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The Competitive Advantage

May 22, 2019

What YOU think doesn’t really matter…

… it only matters what your clients & prospects think.

I recently stumbled across an online article from the Harvard Business Review, and though it’s several years old, its message is as true today as it ever was… maybe more so:

“Most companies are the centers of their own universes. It’s a natural enough impression; after all, the products and services they offer are on their minds 24/7. The trap is in those companies deluding themselves into thinking that they are as important to their customers as they are to themselves. This is almost never the case. This delusion interferes with understanding customers and their needs, and frequently leads companies to talk to customers in ways that seem foreign or confusing.”

The author sure hit the nail on the head with that one… that myopic perspective – that so many business leaders have – has been the cause of more business failures than virtually any other issue.

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May 5, 2019

As a Small Business Owner, Your Clients are Buying YOU!

Like me, many of you are small business owners… proud of what you’ve built and of what you’re doing. But the fact is, regardless of how slick your technology, how well constructed your processes or how professional your [small] team… your clients are buying YOU! They know the risks of doing business with a small firm (remember “No one ever got fired for hiring IBM!”?)… but they’re willing to take a chance. Why? Because of you.

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April 30, 2019

Losing clients? Here’s what to do when that happens…

Admit it… you’re losing clients occasionally. Not a happy topic, but it happens to all of us. The question is ‘why?’

On the surface, there are any number of reasons:

  • You screwed up a project… it hurts, but sometimes it happens.
  • You pi**ed-off a key client contact… not intentionally, but communications can go awry.
  • There was a massive change in the client’s business… e.g. they restructured the division you were working with, they were acquired or maybe they even closed their doors for good.
  • One of your competitors showed up with a “shiny new penny”… a new methodology or a new technology that had a ‘wow’ factor.
  • A new ‘leader’ was hired at the client, bringing his/her own favorite vendors along.
  • The project ended. Not all client work can be recurring or happen on a frequent basis.

Every one of those reasons is real and legitimate, but none are the most common.

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April 16, 2019

Why the Seller-Doer Model is So Challenging

Does your firm subscribe to the seller-doer model for business development? That is, are there leaders and managers in your firm who, in addition to their primary roles, are also tasked with responsibility for revenue growth? If you answered ‘yes,’ then your firm is like the vast majority of others… the seller-doer model is, by far, the most prevalent sales structure in professional services industries like ours.

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April 9, 2019

Want to Shut the Door on Your Competitors? Solve a Problem!

Taking advantage of opportunities that present themselves to you is a proven path to success. But if you really want to succeed – and shut the door in the face of your competition – then solve a problem before they do.

And here’s what got me thinking about this…

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April 2, 2019

You Can’t Fully Understand Your Business Without These 3 Sales Reports

All owners and managers look at their sales reports each month. Of course. And the most common top-line measurements are: Revenue this month, Revenue year-to-date (YTD) and Revenue YTD vs. Last YTD. All important information.

But, if my conversations with clients – a lot of them – are any indication, the sales analysis, too often, stops there. And it shouldn’t. There are a few other sales reports – easy to set-up in your accounting software – that will give you deeper insight into what’s really happening in your firm. And once you have a deeper understanding of your business, the more effectively you can plan as you move forward.

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March 26, 2019

Memorable marketing doesn’t have to be expensive!

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a ‘front row seat’ to two very unique events. I bring them up because they both show that a with little clever thinking – and not necessarily a bunch of money – you can take something from ordinary to special.

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March 19, 2019

5 Questions Your Website Has to Answer for Prospective Clients

Visitors to your website – especially those who might become clients – are there with a purpose. An agenda. They have a number of questions that they need answers to… and if you don’t answer them properly (or answer them at all), the visitors will simply move on to the next potential vendor.

To make sure that doesn’t happen at your firm, here are the 5 questions your website must answer:

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