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HSCS-004 – Give your customers what they really want (Pt4, Run your business like Gordon Ramsay)

Do you honestly know what your customers and prospects really want? In this episode we discuss a reality check for business success. Ask yourself some hard questions. Plus, checkout some free/inexpensive tools to help you find out what you need to know.

Topic #1 – Find a need, fill a need

Angry pirate - click to view source creditDo you honestly know what your customers and prospects really want? Perhaps your stubborn attitude is the reason why your sales are down.

Are they really happy? Ever survey them?

  • Use customer comment cards? (How was the experience? Would they recommend you?)
  • Go out on the streets and literally ask people in the neighborhood what they think? (Ever heard of you? How do you compare to the competition?)
  • Put a sample in their hand to see reactions.
  • Ask them to complete an online survey (or paper survey if necessary).
  • Invite them to your office for lunch.
  • Invite them to participate in an advisory board.

Be prepared for honest criticisms:

  • Functional (Overly complex? Too simplistic? Opportunities for improvement.)
  • Aesthetic (Butt ugly?)
  • Cost (Overpriced? Underpriced?)
  • Value / ROI (As compared to competition. Both factual and perceived.)
  • Quality (Have standards been slipping?)
  • Service (Too little? Too much?)
  • Lack of support

What are the right questions to ask? Well that’s a topic for another time. Just don’t overwhelm your customers. Ask straightforward, meaningful questions.

Topic #2 – Tools to find out what your customers really want

ChasingSome of my marketing research colleagues might be gagging on the simplicity of these suggestions. But reality is, most small+mid-size businesses cannot afford formal methodology based research. They need directional info quickly and cheaply.

Free polling software:

If you are already using an email marketing service, some have built-in survey applications:

Having difficulty with fielding customer support inquiries. Checkout popular paid services like:

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HSCS-003 – Make the most of your location (Pt3, Run your business like Gordon Ramsay)

Have a great location but little business? In this episode we discuss how to evaluate and create opportunity. We also look at some great resources to network with other business owners and professionals.

Topic #1 – Make the most of your location

CoachAre you maximizing your location? Take a long, hard look at yourself. (These examples are restaurant based, but can be applied to any retail establishment.)

  • If you’re by the sea, you better be selling fresh fish, not reheated, frozen, imported product.
  • Find local, sustainable sources for your menu.
  • Get to know your merchants (e.g. be familiar, get frequent buyer discounts and choice selections).
  • Be known for something special (i.e. best local cheap lunch, best shrimp cocktail, freshest seafood).
  • Are you taking advantage of foot traffic?
  • Perhaps your overpriced for lunchtime crowd.

This is part 3 of my series: Run your business like Gordon Ramsay. We’ll break down key observations on how to turn a failing business into a success. Chef Gordon Ramsay has successfully launched several restaurants and in his popular show, Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, BBC America), he helps failing business owners identify their weaknesses and implement significant positive change in the way their business is operated. Love him or hate him, his keen business skills and insistence on high standards have made him a success.

Topic #2 – Finding business connections close to home

ChasingJoin your local chamber of commerce or business partnership. Membership gets you access to:

  • Like minded professionals.
  • Potential business resources.
  • Potential customers.
  • Involvement in community and philanthropic activities.
  • Free or discounted access to networking events, training/educational sessions

Use a resource like Meetup.com to find local small groups that get together to discuss topics of interest to you. Benefits:

  • Find like-minded individuals.
  • Search by geographic radius for gatherings in your area.
  • Business topics, networking, social.
  • Join a group.
  • Start your own.
  • Your profile will work on your behalf. Link to your business, etc.
  • Your profile will likely show up high in natural search results.
  • It’s free!

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HSCS-002 – Set the tone (Pt2, Run your business like Gordon Ramsay)

Are you a wise guy? A wimp? Do you hide from your customers? Are you socially awkward and make those around you uncomfortable? Do you hide from confrontation? Do our employees have any respect for you? Do they outright steal from you? Can you make your own decisions or do you seek approval from those around you? Do you give a damn?

Listen to this podcast:

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Topic #1 – Be a leader and set the tone

CoachPart 2 of my series: Run your business like Gordon Ramsay. We’ll break down key observations on how to turn a failing business into a success. Chef Gordon Ramsay has successfully launched several restaurants and in his popular show, Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, BBC America), he helps failing business owners identify their weaknesses and implement significant positive change in the way their business is operated. Love him or hate him, his keen business skills and insistence on high standards have made him a success.

Remember when Anthony Edwards left the show ER? He passed the metaphorical basketball to Noah Wiley and told him “Set the tone.”

As the owner and leader you must set the tone. Enforce the rules. Be a boss. Yell if you have to. Don’t let your employee bully you. Send someone home if they don’t respond or respect you. Don’t be afraid to get rid of incompetent or disruptive workers.

Executive Chef, Head Chef, Vice President, Director, Manager…. Titles mean nothing if you don’t bring anything useful to the table.

It’s your money. They’re out of a job if they can’t step up and commit.

Got issues, work them out. Seek help. Get out of business. Do what ever it takes, just don’t cripple yourself and those around you.

If the lead chef can’t lead, it’s time to find another chef.

Topic #2 – An online tool you absolutely must start using today

CoachI want to talk to you about Linkedin.com. If you have a profile already, great, I’ll tell you what you need to do next to fully benefit from it. If you don’t have a profile on Linkedin, go right now and do it.

Here’s how you’ll directly benefit:

  • Get found online.
  • Publish your resume online – Present your background as you want it to be known.
  • Demonstrate your subject matter expertise.
  • Find former colleagues and reconnect with them. Email addresses change, but you should always be able to keep connected through Linkedin.
  • Don’t worry about the number of friends you have. You should focus on quality of your connections, not the quantity.
  • Every person I’m connected with:
    • I’ve met in person.
    • Had a face-to-face conversation with.
    • I believe I may have an opportunity to do business with in the future.
    • Get and give recommendations.
  • There’s a great Q&A section on all sorts of topics. Answer questions to help out fellow professionals and demonstrate your expertise.
  • Poll your contacts for opinions on ideas you have.
  • Search for people you know who might be able to introduce you to someone you want to meet.
  • You rank high in the natural search results when someone searches on your name.

If your attitude is: “But I have a Facebook (or MySpace) page.” Well, that’s great. Glad you’re out there. But truthfully, do you want prospective customers and employers looking at your family photos? Or do you want them to see what you want to be best known for professionally?

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HSCS-001 – Run your business like Gordon Ramsay, Part1

In this audio podcast series, we break down key observations on how to turn a failing business into a success.

Shut Up and Listen

Carving knifeChef Gordon Ramsay has successfully launched several restaurants and in his popular show, Kitchen Nightmares (Fox, BBC America), he helps failing business owners identify their weaknesses and implement significant positive change in the way their business is operated. Love him or hate him, his keen business skills and desire for high standards have made him a success.

Turnaround can be painful, but it is possible. It requires significant commitment, time, resources, money, and the willingness to accept criticism and change the way you work/behave.

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