Success in business depends on our willingness and ability to change with the times. Most people are reluctant to change; to do things differently. I believe the greatest skill you and I need for the future is our ability to be flexible and to have a mentality that business is about changing, before we need to change. I went to a seminar recently and the speaker said “you are either green and growing in business or ripe and rotting”. In other words, we just can’t stand still.
I run a training company – All Trained Up. One day I was talking with a potential client who told me early on in the initial conversation that he didn’t really need training because he has been a manager for near on 20 years. Always, when someone responds defensively like this and says they don’t need training simply because they have been in the job for so long, I wonder, is it 20 years’ experience or one year’s experience repeated 20 times. This is what I call revolving in business – getting stuck in a comfort zone and doing the same things over and over again – because that’s the only way you know! Business success is about innovation, continuous improvement and creating a point of difference:
My 3 tips to ensure you are evolving, not revolving are:
1. Continually educate yourself: I try and attend training and/or business seminars at least once a month to hear ideas from others. It’s a great way to be refreshed in skills, learn new ideas or just gain perspectives from other people. What I have found in my time as a trainer is that in many businesses there is a gap between common sense and common practice. In other words, we may know the things that make a difference, but not necessarily do them. I find training gives you a spark in energy and motivation and a great reminder of the importance of doing the basics consistently.
2. Know your moments of truth – little things make the big difference: I love the phrase moments of truth. It is those little things in our business that have big impact for our customers. My biggest complaint in doing business is how few people return phone calls and emails. As I do a fair bit of prospecting over the phone, getting through to the right person is difficult and quite often you are left with leaving a message. It almost seems a pointless exercise to leave a message as so few ever return a sales call. Yes, the person trying to promote their business needs to be proactive, but I still think it is basic common courtesy to return a message. I have made my moment of truth in my business to be that if anyone takes time from their busy day to call or email me I will get back to them – guaranteed! I even state this guarantee in my voicemail message! It builds my credibility and differentiates me from the crowd with common manners!
3. Surround yourself with the right people: Your network determines your net worth. Build strategic business alliances that add value. What businesses can you team up with that complement what you do? Sometimes you have to think outside the square. There doesn’t even need to be a direct relationship, just something that builds credibility or rapport with your customers. A great example is ATU formed an alliance with a local gym Azzurra Fitness – all our clients who booked services this month received 1 month free gym membership. It’s all about win/win/win – for you, your alliance partner and your customers.