Simplicity is the path to success in almost everything, particularly in the modern business world where change occurs so quickly. The lean, simple business has a greater ability to adapt, differentiate and diversify to meet the future needs of customers.
I have the privilege of working with businesses across the globe and all too often the path to success lies in finding the simple things that allow you to win at the game of business.
Here are four simple strategies to ensure your business remains relevant now and in the future.
1 Fundamentals Rule – you can’t win if you don’t!
When we talk about the future needs of our customers we should be careful that we don’t eliminate or diminish the things they love about us right now. There is a lot of talk in business about how we need to be early adopters of the next trend, technology, latest gadgets, apps and ideas. We are told that if we don’t embrace these things, our business will be left in the dark ages.
Before you start to invest and implement in these ideas, you need to understand that, special doesn’t matter if the fundamentals are broken! Recent research by Esteban Kolsky from thinkJar shows that 67 per cent of customer churn occurs because of poor service, and that means their fundamental needs have not been met.
There’s a hotel chain that gives you a warm chocolate chip cookie when you check in. That’s a nice addition, but it doesn’t count if the receptionist is rude or the beds are hard or the bathroom is dirty.
A company calls me to offer extra free data if I extend my mobile plan. I would love it, except it takes them two hours to answer the phone every time I have a problem.
So before you get all excited about introducing the next great idea, make sure you do the fundamentals well. Know EXACTLY what the fundamental needs of your customers are, and get those right 100 per cent of the time before you step it up and Play a Bigger Game.
2 Why you need to get your good news in front of everyone!
We live in the reputation economy. Social media has completely transformed the ability of consumers to share their thoughts and ideas on the quality of your businesses, place, product, people and performance.
On the surface that seems scary, because we all know that bad news spreads like wildfire. That’s why you need to be creating and sharing your good news stories, with as many people as possible as often as possible. When people are looking at your profile on a social media site that rates a business performance such as TripAdvisor, Urbanspoon, Google Reviews and a host of others it’s important that there is plenty of good news to balance out any complaints or bad news.
Its not just social media that matters, getting the good news in front of your employees is just as important. So if you support a great cause, participate in a charity event, make a customer’s day or have the best profit week ever, tell your employees all about it. This serves two purposes: 1. It helps the employees connect with the organisation and builds pride and morale and 2. Your employees will share it with others. PACK & SEND produce a book (they have thousands of copies printed) full of the great stories of how they have met and exceeded their customers’ needs and how their employees have made that happen. Everyone wants to be in that book, and that’s the key; in business, people want to be part of the good news stories, customers want to do business with companies that are doing good, so get them out there.
3 The relentless pursuit of excellence – have a rigorous and robust improvement strategy
Most businesses stumble from one week to the next, doing the ‘same old same old’ in the same old way. If they do think about playing a bigger game, it’s usually at the annual conference or it takes up the owners’ free time while they are taking that precious two-week holiday. It’s often said that we need to take time to work on the business, not in the business. This is so true. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and before you know it another month or year has slipped by and all your best plans and ideas have gathered dust for another year!
So, set aside the time and do the work, preferably weekly. When I am working with businesses we set their ‘non-negotiables’. These are the absolute must happens, without fail, to an exact standard every single time. We set them across the whole business and in all areas (just this simple concept can make a massive difference). Often the non-negotiable for the owner is to lock in (and I mean –LOCK IN) time to ask themselves two very important questions: “What’s working well?” (focus on doing more of this) and “What could work better?” (fix this) They need to be robust in the analysis and relentless in the execution. That’s how change happens.
4 Why all businesses need to play a bigger game for growth!
In the modern business world if you are not green and growing you are probably ripe and going rotten. If you are not growing you are most likely going backwards, as your competitors streamline their businesses, adopt new ideas and new technologies, pursue new markets, new strategies and new products. If the game is not changing you are going stale and customers can smell a stale business.
They look for go-getters, the disruptors, the business that is embracing the future. Growth is not just about profits. Growth can be about product margins, market share, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, product diversity, brand recognition, market penetration, community engagement, venue quality and diversity, speed of service and quite a few others.
The key here is to decide what needs to grow or improve and measure it constantly, report it, create a scoreboard and track it. Make it a game and get your team in the game. If you’re not growing, you’re going bust and no one wants that!
Rowdy Mclean is an international Keynote Speaker, Author, Motivator, and Leadership & Business Consultant. Rowdy provides clients with the inspiration, insights, systems and strategies to Play a Bigger game – how to achieve more, be more, do more and have more than they ever thought possible.
Rowdy has presented to over 250,000 people across the globe and his latest book Play a Bigger game has been published in seven countries. He is an entrepreneur and adventurer that likes to shake up the status quo and is obsessed with success.
Do you have what it takes to Play a Bigger Game? Take the checklist at www.rowdymclean.com