Business Archives - Page 12 of 12 - Kara Lambert

Category Archives for "Business"

4 Getting closer to meeting your customer needs

Focus on the customer - Write to Right

 

Where do your mission and visions cross? Are there any common words or themes? Where does you ideal customer meet with your mission? With your vision? When do you meet the customer needs? If you are unsure of any of these things, head back over to the previous posts and read more about how to get to this point, then come on back and continue on.

List the adjectives, or find relevant adjectives, to describe the intersections. These are the words you use to drive your interactions. There’s a word of warning, they must be for your client. If you start writing about the business it becomes about you. You don’t need to sell to, or convince, you. Also, unless your ideal client is a competitor, don’t write about your industry either. Your customer doesn’t want to know why your industry does xyz, they have a need and want you to meet it. Tweet this  It’s why they are at your website/Facebook/Google+.

Go back and look at the list and where it meets your ideal client. What words help to meet their needs? What benefits (don’t confuse these with features) are they looking for? Remember you wrote out their preferences, look to these for inspiration on how they want to be sold to and what needs you need to meet. Now, what are the benefits of your product or service and how do you meet your idea customer’s needs? This is the ‘what’s in it for me’ that your customer wants answered and you need to explain. Watch the following video, it gives a great (and quick) run down on the difference between a feature and a benefit; plus there’s a little extra business boost to get you ahead of the game.

Now let’s step it up a notch and investigate how it will make your customer feel. What will they experience from the product? Here’s a word of warning, quality is on everyone’s list – meaning that it can also be on yours, but it can’t be alone. The following video is a brief overview on when businesses get this next step right. I can vouch for the Disney experience and the desire to be a repeat customer (yes, I am considering making the long-haul flight back to the US to do it). Watch the video and think about how you want your customer to feel when they use your product/service, deal with your business, and see your marketing.

I’ve learned that people  will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. – Maya Angelou

So now you have the adjectives to help describe your product or service and you have the benefits you need to include when you write those descriptions. But which tone do you use?

Finding your voice

Look at your adjectives, benefits, and your ideal customer – what language suits these best? Will they appreciate slang, a conversational tone, factual, or formal speech?

I would suggest that if your business has more than one person writing for it that you establish a style guide. While I use the Commonwealth Style Manual for proofreading, while in the Commonwealth Government I also worked with a departmental style guide. This guide outlines various things, such as:

– how the business name is written (capitalisation, abbreviation)
– use of acronyms
– how owners are referred to
– tense
– tone
– how customers are referred to, and
– font style, size, & colour.

This certainly helped when writing for different media and clients. There were guides for press releases, ministerials, client letters, and an overarching guide. Unless you are a business with a few hundred staff who communicate across many media and stakeholders, you are unlikely to need this many guides. However, a document that outlines your mission, vision, ideal client, benefits, key adjectives, and preferred tone is a great start. From here it can evolve to including which messages are distributed over particular media. You can even detail how minutes will be taken and distributed.

Style guides are beneficial for copywriters and copy editors. It allows us an insight into the back end of your business and means that we can easily support you and help you to achieve your outcomes. It also saves lengthy discussions when engaging us to undertake work for your business: saving you time and money.

8 The glorification of ing & the power of being

The importance of being

I remarked to a friend that last week was quite strange. A number of fellow business owners were outwardly struggling with depression, anxiety, cyber-bullying, lack of sales, and generally just feeling funky. I have to admit, I was one of them. Now we couldn’t answer the world’s problems in our five minute walk from the car, if only! But it has stuck with me; perhaps it’s the psych grad in me wanting to know the ‘why’. I haven’t found a ‘why’, but I believe I have found a ‘what’.

I believe that we are stuck in the glorification of the ‘ing’. You know what I mean, we are all busy do-‘ing’. As business owners we are busy:

– chasing

– planning

– selling

– learning

– marketing

– making

– writing

– budgeting

– accounting

– worrying

I am certain there are others, as we each run different businesses and each in our own ways. We are projecting all of this energy out of us and into our business and customers. Then on top of that some of us have families.

As a wife and mother I have a whole other list of ‘ing’s and they seem to grow around Christmas. This time of year we add attending/organising Christmas functions, organising school holiday activities and chasing the right present (anyone who has had a child who has wanted this years’ must have present will know exactly what I mean).

Then when the list is made, we glorify it. Friends come and ask how we are, and we openly respond with “Tired”, “Rushed”, “Exhausted”, “Busy” and they nod in empathy, for they are the same. We talk about all the things we have to do, obligations we have, how we need xyz for the business, and how we are waiting to steal a few days of rest over Christmas (amongst the other ‘ings’ we have lined up).

It was another conversation that I had over the weekend, with a client, which pointed it all out. You see, she was establishing a new business, sorting out stock issues, and planning and growing her business; but she was too busy to enjoy it. With a wistful look in her  eye she said “I just wish I could create what I wanted to, I miss playing”. You see, in all of our ‘ing’ we miss out on some of the greats:

– playing

– loving

– sharing

– being

I like the last one as it can encapsulate the others. Watch this talk from TED to see how big business is encouraging creativity and profiting from the investment.

As a small business owner, I need to back away from the ‘ing’ and look to the creative. I took a month away from work and travelled with my family. In this time I had the space to be and in that I found clarity. This clarity has formed a new direction and untold benefit. Last week, I needed that time again, time to just ‘be’ and in that time I found strength to move forward.

So I wonder, maybe the ‘ing’ that we need to incorporate more into our business (and life) is being. Taking the time and being in a space where we are not bound by rules and expectations; a space where we can play, experiment, and tell stories. A place where there is no right or wrong. What the video was looking at was using the life of children to fuel our creativity. The thing about childhood is that most of us were left to be. We were told to go outside and play, to entertain ourselves; why as adults do we not give ourselves that space? We are too busy with and glorifying the ‘ing’ to go and just be.

So, in the comments below, where do you go to just be? How do you recharge and explore your creativity? There are no right or wrong answers, and you just might inspire someone.

8 Business mission & vision statement & core values

In the previous posts, I spoke about defining your ideal client and your core business values. These are your defining ‘who’s, who are you working for and who you are. They are also key start and end points in your business, where you are working from and to.

You need to get these definitions out of a book, off of the wall and into your actions. My years of Quality Assurance, project management, staff management and public sector experience all drew one key aspect from my Psychology degree, which is that values drive behaviour. So when I took over a dysfunctional team, I sat down with the members and discussed their values and drivers. From there I was able to align them with the functions (outputs) of the unit. An amazing thing happened, when the staff could see their roles aligned with their values, their performance improved exponentially, complaints decreased, and morale (and attendance) improved. All because I listened to the core values of my staff and matched them to their jobs and the function of the team. Now, imagine what you can do with your business, when you align your values, mission, and vision! Imagine what you can achieve, how easy it will be to bring in staff, how you will grow.

Leaders of tribes - Write to Right

Does your business have a mission statement? Do you know why you are spending your time in it?

If you don’t have one then this is where you need to start. These questions set the foundations of how others see your business. Here are some simple prompts to help you write your mission:

Who– who are you, are you a multi-national, family company, or sole trader? Who are your customers? Are they families, singles, seniors, small business, multi-nationals?

What– What is it that you do? What do you sell?

Why- Why do customers use your business? What is the benefit to them?

Where– Where can they find you? Are you a bricks & mortar, online, franchise?

Do you have a vision statement? Do you know where you want your business to be in one year, three years, five years?

This is where you have to be SMARTER. Make sure your vision is:

Specific– No wishy-washy motherhood statements. Say exactly where you want to be, put a dollar figure to it.

Measureable- If it can’t be measured then you can look back and see if you have achieved it. It also means that it’s likely to be a motherhood statement and you are less likely to hold yourself to account.

Achievable- The goal has to be appropriate, able to be attained in the given timeframe.

Reportable- You have to make yourself accountable for the goal and the only way to do that is to make it reportable. That could be in your end of year financial report, quarterly reports, cash flow reports, stakeholder reports, reportable to a mentor or a friend.

Time-sensitive- The goal has to have a deadline. Don’t make it a moveable goal or you are less likely to set tasks to achieve it.

Evaluated- Is it reasonable, achievable, how does it compare to others in your industry?

Reviewed-
How often will it be reviewed so you know if you are on track?

Now we move on to aligning the previous work you have done.

Where do your mission and visions cross? Are there any common words or themes? Where does you ideal customer meet with your mission? With your vision? List the adjectives, or find relevant adjectives, to describe these intersections. These intersections are powerful points. Remember, when you align values, missions, and visions magic happensTweet this

So when you have these magical sweet spots, you need to leverage them. These are the words which need to drive your interactions. There’s a word of warning, they must be for your client. If you start writing about the business it becomes about you. You don’t need to sell, or convince, to you. Unless your ideal client is a competitor, don’t write about your industry either. Your customer doesn’t want to know why your industry does xyz, they have a need and want you to meet it. It’s why they are at your website/Facebook/Google+ .

Go back and look at the list and where it meets your ideal client. What words help to meet their needs? What benefits are they looking for? Remember you wrote out their preferences, look to these for inspiration on how they want to be sold to and what needs you need to meet. Now, what are the benefits of your product or service and how do you meet your idea customer’s needs?

So now you have the adjectives to help describe your product or service and you have the benefits you need to include when you write those descriptions. Make the most of these powerful sales tools to drive your business to your ideal customer. Remember, they are your goal, your target market and anyone else that you catch along the way is fantastic.

 

 

10 Define your business core values

Core values - Write to Right

My last blog post was all about getting to know your ideal client. When you understand the ‘who’ it gives you something to aim for, but with what are you aiming?

Do you know why you are spending your time in it? What drives you and your business? What are your goals or ambitions? What is your purpose? (Deep, I know!)

These questions set the foundations of how others see your business. Here are some simple prompts to help you:

Who– who are you, are you a multi-national, family company, or sole trader? Who are your customers? Are they families, singles, seniors, small business, multi-nationals?
What– What is it that you do? What do you sell?
Why- Why do customers use your business? What is the benefit to them?
Where– Where can they find you? Are you a bricks & mortar, online, franchise?

I would like businesses to dig a little deeper. Big business does it, government departments do it; why don’t small businesses? Small business has the advantage of size and that they often are their culture and that their culture is a large part of who the business is. But what is culture? What underpins it culture is values. It is the values which we hold, individually and collectively, that help define who we are and how we portray ourselves to others. With the integration of social media into business, the injection of our personality through our values is key to developing lasting and valuable relationships with our clients. Tweet this

What are your core values?

Professionally, personally, collectively as a business – what are your core values? What are the fundamental underlying traits, behaviours, and values that you hold? I have included ‘personally’ as so many business owners instil parts of their own personality into their business.

Why should your business define its core values:

  • Point of difference with your competitors
  • Alignment of staff
  • Communicate what is important
  • Influence behaviour
  • Inspire action
  • Contribute to success
  • Shape your culture

I have written on how the culture & values impact on staff behaviours in my Masters of Management, should you wish to read further on the topic please email me directly.

Customers ask how to define their core values. There are a number of ways. Personally, I looked at the one thing I would love to do even if I never got paid to do it; then I looked at what it was about that thing which drove me. For me, it comes down to quality (read my latest post on this) and giving business owners the skills to get the most out of their business and to get themselves to the next level.

At its essence you are looking for what you and your business stand for, what ultimately drives what you do and what it is you actually do.Tweet this

Here is a video, which I have found, that will help you on the journey to finding your core values.

I’ve also found the following video on how large corporations use their core values. I particularly like the point made by Tony Hsieh that their company used the values to ‘hire and fire’. From my research, I know that (certainly in the public service) the alignment of core business and employee values is a key driver in customer satisfaction.Tweet this I believe that the private sector is no different. This is, in part, reiterated by the second statement by Jim Collins in the following video. (I also find the clip from Steve Jobs quite inspiring.)

Now over to you, comment below with your core values (business or personal). Don’t be shy and don’t worry if you only have one. Now think about how you will use this value and transmit this value to your customers.

 

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