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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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7 Powerful Answers - #3

by Rick Baker
On Dec 29, 2009
This is blog #3 in an 8-blog series about Powerful Answers to 7 important business questions. The series is intended to be an introduction to strategic intuition and planning.
Preamble:   Business is about People and Process. Since People design the Process, when you boil it down business is about People. People do only 3 things: good habits, bad habits, and new things. There is a relationship between actions and strengths. I like the way Marcus Buckingham and Tom Rath [former Gallup folks] have written about strengths. While I know this doesn't do justice to what they have written, I summarize their message this way:
Strengths = innate talent themes + knowledge + skill
Contribution = strengths + the influence of personal value systems [attributes of character]
As business leaders, we should understand the Strengths our People possess and we should understand the Values or attributes of character we desire. These combine to become our corporate culture, whether planned or not planned.
Question 2: What HUMAN strengths will you use to build your business?
Powerful Answer:  an excerpt from Conestoga-Rovers & Associates website, www.craworld.com
'Mentoring - One area that is continually emphasized is the responsibility that all senior employees have to mentor junior staff. Mentoring is key to the continued success of CRA into the future.'
Postamble: Question 2 is around corporate culture. CRA provides other similarly powerful statements that touch human strengths. I selected the mentor statement because it struck one of my chords. It is refreshing to see a company culture committed to mentoring...communicating about it so clearly…and clearly telling people they are responsible. This empowers and emboldens.
Footnotes: references… a couple of fellows who have written about their Gallup strengths experiences
Marcus Buckingham - strengthstest.com/strengths-tests/go-put-your-strengths-to-work-access-code
Tom Rath - strengths.gallup.com/110440/About-StrengthsFinder-2.aspx  
The next blog will consider Question 3:
What do you do BETTER and DIFFERENT than anyone else?

7 Powerful Answers - #2

by Rick Baker
On Dec 24, 2009
This is blog #2 in an 8-blog series about Powerful Answers to 7 important business questions. The series is intended to be an introduction to strategic intuition and strategic planning.
Preamble:  Perhaps you have life-goals, including a life-goal for the business-work part of your life? If you do then that makes it easier to answer Question 1. If you do not have a life-goal for business and would appreciate a simple tool designed to help people write one out then let me know. I created a tool called My Business© about 10 years ago. I can email a copy of it to you.
Question 1: What will your business look like when you are finished building it?
Powerful Answer:  an excerpt from the Waterloo MIN website www.waterloomin.com
'The Manufacturing Innovation Network (MIN) is the central place for local manufacturers in the Waterloo Region to:
  1. Build Awareness - raise awareness of products and services manufactured in the region both on a local and global scale.
  2. Network - improve collaboration and knowledge sharing between companies and industry professionals in an effort to create shared best practices, standard protocols and new innovations. Members can join peer groups, create professional profiles and access experts in blogs and online discussion forums.
  3. Trade - a centralized e-marketplace for buying, selling and promoting goods and services online, such as classified ads, job board and a comprehensive company directory.'
Postamble: Question 1 is around business Vision and Mission. Waterloo MIN expresses its raison d'être in a clear, straightforward statement. Clear, straightforward statements are powerful. Written statements are powerful.
Trivia: according to William Duggan, the word strategy did not enter the English language until 1810. The word tactics had been in English dictionaries almost 200 years before the word strategy arrived.
Footnotes: Statements of Vision apply to organizations and also to people. Napoleon Hill [www.naphill.org] called this definite purpose and chief aim in life.  My observations indicate - if a person has a personal Vision then it is easier for that person to create a Vision for his/her organization. So, I created a 'tool' many years ago, to help people set and write out their thoughts about what they want to accomplish during their business careers. I called the tool My Business©. Heres a link to that tool - My Business©.
The next blog will consider Question 2:
What HUMAN strengths will you use to build your business?


Marketing | Networking: The Joys of Connection

7 Powerful Answers - #1

by Rick Baker
On Dec 22, 2009
We found 7 fundamental building blocks linked to 7 business questions awaiting 7 Powerful Answers.
This is the first in a series of 8 blogs, exploring the 7 fundamental building blocks…and 7 Powerful Answers.
As a starting point, Spirited poses 7 business questions:
  1. What will your business look like when you are finished building it?
  2. What HUMAN strengths will you use to build your business?
  3. What do you do BETTER and DIFFERENT than anyone else?
  4. Who REALLY CARES about what you do best?
  5. How do you PLAN to connect with those people who care?
  6. How do you prove your people do the RIGHT things EVERY day?
  7. How do you manage your CRITICAL risk factors every day?
In the blog-series I will describe our thinking behind the 7 Questions and share thoughts about 7 Powerful Answers.
I am going to use a presentation format adapted from a sales book I wrote a few years ago.
The format will look like this:
            Preamble:  where I will talk about the things that caused us to create each question.
            Question: the seven business questions will be presented in the same order as above
            Powerful Answer: where an example will be presented
            Postamble: where I will provide some thoughts about the Powerful Answer
            Footnotes: references and tools will be provided
If you would like to share your Powerful Answer to any of the 7 Questions then please send it via email to me. I will include it in the applicable blog. Please let me know if you would like your name mentioned with your Powerful Answer.
The next blog will consider Question 1:
What will your business look like when you are finished building it?


Entrepreneur Thinking | Spirited Leaders

eCRMine© - #2

by Rick Baker
On Dec 17, 2009
Our CRM system works!
We built our CRM system – which we call our eCRMine – using our own software-engineering savvy and our own sales-management savvy.  We did that because experience showed us off-the-shelf tools did not allow us to inject creativity…a necessary ingredient of a successful CRM system.
To summarize, we think a CRM system is successful when it has the following attributes:
  • It gets used…used by staff, used by management, and used by leaders
  • It serves the needs identified by staff, managers, and leaders [ie, it serves The Plan]
  • It can be expanded or contracted…ie, it can be changed to meet changing needs
When we talked about creating eCRMine we knew about Wikipedia and The Internet Movie Database.
We knew about those information systems and we knew people embraced them…they were user-friendly and they were comprehensive, containing huge amounts of cross-referenced information.
That’s what we wanted in our CRM system. We wanted to capture names and facts. We wanted cross-referencing like that contained in Wikipedia and IMDb. I used to say - we want it Wikipedia-ish and IMDb-ish.
Using IMDb as a metaphor – we didn’t just want to know everything about Sylvestor Stallone…when he was born, what movies he was in, when those movies were made, etc. We wanted to be able to quickly find out who else was in those movies. We wanted to know the people who know Sylvester Stallone: the movie  producers, the movie directors, the fellow actors, etc.
Thinking about what Malcolm Gladwell [www.gladwell.com] had written in The Tipping Point, about Kevin Bacon and Rod Steiger [the best-connected actor of all time], we wanted to capture relationships on multiple levels.
The good news: it is not difficult to build a powerful CRM system…and we would be pleased to share the results of our work with you.
If you would like to learn more about our eCRMine then let us know.
Over the last 2 years, Spirited has talked with hundreds of businesses, all seeking help. We noticed trends and we developed a short list of questions to help us understand the precise nature of the help required.
In the next blog series, I will share and discuss those questions.


IT & TECH | Marketing | Networking: The Joys of Connection | Sales

eCRMine© - #1

by Rick Baker
On Dec 15, 2009
We are pleased to announce: Our CRM System Works!
For many years, we have seen people suffer with client-contact and relationship management systems..."CRM systems". And, we have suffered ourselves.
In the early 1990's I discovered Lotus123. That software allowed me to create a database/spreadsheet combination that had some positives: information capture, user-friendly, sorting, reports, etc. Lotus123 software allowed us to get some basic organization in place.
This happened about the same time cell phones were shrinking from luggage-size to hand-held size.
Back then - the world of information and communication seemed a much-simpler space.
Back then - people spent more time building relationship than talking about the need for them, let alone talking about the need for relationship-support tools.
Things have changed.
Now - lots of people have a desktop computer, a laptop, a BlackBerry, and a notebook. That's what I have and (ask anyone) I'm not a high-tech fellow.
Now - I'm writing a blog about CRMs.
Actually, this blog is about introducing our proprietary CRM, which we call our eCRMine.
e - electronic
CRM - contact relationship management
Mine - our gold mine of specialized information [Value repository]
Here's a link to a picture of the opening page of our eCRMine.
(link to eCRMine)
Over the years, we have suffered and watched others suffer with CRM systems.
To remove this suffering, after exploring many other options for many years, in 2007, we decided to build our own eCRMine.
We built eCRMine using our own software-engineering savvy and our own sales-management savvy.
eCRMine is 'modular' - it can be customized and we can transfer its 'technology' to other businesses.
In the next blog, I will provide some more details about our eCRMine


IT & TECH | Marketing | Networking: The Joys of Connection | Sales

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

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