Category Archives: Business Strategy

What Your Small Business Should Learn from Big Business Mistakes

Photo by Alim Mohammed on Flickr

They’d lost seven million dollars in one year…

But after two years of losses, the numbers finally looked better. By the fall of 2010, Starbucks had earned $152 million, compared to that awful loss the year before.

That was a giant shift for a company many thought was dying, and the success was sweet.

But it sure wasn’t easy.

In his book Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, Howard Schultz, Starbucks ceo (they don’t use capitals), tells a story of transformation as they went from hanging-on-by-a-thread to alive-and-thriving through the Great Recession.

It’s a powerful story, and a fascinating read.

“Personally, for the first time in a long time, I felt as if we were winning.” He writes.Not that we had won, because there is never a finish line, but that despite the odds, the brand and our partners were prevailing.”

It was the fall of 2010, and that’s what Schultz thought just before calling investors with long overdue good news.

Schultz, the company’s founder, had stepped away from the CEO role eight years earlier, when everything was going well. Starbucks was opening stores around the globe at an astonishing rate. Profits were steady and always on the increase.

Yet by 2006, he’d begun sensing an intangible change when he visited stores. Something was missing; the customer experience had shifted in ways that he could feel, but not explain. Traffic was down considerably.

Something was just flat off.

And it bothered him.

A lot.
Continue reading

Who Said You Had to Market Like Everyone Else?

Photo courtesy of myguysmoving.com.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

Realtors hate doing Open Houses.

Most of them won’t say so, because they don’t want to appear rude. And of course, an Open House is a great way to get prospects in the door to see your place, right?

But if traffic is slow, an Open House can mean an entire afternoon hanging out by yourself in someone else’s spotless home, thinking about all the things on your to-do list that are waiting for you back at the office.  

So one of the most effective things a realtor can do is get other agents to visit that house. And if they can get them to come not just once, but several times – it’s even better.

So one particularly creative broker came up with an idea. Continue reading

Income Strategy #12: Turn Your Offers into Packages

Photo Credit: FaceMePLS on Flickr

I couldn’t avoid it any longer.

I was snowed in for the rest of the week, with nowhere to go and no more excuses. My very first coaching client was eager to get started. And I knew I had to get a response to her fast.

That meant I had to create my first-ever coaching program, or ‘package’.

Why?

Because even though I’d never worked that way before, I’d knew that packages were key to building a successful coaching practice, and serving my clients best.

Because packages change EVERYTHING in your business. Continue reading

12 Questions That Will Help You Plan & Promote Your Event

Photo Credit: Wendy Pitts Reeves

They filled within a couple of hours.

I’d open registration on line around seven p.m., and by nine, the trip was full.

And I did that month after month after month.

I was running a business called “Secret Adventures for Courageous Women”, a series of events designed for small groups of 8-10. Some adventures were physically challenging (hang gliding, canoeing) and some more emotionally so (lessons at an indoor shooting range).

And sometimes, it was just plain fun, like dinner and a play.

But there was a catch.

The “Secret” meant they had no idea what they were getting into. Once the group was formed, I’d tell them what to wear, what to bring, but that’s it. They would only learn what we were doing when we arrived on site.

In other words, I created monthly events that filled with clients who didn’t even know what they were buying.

Or did they? Continue reading

Keeping Out the Chaos: Using Systems to Manage Events

Photo Credit: Mike Mozart on Flickr

It felt a little weird, I’ll admit.

I recently attended the annual East Tennessee Women’s Leadership Summit. This event, an all day conference created to inspire, encourage and educate women leaders, has been a huge part of my life since I first started it twelve years ago.

Usually, I spend every waking moment in the final days preparing for that event. Even with systems in place, there was always a lot to do – working with volunteers, managing last minute problems, packing up a zillion supplies and preparing to host 200 women for the day.

But this year, I’ve passed the leadership on to others. For the first time ever, I got to just enjoy the program – and I actually got to eat lunch! :)

Events take a lot of work – whether they involve hundreds of people, or a single client.

And systems are your key to doing events right.

From a planning perspective, systems help prevent wasting money, time, resources and your own precious energy.

From a customer’s perspective, systems help ensure that you provide a top notch experience for them that goes smoothly all the way through.

Think of your event as having three phases: planning and preparation (before),  implementation and delivery (during), and follow-up (after).

What do you need to attend to with each phase? Where would a system make things easier? The answer to those questions varies widely depending on whether your event is live or virtual, large or small.

But let’s take a look at those phases for each key area. Continue reading