Wednesday, March 21, 2018

New Business Development: What's the best way to launch a chocolate brand?


1. Have a very good product. 2. Have a good story. 3. Tell your story and hand out chocolates as much as possible. 4. build a small, loyal following. 5. get a few retailers to carry your chocolate.
At that point, you are launched and can then focus on getting your followers and retailers to make intros to bigger players.

Healthcare: How would healthcare jobs change in next 10 years with AI and with Amazon now going into healthcare?


Healthcare jobs that are purely clinical, such as drawing blood and processing them, will be endangered. You want to focus on higher, more consultative jobs, such as doctor, physician assistants, nursing, etc.
The AI might do the test and diagnose, but humans would still have to explain the diagnosis, help the patient understand what he/she has to do, and follow up to make sure they are implementing it. In other words, healthcare workers would become change managers dealing with the patient as the project.

Marketing Strategy: How can I narrow down what target market or niche to focus on?

Choose a niche where: 1. You enjoy the work. 2. You already have some satisfied clients. 3. There is an ecosystem of related professions (ex: realtors, bankers, title companies, lawyers, home inspectors). Number three is important because solid businesses are built on a pipeline of referrals, and clients won't give referrals to competitors. So, for example, if you are a web designer focused on real estate agents, don't ask for referrals to other agents. Ask for referrals to real estate lawyers, home inspectors, bankers. The agent would gladly give them to you.  Then, build relationships with them, saying that you design websites for real estate agents. They refer you to agents and you can refer them to agents. Then, when you get new real estate agent clients, ask them for lawyers, inspectors, etc. So it becomes a virtuous cycle. Also, if you are reluctant to pick a niche, remember that a niche is for outgoing marketing only. If people from other niches come to you, then feel free to work with them. So you really aren't limited yourself to the niche.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Key To Having An Effective Business Website


As a management consultant, I helped one client, a small jewelry firm, increase their online sales by 300% by recommending changes to their website.

There are three types of websites. 

The key to having an effective business website is to figure out which type you want and design around that.  Never try to mix types, because you want your website to be simple and easy to use.  

The three types of websites are: 

1. Sales.  An example of a sales website is Amazon.
 
2. Credibility.  An example of a credibility website would be one for a professional (doctor, lawyer, or consultant).

3. Informational.  An example of an informational website would be Wikipedia.

In the case of the jewelry firm, I helped them focus on type #1 (sales).  We focused on making the website strictly about their jewelry products—with large, clear pictures, and easy ordering/navigation.

The Easiest and Hardest Parts of Running A Business



The easiest part of running a business is doing the actual work itself (i.e. satisfying the customer). 

Most business owners started their business because they found something that they enjoy doing, are good at, and enjoy helping other people with. 



The hardest part of running a business is getting customers.  This is because:
     
     1. Most business owners are not trained marketers.

     2. We are in the Attention Scarcity Age, where everyone is bombarded with demands for their time and attention.

Stop Creating To-Do Lists!

I learned this strategy from Alan Weiss.

I Stopped creating to do lists.  Instead, I create appointments to do important tasks, and schedule them on my calendar, as if they are a meeting.  When the "appointment" occurs, I do the task.

Two Common Leadership Mistakes


As a consultant and executive coach, these are 2 of the most common mistakes managers make:


1. Taking back delegated tasks - if a manager delegates a task to an employee, and the employee comes back to the manager because of an issue, the mistake managers make is to then tell the employee what to do. This sets up a pattern of dependency, and the employee will come back to the manager whenever there is a new issue.

Instead, the manager should tell the employee to first think about how he/she would solve the issue, and then come to the manager with both the problem and proposed solution.  Then the manager can comment on the solution.  By getting the employee to think through problems first, the manager is reducing the employee's dependence on the manager. In the future, it will be more likely that employees will solve new issues on their own.


2. Making decisions by team consensus.  A new trend is for managers to get by-in from subordinates for decisions, and only taking decisions that the majority of the group is in favor of.  While is it ok to ask employees for their opinions, the manager needs to make the final call.  He is responsible for the results.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

2 Tips for Businesses on Improving the Customer Experience


As a management consultant who has worked with numerous businesses, here are my two best tips for giving a great customer experience:


1. Practice user simplicity - this means that you put yourself in your customers' shoes, and go through every part of your business that is customer-facing.  How can you make it simpler and easy?  As an example of something NOT user simple, I once went into a store to buy a vacuum cleaner.  There were many models there, and nobody to explain the difference.  Once I decided which one I wanted, I realized that it was locked to the shelf.  In fact, many of the vacuums were locked down—apparently by random since the most expensive models were not locked up.  I had to search for an employee, then wait for her to find the right key.


2. Make the most of mistakes - This is not to advocate for mistreating the customer but, despite our best intentions, issues do occur.   How you handle it can make the customer's experience even better than if the issue hadn't occurred! Adopt the mentality that the customer is a normal, healthy adult (until proven otherwise) and not out to cheat or abuse the system.  Empower your employees to make decisions worth a certain amount of money and encourage them to ask the customer "what would make you happy?" For example, a guest who stays in your hotel and has a normal stay won't talk about it on Facebook.  But, he will post: " I stayed at Hotel X.  The faucet was leaky, but they fixed it immediately, and gave me a free dinner in the restaurant!"