Marketing solves all your business problems

Is that a statement or a question? After spending many years working on the marketing side of business, I have always believed that great businesses have great marketing plans. In late September of this year, I got a job with a Marketing/Business Development firm, and I learned that marketing is only effective when the business of the business is effective. Now in case you did not understand that, don’t worry. I didn’t understand it either at first. Please keep in mind that I spent years working in various areas of marketing. Even when I owned a business, my business plan revolved around my marketing plan. As it turns out, that S.W.O.T plan is great for research, but it won’t put any money in the bank.

Marketing does not put money in the bank! Yes, you read that correctly, marketing does not put money in the bank. Please, don’t start writing those nasty e-mails or comments. Instead, let me explain. Marketing increases sales, revenue, production, supply and market share . Marketing also produces competition. This is where marketing begins to cripple the bottom line. To stay relevant with competition, most companies begin getting competitive with the pricing of the product or service. As consumers, we are conditioned to shop for the best price (unless of course it’s an Apple product one is looking for.) So it’s only natural for successful companies to begin reducing prices. The larger the company grows, the less control an owner will have. This is where costs of materials, shipping and marketing begin to unknowingly increase; even when the costs seem like they are going down; this is because they compare old cost per item, versus new cost per item, but they don’t compare it to the profitability per item. So, while the marketing efforts keep growing the sales and growing the company, it does not necessarily do anything to bring more money into the bank.

The business of the business: The concept is not new to me, but the overall theory is. For example, as a manager, I like knowing how much each one of my employees is worth and how profitable they are. However, I never considered the profitability of the tools they use. I never considered how profitable each square inch of my shop is, or how profitable every dollar spent in the cost of doing business is worth. In addition, I never considered that I could shop for a better tax rate. Each one of these things is actually the business of the business. So while the gross profit of a business is the cost of an item versus how much it is sold for, the bottom line includes the cost of doing business and taxes. While an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) approach would consider some of these items, taxes is not one of them.

Do not turn away from marketing: Just to be clear, I am not recommending that any company do away with their marketing plan. What I am saying, is that marketing can help your company grow, marketing can bring your company success, but it can also bring competition. IMC focuses on quality of products and customer satisfaction. IMC is great  for growing. But what happens when the company is too big for one owner to handle? Growing more won’t solve that problem. So I say, embrace your marketing plan, embrace your CPA, but furthermore look into a business development firm that will embrace the business owner’s dream. By looking at the business of the business along with a marketing plan and CPA, success becomes more attainable, but more than that, happiness and satisfaction becomes a reality for a stressed business owner.

 

If you would like more information about the business of the business, please contact through Twitter or my cell: 951-339-0809

Thank You.

So is it business development, marketing or consulting?

What do you mean business development? That is the question I always get when I tell people it’s what I do for a living. Business development is best described by Scott Pollack on Forbes as, “…the creation of long-term value for an organization from customers, markets, and relationships.”  However, I would never use that definition to describe it. Not that I find that definition to be incorrect or anything, but rather I find it to be a bit too complex. To keep it simple I just tell people that I help build businesses. Realistically that’s what I do, by building a business and all that is involved with in a business, I am creating long term value for the organization. To further expand on all that I do, I also cover marketing, recruiting and consulting; business consulting to be more precise, which is also knows as business development (depending on the source for the definition). I hope you can see the loop that has been created by expanding; this kind of takes me back to square one where I just say business development. If you want it broken down a little better here it goes:

  • Business Development: building relationships, customers and markets.
  • Marketing: Integrated Marketing Communication(IMC) approach to reach desired customers in desired markets.
  • Recruiting: hiring well qualified people to effectively play a key role within IMC.
  • Consulting: All of the above hired by an outside company for a period of time.

I have had conversations with other professionals within the industries and some have disagreed with the way I define my business. I understand the objections when each item above is broken down into technical terms, because their definitions without specifics can be very vague. However I believe that at the end of the day it covers building a business. That’s why I prefer to say I help build businesses for a living. Now, if only there was a word to define that.

If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me 951.707.8474 and remember I am simply here to serve.

Thank You.

 

 

Sources: Forbes website; http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottpollack/2012/03/21/what-exactly-is-business-development/

Managing young people

I have dealt with a few managers who are quick to judge when it comes to their employees. I hear it all the time, “I want to get rid of this employee.” Every time a manger tells me they want to get rid of somebody, I always want to know why. While there are many reasons for why they want to get rid of somebody, I feel that managers just don’t want to put the work into a troublesome employee. I got a call today from a young man who I trained into management. He was upset because one of his employees was met by the managers District Manager and the employee was out of dress code, disrespectful, and violating company policies. He wanted to know what he should do. I chuckled a little because I could remember a time when this manager was guilty of doing the same thing before being a manger. This was only a year ago when he was going through the same type of situations. He let me know that he wanted to get rid of the employee and of course, I asked him, “why?” He let me know that the employee had been being disrespectful and had not really been doing well. I asked him, “What do you think I would do in this situation?” I said to him, “you have been letting him do this for the last four weeks for twenty five hours a week. You know I would not let you get away with this. As a matter of fact I did not let you get away with any of that.” One time while he was under my supervision, he decided to be out of dress code while at work, I let him know that if I caught him out of dress code again, I would send him home and reduce his schedule until he could learn how to be at work in proper dress code. So one day before the end of a business day I showed up to check up on them and this young man was once again out of dress code. Nothing too severe, he was just not wearing his name badge. But he was out of dress code. So I sent him home and reduced his schedule just like I said I would. He was never out of dress code again. Through several conversation he finally straightened up. He saw the effects of the things I passed onto him not only at work, but also in his personal life. So when he called me for advice, I told him, “You were just like that, do you remember? Your manager and his manager wanted to fire you, do you remember that?” I advised him to have a conversation with his employee and be firm but understanding. 

Many times managers see an employee’s bad attitude or lack of work ethic as the cause of problems. The reality is that the attitude and work ethic is the effect of the employees personal life. As manager many times one does not want to get involved with their employees personal issues. But if they are not too severe where professional help is needed, then getting involved is exactly what is needed to effectively handle these issues. For example, I had a manager tell me last week that one of their employees which he recruited was not doing so well. He had only had her there for a couple of months and already want to get rid of her. The position she has is a sales associate. She is very personable and not shy or afraid to ask for the sale. The problem is that she tends to lack knowledge and is always looking to have the answers handed to her with out any effort. I see this as a problem passed down from the relationship between her and her parents. They are all nice people but when they interact with each other, her parents treat her like she is five years old and she accepts it. As a manager to have an effective employee, sometimes it is necessary to touch on these points. It is important to let her know that she is an adult, because she is, and need to learn how to find answers through sources that are readily available through company training and through the all mighty power of the internet. It is important to establish when it is acceptable to ask questions, but to push for an independent approach. 

Dealing with young people is not easy. But, if one digs into their managerial bag of tricks, they can find a way to develop a well rounded employee who is thoughtful and independent. Each situation requires a full understanding of the situation and the solution is not always straight forward, but I believe that always with out exception, there is an exception. So as a problem solver by lining up the right questions and techniques, one can get to the bottom of managing young people.

If you have any question, please feel free to reach out to me. 951-707-8474. And remember I am here to serve, so don’t be afraid to reach out.

In every decision somebody has to lose.

As I stated last month, I have a whole series of leadership training which I have personally lived by and passed on to those whom I have trained into management. This post is about making decisions. I have met many managers that have a very childish and selfish sense of their position as a leader. They believe that because they are in charge, they should get to do whatever they want. But the truth is that as the leader they have a responsibility to those that work under their leadership. Through this responsibility, they must understand that their decisions can help them build a great staff that depend on their leadership and decisions, or an unhappy staff that loathe their selfish decisions. While a managers job is not necessarily to make everybody happy, it is to keep moral high to get the best productivity out of their staff. So for this, I have written the following:  

Sometimes it’s hard to make decisions especially when they are tough ones. However the level of difficulty is a sense of perception. And this perception changes with attitude and experience. Many times when a decision needs to be made, it may affect you or another person in a negative way. If somebody is below your leadership and the decision you make will either affect you or your employee negatively, make sure you take the pressure off of them and let it affect you. Besides, you are the leader, they should not have to be negatively impacted because of your choices. This sometimes comes down to small choices such as, “Both my employee and I want to take the same day off but I need somebody to be here at work that day.” In my opinion, this is a no brainer, let your employee have the day off, besides it’s not them that committed to the full responsibility of your job, they have only committed to their job, with the expectation that they can still have a personal life. However in the same instance if you have an employee who is seeking to move ahead within the company and they are under your leadership, then it is ok to have them work the day they were hoping to have off. This would serve as an example of what is expected of them when they actually move up within the company or maybe take a higher position at another company. 

If you have a situation that you need help making a decision with, feel free to reach out. I am always available and I am here to serve. 951.707.8474

What to expect when you’re inspecting:

Almost didn’t get a post out for March. That’s no bueno. I have just been working so much that I had not yet had time to post something. But out of all that work, while I had many things to face, this was something I presented to a Manager who is having trouble doing his job not understanding how to get the results he desires from his employees. I have carried this concept with me for about 10 years and I actually wrote this a while back and I felt that this was very well suited for this manager. The following is only an excerpt from the topics I have written about I think I will soon start posting other parts to this later, but for now this will do. So if you are also a manager that struggles with getting the desired result from your staff read this:

 

Many times you will have expectation of what you want and many times you know how you would do it. But how can you have the same expectation for others that don’t believe what you believe. All you can do is influence them. The expectation of something is nothing less than the result you desire. For example when you assign a task to an employee and then they don’t do it, you can’t just discipline the employee for not doing the task. First you have to find out why they didn’t do it. If it’s because they ran out of time, analyze their day by asking them what they did at work and for how long. If you can identify the area that you believe could have been more productive, then let them know where they could have saved time to have gotten the task done. If the task was done poorly, find out why. If you find out again that they just didn’t have the time to do it right, go over their day and identify the area that would have allowed them to do it properly. If they didn’t do the task or do it right because they had the time but just didn’t know how. Make sure you go over it with them, even if you have to be next to them as they complete it to make sure it’s to your standards. This way next time when you ask for a similar task to get done, it will be done right and to your expectations. If however they didn’t do the task or did it poorly because they just didn’t care, then give them a reason to care. Not everybody has a sense of responsibility and for those that don’t, you have to make sure that they are doing their job properly by you doing your job properly. Many times those that don’t care don’t care because they see that you only care enough to get by, but not necessarily enough to wholly do your job. This kind of employee feels that their amount of responsibility is very little, so they will do less than their job requires because they feel that if they were to meet what you believe their level of responsibility is, then they would be over reaching and entering an area which is, “not [their] job.” This is very common when the employee is young and doesn’t have much personal responsibility in their everyday life. I have known many Managers to have had this experience, myself included, so how do you deal with this? Most managers’ first instinct, especially when the employee is inherited, is to fire them. But this is the kind of employee that needs the most help. Spend time with them and let them know that they are a valuable part of your team. Besides, you’re only as strong as your weakest link. So make that weak link one of your strongest. You must inspect everything they do from showing up in proper dress code to showing up on time, making sure they did their job and making sure they are getting along with their co-workers. Once you have the basics down and they realize that they can do their job just as good as most other employees, then you can start focusing on their improvement over par. So once you have done this, then you can expect your employees to be up to your standards. But more than expecting, it takes inspecting.

 

Through this philosophy I have been able to create exemplary employees out of those that other managers had given up on. Through the years I have tossed responsibility and belief towards the employees that nobody wanted to have work for them. In my experience most employees just want a manager that can be understanding and who believes in them. They want a manager who will stand up for them and be honest with them. This is what I bring to the table and through the years it has created a culture, within the industries and companies where I have worked, of harmony and a need to excel and be the best.

As always if there is anything I can do for you do not be afraid to get in contact with me. And remember I am simply here to serve. 951-707-8474 

Minimum Wage

I heard somebody say the other day, “You cant live off of minimum wage.” The first thing that came to my mind was,”If you worked for yourself the way you do your minimum wage job, you would go out of business.”  Everybody is always waiting for the next best thing as if it were around the corner. The truth is, the next best thing is right in front of you, you just have to reach out and grab it. “They don’t pay me enough to do this!” In my opinion, you are overpaid. But, I hear this all the time. When I ask people why they weren’t doing their job? They almost always tell me the same thing:

 a. “They don’t pay me enough to do that.”

b. “I’m just tired of being here.”

My reply is usually the same, “So let me ask you, are you looking for a new job?” Most of the time it’s, “I applied at [company name].” So then I ask them why they applied there. They give me their reasons with the expectation always being that if they get this new job, then they will do a better job there then they are doing at their current job. Well my friend, let me tell you, the grass is always greener on the other side. So I ask them, “So what makes you think that you will do better over there?” They usually tell me that the scheduling over there works better for them and that there is more money over there. So then here is where I get tough and it usually goes something like this,”Are you number one in your [respective area].” The reply is always, “No.” So then I tell them, “Look, if I were looking to hire somebody and you applied, I would ask you the same question. And if you are not number one in your company why would I want you in my company? You see, if you are going to look for a job elsewhere, do it because you are number one in your [respective area], because you have outgrown your position and there is nothing left for you here. Because if you leave right now, I can tell you that whatever you are not doing here, you are going to continue not doing that at your new job.” 

So if you want to prove that over there is better for you, start today. You want whats around the corner? Grab what’s right in front of you first. And if you are not sure how well you are doing at work, just ask yourself this question, “If you worked that way for yourself, would you go out of business?” And be honest with yourself. If the answer is “yes.”  Besides, at the end of the day whatever your answer is, it does not affect me any. I just hope that I can help you when you need it. 

So if you have any question, need some coaching or help with a business, feel free to get in contact with me: 951-707-8474. And remember, I am just here to serve. 

Up All Night

Who would have thought that not being able to sleep could make money….well it takes a lil more that not sleeping, like working, but it all started when I was about 19. I worked day and night for the most part and occasionally I would have some nights off. It was at around this time that I had taken an interest in computer hardware. Determined, I wanted to build a computer. So one night I was up all night and I learned all I could for one night about computer hardware. The next night I built a computer. Yep just like that. I was so happy I decided to build a few more. Now I had all these computers I built(about 6) now what? Well I decided to start selling them. Then I built a few more and sold those too. What was funny about this is that I was still paying off that HP I had bought from best buy the year before. I did this for about a year I was just building them for fun and because I could not sleep. At some point I ended up just giving a few away just because I wanted to build them. Then I had school and work and all this stuff taking up my time so I had to stop building computers. A year later or so again I couldn’t sleep so I got licensed to sell insurance and securities and did that for a while. Then work caught up with me again so I got back to that. Then it was web design I did that one for about 4 years(so far) then it was driving a taxi then I started a taxi company. One night I decided to make my company official and I setup my marketing company as an actual company instead of me just freelancing. So pretty much in the last almost decade I have made a career of staying up all night. And yes through all this I have also had a day job, sometimes I would make my side ventures full time jobs but unfortunately I have to have several outlets to be able to be fulfilled with what I do. for the last almost 3 years I have had an early AM job which starts at 4AM so my days begin at 3AM and then I have a day job, I then fit in my freelancing in between. I am hoping that this year I can focus on just one job, we’ll see how that goes. As always I’m always available if you need me and I am always just here to serve.

How to Motivate an Unmotivated Employee.

I was thinking about this as I was watching the new season of the Biggest Loser. Normally, I am not a big fan of Jillian Michaels and I was a bit disappointed to see her back on the show. But oh my goodness, I love how she has been this season so far. She has been very tough on the competitors and unfortunately they have not been able to keep up. Whats funny is that as I was watching the show with my wife, she looks at me and says, “that reminds me of you.” Now what really bothered me about the first two episodes where she lost 3 competitors was that she never got around to the point where she would try and have the competitors understand that they had an opportunity of a life time and that if they could just conquer something small, then they can conquer anything.

And this is where my thoughts about unmotivated employees comes in. In my experience what it all really comes down to is the big question, “why are you here?” In addition a lot of the employees I have inherited always tell me how there has been a big lack of communication between them and their superior. And again, it comes back to the question, “why are you here?” What a lot of managers don’t realize when they inherit employees is that each one of their employees is different and they all have different needs. As silly as that is to say, that’s what I have come to find out.

There was once an electronics retailer I was working for, a manager from another store of the same chain, said to me, “I need to get rid of somebody.” It was all due to performance, unfortunately his employees just were not up to par at the moment, so I asked him to send me his bottom performer. At this point I didn’t really know that manager that well but I was willing to work with somebody to help them be successful in their job. So a few days later the store gets a new employee, he was a transfer from another store and he was 1 of the worst performing employees, out of about 100 he was about 98th. The first thing I asked him is, “Do you know why you are here?” he said to me. “No, I was just told to come here today.” I told him something along the line of, “It was either fire you, or send you over here.”  Followed by the big question, “Did you know that?” his answer was, “No.” One of the things I have always tried to be is honest and direct with employees. It was not until then that this employee realized how serious the situation was. His job was based on his sales performance, how much he could sell per customer and how well he could add on warranties and accessories. I began by introducing myself and let him know about myself and what kind of job and management experience I have. Then we talked for a bit about him and I asked him about his previous job experience, education and life experience. And then I asked him how all that translates into his job. At the end of it all I asked the magical question, “Why are you here?” Two weeks later when the new employee rankings came out this employee was suddenly in the top 20. So I decided to share the good news with him and again I asked him the question, “Why are you here?” He was excited about the good news and understood that he could conquer something. Two months later when the new employee rankings came out he was still in the top 20(12th I believe). I shared the good news with him again and again we had another conversation almost like the first but went further into detail as I once again asked him the question, “Why are you here?” After understanding the hard work he had put into his job and seeing the results in a consistent pattern he saw the bigger picture about who he was and why he was there.

In the same store there was this other kid. He was a forced transfer. The manager for this store got a call to let him know he was getting a new employee which was transferring in    from who knows where. He was a good kid, smart, about 22 years old, extremely capable with lots of potential. But there was one problem, he felt that because he was young he didn’t need to be responsible. Through the many chats we had in about a 3 month course he finally came to understand what I was trying to teach him. In these chats I would always ask the question, “Why are you here?” through out this time he would fight me in telling me that he was doing his job and that nobody was better than him at his job. Now I believe very firmly that for somebody to tell you what to do, they need to be able to do it too and do it better than you. This is where my sales skills come into play. I would show him how he would miss out on sales because he was too busy not wanting to help the customer. He would attempt to talk to customers who were “just looking” and when I would tell him to follow up he would tell me he already had. So I would talk to the customers and time after time the customer would walk out spending a few hundred dollars. I would use these instances to show this employee that he was not the best because I could do his job better than him. Through the many conversations I had with him I made it very clear that he had an opportunity of a lifetime just like those contestants of The Biggest Loser show and he was about to throw that away.

Whats incredible about the top 2 stories is that they were both happening at around the same time. And to top it off there was a third employee he also came from another store as a bottom performer. I had the usual ,”Why are you here?” chat with him.

Now I had to put in a lot of work with the manager of this store too while all this was going on. I also had the ,”Why are you here?” chat with him. In the end what it all came down to was answering the question, “Why are you here?” Each one of the above individuals had different reasons and aspirations. And the answer to the question changed as their understanding of what their job was matured.

I always ask the question and at through the chats and with time I enable people to understand the question and I help them answer it. Whatever the answer is I always bring it back to something like this(of course the actual conversation depends on what the actual answers are to the questions):

“So why are you here? I want you to understand that if you are just here because you have nothing better to do, I don’t need you here. If you are here because you just want to collect a paycheck, I will cut down your schedule to the bare minimum. I want you to understand that I can find somebody who can do your job better than you and for a better price. So what is it that you want? If you are in school, what is your major?  If you are using this place as a stepping stone for your future, why not be the best here? If you can be successful here you can carry your experience and your success onto what your really want to do. If you want to grow in this company and move up, why would somebody want to promote you if you are not the best?  If you can be the best here then you should be able to carry that over onto your school work. There is no reason why should have anything less than an ‘A’ in any of your classes. If you are looking for a better job, then do your best here so that you can also do your best at your next job. Whether it’s here or any where else, I just want you to be successful. At the end of the day, it doesn’t affect me any if you try or not. It only affects you. I spend this time here with you because I want you to understand that once you over come something, there is nothing that can interfere in what you want to do.”

In the end, the answer to , “Why are you here?” should only be, “To be the best.” Realistically, why would you want to be anything less than your best? If you have kids don’t your kids deserve to have the best mom or dad? doesn’t your significant other deserve to have the best partner? Don’t your parents deserve to have the best kids?

One of the biggest reasons for not wanting to be the best is fear- fear of failing. If you fail at your best there is no shame to be had. If your going to fail, fail because you did your best and not because you sold yourself short.

As for the 3 employees and the manager of this electronics store, they are second best in their respective district, coming in second to a store whose manager also reached out to me at about the same time and was ready to give up at the job.

None of this is to toot my own horn. At the end of the day the work of each individual is their own pride. I am just proud of them when they realized that there is nothing in this earth that they can’t do. And how you see your job can translate into your personal life. The first employee being a heavy man decided he could stick to a diet to lose some weight, he had tried several times before he told me but it had not worked he just couldn’t stick to it. The difference this time was that he saw what consistent hard work did, it made him happy made his pockets fuller and allowed him to lose so far 36lbs.  The second employee understood why I would push him so hard to understand that good enough is not good enough. He went from failing some of his classes and barely passing others to focusing on school and be studious so that he could be the best that he could be in his education. And the third employee, he is now looking to start up his own shop within the passions of his life and has asked me to help him build it.

As always I am always willing to help. And If you are somebody who has a company that needs some help get in touch with me, I am here to serve.

A Huge Meal and Some Frank Ocean

The day began yesterday at about 3 p.m I did my usual Thursday rounds: some visiting some errands (keep in mind I’m technically not supposed to be working – Drs Orders) and then My wife and I while we were in town decided to get something to eat. So we go eat at a Mexican restaurant. We always start with the Guacamole appetizer and our son which is 2 and a half years old starts with the chips and salsa. After eating up most of the chips and guacamole we finally order. Our daughter which is just 6 months old was getting all of my wife’s attention because she was hungry. So my wife fed her one of those baby food in a pouch things which by the way are very convenient because it’s a pouch of food that has a screw on lid. So she screws off the lid and attaches a spoon which attaches right to the end of the pouch. So after the baby ate then my wife decided to look at the menu… It’s incredible she can watch both kids make dinner and do chores all at once but she couldn’t feed the baby and look at the menu. Anyways so she finally decided on what she would eat. After only eating about half of it she asks for a box and we get ready to go. She make a comment about being stuffed and then goes on to add that some stone cold would be nice. So on the way home I took a detour and get some ice cream, since it was a nice 40^F degrees outside. Being stuffed as we were I decided we should go to the local Best Buy to walk off the huge meal. While there we walked around for about an hour and joked about some of the products and just had a good time. I saw a CD I wanted there, it was the new Frank Ocean album, Channel Orange. The first time I heard one of his songs I laughed and thought it was ridiculous, so I made some comment about how I hate Pandora sometimes and I hit next on my phone. It was his song “Thinking Bout You.” A few days later I was humming this song. I normally listen to Pandora just about everyday at least 4 hours at the beginning of my day while at work. So slowly this song had creeped up into my playlist. 

Image

Then I heard another Frank Ocean song and then another. Next thing I know I’ve heard most of his album and I liked it. What really did it for me was his song Pyramids how half way through the song it changes up completely and almost sounds like it’s a different song. 

The first few times I heard this song I actually thought it was two different songs until one day while I had Pandora playing on my computer while I did some work I looked and noticed it was just one song. So while I was at the store I couldn’t decide if I really wanted to spend 

money on a hard copy, when I could just get it on Itunes. Since my car doesn’t have a way for my to play music from my phone on it I decided to get the CD. In any case I recommend it. It’s a pretty good album.

 

Dr’s Orders

So as I stated before I started 2013 stuck at home… or rather not at work. I have already been home for about a month and still have another 15 days to go. What this has allowed me to do is make the time to renew my real estate license. No I don’t necessarily work in the industry, but I do need it when I work with real estate companies. 2012 was actually a success in my marketing and consulting services. I think in the next couple of week I will come up with a plan to implement my management consulting services. For whatever reason I am having trouble finding a way to market it. I guess its time to pull out the old legal pad and start just jotting down my ideas. Its kind of exciting, starting a new venture. Last year one of the services I added in what I do was wireless communication services and that went pretty well. Well this was more of me just putting my thoughts out there. For those who follow thank you and if you have any questions for me, I’m always willing to help.