Friday, October 28, 2011

The Most Crowded Marketplace Of All - A guest post by Paul Andrew

Paul Andrew Founder of The Leadership Coach™

I have always pursued the ideal that if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
As I’ve worked with leaders around the world, I have discovered that mindset is not only a more satisfying way to live but it’s also a hallmark of those who rise above their competition.
The most crowded marketplace of all is mediocrity.
Think of your own industry. How many leading companies or organisations are there that have clearly risen above the crowd? And by comparison, how many of the “mediocre masses” are there? The eagles have a different experience of this world than the pigeons.
So here are a few exits on the highway to mediocrity that you might consider if you long to escape the throng-
1. Do less.
Thin out how much you do… in order to do what you do with excellence. Hold three events not ten. Offer two services instead of seven. Creativity is as much about what you leave out as what you leave in. And often doing too many things is the enemy of doing the most important things with excellence. Often, but not always…
2. Do more.
At the risk of contradicting myself, sometimes the answer is to do more. Go beyond what others offer. Market research would have told Ford and Jobs that people just wanted faster horses and smaller phones. Instead they gave them something more, something they didn’t even know they needed until they experienced what “more” looked like in the automobile and the iPhone.
3. Do it differently.
There’s a wine shop in my neighbourhood that I like. They’re not the closest, the largest or the cheapest. But they do something their competitors don’t- they get out from behind the counter and talk about their wines. They make it fun and educational without making customers feel inferior. Remember that whether you’re selling a product or a service, you’re really selling an experience. So do it differently.
So if you’re ready for the air up there, scorn mediocrity and ask yourself, “How could we do less, do more or do it differently?”
Paul Andrew is Founder of The Leadership Coach™

He is a Keynote Speaker and Management Consultant based in New York

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

LinkedIn Company Pages - Update Your Company Status

LinkedIn just announced a  new feature for Company Pages—"Status Updates".  What a brilliant idea! You can now, engage your audience with Company Status updates, which will allow you to:

  • Post updates directly from your company overview page.
  • Share company announcements, product releases, promotions, and other news.
  • Engage directly with your followers and possibly their entire network.
  • Optimize the conversation by seeing which updates are most engaging.
Updates can only be made by company "Administrators" when the Company Page is set to "Designated Admins Only". And make sure that your News Module is set to Show news about my company, (you can see the News Module by clicking on the Admin Tools - a blue drop down menu - choose EDIT, the New Module feature is located at the bottom of your page), otherwise, the Company Status update field won't show on your company overview page; and you won't be able to post any company updates.

For more information go to LinkedIn's Company Status Updates

Friday, October 14, 2011

Taking my own advice - a moment of truth

This October is indeed a very busy month for me and my company! Although the business is doing well considering the multitude of challenges I had to face since Decapolis Consulting's inception; from financing to buying out a partner, from building my teams to networking, from acquiring new clients and retaining existing clients - I haven’t  been able to meet all of my goals as well as I could have.

As this month marks Decapolis Consulting one year anniversary in business, and since business has been slow for quite some time now, and in a moment of truth; I have decided earlier this month to hire myself and my team to conduct a Current Situation Analysis, to figure out why we haven’t met our set goals.

Our findings were surprisingly simple, yet crucial. Which I will share with you in a moment, after I shed some light on the background dynamics that led to my decision to hire our very own services.

As I said earlier, business has been slow for quite some time, and I found myself with some free time, so last May I joined Mowgli Foundation as a mentor, gave out free coaching packages to a number of individuals, and I just recently volunteered with Injaz’s Company Program.  The experience of volunteering and  helping others is its own reward. But I was pleasantly surprised that I have gained a lot too!  The insight into my own self and into my business alone which came through my involvement with Mowgli Foundation and the wonderful people I met through the program, is priceless. I started asking myself questions like what is my story?  What is my company’s story? Where am I going with the business?  What am I missing?

Questions that every entrepreneur should ask themselves, but sometimes just get too caught up with building and operating day-to-day business that we miss paying attention to the big picture, we forget our story, or worse yet we get emotionally attached to our story. 

I directed my team to be objective in their analysis, and to be emotionally detached upon making recommendations. It wasn’t easy, but we managed.

As simple as the reasons were, the result recommendations were brutal. They were brutal because we were very emotionally attached to the original story. You see, circumstances have changed; mainly due to the dissolving of partnership and incurred additional financial commitments as a natural result of buying out a partner. We went from a partnership to a sole proprietorship, but our message and story didn't change, and we realized that potential clients were confused and overwhelmed with our many offerings that didn't seem to tie well together in light of our new situation. Our story was amiss and a mess!

Our own recommendations for ourselves can also benefit all entrepreneurs who find themselves a bit too emotionally attached to their startups:

1.     FOCUS and Niche Our Story
2.     Modify and Restructure our services to fit our target niche
3.  Redo our business & marketing plans to align with our new modified business
4.  And as a result of all of that, the company profile, website and other promotional content will be rewritten.
5.  Add to the team: starting with hiring (aggressive) marketing and sales professionals for each service line; adding more consultants to our support teams. (yes we are hiring)
6. Put in place a new Action Plan with SMART goals with emphasis on measurable and objective evaluation mechanisms.

Taking our own advice,  we have decided that Decapolis Consulting will Focus on providing management support services and consultancy to SMEs and we will continue to support other consulting firms as their backhaul support kitchens.

We are currently restructuring our offered service lines and some lines will be discontinued altogether. The next step remains to present our recreated story through our website and promotional material. So stay tuned, as we would love to have your feedback!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

To Err is Human

Allow yourself to make mistakes and learn from them. Be your own best friend, support yourself when things go wrong. Listen to what you say to yourself. Watch out for the negatives, for when you knock yourself back.

Give yourself a break. Accept when you have given something your best shot. If you didn't succeed this time, so what, have another go. Work out why you went wrong and what you need to do to succeed next time. Allow yourself time to build skills.


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