Whether it be in sport or business, the difference between success and failure can often be simply doing one more thing than the competition. The extra phone call, one more prototype, another sales approach, an additional quality check, a larger focus group, an extra tier of service etc etc…..any of these can be the secret ingredient to business success.
A few qualifiers;
– know your competition as this will provide some form of benchmark. This is not to say that your competition is setting the right pace, but as a minimum it provides a starting point.
– work from a well-defined plan and strategy. Random activity will normally deliver the same level of success, so a well-considered plan is essential for all businesses.
– allocate appropriate resources in your planning. Additional activity – be it calling, marketing or new product runs, will all take resources, so budget for this upfront.
– measure, monitor and manage your progress. Important for any endeavour, as by tracking your performance you can continually adjust and improve.
When considering where in your business to go the extra mile or complete the extra activity, I suggest that you look at the following areas. These will naturally vary a bit from business to business, but these examples should give you a good starting point.
- Question how many no’s it takes before you walk away from an opportunity – are you walking away too quickly?
- Look at the collateral you use (brochure, sample, letters, web), do they stand apart from the competition, do they address the customers need and do they entice a sale?
- Do you have resources dedicated to marketing/selling your product/service, or it this merely a part time, casual activity?
- Are you using social media, it is up to date and are you feeding it with new pertinent content?
- Is it fit for purpose?
- Does it meet the market need, is it lagging and is it positioned where it’s intended?
- Do you offer a complimentary and congruent range of products, or are they simply a scattered collection?
- Is the quality of your product/service matched to your marketing/pricing pitch?
- How is your product or service presented – is it as you intended it to be and does it hold its intended position in the market place?
- Ask your clients what excellent service looks like for your type of business – and then see how this matches to what you are offering at the moment.
- Do you have a CRM system in place, can you define who your top customers are and what actions are you taking to keep them?
- Do your staff provide consistent service to your customers?
- What information are you providing your customers about your product or service, is it what they need and can it be improved?
- First – can you measure them accurately, and then secondly – are you?
- Does you margin assessment include all associated overheads, and can you segment by product, client or category?
- Have you considered how you can use margin knowledge to your advantage?
- What is the frequency with which you measure your margins and do you use this information to influence manufacturing, staffing, marketing and distribution?
- Do you have regular reporting for the key drivers of your business?
- How frequently is this compiled and how do you use it?
- Are you sharing this information with your staff?
- Does your reporting align with your strategies?
- Is the data capture and report production efficient?
- Do all roles in your business have KPI’s, are they the correct KPI’s to drive the business forward, how often are they measured, can your staff see them, is there monitoring programs for over and under performance?
- What are you doing to retain your top talent and to develop your team?
- What are you doing on the cultural front to develop a stronger and more efficient business? How well are you recruiting?
- How are you communicating with your staff – is it appropriate, is it clear and are you fully harnessing the valued of your people?
The theme across all of these areas and all of these questions is that a small incremental increase in a number of areas can offer a significant bottom line benefit overall.
So take this opportunity to assess your operations and pick out 2 or 3 key areas to challenge what that extra little thing is that you can do to gain the value. Consider what that “one more thing” can be to drive the success you seek.