Bottlenecked, gridlocked, congested – there are lots of ways to describe how it feels when a business gets stuck. We’ve all been there at some point in our work, and once you realize you are there, you immediately start searching for ways to get "unstuck."
It’s not unusual for an entrepreneur to consider “everyone” a potential customer. While the optimism can be exciting and contagious, the harsh reality is that most of “everyone” isn’t the RIGHT potential customer. Many won’t ever buy from you, and some who do become customers won’t be a great fit. They may be unhappy, and they may even hurt your business by damaging your reputation or mistreating your employees.
That’s the bad news. The good news? While it may sound counterintuitive, concentrating on a smaller number of potential customers can actually help you grow faster, make more money, and have more fun. Time and time again, I’ve seen that clients who focus 100% of their proactive sales and marketing efforts on their ideal prospect or customer get a bigger bang for every buck they spend on sales and marketing.
In the last quarterly session with a client, the team reported record financials in the last 90 days. They exceeded their revenue and profit targets, and they completed over 90 percent of their rocks. By all estimations, they had every reason to celebrate. But when it came time to grade the quarter, they gave it a C+ / B–. Surprised by the low grade, I asked them to explore this a bit. What they discovered has the potential to change their company for years.
Did you know that the most important part of your annual planning session isn't planning? If you're like many companies, your leadership team skips the most critical component of your annual planning. And it negatively impacts your team's creativity and goal setting for the coming year.
Business leaders of entrepreneurial companies are so hard-charging, so busy, and so overwhelmed, that they tend to see only the gaps ahead of them. These are the goals, ideals, and accomplishments they haven't reached yet. When you're feeling overworked from the previous year and start looking at all the gaps you have yet to cover, it can put you into the wrong frame of mind for moving forward.
Two workers in the Operations Department of a company were working one Friday evening to push out a late delivery. One saw a problem about to happen and said to the other, “Look at that! We can’t ship this out. This order is not correct.”
“You’re right,” said the other, “But neither one of us can fix it. Nobody can fix it until Monday. The boss told us to get this shipment out tonight, and we’ll get yelled at if we don’t. Remember what he did the last time something like this happened?”
So out the order went, and in came an angry customer complaint two days later when the order was delivered. And then out went a chunk of the profits from the order because it cost the company three times as much to fix the error than it would have to get it right the first time.