Have you done your best?

Any of you out there with kids in their last year of Primary School will know that it’s SAT’s time and for me the stress they put 10 and 11 year olds under to get results can be counterproductive, yes it’s important to get a good education and the next step for these children is Senior School where things change dramatically yet high levels of stress caused by the fear of getting low scores or failing can affect performance in two different ways. Stress can help when it makes people more alert, more motivated to practice, and gain a competitive edge. In the right amount, stress helps prepare, focus, and perform at an optimal level. Conversely, too much stress, or bad stress, can cause performance anxiety, which hurts health and does not allow people to perform at a relaxed, confident, and focused level.

For me I am always prouder of myself, my Children, Team and clients when they have performed at their best than at the actual results. After all we can really do is do our best to achieve what we set out and if we miss it or get it wrong then we can always have another go.

So how do you approach building your business, have you achieved your potential or are you still avoiding trying so that you don’t fail?

What is your true potential and have you really done your best to achieve it?

Are you still trying your best to achieve it?

Have you asked for any help to achieve it?

How long have you been hoping things get better?

If you still have things that you want to achieve, teams that you want to be better or simply want to discover what you best is then

Book a 10 minute call here

Nothing to sell on this call just a chat to see if there is any way I can help. 

Andy

A Call to Save Common Sense

Today we come together to save a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years.

No one knows for sure how old he is, since his birth records were long ago. He selflessly devoted his life to service in schools; hospitals, homes, factories and offices, helping folks get jobs done without fanfare and foolishness.

He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

– If it’s to be it’s up to me;

– If you keep doing what you have always done you will always get what you have always gotten;

– Life isn’t fair;

– and maybe it is my fault.

Common Sense lives by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you earn), reliable parenting strategies (the adults are in charge, not the kids), and it’s okay to come in second.

He is in danger because good people have become ruled by the only out for themselves attitude and the desire to be famous not for achieving greatness but for achieving nothing.

Common Sense is losing ground as parents attack teachers for doing the job that they themselves have failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

Common Sense almost gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realise that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense, Truth and Trust, Discretion, Responsibility and Reason are on the endangered list hunted by the 3 evil poachers of success

  • I Want It Now
  • Someone Else Is to Blame
  • I’m A Victim

If you want to help save Common sense then use whatever you have left and get in touch

Email me at andywalter@actioncoach.com

Or

Book a 10 minute call here

Andy

2.5 Billion People to Choose From?

In the last week, I have had more than one person tell me that their customers are not on LinkedIn or Facebook and that they don’t see the point of maintaining a Strong Social Media presence.

I mean seriously who exactly are their customers and where the hell are they hiding, 2.5 billion is pretty much everyone in the developed world.

You know how he told me this?

On LinkedIn messages, yep on Social Media I was told that Social Media doesn’t work for this person, and I am they type of person who might buy his services.

Of course it doesn’t work if you have no interpersonal skills, if you can’t talk to people then do the rest of us a favour and get out of business right now or employ someone who can interact with people.

5 days a week I write these tips and ideas that are aimed at helping people grow their business, these are given freely and without expectation of anything in return, I simply offer to talk to people who feel they would like to achieve more and understand they need a different perspective to move forward.

For the most part analysts agree that a 5-7% churn rate is good so even if you are performing at the top of your game you need to replace 5- 7% of your customers every year just to maintain current sales levels, on top of that the average increase in costs for a business is currently 2 – 3% so just to stay safe you need 10% growth every year to maintain your level of performance.

If your customers aren’t on Social Media where exactly are they?

For those of you that like your numbers, 63% of the UK population are on Social Media, (ONS) the makeup of the UK population by age shows that 64.6% are in the ages between 16 and 69 that’s pretty much everyone.

If you don’t want to move forward, if you don’t want any new customers if you are just waiting for your existing ones to leave and quietly close the doors of your business why the hell are you reading this?

If you do want to grow your business then start taking Social Media Seriously.

If you want to talk please

Book a 10 minute call here

Nothing to sell on this call just seeing if I can help

Andy

Don’t Blame Me!

That was my response when a rather large and well know corporation tried to blame me for the fact that what they had sent me was not fit for purpose, it just didn’t do what I wanted it to do end of story.

Well not quite the end let me tell you how this came about, when I discovered that what I had didn’t do what I wanted I went back to them to point this out as I thought maybe they didn’t know it didn’t work the way I expected or they might well have a problem somewhere that needed fixing.

I wasn’t blaming anyone for anything and I wasn’t looking for money or an apology even I just wanted to get it fixed.

Apparently according to the Corporation, I don’t know how to use it, they have never asked me about Skills or Capabilities or even experience all of which would have told them I definitely do know how to use it and in fact could quite possibly have shown them how to make it better, nor did they clarify the issue or ask what I would like as a possible outcome they simply blamed me for it.

How many of you out there think I will go out of my way to do business with them again? How many of you have noticed I haven’t mentioned them at all? It’s not because I am worried about being sued I just don’t want to give them any publicity at all.

Way to take responsibility for their actions huh, if you take the word responsibility and break it down you get Response and Ability so this is your ability to choose how you respond to any situation and in this instance, I think they could have chosen to respond in better way.

If you work few hours and take a lot of holidays and live a relaxed and happy life then that is totally on you and congratulations.

On the other hand, it’s not my fault that you work long hours, take few holidays, feel stressed and under pressure, and it’s not my fault you haven’t achieved what you want to, spoiler alert! It’s yours.

Blame, Excuses and Denial are the Bed fellows of Mediocrity, if you deny that you are doing anything wrong or deny that you need to learn to be better and grow your organisation, if you are making excuses for why you don’t have the time, money or the team to do this, if you blame circumstances or the economy for your current lot in life let me give you the same tip I gave the corporation.

Take some bloody responsibility for where you are in life, be accountable for what you have or have not achieved and start taking ownership of your life that is the path to achieving whatever you want.

Did The Dog Eat Your Homework?

I heard a great line last week at a seminar, we were covering the excuses people make and as part of the exercise we were all recounting the ones we had heard from business owners for not growing their businesses.

At one point and I can’t even remember the excuse that prompted it but Brad who was presenting just came back with the line,

“Congratulations that’s a fantastic Excuse”

Now isn’t that interesting because the very next thing he said was that “I don’t have the time” or “I’m too Busy” were the adult equivalent of “the dog ate my homework”

Peter Jones of Dragons Den fame once lost everything he had, he was sleeping in his own office with not a penny to his name and a few years later he was a millionaire.

My point is that if you are being honest with yourself (the opposite is you are lying to yourself) then you know that if you are to grow to the next level you need to learn some stuff.

We have a CPD certified course that we run once a month that helps business owners find out the stuff they need to learn to get to the next level, the next one is on Tuesday 2nd May 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm here in Trowbridge and this time it’s all about Marketing.

So, what is going to be your excuse to avoid it this time?

Hit me up with your best ones or for those of you actually serious about growing your business to tell me you want to come along

Andy

What Makes You Different?

So why would someone buy from you? What makes you different from your competitors that will get your potential customers buying from you this is just as relevant for those looking to improve their career as it is for running a business think you instead of business why would someone buy you?

You need a Niche

There are basically three generic strategies you can follow to gain a competitive advantage within your chosen market and start to create your niche.

You can sell whatever it is you are offering for less than everyone else, you can sell it in a different way such as specialising with higher levels of service or you can sell something that no one else can offer like something you hold the patent for or only you can do.

Each strategy has its pro’s and con’s and some are more difficult to implement or stay on top of than others but they are all valid.

The most obvious and most commonly used by a new business yet not necessarily the most effective especially for a new business is to try and gain market share or compete on price or using what is known as a cost led strategy.

Basically here you are trying to attract customers by being cheaper than everyone else thus gaining market share from those customers who are price sensitive. In order for this to work you need to have close to the lowest prices in your target market. To succeed this way while still achieving a profit you must be able to operate with lower costs than your competitors.

There are three main parts to operate at lower costs the first is a higher asset turnover than your competitors, for example a restaurant that turns tables around for new customers very quickly or an Airline like Easy Jet who turn their planes around within 20 minutes when the normal time is about 45 minutes to an hour.

In a manufacturing business it would involve production with high volumes of output, meaning fixed costs are spread over a larger number of units of the product or service, resulting in a lower unit cost to take advantage of economies of scale. It can also be in mass production or in bulk buying materials or end products. Higher levels of output both require and result in a high market share, and create an entry barrier to potential competitors, who may be unable to achieve the scale necessary to match the low costs and prices. It is worth keeping in mind all these approaches can be costly to introduce and can require very high levels of investment

The second part is to competing on price is by having low direct and indirect operating costs such as offering high volumes of standard products, basic no frills products or services and limiting the amount of customisation you offer. You will also have to keep production costs low by using standard or low cost components or services. You would have to pay low wages and locating your premises in low cost areas, think of companies that have their production facilitates in the Far East or Africa.

The third part is to have control over your supply chain encompassing all the functional groups that make this up. If you control the raw ingredients of your supply chain all the way to the finished product you can probably compete here, this is however really costly and usually smaller businesses just don’t have the financial clout to achieve this. The other way of controlling your supply chain is to have a distribution network that your suppliers just cannot afford to ignore. The big supermarkets are famous for squeezing their supply chain to compete on price and they successfully use just in time deliveries to keep their costs low.

Competing on price is usually referred to as a cost leadership strategy. Cost leadership strategies are really only viable for large companies who can enjoy the economies of scale with large production volumes or buying power and a large market share. Small businesses can be cost focused if they can enjoy some advantages that help with lower costs for example being below the VAT threshold allows a 20% reduction in costs yet limits growth but they are rarely cost leaders, likewise a small local restaurant in a low rent location can attract price sensitive customers and compete if they turn tables quickly enough and pay minimum wage.

Innovation of products or services may also allow a small company or start up to offer a cheaper product or service where the competitions processes and costs have become high.

Another major disadvantage of a cost leadership strategy is that your customers loyalty lies with the price and not with you and they will switch as soon as someone else offers a lower price and of course low prices often equate in customers heads as low quality which will damage your brand.

Differentiating yourself from your competition by doing things differently is another way to compete successfully while not focusing on price. Take the BMW group for example, they sell cars just the same as Ford and yet people the world over see them as different they are perceived to be higher quality more reliable and in some way just better than other non prestige cars, this is also true of Apple Computers, Coca Cola or Mercedes-Benz.

In order to use this kind of strategy you need to ensure you have a target market that is not price sensitive it also works when your market is saturated or competitive. If you can discover needs that are under served or you have some unique resources available.

This could be a patent or Intellectual Property (IP) or a new type of process. Typically you can charge higher prices if this is the case due to your competitive advantage being something other than price, as a rule it also comes with higher levels of customer loyalty.

This is not all about actual differences it can be as much about perceived differences even if your physical product is the same as your competitors. This way, Starbucks could brand coffee, and Nike could brand sports clothing. Fashion brands rely heavily on this form of perceived differentiation.

Take a look at Google, they are at their core a search engine and they started like other search engines but they wanted to be different. These days Google is arguably one of the most widely used and recognised brands on the planet. From innovative marketing strategies to being an insanely popular search engine, Google has essentially embedded itself into pop and business cultures. The company has also been noteworthy for its working environment, pioneering a model that allows employees to have flexible workdays. It creates an environment that fosters responsibility and creativity. This forward-thinking company attracts some of the world’s brightest and most creative minds, and love it or hate it you have to admit it is different to other search engines and that goes some way to explaining its incredible success.

Apple will go down in history as one of the most dazzling and innovative companies in history (Forbes notes that Boston Consulting Group has named it the most innovative company in the world every year since 2005). Apple do things differently whether you love them or hate them their success is founded on it.

Focusing is definitely an appropriate strategy for small-sized companies especially for those who want to avoid competition with big ones.

In adopting a narrow focus, you ideally focus on one or a few target markets this is also referred to as a niche strategy. You are looking for distinct groups of potential customers with specific needs you can then tailor the offering so that you can better meet the needs of that target market. You would typically look to gain an advantage through product innovation and or brand marketing rather than efficiency. A niche strategy should target market segments that are less vulnerable to substitutes or low cost alternatives.

A niche strategy can be a very successful strategy no matter what size your company is, in order to be successful in business of any type you have to find something that people need and then fulfil that need, there are lots and lots of needs out there all you have to do is pick the one you are going to fill. This is in effect what a niche is, what is the need you satisfy and importantly what makes you different to everyone else?

If you are starting a new business no matter if it’s producing a product or providing a service you have to be doing something that distinguishes you from what’s already available, if you’re working in a business that already exists you must think how you can distinguish yourself. Look for a void that is not currently being filled or serviced in the market place and how is this going to define or how does this define what you do. Your success will be relevant to how you, or your company’s is different unique or better.

How will you do this? How can you differentiate yourself in making a product or providing a service and that will become your edge or your niche. If you can’t enter a market with that difference then think of something else, simply put how are you going to be able to succeed if you don’t know what you are going to do to succeed?