … but usually it's focused around sales. They have a sales team “dedicated” to finding some of these customers and then enticing them into the company in some way … usually through some special deal. But it's generally focused on the company going after the customer by tracking them down, meeting with them, figuring out a way they can help them, putting some special incentives together so they will try them out, and hopefully closing the sale.

This is an expensive and time consuming process … regardless of whether it works and has been used by companies for years. There is nothing wrong with this process in general … other than the cost and the close ratios. These can sometimes be high and low, respectably … but you keep it going because they are identified as your best customers.

If you are a retailer, it's much more difficult to invest in the above process because you do not have the margin per customer to owe to this kind of effort. So you may resort to “bringing a friend” in programs or other such incentives designed to attract other highly desirable customers. This process can also be expensive and may not give you the volume of results you want.

There's another way to go about attracting top customers. Another way to attract more top customers and win their attention and their business … often times without giving up margin and with a higher close ratio than your sales team. TURN YOUR BEST CUSTOMERS INTO YOUR SALES TEAM.

Create the processes and plans to enable your best customers to do the marketing and selling for you. This has proven to be the lowest cost and highest return for getting more of your top customers. It's called “reliable” WORD-OF-MOUTH. Credible because it is being spread by your most valuable and respected customers to other prospective customers.

Now you're probably saying something like, “Of course word-of-mouth is great, everyone knows that and we get some of this from these customers so that's nothing new. and get minimal return from our existing customers … especially without some incentive. ” The problem for most companies is that they really are not investing in their best customers in a way that would cause them to tell others about them. And I'm not talking about just “telling others” … I'm talking about “passionately raving about you” to others. There is a huge difference.

I will be the first to admit this is NOT EASY. It takes a strategic, consistent, and process oriented approach to make it happen. But these are your TOP CUSTOMERS we're talking about … is not that worth some significant investment of time and resources? If you really want more of these, then it is worth a very specific strategy and process for getting them.

The absolute best, “long-tail” approach to creating ADVOCATES that will rave about you and tell others just like them is to CREATE AN AWESOME AND INCREDIBLE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE they love and can not wait to tell others about. It starts and ends with the customer experience … not products or services. Creating this experience does not happen overnight … but it can completely differentiate your business … for a very long time and give you more of your best customers.

To help you get started thinking in the right direction, let me give you a key question you might want to start asking your leadership team and employees …
“What is the one thing we could do for our top customers that would cause them to say, 'WOW, I love working with you because you _______ (fill in the blank) … this is so different from the way anyone else abuses me and you make me feel incredibly important. '”

Start with this one question. Find out from your employees what they think would be the right phrase to fill in the blank and start collecting this information. Do not ask them to come up with a list, just ask them for one thing. Believe me, they will give you more than one and that's OK. But just get them to focus on the one thing they feel is the most important factor that would cause your best customer to make the statement above.

Once you have collected the information, sit down as a leadership team and go through and discuss every comment / suggestion. You will immediately see which ones jump off the page and will cause you to say, “WOW, there are some great ideas in here that we should seriously consider.”

Prioritize the list of items you feel would totally amaze your customer if you did these things. Come up with the number one item in the top list of items. Now, here's the magic …
DO THAT ONE ITEM … DO IT BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE … DO IT WITH PASSION AND COMMITMENT!

If you make this happen, you will have started on a path to thinking and acting more CUSTOMER OBSESSED. However, this is not the ultimate solution … that takes a full “Customer Obsession Strategy” and plan to really change your company. But this is a good start.

When you have a strategy and plan to get your customers feeling this important and special and giving them an experience where they consistently say, “WOW you treat me so much better than any of your competitors,” you are well on your way to being differentiated and Customer Obsessed. And when your customers feel this way, they tell others … often and regularly. They become your ADVOCATES in the market to other people just like them … other TOP CUSTOMERS. Now you have your top customers doing your marketing to other potential top customers! And according to the statistics, 90% of the people believe the recommendation from someone they know or are connected with … 90%.

Create a list of Advocates who are your top customers and you have created the most successful way to get more of your # 1 Asset … your best customers.

Strategies You Can Follow To Grow Your Business

If you are planning to grow your own company and want to expand into the new market, then you must think properly about your business strategy before considering the growth strategy of your organization. This article defines the ways through which the right strategies can help one to drive the business growth. A number of…

If you are planning to grow your own company and want to expand into the new market, then you must think properly about your business strategy before considering the growth strategy of your organization. This article defines the ways through which the right strategies can help one to drive the business growth. A number of company owners feel at ease to keep small companies, which they can run by themselves in return for a limited yet decent income. However, other organizations are driven by the challenge of growing their businesses into high profit ventures with large market share. Although larger ventures are often associated with higher risk, but this way the companies can generate some personal rewards including the payoffs which may come from selling any profitable concern.

At the same time, the large companies are more complex, time-consuming and demanding. Probably these things need greater commitment and the company owners need to spend more time conducting things that they actually enjoy. So, if you really want to expand your business, then here are the strategies you can follow:

  1. Planning: Planning is the most important part to do a job successfully. Although plans mostly change, but still it is necessary to plan the strategies before making any implementation. Actually planning includes looking at the number of options and selecting the best method to take. In some cases, planning takes off one's selected decision. Therefore, the business owners should always be ready to adjust the plans as planning is a continuous process.
  2. Ability to take risk: Business world is really fickle and it keeps changing. Neglecting the risks would cause the industry to lag behind the competitors and to stagnate. Therefore, it is necessary to change with the time as return always gains with risk. At the same time, it is necessary to balance risk with safety.
  3. Retain a real competitive edge: To gain and win customers, it is necessary for the organizations to offer the products or services, which are better than their competitors. It is also necessary to keep an edge over the competitors. In case any of the rival companies overshadows the things in which an organization is the best, then it is important for that company to discover another competitive edge. This is the place where it becomes a must to take risks. An organization should always be ready to take risks if these are beneficial for the trade.
  4. Customer service: Customers are those, who help businesses to flourish. Without customers, the trades will have no revenue. Therefore, for every organization it is necessary to take care of the customers and to make sure that they are satisfied enough. Most revenues come from the repeat customers. Therefore, maintaining the customers always works as the utmost priority for every company. The risky ventures always have big payoffs. But still when you decide to take on some new risks for your company, do not forget to check the pros and cons carefully to make sure that the return is worth of the risk. In this case, having a proper strategy becomes very important.

Is There a “Dollar Shave” Deal Headed Your Way?

Unilever just realized that they “missed it” when it came to competition in their razor space … and it cost them over $ 1 Billion dollars … the amount they just paid for Dollar Shave Club. They disrupted Unilever (and other shaver products) and created a new product with powerful marketing that captured a huge…

Unilever just realized that they “missed it” when it came to competition in their razor space … and it cost them over $ 1 Billion dollars … the amount they just paid for Dollar Shave Club. They disrupted Unilever (and other shaver products) and created a new product with powerful marketing that captured a huge market share.

This is not a new story … it is happening in every every industry today. Someone is coming in and causing disruption by creating a better product or service at a lower cost … and appealing to the incumbent's audience. They are taking away their marketshare with better products, lower prices, and better delivery. With the Internet Revolution taking over from where the Industrial Revolution left off, we are seeing a massive increase in COMMODITIZATION everywhere. This is awesome for the consumer and buyers … not so awesome for the companies that are now having to compete with these disruptors.

From all indications, this is not going away … it is going to escalate even faster than we are seeing today. The “barrier to entry” in many industries is so low that someone can show up tomorrow and immediately take away your customers and marketshare. But your costs are still the same and your pricing is based on this cost structure. What do you do? If you are some mega-giant company, you buy them out of the market … just like Unilever did to Dollar Shave. They essentially realized they had to give up $ 1 Billion dollars to take them out of the market. What would it cost you if you had to take out a major disruptor in your industry? Or could you even do it or would it put you under? These are important and critical questions for any leadership team today.

While this may sound like doom and gloom, there is a silver lining to this situation. There is a way that companies can help avoid this trap of commoditization. There is a way you can do battle with a “disruptor” coming into your market.

It's what the most respected consulting and research firms have been telling us for the past few years …

Create a company based on an INCREDIBLE AND AMAZING CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE and you can either avoid or at least survive a disruptor entering your market. There is … the strategy to combat this wave of disruptions and “bottom feeders” in your industry. A way to set yourself apart and let them feed on your competitors. A way to avoid commoditization and survive the disruptor revolution!

And if you think about it … if you are in an industry where everyone is viewed as a commodity, if you create an AWESOME CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE you can essentially be the DISRUPTOR in your own industry. I'm not talking about a GREAT EXPERIENCE … I'm talking about an INCREDIBLY AWESOME, AMAZING, AND REMARKABLE EXPERIENCE … one that causes your customer to say, “WOW, you are amazing and treat me better than anyone else in your industry by far. ” When they say this, you have become the disruptor and the one that everyone is going to try and compete against.

Today you not only have the answer to how to avoid this disruption, you have the ability to eclipse all your competition and BECOME THE DISRUPTOR. It takes these key ingredients …

  • Vision by Leadership – the top person in the company has to lead this effort
  • A change in Business Strategy
  • A specific model to create these awesome customer experiences
  • Focused effort … by everyone in the company
  • Employees that embrace CUSTOMER OBSESSION
  • Staying the course to change from a “product / service centric” company to a “customer centric company”
  • Someone to lead you through this new vision of disruption

Are you up to the challenge? Are you willing to admit you are exposed to disruption in your market and that there is probably a “Dollar Shave” company being developed right now that can come into your market at any time and disrupt it? You can view this as a THREAT or an OPPORTUNITY in your company. I love to look at things like this incredible opportunities to not only disable but to lead. If you are as well, maybe this is your time to strike … your time to DISRUPT YOUR COMPETITION.

The Basic Business Idea Questions

If you want to start your own business, you should try as much as you can to answer these basic business ideas questions which are five in number. The first question is: What do I want my business to be like? This is asking you of the vision you have for your business. This is…

If you want to start your own business, you should try as much as you can to answer these basic business ideas questions which are five in number.

The first question is: What do I want my business to be like? This is asking you of the vision you have for your business. This is where you tell yourself the type of business you have in mind, whether it will be a small or a large; Online or in store; At home or out of home business.

The second question is: What product or service will the business be offering? Here, you have to determine what your business will be offering to the public. Is the business going to be deal with production, wholesale, retailing or product promotion, and so on. Have in mind that this will be based on the geographical location of the business (Urban or rural area); the target audience to be served (men or women, educated or non educated, adults, teens or children).

The third question is: What type of success do I imagine for this business? This is where you determine the level in your business when you can say I have succeeded.

The fourth question is: What freedom of lifestyle will I achieve? In answering this question you will need to outline the business hour of operation, which will be based on the lifestyle adjustments you want to make.

The final and the fifth question is: What answers do I have for certain business questions like cash accounting? Accrual basis? Profit and loss statement? Projections? … This deals with the financial aspect of the business, how you want to fund it, how you plan to pay your staff, how and when you plan to balance the account and so on. The Accounting aspect of a business is a process or a tool that will help you account for the following: 1. What your business has done. 2. What your business is doing. 3. What your business hope to do in the future. It is a bit like painting a picture and a little like solving a puzzle. It is actually a fun if handled well.

When you are able to answer these questions to your satisfaction you can then go ahead with the business establishment. I hope this article will go a long way in guiding anyone who wants to own his or her own business.

Why Isn’t EVERY Company Customer Centric or OBSESSED? 3 Reasons

There are very few business leaders I talk with that do not tell me they either think they are Customer Centric or that they want to try and be more Customer Centric. With all this interest in it from the outside, why are not more doing this today? There are three primary reasons I see…

There are very few business leaders I talk with that do not tell me they either think they are Customer Centric or that they want to try and be more Customer Centric. With all this interest in it from the outside, why are not more doing this today?

There are three primary reasons I see that keep companies from becoming more Customer Centric. And if you can not become Customer Centric, you certainly can not become CUSTOMER OBSESSED. Here are the three primary reasons I see today that cause most companies to stay where they are or go in a different direction …

  1. They have to change and can not “Window Dress” it … Everyone loves the idea of ​​being customer centric … or saying they want to be obsessing over their customers … until they realize THEY have to change. There's that awful and scary word that most businesses dread … CHANGE. And this usually is not some minor change … this is changing every part of your company so they are ALWAYS putting the customer first in all their decisions and actions. This sounds easy … it's not. And because it is not easy, most companies never get there … they abort part way through any effort or do not even begin when the see how daunting it could be for their organization.

And because it looks daunting, they resort to something I feel is almost worse than doing nothing … they “window dress” with the intent of pretending to be but in reality they are not. You see it as a customer … the receptionist is really great and friendly but the rest of your experience is not. Or the person you are talking to on the phone is incredibly helpful and giving but when you walk into the business you see something entirely different. This is not being Customer Obsessed, this is trying to fake it and get away without the hard work of change.

Before any company begins the process of wanting to be Customer Obsessed and Customer Centric, they need to look long and deep into the effort and make an executive level commitment to seeing it through. It is not something you can “fake your way through” because unfortunately, the one group that will call you out is also the one group that pays the rent … the CUSTOMER. They see right through this and realize you really are not all about them.

The companies that do make this commitment and fight through the “Valley of Despair” in their journey to becoming Customer Obsessed and Customer Centric enjoy many rewards their competition will never see. They died in the “Valley” and never came out … they quit. They could not fight through the process of CHANGE so they could not reapp the rewards. Make the commitment from the top level of the company and see it through … the rewards will amaze you when you reach the other side and where your customers see just how awesome you treat them … and they will reward you with LOYALTY and WORD-OF-MOUTH.

  1. They do not UNDERSTAND what it means … have you ever had something that was really amazing and you tried to describe it to someone else and they just “do not get it?” This is exactly what this reason is all about. You can try to explain it in several different ways but in the end, you realize they still just do not get it. Like when you are talking to your kids about math for example … you see it clearly and they just do not get it. So you try a different way … same result.

Until you reach a point where they go, “Oh, now I see what you are talking about,” they will never become Customer Centric or strive to be Customer Obsessed. It is not because they do not want to or are not willing to make the changes like the companies in number one above, they just just do not get it. Customer Centricity, believe it or not, falls into this category.

You are probably saying to yourself right now, “How can someone not get being” all about “their customers?” They can certainly get the words but what they can not get is how you change your entire company to do everything with the customer in the center of the universe. They usually grow up in the Industrial Revolution and so they think in terms of “products and services” rather than the customer. They have products and services at the center of their universe and this is how the entire company has been built and how it runs today. Now you are asking them to erase that thinking and put the customer at the center of every process, decision, and action. This is not easy for many to understand and grasp.

For some it takes time to sink in … for others it is like the math problem … you have to try many different ways to explain it so they hopefully get and understand it at some point. I know, it sounds easy … but take it from someone that talks about this 24/7, it is not easy. It can actually be incredibly frustrating because I see it so clearly so my goal is to try and put it into a package others can understand and assist … my biggest challenge. But when they get it … the light goes on … not just any light but a big huge spotlight and it's like they have seen into a new world … it's one of my biggest highlights in what I do.

  1. They already THINK THEY ARE … there is nothing more dangerous to me in the business world that seeing someone think they get something (and act on it) when you know they clearly do not. It's either because of number 2 above (they do not fully understand it) or they are just fooling themselves because they want to be but they are not willing to do number one (commit to change) above.

This is the most difficult leader for me to deal with … they actually think they are and they are clearly not. Rather than be open to seeing what it's really like to be Customer Centric and Obsessed over them, they just say they are already. Even when I ask them why they believe they are, they do not really say anything that is concrete or distinct. If they did, we could talk through it and show them the differences. Instead, they are usually “closed minded” to seeing what it's really all about. This is dangerous …

For this group, I generally just move on. I have learned over many years this is a very difficult person to change … and it takes a ton of effort. I would rather invest the time into number 1 and 2 above and help them get to the point where they want to do something. This is much more rewarding because they really want to be, they just need help getting there. The leader that thinks they get it is one that probably never will.

This is the group that says things like …

  • “We already treat our customers really well”
  • “We love our customers so I do not really know what we would change”
  • “Our customers are very important to us”
  • “We have great products / services and also give great customer service”

These are “red flag” statements because they are condemning there may be ways to really push the customer experience over the top and create incredible differentiation. They are limiting statements. With this group, my goal is to always get them to be in group number 1 or 2 above … because then I have a chance to show them what it's like to be obsessed with their customers and how incredibly awesome it could be for them .

If you are not CUSTOMER CENTRIC or CUSTOMER OBSESSED, see what number you might fit into … and then decide if you are ready to completely change your company into something that all the major research and consulting firms are saying is the only way to survive in the future. If you are, CONGRATULATIONS … you are going to be among the elite … the few that dominate and lead their markets. You have taken the first step on the path to MOVE FROM GREAT TO REMARKABLE !!

What CHANGED, Why Is There So Much “Buzz” Over Customers Today?

You almost can not read anything today that is not talking about something related to CUSTOMERS these days … it is popping up everywhere. There is no question about the truly heightened awareness and buzz over this topic and the impact improving your customer experience or service can have on your bottom line. Why so…

You almost can not read anything today that is not talking about something related to CUSTOMERS these days … it is popping up everywhere. There is no question about the truly heightened awareness and buzz over this topic and the impact improving your customer experience or service can have on your bottom line. Why so much attention and buzz over customers today? I have some answers that might help explain this a bit more for you …

There is much more buzz and discussion going on about the following topics …

  • Customer Experiences
  • Customer Loyalty
  • Customer Retention (a biggy today)
  • Customer Advocacy
  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Customer Service
  • Customer this and Customer that …

And I believe there is one common factor that is causing this massive increase in conversation … NOTHING ELSE IS WORKING! All the other solutions have either been tried, have already been implemented, or they have not produced the results companies wanted so there is nowhere else to turn than back to their customers. Seems kind of ironic does not it … the last place companies are turning is their customers … the place I believe everyone should be starting from, not ending up. It seems a bit backwards to my way of thinking. I believe the customer should be the first thing companies think about since since they are the only ones who pay them money to stay alive and do everything they want.

You might be asking, “What's not working today that worked in the” Industrial Revolution “? …

  • Lowering the cost of your products … today there are countless new competitors in everyone's space who are more than happy to lower their prices to attract new customers away from you … we are solidly in the “Commodity Economy”.
  • Giving away more products and services … because of the massive commoditization impacting every company today, companies feel it necessary to give more things away for the same price as a way to increase their “value” to their customers … this is another form of discounting, only less abrasive
  • Improving processes to be more efficient … this is one that has been going on for the past 20 years … and it has literally run its course with many companies … they have taken the bulk of their inefficiencies out of their business so now it does not have the return it used to have in the early days
  • Cost cutting of any kind … this is definitely something that was in high vogue when the recession hit in 2007 and beyond … everyone was looking for ways to cut costs just to keep the doors open … but now those costs have been cut and most companies are down to a pretty reasonable cost model
  • Hiring “happier” employees … I can not say this is not a good idea, but if it is not coupled with a very specific purpose for these employees, they do not need to change the customer experience significantly or consistently
  • Others ??? … you can add to the list of things that are not working for you today that you may have tried or have run their course

Here's what IS WORKING TODAY … and HAS ALWAYS WORKED through history … TREATING YOUR CUSTOMERS BETTER THAN YOUR COMPETITORS.

This has been consistent throughout time … it has never gone out of style. Companies that have always treated their customers in awesome, incredible, and remarkable ways have always done well. They may not have survived for other economic reasons, but it was not because they did not go out of their way to treat their customers better than anyone else.

Nordstrom , like Zappos , got their start selling a commodity … shoes. But they did not sell shoes … they sold an experience that happened to include buying shoes. Nordstrom developed their history as the most experiential shoe store in the country and soon became known as the only place to go get the right shoe, the right fit, and be treated incredibly well. They later expanded beyond shoes and now are a full clothing line retailer. Zappos took the same strategy only applied it online to meet the new needs of consumers in the Internet Revolution. Both will tell you that they are 100% about the CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE and it's what made them as successful as they are today. And what about Disney … do you think they sell ride tickets … they sell an experience that happens to deliver rides to families.

Developing and delivering a totally awesome, incredible, amazing WOW experience has always been in style … and will become even more critical for businesses survival well into the future.

So it begs the question … if it is such a stalwart of business success, why does not everyone do it? Great question and actually a pretty simple answer … because it's hard … harder than almost anything on the list I shared above. This may not resonate with everyone initially … that's OK … but building a CUSTOMER OBSESSED company is not for the fault of heart. It takes planning, design, execution, measuring, improving, modifying, and doing this over and over again … continuously. But here's the biggest issue …

CUSTOMER OBSESSION TOUCHES EVERY PERSON IN THE COMPANY … everyone has to on board and delivering this awesome customer experience or it will not work. This is what makes it difficult … but incredibly rewarding. It's what allows companies to be completely differentiated against their competitors for today and well into the future. It is more widespread in the organization than anything on the list above. But like the saying goes, ” If it was easy, everyone would do it and it would not be differentiating .” THIS IS DIFFERENTIATING

With everything else falling off the list of things to do to grow and improve profitability, there seems to be one elephant left in the room … the CUSTOMER. So when things are not working as great as they were before and there is more competition knocking at your door, it's time to find something else that could help them stand apart. It's the CUSTOMER …

For most companies, there really are not any other options left to help them cut costs or increase revenues … it's time to get back to the core of business … their customers. Even though I have helped companies in this area for the past 20 years … I have never seen a more effective time for companies to become OBSESSED over their customers. It is the new battleground … and for those that decide to be aggressive about it early, it will pay huge dividends. It's like the Tsunami that's sitting off shore. I can tell companies I have seen it and it's headed our way … but it's up to them to decide to stay put or seek the higher ground. For many, they will wait until it hits shore and be wiped out … for those that migrated to the hills, they will reap the rewards.

This is what all the buzz is that's going on about the customer. There are people running around (some of the largest consulting firms in the world) telling company leaders about the Tsunami. The warnings will continue … the only question is “when” it hits rather than “if” it reaches shore. The only real decision for leaders is to decide if they can move to higher ground in time. And moving to higher ground is what CUSTOMER OBSESSION is all about.

Reasons To Have A Good Business Strategy

Having a good strategy is highly important for almost every business these days. This article describes the ways how the right business strategies can help businesses.

Having a good strategy is highly important for almost every business these days. This article describes the ways how the right business strategies can help businesses.

Word-Of-Mouth Is About Saving Your Customers TIME

Word-of-Mouth has been called the “search killer” because there is little if any need to do a search when someone you trust recommends a solution to your problem. Think about this for a moment with how you function and operate in your daily life. Now think about it with regard to your website / blog…

Word-of-Mouth has been called the “search killer” because there is little if any need to do a search when someone you trust recommends a solution to your problem. Think about this for a moment with how you function and operate in your daily life. Now think about it with regard to your website / blog and how you want people to find you.

Do you really care about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) … being found through the search engines and being at the top of the Google or Bing search list? Would you really care IF EVERYONE WENT DIRECTLY TO YOUR WEBSITE? Nope … because your visitors bypassed the entire search process and went directly to your website. And they went there because someone they trusted told them to go there and see what it is you were talking about or to buy something. This is how WORD-OF-MOUTH WORKS.

But this is not about SEARCH or SEO … this is about TIME. According to Forrester Research, they found that 77% of the people surveyed said TIME was the most important thing to them today. It was, without a doubt, the most valuable commodity they have and they want two things …

  1. More of it
  2. Not to waste it

Here's my question … ” ARE YOU” INVESTING “IN SAVING YOUR CUSTOMERS TIME OR ARE YOU COSTING THEM TIME ? Think about that question for a minute … the answer can give you, a leader, great insight into how your company operates with regards to your customers.

The most critical component is what you are doing to / for your customers in the area of ​​saving them time or making their time more efficient. If what you do COSTS THEM TIME, they will always find other places to do business with who are not wasting their most valuable asset … TIME. The one phrase I hear over and over that demonstrates there is an incredible opportunity for companies to take advantage of today is, ” I can not believe how much time I waste or how much time it costs me when I work with ABC Company.

Here's the opportunity … FIND WAYS TO SAVE YOUR CUSTOMERS TIME … GIVE TIME BACK TO THEM WITH WHATEVER YOU ARE OFFERING. If you do this, they will love you. And when they love you they TELL THEIR FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES … because you have saved them time and made the most out of the time they spend with you. As Forrester Research stated, this is the most critical aspect for your customers.

If your customers never had to do a search to find you this would save them time. And the number one place your potential customers go first today to get high quality and trusted information is their network of friends, colleges, and social media connections. They ask these groups the question BEFORE they INVEST TIME in doing the research and searching the millions of entries in the search engines. THE FIRST PLACE THEY GO IS THEIR own network because they TRUST it … consider more than doing a random search !!

Here's a great example to demonstrate how this really works on a very simple restaurant. A few months ago I was visiting my good friend and colleague, Joe Castleberry , the President of Northwest University. As we were talking about a variety of ideas around customer obsession, marketing, and social media, I asked him to test this out while we were meeting. He was heading to Tacoma for a meeting later that week and so I asked him to go onto his Facebook account and simply ask them to give him recommendations of great Mexican restaurants they loved.

We went back to our discussion and within minutes, his phone started to buzz … comments were already coming in from his trusted Facebook network and giving him specific restaurants his friends have tried and love. He now had a “qualified and trusted” list to choose from. WHY would Joe ever need to go to a search engine, type in “Mexican restaurant in Tacoma” and scour through the tons of entries in Google? He does not … he also does not have the time … his trusted network just saved him a ton of time andave him a list of some of the best Mexican restaurants in the area.

Google is not afraid of other search engines … they are afraid of Joe's friends. Joe's friends can give him better (trusted information) than he could ever get from a search engine.

If your business rocks and delivers and incredibly awesome customer experience, your network has no problem … zero … telling others to go buy from you because you are remarkable. Who would not want to go directly to a trusted source and skip all the time researching your options?

This is why WORD-OF-MOUTH SAVES YOU TIME. If someone has an awesome experience and they tell others, they just saved you time. You now can go to a business that is “trusted in your network” of friends and groups. You do not have to waste time doing more research, you have the answer. And when you have a trusted answer, you listen to it and act upon it. This is a HUGE TIME SAVINGS when you add this up through the year.

The OPPORTUNITY for any business is to create such an incredibly remarkable experience that people love it and want to tell others about it. And when they tell others … people who trust you … they listen and act upon it. It saves them time and it gives them a higher quality, more trusted answer than they could get from any search activity. Build this as a business strategy and you can take all the money you are investing into “getting found” on the search engines and put it into your customers. To me, this is a much better investment because you can get a phenomenally better return on your investment.

Build a business strategy that OBSESSES OVER YOUR CUSTOMER and they will see how you can SAVE THEM TIME. When they see this happening, they will not only love you as a business but they will spread the word and tell their friends. This is a strategy that pays off over and over again and well into the future.