Over the next few posts we’re going to take a hard look at your current resources and get the most out of them. This can help your capital go further and increase your profit margin.
Today we’ll cover three different ways to maximise what you already have. These include:
- Recognise the obvious
- Unconventional breakthroughs
- Face the facts
Recognise the Obvious
Sometimes when you are too close to something, you can’t make out the big picture. You need to step back and really take a hard look at the resources you currently have in front of you. You are surrounded by opportunities that can boost your career and help your business become more successful.
Don’t sit around waiting for breakthroughs, you need to create them yourself. A breakthrough is merely a new way of doing things or finding a new thing to do for the same or better results. Regular brainstorming sessions and encouraging your team to come forward with breakthroughs or ideas any time they have them are key.
Some great examples of breakthroughs are:
- A health and beauty company discovers a side effect of a product that can be re-marketed and sold.
- A company creates a roll-on deodorant inspired by the shape and size of a ball point pen.
- The founder of Nike poured rubber onto a waffle iron and created the most innovative and successful running shoe ever.
When attracting or strategising for a breakthrough there are some key objectives you need to keep in mind. They are:
- Look for the hidden opportunity in every situation.
- Look for a cash windfall for your business at least every three months.
- The more value for your client, the better your breakthrough.
- Create multiple streams of ideas to find the best breakthroughs.
- Effective breakthroughs remove all risk or resistance.
Face the Facts
Before you can put your breakthroughs to work you need to face the facts of the processes and systems that are not working for you and work to correct or get rid of them. System analysis is a good way to do this. Once you have a listing of your strengths and weaknesses, you need to compare those to the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
There are some great questions you can ask yourself and your team to get a handle on where your business is right now. They are:
- Why did I first start this business? Why am I in this industry?
- What products/services did I offer then? Which were the most popular?
- Why are my customers/clients buying from me right now?
- How did I generate new customers/clients then?
- Which of my marketing efforts were bringing in the best results?
Once you’ve got some answers to these questions, you’ll know how to better approach your weaknesses.
These three areas we’ve gone over give you a jumping-off point for how to utilise your current resources to their fullest potential.
My past 2 posts covered the first four of the killer mistakes you can make that will not only make you lose your customer, client or patient, but possibly your entire company. Today we’re going to talk about the fifth killer mistake:
Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle.
Even when business is good there’s still a chance of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses. One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare, but is absolutely essential to a successful business and it’s not as difficult as you first think.
Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:
- Train your staff on how to train your customers to make payments by the due date.
- Always send invoices on time.
- Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.
- Learn how your client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.
- Find out who’s in charge of authorising payment, so you know who to contact if needed.
- Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.
- As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.
You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:
- Always know which accounts need to be paid and when. Resist early payment.
- Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.
- Have a bank contingency plan in place.
- Build your own inventor network.
These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for customer transitions and slow sales. These last few articles are all about finding and catching your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success and your need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the best success.
If you need help with any step of the process, try our FREE test drive for access to a wealth of great tools and resources as well as our business coaching staff.
In a recent post we covered the first two of the 5 biggest mistakes you can make in dealing with clients. Today we’ll cover the third and fourth ones:
3. Taking on More Than You Can Handle.
When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and therefore you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself barely functioning. You want your business to be successful, no doubt, but you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect great customer service and high quality products/services. They don’t know or care about you being behind the scenes operations to get those things done.
Look for these signs that you are taking on more than you can handle:
- Clients’ needs aren’t being met.
- Employee morale is low, clients are upset and you’re in a panic.
- You have to react in emergency mode to save accounts.
- Your current clients are suffering from trying to keep up with new business.
- Profits are going down.
- You are just trying to pick up the pieces of your business.
- Your clients/customers leave.
- Resources are being reallocated.
There a trick called the Mock Client Plan. This plan can help you react positively when you are facing some or all of these things and help you get your business back on track. This plan will:
- Help increase sales in a short period of time.
- Alter your products/services for the better.
- Fulfill promises you made to your clients.
There are six steps to this plan:
- Bring in your best team and have them all help to meet the client needs.
- Review your operational system.
- Anticipate future problems better.
- Communicate better.
- Include costs in your quotes.
- Always have a back-up plan.
4. All Your Eggs in One Basket
You cannot allow your company to become dependent on any one client. Eventually or for certain periods there is going to be a slowing down period with your client. In order to stay in the game, you need to diversify.
If you’ve ever mishandled a client, you could drive away potential clients as well. In order to keep balance and prepare for a strong future, there are a few things you can do.
These things include:
- Stay in the loop and try to know what’s going on inside your clients’ company.
- Constantly reinvent yourself and stay at the top of your industry.
- Stay exclusive.
- Try to secure multi-year commitments and contracts.
- Spread your contracts out.
- Price your products/services correctly.
You also need to work to reduce your dependency on your big client. This can generally be measured in sales or profits. Take a look back at the process we’ve used thus far to snag more clients to keep this all in balance.
These are the ways you can help avoid the killer mistakes that can make you lose it all. If you need help with any of these tips or tricks, try our FREE test drive to get the help you need fast.
Next time we’ll talk about the last of the killer mistakes and how to combat it from hitting your business hard.
There are 5 big mistakes you can do that will kill a deal. They are:
- Not meeting the client’s expectations
- Mishandling a client crisis
- Taking on more than you can handle
- Putting all your eggs in one basket
- Up cash creek without a paddle
Any one or combination of these can not only kill the partnership, but have the ability to take down your company as well. We’re going to take a bit of time to talk about each one of these, in this lesson we’ll cover the first two.
Not Meeting Client’s Expectations
It’s essential you give your clients exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your relationship. If an event does happen where there is no way to meet the client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to find out where it all went wrong.
A couple of things could have contributed to this problem:
- Bad salesmanship. This could mean the salesperson was trying too hard to seal the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs.
- Lack of communication. This breakdown occurs between the salesperson and your operations department.
In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your sales staff needs to follow:
- Think before you speak.
- Give yourself a break.
- Perfect your process.
- Pre-format over-deliverables.
- Stay hands-on throughout the entire process.
- Define success.
Mishandling a Client Crisis
Crises will happen. How you respond and fix them will define your company and interaction with your clients’. You need to respond quickly and effectively. This will help you gain even more trust and confidence from your client.
Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:
- Take responsibility and apologise, no matter who is at fault.
- Act swiftly and effectively.
- Step in and take control of the situation.
- Never point fingers or place blame.
- Stay in constant communication with your client.
- Stay calm throughout the situation.
- Keep your eye on the ball.
Now, that you know the top two mistakes you can make to kill a big deal, you’ll know better how to avoid making these mistakes in the first place and know how to put a plan of action into place in case of a crisis.
If you need help with any of this, try our FREE test drive to get all the help you could ever need.
Next time we’ll talk about the 3rd and 4th killer mistake you can make in working with big fish clients.
In the last post, we talked about negotiating with your big fish and how to nurture and build on the relationships you are creating. Now we’ll talk about the power your fish has and how to utilise that for your benefit.
One of the most important aspects of this is to keep your cheerleader cheering. This refers to the ally you created in the company and who needs to stay loyal to you for you to continue a profitable partnership with your fish. You can keep your champion going by offering or doing a number of things to show appreciation. Some of these things are:
- Share the limelight.
- Help them thank their company with new products and services.
- Emotionally connect them to your company.
- Know when to leave them alone.
- Keep your “family” happy.
- Stay on the front lines.
Now that you have some ideas on how to build solid relationships, you need to seek out people to build these relationships with. These alliances will help you get bigger clients that stay with you forever. You can often get in the door by offering them something in exchange for something they need:
- Better work experience
These are all great ways to feed your alliance. You need to go into a relationship considering the things a big fish can offer you besides money. These can include:
- The opportunity for your business to expand
- The opportunity to learn from the experience and find ways to grow
- The opportunity to improve your processes, systems and other means of doing business
These are some of the best ways to keep your alliances going strong and your partnerships fresh and content.
If you need help with any of these tactics, try our FREE test drive for great tools and resources that can help you every step of the way.