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In order to create any strategic plan, in order to develop a marketing scheme and to develop a brand to focus their entire structure on, the number one thing a small business owner needs to define is what business they are in.
What is your core business?
Micheal Treacy and Fred Wiersema in their book, Disciplines of Market Leaders suggest that market leaders show excellence in at least one of three areas: Operational, Innovative Technology or Customer Intimacy. They refer to these areas as “Value Disciplines.” In order to dominate the market a business has to be the very best in at least one of these three disciplines.
In his ebook, Turbostrategy, Brian Tracy talks about putting this information into play. I want to go sideways a little and add some coaching ideas to each one so we can guide our clients toward superiority.
Operational Excellence: I did a blog a while back on systems analysis and making things easy – especially for your customers.
As Brian points out – efficiency is the key here: “A company with this competitive advantage is able to produce and sell their products and services at lower prices than their competitors.” Think McDonald's and Wal-Mart.
As a business coach, how do you attack this? Like I said before: systems. Get the client to the point where they are aware of the systems in their business – the ones that already exist and the ones that need to be created.
Once a system is in place, then it can be fine tuned to ultimate efficiency.
Innovative Technology: The world likes cutting edge and dependability. Look at the iPhone – or the iPad – people believe in the new technology that Apple puts out; same with Sony and Lexus. Consumers get excited when they know innovative leaders are about to release something new.
As business coaches we can’t necessarily suggest new ideas to our clients – it just isn’t our place – but we can help a business create an environment that encourages innovation. Use strategies that develop employee relations and develop the leadership skill of empowerment. When their people are comfortable to suggest new ideas and feel free to be creative, innovation comes naturally.
Customer Intimacy: This can be two fold. One side is marketing demographics, get the client to define who he sells to and who is buying from him. That’s basic, but, more than that, if your client is in any kind of service, or meets with customers one-on-one, they really need to get a grasp of the human side of their customers.
This is really pure coaching stuff because you aren’t going to know where your client is lacking until you know your client (your own customer intimacy). Are they just a little bit bad with names and faces? Then a mini-profile in the customer’s file is all that is needed. Are they horrifically shy and can’t hold a conversation? Then you need to help them with some scripts and schedules so that they connect with their clients regularly and congenially.
Yes, this isn’t rocket science for most sales people, but it might just be a learning curb for an accountant, who would just as soon sit at her desk alone with a bunch of numbers.
As Brian Tracy Certified Business Coaches we have the tools, training and support to help our clients move from mediocre towards excellence. If you aren’t certified yet, give us a call.