Don’t be like Jack

Most people would have heard the saying “jack of all trades, master of none”. I think there is a danger in business to overpromise and under-deliver. By trying to fulfil every challenge your client throws at you, you risk over-committing yourself big time.

Not so long ago, when I was a spritely 21 year old I worked for a large Managed Services IT firm. We had a brilliant team based on a client site full time. We look care of everything from Windows desktops to telecoms. There was a trend of having to know little about lots – Covering different systems and environments; one minute learning how to patch a phone to a switch, the next sorting out a user who couldn’t log-on to their machine. I never quite got this – We were busy doing adequate jobs up until a point, but when anything serious was encountered the whole service fell apart. We had to wait for a more senior engineer to be drafted in. The customer had to wait.
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Waving the Flag

Today millions of England football fans worldwide get behind their beloved team. Many have travelled thousands of miles to South Africa to cheer them on in person. You don’t have to look very hard to see painted faces, flags flying proud from houses, cars and shop windows. Some fans are so die hard that they even have England tattoos on their body.

The question is how die hard are your fans?

Creating loyal customers is one of the first rules we learnt in building a business. Customers that will recommend you to other customers. Customers that even continue to sing your praises when the chips are down. Everything ultimately comes down to product and exceptional service.

Who’s waving your flag today?

Fear of Flying

There is no doubt about it, air travel is now a frequent feature on any business travellers agenda. I’ve lost count of the number of flights I’ve taken over the years. Fear of flying affects many of us, however my fear isn’t directly associated with turbulence, take-offs or landings. My fear centres on the bland, unenthused, identical consumer experience time and time again.

There was once a time that flying was glamorous. Now we are greeted by crew that have travelled far too many miles in the day to deliver outstanding service. Crew that just want to get home. Crew that don’t make a connection and go that extra mile to take care of the weary passenger.
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Shop Fronts

Any retail expert will tell you the importance of having a great shop front. A well designed and eye catching exterior entices customers through the door. Once inside, the shop-fit, ambience and service will encourage the spending of hard-earned cash.

Any non-retail business tends not to have the luxury of passing trade; however the importance of presenting an eye catching shop front is still vitally important.

In today’s Internet enabled economy, it amazes me the number of organisations not waking up to creating a professional, easy to navigate website and well-designed corporate logo.

When looking for a product or service on-line, how many companies do you discount based on terrible navigation or shoddy design? I’m the worst for it. I don’t care how good the product or service is, anyone that openly presents themselves in such a poor manner doesn’t get my vote.
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Hit and Hope

My Dad is a very competitive guy. As kids he never used to let us win. It probably explains a few things about the way I am now. Snooker was one of his favourite games; I never used to have much patience for it, still don’t. He used to call all my shots “hit and hope”. Me blasting the cue ball around the table for fun, him cursing and calling it a “fluke” on the very rare occurrence I actually potted one.

How much hit and hope do you do daily? How many appointments are you simply “fluking”? It strikes me so many firms fail to use intelligent, targeted marketing for their offerings, instead opting to shout to the masses hoping something sticks. I’ve witnessed it firsthand. Companies buying in bulk lists, getting salespeople to cold call on the off-chance that someone might actually allow you to appoint them. Internet, phone, TV, radio, the medium doesn’t matter. What matters is the audience.

How relevant is your message to your audience? Are you wasting time on generating generic noise, shouting about stuff that nobody really cares about?

Think about how annoying junk mail is through your door, or worse still a badly timed cold call when you’re watching the football. Think about who really needs your offering and then work out a marketing strategy that’s timely, creative and above all relevant. Forget hit and hope. It’s not sustainable.

Get Emotional

When building a business, there’s a tendency to shy away from sharing your journey. You focus on the product or the service, hoping this will sell itself.

When I started my company, my aim was to create something memorable. Something I could stand back and be proud of. Something that made a difference.

There is no doubt, as a business owner or CEO you have passion for what you do. If you don’t, then why do it right? The passion was visible, but I was forever frustrated that people weren’t connecting with the brand in a way that I wanted.
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