The Ten Priorities; Priority #10: Managing your Market

Ten Priorities in business, Marketing, publicity, PR

Ten Priorities in business, Marketing, publicity, PR

The Rule of Everything

This is the tenth post in the series of The Ten Priorities: Laying the Foundations for a Great Business and Life. The tenth Priority is about Managing the marketing.  The introduction to this series on The Ten Priorities is here.

The second rule of Seth Godin is to make sure lots of people know about your great product or service.

It may seem obvious. No matter how great your products, your people, your systems, your visions and your plans are, if nobody knows how great they, there will be no business.

Many business owners will go out of their way to build a great product, but forget the second Rule. (BTW, the inverse is also true, more about the two different types of entrepreneurs here)

But both rules are equally important.

A business owner who wants to build a great business must learn that in business:

Marketing is everything, and everything is marketing.

A great business owner asks himself about the marketing dimension of every aspect of the business. Marketing is as much about the way the business goes about collecting its debts, or about the way people answer the telephones, or about its product warranty, as it is about the Facebook advertising campaign it’s running.

In fact, it can be said, that any activity in the business that does not have a marketing dimension to it, is a waste and should be stopped immediately. (more about the basics of marketing here)

When you learn to ask yourself about the marketing aspect to every decision you make, every system you develop and every action you take, every day, your business will flourish… I promise you.

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The Ten Priorities; Priority #9: Managing your Quality

Ten Priorities in Business, quality assurance

The two Rules of Seth

This is the ninth post in the series of The Ten Priorities: Laying the Foundations for a Great Business and Life. The ninth Priority is about your Managing the quality of your Products or Services. The introduction to this series on The Ten Priorities is here.

One of the most insightful modern business gurus I know, Seth Godin, said it really well:

“To do well in business you only have to do two things:

  1. Deliver a great Product or Service
  2. Make sure lots of people know about it”

As usual Seth Godin nails it, and the last two Priorities are about those two simple rules of Seth’s.

Because the problem is, they’re a lot easier said than done.

To have any hope of following Seth Godin’s 2 Rules, you have to have gone a long way to covering Priorities #1 through #8 first.

It’s really hard to be uncompromising about the quality of the thing you sell, in the face of the day to day challenges of business. The temptation to let a less than perfect widget go out the door, because a customer is screaming at you, can be hard to resist.

But resist it you must.

If you give the customer his widget and it turns out to be not quite right, the customer won’t be happy and tell his friends that the widgets you sell aren’t always quite right.

Come what may, your business must deliver what it promises. You don’t have to build Rolls Royce motor vehicles, but if your company name happens to actually be Rolls Royce, you better not build any Hyundais.

Not until you’ve mastered the arts of:

  • Looking after yourself
  • Giving yourself the time to think
  • Ensuring that business is Fun
  • Saying No
  • Planning
  • Money management
  • Asking for help
  • Having your people do great work

Will you be the kind of business owner who can build a business that delivers what it promises, all day, every day… I promise you

Next week, Priority #10: Manage your Publicity

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The Ten Priorities; Priority #8: Managing your People

Ten Priorities, finance management

ten priorities in business people management

Delegate, don’t abdicate

This is the eighth post in the series of The Ten Priorities: Laying the Foundations for a Great Business and Life. The eighth Priority is about Managing your People. The introduction to this series on The Ten Priorities is here.

Great businesses employ great people that deliver great work.

Business owners who want to build great businesses must get good at managing people. There is no way around that.

But for many business owners, people are a source of great stress and anxiety. They spend their days hoping things will go ok, and practice the ancient art of:

Management by keeping your fingers crossed

And that’s because they Abdicate, instead of Delegate to their employees.

Abdicating is giving someone a job and hoping they’ll somehow get it done right.

Most people feel good when they have an opportunity to do good work. Human beings (and employees are in fact human beings, I promise you) get a lot of satisfaction from doing good work, but the problem is, they often don’t know what constitutes good work. They’ve not been given clear outcomes, and they’re given conflicting priorities and feedback. And so, they flounder, they make it up themselves, they disengage, and the job does not get done right.

Delegating, on the other hand, is about discussing the job with the employee; explaining to them what the required outcomes of the job are; making it clear what good work looks like; asking for input and buy-in on the job; asking what the person needs to be able to deliver the required outcomes; agreeing on time frames and check-in points, and finally, agreeing on reporting and KPI’s for the work. (More about engaging your staff here)

When you learn how to delegate while keeping your fingers on the pulse as opposed to keeping them crossed, you will start to build a great business… I promise you.

Next week, Priority #9: Your Products or Services

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The Ten Priorities; Priority #7: Managing your Finances

Ten Priorities in business, financial management

Ten Priorities in business, financial management

Take control

This is the seventh post in the series of The Ten Priorities: Laying the Foundations for a Great Business and Life. The seventh Priority is about Managing the Money. The introduction to this series on The Ten Priorities is here.

I’ve said before (in priority #3), that a business must make profit, or it’s a hobby.

But in Priority #7 we’re not talking about profit, we’re talking about financial management.

Most business owners outsource the bookkeeping and accounting functions of their business. That’s great, but there are two problems with that:

  • Business owners often misunderstand what accounting is.
  • Reporting arrangements are often inadequate

The misunderstanding is that business owners generally don’t appreciate that there are two different types of accounting:

  • Compliance accounting
  • Financial management accounting

Compliance accounting is simply about how much tax the business must pay. What matters about that, is that it is done properly and timely. But compliance accounting is only the tip of the iceberg.

The most interesting part of the iceberg

The rest of the iceberg, the most interesting part of the iceberg is Financial Management accounting. Accounting that answers questions such as: “Last month, what percentage of our income went to wages?” Or, “In the last six months, which have been our 10 most profitable products?”

And that leads to the second of the problems I mentioned before:

You must get regular reports that give you the answers to the financial management questions that matter to you. And those reports must arrive promptly. I tell my clients to insist that the financial management reports about last month arrive on their desk no later than the fifth day of the new month.

When you sit down with your accountant and bookkeeper and explore with them the financial management questions you need answers to, to build a great business, and insist they give you those answers, every month, your business and your life will never be the same again… I promise you

Next week, Priority #8: Managing your People

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The Ten Priorities; Priority #5: Guessing

ten priorities in business, planning guessing

What’s the most important question to ask yourself every day?

This is the fifth post in the series of The Ten Priorities: Laying the Foundations for a Great Business and Life. The fifth Priority is about Planning.  The introduction to this series on The Ten Priorities is here.

Nothing of value was ever achieved by humans without a plan.

This is a fact

A business without a plan achieves everything in it

Yet planning is guessing, right? Nobody can know what tomorrow is actually going to look like, all we can do is guess.

That’s planning: We’re at point A, and we want to get to point B by date X. There are many routes to point B, so knowing what we know about today and given what we expect the world to look like tomorrow, what do we guess is the best route to get to point B by X?

Tomorrow the world changes

But tomorrow the world is a different place. Tomorrow it might snow along the route we’d planned to take to point B, and we must change the route.

That’s the secret about planning: Planning is something we must do again every day. When realities change, we must change our plans right along with them. (more about Planning here).

The most effective leaders have already thought about the possibility of snow along the chosen route, long before the snow actually appears, and they’ve already worked out how to change the route to point B in that eventuality.

Business owners who build great businesses, constantly ask themselves:

What if?

They ask themselves: “We’ve got a plan, based on certain assumptions… But… What if… any one of those assumptions turns out to be wrong, what do we do instead?”

When you learn to ask, “What if?”, all the time, you’ll respond quickly and appropriately to the changing realities and keep your business moving forward… I promise you

Next week, Priority #6: Asking for Help

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