Wednesday, January 7, 2015

6 Steps to Creating a Tropical Paradise Out of a Tropical Storm (Part 2)

Just before the year turned to 2015, I wrote part one of 6 Steps to Creating a Tropical Paradise Out of a Tropical Storm.  These 6 steps are an absolute key for your association if you are going to be successful in the next 10 years.  Remember, success is not some magical discovery that just happens. Success comes from a set of well thought out strategies with purpose, that keeps you focused on your target, and passion to drive your actions and flexibility to adapt and seize unforeseen opportunities.

The first three I discussed in part one were:

ONE: Blend Young and Old to Maximize Energy and Wisdom

TWO: Build Your Internal Technical Knowledge and Leadership Upstream

THREE:  Be On The Cutting Edge of Technology

The next three steps to creating a tropical paradise out of a tropicaal storm are as follows:

FOUR:  Excite Your Customer - Do You Have Rock Star Status?
One of the reasons Apple has been such a success the last 10 years is they sold a "lifestyle",  and an emotion for their product.  Most people buy Apple because they want Apple.   There are many other companies like this as well.  The question for your company is, when people in your industry think of what you sell, does your company rise to the top?  Do people want to "FIND a way" to do business with you because your company is on the cutting edge, and you make people feel good about where they are going, and they can trust that you will pursue them with excellence?  …or do people think they are just another person buying something from you?  When you can inject EMOTION into your brand, customers come to you.  They seek YOU out!  So my question is, how are you blending the use of video, social media, the web, and direct mail into your "Emotion Brand" to have your customers, not only buy your product, but feel an experience when doing business with you?

FIVE: Be Transparent
You do business in an open society.  It's not fair, but it's real.  When you screw up, it will most likely appear on twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or some other feed.  Tons of people will know, even while you are still trying to hide it.  Your entire brand and culture needs to revolve around being transparent.  Allow your customers to have access to your work in progress portal so they can check the status of their order.  Post performance stats for your company so departments and employees can get excited about the success of the company.  You want your customers, members, or employees to look at your company as a part of them.  Find some type of profit sharing program to give every employee some "skin in the game".   I love a company I met not too long ago who gives every employee, down to the janitor, a percentage of the profits every quarter.  I don't think those employees are going anywhere.  There are obviously some areas that need to be for "your eyes only", but for the most part, members, customers, employees, and vendors need to know you are being up front, honest, and transparent with them when you are dealing with them.  Give no one a sense that they need to start digging into the details.  If you have nothing to hide, you hide nothing.  Openness and honesty build trust and loyalty.

SIX:  Review Your Business Strategy at Least Every 24 Months
I believe every association and company should have a comprehensive business plan.  This plan should define your market, customer, brand, culture, and how you will pursue your market.  I believe 24 months is the optimum length for reviewing your overall company or association business plan.  You can't live in one-year increments because sometimes it take longer than 12 months for strategies to gain momentum, and with longer terms, things change to dramatically.  Companies who review their business strategy every 24 months, have an opportunity to look at how their market and customer needs are shifting.  How does your company culture need to adjust, and what changes in execution need to happen to maximize your company success?  Each time you open up your plan, there are only three questions you need to ask for each aspect of your business including, sales, marketing, people, pricing, operations, etc:
  1. What are we currently doing that we need to be doing differently?
  2. What are we not doing that we should be doing?
  3. What are we doing that we need to stop because it no longer ads value?
When you look at the demographics of the United States, the future is very bright?  Those who build their value based on member needs, follow these six steps, and deliver with a WOW factor are going to see membership grow to all time highs, build new revenue streams, and make a big difference for their industry.

Lead your members into the future starting today.

No comments:

Post a Comment