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The Competitive Advantage

tag: management

January 9, 2018

Want Effective New Year’s Resolutions? Start by Fixing Your Problems.

Well, here we are… at the start of another calendar year. [By the way, Happy New Year to you and yours!] And like most years, with our annual New Year’s Resolutions, we think about what we can do to improve our lives – both personally and professionally – in the coming months. I’ll leave the ‘lose weight’ and ‘quit smoking’ type of resolutions to you and focus this post on a few things related to your business.

Since 99.99% of us want to grow our business in 2018, I want to suggest a different way to go about creating your resolutions… one that can truly have an impact on the growth of your firm: start by fixing your problems!

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December 12, 2017

Corporate retreat coming up? Here are 3 key questions to answer there.

It’s that time of year when a business will gather its management team together and head to a secluded location somewhere in the woods or at the beach for their annual corporate retreat – to talk about and make plans for the future of their firm.

I am a HUGE fan of the idea (even doing it when I was a solopreneur: http://www.harpethmarketing.com/competitive-advantage/corporate-retreat-part-1/). In fact, we had this year’s corporate retreat just last week… and I have the pages and pages of flip chart notes to prove it!

As you prepare for your retreat, I believe there are three key questions that must be asked, discussed and collectively answered by the group. They are:

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November 28, 2017

Looking for Growth? Do Just One Thing Differently in 2018.

commit ‘Tis the season! No, not the holiday season. The season for planning for next year.

Have you started yet?  Have you even started thinking about 2018?

Planning is hard work. It requires time, critical thinking and attention to detail – all at a time of year when we are often very busy. And while I genuinely believe in the value of planning, there are a large percentage of my blog readers who won’t do it.

For those who fall into that category… I’ve got your back!

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November 7, 2017

The 4 Reasons You’re NOT Doing Marketing & Sales

marketing & salesWe all want to do more business development – more marketing & sales – because we know it’s important for the health of our firms. And yet we don’t.

Why is that? Why are we rarely implementing marketing & sales at a level and frequency that we wished we were? What’s holding us back?

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October 24, 2017

A difficult client… can they be good for business?

difficult clientOne of the services we offer our clients is content development… creating blog posts, eBooks, etc. We have very talented writers on our team – they know the topics and they know how to write.

We also had this one particular client who nit-picked (at least we thought so) all the time and pushed back on our writing until we got it “perfect.” Very frustrating!

Amongst ourselves, we used to frequently complain about this client… that they were just a big ol’ pain in the a**!

But, guess what? We were wrong!

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September 19, 2017

What Makes a Specialist Special?

specialistMost research firms are ‘generalists’… offering a variety of research methodologies to all kinds of firms in all kinds of industries. If it’s a profitable opportunity and if it fits their team’s skill set – they’ll take it.

And that’s fine. But with that broad approach to business comes a muddled and murky approach to marketing… decisions are difficult to make. Trying to serve so many kinds of companies in so many industries means far too many marketing options. So, how do you choose?

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July 25, 2017

Why Are You Afraid of Marketing & Sales?

marketing & salesTwelve years ago, this month, I started my career in the Market Research industry. And it didn’t take very long for me to come to the conclusion that “This is an industry that does not embrace marketing & sales.”

Over the years, I have repeated that statement to scores of people – in all kinds of companies covering all kinds of roles – and guess what? Not a single person has ever disagreed with me. It’s amazing to see in 2017 just how many firms…

  • Have a website that hasn’t been updated in years
  • Have virtually no social media presence
  • Have not published any thought leadership
  • Have no proactive sales effort
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May 30, 2017

Lazy sales & marketing people… UGH!

hate1It happened again. [Actually, it happens pretty regularly.] I received an email – in this case, a LinkedIn message – from a company representative promoting a discount on their services for the summer.

In general, I’m opposed to salesy emails to begin with… but this one, like so many others, completely missed the mark with me. The note was promoting services targeted to market research firms and independent moderators. Our firm is neither of those.

Why do people responsible for sales & marketing think it’s OK to just blast out email sales pitches to anyone and everyone on their list?! It’s just lazy!

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