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Growing Against the Grain
Marketing in Uncertain Times "So ... what?"
by Muriel Haverland, President, The Mentor Dynamic, Inc.
Every organization has challenges daily. Managing those challenges
and keeping them in perspective is how organizations succeed
or fail during the most difficult of times. As Chairman for
TEC, The Executive Committee, an International Organization
of CEOs, I interact with CEOs every day regarding their success
and survival tactics.
An organization has to have a clear vision and mission.
How do you define that clear vision and mission?
What are you trying to achieve? It is the end result, not the
process that needs to be defined. It is much like a life affirmation.
Write it in the present tense, focus on its intention, focus
your attention on the intention, and manifest the outcome. A
shorter version Fake it till you make it! or Believe
you can and you can! So
What do you want to become?
When do you want it to happen? How is it going to happen? Who
is going to ensure that it happens? Who is going to hold you
accountable for it happening? If it doesnt happen, then
What differentiates you from your competitors?
When asked this question, CEOs answer with cliches, better
customer service, quality, etc. Everyone says that, so
it is almost like saying nothing at all. So what is it that
you do differently? Maybe nothing. Maybe you just do it faster,
smarter, cheaper, better. If so, is it reflected in your
price, your warranty, your referrals, and in your bottom line?
Capitalize on what you know about how or what you do differently
and make sure that you can prove it. Truth flies in the face
of any competition. It will affect your margins and your bottom
What differentiates you from your competition?
What is the organization focused upon?
If you are worried about not getting the contract or not
getting the business, not meeting payroll, not enough cash flow
that is where your focus is
on the NOT. What the organization
is focused upon is what it will create! Focus on image, reputation,
cost-reduction, developing deeper relationships with existing
clients (the best resource for new business), and leveraging
those relationships for new business. Spend some real planning
time looking at strategic alliances/partnerships that will be
mutually agreeable and profitable (this may look easier than
it is use resources that are available to you to make
it work right the first time). Find new applications, new markets,
and new territories to explore, or conversely, deploy deeper
and more fully in your current market, depending on your product,
service and objectives. So
On what and where are you focusing
your energy, talents and resources?
Focus on SALES!
Planning, research, and new business development strategies
are paramount. Doing everything the same in slower times will
result in slower than normal results. Dont allow the organization
to be focused on excuses? Difficult times? The Economy? No!
Do you want to stay in business? Then you have to sell, sell,
sell. Work SMARTER, not harder. Get the team together and discuss
everyones ideas. No idea is good or bad. It is just an
idea. Each person who offers an idea then has to go back and
sell the organization on how it will improve sales. Each person
gets involved in the solution and therefore is more committed
to the outcome and the process of getting there! So
is it you need to be doing? Differently? Stop doing? Do more
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, and then Revisit the PLAN and PLAN Again!
There is nothing that can replace planning or excuses for not
PLANNING! Planning is your opportunity to stand back and examine
the business, include others in the process, and explore your
options. It is the way to plug the holes, stop doing what isnt
working, and start doing more of what is working. Revisiting
the plan on a regular basis gives a fresh perspective to old
ideas stale? right on? on target? In Jim Collins
book, Good to Great, those CEOs who out paced even the Jack
Welshs of the world, planned and planned and planned again.
Then they worked their plan, all the way to the bank! They outperformed
GE and other major icons by many Xs. So
What is your
plan? When did you last review it? Have you READ the book? Whom
do you know who can objectively review your PLAN?