How to Get Off to a Fast Start in 2012

These are not head-snapping revelations. Everything that follows is simply common sense. These suggestions are provided in the spirit of Benjamin Franklin whom Walter Isaacson characterizes as “America’s first Yuppie.”

Here are ten  (10) attitudes, strategies, and initiatives to consider: 


1. Make sure everyone knows what the core business is.


• ServiceMaster (Its franchise companies include Merry Maids, Terminix, and TruGreen)

Drucker comment: “Your core business is training people to do what most people don’t want to do.”

• Home Depot

Co-founder Bernie Marcus comment: “When people walk in the door, they don’t want  a quarter-inch drill bit, they want a quarter-inch hole.”

• State Farm (tag line for advertising): “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”

2. Make sure everyone knows who the customer is…and isn’t.

Select Customers: Focus primarily on lowest cost, operational excellence, or “customer intimacy.” Ideally, maximize all three.

Profile of Ideal Customer  DEFINES  Your Best Prospect

3. “The Ultimate Question” using a scale of 1-10.

• Ask customers
• Ask employees

Actually Two Questions posed by Fred Reichheld:

• “On a zero-to-ten scale, how likely is it that you would recommend us (or this product/service/brand) to a family member, friend, colleague, or neighbor ?”

• If rating less than Eight, “What specifically can we do to earn a higher rating by you?”

4. “We always go the extra mile.”

Napoleon Hill’s assignment for Andrew Carnegie: “What do the world’s greatest businessmen all share in common?”

Note: Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin KOval (co-authors of The Power of Small) suggest, “Go the extra inch.”

5. “You’ll know your people have heard you when they begin to mimic you.” (Verne Harnish, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits)

6. Make haste slowly (e.g. master carpenters always measure twice so they only need to cut once.)

7. “What do you do?”: The 60-Second Miracle

During chance encounter: “What do you do?”

• “Most people (or companies) have problems with X. I solve them.”
• “What kinds of problems?” (Name one)
• “How do you solve that problem?” (BRIEF explanation)

Do it right and you will have a prospect or lead referral in 60 seconds of less.

 8. Open the Financial Kimono.

• Other than payroll, how much doe it cost to open the doors each day?
• Average total indirect cost per employee? ROI re adding value?

Selective candor

9. Attack Waste: If it’s DOA, bury it.

Most expensive resource wasted: TIME

• Delays
• Duplication and Redundancy
• Repairs
• Miscommunication
• Neglect (e.g. sluggish response)

#2 Waste: Opportunities to “shine” during a crisis

10. Help each client to become indispensable to its clients.

“How can we help you add greater value to your customers?”

Happy Holidays!

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