Over the next few posts, we’re going to talk about how to take a hard look at your current resources and get the most out of them. This can help your capital go further and increase your profit margin.
Today we’ll cover three different ways to maximize what you already have. These include:
- Recognize the obvious
- Unconventional breakthroughs
- Face the facts
Recognize the Obvious
Sometimes when you are too close to something, you can’t make out the big picture. You need to step back and really take a hard look at the resources you currently have in front of you. You are surrounded by opportunities that can boost your career and help your business become more successful.
Don’t sit around waiting for breakthroughs. You need to create them yourself. A breakthrough is merely a new way of doing things or finding a new thing to do for the same or better results. You should be having regular brainstorming sessions and encouraging your team to come forward with breakthroughs or ideas any time they have them.
Some great examples of breakthroughs are:
- The founder of Nike pours rubber onto a waffle iron and creates the most innovative and successful running shoe ever.
- A company creates a roll-on deodorant inspired by the shape and size of a ballpoint pen.
- A health and beauty company discovers a side effect of a product that can be re-marketed and sold.
When attracting or strategizing for a breakthrough there are some key objectives you need to keep in mind. They are:
- Look for the hidden opportunity in every situation.
- Look for at least one cash windfall for your business every three months.
- The more value for your client, the better your breakthrough.
- Create multiple streams of ideas to find the best breakthroughs.
- Effective breakthroughs remove all risk or resistance.
Face the Facts
Before you can put your breakthroughs to work you need to face the facts of the processes and systems that are not working for you and work to correct or get rid of them. System analysis is a good way to do this. Once you have a listing of your strengths and weaknesses, you need to compare those to the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
There are some great questions you can present to you and your team to get a handle on where your business is right now. They are:
- Why did I first start this business? Why am I in this industry?
- What products/services did I offer then? Which were the most popular?
- Why are my customers/clients buying from me right now?
- How did I generate new customers/clients then?
- Which of my marketing efforts were bringing in the best results?
Once you’ve got some answers to these questions, you’ll know better how to approach your weaknesses.
These three areas we’ve gone over give you a jumping-off point for how to utilize your current resources to their fullest potential. If you need any help with the current state analysis of your client engagement management strategies and resource utilization, CONTACT US to work with one of our business process improvement design experts and profit acceleration advisors.
The last 2 posts covered the first four of the killer mistakes you can make that will not only make you lose your biggest and best client but possibly your entire company. Our first blog post in this series covered: 1) Not meeting the client’s expectations and 2) Mishandling a client crisis. Then, our second related blog post addressed: 3) Taking on more than you can handle and 4) Putting all your eggs in one basket.
Today, we’re going to talk about the fifth killer mistake:
“Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle”
Even when business is good there’s still a chance of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses.
One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. This can seem like a nightmare at times, but it’s absolutely essential to running a successful business. Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:
- Always send invoices on time and adjust your records for potential audits.
- Learn how the client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.
- Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payment, so you know who to contact if needed.
- Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.
- As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.
- Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.
You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:
- Always know which accounts need to be paid and when.
- Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.
- Have a bank contingency plan in place.
- Build your own inventory network.
These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and prepare for large client transitions and slow sales.
These last few lessons are all about finding and catching your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success and your need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the ultimate and long-lasting customer experience.
If you would like to receive and discuss more in-depth additional Cash Flow Optimization Strategies to insulate and expand your business, please contact us.
On a related note, is your region, business, or favorite retailer impacted by the national coin shortage? If so, please leave a comment with your firsthand account below.
In our most recent post, we covered two of the five biggest mistakes you can make in dealing with “big fish” clients. Now, we’ll cover the third mistake, which is “Taking On More Than You Can Handle,” and the fourth one which entails “Putting All Your Eggs In One Basket.”
Taking On More Than You Can Handle
When you take on too much, your business can’t keep up and therefore you can easily lose control of everything and find yourself barely functioning. No doubt, you want your business to be successful. However, you need to have a plan for how you will handle the growth. Your clients expect great customer service and high-quality products/services, but they lack a deep understanding and high level of appreciation for your behind the scenes operations to get those things done. They just expect it.
But, as a business owner, how do you know when you are taking on more than you can handle?
To uncover whether you are in over your head due to rapid growth and thus negatively impacting your customer experience, be on the lookout for these alert signals:
- Clients are increasingly upset.
- Clients’ needs aren’t being met.
- Clients are suffering from you always trying to keep up with new business.
- SLAs are being missed.
- Employee morale is low.
- Quality of deliverables and service is declining due to the vast amount of work.
- You have to react in emergency mode to save accounts.
- You feel as if there is a new “fire” to put out every day or week.
- Profits are going down.
- You are just trying to pick up the pieces of your business.
- Your clients/customers leave.
- Resources are being reallocated.
- Resources are vastly lacking.
- You, your team, and your clients are frequently in a panic.
There’s also a trick called the “Mock Fish Plan”. This plan can help you react positively when you are facing some or all of the aforementioned trouble signs so that you can get your business back on track. Specifically, this plan will:
- Help increase sales in a short period of time.
- Alter your products/services for the better.
- Fulfill the promises you made to your clients.
There are six steps to this plan:
- Bring in your best team and have them all help to meet the Tier 1 client’s needs.
- Review your operational system.
- Anticipate future problems better.
- Communicate more clearly and proactively.
- Include costs in your quotes.
- Always have a back-up plan.
Putting All Your Eggs in One Basket
It’s imperative that you do not allow your company to become dependent on any one large client. Eventually, or for certain periods, there is going to be a slowing down period with your big fish. In order to stay in the game, you need to diversify and not put all your eggs into one basket as they say.
If you’ve ever mishandled a big fish client, you could drive away potential fish as well. In order to keep balance and prepare for a strong future, there are a few things you can do, including:
- Stay in the loop and try to know what’s going on inside your number one client’s company.
- Constantly reinvent yourself and stay at the top of your industry.
- Stay exclusive.
- Try to secure multi-year commitments and contracts.
- Spread your contracts out.
- Price your products/services correctly.
You also need to work to reduce your dependency on your big fish. This can generally be measured in sales or profits. Take a look back at the process in prior blogs we’ve used thus far to snag more fish to keep this all in balance.
These are the ways you can help avoid the critical mistakes that can make you lose your best clients that you worked so hard to win. Next time, we’ll address the last of the killer mistakes and how to prevent it from jolting your business.
As a reminder, our Small Business Growth Academy has all the tips and tricks you need in your marketing outreach, business development, and client retention efforts ranging from lead generation to sales conversion to client nurturing strategies, including many pre-built industry accelerators designed to shorten your learning curve, implementation duration, and time to market or launch.
To better acclimate yourself with the cutting-edge capabilities of the RevSherpas Growth Academy, click here to watch a brief overview.
There are five critical mistakes you can make that will kill a deal with any client, big or small…new or existing. They are:
- Not meeting the client’s expectations.
- Mishandling a client crisis.
- Taking on more than you can handle.
- Putting all your eggs in one basket.
- “Up cash creek without a paddle.”
Each one or a combination of these can not only kill the client relationship but also have the ability to take down your company as well.
Over our next few blogs, we’ll drill down into each one of these. In this lesson, we’ll cover the first two.
Not Meeting The Client’s Expectations
It’s essential you give your client exactly what you promised during the negotiation portion of your sales cycle. If an event does happen where there is no way to meet the client’s expectations, not only do you have to find a way to fix the situation, but you also have to uncover where it all went wrong.
A couple of matters could have contributed to this problem:
- Bad salesmanship
- This could mean the salesperson was trying too hard to seal the deal and didn’t listen to the client’s needs. We all know this unfortunately happens a lot.
- Lack of communication
- This breakdown occurs between the salesperson and your service operations department. This event occurs more than you think. Inevitably, the sales rep gets blamed by the client and internally, but that is not always fair. Many companies need to improve their onboarding and transition management processes to ensure the new players in client service or the implementation team are up to speed on the client’s primary objectives and ready to properly support the new client even though they were not involved in the sales pursuit discussions like the salesperson was.
In order to avoid these mistakes, you need to put a clear plan of action into place that all of your sales staff needs to follow:
- Think before you speak.
- Give yourself a break.
- Perfect your process.
- Pre-format over-deliverables.
- Stay hands-on throughout the entire process (both internally and externally).
- Define success.
- Don’t vanish once the deal is closed.
Mishandling a Client Crisis
A client crisis will happen, but how you respond and fix it will define your company and set the tone for future interactions with your clients. You need to respond quickly and effectively. This will help you gain even more trust and confidence from your client.
Some simple tips can help you deal with any client crisis:
- Take responsibility and apologize to the client no matter who is at fault.
- Act swiftly and effectively.
- Step in, connect the dots, and take control of the situation.
- Never point fingers or place blame.
- Stay in constant communication with your client.
- Stay calm throughout the situation.
- Keep your eye on the ball.
Now, that you know the top two mistakes you can make to destroy a top-tier client relationship, you’ll know better how to avoid making these mistakes in the first place and know how to put a plan of action into place in case of a crisis.
Next time, we’ll talk about the 3rd and 4th killer mistakes you can make in working with your upper echelon clientele.
Lastly, if you’re not already following our RevSherpas content across our various social media channels, you should be!
It’s a great additional way to stay in touch with us, further conduct your due diligence (if you’re not already a client), and most importantly, get free access to cutting edge business growth strategic thought leadership for free!
Each channel has its own “personality” or theme and distinct posts. Updates are not duplicated across the channels and new material is added consistently. For instance, our Twitter account is heavy into CRM Solutions and Customer Experience Improvement and Innovation Strategy. Whereas, our Facebook page is more into Leadership Development and Productivity Tips. It’s intentionally meant to be a change of pace and often incorporates advice from legendary coaches and athletes…if you’re a big sports fan (like we are), you’ll really enjoy that site.
Please check them out and follow us or connect when you get a chance.
In the last post, we covered negotiating with your big fish and how to nurture and build on the relationships you are creating. Today, we’ll explore the power your fish has and how to utilize that for your benefit.
One of the most important aspects of this is to keep your cheerleader cheering. This refers to the champion you created in the company. He or she needs to stay loyal to you so you can continue a profitable partnership with your fish. You can keep your ally going by offering or doing a number of things to show appreciation. Examples include:
- Share the limelight.
- Help them thank their company with new products and services.
- Emotionally connect them to your company.
- Know when to leave them alone.
- Keep your “family” happy.
- Stay on the front lines.
Now that you have some ideas on how to build solid relationships, you need to seek out people with whom to cultivate these relationships. These alliances will help you get bigger clients that stay with you forever. You can often get in the door by offering them something in exchange for something they need, such as:
- Better work experience
These are all great ways to feed your alliance. Additionally, you need to go into a relationship considering the things a big fish can offer you besides money. These can include:
- The opportunity for your business to expand.
- The opportunity to learn from the experience and find ways to grow.
- The opportunity to improve your processes, systems, and other means of doing business.
These are some of the best ways to keep your alliances going strong and your partnerships fresh and content.
Lastly, thank you for your continued readership of the RevSherpas Growth Academy blog and for diligently following along our blueprint and extended case study and blueprint for pursuing, landing, and partnering with the big fish.
Don’t forget to also follow our other blog on our main company page, too!