So by now you know you need to foster future growth by learning to get under the hood of your business. Fostering future growth starts with your customer list. I’m going to help you identify the single biggest point of potential growth in your current market.
I've opened registrations for the Growth Revolution program for a short time ready to start in January.
In my two previous posts/videos, we discovered that one of the biggest mistakes community and business leaders make is that they don’t know who is on their list.
There is so much change and challenge in the world that many community and business leaders are feeling shaky and afraid to take the next step to foster future growth. This fear comes from not really understanding what is under the hood of your business.
This is a huge opportunity for you to learn to identify the single biggest point of potential growth in your current market for yourself, so you can stop HOPING that someone else will unravel the mystery on your behalf. You can stop paying a lot of money to just get a glimpse of the mysteries of your business. You can stop being afraid of wasting money on marketing and promotions that might not work.
Executing any kind of strategy without knowledge of your customer list and potential market is just like shooting an archery target one-hundred meters away… while blindfolded. The likelihood of hitting the target is a matter of luck – and as we learned in video one, luck is not a business plan.
Learning to deeply understand your customer list can help you efficiently allocate and spend your precious marketing dollars. You can better engage with your core and target market. All of those factors work together to foster future growth.
When you look at your customer list in the right way the business benefits are numerous. You can improve your whole product or service. You can focus your marketing message. You allow your sales staff to pursue higher percentage opportunities. You get higher quality revenues with margins that stick.
If you haven’t already, download my Blueprint (it's totally free but you'll need to register). There are three mind-maps that I’ve created which show you’re a whole bunch of things I consider when looking at a business market and their customer list.
Some pathways will lead to gold for YOU. Other paths, which may lead to gold for others, will not be gold for you.
That’s why these mindmaps will reveal your secrets. Your business secrets to your future growth.
Don’t worry! I am going to go through the major aspects of the first two mindmaps over the next little while. While you’re downloading the mindmap so you can look at them on your computer screen, let me tell you a bit about me.
I’ve been teaching and learning about customers and customer lists since the late 1990s. One of my earlier degrees was a Bachelor of Business in management and psychology. I’ve also backed that up with a Post Graduate Diploma of Vocational Education and Training. I am a business person and a teacher who really understands consumer behaviour. Being a qualified teacher, means I can transfer what I know to you in an engaging way.
I love teaching and learning. I love empowering those around me to achieve their potential.
I am also an unconventional forward-thinking creative person. I have a unique ability in abstracting customer data and other input to uncover hidden firepower in organisations. It is a skill that allows me to make connections across seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas.
Part of learning about your customer list and looking at the world around you is so I can teach you how to intuit those connections yourself.
Being a forward thinking creative business person who can teach is what sets me apart from other consultants… although I don’t really like that title. It reminds me of the 1990s and big fees and secret ‘tricks’. As I say in my book, the consultant world is changing. Consultants of the 21st century need to be dynamic, transparent, generous and empowering.
Now. You might think that you have no experience, no fancy degrees so analysing anything is beyond you. Because you didn’t go to uni or you don’t have a certificate, you HAVE to pay someone to do this stuff for you. That’s not true. I started looking at customer lists and other information before I got my uni degrees. I am going to share the insights I’ve learned over the years so you don’t have to go and get uni degrees. And you’ll find it’s not that hard – just a transformed way of thinking.
You may think that you’re not an accountant or bad at maths... or not very good at using computers. I’m not an accountant either and you’ll see that looking under the hood isn’t as complex as you think. I learnt to use excel in the early version days… think 1996… oh the errors I made! But I persisted. If you can use Word, you’ll pick up the basic principles pretty easily and excel is full of handy tips without the dodgy paperclip… remember that? Plus we now have this massive forum called google.
As part of the Growth Revolution program I’ll talk about a bit later, we give you a stater excel spreadsheet, and one of our very first webinars is going through the basics.
You don’t need degrees to be a true community or business leader. You need desire. Desire to learn, persisting in learning as you go and the desire to transform your business.
You might already be doing some of this work. I’ll help you tweak and modify… and extend your insights.
This will mean you become more fulfilled and confident in your work. You will OWN your future, rather than contracting it out. You can stop HOPING that someone else will understand your business within the confines of the money you’ve budgeted.
So let’s look at these blueprints.
Now that you’ve got them in front of you, you can see there is a pile of different categories I’ve considered. It might look a little overwhelming but the trick is to follow the path from the centre to the end of the branch. Mindmaps are great as you can get a whole bunch of information onto a small space. Plus, you can add other nodes as you go.
Now remember that I have said that you don’t have to tick off everything I’ve got on the blueprint before you get a better understanding of the market. It won’t take you long to identify the single biggest point of potential growth in your current market.
The first page there is an extended view of the Four Quadrants of Focus. I talk about this in my book.
You can see people on the inside, people on the outside, and activity on the inside and outside of your business.
When looking at the people on the inside, and I’ll talk more about the customers when we look at the other blueprints, you can see a group I have put there – board or investors.
While we may have done some terrific work analysing our customer list and the world around us and have some stunning results, it’s no good if we can’t present our results and have that information influence the direction of the organisation. We need to manage-up and present the information in a compelling way. So I’m going to give you some tips on doing just that. That means we need to learn to write a succinct and captivating FOR DECISION paper to influence boards, investors and, depending on your position, CEOs.
For Decision papers are formal business papers that present business information in a way that allows the Decision Makers to focus on making decisions about the future. They should be no more than two A4 pages. Any more, and you’re going to have people who give up reading your paper before they’ve even started.
To start a For Decision paper, we first clearly identify the issue – and the issues is that we need to foster future growth!
Now, put in your answer – your recommendation. This might be something like… This paper identifies the single biggest point of potential growth in our current market…and it is… and you’ll insert your number one finding here.
Now, present the three to five points that represent your most supportive evidence to your recommendation. Don’t put everything and give your decision makers a 25 page long manifesto! Most people can deal with five, tops. Each point should be no more than 60 words and supported by a visual – a graph, a picture… not clip art…
Your five things may be – and you may present them in a different order, or select different aspects or your research – could be…
Present and future local population trends
How your customer list compares and its growth potential
Key product or service that will be impacted for growth
Financial model of projected revenue increase
Key megatrend, such as urbanisation.
You can see I’ve picked an aspect of research I may have completed from each of the four quadrants of focus… four compass points…
Population - People on the outside
Customers - People on the inside
Product or service - Activity inside my business
Revenue growth - Activity inside my business
Megatrend - Activity outside my business
Now, you’re always going to have nay-sayers. So the next part of the paper is facing those objections and answering them. A fancy name is calling it risk management. Naysayers might say:
We tried this before and it didn’t work… so you tell them what is different now, and what were the barriers then.
How about, the problem of the naysayers wanting to market to the same customers all the time? The same type of promotions, or messages. Here, your need to state that for foster future growth, the company needs to invest in targeting new customers.
In your risk management section, also consider the risk of carrying out the recommendation. Importantly, include the risk of NOT carrying out the recommendation.
Lastly, end on a positive note by clearly identifying what the result will look like – what will be the transformation – when the recommendation is achieved.
Here is something very important about this... when you are answering questions of your board or investor or CEO about your recommendation, where is the balance of knowledge about your idea? Is it in a consultant’s head? Is it in someone else’s head?
NO! IT’S IN YOURS!
You can quote other aspects of supporting research during your presentation of the paper increasing your confidence and paving the way for transformation. When your recommendation is approved, you can tweak parts of your program without reaching for the consultant’s phone number because YOU have the INFORMATION on your desktop.
Knowledge builds knowledge.
As part of the Growth Revolution program – the live intensive session – we will be learning how to write and present your information. This is very, very valuable. Many of you have seen me and I’ll quote numbers and knowledge… I look pretty smart. Huh! The thing is, you can do this too!
There are a few more moving parts in there but I’ve only got a short time in this video and I want to talk about the next mindmap. The next mindmap is looking at Customer List for Business to Customer – or B2C – businesses.
I’ll give you a real example, although I’ve changed the names. I’m in the middle of completing an analysis for a customer in a suburb which we’re going to call Stone River, a suburb in the Central Coast, NSW.
According to the 2011 census, the average age of people in NSW is 37.7 years old… and we’re getting older. There are parts of NSW with long established areas or those which cater to retirees. The Central Coast has 8 out of 10 areas where the highest proportion of people are aged 65 years and over and Stone River is in one of these areas.
The average age of the customer list was 68 years old. They are pretty much representative of the rest of the local population. While my client at Stone River has cornered the market in the 65 plus set – the core market – and too much investment here will result in diminishing returns, there are gaps in the age bracket of 55-64 years old. That’s now the target market which requires investment and a review of what activity inside the business will cater for the needs of this group.
I’ll start by looking at the top products the Target Market consume currently, run a little survey on what the client is missing, consider some generational differences around quality and service, look at when the Target Market come into the venue… I am following the nodes on the mindmap to build up a picture.
Then, remember from my second video I talked about crafting the message.
Their pain – your solution – their transformation…
Their desire - your motivation – their new status…
The visual culture and language you use…
When a message resonates with a person, you instantly build trust, likeability and authority. That is because you’ve create the message JUST FOR THEM!
When your person recognises they are not alone, you’re providing a sense of belonging and community.
This example is a simplistic breakdown of many moving parts – and I’m not advising you that this is the same result you’ll get. I know my client from Stone River is reading this – they will recognise themselves – but you must find your own secret.
I have analysed customer lists where I have found significant gaps in representation – like the example in the book – where a few simple changes in messages and product saw those gaps rushing through the door. I’ve also analysed lists where populations were shrinking not growing, which poses a whole other challenge to foster future growth when people are literally leaving town.
You can see that you must learn to identify the single biggest point of potential growth in your current market. Depending on the agility of your business, you can implement changes tomorrow or take the time to plan for transformation.
HOPING that someone else will work it out for you gives you now power to foster future growth. Personally, I DON’T LIKE hope marketing. I don’t like hope leadership. I want you to be a knowledgeable leader. I’ve seen good people, good leaders struggling. That’s why I have created the Foster Future Growth program.
I've opened registrations for the Growth Revolution program for a short time ready to start in January.
I wanted to quit my business recently. I was tired of hoping for change. Hoping that someone would realise I could offer real value. Then one of my mentors said to me, Hope is not a marketing strategy. Hope is not a business plan. You can’t show up every day and hope. Hope that someone who might be your customer will show up too.
Understanding your customers is a better strategy than hope.
So you can see why when I go into a consulting job, the first thing I ask for is THE LIST. It’s getting closer to the time where you will choose between starting to understanding the bedrock of your business and building from there, just like being a consultant to yourself. Of choose to continue to paying out 10 or 15 grand to a consultant. You’ll be choosing to invest in yourself… and OWNING your future. Or choose to let this opportunity slip by.
In my final video, I’ll be talking about my training program – Growth Revolution – Refine Your Focus and Unlock Your Single Biggest Point of Potential Growth in your Current Market. This is your chance to work with others like you in getting under the hood and fostering your future growth ready for 2016.
The program will be a combination of webinars and a live intensive event where we’ll all get together and do some terrific learning. We’re going to cover Excel basics, gathering knowledge about your business, understanding the world outside our business, presenting business information up the chain in a compelling way, and influencing transformation. We’ll talk about creating marketing messages for different customers that create impact. We’ll create measures. There will be tools, worksheets, mindmaps, connecting exercises… I’m really looking forward to telling you more about this program next video.
I’ll have two levels – a limited number of premium packages and a fantastic early-adopter price that will never be seen again. That’s next time. If you haven’t used a webinar before, don’t worry we can’t see your picture so you can do them in your pyjamas! Or while you’re on holiday in Fiji… or Terrigal.
This won’t be an empty conference event where you take away one or two insights. Everything is designed to help you get under the hood of your business, build your confidence and allow you to own your future.
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