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Increasing your margin and moving pianos

Increasing your margin and moving pianos

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #10 Understand why customers value your products and services as well as your competitors’ products and services, and what drives their choice. When she answered she was pleasant, helpful and engaging. I needed a good quality mover that could protect my sleek black grand piano from harm as I moved from one home to a new one. She was a good sales person for Company A and was selling their standard moving services. For me, I wanted more than moving services, I ...

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For product success, make what people want

For product success, make what people want

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #9 Develop only products and services that are high priorities for current and future customers. There are a lot of candidates for the worst product launch in American history. Rejection of the heavily promoted but underwhelming Edsel in 1957 made the name of the car synonymous with failure. New Coke broke the “do no harm to my brand” rule and was turned away in 1985. Many others rival these product busts (see our post 25 Big American Product Flops). But leave...

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Re-inventing the mission statement.

Re-inventing the mission statement.

[Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #8: Have a mission statement that is easy to understand with clear benefits for employees, customers and vendors.] It’s time to re-invent the mission statement. A mission statement clarifies purpose. It describes what an organization does, defines the core activity and sets the boundaries for the output of the work. It brings clarity to how you organize and do your work. But in our work with over a hundred organizations of all types and sizes, too often a mis...

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Do You See a Trend?

Do You See a Trend?

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth:  # 7  Have a process to identify industry trends that will impact a customer’s opinion of you.  Wayne Gretzky was the greatest ice hockey player of all time not only because of his physical skills, but because he consistently saw where the play was going, where he needed to be a few seconds into the future.  And he saw that faster and clearer than anyone else. Gretzky said:  “I couldn’t beat people with my strength; I don’t have a hard shot; I’m not the quick...

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An Earful of Change

An Earful of Change

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth:  #6  When you talk with your customer, listen carefully, capturing their comments and any information that helps you understand their buying habits and unmet needs.   “WHY won’t you JUST LISTEN TO ME!” she said in a tense, high pitched voice. And with that outburst from the famous Patient F in 1965, psychologist Heinz Kohut opened the vault of change management. Kohut, along with his colleague Henri Maslow, was on a quest to identify the hot buttons for c...

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Making the best of customer touchpoints

Making the best of customer touchpoints

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: # 5   Have a fully coordinated, customer sales approach, drawing a customer into an engaging relationship at every point of contact.  One of my beautiful daughters had a modeling gig for Lands’ End recently that put her in the popular catalog and on the company’s website. As a proud father, I searched out the Lands’ End webpage, found her picture and clicked to look at the various shots. I moved on to other web pages, including Facebook, where I was greeted b...

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Why selling your products is a bad idea

Why selling your products is a bad idea

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth:  #4  Have a clear understanding of how each of your products and services relate to the other and to the company as a whole.” I watched as my 10 year-old son dug around in a bin of hundreds of small and odd shaped little pieces. He turned a red plastic block in his hand - shiny, triangular, smaller than his fingernail. It was a cool shape. He studied it and quickly placed it on the growing geometry of blocks. He pulled out another piece, imagined it, then pus...

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Listen (to the voice of your customers)

Listen (to the voice of your customers)

Valcort 35 Keys to Business Growth: #3 Clearly understand your customers’ unmet needs, their frustrations, and what they look for in products and services like yours. Last year, when we talked to the senior leaders of a manufacturing firm with a large footprint in a niche market, we sensed concern, even a little despair. The brands they were selling to businesses were well known and recognized as quality products.  But customers were pressing them on price and turning to competitors, often with ...

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What People Believe Matters

What People Believe Matters

Valcort 35 Keys to Growth: #2 Know what customers, distributors, shareholders, vendors and employees believe about your company.  Let’s face it. You act on what you believe to be true. Last week I decided to purchase a watch as a birthday gift for my wife. As I was thinking about where to purchase it, my mind ran through a mental list of potential stores. My perceptions, my beliefs, about each of these retailers, influenced my decision about where I should to go to find the perfect gift. My beli...

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The Importance of a Vision Statement

The Importance of a Vision Statement

#1. Have a motivating and achievable vision statement that drives critical business decisions. In one of the best-known passages from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat-- "Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?" "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat. "I don't much care where---" said Alice. "Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat. "---So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an...

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