Archive for the ‘Business Development’ Category

Resource Vortex

Posted: June 21, 2014 in Business Development

Many organizations, especially small organizations, have limited resources to leverage growth. This can be especially important when that organization is in a crucial growth phase where they are trying to expand and test new markets. In pursuing this, the organization may face bitter-sweet problem: how to pursue growth with the limited resources.

Wasting time is not an option, and neither is ignoring potential opportunities. With this comes the question of how to choose between activities worth the organizations resources. The idea of a “resource vortex” is very helpful in this situation, and even better, it is very easy to implement. So what is it?

Very simply, this vortex is abstract concept of how an organization funnels opportunities and when utilized it helps to make the opportunities resource efficient for the organization. To use this idea, we take all pending opportunities and feed them into our vortex. By doing this, we avoid the problem of ignoring opportunities. Once in the vortex, we are looking for the “black spots” in any given opportunity, where these would signify deal breakers from either end. For instance, if this is with regard to a sales process, if we find that a given opportunity wants a 3 year payback on an investment, but the firm can only provide a 6 year payback, we end the allocation of resources. We don’t need to erase memory of the opportunity, but we stop expending out resources to it. So essentially, send it out of the vortex. We do this with every opportunity, at all the different phases. What is in the vortex, is regarded as active and should be pursued as such. Of course, there will be different priority levels, but the idea of using this vortex helps a organization to manage opportunities and resources that they expend.

 

So you have a business proposition that you are looking at developing, but don’t have a lot of resources at your expense. This is very common amongst developmental stages of businesses or withing the start-up portion of an idea. We always, especially when short on resources, need to be as efficient as we can and this applies to our marketing efforts as much as any other aspect of a business. Efficient marketing is crucial to development, as we look to maximize the outputs while minimizing the inputs, or “get the most bang for our buck” if you will. So how to we create this efficiency?

What I like to call the 4 Pillars of Efficient Marketing, are concepts that I learned first learned from Rod Hosilyk and Matt Westfield at Strategic Growth Strategies in Reno, NV and then became a believer after utilizing them. These pillars are the questions we have to ask ourselves when determining how we are going to market the business. If we answer these questions, we are well are on way to efficient marketing.

Pillar 1: Who is the customer?

This is crucial in the attempt to an efficient marketing campaign, and although it is a straight-forward concept, there is more to it than just what’s on the surface. Within this we want to know the types of customers, the primary customers, secondary ect. and REALLY know them, examples like where to reach them, where they buy, or what they look for. These are some important steps we must take before creating a marketing campaign.

Pillar 2: Why from you?

This is another way of saying what is your value proposition? Or your differentiators. What is it that makes us different from the rest of the competition? This is probably the “strongest” of the pillars because how we differentiate from the competitors is how we will succeed, and is why a customer will buy from us.

Pillar 3: How do you let them know?

This is our modes of marketing, and especially important for the efficiency goal. Here we need to know where to find the customer and what marketing channel is most important. For some it may be television ads, some QVC, social media, etc. Of course, if resources are scarce, then the higher priced channels are not going to be a reliable tool. Marketing is absolutely one area where we should focus on spending what resources we do have, so it is okay to spend here. But I am always an advocate of bootstrapping as much as possible, so don’t just throw money at marketing campaigns without doing due diligence about reaching the customer.

Pillar 4: How do you get it to them?

This will change based on the type of business of course, but it is important to understand what channels we use to deliver the final product (good or service). A great marketing campaign is only as good as the ability to deliver to the customer. This includes not only the proper channels of delivery but really focuses on logistics and supply chain. Here I want to mention the importance of our demand forecasting and capacity planning, which is making sure that we have the capacity for our expected demand. We can be successful in a marketing campaign, but if we do not accurately (to a point) forecast demand and therefore have insufficient, or too much capacity and inventory, then the campaign will not be as efficient as possible.

So now that marketing strategies are help up by these pillars, we can take steps toward growing our business while keeping our spending to a minimum due to efficient tactics.

Ode to People

Posted: May 18, 2014 in Business Development

What is the most important aspect of any business? The people. People are the drivers of business, and in more ways than one. While this may seem cliche, it can be very valuable to any business looking to grow.

tumblr_muw2jpTqlS1rycv7eo1_500

Any business is going to have people moving it along. This may be one person or a family or whatever else kind of make-up it may have, but the point is that the people within this business have to be a good fit. Business can be difficult enough without having to handle situations in which the organization itself cannot seem to function. Making sure the organization has a cohesive atmosphere is essential when planning for growth. I want to point out that this DOES NOT mean everyone needs to be best friends or act the same. Diversity in an organization is a great resource, and so do not feel as though everyone needs to be similar to each other.

What I really want to emphasize is the idea that business transactions are person to person relationships. We have heard about business to business and business to consumer, etc. but they are all person to person relationships. The reasons we should focus on this is simple: people want to deal with people they can trust. Everything we do as a business should center around the fact that we are trying to build trust within our community, whatever that community might be. This is not only a good strategy for long-term development, but also will help the day-to-day stress of running a business, because we center ourselves around a core principle of delivering our service to others, with an acknowledgement that we have a foundation of trust between us.