Business Regret: What’s it All About?

regretsIf you listen to any of the successful leaders in business out there, you will hear them say over and over that it is about the people. In other words, to have a successful business, you must have the right people and they must be in the right positions, playing to their strengths. Then everything will be good.

Okay, sounds good, so let’s go get the right people and everything else will be great. Then we will not need to keep the wrong people and instead, we will need to grow those that have potential. The problem with all this is that we are talking about people and when we do that, we have a lot of other factors that get in the way. Emotions are the big one, but also best intentions. You want to see the best in people, and you want to help others. These all have an influence in working to get the right team in place.

I have experienced this repeatedly, and have felt it in my gut when I knew I had the wrong person in the wrong seat and, given whatever circumstances, don’t make a change right away. I was reminded of this by a recent blog that was written by my friend, Stephen Lynch. Stephen has written a book, Business Execution for Results, that is a great step-by-step for getting the strategic plan, the alignment, the key decisions and the execution all down, so your business is spinning like a top.

The blog he sent me was called “The #1 Regret of Business Owners.” And guess what that one regret is? Hiring mistakes! As we just discussed, it’s all about the people. Stephen says that sometimes it is good performers who don’t fit into your culture. Other times, it is taking too much time to fix performance issues with someone that fits in, but is not achieving the desired result. Then there are the times we just hire the first person with a pulse to get it out of the way.

There is no perfect way to find people because, as we said, we are dealing with the complexity of humans and boy oh boy, can we be filled with intricacies. At Efficience, we have had success with process called Topgrading. It has helped us find good people, but sometimes we just have had them in the wrong seats. It may take some learning, as we have experienced, but we finally found two technical project managers that are knocking it out of the park! Thank you Chris and Sarah for great results in getting our projects done and making our clients happy!

Peter Drucker, in his very interesting book, Post-Capitalist Society, tells us why people are so important. The book is all about the societal transformation from capital, land and labor, to a knowledgeable society where individuals are central.

Drucker says, “Knowledge is not impersonal like money. Knowledge does not reside in a book, a database, a software program; they contain only information. Knowledge is always embodied in a person; carried by a person; created, augmented, or improved by a person; applied by a person; taught and passed on by a person; used or misused by a person. The shift to a knowledge society therefore puts the person in the center.”

We can see with this explanation from Drucker how important our people are, and getting the right ones on board and in the right seat is job number one for any leader! Do you have the right people sitting in the right seats?

Making Social Media Work

wrap my ride (400x147)We all keep hearing about this social media thing and how we need to jump aboard to get our networks sharing our story and helping us to market. “How do I get this social media thing to really work for me?” is what we keep hearing people say, and I bet you have had the same thought.

A few weeks back, I wrote a blog on doing online contests that help businesses get their names out to the masses. As was discussed, this is becoming an increasingly popular way to build your fan base and engage your audience, while empowering your audience to do your marketing for you. I wanted to add to that conversation by showing a real-world example of how contesting helps make this happen.

One recent contest our company had great success in creating was in conjunction with Graphic Creations – a local company who wanted to give away something to the business community in celebration of their 25th anniversary. The prize? An opportunity for somebody to help promote their own business through a vehicle wrap.

In order to get maximum exposure, owner Jim Caughorn chose to run the contest through social media and asked the Efficience team, led by Creative Director Tori Rose, to head it up.

“In addition to increasing the sheer number of people who interact with your brand, a contest provides a means to deepen the connection, as well,” said Rose. “A user-generated content (UGC) promotion, such as a photo or video contest, is a great way to do just that. UGC contests tap in to the human drive to compete, and they provide an opportunity for everyone to experience their 15 minutes of fame. Most importantly, when participants upload their personal content (e.g., a photo or story) to your promotion, they are naturally invested in your brand.”

The Wrap My Ride contest was run through Graphic Creations’ Facebook page, asking participants to submit either a picture or video showing their ride and telling why it needed a wrap. The top three entries with the highest number of votes were judged by Graphic Creations.

“We have received more business because of the campaign,” said Caughorn. “Many of the clients that entered were still interested in a wrap or other services that we offer. It was great exposure for our existing customer as well as new prospective clients.

The entries for Graphic Creations’ contest ranged from simple, to fun and creative. But the contestants all had one thing in common: they were engaged and gave the client useful data on potential customers.

Getting data is crucial to building relationships, and contests are a key way to do that. This data will help a company to learn a lot about potential clients during the interaction, so companies can better understand their customers and how to provide value to them. It is also nice to have clients sharing the story and to help out in the marketing arena. That is what a good contest can do – allow customers to share with others and help foster name recognition.

As for the statistics, in a mere 30 days, the contest resulted in more than 16,500 visits to the contest page and a subsequent 2,000 referrals. In that time, the client also doubled their fan base.

When coordinated with an overall social media marketing plan, a good contest can be a powerful tool. What are you doing to create a contest that people will talk about and share with others?

The Conference Effect

Barbara CorcoranComing back from an EO event will usually light a fire under you bottom to get focused, look at new opportunities, fix or add a process, or just be plain fired up about your business. When you mix it up with 450 entrepreneurs from mainly the east coast and hear from great speakers, you feel the surge of entrepreneur juices flowing through you. It was interesting the things I got out of the conference. So I thought I would share a few of the take-aways.

I have been hearing for years how culture is key to your organization! But going to one conference and hearing three of the key speakers state this with such conviction, it makes you perk up a little more. From Steve Gilliland, our first key note, to Jack Daly, the sales guru, and Barbara Corcoran, from ABC’s show “Shark Tank,” they all said that your culture is number one in having a high performing growth company. When you have a culture that rocks and the people want to be there and feel engaged in the company, then an environment for great things begins to form.

Jack Daly talked about three things an entrepreneur needs to have: having a vision, key people in key spots, and culture. You have a culture in your company, whether by design or not, and if you don’t implement the culture you want, then an unintended – maybe negative and unproductive culture – may develop. Jack also said that a positive, strong culture makes people get out of bed and want to come to work. An example of a great culture is Zappo’s. If you are ever in Vegas, go to the headquarters and experience the free tour. You will get a feel of an amazing culture.

Another take-away I had from the conference came from Jack. He said that if you are a small-to-medium business and don’t have a sales manager, one of two things will happen. You will stay small-to-medium, or you will go out of business. He added the CEO, the COO or the best sales person can’t play sales manager on a part-time basis. I think this hit home for a lot of people, given some conversations I had after his talks, and others like me will be taking steps to implement a sales management process.

The key note that really made me think about life and where I am now and where I am going was Steve Gilliland, who wrote the book Enjoy the Ride. His presentation was hilarious, along with eye opening and thought provoking. He asked if everyone made the same wage of say $2 an hour, where would you work? Would you still do what you are currently doing? I had an inner chuckle at this since I know I would be doing the same thing I am doing, given that I have done it many times over the years without getting paid at all. His focus was around having passion for what you do or it was a ride that you wouldn’t enjoy. Gilliland said, “Love what you do, love why you do it, and love who you do it with.”

This conference was very inspiring and beneficial from a business perspective, and I thank my friend John Bly for leading the charge to make this Nerve Conference happen. I will be discussing more going forward on building a culture by design and my experiences on what we are doing to make our sales process better.

Is Geo-Fencing on Your Map?

map pinsAs we continue to build mobile apps for clients, the advantages resulting from these apps are appearing limitless. I have been in Charlotte this week for the EO Nerve Conference. When I called for a taxi, they said that I can download an app that will send a taxi to me. Not only that, but I can follow the taxi’s location as it comes to pick me up. How cool is that? This is the new wave of location-based services that is getting more popular and will help create a lot of conveniences, marketing opportunities and productivity.

Chris Shaffer, our technology lead at Efficience, says “The convergence of technologies, such as GPS and mobile broadband, allows users to leverage resources in ways that were unthinkable only 10 years ago.” According to Shaffer, “Geo-fencing is one such feature that allows devices to become ‘location-aware’ by tracking through GPS or location-based services.”

We will devise a lot of new ideas and reasons to have this working for us in all kinds of situations. Geo-fencing has created a new source of information that will revolutionize the way we interact with the world around us.

When you have the app of your favorite restaurant, it will know when you cross the virtual fence that they will designate, say like 3 miles from them. Restaurants will have ability to send you a notification of the special dish they have tonight or some type of discount. You already love to eat there and they just entice you to come back to spend more money with them, instead of all the other options you may have.

According to a study done by Pew Charitable Trust, 58% of adults access the internet through their mobile devices, which has been a big conversion away from the desktop. Smartphones are allowing us to get info and make choices that we didn’t have the information to do on the fly before. We check prices, watch movie trailers, and read about competitor choices as we are making decisions to spend our dollars.

Those that are connecting with their customers this way will have more flexibility, since a marketing campaign can be day-to-day or week-to-week. It can be tailored to the data that customers choose to give us so that we can meet their direct needs. Small businesses with limited budgets will have a much better way to compete with the big boys who wield massive budgets, just by having access to this technology. This will be mainstream in the not-too-distant future, but those getting in first will have a competitive advantage to attract customer dollars and grow their revenue sooner.

What are you doing to be ahead of the curve and benefit from location-based marketing?