Building a Success Model

If we’re thinking about the future, none of us is passionate about the industry we’re in. We’re seeing troubles and struggles with every aspect of our current business model. How do we decide where to go from here?

Thoughts of the day: It’s not just startups that need to come up with a fresh-start business plan. Work backwards, building your new plan around success factors. Make a plan to align your company, top to bottom — vision, strategy, goals and tactics.

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A foundation for your marketing

How we describe ourselves, what our goals are, what we do – describing those things are the biggest issues we face in marketing. We’re good at what we do, but we don’t spend a lot of time crowing about it, or figuring out what to say that will get us leads. And we sure don’t know what results we need in marketing. How do we get started?

Thoughts of the Day: Know what you do, and what you don’t do. Explain what you do in words that the marketplace can identify with. Put the word out, so that the right people beat a path to your door. Make sure the marketplace can find you in quantity sufficient to meet your company’s growth goals. While you need to be aware of your competition, you want to promote what makes your company special.

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Protecting your business from risky clients

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We just got clobbered by a client who went under, taking our receivables with them. We’ve gone from having tons of money in the bank to being very thin. Since this was a sizable account, it’s going to be hard to replace. We want to learn from this experience. What should we have done differently – so we can do it right next time?

Thoughts of the Day: Big clients can help boost the business, but they can also be dangerous. Make sure you have a good handle on what’s going on with every customer. Build in protections for things that might go wrong.

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Take the lead when it comes to money and boundaries

We have an employee who keeps stretching the limits. Asks for reimbursement of expenses that we don’t usually reimburse. Frequently requests salary increases. Asks for special favors regularly. Tends to take it personally, as if I’m not doing a good enough job of meeting his needs. I need to realize it’s just who he is and draw the line before things get out of hand.

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Talking about compensation and what people should earn can be uncomfortable for many people. Knowing your company’s limits is crucial. So is knowing what the policies are and applying them uniformly. Often fear of losing someone at a critical time results in making an unsustainable offer.

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Being nice does not mean being a doormat

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I’m not aggressive and I have to get it done. I’m a nice guy, but while I tend to see the best in other people, I know I also get walked on by vendors, customers and sometimes even employees. How do I find the balance?

THOUGHTS OF THE DAY: Think about what makes you call yourself a “nice guy.” Hone skills that are synonymous with leadership. Make sure you’re clear about where you want to go with the company. Make asking for input a sign of strength, not weakness.

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