Exclusivity - What Does It Mean For Your Business?
I’m sitting in a café across from a jewellery business in Chatswood - Hardy Brothers. Have you been there? Have you stood out the front and ogled the beautifully stunning, very expensive jewellery and or watches? Have you noticed that you can’t get into the store without a store employee pushing the secret button to unlock the door? Once the button is pressed the expansive glass doors open wide and welcome you into a treasure trove of luxury beyond most dreams.
Interestingly there hasn’t been one customer go into the store in the first hour of trading. Given they exist in one of Australia’s most expansive retail precincts, I feel troubled by the lack of clientele. On reflection I probably don’t need to worry. I know and they know that at any point during the day someone looking for an exclusive shopping experience will come into the store. They know all to well that the brand, the look and feel, the locked doors, the desire for exclusivity, the want, and the need for an emotional connection to a purchase from this store is the key to making money.
The vision of exclusivity is clear. It is there for us all to see in black and white just above their name…..’BY APPOINTMENT TO HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN’, a statement allowed to be used as a result of holding the Queen’s Royal Warrant. There is no confusion about what you can expect when you walk through the front doors if you dare. You are buying quality, you are buying very expensive product and you are buying into a world of prestige that has an effect on your perceived self amongst family, friends and peers. The exclusivity of the experience in itself is enough to ensure the brand is held to its high standard.
So the big question is...how does your business communicate your clear, defined and simple message? Are your customers buying an experience? Are they buying a feeling? Are they willing to pay more for it? Do they pay more for it and feel better about themselves? Or, do they have a higher perceived value because of that emotional connection?
Lets be clear, exclusivity is not for everyone. It can rule out a large piece of a target market. It can mean you need to sell less volume at a much higher margin. It can mean working harder at developing a long-term loyal following. It could mean a longer sales cycle. It could even mean culling products and services that don’t meet the grade.
On the flip side, exclusivity could mean the difference between being one of the crowd or standing out and being recognised as THE brand in your niche experience. Imagine being sought after by a client base that was willing to pay more, even in times of economic uncertainty.
What next? Go forth and determine whether you are in a market whereby exclusivity could be your unique value proposition and then plan to drive your vision through your brand, your customer experience and your products and services. Oh yes, and one last thing……don’t forget to deliver on EVERY promise your business makes verbally, philosophically and unintentionally. Break your customers expectation and passion for the experience and you wont live up to the exclusive status for long.
Small Fish Business Coaching Sydney
End of the Financial Year: Networking
So it’s the end of the Financial Year and the start of a new one. There are a million articles floating around about this particular event. So I have decided to write about something completely different.
Do you or does someone in your business participate in a regular weekly organised networking event? It just so happens that I do and I really love it. I am about to become the President of my chapter (no its not a cult as my wife likes to refer to it as) and I am really excited.
The benefits to my business through networking have been amazing. In fact 60% of my clients have come from networking. It is an extremely cost effective form of marketing and it allows me to build trust, expertise and relationships with people that become advocates for my business.
I meet with like-minded business owners on a weekly basis for breakfast. The meeting starts with 20 minutes of open relationship building and catching up with new members and visitors. We then move into a formalised sit down breakfast with an hour-long agenda driven meeting. Each participant has the opportunity to stand up for 60 seconds and give his or her elevator pitch. The specific intent of this pitch is to ask other members for referrals and to provide them with enough detail so that they become your external sales team.
The middle of the meeting provides a 10-minute timeslot whereby a member presents his or her business to the group. Every week sees a different member present and this is an awesome opportunity to be innovative, demonstrate value and deliver your sales pitch to the group. It is an excellent way to be interactive with 20 plus people in one room whilst they are intently figuring out ways to help you get more business.
The tail end of the meeting allows for every member to officially pass referrals, state how much closed business they have won from the group that week and record how many one to one sessions they have had with chapter members that week in order to get to know one another even more.
So what? Big deal. What on earth has this got to do with Business Coaching?
He is the exciting part. I am about to become the leader of approximately 25 people that will all be actively seeking business opportunities for ME! Not because I forced them to with threats of violence, but because I have become an active member of a group whereby giving is about gaining. I now have a team of sales people working to promote my business with true intent. They are a sales team with integrity, with substance and with care for me as a person. This is possible because I participate with energy, passion and drive to help my fellow chapter members.
How much does this cost? It costs me a nominal annual fee and it costs me time. But the return on my investment has been massive!
If you are not networking because you are scared of the prospect of putting yourself out there or because you don’t have the time to add another something to your list or because you don’t think it would work for your business then I suggest you rethink your options. Not only could this be good for your business but it too could possibly be good for you as a leader of a business! Members are constantly giving testimonials about their improved presentation skills, their confidence in growing their businesses with the support of chapter members and most importantly their ability to form lasting relationships that transcend business.
My aim is to have our chapter passing $1 million in business by the end of 2012. That is certainly an exciting proposition for a group of businesses that are passionate about new business, new clients and increased revenue.
If you would like to know more, drop me a line. Happy to discuss the opportunities related to networking in more detail and happy to help you make the transition to a networking event near you where I can.
Happy networking and go get some seriously warm leads!
Small Fish Business Coaching Belrose
The Future! What is your future? How often do you think about the future? Does having children make you more concerned about the future? I know I think and discus the future a lot. It is the last wild unknown frontier!
I find the future to be an amazing and fascinating opportunity both personally and professionally. There are always so many big unanswered questions and yet history plays such a big part in helping us find meaning. In recent times I have had 3 experiences that have led me to the future so I thought I would share them with you.
Take a look and let me know what you think of the future and in particular how your business will play a role. It is crucial that we know and understand how to make the best decisions that will impact our personal, business and community sustainability on a planet that is being inundated by more humans with less natural resources.
My experiences started with meeting Craig Rispin at the Flying Solo Live event in 2010. Craig is a professional futurist and has an amazing knowledge that he calls upon to make sound predictions (for want of a better word) for the future. He came over to the Small Fish stand and began sprouting information about new and innovative ideas on the internet. He literally blew my mind. The pace at which new and exciting topics came from his brain just stopped mine from working. He was an inspiration and I can highly recommend Checking him out.
My 2nd experience was recently on Facebook. Mind turned off, whizzing past all of those nonsense status updates I came across this awesome topic that made me stop and look. The topic was A day made of Glass. This is a fantastic example of how a business is planning for the future and delivers that vision by the fastest growing form of mass media.......YouTube. Check out the video here.
And thirdly, I was sent a website after an excellent lunch discussion with passionate views on what the future holds. My friend Grant provided me an excellent insight into the criticality of businesses getting it right when they plan for meeting the needs of future consumers. Take a look at this excellent example of thinking about the future right now by Siemens.
There you have it. My brief little insight into the future. If you like cars, you will probably have also seen the exciting new concepts at the 81st Geneva Motorshow, very sexy! So, if all of that doesn't get you thinking about the future, then lets do lunch. I love to meet people that think about it as much as I do. See you in the future.
Business Coaching Sydney
Have you woken up with a jolt this week? Has it just become glaringly obvious that it’s the 4th week in January and you had better get cracking? Don’t panic you’re not a teapot (spot the reference?). Yet!
If you are like me, you are probably still wondering where Christmas and New Year went and why on earth all the work is piling up again (Probably has something to do with the fact you didn’t put it all away before Christmas, however that’s another blog). Anyhow, lets focus on what we should be doing in order to break away from the hangover now that we are smack bang in the thick of it.
It’s this time of the year that setting business goals, like New Year’s resolutions, tend to be full of energy, bravado and pig picture thinking. The question is how many of them will you actually achieve by year end? I daresay all the simple ones might get actioned and some of the medium-hard ones will be attempted and probably most of the really exciting ones wont see the light of day. The key to success is really being able to understand yourself, your business and the related life cycles (the ups and downs of the coming year) in order to prepare a truly achievable list of business goals.
I am firm believer in setting Big Hairy Audacious Goals. However, don’t get so carried away that none of them will ever make it beyond the realms of the dream factory. Why not have a think about setting some warm up short-term goals such as clean the office or make contact with key suppliers. Then maybe consider some medium term goals like reviewing our website strategy or changing suppliers to reduce costs. Then, when you have a clear picture of some goals that you can easily sink your teeth into and ensure success, set yourself 1 or 2 big year long goals that will involve some strategic thinking and involvement from other partners or employees. i.e Achieve a revenue increase of 100% by end of year, with the same resources we used in 2010.
The point is, make sure you can warm up, get into the groove and feel your way back into the discipline of business. Don’t overwhelm yourself early on and then have to completely change the direction or strategy for the year half way through. And of course, once you have your goals documented somewhere that has visibility for those that need to be aware, plan, plan, plan!
The planning of the actions required to reach your goals is way more important than setting the goals themselves:
• Cleaning the office – plan to bring some music, some special treats to keep you going and think about a reward for the end of the day when it is complete.
• Reviewing website strategy – document what you want to achieve (renewed traffic or SEO optimisation), research what you like then plan to speak to experts that can help.
• Achieve a revenue increase of 100% without increasing costs (utilising existing resources) – brainstorm ways in which this might be achieved, have a whiteboard exercise to capture all crazy ideas. Prioritise the key elements. Actively explore the step-by-step actions required over the course of time to ensure you are heading in the right direction. Or that it is achievable. Share the strategy with key members of your team. Seek buy in and offer incentives. Remember to keep your actions specific, measurable and don’t forgot to check in time to time. Taking 5 different routes to achieve this goal may not be the best courses of action therefore plan wisely.
So, there you have it. A hangover guide to kick-start your year without swallowing a single headache tablet. Remember, it’s easier to take time now to prepare than it is to have to change course mid way through the year after something drastic has happened.
If you would like some help with your goal setting, your planning or taking action then give us a call. If you have an actual hangover, sorry you might need Panadol.
Small Fish Business Coaching St Ives
Newest Members Of The Small Fish Business Coaching Team
A couple of months ago I was lucky enough to have been accepted into the Forest BNI Chapter located in Sydney’s north. Apart from being involved with excellent group of business leaders that I am now proud to be a part of, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Time warp back 20 years. Actually make that 30. I played my first game of basketball after being subtly advised that rugby league may not be the way to go. I found my first ever love in basketball and I am passionate about her to this very day. The most important admission at this point is that I am only 175cm (176cm on a good day) tall. There were never any talent scouts lambasting me for being too tall. Having defied the odds, I had a very successful junior career that lead very briefly into senior representative involvement with the Wollongong Hawks.
Coming to the realisation that I would never play professional basketball, I quickly decided that I needed to own my own team to stay involved in the National Basketball League. I have been striving to reach this goal ever since……..without much luck.
Getting back to right place at the right time. A couple of months ago Melissa Fisher of Piemonte Café Restaurant in Terry Hills, put it to us all at our weekly BNI breakfast, that she was looking for sponsorship of her basketball team. I jumped at the chance. Not only was there finally an opportunity to almost own my own basketball team, there was a clear synergy between coaching small businesses and coaching of a sports team. They very kindly (maybe out of pity) asked me to be honorary coach.
So, the team formerly known as Ballin, are now the team to watch with their brand new Navy and White strip with Small Fish Business Coaching sponsorship as they go about demolishing the competition. A big thanks to the girls for getting the Small Fish brand out on to the basketball court with such style. Great job girls, remember it’s all about winning. Just kidding! Have fun and do Small Fish proud.
Small Fish Business Coach St Ives
To the Power of Mmmmmmmm....... (Customer Satisfaction)
Ever had that warm moment of mmmmmmmm??? I’m sure you know it. Inner warmth, satisfaction, happiness, exceeded expectation without even knowing you had expectations? Know the one?
I love that feeling, especially when I least expect it. We get it from friends, we sometimes even get it from family. BUT, how often do you get it from a business you are dealing with? Either as a customer or as a business to business interaction.
I find that I get it less these days when I am a customer. Is it because I live in Sydney? Have we forgotten how to treat the very people that make our businesses successful? Why is it that some businesses blow me out of the water and others leave me feeling cheap and nasty?
At first I thought it was relative to the level of expectation I have of a business, i.e. 5 Star versus Budget. But then it dawned on me, being human has no boundaries. It shouldn’t matter to what level of business interaction I have, I want to feel like I am at least appreciated for spending my money at your business. Then it occurred to me, I don’t really even need to be appreciated. I just don’t need to feel like I am insignificant to the ultimate success of a business. Sure, one cup of coffee in the grand scheme of things is no big deal. I get that.
BUT WAIT! Who said I was only ever going to buy one cup. What if I am new to the area looking for the friendliest, warmest welcome to the neighbourhood with great coffee? Guess what…..no impact, no connection, no warm hello, no true displays of humanness……I’m trying out your competition. And I may never try you again, from one simple fleeting interaction.
So back to the power of 'mmmmmmmm….' What are you doing to ensure that every new customer to your business has a reason to come back? Do you think about it, do your staff excel in this area, is there a consistent experience across your team? Remember you want all customers, including loyal ones, to feel the power of 'mmmmmmmm.' If you are not sure whether they experience it, maybe we can help.
Contact Simon Thomas to discuss your Customer Experience plans sooner rather than later.
Small Fish Business Coaching
Inspired by Inspirational People
What has really amazed me about working with Small Business owners is that they achieve so much on their own in such little available time. I am constantly reminded how lucky Small Business owners are when they are successful and loving what they do. As a Business Coach, selfishly, I have had great satisfaction in working with people that care and demonstrate inspirational stories about themselves. Working as single parents, juggling families, managing friends and family, maintaining a sense of well-being and connectedness, all the while working ridiculous hours to ensure their business is a success.
I have spent the last few weeks working closely with Pink Printing Supplies and each time I leave a meeting I feel enthused and energised. The Director, Debra, is the walking embodiment of her business and her life. Amazingly, when I looked up the meaning of embodiment to ensure I had the right word, the example sentence was ‘she seemed to be a living embodiment of vitality’. How well connected to my thought process is that??? Brilliant.
Debra has an alter ego called Miss Pink, which she utilises as her persona to promote her business (You can see some lovely pictures on her website). What I love about Miss Pink as a character is that she clearly articulates a brand awareness that is easy to remember and identify. The best thing though is that the personality behind Miss Pink is no character. The personality is synonymous with the whole business and I can’t stress enough how important that is for Pink Printing Supplies. Return clientele and referral business make up a majority of customers. They are not just buying a product; they are buying from a business personality, a brand, but a brand that is the true essence of that business.
Debra’s passion for her business and her desire to make changes to build a stronger long-term vision is outstanding. I was immediately captured by her openness and willingness to communicate. She certainly made my job as a coach extremely easy. But the takeaway for me has been the inspiration I have taken from her story. She milks every minute of every day for what it is worth and does it with steadfast positivity! I leave our sessions feeling excited, alive and wanting more, much more.
Imagine if your customers felt the same way about you when they interacted with your business. Feeling energised, inspired and wanting more. That’s business nirvana isn’t it?
Small Fish Business Coaching
Rewards for Good Customer Service
Customers reward good Customer Service by spending 8% more.
It's official, according to a report comissioned by American Express World Service Australia, customers reward good Customer Service by spending 8% more. It's as simple as showing polite respect and welcoming people to your business. Don't pester them because there is a fine line between buyer willingness and the buyer walking out the door.
Click here to read the full article.
Don't forget, it is much cheaper to keep a happy customer than to attract brand new ones!
Small Fish Business Coaching
Do Your Referrals Come This Good?
After spending 25 years in customer facing roles I am a cynical and often-disappointed recipient of ‘take it or leave it’ customer service. I find that friends and family tend to rely on me to go back to a store manager or restaurant owner and provide constructive feedback about a poor experience. I’m the guy that everyone looks at when something goes wrong to see whether I am going to make a big deal of it. Having said all of that, I am absolutely against this new trend of complaining for the opportunity of getting something for free (that’s a whole new blog for another day).
So, when an experience is out of this world and blows my mind at the magnanimous effort displayed, I feel it deserves absolute grandstanding and promotion. Not to mention that this business outcome forms the basis of some serious referral marketing. What a great way to expand your customer base without spending any money!
I was a regular customer of Renegade Cycles (http://www.renegadecycles.com.au/) in Lane Cove, NSW. Why? This is where I lived………once. After moving out of the area, I took my bike to other stores for servicing and to purchase cycling stuff. But it dawned on me that they never quite lived up to my expectations. I had a race coming up and the bike needed a service. I decided to drive 20 something kilometres in painful Sydney traffic to Renegade Cycles even though I hadn’t been there for over a year. The guys were typically friendly and happy to help, and of course they remembered my name.
As I was about to leave, I mentioned a little trouble with my suspension. Was there anything they could do? One quick look, a couple of key questions and they knew exactly what the problem was. It needed to be sent to the manufacturer for servicing. Mmmmmm, small dilemma. That was likely to take 5 to 10 days. I needed the bike back for my last weekend of training so we went with the deluxe service, which I might add, was completed in a day (awesome timing, even though they were busy). They didn’t have the special brake pads I needed so they would order them in and do them after the weekend so I could have my bike. Given the time it would take to send the suspension off, I decided that it would have to wait until after the race.
I trained on the weekend and then took my bike back in on the Tuesday (long weekend) for the brakes. Inevitably the suspension issue came up. It was worse than my previous ride and was going to seriously impede my race. After much discussion with the guys at the shop, they proactively offered to ring the manufacturer to see what could be done. This was 4 days prior to the race.
At around 4.30pm on the Tuesday I got a call to let me know that my bike was completely fitted with an entire new suspension system. “What? How could you possibly…..?” Renegade had spent the whole day ringing and riding around to resolve the issue. They spoke with the Manufacturer who put them on to the authorised warranty dealer that just happened to be in Chatswood. They negotiated with the dealer to fix the bike and manage the warranty issue with the manufacturer. They physically rode the bike to Chatswood (about 20kms round trip), had the entire suspension system replaced and handled the issue of warranty on my behalf. All done proactively and without fuss or fanfare!!!!!
You can imagine my full surprise and adulation when I received the call to explain that it had been completely rectified in a day. The funny part was that the brake pads took longer. Needless to say, I had a blitzing race and beat my previous best time by 40 minutes. Yes, I’m giving full kudos to Renegade Cycles for that sensational race time, they deserve it!
Back to the important part…….how do you as a business protect your Customer Experience? Do you have a strategy? Do you have a culture that instils this kind of response? Do you know whether your customers enjoy dealing with you and reward you with their loyalty? Do they tell their friends and family about you? I knew that Renegade Cycles were good, but this experience cements my desire to deal with them exclusively regardless of where I live. They have earned my custom, and they more than deserve my referrals!!!!
Small Fish Business Coaching