Know Your Numbers

In business, and in your personal life for that matter, you must be familiar with your numbers, you must “know” and be comfortable with your bottom-line. Don’t let your discomfort with accounting or your inabilities to “analyze” your business keep you from growing and prospering. Even though the mindset that many of us grew up with was “numbers are no fun”, “numbers are hard to understand”, “boring”, “not creative” … whatever the misconception you were given about numbers when you were young. But quite the opposite is true. Numbers tell a story of not only your past, but how you can move forward in the future. Numbers help you forecast (your own personal crystal ball), numbers are creative, and when you get right down to it, numbers make up the universe – think music, chemistry, cooking, dance, architecture, and on and on and on. And another simple truth about numbers – if you don’t watch them, test and measure, and track what they’re telling you, then numbers won’t do squat to help you succeed. Embrace numbers, they are your ally. With just a few basic KPI’s (Key Productivity Indicator’s) or metrics, you can keep your finger on the pulse of your business and build accountability into your Team. As an Owner, don’t leave the maintenance, analyzing, evaluating and monitoring of numbers solely up to someone ELSE in your organization. As the Owner, it is your responsibility to KNOW and be a good steward of your business too! YOUR CHALLENGE:  Look at the numbers in your business.  Determine what are the drivers and what you need to know to make your business grow.

Giving Referrals

The reason we commit to networking is to foster partnerships that ultimate generate quality referrals, these then lead to a personal connection or endorsement to those we want to do business with. For those familiar with the BNI, it’s a “Givers Gain” philosophy.  By giving business to others, you will get business in return.  Let me say that again slowly…by giving business to others, you will get business in return. In order to effectively serve this purpose it is critical that we understand each others business’ at a deeper level.  This is why one on one meetings are so critical to any individuals success.  These meetings build credibility, as well as, deepen our understanding of the products and services that a fellow member may offer. Here are four things you should know when making a referral: What to look for” What are the signs that someone would use to identify a good prospect;  this could include where they are located or where they live, size of the business, socio-economic clues, age of an individual or age of a business, type of business or type of work that they do, or perhaps family circumstances. “What to listen for” This would include the types of things a potential customer might be talking about, or the type of pain or issue they might be sharing, or even could be heard in what they find newsworthy. We should also know what someone’s ‘ideal prospect’ looks like.  How would they describe the client in terms of attitude or aptitude, or it could be in terms of where they are in the timing of a decision or a life transition. And last but not least we must be clear on “What to say to that prospect” when we want to make a referral.  It is important to understand how to introduce a colleague, how to get to the next step and give clarity of why that person is someone they would benefit from knowing. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Schedule a one on one with someone you need to get to know better.  Someone that you have not met with recently or someone you have not yet met with at all and learn what to look for, what to listen for, their ideal prospect and what to say to introduce them.

Building Your Business

As a matter of routine, we all know what we sell and who we sell it to.  Day after day, week after week we service our clients and follow up with leads, referrals and prospects.  From time to time it is important to step out of the routine and take a strategic look at how we inject growth into our businesses. There are four ways in which to grow a business that can be explored. 1)      Current products and services with current customers. This is the bread and butter of our businesses, it pays the rent.  Maximizing the true potential and protecting this revenue is the easiest and least expensive option to grow your business. Take care of what you have, put systems in place that ensures that you are caring for these customers at the highest possible level. 2)      New products and services with current customers. You have their attention, you have their loyalty, you have their trust, what else do they need that you can provide them.  Think creatively about the services or products that you can offer and the value that your clients will place on one stop shopping, or on the ease of leveraging an existing relationship.  Don’t limit yourself. 3)      Current products and services into new customers. Think outside the proverbial box – what target markets are others having success with, what demographics have untapped potential, think through the demographics of some of your more unusual clients and what they might be telling you about others that would be attracted to your products and services. 4)      New products and services into new customer markets. As you explore new products and services and new markets, it is time to think about what could be possible.  Is there a market that would be a natural for new product or service.  Once you have the other growth areas in place – this is an opportunity to be more creative and take some calculated risks that you can learn from. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Step back from your routine, look at the areas of growth potential in your business and what makes sense for you.  Project your growth over the next 12 months across each of these potential areas.