5 Reasons Why It Makes Good Sense To Hire A Healthcare Branding Agency

Hiring a healthcare branding agency is a step that any healthcare facility must take into consideration for the sake of its success. Running a healthcare facility of any size is essentially running a business. Unless you have a solid background as a business person, you are undecidedly moving into uncharted waters. Given the number of…

Hiring a healthcare branding agency is a step that any healthcare facility must take into consideration for the sake of its success. Running a healthcare facility of any size is essentially running a business. Unless you have a solid background as a business person, you are undecidedly moving into uncharted waters. Given the number of matters that will divert your attention both during & outside of business hours, it's hard to imagine having the time to sit down and handle marketing.

After all, unless you have clients / consumers, you will not succeed. Here are five reasons why it makes sense to hire a branding agency that specializing in the specific needs of the healthcare field:

1. Time – As mentioned earlier, you are a busy individual far too consumed with any number of matters throughout the day. Being able to carve out thirty minutes here and there is no way to launch a successful marketing campaign. By hiring a separate branding agency, they can dedicate the time necessary to make things start moving.

2. Saving Money – If you sit down and try to calculate the amount of financial resources you would need to dedicate to having someone in-house handle the dynamic of marketing while trying to do their regular duties, you'd be quick to note the lack of productivity. If you decide to hire a separate person to handle marketing, they may have credentials, but they may not have the knowledge of what your business is all about. Factor in a new salary & other incentives and the cost goes up fast.

3. A Dedicated Branding Agency Knows the Business – Healthcare branding agencies are in the business of knowing how to make healthcare facilities / businesses become successful. They know how to work with the surrounding area, understand the demographics at play, and can make these disparate aspects of marketing come together in a cohesive plan.

4. Immediate Plan Implementation – With the knowledge of the business and the ability to make a plan come together, a separate branding agency can implement the marketing plan immediately. This can be beneficial for a healthcare facility as it does make it necessary to be organized and on top of contact lists, financial data, and other pieces that compose most marketing strategies.

5. Perspective – Any successful marketing plan provides the need for self-assessment. Just because you have a plan and put it into effect does not mean that things are moving along just fine. Have you seen an increase in traffic through the door? How well-known is your brand on social media? Is your email campaign getting the desired online traffic you hoped for? What is your return on investment (ROI)? Much the same way it's nearly impossible to tickle yourself, it is nearly impossible to honestly see how well, or how poorly, you are doing and if there is a need to change directions in your marketing. A separate branding agency brings this perspective, but they also bring to the table the ability to not falter under less than happy times. They regroup and move forward.

Being a successful business owner, even in the healthcare field, means knowing how to effectively run your business and delegating responsibility to those you trust. By hiring a healthcare branding agency, you give yourself the chance to focus on what is most important – your business.

The “Plunge” of Newspaper Advertising – It’s a CUSTOMER Issue

I've talked about this issue in probably 700 of the 1000+ statements I have given over the past 8 years … traditional media, predominately newspapers, are in a free fall and it will only get worse. To prove this point, a recent article in WSJ (Wall Street Journal) shared some research by GroupM where they…

I've talked about this issue in probably 700 of the 1000+ statements I have given over the past 8 years … traditional media, predominately newspapers, are in a free fall and it will only get worse. To prove this point, a recent article in WSJ (Wall Street Journal) shared some research by GroupM where they stated that “global spending on newspaper print is expected to decline 8.7% in 2016 … the largest drop since the recession of 2009 when it dropped 13.7%. ” These are big numbers when converted to dollars. And while this is significant, it is not my point … their CUSTOMERS are the real issue.

We can talk all day about the implications this has for many people, including the employees and suppliers to these organizations, but that is a topic for another day and another discussion. Let me just leave this one on the table by summarizing it in just 3 words … THEY MISSED IT. If you want to read more about how this impacting thousands of employees and changes in their industry I would encourage you to read the article, “Plummeting Newspaper Ad Revenue Sparks new Wave of Changes.”

These traditional media organizations, newspapers being a major component, missed it … they missed the Internet Revolution and the Digital Economy. They were so powerful and consumed with their own success and domination that they missed the Tsunami headed to shore that was going to change their world forever. And if you need a quick refresher … think of Craigslist … the first “shot across the bow” that literally wiped out their stalwart of classified advertising. They never recovered from this and never attempted to change their model to compete with Craigslist … they missed it.

I could go on and on about how they missed many other aspects relating to their industry but that is not the point I want to make … or the opportunity that is present today for EVERY BUSINESS LEADER. I want to talk about HOW THEY COULD HAVE PREVENTED THIS FROM HAPPENING so we can all learn from each other's mistakes and apply them to your industry.

I want to answer the question, “WHY DID NOT THEY SEE THIS COMING … THEIR CUSTOMERS WERE TELLING THEM WITH THEIR ACTIONS.”

These changes did not happen overnight. Granted, they happened faster than any other time in our history but they were not instant. There were plenty of warning signs from their customers … their subscribers, advertisers, and readers … that could have guided them out of the cave. Customers were telling them how they wanted something more effective, less expensive, and easier to use.

Back to Craigslist for an example … it was a great model they could have overcome and become a leader in if they had been more “outwardly focused” rather than “inwardly focused.” They missed it. When Craigslist entered the market it was new and innovative … a Blue Ocean strategy for a fat and overpriced service called classified ads. I know, I placed many of them in my day and could not believe how much I had to pay for minimal results. It was a bloated system designed to make newspapers very rich.

And just like all the other models that come along and blew up a bloated industry (think of Uber, AirBnB, Amazon, Zappos, etc.) they became successful because the incumbent's did not want to change their model … it was their “cash cow” at the time and they made billions. They had all the power because they had the audience … the CUSTOMERS. They could have adopted more of a Craigslist model and stopped Craigslist in its tracks … but they did not. They thought because of their power in the market they could dictate what the customer should get … remember Henry Ford when he only wanted to offer black cars?

If they had actually LISTENED TO THEIR CUSTOMERS and realized their true desires and needs … to sell their stuff in less time and less money … they could have owned this market and created an entirely new revenue stream. They missed it because they did not listen to their customers and come up with a plan to give them something of great value. The only wanted to offer it in black.

They also missed that the CUSTOMER WAS IN TOTAL CONTROL of the purchasing decisions. With the switch from the Industrial Revolution to the Internet Revolution, customers had many more choices and could now vote (with their wallets) which one (s) they wanted to support. They chose Craigslist because there was no competitive alternative from the newspapers. The news customers left. They went to a better model … one that saved them what they were screaming for … efficiency, time, and cost.

The newspapers must still be in denial today because they still do not have an offering to compete effectively with Craigslist. But as the saying goes, “the cows have left the barn” so their opportunity is gone. They missed it.

THIS WAS A CUSTOMER ISSUE … IF THEY WERE LISTENING TO AND IN TUNE WITH WHAT WOULD HELP THEIR CUSTOMERS LIVES THEY COULD HAVE CHANGED.

Now I would ask you to think about this with regard to your own business … your own industry … your own customers. What is it in your industry that is “fat and bloated with margin” and not giving your customers what they really want at a reasonable price? I believe there are opportunities to identify this in every every industry. What exists in what you do or provide to your customers that would love to see changed? What could be changed in your business which would actually help your customers live (or businesses) improve? What could you offer that would be more efficient and / or less costly?

And what could you change in your CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE which would blow your customers mind in how much you cared about them and demonstrated how much you cared about improving their lives (or business)? What are these? If you do not know, it's time to find out … because they are there. If you do not believe the opportunity is there and there is nothing you can do, go back to the top of this post and reread the case study on Craigslist … there is always an opportunity.

THIS IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR EVERY BUSINESS LEADER TODAY … identify the areas by finding out from your customers what would improve their life significantly if you could change it. Be bold … be open minded … be creative … and encourage this feedback from your customers. If you do this … constantly … they will actually see you truly care and maybe, just maybe, start telling you something they are not telling anyone else (including your competitors).

When this happens, you all but eliminate the danger of becoming the “newspaper in your industry” and it opens the door to become the “Craigslist in your industry.” This is where future minded business leaders want to go … now you have the insight to get there. Are you up for the challenge?

Warning! Top 3 Problems With Project Schedule Templates

As a project manager, there are many times that you have to draw up a schedule from scratch. Sometimes, you may be stuck as to how to go about the schedule or not but often you will be handed aa schedule and told to just use this as a template. (Note: I use template in…

As a project manager, there are many times that you have to draw up a schedule from scratch. Sometimes, you may be stuck as to how to go about the schedule or not but often you will be handed aa schedule and told to just use this as a template. (Note: I use template in his article for meetings from previous projects and also standard departmental issued templates.)

This may seem like a great idea at first because a lot of the stuff is right there for you. All the tasks seem neatly laid out. You think to yourself: This is just what you needed. This will save a whole lot of time. But beware. Not everything is as easy as it looks.

Here are just a few reasons as to why you should not automatically take that schedule and run with it, tweaking here and there.

Problem # 1: MS Project Does Some Funky Stuff
I do not even think the people at Microsoft have figured out how to delicate and intrate their software really is. I can not even count the amount of times, I have slightly modified a task on my schedule and then something really odd happens. And I mean really odd. So odd that a few times, I was going in circles so much, I just deleted the task and added it back so that it all worked again.

Now take someone's old schedule and start modifying it for your own use and you lose a lot of control as to the amount of funky stuff that can happen. This may be a risk you can live with on a small schedule but I'd rather not take that risk on a large project.

Problem # 2: Try to Follow That Predessor-Successor
Predecessors can be so tricky in a schedule unfamiliar to you that may think you just followed that rabbit down the rabbit hole. Change one duration and the whole schedule may go out of whack. You can attempt to follow those predecessors to find what just happened but then that was just for one change. If you have to add more tasks to the template, then you are quite at a loss without breaking some relationships. This is a task that can become frustrating especially if you are well into your project.

Problem # 3: Try to Make Sense of the Template
Then there are a whole lot of other problems that can get you into trouble when trying to make heads or tails of a previous Project file. These can include such things as: Deadlines, Resources, Task Types, Date Constraints, etc. A whole slew of MS Project “features” can truly drive you crazy trying to figure out why the schedule does not seem right. You can go individually and clean these all up depending on the size of the project file but you have to look for each item first and that will take a lot of work.

So, What to Do
Okay, now I am not saying that templates are not worthwhile but you have to be careful about how you use them. A template should be a guide. Look at it as: here are some items that I should consider in my project. A good template covers a full blown project. Your project may be smaller so you do not need all those elements.

And there is also a converse. It is a good idea that if you have a project with more complexity or other items than the template shows, you should add those to the “template” for future reference.

A template also does not bypass the steps for creating a project schedule. You should always have a Work Breakdown Structure and a Resource Breakdown Structure; and you should still develop a schedule on your own. However, the template provides some backup help and also should provide assistance in developing a proper WBS. So, word of advice, be careful and try to avoid reusing old Project files. Even developing a “standard” template to be reused can get very difficult to manage. But, have a template, definitely!

Business Tax – Strategies for Small Business Owners

With all the trumped up ya-ya from the press laTely over big businesses, corporate tax, and rich folks not paying their fair share, I wanted to offer up some detailed directions for small business owners who might want an opportunity to save some money on their tax debt and still be able to make a…

With all the trumped up ya-ya from the press laTely over big businesses, corporate tax, and rich folks not paying their fair share, I wanted to offer up some detailed directions for small business owners who might want an opportunity to save some money on their tax debt and still be able to make a good living income.

How to Strategize Spending –

Business owners have always planned and strategized their expenses for best benefit, but this may be a bit more structured. To strategize your small business spending program to best influence your tax statement, I have a few recommendations.

  1. Either operate as a DBA, or pay yourself as a contractor so you can personally deduct any business expenses you may have.
  2. Use your personal vehicle for business and deduct ALL business miles possible – read the tax code, or ask your accountant – keep documented proof.
  3. Use the home office deduction and work from home at least 50% of the time, as your primary place of business.
  4. Do not overdo it on the discounts. Stay legitimate and do not take advantage of the situation, it will get you in trouble, but do take ALL legitimate allowances.

How to Plan Income –

Income generally comes in randomly if you have a small business, and you never know when you'll have income, and when you will not, so strategizing your income and taking advantage of the options you do have are important. An investment in your business is always beneficial tax wise, because you often do not need to take income out of your business, and can take it in deductible results.

How to Apply Deductions –

Items that can be purchased and depreciated for the business – purchase them, depreciate them, and after depreciation is out, sell those items for actual value or below. Once an item is no longer being used in your business, get rid of it.

How to Prevent Over-Payment –

Remember that every dime paid into the government in pre-tax payment is money you do not get to spend yourself, and can not draw interest on. Keep your money in your pocket as long as possible, and do not pay in until you must. For those who pay in quarterly, be sure you're not over-estimating our taxable income?

How to Invest in Your Business –

Depending on how your business is owned, corporation, partnership, or proprietorship, you may prefer to purchase needed equipment for your business personally, and take depreciation options. The way you choose to invest in your business, and take income back, will determine how much of you are paid by your business, and the type of tax you will be paying on your personal income.

Income tax is not a personal requirement, and there are many ways to avoid having anything due at the end of the year, by strategically planning your investments, deductions, and income. The more money you make, the more important your strategy becomes.

The question then becomes, what taxes will you be paying through your business?

Not So Fast – The Cart Doesn’t Go in Front of the Horse

When organizations decide to improve their customer experience, they are usually losing more customers, feeling the threat of competition (usually because they are in a commodity position), wanting to expand their customer base, move into new markets, or possibly some other reason. Unfortunately, their first instinct is to throw some TACTICS at the solution ……

When organizations decide to improve their customer experience, they are usually losing more customers, feeling the threat of competition (usually because they are in a commodity position), wanting to expand their customer base, move into new markets, or possibly some other reason. Unfortunately, their first instinct is to throw some TACTICS at the solution … trying to apply some short term fixes to solve some longer term issues. Most usually say, ” What are we going to do to improve our customer experience starting tomorrow?

CAUTION : THIS DOES NOT WORK … at least not for very long !!

There are many consultants in the market that love to prey on companies asking these questions and who want immediate action and fixes … usually luring them into the trap of thinking this is a “quick fix” solution. Try this, now try that, then put this in place next week and you'll see instant results. I can pretty much guarantee you will not get the results you want and they will not be sustainable … they do not have a “long tail” to last through the entire CUSTOMER JOURNEY.

Customers are on a JOURNEY … every customer.

Regardless of where customer starts, they are on a journey to Discover, Explore, Learn, Validate, Purchase, Evaluate, Assess, and then decide if this was a positive, neutral, or negative experience. This Journey can be fairly quick or extend over a long period of time, depending on your business. But every customer goes through a Journey of some kind.

JOURNEY'S START WITH STRATEGY …

Imagine you want to go on a trip across the country … that would be a Journey. You have two choices. The first choice is to jump in the car with a bag packed (warm and cold clothes) and just start driving. You have no idea where you are going at any given moment but you “tactically” keep driving, eating, sleeping, and going to new places. But there's no plan on where you want to end up or by when. It's just a bunch of tactics put together to get you “somewhere” … but without a destination.

Your second choice is take a trip across the country that is a JOURNEY. You decide where you want to end up and by when … you build a vision of your destination. Then you develop a very specific STRATEGY for how you want to get there … where you want to go along the way, how long it will take you, and what you would like to experience. After you have all this identified, THEN you plan out the tactics to make your strategy a reality and you will achieve your vision by a certain date. All the pieces need to be in alignment for this to happen … but when they happen, you end up where you wanted to go and when you wanted to get there and you get to see what you planned on seeing and you have an awesome experience.

A CUSTOMER JOURNEY is similar to your second choice.

You plan out what you want your Customer Experience to look like … the ideal state for what you want your customers to say after having an experience with your company. Then you create Customer Experience Maps to define each interaction with the customer so you know specifically what you want to achieve and how you want to get there. Now you can execute the maps and provide the training of your personnel … you are providing the “tactics” and details so they can deliver a ” consistent and repeatable” customer experience .

A Customer Journey goes well beyond just putting some “stop gap” tactics in place to try and please the customer. When companies focus on the tactics without a well-defined strategy and journey, they end up with ” Random Acts of Excellence and Chaos ” … which causes customers to be confused … and confused customers leave. Customers love predictability and consistency in their experience.

To become a CUSTOMER OBSESSED Company, you have to start with a CUSTOMER JOURNEY STRATEGY … which ends up with lots of TACTICS. But now these tactics are focused in a common direction with a specific vision and strategy in place. This is what the very best companies do to provide a consistently incredible customer experience. It's what sets them apart from their competition. Any company can do it … but few will take on the challenge and see the opportunity because it is strategic, takes planning, takes time, requires commitment, and does not happen overnight. Those who want a list of “quick fix” tactics never get there.

Understanding your Strategic Customer Journey and building Customer Experience Maps to execute the tactics of the Journey is what gives companies the foundation upon which they can build and grow many years into the future. It's what creates the “long tail” of Customer Loyalty and Retention … not to mention massive Word-of-Mouth. It's a core piece of the overall Vision, Strategy, and Journey. I would love to talk to you if you are on a path to Customer Obsession … it would be a great conversation!

How to Choose a Successor With The Proper Qualifications

You are going on a long departure from your company soon. How do you prepare your employees and your company for this change? Previously, we outlined three different steps: Strategic planning Delegation Succession planning Strategic planning requires identifying the tasks that must be finished while delegation focuses on distributing and prioritizing the tasks at hand.…

You are going on a long departure from your company soon. How do you prepare your employees and your company for this change?

Previously, we outlined three different steps:

  1. Strategic planning
  2. Delegation
  3. Succession planning

Strategic planning requires identifying the tasks that must be finished while delegation focuses on distributing and prioritizing the tasks at hand. The third and final step, success planning, involved finding a temporary replacement for your position.

Succession planning can often times be very stressful. You want to find someone who will lead your company the way you want it to be led. So how do you go about that? How do you find the person that you can trust and will allow for a seamless transition?

Simply following your gut or making a random decision for such a big position is not the best way to go. You want to do your research and make sure that your successor is the ideal fit.

Succession planning can be separated into two parts:

• Skills – Does s / he have the basic requirements to fit this position?

• Attitude – Does s / he same a similar set of values ​​or ideas as you?

Your successor should be qualified for this part.

A good way to figure out nominations for the position, you first and foremost need to create a list of key qualities. What MUST this successor be able to do?

Now classify all of these skills from a scale 1-10- 1 as “least” important and 10 as “most”.

  • A job that requires outdoor work would prioritize fitness over public speaking even if both are required.

Next, decide the minimum “value” number that a successor must have. This value number is again on a scale of 1-10, expect this time, it is just for this particular skill.

After you have a good idea of ​​the requirements, think through all the people who you have worked with and fill in their value numbers. This should give you a more accurate idea of ​​their qualifications. Remember, if no one fits the bill as well as you would like, hiring from a different part of the company or even outside the company is a possibility.

After you have a short list of qualified candidates, you can think about how their attitudes fit with those of you and your company.

  • Do you think that they share the same values ​​as you?
  • Will they make similar decisions as you?

It is important to ensure that both the skills and attitudes of the candidate align with your company and that you hire someone you trust.

Benefits of Maintaining High Voltage Equipment Proactively

The performance and reliability of the important electrical assets like switch gear, transformers, circuit breakers, switches and protective relays have a direct effect on the productivity and performance of your facility. The success of your business depends on the performance and condition of those electrical assets. Thus, it is highly important to regularly inspect and…

The performance and reliability of the important electrical assets like switch gear, transformers, circuit breakers, switches and protective relays have a direct effect on the productivity and performance of your facility. The success of your business depends on the performance and condition of those electrical assets. Thus, it is highly important to regularly inspect and maintain the high voltage electrical installations. Whether you are a startup or want to enhance the operations, productivity of the assets, with right high voltage maintenance service as your partner you can carry on the tasks systemically.

Importance of Hiring Preventive Maintenance Service

Electrical equipment degrades with time, but that does not mean it would fail to perform. With preventive maintenance service, you can come to know about the equipment's present condition and find out the most manageable and practical solution to improve the overall performance, reliability, and safety. Remember, when high voltage electrical equipment fails to work, you may need to suffer loss of income due to the temporary halt in the operation between bearing the huge replacement cost. Thus, without any further delay, you must appoint a team of professionals with knowledge in high voltage maintenance service.

Owners of high voltage installations are responsible for guaranteeing safe operation of the entire electrical infrastructure. Inspection and renovation will extend the service life of the equipment and unforgettable the reasons of lost performance. By finding out the faults timely, you can correct and enhance the system's performance, since before investing your capital on equipment replacement, contact with a reputed team of high voltage engineers. This will further make sure a safe work environment for the people and operators working in the surrounding area.

Elements of a preventive maintenance program include

• The maintenance service inspires typical equipment like transformers, circuit breakers, switch gear, switches etc to check the structural soundness

• Inspection of the systems that more likely become the subject of malfunction

• Quick repair of the faulty parts observed during the inspection and testing

• Replacement of worn out or broken parts

Being the owner or manager of the facility, you must arrange the necessary spare parts for the systems that require frequent repairs. Use a well thought-out record-keeping system to schedule the tests and try to document the inspections. The appended high voltage engineering team must provide a detailed report on the test results, give practical advice on the follow-up actions, and recommendation on the safe work practices.

On What Parameter Do the Managers Need to Be Trained?

Managers are the company's reliable authorities who handle the firm with a team under them. They are the pillars of the company. Here is a proper training for managers is essential more than anything. This will lead them to realize their innate potential and execute it. To make an idealistic image for their employees and…

Managers are the company's reliable authorities who handle the firm with a team under them. They are the pillars of the company. Here is a proper training for managers is essential more than anything. This will lead them to realize their innate potential and execute it.

To make an idealistic image for their employees and filter out the 100% potential, managers need a coaching based on the following key points:

• Build up a RESULT- SITUATED attitude
In any project that you engage yourself, whether it is any presentation or conference or meetings, strive to inculcate ideas and concepts that clearly identify the goals right from the very preliminary stages. Deciding on a clear goal is a major task. To drift away the cloud of confusion is a necessity; Or else it would be like aiming the arrow with a blindfold.

• Set priorities beforehand
Pre- plan everything and take care that the time you invest in any project is not wasted. Focus all your time and resources specifically on the highest priorities of your team and then execute. The pre-planning is the most important stage. It's like the foundation of a building that needs to be concrete. This leads into proper execution of the procedures and a check on the time consumed at each and every stage.

• Many in body but one in mind
It's very important for the manager to connect to the employees. Make them understand your goals and try to analyze their perspectives. When the team members are one in mind, then they will be motivated to perform outstandingly. Of course there will be difference in opinions but that is never a problem. See that as an advantage to profit your project with variety of perspectives and uniqueness in every work. Just keep a check that the main goal is not deviated or neglected.

• Share your vision within the team
Grow your team with shared expectation so that they are roused to perform radiantly through a mutual desire and responsibility. A team works efficiently when they share the same passion and understanding to achieve a vision. Never take anything as just your own vision. This will not source out effective performance of your subordinates. Make them realize that the particular vision is of the team as a whole. They will give their 100% to achieve it.

• Brainstorm to manage your team like pro
Show imaginative critical thinking by searching out contrasts and new and better options. Keep them motivated and appreciate in creative ways. Dissolve out the differences expertly that might create a negative edge between the team members. You do not need any reason to hamper the workings due to unreasonable conflicts.

• Be a manager and not a dictator
Do not order your subordinates. Guide them and provide them with ideas and resources. That's what your job is. You do not need half-hearted performances and poor poor results. No one enjoys being dictated. When your subordinates know that they are being respected and assisted with support from you, they will astonish you with appreciable results. This attitude will help u manage and lead the team effectively.

• Exclusive leadership qualities
Empower your subordinates to find solutions and develop decision making skills. This will nullify the manager dependency formula that can tie you up and result in obstruction the team's progress. Train your team members to develop decent qualities and let them analyze their tasks and decision. You will be proud of your team and they will have immunity gratitude towards you for growing them into a successful team.

Training the leaders of the company to manage the venture with their skills and understanding, will lead them to maximize the potential of the company's greatest investment, the people!

How to Delegate Tasks For a Long Departure?

A couple posts ago, we discussed planning for a long departure. Whether it be a small vacation or an unexpected leave, there are certain tasks that you must complete and others that will be passed down. In your absence, someone must take over your duties and ensure that the work continues to get done. So…

A couple posts ago, we discussed planning for a long departure. Whether it be a small vacation or an unexpected leave, there are certain tasks that you must complete and others that will be passed down.

In your absence, someone must take over your duties and ensure that the work continues to get done.

So how do you delegate the work? How do you ensure that he or she will be able to properly prioritize the work and take action?

First, let us review the three categories of responsibilities:

  • Daily Operation – tasks done on a frequent basis
  • Fire Fighting – tasks that interrupt you that must be handled within quickly
  • Touch and Go – tasks that interrupt you that can be handled a little bit later

Daily Operations are the easiest tasks to delegate. They are tasks that you have regularly done. Because you know what to expect, you can clearly tell others what must be done.

Now you have two more categories, Fire Fighting and Touch and Go. With both of these tasks, there are often times when you shift back and forth between the task that you were actually doing and this interruption.

When you are leaving these tasks for someone else to do, you must think about how you want to tackle them.

Some questions that you could ask include:

  • How much of an emergency is this task?
  • Can it be rescheduled?
  • Who else must be involved in this decision?
  • What kind of follow-up is needed?

By asking such questions, the manger will be able to handle each case as its own and better understand the individual level of urgency. Instead of everything being treated as a Fire-Fighting, these interruptions have now become problem solving time blocks. During this period, the manager can properly analyze the situation and take appropriate actions. It will prevent hasty decisions and help create a better time management.

Yes, it is time that must be created but it is a good business strategy to have. It allows more of those Touch and Go tasks to become a part of your Daily Operation. Making these unexpected tasks part of the daily agenda makes delegation easier as now, there is a routine way to handle the unexpected.

Delegating tasks is never easy because not everyone may not think the same way or place the same amount of urgency on certain tasks. Use the guiding questions to make the transition more seamless.

Milestones and Metrics

A plan is only a document on paper without an implementation plan, complete with a schedule, defined roles, and key responsibilities. How to Write a Business Plan: Milestones While the Milestones and Metrics chapter of your business plan may not be long, it's critical that you take the time to look forward and schedule the…

A plan is only a document on paper without an implementation plan, complete with a schedule, defined roles, and key responsibilities.

How to Write a Business Plan: Milestones While the Milestones and Metrics chapter of your business plan may not be long, it's critical that you take the time to look forward and schedule the next critical steps for your business. Investors will want to see that you understand what needs to happen to make your plans a reality and that you are working on a realistic schedule. Start with a quick review of your milestones. Milestones are planned major goals.

For example, if you are producing a medical device, you will have milestones associated with clinical testing and government approval processes. If you are producing a consumer product, you may have milestones associated with prototypes, finding manufacturers, and first order receipt. While miles look forward, you will also want to take a look back at major accomplishments that you have already had. Investors like to call this “transaction.” What this means is that your company has shown some evidence of early success. Traction could have some initial sales, a successful pilot program, or a significant partnership. Sharing this proof that your company is more than just an idea-that it has actual evidence that it is going to be a success-can be critically important to landing the money you need to grow your business. In addition to millions and transactions, your business plan should detail the key metrics that you will be watching as your business gets off the ground. Metrics are the numbers that you watch on a regular basis to judge the health of your business. They are the drivers of growth for your business model and your financial plan.

For example, a restaurant may pay special attention to the number of table turns they have on an average night and the ratio of drink sales to food sales. An online software company may look at churn rates (the percentage of customers that cancel) and new signups. Every business will have key metrics that it watches to monitor growth and spot trouble early, and your business plan should detail the key metrics that you will be tracking in your business. Knowing what your assumptions are as you start a business can make the difference between business success and business failure.

Finally, your business plan should detail the key requirements you have made that are important for your businesses success. Another way to think about key assumptions is to think about risk. What risks are you taking with your business? For example, if you do not have a proven demand for a new product, you are making an assumption that people will want what you are building. If you are relying on online advertising as a major promotional channel, you are making assumptions about the costs of that advertising and the percentage of ad viewers that will actually make a purchase. Knowing what your assumptions are as you start a business can make the difference between business success and business failure. When you recognize your assumptions, you can set out to prove that your assumptions are correct. The more that you can minimize your assumptions, the more likely it is that your business will succeed.

An “Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure” – Here Are The Numbers

Anyone ever hear this phrase … I heard it all the time from my dad. Whenever there was some maintenance to do on anything (car, house, bike, or anything else) he would always remind me that while it might cost you $ 100 today it was worth the investment so you did not pay $…

Anyone ever hear this phrase … I heard it all the time from my dad. Whenever there was some maintenance to do on anything (car, house, bike, or anything else) he would always remind me that while it might cost you $ 100 today it was worth the investment so you did not pay $ 1000 tomorrow to get something fixed .

It has stuck with me my entire life … does not mean I always follow it, but it is always in the back of my mind … especially when I do not do the maintenance. This relates to a whole host of things in life … it is one of those nagging phrases we wish we never heard but can not get out of our minds.

Take your CUSTOMERS for example … investing in them now (keeping them as a customer) is considerably less expensive than trying fix things that broke (trying to win them back). If you are the leader of any kind in a business you know this to be true. Yet all too often we ignore this age old saying and end up spending a ton of money and time to “CURE” the issue … winning our customers back … instead of spending the time and money up front to make them feel incredibly important.

Why is this?

When I do a ” CUSTOMER AUDIT ” for a business we try to identify in which category their customers fit and what percentage of their customers fit into these categories. Here are the four categories …

  1. Unhappy Customer and / or Customers who have left
  2. Satisfied Customer
  3. Loyal Customer
  4. Advocate

Once we identified the criteria of each category we determine the percentage of customers that fit into each category. For a smaller business with fewer customers you can actually do this audit by customer based on the predetermined criteria for each category. If you want to learn more, just shoot me a message and I can give you some more details on the process.

Here's what upsets business owners and leaders … when they see the numbers they usually freak out because they realize that most of their customers are AT RISK.

For example, we all know that the “UNHAPPY” customers have pretty much left … at least mentally and just waiting to move on at some point. We also know that “SATISFIED” are simply “waiting for the next best deal / experience” from someone else and then they will leave so they are in a holding state until this comes along (which happens much more quickly today). The “LOYAL” customers are those that like what you are doing and offering so they stick with you as long as you treat them well. These are the customers that give you “second chances” when you mess things up for them and do not just leave right away. Finally, we have the “ADVOCATES” which are all the people that love you (and their experience) so much they go out of their way to “tell others” about you. THESE ARE THE GOLD IN THE LIST.

Back to the issue of RISK . Unfortunately, when we identify the criteria and start putting customers in one of these four categories, the numbers often times end up like this on average …

  1. Unhappy Customer and / or Customers who have left – 20%
  2. Satisfied Customer – 55%
  3. Loyal Customer – 20%
  4. Advocate – 5%

Your numbers might differ significantly but this is not too far off for most businesses … when they do an honest evaluation. If you follow the above criteria, this would mean that 75% of your customers would be at risk of leaving . This is the number that scares business leaders. ESPecially in today's market where businesses are rapidly getting “commoditized” and so they are at much higher risk of losing customers based on price or terms.

BUT THERE IS AN AWESOME SOLUTION TO CHANGING THESE NUMBERS …

For the companies who have made AN INVESTMENT (an OUNCE OF PREVENTION ) in building the customer experience their customers not only love but want to talk about, they change these numbers significantly. For example, here are the numbers of a company that INVESTED in their customer experience BEFORE they ended up with the 75% risk factor …

  1. Unhappy Customer and / or Customers who have left – 5%
  2. Satisfied Customer – 20%
  3. Loyal Customer – 60%
  4. Advocate – 15%

This lowered their risk to only 25% … which was also being reduced based on their new Customer Experience Journey. Their 15% Advocates were also increasing and this increase of 10% is worth an incredible amount of business … because they are helping to do their marketing for them at little to no cost! A small increase in Advocates is worth a significant benefit in increasing revenues and lower costs … more on that in another post.

The OUNCE OF PREVENTION is to change the way you think about your business. Put the customer first in the Vision, Mission, and Strategy of the company and build your company around your customers rather than your products and services. By creating a CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE that is incredibly awesome and remarkable, you get WOW … you get LOYALTY … you get to the holy grail of ADVOCATES.

This is a GAME CHANGER and one where you can change the “Customer Audit” numbers significantly. How would you, the business owner, feel if you were to lower your RISK from 75% to only 25%? While you may still believe 25% is too high (which it is) you are well on your way to being the dominant business in your industry. Even if you lose some of the 25% of customers, your competitors are at risk of losing most of their 75% of customers at risk … which is what will put them out of business … no one can sustain that level of loss of customer base … at least none I have ever met.

Lowering your risk proactively and building a strong loyal base of future ADVOCATES is a recipe for success in the new economy. It sets up a direction for your company that the top consulting and research firms are telling you is the path to success in the Digital / Internet Revolution … CREATING AND DELIVERING A REMARKABLE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE AND BUILDING ADVOCATES.

Now it's up to you … are you willing to invest an OUNCE OF PREVENTION so you do not end up spending massive amounts of time and money to fix the issue of a mediocre customer experience … at the risk of losing the business ? This POUND OF CURE could be more expensive and exhaustive than most companies can afford to spend. Now's the time to put this old adage to work for your business and set yourself up to lower your risk and become a leader in your industry. It's far easier and involves much less time and money … today is DAY ONE.

Overcome Limitations of Your CRM Platform and Realize Your Goals

In today 'time, it's important for businesses to keep looking for ways and methods that can help them grow and expand. They need to invest in tools that are helpful and deliver an uneven edge. That's why, we can see how more businesses now invest in a feature-rich and cloud-driven CRM system to stay ahead…

In today 'time, it's important for businesses to keep looking for ways and methods that can help them grow and expand. They need to invest in tools that are helpful and deliver an uneven edge. That's why, we can see how more businesses now invest in a feature-rich and cloud-driven CRM system to stay ahead of the curve. This investment however should be dependent on a number of factors so that the returns can be maximized. More so, they should only trust an in-depth platform that is developed to boost the capabilities and competencies of businesses across industry verticals.

However, no matter which platform is selected, nearly all of them will hit limits at some point of time for sure. This happens because CRM systems often come with a set of standard features and functionalities which may appear adequate at the start but they fail to scale up according to the expansion and growth of businesses. Which means, limitations are quite obvious but they can be overcome by hiring a team of developers. Expert developers will work on the platform, create codes for trigger and help businesses to leverage it fully to serve their purposes in the best possible manner.

Similarly, developers are hired to help in creation of apps specific to the needs of the business. They will help tackle all those problems not solvable with standard functionality available with the CRM system at your disposal. This way, any business can get the most out of their investment in a business tool that brings all the benefits of the cloud. These developers bring the due expertise and resources that nothing could stop the business from leveraging the cloud fully. So, be it automating processes or building of custom apps or taking the apps to a selling platform – they help in all.

Furthermore, these developers ensure speedy, flexible and adaptive development so that every requirement of the business is met successfully. Without them, your business would not be able to use CRM platform in the desired manner. Which can certainly hamper your growth and expansion prospects in a big way at a time when almost every business looks to have the edge in the market. Similarly, you should trust only a domain-leading and proven platform so that your processes and systems could be streamlined and automated in a standard manner. The selection should be based on the features available in terms of storing data and retrieval them with ease.

More so, the selection of a CRM platform should have done the basis of its performance in terms of helping business track and manage customer information. It should help connect the entire team from any device apart from simplifying repetitive tasks to let you stay focussed on core areas of operations, particularly on leads. The tool should be extendable and customizable as only they can scale it up to suit business requirements perfectly. All this is only possible when you choose a right CRM system and let your business grow in the same way as desired.

5 Reasons WHY Companies Don’t OBSESS Over Their CUSTOMERS

I talk to company leaders all the time about CUSTOMER OBSESSION and how it is the most critical ingredient to helping them become a REMARKABLE company. And while they all get excited and say it sounds awesome, few take action. I'm always amazed at how they do not see the Tsunami coming towards shore ……

I talk to company leaders all the time about CUSTOMER OBSESSION and how it is the most critical ingredient to helping them become a REMARKABLE company. And while they all get excited and say it sounds awesome, few take action.

I'm always amazed at how they do not see the Tsunami coming towards shore … despite tons of research from some of the most respected and research firms and the research firms in the world! They still do not believe the Tsunami will hit them and they can “wait it out” just a little longer. The problem with this strategy (or lack of there) is that when a Tsunami gets close enough to shore where it can be felt and seen, it's too late. You can not get to higher ground fast enough so it wipes you out … a similar scenario many predict will happen to many businesses by making the decision to wait.

I talk and write a lot about WHY it is imperative that companies make the change immediately from a PRODUCT / SERVICE CENTRIC company to a CUSTOMER OBSESSED organization. It's essentially about avoiding extinction in their industry and alternatively, rising to the top where they can be a leader instead of a casualty. For those that listen and want to act, this article / post is not for you. But if you have not yet made the strategic decision to becoming Customer Obsessed, this might be helpful to you.

I thought it be helpful to share some of the reasons WHY company leaders tell me that they want to stay where they are today and why they do not want to seek higher ground with the impending Tsunami headed their way. While there are more than these 5, I wanted to start with at least the TOP 5 I hear the most about why they do not OBSESS over their customers … and at the same time offer some quick thoughts on how to turn it into an OPPORTUNITY …

  1. Products / Services doing fine today … they are in a highly competitive (commodity) market in their industry but they are “holding their own” at the moment. This is the most common situation most companies are in today. I firmly believe the leaders of these companies know that they are on the edge of disaster at some point … they just do not know when. So when you do not know what to do, you tend to just do more of what you are currently doing.

Those that find themselves in this situation are generally more in a state of ignorance than they are not wanting to do something … they simply do not understand Customer Obsession and what it can do to transform their company. Helping them understand the power of Customer Obsession is where they need to start. If they understood how this could completely differentiate them and what an incredible difference it could make in their company they would not use this excuse. Education for these leaders is critical … and sooner than later.

  1. We do not have any resources / personnel … While on the surface this looks like a legitimate answer, it is usually more of a “smoke screen” for other issues. Lack of funds is always an easy excuse to not do anything … including becoming Customer Obsessed and creating an incredible and memorable Customer Experience. I usually call “foul” on this in early discussions since the cost today of not doing something is greater than the cost of doing something in this critical area.

For example, in some of the latest research I read, they found that NOT building your company around a WOW Customer Experience has a 20% negative impact on revenues … mean it costs companies (on average) 20% of their revenues. This is a huge number and can mean the extinction for many companies.

The other side of this argument is that they “lack the personnel” needed to make it happen. What many do not realize is that in most cases it does not take more (in fact sometimes less) personnel to be a Customer Obsessed organization. Since employees are just doing things differently and with more focus on the customer instead of what they are doing today, they do not add more they just redirect what they are doing and why. This one is also usually a “smoke screen” for the Owner / Leader who just does not want to do anything different.

The solution or opportunity is to do some analysis of what this may take, both economically and the person necessary to implement a strategy of Customer Obsession and create an incredible and memorable customer experience. Armed with this information an executive can make an informed decision … and this usually changes from an excuse to thinking of the possibilities it could create for their organization.

  1. It is not part of our strategic plan … this might be the easiest of excuses to overcome or to change for a business leader. Many organizations I come across do not have a current strategic plan so this is a very useful and helpful exercise to go through to get one in place. When I help them do their strategic planning, we talk about what a Customer Obsessed company would look like as opposed to a Product / Service centric company. Once they understand how much stronger their difference could be and how much more value they can be to their customers, it is not just accepted but embroidered as the way to go strategically.

The opportunity for leaders is to develop a Customer Obsessed Business Strategy and build the company around creating and delivering an incredible customer experience. This gives them the focus, clarity, and direction for how they can become a Customer Obsessed company. Now they can communicate this to their employees (building a customer obsessed culture) and their customers. This is usually the easiest excuse I hear to get resolved.

  1. We already love our customers and treat them well … this is despite the most dangerous of all the excuses and reasons. I call this one the “head in the sand” excuse because they think they are doing something they are not. According to a recent statistic, 82% of the company leaders felt they were already delivering an awesome customer experience. But when they asked these companies customers to give their opinion, only 8% of their customers felt they delivered a great experience. This is a massive difference in any industry.

This says the leadership inside these companies is clueless about what an awesome, incredible, amazing and WOW customer experience really means and looks like. This is pure denial … no other reason for this to happen. And like anything, when someone is in denial, getting them to see another perspective is incredibly difficult.

The opportunity here is challenging … it's changing the mind of the top leaders. However, if they are willing to look at the research and statistics on what these research and consulting companies are saying, hopefully, it will open up a discussion. Giving them examples of companies who are Customer Obsessed and how successful they have become also helps get the dialog started. If we can get them to being open minded about the topic, they will usually see the light and want to at least learn about what it means to become Customer Obsessed.

  1. This is just too big of a change for us right now … this excuse is a combination of all of the above. It does not really tell you what is holding them back from either considering it or learning more about it. Until we can learn more about their true reason for resisting, they will not want to consider it. They will just resist without being open to change and something that can significantly improve their company.

The big opportunity is to drill down further with the leader to better understand why this would represent such a big change right now. When this is identified, they can start to get their arms around what the real opportunity is in front of them and why they should move to a Customer Obsessed company. Like number 2 and 4 above, this is usually a smoke screen and defense put up due to lack of understanding and knowledge about what it really means.

While there are other reasons, these are some of the top reasons companies resisting the idea and concept of becoming a CUSTOMER OBSESSED company.

The OPPORTUNITY for CHANGE usually starts with being open minded and listening to the research and what other companies are doing. This helps open the discussion so they are more receptive to understanding what it really means to be Customer Obsessed. Once they are interested, they can see how the tools, such as Customer Experience Mapping, can help bring this to life and reality. And when they better understand how the implementation works, they can get past some of these initial areas of resistance.

The key is to be OPEN MINDED and willing to see what it might look like to move to “higher ground” with the impending Tsunami approaching the shore. When they understand and believe this, they are open to having an entirely different discussion … one of OPPORTUNITY and what SUCCESS could look like for their company. Now they can start dreaming of what their company might look like if they were completely DIFFERENTIATED from their competitors. This is where the real fun begins …

How to Prepare for a Long Departure?

This next series will focus on planning for a long departure. You are going on a vacation. It is your time off, a break from all the daily tasks at work. You are excited . You have already: Informed your office of your leave Set up automatic email and call replies Finished up any projects…

This next series will focus on planning for a long departure. You are going on a vacation. It is your time off, a break from all the daily tasks at work. You are excited .

You have already:

  • Informed your office of your leave
  • Set up automatic email and call replies
  • Finished up any projects and tasks that are still left

You know what tasks need to be done before you go, tasks that you must tackle when you get back and some last-minute details that you need to take care of before you are all set.

But what if your break is not one that is planned? What if you did not know that you were going to have to leave or do not know how long you will be gone?

Now you just feel overwhelmed .

It is not as easy to say that you will wait to do certain things when you get back because you do not know when you will be back . Your job can not be on hold because it may create more problems down the road.

So what do you do? You prepare to the best of your abilities; put a strategy into place to help combat for the actions that you may not have time to finish. The goal is to prevent your company from stalling and to allow for a seamless transition.

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will discuss different steps to take in order to ease the stress of a long departure.

In this post, we will focus on understanding the responsibilities that you hold.

They can be can split into three tiers:

  1. Daily Operation – daily tasks
  2. Fire Fighting – hard deadline tasks
  3. Touch and Go – soft deadline tasks

While most tasks are very important, you need to prioritize. Remember that while you can finish some tasks, for unplanned trips, it is hard to manage everything on your own. You can not account for everything but outlining your job and duties will show you what work needs to be finished. Then, you can take steps to decide how to delegate the work and to what.

Use the comment below to discuss your personal experiences with long departures and to learn from others that have gone through a similar experience. Consider hiring a business coach if you are planning a vacation but need help creating a strategy that will ensure that your company continues to run smoothly.

I Don’t Have Time For Vision! Six Principles For Implementing a Useful Organizational Vision

I recently keynoteed at a Project Management Symposium. During the symposium several executives provided perspective on the importance of Project Management to the organization. One of the executives centered his discussion around people having vision. I can imagine the reaction of some of the people in the room. “Yeah, right. I've got projects with impossible…

I recently keynoteed at a Project Management Symposium. During the symposium several executives provided perspective on the importance of Project Management to the organization. One of the executives centered his discussion around people having vision. I can imagine the reaction of some of the people in the room. “Yeah, right. I've got projects with impossible deadlines, my customer is breathing down my neck because she is not getting what she wants, my project team is not dedicating enough time on my project, and budget cuts mean I have to figure out how to get more done with less. Do you want to have a vision? I can barely get things done as it is! ”

I feel your pain, collections. But I also agree with the exec.

Vision is not something reserved for the higher-ups and it is not some highfalutin lingo that the folks in marketing dream up. A well-developed vision provides guidance, inspires performance, sets priorities, ensures alignment with corporate objectives, and does not create meaningless work for you and your team. When done poorly, a vision is nothing more than a huge waste of time in developing something to appease your boss and probably gets stuffed in a drawer after the “vision exercise” is done. I've been on both sides of the ledger: I've developed organizational visions which were quite useful in driving priorities and moving the team in the right direction. Then again, I've had a few which were painful to develop and served no use in driving my organization.

Through my failures (and a couple of successes) I've locked on six principles which can help you develop and implement a vision which is actually useful in driving results, as follows:

Principle # 1 – Start with your manager – you could develop a killer vision that you and your team get super excited about, but if it is not aligned with your manager's vision and priorities you're going to be out of step with his or her organization. Get clear on your manager's vision and ensure your vision contributes to his or her overall vision.

Principle # 2 – Keep it super simple – IMHO (In my humble opinion) the best vision statements are a single sentence. They are something that you and your team can easily memorize, recall at a moments notice, and most importantly understand what it means. Vision statements which are paragraphs long lose their impact with every superfluous word. Simple. Direct. Concise.

Principle # 3 – Involve the team – If you want someone other than yourself to be inspired and excited about a vision then you've got to ensure your team is actually involved in the vision setting process. Many of us type-A personalities will just want to spend a few minutes crafting something in our office and subverbally revealing it to the team. Resist the urge. Yes, it takes longer to build consensus and can be frustrating particularly if the team does not agree on things. The end result, though, is a much more effective vision which has team buy-in and a greater likelihood of success.

Principle # 4 – Use a facilitator if you're not good at facilitating – I've seen some managers do a very good job of facilitating vision statement development. They encourage participation, do not unduly taint the direction, and drive the team to consensus. Then again, I've seen some managers completely bungle it by forcing their own agenda on the team. The end result was only verbal agreement of a vision; the team really was not bought in because they were not able to contribute. If you're not good at facilitation ask a college to facilitate vision statement development for you.

Principle # 5 – Checkpoint your progress – So you spend hours and hours developing a great vision statement that the entire team is completely jazzed about then you summarize stuff in a drawer never to see light of day again (until you have to go through the vision process again next year and you pull it out of the drawer to see what you did in the prior year). Keep the vision prominently displayed, report on significant wins which moves the ball closer to achieving your vision, and develop a couple of metrics which allow you to chart progress.

Principle # 6 – Change it if it no longer makes sense – So sometimes things change. Maybe there's a re-organization, or maybe there's a shift in business priorities. These types of things can render a well-crafted vision ineffective. Simply put, if the vision no longer makes sense change it to something that does make sense. Going through the motors on a vision which does not match your priorities leaves you drifting at sea without a sail. Just be cautious to avoid creating a “vision du jour” because you're trying to overly fine-tune direction to the business.

Creating vision is not a waste of time. Your vision galvanizes your team and gets them marching to the same drumbeat. Take to time to digest these principles and put them to use next time you have to develop a vision for your organization.