New Year’s Resolutions are the good intentions that rarely if ever make a difference because they never become habits. On the other hand, Revolutions deliver take-it-to-the-bank results when you make them a process rather than a good intention or one-time event. Here are 10 resolutions that will help you sell more of the RIGHT products and services to more of your IDEAL customers, at higher prices that reflect VALUE and lower prices that reflect EFFICIENCY, as you build competitive advantage that’s hard to copy.
#1 Show (most) of your customers more love: Two thirds of the customers who leave do so because they think their vendor doesn’t care. The best way to show them that you care is to listen to them not through conventional surveys or market research, but by taking the time to understand where their business is going, what gaps or challenges are preventing them from getting there, and then doing your best to close those gaps for them. Sometimes tough love is required for those who are costing you more than they’re worth – but did you know there are 5 alternatives to firing a customer?
#2 Ensure top line growth is healthy, not “junk food”: We all like junk food, although we know it’s not good for us. Growing revenues the wrong way can be equally satisfying yet equally bad for us. 40% of companies who increase revenues actually decrease their profits – they’re growing, but its in the wrong direction! If you’re doing too many low-margin deals with less-than-ideal customers, make 2016 the year you chase good revenues, not revenue at any cost, and know when to say “no thanks”.
#3 Plug every profit leak to drive bottom line growth: Many companies get mislead when they see good gross margins. Unfortunately, most of your profit leaks happen below that line, and can lead to having a great year on the top line but not much to show for it – ever had a year like that? Identifying the costs that shouldn’t even be there is surprisingly easy when you identify the 5 categories of issues that cause 80% of your unnecessary costs, and is far more powerful than conventional cost-cutting.
#4 Always deliver a quality product AND a quality experience: When a customer calls with a concern or a problem, do you eventually get it right? Probably! So why don’t you get it right the first time? Think about the vendors you contact… why does the usual routine take so long, force you to call back more than once, frustrate you, and leave you with a bad taste in their mouth? Are your customers experiencing the same aggravations when they deal with you? In 2016, decide to treat your customers to a great experience instead of making them feel bruised and battered, and you’ll create competitive advantage that goes far beyond conventional quality.
#5 Innovate in ways that adds value to your customers and is tough for our competitors to copy: Did you know that Apple spends considerably LESS on innovation than other high-tech companies? That just proves that innovation doesn’t have to be high cost or high risk to be highly successful. In my #1 bestselling book, I provide 21 low risk, low cost paths to innovation. Pick up a copy if innovation is on your to-do list this year, and finally see results. It might just be the best investment you make in your business all year.
#6 Improve productivity: It’s not about working harder. Real productivity can be improved by having top-to-bottom alignment to your greater strategies, so that everyone is focused on value-add work rather than well-intentioned but off-target busy work. And, it’s about engaging them in meaningful work and showing them why it matters. How can productivity be increased? Talk with your team – if you can’t give yourself a gold star on each of these, then you have opportunities to increase productivity just waiting for you in 2016.
#7 Execute every plan with excellence: How many to-do’s does your Strategic Plan have? If it’s more than 7, the research suggests that the big binder you have sitting on your shelf will likely never get done. When I work with clients, we boil their entire plan down to a 1 page Strategy Pyramid that has no more than 7 key initiatives, then build a leadership board that tracks progress and gets things done. If you don’t have those simple tools or something similar, you’re working too hard and seeing too little in the way of results.
#8 Increase employee engagement and retention: People are the only asset that walks out the door every night and consciously decides whether to return or not the next day. Scary stuff, considering how much you’ve invested in them! This year, boost your Return on People with this benchmark report that can ignite a fierce sense of pride and a commitment to be the best.
#9 Find and develop great talent: How often do you take the time to really understand where an employee sees themselves going in the future? The fastest way to find great talent is to look within, and in unexpected places. I share a tool with my consulting clients that helps employees “find their flow” – the type of work that gives them the greatest joy and sense of accomplishment. Often, employees identify a “new seat on the bus” that’s a better match for them and drives the organization forward more quickly.
#10 Build a flexible organization that can quickly adapt to market changes: Those of us in the boomer years can attest to the need to continue to create and maintain flexibility in some of our creaky joints. How often do you give your organization the kind of exercise that keeps it agile? Every single one of the Revolutions in this article does just that.
One way to get your organization to the gym more often is to commit to attending monthly 50 minute teleseminars through the Profit and Growth Academy, and finish each call with actionable next steps. Another way is to get your team together for a once-a-week dose of ProfitU, online learning that delivers take-it-to-the-bank results in less time per week than you’re spending on email. I also work with a limited number of clients personally each year.
If these Revolutions resonated with you, book a time in my calendar for a complimentary Best Next Move Accelerator call. We’ll connect by phone to assess where your business is at now, identify gaps and opportunities to accelerate your results in 2016, and you’ll leave with clarity on what your Best Next Move is to achieve your goals in the coming year. It may be one of the options above, something completely different, or simply staying the course. Let’s find out all that 2016 may hold in store for your business. Let’s go and make good things happen.