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HSCS-006 – Controlling Chaos

Are you offering your customers too many choices? The effort to please a few may damage your relationship with the majority you do business with. Simplify your offerings, to reduce chaos and ultimately become more profitable. Plus, Lucile in the U.K. asks how to make business contacts in new markets.

Controlling Chaos

Chaos by Amanda Roya Modesta-KeyhaniDon’t make everything and specialize in nothing. Cut down the menu. It’s a classic K.I.S.S. strategy (Keep It Simple Stupid).

Reduce your core offerings. That can help cut down ordering time. Thereby reduces chances of mistakes.

An abundance of information can result in a scarcity of attention. In a retail setting, offering too much not only adds confusion for customer, it can cause chaos in the kitchen. It may also be less profitable. Do you find that you are giving too much away for free? (Comping) Perhaps if you solve another problem, their would be less waste, unhappy customers and hence the need to compensate.

Get rid of clumsy mechanisms and processes. Clear out the clutter. Get rid of things/people/vendors that prevent you from running your business properly. If something doesn’t work, vent out alternatives. Don’t just keep doing business as usual if it makes you angry.

Simplify everything and do it well. Keep it simple. Control the chaos.

Listener question: How to make business contacts in new markets?

Lucile from Grain Media in London, U.K. asked a great question. Grain Media produces a diverse range of programming from ethically minded documentaries and action sports films/series through to promos and music videos.

“Now we would like to expand and find places where we can pitch ideas or where we can get commissioned to make mobile content, more web content, advertising, etc… Would you have any ideas of ways I should go to be on pitching lists and make us known more around the industry?”

My thoughts…

  • Post the question on Q&A boards for professionals, such as:
  • Contact the PR and marketing departments at various wireless/mobile carriers. Find out the process for pitching your capabilities to produce media content.
  • Know anyone in Hollywood? (A screenwriter, grip, PA, foley artist, etc.) Check your Linkedin and Facebook contacts if anyone might be able to introduce you to someone or point you in the right direction.
  • Find the industry/professional online boards for your specialty and be active contributing in those social networks. You never know how you might make a strategic alliance just from being an active participant and demonstrating your subject matter expertise.

Thanks for listening/reading!

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HSCS-005 – Find a need, fill a need (Pt5, Run your business like Gordon Ramsay)

Last episode we talked about how to discover what your customers really want. Now we’ll talk about transformational change. Plus, I’ll share my recent experience providing feedback as part of a customer advisory panel. Finally, I have a few more online resources to discover networking events near you.

Topic #1 – Give your customers what they really want

Build a babyDuring the last episode (#4), we discussed how to find out what the customers really want.

What will the market bear?
Are you charging too much?
Are you charging too little?

Once you have that directional knowledge, you have to take those learnings and fill a need.

I love the quote in the kids movie “Robots”: “Find a need. Fill a need.”

If there isn’t a good hamburger for miles, be known for serving the best one.

If the locals are all young bohemians, serve cheap good food that they can afford.

If the local butcher says thick steak is his number one best seller, and there are no steak houses in town, perhaps you should transform into a steak house.

“Find a need. Fill a need.”

Topic #2 – Learning what your customers want (continued)

ChasingI was asked to join an advisory panel for a service I subscribe to. In this case it’s regarding a mobile site for a service I use.

Survey was simple. It let me comment on specific screens/functionality. Gave me an open ended response field to type in a verbatim response — as opposed to closed ended questions where I can only choose from the answers provided. They even displayed screen shots of the mobile website as a reminder of the interface. (very smart)

It gave me a sounding board to provide three points of critical feedback about the user experience. But they might have lost out on my valuable input due to a stupid mistake on their part. The survey invitation email subject line simply said “WAP Survey”

Very careless. “WAP” is a meaningless term to most people. Speak to me in English, not acronyms. They’re lucky that I’ve worked in mobile marketing and know what it means. Otherwise I would’ve deleted the email without opening it.

Topic #3 – More useful online resources to find events in your area

During episode #3, we talk about how to use Meetup.com to find networking events close to home. Here are two more:

Learned about them listening to CC Chapman’s excellent podcast on new media.

Personally, I got better search results on Meetup.com. But you might have better luck depending on where you live.
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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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