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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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Leading With Revenue© - #4

by Rick Baker
On Dec 10, 2009
There are simple ways to ensure profitable business.
One way is Leading With Revenue, which I have talked about in my last 3 blogs.
In the last blog, we looked at a couple of examples of how a Leading With Revenue approach can help businesses succeed. I am going to provide another example and some comments about the hands-on application of the philosophy I call Leading With Revenue.
Angel investors have an interesting relationship with Leading With Revenue.
This is important when new products/services are invented and the entrepreneurial process is under way. In a similar way it should also be important when a company wishes to obtain funding, say an equity injection, to cover an expansion into new products, new services, or new territories.
Angel investors, and equity investors in general, ought to contribute to Leading With Revenue rather than replace the need for Leading With Revenue.
The Road Map:
I view strategic planning as the elite business function. The drive to business growth can follow several routes. One avenue is Leading With Revenue. It is not the only avenue. However, it is an avenue that will get us to the destination – financial success. Business people can drive alone or they can drive with partners. If they choose to have equity partners then they and their equity partners should be in synch…working from the same map, using the same compass, etc. Including a discussion of Leading With Revenue at the strategic planning stage is a good way to prepare to start your engines. Leading With Revenue is a strategic philosophy and a strategic-thinking tool.
Hair-Pin Turns In The Road:
When we drive at selling, from time to time, we encounter rough weather and troubling road conditions. If we have no guidelines – no maps, no road signs, no shoulders, no medians, no bumper blocks, no danger signs – then sooner or later we find ourselves off the road and in the ditch, or worse. The step-by-step process of Leading With Revenue  provides a solution. Leading With Revenue is a tactical tool, for testing everything from product development to sales efforts.
I hope Leading With Revenue provides to you the comfortable feeling it has provided to me.
This is the last blog in this Leading With Revenue series.
In the next blog will begin to explore eCRMine


Entrepreneur Thinking | Marketing

Leading With Revenue© - #3

by Rick Baker
On Dec 8, 2009
There are simple ways to ensure profitable business.
One way is Leading With Revenue, which I have talked about in my last 2 blogs.
From the last blog, we know Leading With Revenue can add Value whether we are dealing with new products and services [inventions] or existing products and services [which aren’t selling as well as we would like]. The key is obtaining Client input… and a revenue-generating purchase by a Client is powerful positive feedback.
I promised some Leading With Revenue success stories.
Here are a couple of success stories…again, I have altered the details to ensure confidentiality.
Example 1:
Dave was approached by a large local company to provide consulting services under a short-term project.  Dave was flattered by the acknowledgment of his expertise, confirmed by the attention offered by the large company. However, Dave declined the offer and provided a counter-offer. Dave’s counter-offer consisted of a multi-year contract providing a Value-adding service that included the consulting but also included a clear and expert solution to a major problem well-known to exist at the large local company…at least, well-known to Dave. Dave’s counter-offer contained pricing and other terms that reflected Dave’s senior-level Value. Result – the large company accepted Dave’s counter-offer and both parties enjoyed the Value-exchange that followed.
Example 2:
Jim and Sarah run a local manufacturing company. One of their larger clients came to them and requested a price discount, to match the competition. Jim and Sarah were somewhat puzzled because the relationship had been strong with the client and Jim and Sarah’s company had a habit of over-delivering with quality. After some discussion, it became clear there was a disconnection between the Value as seen by the client and the Value as seen by Jim and Sarah. To satisfy the client’s price-discount request, Jim and Sarah would lose money. They discussed this with the client. Jim and Sarah confirmed they would not drop their price.
Now, there are two alternative endings to this example…the choice of ending depends on which ‘Jim and Sarah’ we are talking about…both happened:
Ending 1: The client checked with his head office and confirmed to Jim and Sarah that no price discount was required. Since that event, there has been no further discussion of price discounts.
Ending 2: The client took his business to a new supplier. That supplier went bankrupt in 6 months and the client had no choice but to return to Jim and Sarah. The client then accepted the price increase offered by Jim and Sarah. Since that series of events, there has been no further discussion of price discounts.
The next blog will be the last in this Leading With Revenue series…


Leaders' Thoughts | Marketing

Leading With Revenue© - #2

by Rick Baker
On Dec 3, 2009
There are simple ways to ensure profitable business.
One way is Leading With Revenue, which was summarized in my last blog.
From the last blog we know Leading With Revenueis not easy. While it is simple [straightforward] to describe, it is not easy – it requires work and disci pline. It requires some thinking followed by set action steps. The most important part of the work is – Listening to Clients [starting as early as possible in the process].
In the summary, at the last blog, the Leading With Revenue process started with a product or service Idea, backed by Specialized Knowledge. That happens when an inventor comes up with a new mousetrap. Leading With Revenue should definitely happen then. It also should happen when one of our sales people comes to work tomorrow morning and wonders – What shall I do today?
Leading With Revenue will add tremendous Value in both situations. That Value includes:
  • Higher profit
  • Lower stress
  • Higher work satisfaction
  • Lower staff turnover
Here are a couple of real-life examples I have experienced during the last year. I have changed the names of people and companies and been vague about products to ensure confidentiality.
Example 1:
Joe invented a tool. He spent hundreds of thousands of dollars and years of time de-bugging the product, creating top-notch packaging, creating a good sales presentation, and manufacturing samples. He visited numerous prospective buyers, distributors who could serve as future buyers.  These folks said, ‘the product looks great’. Joe gave hundreds of samples away so the distributors could display them and promote them to consumers. The result was - very few sales and very little feedback about ‘why so few sales?’.
Example 2:
Jane had a well-established, profitable business with hundreds of clients. Jane felt changes were required to improve sales. A new CRM system seemed to be the right answer so steps were taken to select a new CRM and a company to install, de-bug, and get it operational. After many months and tens of thousands of dollars, the CRM is almost operational. The results – zero increase in sales.
Obviously, those were not the Leading With Revenue success stories.
Leading With Revenue success stories will be presented in the next blog…


Entrepreneur Thinking | Marketing

Leading With Revenue© - #1

by Rick Baker
On Dec 1, 2009
There are simple ways to ensure profitable business.
I did not write – There are easy ways to ensure profitable business.
[Work is required]
There are simple ways to ensure profitable business.  I call one of those simple processes Leading With Revenue.
I am assuming here, money is an issue.
If you have no issue with money – if you have more than plenty – this blog may not be of any Value.
Leading With Revenue summarized:
  1. Start with a product or service Idea, backed by Specialized Knowledge
  2. Test your thinking – This Idea Should Work! [if that’s what you think then go to next step]
  3. Do a little product/service development work [to proof your Idea]
  4. Come up with a Value Proposition, which answers – Why will Clients want to buy this?
    • Start with a suspicion of what you think Clients may want to buy
    • Select some trusted best-prospect Clients [real people, not paper-demographics]
    • Meet, talk, but mostly Listen as these Clients tell you if this Idea will work for them
  5. If these Clients give concrete positive signals  - Yes, I will buy - then go to the next step
  6. Fine-tune the Value Proposition to align with what Clients have told you they want to buy
  7. Set Pricing to cover cost/benefit and risk/reward [for all parties]
  8. If problems arise at that last step – from your or the Clients’ perspective - then go back to at least step #4
  9. Ensure everything meshes with your company’s Unique Selling Proposition…or go back to at least step #4
  10. Quickly, set simple marketing & sales action plans
  11. Quickly, take action to sell to those Clients whom you have been told [or you believe] want to buy
  12. Watch, Listen, and Monitor sales results…the Clients’ actions will tell you what you need to know
  13. Fine-tune the product/service as required to match what Clients show you they want to buy
  14. If product/service fine-tuning is not possible or practical then go back to at least  step #4
Over the last two years, we have seen some folks Leading With Revenue.
And, we have seen lots of folks not Leading With Revenue.
I will provide examples of each at the next blog…
Link to another, more-theoretical blog about Leading With Revenue
[August 4, 2008 blog]


Entrepreneur Thinking | Marketing | Sales

P=2S+O© - #8

by Rick Baker
On Nov 26, 2009
For every Problem, there are at least 2 Solutions and there may also be some hidden Opportunities.
Link to P=2S+O worksheet/template.
[click to download]
Experts tell us we have thousands of thoughts every day. Perhaps, on average, our thoughts arrive every 10 seconds.
Of this large number of thoughts, coming to our minds every day, we categorize some as problems…problem-thoughts.
Some of these problem-thoughts happen once or twice and are forgotten while others keep coming back until we find ourselves thinking, “Something should be done about this”.
When this happens to me, that’s when I step back and say..."How do I turn this P (Problem-thing that just keeps popping into my mind) into at least a couple of S's (Solutions) and at least one O (Opportunity)?"
I work at that.
As you have seen, I call the process P=2S+O.
I’m not as good as I’d like to be at initiating P=2S+O.
Sometimes I find myself being annoyed by a persistent thought…I mean I catch myself being annoyed yet inactive. [I see this as a bad habit.] Then, something clicks in and I realize I am annoyed because the thought is a problem-thought and it probably will keep annoying me until I replace it with some ideas about Solutions and Opportunities.
At that point, the good habit P=2S+O begins to replace the bad habit being annoyed by a problem-thought.
I'm not as good as I'd like to be at generating immediate Solutions. I wish I could say, “Much to my surprise…I catch myself being lazy and procrastinating”. But, that wouldn’t be accurate because I have caught myself far too many times to use the word ‘surprise’. However, I am getting better. I keep a laminated copy of the P=2S+O template/worksheet close by…as a reminder. And I keep several paper copies of it on hand so I can fill them out on the spot. Also, I have a neat little web-based tool with me at all times…which removes any excuse for not doing P=2S+O.
If you are interested in learning more about the web-based tool then please email me at rick@spiritedleaders.ca
I have developed an ability to be very open/receptive to Opportunities. Opportunities tend to pop into my mind very regularly.
So, for me, P=2S+O is working well….and it is becoming a good habit.
I will be thrilled to learn it works as well for you….so please, let me know.
my next blog will introduce a new topic - Leading With Revenue... 


Solutions & Opportunities

P=2S+O© - #7

by Rick Baker
On Nov 24, 2009
For every Problem, there are at least 2 Solutions and there may also be some hidden Opportunities.
Link to P=2S+O worksheet/template.
[click to download]
In the last blog, I mentioned from time to time intuition may come to you and you may obtain Opportunities that way.
There is an interesting argument favouring an ‘opportunistic’ approach over the ‘traditional’ approach to strategic planning.
Rather than Plan the Work and Work the Plan, be prepared to recognize, receive, and act on Opportunities.
See for example, Strategic Intuition [2007] by William Duggan... here’s a link to William Duggan http://columbiapress.typepad.com/
At that link, you can read about the three kinds of intuition... “The third kind, strategic intuition, is not a vague feeling, like ordinary intuition. Strategic intuition is clear thought. And it’s not fast, like expert intuition. It’s slow.” “Strategic intuition works in new situations. That’s when you need it most.”
Business people should do both.
Business people should Plan the Work and Work the Plan. Much of the value lies in the process of planning. That’s captured [maybe a little too strongly?] in this Dwight D. Eisenhower quote: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensible.”
Business people should also work to understand and use intuition and creative thinking. When these are operating in high gear we are able to respond quickly and successfully while the pace of business change continues to increase.
P=2S+O stands on middle ground.
P=2S+O is process. P=2S+O is a system.
The process & system of P=2S+O was planned.
The application of the P=2S+O template [worksheet] has some structure...that is, the template/worksheet contains sections for describing Problems, Solutions, and Opportunities. On the other hand, the template/worksheet does not set boundaries on how to come up with Solutions and Opportunities.
The P=2S+O template/worksheet provides a picture or what needs to be done.
This series of blogs provides an introduction to why a P=2S+O is important and how people can use P=2S+O to obtain business success.
The next blog will be the final blog of this P=2S+O series.


Change: Creating Positive Change | Solutions & Opportunities

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