Friday, January 15, 2010

Welcome to 2010 - How's it going so far?

At the beginning of each year, many business people commit to worthy sounding resolutions. Others have given up on this practice since they tend to disappoint themselves by January 31. New Year’s Resolutions have fallen into disfavor based on many examples of broken promises such as the crowded health club parking lots in January that quickly thin out as fitness resolutions die a quiet death. Here are several suggestions to increase the probability that 2010’s business resolutions will stick.

We invite you to make 2010 the year of the customer

If you don’t do this, your customers will! We’re fascinated listening to business people who say they are customer focused or customer driven, while their business models are focused on internal issues or self-oriented profit needs.

Years ago, focusing on customers didn’t really seem to matter. I know
this sounds bizarre, but customer demand was higher than capacity and the seller was in the driver’s seat. In those days, organizations set their business goals based on their targeted profit margins.
Whether we recognize it or not, the customer is clearly entrenched at the centre of our business universe. Incidentally, organizations that ignore or deny this reality are in deep, fundamental trouble. (We’re sure you can name names.)
It seems we’ve been deluded into thinking that simply improving products or services, lowering prices, or aggressive marketing is the answer.
Please don't skim over this assuming you are customer-focused or customer-centric. You may be, I don'y know you so I cannot tell from here. However, our experience with local and name-plate customers is that they are rarely as customer-centric as they claim. When surveyed, customers often rate organizations lower by 60-80% than they rate themselves.

  It's a new year in a new landscape

Typically, we design products (services) that we think serve customer’s needs, and then aggressively take them to market using traditional, mass-market or direct sales techniques. Invariably, the market responds with apathy, strong resistance, or resounding silence other than a giant sucking sound as they take their money elsewhere. Today’s business climate is unforgiving. This old business model will not work and it could lead to your organization’s demise. Innovation is critical, but blind guesswork or arrogant product development is the kiss of death. A large global, ex-giant corporation in the latter part of 2009 proudly declared, after some of the biggest losses in their history, that they have finally decided, as a last resort, to actually listen to their customers.

We hosted our annual goal-setting workshop in Toronto. We had a record crowd - thank those who attended. Here are links to the two e-books we offered at that meeting. We have booked several on-site workshops as well.
Download our e-book: Make 2010 your best year ever - the year of the customer. We have one version for owners, executives and managers and a special edition for individuals.
We appreciate any feedback you give us and promise to listen and respond.
Click here: e-book - year of the customer
Click here: Be your most amazing in 2010
(for individuals)

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