7 KEYS TO SUCCESS
“This is a great product!”
“This is a great service!”
That’s the customer response every business leader not only wants, but needs to keep his or her business alive. Fortunately, there’s no better time than the present—yes, a time of economic turmoil and formidable competitive challenges—to start a business with everything it takes to trigger that response, consistently. In NOW BUILD A GREAT BUSINESS! 7 Ways to Maximize Your Profits in Any Market (AMACOM 2010), world-renowned business success experts and bestselling authors Mark Thompson and Brian Tracy join forces to help entrepreneurs and managers seize today’s opportunities for business growth and success in any field.
“People often complain about the economy or the competition being tough, but many of the best leaders started their organizations at the worst possible time, or steered them through the most difficult circumstances,” Thompson and Tracy point out. “Walt Disney, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, Tom Watson (of IBM), and Thomas Edison (when he created his vision for General Electric)—all launched their dreams in miserable markets. FedEx, Sports Illustrated, Hyatt, Wikipedia, MTV, and Trader Joe’s opened their doors just in time for awful recessions that defeated many other organizations.”
The book encourages all who aspire to greatness to learn from the triumphs, set-backs, and missteps of others—Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, IKEAs Ingvar Kamprad, Herb Kelleher, Akio Toyoda, Best Buy cofounder Brad Anderson, Nokia’s Fredrik Idestam, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Tony Hsieh at Zappos, and many more.
The authors have put together seven principles for sustainable business success.
- Become a Great Leader. To be successful as a leader, you need a combination of two ingredients: character and competence. You need to be a person of integrity—someone people trust and are willing to follow. Key question: What, do your people need from you to contribute their full potential to your business? Thompson and Tracy Takeaway: Listen. The best leaders dominate the listening and let others do the talking. Practice listening intently to others, without interruptions or distractions.
- Develop a Great Business Plan. A clear business plan gives you a competitive advantage. The process of planning—and staying focused on what’s really important to your long-term strategy—sharpens your mind and awareness, and makes it far more likely that you will be successful. Key question: What is your plan to generate greater sales and profitability, and how is it working? Thompson and Tracy Takeaway: Find the right numbers to measure your progress. Select a combination that is best for your unique business, and use those metrics as your dashboard.
- Surround Yourself with Great People. Great people share a common cause and focus on common goals; are intensely results-oriented, accept high levels of responsibility, and consider the company a great place to work. Key question: How do you attract and keep great people? Thompson and Tracy Takeaway: Take your time in hiring. To slow and strengthen your hiring decisions, use the law of three: Always interview at least three people for a position. Interview the candidate you like in three different places. Have the candidate interviewed by at least three different people.
- Offer a Great Product or Service. Without a great product or service, nothing else works for very long. To trigger the desired customer response—”This is great!”—set excellence as your mini-mum standard of quality both in what you deliver and in the way you deliver it. Key question: Who are your ideal customers, and what product or service will attract more of them? Thompson and Tracy Takeaway: Join your customer’s Research & Development department. Whether you make sports cars or spaghetti sauce, go out and see what actually works for your customers. Understand what they need and love at a deep level.
- Design a Great Marketing Plan. Marketing is the art and science of customer engagement. Marketing that genuinely understands and connects with customers can turn passive onlookers into loyal buyers and cheerleaders for your company. Key question: What is your competitive advantage—that factor that makes your product or service superior to anything else available? Thompson and Tracy Takeaway: Beware of attracting the wrong customers—that is, deeply unprofitable ones. To profit from strategic marketing, stay within your area of specialization and strive to find more customers who want, need, can afford, and will pay for the specialty you offer.
- Perfect a Great Sales Process. Because they have more choices and less patience, customers today are tougher to sell to than ever before. When defining a great sales process, perhaps the most important word is consistency. To keep choosing you, your customer must consistently enjoy the results that you promise. Key question: What must your potential customers be convinced of so that they want to buy from you rather than your competitor? Thompson and Tracy Takeaway: Learn everything about CUSTOMERS and competitors to assess their strengths and weaknesses, then set your own bar. Knowledge, persistence, and confidence have a huge influence on the sales result.
- Create a Great Customer Experience. The secret to success in business can be summarized in a single sentence: “Make your customers happy.” Key question: What do your customers need and want, and what can you do to make them so happy that they buy from you again and eagerly tell their friends about your business? Thompson and Tracy Takeaway: Analyze the behaviors and activities your customers appreciate most and for which you receive the greatest number of compliments. Build on success. Whenever you get positive feedback from customers for any reason, take it seriously.
Note: There has never been a better time to launch your own business. Start small and win big. As these “7 Keys” from Mr. Thompson and Mr. Tracy state, not one particular activity will make your business venture a success. It is a combination of activities that you must do to achieve success. That is the Successful Franchise Group way. Unfortunately there is no “Magic Bullet” that guarantees success. But with a plan you can achieve your goals. Learn more about the Successful Franchise Group by completing the Prospect Information Form and a representative from SFG will contact you to answer your questions and advise you on what is the next step.