Category: Education

How to Accommodate your Customers Within your Company’s Vision

In last week’s post, we talked about the foundational steps to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your company’s vision should be.

In this post, we’ll talk about the second secret in elevating your satisfied customers into raving fans. You must know what your customers want. Know who your customers are and you will know better how to serve them. Demographics are really important here. Obviously, an upper-class woman in her 30’s can have completely different expectations than a working-class man in his 50’s.

There are four main areas you need to consider and plan for when figuring out what your customers want:

  • Listen to Your Customers
  • Ask Your Customers Sincerely
  • Offer More than Just a Product/Service
  • Know When to Direct Them Elsewhere

These are all important aspects to consider when deciding what your customers want out of their shopping experience.

Listen to Your Customers

You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if your customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out after some probing that their real priority is quick delivery.

Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These customers don’t necessarily bother to complain, but because they feel that service is so bad, that they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.

Lastly, you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine”. These customers are similar to the “silent” customers in that they are so used to bad customer service that they only give an unengaged response.

Ask Your Customers Sincerely

If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere, open-ended questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care– and you should!

Offer More than Just a Product/Service

Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service, they are looking for a reciprocated and evolving positive experience. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you take this into consideration and treat them like valuable members of your customer base, they will feel like they belong.

Know When to Direct Them Elsewhere

You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality, you can’t give them everything, and, of course, some people will never be completely happy for one reason or another. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision for your company doesn’t meet the needs of a particular customer, they will be best suited somewhere else.

These are some steps to discerning what your customers want and how you can use them as a guide to develop your customer service vision and plan.

If you need some guidance in building your customer service vision for your company, try our GUIDED TOUR and let us help you through the process:

www.ascensionadvisingsolutions.com

 

Don’t Undervalue the Ongoing Value of Stellar Customer Service

Effective customer service is crucial to your success and as a deliverable, and easily can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for poor customer service and easily get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, seemingly going through an interrogation to return something or trying to communicate through a language barrier.

If you provide them with a simple, efficient and pleasant experience, they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, they will tell everyone they know!

There are three secrets to good customer service, the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for the future of your business, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business that includes a plan for stellar customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  1. It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website and other technology-based programs to help them shop.
  2. Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting a good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends into your customer’s shopping experience.
  3. Change your mind set and ask yourself, “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but a function of making and keeping happy customers.

With these thoughts in mind, you also need to take a few things into consideration when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place:

  • Share and solidify your customer service vision with the rest of your staff.
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  • Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  • Continuously focus on your goals.

Now that you know what you want to accomplish, you can start thinking about how to realize those wants and create a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources and coaches using our Profit Acceleration Software Assessment can help you define the wants and needs of your company in relation to customer service.

www.ascensionadvisingsolutions.com

 

Seven Areas of Consideration for your Franchise Prototype (Part 2) and Recap

Seven Areas of Consideration for your Franchise Prototype (Part 2) and Recap

In last week’s blog post we talked about the first three of the seven specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process.

Here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These seven areas will fine-tune your plan for the ultimate level of success. In this week’s business blog article, we are going to cover the last four.

Think of constructing your business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so small and weak that you wonder if it will even make it through the first night.  However, you keep watering, fertilizing and nurturing it. Your ideas will eventually grow the trunk and each of these strategies will extend out as the branches of your now strengthening tree. Finding the perfect support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers and other relationships will make your tree flourish with leaves and blossoms.

Management Strategy

The way you structure your management team is not only essential to your growth, but the happiness of your employees and, ultimately, your customers/clients. This strategy is results-oriented and doesn’t depend on the people, but the actual system that’s in place.

A management strategy is, in short, a set of standards that include goals, rules, a mission statement and other concrete concepts that tell your employees how to act, your management how to grow your business and also to tell your customers/clients what to expect.

These should all be in perfect alignment with your business goals.

People Strategy and Employee Appreciation

You need to put together a people strategy that shows your employees how you feel about their job performance and dedication to your business. They also need to understand “why” they are doing specific tasks. This helps them to personally connect to their job which, in turn, leads to better production and a happier workplace.

There are a number of strategies you can use to keep it interesting at “the office”:

  • Performance Incentive Programs
  • Contests that reward high performance
  • Employee of the Month
  • Performance/Holiday Bonuses

These are just a few of the ideas you can use. One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is by calling a meeting and asking them how they would like to be rewarded. Think about it for awhile and put the best strategy into play. Keep it fresh and change up the strategy you use from time to time to keep your employees guessing. Once they get used to the prize, it’s time for a whole new approach.

You need to build a community within your company. There needs to be support, appreciation and respect. The more “at home” an employee feels, the better they will perform and the higher their level of loyalty.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing is, of course, essential to the success of any business, but it also must work cohesively with the other strategies you’re using. There are two major pillars of a successful marketing strategy-the demographic and psychographic profiles of your customers.

The psychographic profile tells you what your customers are the most likely to buy and the demographic tells you who they are, which can help you learn why they buy specific items. Without this information, it simply doesn’t matter how good your business prototype is.

Systems Strategy

There are three types of systems in every business:

  • Hard Systems
  • Soft Systems
  • Information Systems

Hard systems refer to inanimate system(s) that have no “life”. Soft systems are those that could be living. Information systems indicate everything else, including customer data, product information, financial…anything with data and numbers.

The most important of all three systems is the soft systems because it includes the sales systems your business uses. In your sales system the two keys to success are: structure and substance. Structure being what you sell and substance being how you sell it.

All three systems are essential to the success of your business, and while they all have their own very specific roles, they all must work together to get the job done. This also goes for your entire business development program.

I want to take a moment to recap on the ideas we went over through the business development lessons.

An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:

  • Desire
  • Some capital
  • Projected a targeted profit

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:

  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Growing Pains
  • Maturity

There are a few things we are going to talk about:

  • Business Format Franchise
  • The Franchise Prototype
  • Franchise Prototype Standards

There are three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

The seven specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

 

We can help you work through all of these areas and give your business a jumpstart that puts you ahead of your competition right from the start. Work with one of our business and marketing coaches, plus gain access to a wealth of tools and resources.

https://ascensionbusinessacademy.com/guidedtour

Seven Areas of Consideration for your Franchise Prototype (Part 1)

The seven specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These seven areas will fine tune your plan for the ultimate level of success. In this lesson we are going to cover the first three:

Primary Aim

It’s essential in business development to set goals and to see a vision for the future. This needs to go beyond the business–you need to think about what you want out of life. What do you dream about? How do you see your success unfolding? Knowing and understanding these things will give you the momentum to get started and the stamina to see it through. Even take a minute to write them down and tape to your desk in a conspicuous place for a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for.

Strategic Objectives

These are essential in taking your business from surviving to thriving. All of these objectives should offer solutions for how to get to your primary aim. There are many things you can use to set strategic objectives, but here are a couple of the most popular:

  1. Money: Setting monetary goals is a simple way to see how you are doing at any point in the game. It’s easy to measure and easy to find adjustments to help meet this goal.
  2. Worthy Opportunities: When considering partnerships and other business opportunities, you need to think about whether or not they will help you reach your primary aim. Those that will, based on your own business criteria, are the best opportunities to seriously consider.

The key in setting standards and goals is not to limit yourself, while at the same time, to also not stress yourself out. You need to find some quantifiable things you can use to measure your progress toward your primary aim.  These are just two suggestions, but make sure that no matter what standards you set, you are paying adequate attention to the details, as these two are the greater keys to your success.

Organizational Strategy

The strength of your organizational structure can make or break your business, so it’s important to take the time to put together a solid structure for your business to grow from. Generally a company is organized around the roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of on a daily basis and the personalities that need to fulfill those roles.

No matter what roles and responsibilities you’ve defined for your employees, you must always keep your personal primary aim separate from your company’s primary aim or mission statement. Once you’ve identified the primary aim for your company, it will be easier to set up a position structure that will work.

Don’t forget to put together position contracts. Your employees should sign a statement of their roles and responsibilities. This helps keep them clear for you, as well as the employee and other employees/vendors or other individuals.

You can see how these areas all work together to build a solid structure on which to build your business. If you need help defining any of these areas, you can check out the resources and tools and speak with one of our fantastic coaches!

www.ascensionadvisingsolutions.com

 

In the Mood for a Turnkey Business?

One of the larger categories of turn-key business opportunities have to do with franchises. There are franchise opportunities for nearly every industry in the world. They tend to be fairly easy to acquire and come with practically a pop out of the box pre-assembled system. McDonald’s is a prime example. In fact, a $40 billion, 28,707 strong example.

There are a few things we are going to talk about:

  • Business Format Franchise
  • The Franchise Prototype
  • Franchise Prototype Standards

 

Business Format Franchise

The business format franchise came from an earlier model call the “trade name” franchise. The big change was in the rights. During the “trade name” days the franchise owner only had marketing right’s, now franchise owners have owning rights to the entire business including systems. This has allowed for a shift in focus to go from the quality and name recognition of the products carrying the business to sales techniques that carry the business.

The Franchise Prototype

It was really the franchise prototypes that allowed for the changes to be made that help today’s franchises really shine with the techniques developed by the owners instead of the corporation. This can make a significant difference in the success of the franchise as the owner can custom tailor their marketing and promotions to the direct needs of their local target customers.

Franchise Prototype Standards

Now, the above being said, no one in their right mind would purchase a franchise if the parent company didn’t have a solid plan of action set up to ensure the prospective success of the business. So, there are a few standards that are put into place that helps jump start the process of opening a successful franchise.

Build model of prospective customers/clients, suppliers, creditors and employees who will consistently offer high quality work.

  1. Build a user-friendly model that can be used by individuals of any skill set.
  2. Build a defect-free model.
  3. Build a model with Operations Manuals.
  4. Build a model that will provide guaranteed, consistent results.
  5. Build a model that encompasses the same branding in color, dress and facilities codes.

 

These are all ways the parent corporation makes sure their brand stays the same and in the front of the minds of customers. When you are purchasing a widely-known brand you will attract customers just for being you.

If you are considering purchasing a franchise, let’s talk!

 

I can also provide you with your own turn-key Business Coaching business by starting the process here:

https://coachforprofit.com/shortt/

 

Three Keys to Business Development and a Solid Business Foundation

Today I’d like to talk about the three keys to business development and how you can put the right blocks in place to build a solid foundation.

There are three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

If done well these three areas will help you build a solid foundation for your business. Let’s talk about each one of these:

Innovation

Innovation should not be confused with creativity, which is the expression of ideas. Innovation is taking these ideas and putting them into action. This is where a large amount of your focus should be in the beginning and even throughout your business’ entire lifespan.

Quantification

This, of course, refers to the numbers. We are talking about the value of your innovation. The best way to gauge this is by your customer response. Look to positive responses for what you are doing right and keep doing it. Look to your negative responses to find out what you’re doing wrong and fix it. This will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your customers and business climate.

Orchestration

Once you’ve had a chance to find what areas are working, you can narrow down those areas and concentrate on making them the stand out ideas. You shift your focus here to get the most out of your business and to meet the needs of your customers.

We can help you work through these three areas to put together your franchise prototype!

In the upcoming lessons we are going to transition to the 7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

 

These 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success.

 

Managing the Life of Your Business

In this week’s blog article, I’m going to talk about the life cycle of a business and how to get the most out of each cycle while also extending the lifespan of your business.

The four different stages of a business life cycle can be paralleled with the following real life stages:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Growing Pains
  • Maturity

We’ll talk a little about what each of these cycles mean and how they can each help expand your business’ lifespan:

Infancy

This is generally consider the technician’s phase, which is the owner. At this point, the relationship between the business and the owner is that of a parent and new baby. There is an impenetrable bond that is necessary to determine the path your business will follow.

The key is to know your business must grow in order to flourish. You obviously cannot stay in this stage forever.

Adolescence

In this stage, you need to start bringing your support staff together for purposes of delegation and to allow growth to happen. The first line of defense is your technical person as they need to bring a certain level of technical experience. This cycle really belongs to the manager though. The plan stage needs to start and a relationship should be built with the entrepreneur in order to plan for the future.

Growing Pains

There’s a point in every business when business explodes and becomes chaotic. This is referred to as growing pains. It’s a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless. You are often faced with a number of choices:

  • Avoid growth and stay small
  • Go broke
  • Push forward into the next cycle

Maturity

The last cycle is maturity, however this doesn’t mean that you are at the end of your business’ life. Your passion for growth must continue in order for your business to succeed. You need to keep an entrepreneurial perspective in order to push your business forward.

You can see how all three of these cycles are connected and how each depend on a strong foundation for your business to continue to be successful. All three of your key roles must also work together to work through these cycles.

If you’re having trouble putting together your business life cycles and figuring out which of the key roles you fit into, try our GUIDED TOUR and work with one of our amazing coaches!

www.ascensionbusinessacademy.com/guidedtour

 

Finding a Role Balance

Today I’d like to chat about the different types of support staff you need and what
makes them so important.
There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for
success:
 The Technician
 The Manager
 The Entrepreneur

All of these roles need to be played simultaneously by different people with the right
talents. It’s all about balance.

The Technician
This person represents the present and all that needs to be done for the physical
aspects of the business building process. They are the “doer”. This is usually the most
visible person of the entire operation.

The Manager
This person represents the past and works to fix problems through learning from past
mistakes. They are the practical side of the business and is in charge of putting together
the business and overseeing the planning.

The Entrepreneur
This person represents the future and the vision for the business. They are responsible
for the creative side of the business and are always considering ways to enhance
products/service, business image, branding and more.

All three of these characters are essential in the success of any business and to build a
solid foundation from the start, you need to work harder to find the right people to put
in these roles. Obviously, you need to be one of these key people, but ensure you find
the role that fits your skills and talents, not necessarily what you THINK you should be
doing.

This may be a hard process for you as you will need to relinquish some control over the
business and instill trust in people to allow them to do their jobs.
Remember, our business coaches can help you through this entire process and teach
you how to avoid falling victim to e-myths when you try our GUIDED TOUR.

www.ascensionbusinessacademy.com/guidedtour

 

Are You Aiding & Abetting Entrepreneurial Myths?

We are going to embark upon a journey through the world of entrepreneurial myths and debunk them to help you avoid falling into the e-myth trap.

First, let’s take a minute to talk about what an e-myth is. An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with:

  • Desire
  • Some capital
  • Projected a targeted profit

 

This sounds great, but it just not realistic. Think of starting a business as a marathon. Sure, everyone starts out of the gate at record pace, but after a few miles people start slowing and some drop out entirely. Building a successful business takes stamina and agility.

The reality is that there are many different facets to a successful business and none of them can be ignored if you plan to find success.

Let’s take a minute to talk about entrepreneurial seizure. This defines the roller coaster of emotions that comes with starting, nurturing and the potential failure of a business.

The emotions that occur, in order, are:

  • Exhilaration
  • Exhaustion
  • Despair
  • Sense of self-loss

 

This is usually cause by the e-myths and assumptions we talked about. You can get your hopes so high on instant success that even the smallest lag and you are sent into an emotional tailspin. This is also brought on by the stark realization that you can’t do it all and will need help in the areas where you don’t have the knowledge. Now, faced with limited choices you may feel like you need to back out and hide, but don’t do this.

Use our GUIDED TOUR to get the business coaching you need to avoid feeling overwhelmed and defeated.

Educate Your Customers

Educate them about what, you may be thinking. Well, consider this, many businesses focus solely on attracting new customers, but you NEED to spend a good chunk of your time retaining current and former customers. These are people you already know to be a good sales potential…they’ve already bought from you!

Take the time to market and sell new products to your old customers and less time trying to sell old products to new customers and you will see a drastic change in your sales, customer quality and branding position.

Here are a couple of key elements to use to retain your current customers:

  1. Stay in contact: This means by phone, email, e-newsletter, in person-by pigeon if you have too!
  2. Post-Purchase Assurance: This means you need to follow up with customers. Your customers need to feel like they are being supported for their purchase and with the item they purchased. How many times have you purchased a product, then felt completely abandoned? Something as simple as a Thank You note with your contact or customer service information can go along way in retaining a great customer.
  3. Deals & Guarantees: Always offer your current customers the best deals and guarantees you have. Show them you appreciate their business or even come up with a club specifically to reward loyal customers. You can also do this with a preferred pricing option.
  4. Integrity: Using good business practices and simply upholding integrity, dignity and honesty go along way with customers. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of swindling and crap out there and the safer and more confident you make your customers feel, the more they will trust you and that makes for an amazingly supportive and loyal customer.

There are three cornerstone ideas to a successful business:

  • Quality product/service
  • Offering useful products/services that solve a problem for or enhance the life of a customer
  • Offer subjects your customers find interesting

Use this approach of educating your customers and offering them real information and insight and you will be rewarded with loyalty and success.

Stop wasting all your time on new prospects while your current customers fall by the wayside!

As Jay Abraham says, “Your best prospects are your existing customers. If you’ve been putting all your marketing efforts into acquiring new customers, stop and diverts some of your resources into reselling, upselling, cross-selling to those same customers. In every ways possible – through package inserts, regular mailings, special offers – stay in touch with those customers and get them used to buying from you.”

So, there it is! Remember, we can help you put together the resources and tools to do exactly that. We can help you educate your customers and you can watch the benefits pay offer many-fold.