“The problem is not the problem; the problem is your attitude about the problem.”- Captain Jack Sparrow
In his book “A New Earth” Eckhart Tolle says that there are three ways in which your state of consciousness can flow into whatever you do. They are acceptance, enjoyment and enthusiasm. As a business owner, manager or entrepreneur we would highly recommend reading this book, it is both enlightening and profound.
We would like to touch on the first one, acceptance: which for us contains the key to your philosophy, and lies in the very heart of many of the challenges you face in your businesses. In essence Eckhart Tolle says that acceptance means that, for now, irrespective of the situation or circumstances you find yourself in, whatever this moment requires you to do, accept the situation for what it is, and you do it willingly. You may not enjoy dealing with an angry customer, wrestling with financial details, having to do stock-taking in your warehouse, or changing the tyre on your motor car, but instead of complaining, or trying to sidestep the situation, embrace the problem and be alert to your feelings and emotions.
You will be surprised at the energy and awareness that comes from taking this approach. We are all guilty of dwelling on matters, letting our emotions take over in situations and expending time and energy avoiding things that needs to be dealt with, and no amount of negative energy is going to make it go away. Procrastination is a negative emotion and one that very quickly build stress which then starts affecting your energy, productivity and creativity, not to mention its impact on your health and wellbeing Ralph Waldo Emerson said “very little is achieved without enthusiasm”.
Your success is driven by your determination and the enthusiasm you inject into what you do. Here are some questions for you to ask yourself and write down your responses to each one to give you an idea or framework from which you can determine your philosophy towards your business. These are profound questions and deserving of you spending some time thinking about them, and answering honestly. Whatever your answers are to these questions, it will give you the basis from which to approach your business by positively embracing where you are now and give you the understanding of what you need to work on to get to where you would like to be.
What is the mental attitude influencing your behavior in business? What is your attitude towards serving people? What is your attitude towards providing exceptional value? What is your attitude towards delivering on your promises? What is your attitude towards seeking, learning and applying new concepts? What is your attitude towards networking with like-minded people? What is your attitude towards making a difference in life? Do you believe in ‘Service with a smile’ and that the ‘Customer is King’, or are you a begrudging service provider? Do you believe that your customer has the right to search for and demand their ‘What’s-In-It-For-Me’ (WIIFM) value? Or is your focus on making money at all costs? In other words, are you driven by the goal of just banking money at the expense of your customer, or do you believe in
making a profit by putting your customer first, and that the first function of your business is to obtain and retain customers? Do you share your profits with the people you work with and do you allow them to earn more than you? Do you allow the people that work with you to build profits for you? Or do you unintentionally limit the growth of your company by limiting the growth of your people? Remember the objective of your business is to obtain and retain customers, and the goal of your business is to make a PROFIT! You can’t make a profit from a customer until you have firstly obtained them as a customer and they have bought your product or services, and more importantly, then building a business relationship with them that retains them as a loyal customer. So, the question is: do you have a cost-centered or a customer-centered approach? The latter will ensure you build a base of loyal customers, which will achieve your goal of making a profit! Therefore, the first thing to look at in your business for a quick improvement in profits is to document what your philosophy is.
Here is a 17-point strategic marketing questionnaire for you, as an entrepreneur, manager or business leader to review and complete, which will uncover your attitude to business. 17 Strategic Marketing Questions
1. What originally motivated you to get into your business?
2. How long have you been in your business and what revenue did you produce in your best month ever?
3. What is your primary product or service?
4. What is truly unique about your product or service?
5. Describe your key target consumer.
6. Where is your key target consumer located (i.e. Demographics)?
7. What marketing action did you take to produce your best month’s turnover?
8. When you started, what marketing method did you use to attract your first customers?
9. Why did your customers buy from you when you first started?
10. Why do your customers buy from you now?
11. What number of regular customers buys from you now?
12. What total number of customers has bought from you in the past 12 months?
13. When you started, what percentage of sales did you generate? What percentage do you generate now?
14. What is your primary marketing method right now… and what percentage of your business does it bring in?
15. Would you rather attract new customers to your business… or generate more money from your existing customers… and why? 16. What makes you most proud about your business, product or service?
17. What is your current feeling towards your business? These questions will reveal that there is one simple secret to business success, and a great starting point in developing a business: ‘Find out what people want or need… and give it to them by exceeding their expectations through delivering exceptional value that addresses their needs.’ Do that with integrity, with a product or service that adds value to your customer, your society, and your business, and you will be successful! If your approach is to go to market with a product that begins with the wrong attitude to customer service, then you will always struggle. It is all about value…! Value from your customer’s perspective, not from what you feel the benefits of your products and services are!
How do you determine value? Well there are 4 key business drivers that all business revolves around, including yours. Your objective is to add value to one or more of these customer-centric business drivers
. • Increasing revenue. Every business or organisation needs to grow revenue.
• Increasing profitability. Increasing revenue needs to be supported by increased profitability.
• Improving organisational effectiveness. All businesses or organisations need to continually improve their effectiveness, efficiencies and productivity.
• Decreasing or managing expenses. Growth and profits need to be balanced with managed expenses and the drive to decrease any unnecessary costs and expenses. If you don’t control the expenses in your business, then it will not matter how much profit you make, at some point in your businesses cycle, this lack of discipline and management will adversely affect you, especially if you are faced with uncertainty and challenging economic times. Constantly ask yourself; Do I underpromise and over-deliver in a unique value added way? Or do I tend to overpromise and under-deliver in any part of by business, be it quality, service or value? Before we talk too much about how to make money, let’s quickly touch on what attitude will be necessary to succeed – here are our ABC’s of success in business:
A is for attitude… if you approach a customer with a winning attitude …a can-do attitude… no nonsense attitude… a caring attitude… a common-sense attitude… an open-minded attitude… an understanding attitude… a patient attitude… a willing attitude… they will become a loyal customer! B is to be… to be yourself… be true to yourself… be a leader… be a differencemaker… be meaningful to others… be teachable… be duplicable… and most of all you want to be proactive in gathering everything you need to believe… in you… your company… your product… your team… your dreams… you don’t want to waste your time and your customers time. C is for commitment… you can have all the A’s and B’s in bucket loads but if you don’t mix them with a commitment to achieving a specific target you’re just a highly-motivated jack-rabbit. Commit to a target… start with bite-size chunks… small targets… commit to getting your first few sales… commit to helping others get theirs… commit to supporting your team… commit to supporting your customers… commit to growing your income. Commit to becoming the biggest earner in your business. You must commit.
The preceding picture – ‘the attitude steps’: ‘Which steps have you reached today’ – from Iain’s book ‘The Fixer – managing in the middle’ perhaps sums up ‘attitudes’. The following questions become your measurement and the answers you give become your guidance and direction.
• What have I learnt today? • What have I taught someone today?
• In terms of my attitude and approach to my business what step (in the ‘attitude steps’ diagram) am I on? (and your team if applicable)
• What do I need to do to get to the next step? This is an excerpt from the book “The Fixer – simple ideas to grow your business” by Iain Johnston and Trevor Nel Contact Iain Johnston at: 083 410 4440