Delivering Happiness; Enterprise Rental Cars Knows it’s About Doing a Number of Little Things, Consistently Well

 

 

Delivering happiness to your internal and external customers is not about just doing one big thing very well. Market leaders understand delivering happiness is about intimately understanding your customers and your market and consistently doing a number of little things exceptionally well.

Delivering happiness is the “golden rule” in action.

 

This week my work brought me to Chicago. As I discussed in a previous post about the buying experience as a differentiator , my preferred rental car company is Enterprise Rental Cars because of the amazing expertise I had at their Denver location.

I arrived at the Chicago airport, retrieved my checked bags and I was off to the rental car shuttle bus location. When I arrived I was happy to find the Enterprise bus waiting and I quickly boarded. The driver helped me with my bags and provided me a map to help me return the rental car when my trip was over. Another bus arrived and we were quickly off to the rental car parking lot. On the trip the driver (just like Denver) said “we will be arriving at your car in approximately 12 minutes”. As we drove the driver offered to provide us directions if we needed them. The driver radioed “we have two customers approaching and we are two minutes out”…great, I wonder if they will greet us when the van rolls up like Denver?

Sure enough, we were greeted by professionally dressed associates waiting for us. They introduced themselves and invited us inside. As I made my way to the counter, I was offered a cold water to drink. (How did she know I was so thirsty)? We quickly started on the paperwork and she asked how my flight was. Interesting, this is when Dollar or Hertz is typically trying to sell me a GPS rental or insurance, and she seemed to genuinely want to know about my day…

The reservation was pulled up quickly and she led me outside to pick out my car. I chose a small Kia and she walked around the car with her clipboard inspecting the car for damages with me. Again, how nice as this is my job with other companies and it never seems to fail I miss something. She asks about gasoline and insurance packages, but in a way as if she was concerned about my overall service experience and not like she was receiving a sales spiff like I have experienced with Thrifty and other rental car companies. Again she asked if I needed directions and she drew on my map the route to my hotel. She too offered me a map for returning the rental car and circled the directions I would use based on the location of my hotel in Shamburg. She quickly handed me my paperwork and said; “you will need to show this paperwork and your drivers license to the guard at the gate when you leave”. How did she know? How did she know one of my (many) travel pet peeves is if you need to see my drivers license again when I leave your lot, tell me. Don’t wait until I am in the driver’s seat, seat belt fastened and now having to retrieve my wallet and license again. Awesome, it’s like they shadowed me for the past 26 years of traveling and know each of my needs.

Another smaller irritant if you will is finding a radio station I like. Not a big deal mind you, but I often find myself trying to find a station , as I am driving at night in a strange place, trying to follow my Google Maps directions while keeping my eyes out for the right exit signs. When I sit behind the wheel of my Enterprise Rental car I look up and there, hanging from the rear view mirror is a list of radio stations…again how awesome.

After my work was completed I followed the circled directions and quickly found the rental car lot for my car return. When I arrived I was directed to rental car returns and found three people, professionally dressed again, waiting to help me. I would say from the time I pulled in, to the time I was back on the bus to the terminal was no more than 3-5 minutes. Again…awesome! They must know that travelers on their way home just want to get home. We seem to lack patience even more so on the return home than when we arrive and waiting in lines to drop off a rental car is not something we want to do.

Enterprise Rental Cars is in the delivering happiness business and they again reinforced my loyalty based on an amazing overall buying experience.

 

To deliver happiness you must intimately understand your buyers and not rely on your gut and intuition.

 

The test if you are truly committed to delivering happiness is the repeatability of the overall service experience.

 

Market leaders identify customer needs and build repeatable processes and procedures that insure a quality experience each interaction.

 

Market leaders committed to delivering happiness also instill a passion in their team members that is seen in authentic individualized service that reinforces the overall passion to serve.

 

So how about your team?…

 

Do you choose to deliver happiness to your internal and external customers?

 

Is your customer experience the same in Denver as it is in Chicago, Cleveland, or Miami?

 

Do you have processes and procedures in place to insure you consistently deliver happiness? (Market leaders do)

 

How can you instill a passion to deliver happiness in your organization?

 

Just as Enterprise Rental Cars has taken what historically was a matter of fact exchange of service in renting a car to an opportunity to deliver happiness, you can too. You too can get to know your buyers, your market and identify all those little opportunities to serve them that often cost very little but have a huge impact. To do so you need a culture passionately committed to the overall customer experience and an intimate knowledge of your buyers, their needs, and frequent problems.

Oh…as a side benefit, when you passionately deliver happiness customers are forgiving when things go wrong. When I arrived at my hotel I noticed my automatic door locks and truck release did not work. Given how many times I was in and out of the car and trunk over the weekend this would have normally been something that irritated me and tainted my overall buying experience. Since so many other parts of the buying experience were amazing I found the door and trunk release not working not a major problem. I was more forgiving of those inevitable occurrences that go bump in the night than I would have been having rented a car else ware.

Are you in the delivering happiness business?

 

If not now is as good a time as any to start!

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Do I need a Passion Statement for my business? Take the short quiz…

 

 

As I discussed in my post : Want to Jump Start Sales and Morale? Write a “Passion Statement” For Your Business…. A passion statement will jumpstart your sales and improves your team’s morale. Business leaders often spend a great deal of time on mission statements, their unique sales proposition as well as their stated team values. These are all needed , however nothing unties a team and inspires your buyers to buy like an authentic passion statement.

So how do you know if your organization needs a passion statement?

Please answer the below questions with the first answer that comes to your mind.

What I am looking for is your feeling more than an answer you spend time rationalizing.

  1. Do your customers perceive your product as a commodity?

  2. Has your overall gross profit as a % of sale decreased in the last 6 months?

  3. Do your team members work 9-5, no more, no less?

  4. When you work with salespeople in the field do you discover your key accounts are purchasing products from competitors because they were not aware you carried them?

  5. Has 50% or more of your sales team missed their goals over the last 6 months?

  6. Do your competitors always seem one step ahead of you with new products or services?

  7. When you launch new products, do they miss their ROI targets?

  8. When you review the performance of your last 3 new products would they be categorized as “evolutionary”? ( instead of revolutionary)

  9. Is you employee turnover greater than 20%?

  10. Have you lost one or more of your Key accounts in the last 6 months?

  11. Has your AR increase by 10 or more days to collect?

  12. Do your salespeople complain your products are significantly priced higher than competitors?

  13. Are salespeople listing features you must build into your product to make the next sale?

  14. Are you frustrated that your team does a good job of identifying roadblocks, but fails to develop plans to break through them?

  15. Have you ever said…” I am frustrated; I want my team members to act like owners and not just employees”.

  16. Have you lost a key employee over the past 3 months unexpectedly?

  17. Are you having difficulty identifying and recruiting new team members?

  18. Do your team members have more than 3 key performance indicators you evaluate them on each week?

  19. Is more than 3 hours of your week in meetings?

  20. Do you feel the need to create weekly objectives and activities for your subordinates, and “manage” them closely?

 

Here’s the deal….if you said “Yes” to more than 5 of the above you and your team need a quest, you need a passion statement to jumpstart your business.

If you answered “Yes” to 10 or more you are already on the slippery slope of becoming a Market Loser.( take corrective action now!)

 

How does your organization answer the above questions?

 

Based on your answers do you need a passion statement?

 

How do your clients describe your team and your products when you are not around?

Walls Don’t Solve Problems…They Create New Ones

20 years ago today the Berlin Wall came down. It was described as “the triumphant end of a failed system”. Like the Berlin Wall, organizations throughout the world have walls, inner kingdoms, silos, that add no value to their markets. As I discussed in a previous post ; Silos are Great for Shooting Missiles not for growing Market Leading Organizations, “Tear Down Your Dysfunctional Silo’s and become a Market Leader. If your organization has silos, walls built around business units designed for kingdom building and a self serving desire to feel superior its time to change. As your business prepares for 2010…tear down those walls!

 
 
Market leaders identify and solve market problems.
Market leading organizations understand the value of having every team member aligned around the corporate mission to serve their market.
Market losers have inner kingdoms, silo organizations within the organization that add no value for their markets.
One of the greatest challenges facing organizations is the ability to execute effectively and efficiently.

Walls built between organizational units like; sales and marketing, and or marketing and engineering add no value. These inner walls have a negative impact on your organization’s ability to be competitive with nimble competitors who do not have the added costs of kingdom protection built into their overhead. Walls are propped up by insecure leaders who are more focused on their personal goals and compensation than that of the organization. A quick way to identify one of these kingdom builders is their frequency of blame storming other departments when they fail to meet their Key Performance Indicators. These Lords and Ladies of the castle rarely use words like “we” and regularly use sarcasm when referring to other silos not within their command. The outcome of inner walled organizations is bureaucratic processes and procedures designed for individualized leader safety and not growing the organization.

Attention All leaders…tear the walls down and prepare for 2010.
How about your organization…..
Do you work for a market leading organization focused on serving its market? Or do you work for a market loser that allows walls and silos to form to create internal kingdoms for individuals and groups?
Does your culture allow walls?
If you culture does allow walled departments loyally guarded against other departments…how’s that working for you? More importantly …how’s that working for shareholder value?

When Bootstrapping, Leverage What you Have….

 

boot

So you want to be an entrepreneur? You sure?

 

I am just finishing an eBook that will be titled; 50 “UGLY TRUTHS” about owning your own business …and 5 reasons to do it anyway. I have served entrepreneurs in a variety of industries for 25 years. Some of my clients today are people passionately setting out to launch their new service or product. Some have owned their business for years and want to take it to the next level in revenues and profit.

 

One common area I help entreprenuers  with in the start up, bootstrapping stage, is to focus on; Leveraging what you have….as opposed to making a list of what you need.

 

Look, I’ve been there….you’ve mentally made the commitment, you have made some investment, you’ve told your family and friends about your business… and you are all in. Very quickly what most entrepreneurs do is start making a list of what they need.

 

I often see lists that include; new buildings, office space, people, a new printer, fax machine, a custom showroom, new cell phone, new computer, business cards, stationary….and so on. I spoke with one entrepreneur that went out and leased a new Lexus and he has yet to open his first customer. He contacted me because he needed sales velocity because he had no cash.When I inquired as to why he leased a new car…I heard the common response when buying wants versus needs…” I needed to look successful…” Really? (So he must think I am a real loser driving my 2003 Toyota Camry huh?)

 

 

If you are about to launch your business or planning your growth, focus on leveraging what you have and not making a list of what you need. It is in this phase you build your leadership muscles.

 

In 2005 I was asked by an entrepreneur I was serving at the time to launch a new retail business as an independent division of his company VMI. VMI is the second largest manufacturer of wheel chair accessible vehicles in the world. I was the VP of Sales and Marketing and created a repeatable sales process and adjusted our messaging to be more specific to the problems we solved for our three main buyer persona’s rather than” features and benefits speak”. We modified some of our designs based on customer and user feedback and sales were exploding. The owner asked me to take on the new challenge; open a local retail store.

 

When we launched what soon became Arizona Mobility Products we had arguably…nothing. We did not have a business name, a building, a website, a logo, a sign; computers….you get the idea. So I too quickly went into list building mode. However I quickly learned this business needed to “eat what we killed”…we needed to be self funding.

 

So like my clients, I went off to think at a local restaurant as I don’t know about you, but I do my best thinking out of the office. I took inventory of what I did have;

 

  • as VP of Sales and Marketing I had worked with the most successful mobility dealers in the world for the past four years; I intimately knew best practices of market leading dealers

 

  • I have observed what dealers have done well, and the mistakes like signing leases for expensive elaborate show rooms that only erodes the bottom line

 

  • I knew our customers, our community, from the market research we did for our new corporate marketing, website, and product designs

 

 

  • We had over 400 finished vehicles available for sale in every configuration , ready for sale

 

  • The company had warehouse space vacant, old extra computers, extra phones

 

  • A small customer list of local consumers who have bought accessible vehicles over the last eight years or so

 

  • I had an amazing salesman named Pat with over 30 years of vehicle sales and local connections with car dealers

 

  • I know sales, marketing, and I have developed sales acceleration programs for companies for 20 years

 

  • I know that one common problem consumers who need a wheel chair accessible van have is the ability to see one, they lack transportation to get to the dealer

 

  • I personally have a network of thought leaders in internet marketing, marketing creative, and print marketing support

 

After making the list, I asked myself ;based on what I know from meeting with other dealers and customers, the inventory we did have, how can we… leverage this to grow this business? To make this operation a market leader?

 

We could give our customers what they needed, with the specific options they wanted, and we could do it same day.

 

We didn’t have large fancy showrooms, so we went to our customer’s homes. We did not have an ad budget so I wrote content that was picked up for free in local magazines that served the community, like; Arizona Mobility Products makes doing-good good-business…

 

With each unit we sold we accrued money to support a web site, ads, direct mail to past customers who’s vehicles were about to go out of warrantee, and business cards. I called my network and asked for favors. I offered to barter when possible and thanks to our service partners we launched.

 

In case I never said so, Thanks go out to some amazing partners;

 

John Scott Dixon and his team at Thought Lava for our web site

Jay Wilson and his creative team at Real World Marketing

Phil and Barry at BC Graphics

Bill at Tempe Dodge

 

Within months we were averaging what most successful mobility dealers sell each month, and after the first year we were in the top 10 dealers nationally in total revenue. We had five people, and we were focused;

 

“Serve our customers with what they need and want…we bring mobility vehicles to you”

 

When bootstrapping your business, focus on leveraging what you have as opposed to making lists of what you need.

Lists of what you need are good for the future but they do not fill the cash register…as a matter of fact we did not even have a cash register…smile.

 

Have you launched and business?

 

What can you leverage to serve your market?

 

Did you rush out and buy a bunch of office furniture, equipment, or did you learn to ;“eat what you killed

Your leadership muscles grow in the bootstrapping stage as you learn to leverage and scale what you have. Those expenditures that add value you keep and those that do not produce your desire ROI are removed.

 

Although I left AMP years ago to help other entrepreneurs, Pat now running the store and continues to provide amazing service and bringing vehicles to his customers. Pat continues to serve his market as opposed to selling them, and continues to be in the top 10 mobility dealers nationally.

 

 

Are you Enabling your Sales Force or Emasculating them?

 

Market leading Sales forces are singularly focused: to sell stuff.

Sales are one of the most accountable areas of the organization and often are unde2 hoursesr the constant microscope of senior leaders as they have a significant, immediate, and direct impact on the bottom line. Companies must enable their salespeople and not  emasculate them. Over the past 25 years I have always preferred to hire the sales stallions over order taking geldings. Stallions require you to have a high emotional intelligence, and they will often try to get your goat, however they consistently produce and add value. While geldings wait to be told what to do, how to say it, and where to go. Stallions are saying get out of my way or I will run over you.

 

Market losing organizations myopically manage every sales activity and create approval thresholds that slow the sales cycle when the heat is on and the market dries up.

 

I thought it would be helpful to get inside the mind of a salesperson today, in this economy…so I interviewed a few and below is a summary is what I heard…

It’s simple really, as a salesperson our job is to; Sell. Yes you ask me to do all kinds of little side projects, write reports, and conduct market investigations gathering data to insure what marketing is telling the CEO is actually what’s going on out here in this mystical place called “our market.” However at the end of the day my compensation is specifically tied to: selling stuff. The more stuff I sell the more money I make. My job is to “make it happen” with whatever you folks at corporate throw over the wall.

I tried telling you the reason that last product launch failed was because you created a product because you could and not because you should…but you said I was just making excuses and I needed to “sell through objections…and hit my numbers”

My pay, my commission rice bowl if you will, is about selling as much as I can, as quick as I can, and building relationships that plant seeds for future sales. With the internet my customers are more knowledgeable than they have ever been before about our products and services, (they often know things about our company before I do these days and this really makes me look bad in my market) so my job is really to help buyers solve their problems with the stuff I sell, and help them buy from us. I don’t like to discount our product unless I have to because my commission is based on the selling price, and the more I discount the more units I will need to sell to hit my targeted compensation.

My buyers are really it playing close to the vest right now;

· My buyers have to justify every expenditure to the “higher ups” who they do not have relationships with

· C-level executives need to sign off on all orders

· I have to speak with all kinds of people I never had to sell before; CTO, CMO, CEO, CFO…

· Customers are not stocking up and they are taking much longer to buy, our programs give customers the incentive to buy volume, but they want Just In Time

· My buyers have the C-suite recommending all these competing vendors to our products and my buyers are spending time chasing these leads the C-suite read about or heard about at the country club…versus keeping a close eye on my inventory…so now I am checking our inventory for our customers

· Since you have changed my compensation, I am working twice as hard, twice as long and struggling to make what I made last year

· After the headcount reductions we had at corporate, we have dropped the ball a number of times over the last six months and I am being pulled to fix past sales issues in ;customer service, billing and quality issues ( you see I am out here, I have to stand belly to belly with these folks called “customers” and I can’t hide behind voice mail, email, or transfer them to someone else, if I do not solve these past sales issues they will not buy until the problem is fixed.

· My family life is strained, you see we established a lifestyle based on my past compensation, and when you changed it, it not only affects me, but it touches my entire family. My wife and kids felt I spent too much time working as it was however they justified it because I am a work-a –holic and we were making good money, but now they pressure me..” why work so hard after what they did with your pay..You need to go someplace where you are appreciated like XXXX used to.”

· About 70% of what marketing gives me I do not use. I know it will piss you off, but what I have been doing is writing my own stuff and using some of what Mike also created up in the North West region, you see it is old, but it works!

· I lost another customer last week because we out sourced XXXX to china. I know you said we make more profit and their cost is 1/3 of what it would cost us to make it, but if it’s junk what’s the point. Besides, I have been selling him a lot of other products and now I lost the entire account over the stuff we outsourced?…I know sell through it…

· The young “Hitler youth” you hired in accounts receivables has pissed off a number of my key accounts. I hear the CFO told him to trim 15 days off the receivables aging? Well if he keeps threatening my customers, you won’t have to worry about receivables much longer! Is it true you have him on a commission of what he collects? No wonder he put my largest account on hold for $3500 12 days past due…it’s hard enough out here guys!

· That launch of xxxxx was great, but now we are on back order and my buyers are calling to check on their orders versus buying more.

 

So for all of the leaders out there who never have carried a sales bag, I hope the above was enlightening.

(do you still think a monkey could do it?)

Having led salespeople for 25 years, what they said did not surprise me, but what took me back was the energy, anger even, in the way they said it. Are you listening and observing the challenges your salespeople are experiencing? Are you creating sales enablement tools to help keep conversations flowing to a sale? Or are you telling them to stop making excuses and “just make it happen”?

I was also taken back by the disconnect that seems to have grown wider when the teams became challenged by current economic conditions.

Market leaders grow closer through challenges and emerge stronger.

Market losers conduct Blame-storming that adds no value and if left unchecked cripples a team.

This disconnect should not surprise me really because I frequently speak with business owners and senior leaders who say things like;

· “I make sales come to me personally with each “deal” they want to give away “Why? “Well because, if I told them upfront the range I am willing to work in they would all sell at the lowest price, and give away the farm” [for what it’s worth this is a trust and respect issue not a pricing issue gang] 

· “Saying the economy is tough is just an excuse, when I carried a bag….” (he carried one 20 years ago)

· Marketing ; “ we just spent six figures on the re-launch of xxxx and sales is not using any of the tools we developed, we need to hold them more accountable”[ no, how about understanding the market and the buying process and creating tools to keep conversations flowing?]

· I heard a marketing executive say; “sales is like water, they take the path of least resistance to a sale” [how would that make you feel if you were in sales? Does this sound respectful to you?] 

· A CFO said recently; “with what we are paying them they should be working 18 hours a day.”[Really? In most organizations sales is compensated with a base and a commission. Most commission rates vary from 5% to 15%. So Mr. CFO , you should look forward to cutting those commission checks because for every nickel you pay, you get ninety-five cents]

Tough times cause the true nature of people and teams to emerge. Market leading teams use adversity to become stronger.

 

Market losing organizations “eat their young”.

 

How about your organization?

 

What behaviors are you seeing when your team becomes stressed?

 

What other comments have salespeople heard that show a lack of respect for sales?

 

What comments have salespeople made that show a lack of respect for other departments?

 

Do you feel silos (kingdoms) are healthy, or negatively impact bottom line results?

 

Market leading teams tear down silos and align their entire team to a specific mission and establish key performance indicators that measure what matters. Market leading teams reward cross functional behavior and crush kingdom building.

 

What kind of a company do you work for?

Is “fleece throwing” the best way to launch your solution in the marketplace?

 

I was reading the Bible this morning, and in Judges 6:36-40 is the story of Gideon. A quick review of this story; God called Gideon to fight the Midianites. What we are supposed to do is obey and take action. However Gideon “tossed fleece.” What he did was a test of sorts, to make sure he would win before he went to battle. He said to God:

“If you will save Israel by my hand as you have said Lord, I will put a fleece on the floor overnight. If the dew is on the fleece only and it is dry on the ground, then I shall know you will save Israel by my hand as you have said”

This passage reminded me of product launches I have experienced over the years. When I wrote: Don’t let “FUD” cause you to “soft launch” your next product, I discussed how we let fear, uncertainty, and doubt prevent us from boldly launching our products and solutions into our markets. Gideon had a clear picture of his mission, he had all the power and wisdom of the universe behind him ,but he had doubt and uncertainty. ARCA0WGM1OCADC0AZOCAONZ7FWCA9CTXV2CA1587T4CAF2WA8RCA1QPY0CCAQYHW3GCATCNB8LCAW0TJCHCAAT12FWCACSX6MVCADSWY1DCA5N58OZCAV8C3QPCAEG7A94CATP9XXZCA6VA5HTCAIC0H9G

I have been following the blogs of Dave Daniels as his experience in launching products comes out in each post. What I enjoy most is his fresh “no smoke and mirrors” approach to launching products. I have yet to read how we are supposed to “put our toe into our market and make sure we will win” before we launch with everything we have.

I have lived through some product horrible launches and often I was to blame for poorly executed launches. The product came out of engineering late, sales was not properly trained, and our marketing failed to hit on time. So we soft launched and if the market embraced this new solution then we would do it the right way. Companies spend millions upon millions of dollars on; R&D, team member time (and the opportunity cost considerations of what they could have been doing), marketing campaigns are funded, sales people are trained and yet very few launches receive the attention they deserve. Dave is currently running a poll that I find very interesting that you can participate in at http://polls.linkedin.com/poll-results/43135/blzpm . He asks a very simple question, “Who is responsible for your launch?” I am very interested to see the results. My guess is the results will confirm this critical stage of the product lifecycle is left to chance, and because no one “technically” owns it, the results are predictable.

When I have experienced teams fleece tossing is when they lack confidence in their product or solutions’ benefit to their customer or they have not treated the launch process with the same urgency and discipline they did in writing the business plan, gaining funding, and or development.

The good news for Gideon is the Lord did give him a sign he would be victorious, and what did he do? He tossed another fleece just to be sure….

How about your team, are you boldly launching products or are you tossing fleece with soft launches?

What causes you team not to give launch the same attention the product received in development?

Does someone own your launch?

Do you need to “Detox “your business before it can hit your goals?

detox_diet_toatl_diet

About twelve weeks ago I had a wakeup call. I had my regular check up with my doctor and he informed me I needed to have a prescription for high blood pressure. It seems my blood pressure was dangerously high and if not addressed could lead to a stroke or heart attack. I am not a big fan of taking medication that addresses the symptom and not the cause, so I asked the doctor what I should do. He reviewed my folder and looked me square in the eye and said “you need to lose weight, I don’t know if you realize it but over the last seven years you have gained over 50 lbs…loosing this weight would be a great start.” What the doctor did not know was that I was working out three times per week but just couldn’t lose the weight this time.

A friend had a noticeable weight loss (70lbs) recently so I asked Dave what was his secret? Without hesitation he said “Medifast” and he gave me the phone number of their local office. When I met the counselor she started by asking me a number of questions, taking my blood pressure and handing me a prescription for blood work I needed to have done at a local clinic. The counselor then explained the weight loss process will begin with a week of “detox” .

Instantly my mind raced and I became apprehensive and anxious. I thought of the infomercials from television about detox programs and how John Wayne was supposed to have had over 20lbs of undigested toxins in his system when he died. I started to worry about the process and how uncomfortable it probably would be.

The counselor obviously has seen the look I now had on my face before, so she started to educate me about how our bodies work. Our bodies were designed to be amazing efficient machines. We are designed to consume food that contains essential vitamins and minerals to keep us alive and full of energy. What happens through poor food choices, stress, and bad lifestyle choices is we accumulate toxins over time. Toxins significantly impair the efficiency our bodies were meant to operate in. Toxins surround fat cells and if left unchecked, prevent our bodies from metabolizing stored fat for energy. One result is we consume more food and do not burn the stored energy reserves as we were designed, and coupled with inactivity we gain weight.

When we detox our bodies we help clean out accumulated toxins and bring our bodies back to the efficiency we were designed for. In addition to now accessing fat cells for energy, your body will absorb vitamins and nutrients as is was designed and need to eat less.

Since starting the program with the m’lis suppliments eight weeks ago, I have lost just over 30 lbs and I have noticeably more energy, I’m wearing clothes I have not worn in years, and most importantly I no longer need to have a prescription for high blood pressure. The detox process prepared me, my body, to achieve my desired goals.

As I went through the week of detox it made me reflect how a number of the businesses I have helped over the years needed to detox before I could truly help them. Businesses accumulate toxins and by not actively participating in their markets they lose their effectiveness and become sluggish. They find their gut and intuition is not producing desired results. As I reflect about the process I have used to help companies over the years I noticed they often followed a predictable series of steps;

1. They ask for help, something is off; a missed goal, poor performance of key indicators…, they learn what it would take in commitment, time, cost, and they postpone or choose not to change…live with it hoping the problem, the pain, goes away on its own

2. Wake up call, something happens; having to use their line of credit to make payroll, they lose a key account (or two), a competitor launches an amazing new product that obsoletes their cash cow, poor EBITDA, or the board gives the leaders a timeline for improvement.

3. They commit to change

4. We go into their market, find out why people do business with them, find out why others do not, and gain the markets’ perception of what this company does and does not do.

5. Discover market problems no one is solving

6. If the business has a solution that solves unresolved problems, reposition it in the markets’ voice based on the problems this product or solution solves

 

7. Identify roadblocks, how easy or hard is it for your clients to do business with you? Identify the “flaming hoops “customers need to jump through, and tear them down

8. Detox- the entire team, flush all the old , dated , beliefs and clean the business from within of all the roadblocks preventing the efficient absorption of revenues and profits. One area that grows fat and becomes less effective is often marketing. I discussed this in my post; “Skubala” Marketing. Sometimes it is actually team members we need to deter as Art Petty identified in his blog post Detoxing Your Team.

9. Create new product solutions if your current offering does not solve the unresolved problems you discover

10. Collect testimonials of clients, in their words ( do not “marcom” their words) that describe the problem they had and how your product solved it

11. Tell, tell everyone in the market the problems you solve

12. Start absorbing the new revenues of a healthy business

13. Plan to detox your business frequently as markets change

If your business is not healthy today, you are not alone. The current economic condition was a wakeup call for a number of businesses. As Kristen Zhivago identifies in her blog post Bravery and your Revenue, it takes a brave CEO to operate in the “beyond the call” mode. For a number of teams they learned their business was not as healthy as it outwardly appeared in good economic times, times when the phone just seemed to ring and they were in call mode. Good economic times do not push us, stress us, and test the overall health of our business. Just as a stress test or a blood pressure cuff can provide an early warning to a potentially fatal problem in the future, tough economic conditions show us the weak points, the kinks in our corporate armor that must be improved.

The majority of the teams I have worked with needed to detox, flush their old beliefs, and inside out perceptions ,processes, and their “company speak” prior to being positioned for explosive growth. The most common way of detoxing your business is to seek the truth. You find truth in your market asking questions , not sitting around board tables starting sentences with; “I think” or my personal favorite “ when I ran _____( you fill in the blank) 10 years ago we …..” That probably worked great 10 years ago and that is why you now hold a leadership role. But guess what, the market has changed! Once the business completes the detox process they are positioned to become healthy, and ultimately a market leader in their space.

If you cheat and try to cut corners, not flush all the toxins from your business you will only postpone your future profits and shareholder value. If you don’t flush the dated perceptions, non contributing team members, policies and procedures that serve your team, but feel like flaming hoops to jump through for your customers, your business will remain inefficient, ineffective and could, if left untreated …die.

So do me a favor, start detoxing your business today and your team will become more efficient, effective and ultimately a market leader. Market leaders have higher gross profits, grow 2X that of competitors, have higher morale, and valued higher.

Most competitors will choose to be lazy and keep carrying around the dead weight of old assumptions that suck the life out of their growth, profitability, and their market value as an organization.

A couple of questions for you:

What Toxins has your business accumulated over the years?

What symptoms have you seen over the last nine months that were a wakeup call for you and your team?

If you choose not to detox, what is the reason? What are you afraid of?

Do you have team members that need to be detoxed?

How healthy is your bottom line?