Alignment Foundation: Building a Naturally Innovative Organization™ Part 2

[one_sixth last="no" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hide_on_mobile="no" background_color="" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" border_size="0px" border_color="" border_style="" padding="" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="" animation_speed="0.1" class="" id=""][/one_sixth][two_third last="no" spacing="yes" center_content="no" hide_on_mobile="no" background_color="" background_image="" background_repeat="no-repeat" background_position="left top" border_size="0px" border_color="" border_style="" padding="" margin_top="" margin_bottom="" animation_type="" animation_direction="" animation_speed="0.1" class="" id=""] The Alignment Foundation: The Core 4 The Alignment Foundation is about the Core 4: Purpose Values Mission Vision Nothing earth-shattering here. Many of us have heard that we need to have these four pieces in place. But what I'd like you to consider is whether they are REALLY part of your who your organization is, deep to the core. If an employee was acting outside of the core purpose or values of the company, would every other person in the company step in and provide some correction? It starts with the senior leadership team. Each person on the senior leadership team must exemplify each of the core values of the company. They must know the purpose of the company and be able to tell what that looks like when realized. They need to be able to quote the values and mission (both short), and do so with real conviction. And sharing the vision needs to be second nature, with stories of what you are creating and what it will look like in the future. Your Purpose Organizations exist for a purpose. Many would consider that purpose is to make money or create an impact. But purpose goes deeper. Purpose to a faith-based leader may be to glorify God. Purpose to a non-profit leader may be to save millions of lives. And the purpose of a for-profit leader may be to have both a profit and impact. Your Purpose is your WHY. Your Purpose never [...]

By |2016-04-18T15:06:00-04:00March 7th, 2016|Innovation, Leadership, Revenue Growth|0 Comments

Analyze This: 3 Tips to Help Improve Operational Efficiencies

For growing companies who are starting to realize real revenue growth, it’s important to analyze operations. This allows you to review key areas of your company, find weaknesses and strengths, and improve on your processes. Here are three areas that should be analyzed to help improve operations: Revenue Analysis An analysis should be made up of the following: Sales mix Product demand Order quantities Product obsolescence Creation schedules Storage space Competition Look at sales generated by different types of selling efforts: Direct mail Online Through partners Etc. Determine the variability in volume, price, and cost of each major product or service. Ask this question: Should products or services be more personalized?   Cost Analysis Direct cost ratios should be used in analyzing operating costs, which include: Direct labor/sales Direct travel/sales Direct marketing/sales Determine if costs are excessive relative to production volume. The ratio of selling expenses to net sales reflects the cost of selling the products. As a Cost Analysis is implemented or revised, approach it from a cost/benefit perspective. Each offering’s costs should be compared to the direct income generated form that offering. Then you can decide whether your company should continue offering that product or service. Example: If you have a product that contributes a very small margin (<5% margin), it may not make sense to keep that product unless there is a strategic advantage gained by offering it.   Process Analysis A business process is an operation, function, or activity that may cross departments of a company to create the product or render the service. By concentrating on the entire process, you can improve operations and product/service quality, realize cost savings, and reduce processing time. In appraising processes, consider the following questions: [...]

By |2016-03-01T15:04:22-05:00March 1st, 2016|Operations|0 Comments

Building A Modular Business

Although I usually focus on what differentiates companies in order to sell more, I've been thinking about what makes businesses similar for some time. Our competitiveness and hubris often gets us to build businesses that are totally "unique" - that have their own processes and functions rather than building off a core set of "modules" that can be combined in different ways to build a powerful, stable business from the start. Building a business using Business Modules™ is much like building a Lego building. Each brick helps provide stability and adds to the character and function of the business. Since businesses began, people have looked for ways to win in the game of business. Instead of sharing resources, companies built proprietary systems that have to be dismantled and rebuilt as a company grows (or it remains stagnant). The concept behind Modular Business™ is that each business is unique, but all businesses share some basic processes and functions. Those functions can be considered Business Modules that fit together to build a complete, profitable business. With a Modular Business™, business owners can choose which Business Modules™ they want to connect, and which ones they will operate themselves. The difference between Business Modules™ and outsourcing or hiring contractors is that Business Modules™ are designed to interact and share information effortlessly for easier decision making and synergy, and to deliver outcomes, not just activity. Modular Business™ interconnections are pre-defined so that Business Module™ providers can deliver the same type of service across a range of companies. Building a Modular Business™ is a way of getting the benefits of franchising across a much wider range of businesses. This allows Business Module™ providers to specialize and provide specific Business Modules™ to “Core Businesses.” Business owners can then choose which Business Modules™ best fit their Core Businesses and swap Business Modules™ as [...]

By |2016-03-30T00:04:10-04:00February 19th, 2016|Innovation, Modular Business™|1 Comment

Building a Naturally Innovative Organization™: The Big Think High Performance Spearhead

Building a Naturally Innovative Organization™: The Big Think High Performance Spearhead Many companies struggle with staying on the innovation front-end rather than getting bogged down and decimated by competitors that are more innovative. At Big Think Innovation, we have been talking to leaders and thinking about what differentiates innovative firms from those that are just getting by. And we’ve created the Big Think High Performance Spearhead to show how pieces build on each other and fit together to drive innovation in an organization.   The Alignment Foundation Starting at the bottom, we have the Alignment Foundation in purple. The Alignment Foundation focuses on getting everyone in the organization moving in the same direction, with passion and engagement. These three elements are the core of building a Naturally Innovative Organization™. They provide direction and get the right people in the organization from the start. The Core4 includes Purpose, Values, Mission, and Vision. Before over-communicating the Core 4 to others, the leadership team must Live the Core 4 to show integrity, and also use the Core 4 as a key element of hiring and review. Inspiration and alignment are natural byproducts of establishing the Alignment Foundation. High Performance Core These three elements build on the foundation by providing detailed guidance and assuring that all people in the organization are working at top effectiveness and in the same direction. Building a sharing a comprehensive strategy that connects to peoples’ roles is important. Then you need to adjust the organizational structure to assure that the strategy can be executed effectively. Finally, you need to install a management system that is based on fairness and trust, and that focuses leaders to take care of their people and get out of [...]

By |2016-04-18T00:50:46-04:00February 7th, 2016|Innovation, Leadership, Revenue Growth|0 Comments

5 Ways to Develop and Market Content to Grow Your Business

Content Marketing. You hear about it all the time. Many are doing it (some well, some not so much). Some have no clue what I’m talking about. Developing and marketing content has become a great way to promote and grow your business. But, many business owners and executives are not taking advantage of this tool. They are concerned they don’t have the time or the skill  to write and market content. I have found that this is not always the case. Here are a few tips on how to use content marketing for business: 1. Start writing As simple as this may sound, it truly is the backbone of content marketing. Write about what you know, your passions, why you love the industry you serve. The more your write, the easier it will become, and the more you will improve. Start by writing out a list of subjects that interest you, refer to that file and write to those subjects on a regular basis. 2. Use the LinkedIn Publishing platform I have been writing on LinkedIn for more than two years, and I do so because I believe it is an amazing content marketing tool. I articulated the reasons why in a recent blog post you can see here. ( My 30 LinkedIn posts have garnered more than 40,000 hits and countless new business opportunities. The LinkedIn publishing tool is quick and easy to use, and a great way to develop and market your content. 3. Let others know about your content, and share theirs I often say that social media is the "anti Field of Dreams." You can build it (in this case write it) but if you don’t promote it, they won’t come. [...]

By |2016-02-19T11:03:34-05:00February 7th, 2016|Expert Business, Marketing, Revenue Growth|0 Comments

Increasing Revenue: Raise Your Rates or Your Clients?

This is a pervasive small business issue. I was talking with a friend today who has the potential to change the world, but he was charging small-time pricing. As I thought through the issue, I realized that like many people I have met, he had a block to seeing the potential for larger fees. I think there are several potential issues going on here and for others: One's network is made up of small thinkers and cheap people. One's clients are used to paying smaller fees. One's self-perception is not great enough to allow for big pricing. The value offered is not worth more than the small pricing. Here's one of my answers to him (I thought it was brilliant): It is easier for us to change our pricing to match our networks than change our networks to match our pricing. But if we want true abundance, we need to change our networks/clients to match our BIG vision. Here's a response to each of the points above: This limits our thinking because we calibrate based on the people we are around. Back to the adage "You will rise to the level of the five people closest to you". Change your clients. Go up-market. Start working with people who will create a bigger impact. If you want to maximize your impact during your lifetime, you need to work with people who have major impact, or who will soon. Working with people who are concerned only with themselves or maybe a few others will not juice most people enough to keep going strong. Focus on maximum impact. I have a great friend, Paige Armstrong, who is a psychotherapist and coach (psycho-coach :-)). She has helped me and [...]

Bureaucrap: The Leading Killer of Innovation

The surest sign that innovation is getting poo-pooed in an organization is when you see piles of BUREAUCRAP all over the office. It gunks up the works, it makes people hate their environment, and it STINKS! What is Bureaucrap? bu·reau·crap ˈbyo͝orəˌkrap/   noun Friction-causing, energy-sapping excrement from people who like to poo-poo other people's ideas and who put artificial and nonsensical barriers in place that undermine productivity and innovation. A sticky substance that prevents real people from doing good work. A residue from incompetent people trying to justify their existence.   Bureaucrap is often commensurate in scope to, or exponentially larger than the size of an organization, and poses as "protective measures" to prevent bad stuff from happening. What really happens is that it prevents good stuff from happening while allowing incompetence and polyticks (lots of blood-sucking parasites) to exist in the organization. How to Remove Bureaucrap   You may need a Tychem® BR Level B Fully Encapsulating Suit, like the one shown above, for excessive amounts of bureaucrap. Caution: Bureaucrap is difficult to remove. You must follow these directions carefully: Clear the air. Explain that you believe bureaucrap to exist and that you want it removed. Identify the bureaucrap. Look for inefficiency. Look for disengaged employees. Look for poor performance and productivity. Look for lots of paper or extensive approval systems. Look for people who have risen to their level of incompetence (Peter Principle) Enlist help from your employees to root it out. Describe what bureaucrap is and how to find it. Offer rewards for the biggest pile of bureaucrap discovered. This can be fun or serious. Address it head-on. No mamby-pamby solutions will work. Create an award for bureaucrap. Speak to those in charge of creating, promoting, or maintaining bureaucrap. [...]

By |2015-08-04T09:16:53-04:00January 28th, 2015|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Identify Customer Needs: Step 1 in Building an Effective Sales Funnel [Sales Funnel Part 2]

[This post is Part 2 of the Build Your Sales Funnel series, a 10-part series. Here's Part 1. Every company needs to build a sales funnel to maximize revenue.] Amusement parks know that there are millions of thrill-seekers like me who are willing to pay to ride rollercoasters. They also know that there are millions of people who don't prefer fast rides. Parks are designed to accommodate both, helping to optimize their revenue. They know that families and groups are made up of thrill seekers and those who like to play games and watch shows. And those willing to watch the kids and eat a funnel cake... When we're building our sales funnels, we need to identify customer needs. Actually, to know what it is that customers really want. Customers often don't buy what they need, but they do buy what they want. I've struggled with this one. I see that companies need strategy help, but many only want marketing help, which is just a portion of the goodness I can offer. For a long time, I tried to convince them of their need, until I finally relented and started selling what they wanted, and Big Think's revenues doubled almost overnight. Finding the Fit Market Fit is the term used to describe the proper fit between a product/service offering and what customers want. To see more about this, see Fit Product to Market, which is the first part of the Big Think Revenue Generator model. You need to find what customers are actually searching for on the Internet, and what they are buying in stores. What flies off the shelves versus what just takes up shelf space. There are several approaches to discover or identify customer needs and wants: Ask people Observe [...]

By |2015-08-04T09:19:24-04:00January 9th, 2015|Expert Business, Revenue Growth|0 Comments

Is Your Sales Funnel Like an Amusement Park? [Sales Funnel, Part 1]

I love rollercoasters. I'm an admitted risk junkie - pilot, SCUBA diver, hang glider, skydiver - you get the picture. I love it. But there's nothing quite like a great rollercoaster to get the heart pumping. And it makes a great analogy to building a profitable business. For me to get to ride my favorite ride, I have to: Find a day my boys and I can go (they're my rollercoaster buddies, and if I go without them, it wouldn't be pretty) Drive four hours to get to King's Dominion (or more for Busch Gardens) Pay for parking and park the car in the expansive lot and try to remember where I parked (we usually get there before it opens, so parking is closer) Buy the tickets ($50+ bucks each) and enter the park Walk/run/sprint to the coolest coaster before the line piles up Stand in line at the ride FINALLY get to ride the rollercoaster (for about 60 seconds) FUN! Here it is in a sales funnel form: It's totally crazy when I break it down like that. Eight hours of driving, a few hundred bucks once you factor in tickets, food, and gas. All for about 20-30 60-second-or-less rides, depending on the crowd. But the park was built for me. And millions of others like me. It is a destination because they created the product I want to consume. Application to Your Business The same thing goes for our businesses. Some people have a more difficult time explaining WHY someone will want to experience what they offer. But let's break down the application to our businesses, because I think it's a great analogy: Identify the Need/Pent-up Demand. People have to know they need something to start searching for [...]

By |2015-08-04T09:17:59-04:00January 2nd, 2015|Expert Business, Revenue Growth|5 Comments

Self-Employed and Tired of No Sleep? Time for a Thinking Upgrade (Welcome to The Leverage Continuum™)

Being self-employed is a tough life. You're responsible for everything: Making product or providing services (if you have clients/customers) Selling Marketing Billing Accounting Figuring out what to do next out of your 1,001 item list Some day you hope you can get to working ON your business rather than IN it There's tons more. I've been on a journey this year of taking the first steps out of self-employment. And I don't mean getting a job. This year, I've dug in more than in the past to turning my services into products (productizing services) and really thinking through what I can do with them. I have laid out a plan, and I will be writing about this journey of self-discovery and transformation here. A journey that has led me to develop the concept of The Leverage Continuum™. My expectation: Within one year I will have lots more freedom and about 7X more income. Why only 7X? Because I'm building a platform, and infrastructure on which to build the rest of my "real" business. And building the foundation often takes longer than building the rest. The Leverage Continuum™ The transformation process is The Leverage Continuum™. Here is the first stage, which I'll talk about in more depth in additional posts: There are psychological shifts required for each step, and until someone is ready for the next change in their thinking, it won't happen. It can't happen. We all have hang-ups of some sort. I didn't think I did, but I have recently uncovered some things that were holding me back: My personal limiting beliefs. This model is still being developed, and subject to change, but the thinking is starting to come together. Overall, there are numerous shifts that [...]

By |2015-08-04T09:19:47-04:00October 4th, 2014|The Leverage Continuum™|0 Comments