It seems that there is a quaint ritual involving some odd animal in the USA that determines if it spring yet – and it was the trigger for the movie “Ground Hog Day” with Bill Murray. (It is usually around February 2nd)
The was funny, but with a message for business owners. It centres on the idea of what you could do if you were able to relive the same day – over and over – and recall the mistakes/errors/what worked from the previous versions of the day. And in the movie – this leads our hero to his “perfect day”.
In the normal course of my day, I meet people who have built themselves a similar “loop”, except that they somehow manage to “forget” the errors/mistakes/lessons/what worked from the previous day. These business owners just get up – and go again. And again. And again.
Over the last 40 years I have attended hundreds of “trainings”, “development courses”, “workshops” and such. And the very best of them have one thing in common. Just one thing that makes them transformative rather than just another training course.
And it is this “one thing” that is the key to the movie “Groundhog Day”, as well as moving your business to the better place. This “one thing” reminds me of another movie – “City Slickers”, where the Jack Palance tough cowboy character “Curly” explains to us the secret of life is “One thing, just one thing…” And then dies without tell us what it was!
Well – here is the secret to the difference in a workshop, seminar or just one day working in your business.
It is simple. There is more strategic value in the debriefing after an “exercise/job/activity/work day” than there is in the activity. This means that after a training activity – which ideally is designed for things to go wrong – the MOST IMPORTANT step is to stop, review and consider – What did I just learn? How will this impact on how I do things in the future? What might those changes in the way that I/We do things cause to happen in your life?
There is a saying: If you are in a rut – stop digging!
Anther variation is “If your horse is dead – dismount.” The key to avoiding a Groundhog Business and a Groundhog Life is stop regularly, pull your head up out of the hole you are digging, look around and consider what you have just learned, and how that affects how you will do things next.
What if you and I went out into the world and asked a thousand people “After considering what you learned in your business in 2012, what are you going to do differently, stop doing, do more of or less of – in your business in 2013?”
Some would actually have a great list, a plan to change things for the better based on what they learned about business and about themselves. Fewer would have that list written down clearly with some action steps with deadlines. And a tiny proportion will have added that secret ingredient that will release them from Groundhog Syndrome. (That is where you take a photocopy of your business (or life) for a year, and then just repeat that every year. Year after year.)
And the secret ingredient? Stop digging, put your head up high (eg Helicopeter view) where you can look both forward and backward so you can see what you have done and where you have been, plus where you are currently heading compared to where you want to be heading. And the turbocharger for the secret ingredient?
Turbocharger is the regularity and ritual that you do your review process in. If you do a review just once per year – you get ONE chance per year to adapt, adjust, change course, speed up, slow down. If you do it quarterly – you get 4 goes at adjusting your course. Monthly – is 12 adjustments.
What happens to the amount of time, energy and money that is wasted the longer we travel along the wrong road or in the wrong direction for us? What happens to the waste when we increase the frequency of checking we are still on course – and make corrections?
I have found that when I (and my clients) have a daily ritual (made into a form) – that requires us to stop, debrief, review, then plan and allocate focus to the most important things – then “Change Miracles” happen. This is a DAILY form.
When this form is completed daily for long enough – it crushes your “Groundhog Programs and Habits”. Because as you become the high-powered person who stops, considers lessons, reviews what is important and ideal, then determines the actions and schedules for the next day – it means that you have stood up, taken hold of the rudder of your life and started to steer.
And once you begin to steer your life, you are no longer a victim of the tides, the winds or the sharp, barnacled rocks of life.
You get to show leadership – for yourself, your business and your life. And we can only do this when we look up, around, consider, review and then actively STEER. Steering means taking actions to stay on course. This means making changes. If you are heading for rocks, or around in circles (Groundhogs!) – it might be time to pull your head out of your rut and take ownership of your own ship.
Ps if you would like a copy of my Daily Planning Form – contact me.
Pps I will be watching Groundhog Day again on Groundhog Day. Approximately February 2nd
Alvin Toffler said “Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.” He drew this from the full quote by Herbert Gerjuoy who said:
“The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction — how to teach himself. Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.”
Toffler synthesized further to say:
“The illiterates of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write
but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”
You have been operating in your business in more or less the same way since you began, right?
I am now going to say that – Unless “your business way” has a built in “unlearn and relearn” pattern to it – then many of your tactical actions are at best sub-optimised and at worst irrelevant.
Your core strategies may be still valid, or they may have been weakened by the structural changes that have accelerated massively in the last 100 years. The most obvious of these changes has been the internet. Information is now available on almost every product, and every supplier – with feedback from almost every client or customer online and instant.
This means a relatively new role called “online reputation management” will be very common in the short term. A year ago – almost no one had heard of it. I predict that within 12 months from now – even in provincial cities like Townsville – it will be a commonly used term in business circles.
If you don’t ‘get it’ yet – have a look at this Google search for ‘new cars townsville’. http://goo.gl/xpFlM Notice that Google now values and publishes reviews about these car dealers. From looking at this single page of search engine results – it is clear that these businesses have not yet heard of “reputation management”, or done the maths about how much even a single review from an unhappy customer is going to cost them.
We might even suggest that these large and successful businesses at this stage are in denial. They do not have the basics in place to get the best value out of their web presences. An example of this is that many do not even have not even claimed their Google Plus Business Pages – which may be the place on the web where they are most easily found by prospective customers. (Thanks to Google Plus/Local Places – which used to be the maps that appeared in a Google search page.) If I am considering buying a new car – I am likely going to read the “reviews” that appear in front of me. Will I be put off a brand or a dealer when I read how the dealership “ripped off” or gave bad service? As a human – yes.
If there is a mix of good and bad reviews, but each bad review has a reasonable response from the dealer – it may increase my probability of using that dealer.
This example of a structural change (the internet) has many ramifications. One is that as your potential customers now have almost perfect access to comparative information – then unless you build an uniqueness into your offerings – you will be increasingly treated as a commodity provider – which means you will be selling on price alone. And that is a tough place to live.
Another ramification is that protection of your integrity is vital. If you slip up, or a member of your team makes a dubious decision – it WILL become public knowledge – just about forever. The way that we now must deal with conflicts with customers is to consider them as a marketing cost to fix. It is far, far cheaper to give a refund (or whatever it takes) than to attempt to clean up stream of bad reviews, blogs, comments and bad feeling on the internet. It is expensive and time consuming to “manage” (which means minimise/hide) black marks on your internet presence. If you plan to stay in business – then deal carefully with potential conflicts with your customers.
Townsville Business Enthusiast
There is no rule that things that are useful in business need to be boring. Profit creation can be fun – in fact is more likely if there is some fun.
For example – when I talk about really interesting things like the scheduling of marketing activities or the creation of the plan – unless I am careful I can feel my own eyes glazing over.
Watch this simple animated video below to learn from the “Profit Ninja”. The lesson is simple – and hearing it from a drawing with no arms is a bonus.
Enjoy. Oh – and do subscribe to the Bites.
This is a sample of the Marketing Bite Newsletter. The formatting is a bit messed up – but you can see past that, right?
That is when I understand they will begin delivering here in Townsville.
To find this out I had to call their 132378 number – as it was not clear on the webpage. It was interesting listening to the messages that preceded me talking to my “Customer Care Associate in Melbourne (not overseas?) “. It seems that all the cover letters sent out with Proofs for Adelaide and Melbourne were incorrect – but the proofs were correct. I guess there must have been enough confused/annoyed business owners calling them to warrant a message.
Anyway back in Townsville – if you are strategically still using the Yellow Pages [Discussed in other posts that it can still be a great investment] then you have about 6 weeks to measure your lead sources “Before” the book comes out.
Why? Because if you are undisciplined in this regard – and do not know the source/number/conversion rates of your leads – how are you going to decide what marketing is working. or not? And when the Yellow Pages reps start buzzing around wanting to lock you in for the next YP – how will you know what to do?
Globally, printed YP results are being smashed by local internet marketing. For the price a largish yellow pages advert – you can do an awful lot of good things with websites, social media, direct mail, and so on. Or – if you have all that planned and sorted – depending on the results of your lead source measuring after April – just put the money into your wallet?
Notice the Newsletter/Bite Size Marketing Tips sign up in the right column – join and discover a huge raft of things you can do to immediately make your business more profitable/valuable – and it comes in little, bite-size lessons.
The video below just made me laugh – because I remember a lot of business names designed just for Yellow Pages.
Have a groovy day
James Hooper[trafficplayer_skin padding: 41px 0 0 41px; margin: 0 auto; width: 441px; height: 495px; background: url(http://seminar.com.au/wp-content/uploads/skin9_400x280.png) no-repeat top left; text-align: left;][trafficplayer_youtube_video width=”400″ height=”280″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/h_bRqA6d1xw?&autohide=1&autoplay=0&controls=1&hd=0&rel=0&showinfo=0″ ][/trafficplayer_youtube_video][/trafficplayer_skin]
Townsville Business Coaching and Mentor Programs
I had to chuckle a little at the spin coming from the press over the latest Newspoll showing there is a drop in support for moving Australia to a Republic.
In case you have been living in a box with not TV, internet, radio or other media – there is a royal wedding coming this weekend. As bizarre as it sounds – the Australian population, in general, loves some solid “Pomp and ceremony”. The romance of the bride [Princess to be] “Ohhh – doesn’t she look beautiful..” And the handsome prince – who will be in some fancy uniform or other – the choice of which will be explained in detail – will be stuff of legend.
In the middle of such “royal wedding-o-phile” prattle, the Australian newspaper commissioned a poll to determine support for an Australian Republic. Despite the numbers in support of a republic being down – they still outnumber those against it. [41 to 39%]. With the time of the poll, I suspect that the Australian was both having a little fun – and also generating some text to fill its columns.
A decrease in support for moving away from a republic is going to be affected by a Royal Wedding – but the more serious effect I think comes from an apparent “leadership vacuum” at the top level of Australian politics. If the poll also asked “Who would you like to see as the first Australian President if we were to become a Republic on New Years Day 2012?”
How would you feel about our current PM or opposition leader having the post?
There is saying that “nature abhors a vacuum“. In this case, the vacuum at the pointy end of Australian politics (plus a nice wedding) may be starting to make the British Royal Family look less abysmal. So why are they the “Royal Family” again? Wasn’t the dynasty founded on the leadership/power grabbing abilities of one ancestor of the current team?
I foresee that the inertia has held the current British Royals in place will be functional for some time yet. The power of the Royal PR department – is immense. What are the odds that something big is in the wind? Earlier this year we had a Prince “touring” the Qld floods – looking stoic – meeting with the suffering ‘commoners’. He also visited NZ to “help” with their earthquake. Now a wedding!
John Howard is reported as stating that there will be no movement to an Australian Republic while lovely Queen Lizzie is on the throne. A pompous wedding would be an powerful way to position the “Commonwealth” for a new King in the medium term. Wow – a wedding, and then an even bigger event to gong the new King. [Do we get a new Queen as well?]
Eyes will become misty at the sheer romance, grandeur and wonderment of it all – especially with the Brits. Union Jacks will cover the cities, and emotive sing-alongs will burst verdantly from the throng. The Poms would have little resistance – and little choice as there does not appear to be an organized “Republican movement” there. [Umm would that be ‘Treason”]
And here in Australia – there will be a solid effect. Just the wedding will dominate TV, internet and all other media. I have not seen the ‘momentos’ appear on the market here yet. And the feeling of Australian “ownership” of the British Royals will grow.
It is just like your favourite football team. After a long period of average play and results – you might ask – how did the Cowboys (or Magpies or whatever) go last weekend? But as soon their quality improves, we “join” with them and ask “How did “we” go last weekend?”.
The Royals are about to “lift their game” so that “we” adopt them again. So that we make them “our” royals again.
And this matter to how we do business in Australia? Not really. The rules of business will remain constant, and successful business owners will continue to simply work within whatever framework exists to build their success.
As for marketing – the coming Royal Wedding [and the likely UnQueening and then the Coronation] are great events to have as a “reason why” you are having your own event for your business.
In fact – to celebrate the joining of whichever Prince it is with his lovely Sheila – I am giving away Three (3) 90 Minute Business Success Building Sessions to Townsville business owners who want blunt “second opinions” on their businesses.
If I was a white goods shop – I might have a competition where everyone who buys something over $xxx goes in the draw for a really cool 3D TV so you watch the wedding…
What can you do in your business to “piggy-back” on this event? And on other events? Have you got a list of all the ‘events’ – everything from Mother’s Day to Cheese Week. AND – you can borrow from current events if there is no decent event to ride on. All you need it do is decide to do more marketing.
The “marketing rule” to follow is to ALWAYS have a reason for a sale or promotion. Even if it is lame. And obviously you have done the maths on having a ‘Sale” using the Price Effects Spreadsheet BEFORE you start the process. Even if the “reason why” is “we ordered too much stock” or “My thickie manager (who is now hoping that you come in for this sale so that he gets to keep his job) ordered the wrong products and the manufacturer does not want them back.”
Ps – please feel free to nominate in the comments below anyone you think might be a great Aussie Prezzident.
About 30 years ago I was told about the “Innovation Life Cycle”. It was at Uni in a Marketing lecture, and the lecturer zoomed past it like a dragonfly passing a hungry frog. Today as I look at the predictions made by Gartner for the changes coming in the next 24 months about our business IT – I think it might be time to adjust the shape of the curve.
You will have noticed or read about or simply experienced the rate of change of our technology – particularly in business communications lately. “Smart” phones, GPS devices, Local Marketing Devices, Netbooks, iPads, those Google barcode thingies, and lots of other stuff that “older” people have mostly ignored.
Business owners are now at a crossroad where they must either:
The decision to be made is really whether the changes are of a “structural” nature – or not. A structural change was the internal combustion engine leading to cars/trucks/other which was a structural change for transportation. Do you see many businesses using horses and carts?
Another examples was the fax machine. When it arrived it was amazing technology – and it altered the way we delivered printed word. Followed by email. Email now means that the sales of fax machines will be looking a bit dismal on a sales chart – and in a short time they will be like record players or video recorders [can you still buy them?]
– by 2012, 20% of businesses will own no IT assets. Huh? Yep – one in five businesses will be operating “virtually”. Hardware will be owned by 3rd parties.
– by 2012, India based IT service companies will have over 20% of cloud services. If you don’t know what that is – Google it – which of course reflects the absence in the world now of dictionaries and encyclopedias.
– by 2012 – Facebook is the hub for social network integration and web socialization. Ummm. Gartner is saying that pretty much all social media will need to be FB ‘interoperable’ or will disappear. If you are now ‘using’ Facebook consider where you are in the Innovation Cycle. Yesterday I needed a haircut. I have a new provider – and had not yet put their details into my smart phone [actually – it is now pretty dumb and I need to upgrade]. I was near my PC, so I googled the hairdresser. Because her website is not terribly well optimized, her Facebook Page appeared above it in the results, so I went there. But there was no phone number on her FB page… Darn it. If I had been using my phone to google the number – it would have been extra annoying – because right now phone service providers are giving free access to Social Media sites like Facebook. Now – this means that visiting FB does not use up my allowed bandwidth – which is an advantage when you only get a set amount each month. If you do not understand what I just wrote – anytime in the next week or so would a good time to pull your head out of the 20 year old sand it is stuck in. Or just plan not to be in business for very long.
– By 2014 – most IT business cases will include a cost for carbon. It seems that virtual servers produce less carbon than having your own on your premises. One answer this is to just make more money so you don’t notice this extra little tax. Or raise your prices to cover it. Remember though, that someone with a virtual IT system already has a lower IT cost, and is also not paying for the extra carbon. So unless you are differentiated and not competing only on price – then you will become increasingly “screwed”.
By 2015 – Gartner’s team suggests that internet marketing will be “regulated” because of the increasing spam and clutter in the marketing channels, and that businesses that rely only on the internet for marketing will be hurt. While I agree that having more than one marketing channel is prudent at any time – I think the regulation suggestion is bollocks. I believe it will the changing technologies matching the innovation curve that will “regulate” internet marketing – as it has done for the last 10 years.
– By 2014 – over 3 billion people worldwide will be able to buy using mobile or internet technology. Gartner predicts 6.5 billion mobile connections by 2014.
– By 2013 – mobile phones will outnumber PCs as the most used web access device worldwide. Holy moly. Seriously? Yep. They predict that the number of PCs in use in the world in 2013 will be about 1.8 billion. The combined use of smartphones and brower-equipped phones will be 1.82 billion – and continue to expand.
Is your website optimised for phone browsing? This one is – but in light of the weight of numbers here – I will list checking it is ideal for mobile this week. [Click the link at the bottom of this page or Click Here to see what a mobile optimised site looks like.] I have a free WordPress plugin on this site – which does the switching – another example of a structural change in motion – previously I would have needed web designer to build one for me.
Be sure to subscribe so you don’t when Part 2 of this theme. Use one of the annoying red buttons.
Have a safe and regenerative Easter,
After my last posts about Sensis Yellow Pages Print Edition, one of the first things I did when the new books arrived this week was to look at the page number on the final advert in the new book – and compared it to last years.
Last year the Townsville Yellow Pages had 905 advertising pages. This new book has only 805. A decrease of 11%.
This might be an interesting exercise to do with the Yellow Pages for our major cities as they are rolled out this year. I am expecting even more dramatic size reductions in the bigger books [or multi-books]. I am also looking forward to having a far more flexible relationship with YP reps in the future as they are repositioned to be in the same boat as other publishing reps – as their dominance of local search marketing fades.
The new monster on the block is obviously what is called “local internet search” which is presided over by Google. Late last year Google altered the way it sorted and displayed search results to include a majority of “local” results for the person doing the search. This is just like in the brutal movies where the assassin twists the knife in the victims chest to sever the vital arteries before removing it, which ensures the death of the unfortunate “stabee”.
Once that change happened in Google last year, a bunch of maps (called Places listings) for local businesses appeared on the first page of results for any search term that Google thought looked like a “geographic” search. This was the completion of the assassination of printed local search – ie the Yellow Pages books.
You can pay Google to appear in the “Adwords” advertisements that appear on every Google search results page – but to get on the first page of the “Places” listings – which is where the gold is – you need to talk with someone who knows about “Local Search Optimisation”. This is a person who has studied and tested and learned what Google likes enough to reward you with a high position in Places for your keywords.
In fact – you need a geeky dweeb guy/gal (sort of like me – but maybe even more attractive?) even to figure what your “keywords” are. They are the terms that your prospective customer might enter into the Google search box.
Once you know your best search terms to optimise for – you then must develop a multi-pronged strategy to reach the top. This includes but is not limited to the way you complete the “places form” for your business, the on page optimisation of your main website (the one you list in your Places Listing), the “off-page optimising” of your main website (including all the backlinks to your main site from other sites and Social Media sites (Yes – you do need them), the design and wording of the specific videos on your Youtube Channels and the amount of views they get, and a variety of other tactics including doing unusual pagan dances in the moonlight and being mentally prepared for Google to delist your Places listing for no obvious reason, and then take months to review it.
In other words – you can do the basics yourself – but as time passes you will need to outsource this role or recruit someone to keep your presence alive for your keywords and to develop more keywords that bring your business. It simply takes too much time to learn it all then apply it for yourself.
The cost of this will be offset over time as the investment required in Yellow Pages adverts reduces as their market power fades.
You should also get used to the new paradigm where “being on the web” no longer means you have “a website”. It means you may have a dozen sites, plus social media sites, plus video channels at different carriers, plus stuff that is not completely obvious yet. You will become familiar with terms like RSS feeds and “pinging”. You will see a wave of sites designed for “smart phones” with technologies that can do things like offer you a MacDonald’s Deal as you drive anywhere near a MacDonald’s store.
Just thought I would give you the good news…
I believe that the sheer dynamism of the local search marketing is brilliantly exciting. There has never been a time of more rapid change in marketing and the technology of communication. It is those who embrace the changes and carve out their own local areas that will thrive. This includes the crossover from web into SMS (text) marketing – which is brilliant for those willing to think about “tribe building” rather than “flogging stuff”. If you are not applying SMS marketing in your business – you are in for a shock in the coming 18 months.
Regards to all
Copyright James Hooper – All Rights Reserved
Well – it is Christmas time again. There are Business Christmas parties on two or three times a week. Business owners are pouring largesse for their clients – dinners, parties, gifts.
Yet I am not. I think it is sort of nuts to only show gratitude or to work on building solid relationships in a great big burst at Christmas time. Why not do it all year? Or at least at times when people are not in a “Partied Out” State?
Parties are great things.
A few years ago as I was about to purchase restaurant vouchers for my clients – which was my “usual” gift around Christmas time – it occurred to me that there might be a better use for the money. My clients obviously enjoyed receiving a gift – and it always nice to know that you are appreciated. The amount I was investing was becoming a tidy sum – if not a princely one.
Then I received a card from a friend who instead of giving me a gift had instead given a chicken to a village in Kenya or Eritrea or somewhere… A chicken is a livestock investment. It is real, and increases the wealth of a village considerably over time.
I discovered that not only can you donate chickens, but also equipment – like water sterilization systems. If you are child in poverty – and someone in business in a distant land gives up handing out “overeating” vouchers to his wonderful clients so that you can get have safe water to drink – it that a really, really good thing?
Or if you are a parent and the only water you have for your children is smelly, dangerous and dirty – and you know it that is dangerous – but you have no choice – how do you feel?
And then World Vision turns up in a Land Rover and begins to set up the water treatment plant?
So for the last few years I’ve been privileged to bundle the “Christmas Party Funds” and create a little positive ripple for some less fortunate people. This year I was caught up in the emotion of having a loved one lose more and more of their sight.
And I discovered that $25 can give someone their sight back. That is about the price of a good entrée. Throw in a main meal, a bottle of wine, some coffees and you paid almost enough to have something like this happen:
Click Here and Read The Article And if it strikes you as a good idea – then consider your Christmas Party Investment – or the “upgrade” you pay extra for when you fly – or any other time you pull out your credit card – and decide which has more value for you.
Have a safe and happy Christmas
Business Coach Townsville