As business owners we are constantly choosing. Decisions are upon us all the time. We are also continuously shifting and adapting, which is why we can be the most resilient when necessary during challenging times. The key to good decision-making is in being in the right mindset. Too often, decisions are made from uninformed thinking or misguided thinking, resulting in a “wish I would have known then what I know now” regret at a decision made.
Here are five areas to consider in how you choose to proceed in 2023:
1. Profits vs. Sales: What are your goals for the year ahead? Are all your numbers focused on gross sales? What about your gross profit? What about your net profit? If you are only focusing on the sales numbers and not on the profit numbers, you may be making some detrimental decisions on how to reach your numbers. I have seen more companies than I can count that have had increased sales with lower profits, and were left scratching their heads as to why this was the case. After a bit of investigation, they were putting all their energy and resources in promoting their least profitable offerings or being consumed by serving their least profitable customer segments.
BOTTOM LINE RULE #1
It's not about sales; it's about profit.
2. Preference vs. Appeal: There are many companies out there that are trying to appeal to your target customer, so it is really about what you are doing to be preferred. Are you trying to appeal right along with your competitors or are you demonstrating in your messaging, capabilities and actions why you should be preferred. Distinction for the sake of looking different is not enough to turn a prospect into a buyer, let alone a loyal customer. Demonstrated distinction backed by unparalleled capability is what it takes to build preference.
MOMENTUM-BUILDING DECISION #14
When your strengths are demonstrated through actions,
your advantage is demonstrated through results.
3. Foothold vs. Footprint: All too often I will see a company management team or owner determine they need to expand their market area when they haven’t truly exhausted the opportunities right under their noses in their existing geographic area. Alternatively, there is the company that is national or regional that is struggling because they are spread too thin not making any real mark. In both cases, the focus is on where they are doing business instead of where they can truly have impact and a dominating presence in doing business. Focus and targeting is key, not just in what you offer and who you serve, but also in where you geographically concentrate. There are pockets of opportunity awaiting you to see what others are overlooking.
BOTTOM-LINE RULE #3
It's not about footprint; it's about foothold.
4. XXXX vs. OOOOs: We have all seen the X’s and O’s as symbols of kisses and hugs. Let’s face it. Kisses mean love, and hugs mean like. Make 2023 about doing what you love, being the best for those you love to serve and making your company a place people love to patronize. Don’t settle for something you merely like to do in your business, because oftentimes you are convincing yourself you like it because it is paying some bills. I have lost count of business owners who were kicking themselves all the way to the bank, wishing they had done it sooner, simply by focusing on this “love” factor. When you love what you are doing it shows. And when it shows, it makes others want to be a part of what you are doing.
MOMENTUM-BUILDING DECISION #22
What you love in business grows.
5. !!!!s vs. ????s: What I mean by the exclamation points is be the WOW versus just the answer to a customer’s issue. Sure being the answer is great, but the reality is that it is short-lived and easily forgotten unless you add a little “Wow” into the mix. How do you add WOW? You exceed expectations. Answer the phone, return calls and be simply delighted to serve. Throw in something unexpected and extra. Problem solve beyond what was expected. Be one step ahead of your customer's and your employee's needs. Part of the WOW factor is based from one of my favorite quotes by Albert Szent Gyorgy, "Discovery is seeing what everyone has seen, yet thinking unlike anyone has thought." Pay attention to what others aren't seeing or doing. This is your golden ticket to WOW.
MOMENTUM-BUILDING DECISION #5
Be better than anyone else at something.
One of the best parts about being a business owner is that we have the power and authority to choose what we want to happen in our businesses. Too often, we allow other influences or our own doubts compel us to make choices that are not in the best interests of our businesses for the long term or that are not taking our business as far as it could potentially go. Choose with informed confidence and impassioned conviction and nothing can get in your way.
Most important of all, allow that conviction to help you set goals, not limits, to what is truly possible in your business.
Yours in economic vitality,
P.S. In 2013, I posed the same premise about businesses doing "this" versus "that." A decade later, it hasn't changed, these five aspects of pushing your business to a higher level still is relevant and essential for growth, sustainability and building an enterprise of value and worth. What has changed? CLICK HERE to read my blogs on COVIC's impact that has changed how businesses operate and attract their workforce.