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Embracing Financial Uncertainty

Four steps to success

By Tom Irmen

I spoke to one of our advertisers recently who described a significant turning point in his business which occurred in 2008 that has allowed him to thrive despite this tumultuous economy, while his competitors have struggled, many failing altogether. This turning point, and the turning points for many small businesses in this current environment, underscores the deep commitment on the part of this handful of entrepreneurs who are unwilling to trust their fates to luck. Recognizing that if they don’t successfully differentiate their respective companies, they are destined to become mere commodities whose only competitive weapon is price.

The steps required to differentiate one’s business are simple. In fact, probably so simple that they’re often overlooked or ignored altogether.

Redefine your definition of success.
Is success a signed purchase order or the recognition that real success occurs only when the clients’ objectives are met? For many small businesses, the culture of success results when the order is received. But for the genuinely successful company, success occurs when the clients’ needs are met first.

While this concept may seem counter-intuitive at first, it will produce results that will propel you ahead of your competition. Your client isn’t your adversary, so why place your success ahead of theirs?

Know yourself, know your client.
Did you know that most of us exhibit one of four dominant personality traits that can impact your potential for success? If you have a driver personality, you can easily steamroll over an amiable. There are many great books which discuss personality characteristics. What your dominant traits are, how to identify the traits of others, and how to communicate effectively with those whose personality traits differ from our own.

Most people don’t believe that understanding another person’s unique personality is important in business. But if you can’t communicate effectively with those whose personalities differ from yours, your probability for success will be diminished.

What’s going on in the economy anyway?
Economic mumble-jumble is not always easy to understand, and to be perfectly honest, can be downright boring. But a firm grasp of the basics can help you to understand how your clients view their world. If you’re continuing to do business like you did before the recession, then prepare to go out of business.

A basic understanding of economics will prepare you to refine your marketing strategy and help you to more effectively meet your existing and potential customers’ ever evolving needs. If you don’t understand the basics, how can you hope to communicate with your clients where they’re at now or in the future?

Who needs more customers?
All of us. Perhaps, then, it’s time to begin hiring new Account Executives? Not so fast! Every person your company comes into contact with is a potential sales person or ambassador for your company and its products and services. Satisfied customers generate promising sales leads, and at no cost to your business. Unsatisfied customers are the equivalent of hiring sales people for your competition.

Think about what a new customer would need to know to make an informed decision regarding your company’s products and services, and then make sure to communicate those key points to every person your team comes into contact with. And to be certain that your products, services and team live up to the standards you claim to be committed to.

Four simple steps. Understood by most of us, overlooked by some, and ignored by others. These four simple steps can propel you forward, ahead of your competition. And if ignored, will deny you the success that continues to elude you.

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