I did not post last week on Martin Luther King's Birthday, but I want to go back to the series that I am working on Time as a critical factor in business success. If you remember, the first post I did contained a personal time mechanism for those who are stuck that I call the First Hour Method. I am going to move today to something less tangible in the business and that is Focus.
Now, Focus itself is clear in its meaning but it has a lot of context. Since we are at the start, we will start by understanding the term Focus in terms of Unique Value Proposition (UVP) and Ideal Client. These terms are especially challenging at the start of a business, but I find that many people continue to struggle with them throughout the Life of the Business. Since so much time is spent on how to create these for new businesses, I want to focus on an existing business that might struggle with Focus.
Once a business has been established and is up and running, there is a default what the UVP and Prospect base is. These are set by the actions that led the company to where it is today. If the business is at a steady state, then many people will be satisfied. If you go back to my series on Financial Statements, you need to have about 10% Revenue Growth to achieve steady profit growth. This is a generality and each business will have somewhat different numbers.
So, what happens when a business enters a steady state? It can be that the company has defined itself narrowly and the client base can not grow. It can be that the alignment of business and value is not good enough to capture a larger market share. There are many possibilities. But this is a point of danger for businesses and they need to go through an objective evaluation of what is going on. In particular, businesses should be looking at the competitive landscape and the changes in market conditions. As these external factors change the environment that the business works within, methods that work in the past do not translate into the future.
Let me give you an example from a prospect that I wanted to work with. I found them through a display ad in the Yellow Pages. This was a Civil Engineering firm, and I know how expensive these ads are. I talked to their marketing person who told me that they were focused on the Yellow Pages because they got their single largest contract through that channel. I asked more about this and found out that this happened in 1992. Well, business has changed dramatically since then especially in marketing and advertising. There are only a few businesses that will get a significant business uptick from the printed Yellow Pages, and there are many better ways to spend advertising for most businesses.
Now that is a really obvious example, but I can provide plenty of anecdotes where I ask simple questions to businesses and they have missed the forest from the trees. People get set in their methodologies and processes. Sometimes things need a shakeup. The right thing is to make sure that you have an objective evaluation that can help your business keep on track. If it is not me, then someone like me. So, find that objective observer who can ask uncomfortable questions and use them.
Have a great day!
Jim Sackman Focal Point Business Coaching Business Coaching, Executive Training, Sales Training, Marketing
Change Your Business - Change Your Life!