Business is about relationships - an apology

Business is about relationships - an apology

Memo To All BizTrekers

We may owe you an apology! We may have neglected you - and forgotten a vital business principle.

Here's what's going on. In a world that feels increasingly disconnected, each of us must remember that business is ultimately about relationships. As BizTrek has grown from a local to regional presence, and then national and now international, I think we've somewhat lost sight of this important rule.

You may be guilty of the same with YOUR customers!

People do business with other people. They don't do business with companies, but rather with the people who represent those companies, even if they are invisible to them. Customers seek to feel a sense of connection for their buying decisions. This is even true when we choose commodities like fuel for our cars.

When we place corporate activity and mass technology ahead of the people we ultimately serve, we create a sense of disconnection. The company, and their people, loses relevance to their audience and customers. The sphere of influence starts to decline, and in time, so will revenues. If companies are stuck at a growth ceiling, this is a common reason.

So what can you (and we) do about it? The first step is to start rethinking how and why you do what you do. Have you started to neglect the people who made you successful? Have you stopped doing the good things you once did? Can you reinvent or rediscover your processes to rekindle the love that has been lost?

Here at BizTrek, we've been thinking about this for a while. Growth makes it much harder to nourish those close relationships that were so much fun in our early years. It was easy to share a cup of coffee with a new friend here in Greenville, SC. It is much harder to do that with a new friend in Scotland or Australia or Chile.

Yes, we need to make some changes to bring the spark back and then also share that spark with more new friends. It will take some time, but we're already moving down that road.

Yes, we may both need to make some changes with our audiences and customers as well. Fortunately, our experience is that our nearest and dearest friends will still be there. One of the best things about human relationships is that we cherish the oldest ones the most. We get really happy when old friendships are restored.

Take some time this week to look at your business relationships and culture. Has your business become disconnected and aloof? Has your heart lost some beat? If so, what steps can you take soon to rediscover the joy and connection you once knew?

Why Social Media Is A Love Potion - But On The Wrong People

Why Social Media Is A Love Potion - But On The Wrong People

Memo To All BizTrekers

Social media is a love potion. But it's working on the wrong people and you may be one of the victims!

The pundits and gurus constantly cite the power and importance of social media. Granted, it certainly is addictive. Go to any restaurant or watch people on the street and note how many people are actively engaged with their phones. For many people, social media has become a deep-rooted habit, but it's not the new customer acquisition tool that many people think it is. It's something else.

We work with a lot of entrepreneurs and have found that almost every one of them thinks they need two things to grow: a good web site and an active social media presence. But does social media really work to ... (click to continue)

Lesson learned on an Austrian mountain

Lesson learned on an Austrian mountain

Memo To All BizTrekers

I have spent most of September exploring and hiking in the Austrian and French Alps. There were many wonderful adventures, but I experienced an important business lesson at the top of a mountain in Austria.

Vicki and I went to revisit a quaint town called Hallstatt (a world heritage site) and decided to take a tour of the area's ancient salt mine. This is the oldest known operating salt mine in the world and dates back before recorded history.

To get to the mine's entrance high up the mountain, you now ride a funicular (a cable railroad in which ascending and descending cars are counterbalanced). It is quite a thrill and the views from the top are quite amazing. After the funicular ride, you hike another 20-30 minutes to reach the entrance and beginning of the mine tour. Yes, it is a tourist draw, but it is a very unique experience.

The lesson came after we finished our hour-long tour of the mine. (click to continue)

Do certain prices really trick your brain?

Do certain prices really trick your brain?

Memo To All BizTrekers

Over the last decade, emerging research confirms that your eyes, ears and brain may be tricking you … and it may impact how you should price what you sell.

Do you think you are hearing about a hot deal?  It may not be what you think it is. You may be responding to unconscious cues that influence your perception of prices.

Apparently, certain consonants and vowel sounds convey a sense of “smallness” while others suggest “bigness” to our brains. 

These studies are showing that this can work to give people a misleading sense of expectation about values or bargains when they comparison shop for items with prices containing those sounds.

This insight comes from an interesting study co-authored by ... (click to continue)

Are you earning what you are really worth?

Are you earning what you are really worth?

Memo To All BizTrekers

Why do people go into business for themselves? It’s not just a simple yearning to find freedom from an incompetent boss. It’s more than an opportunity to satisfy a dream. Today, it is the only way for innovators to get their due.

In an age where technology and information is available to all people quickly and easily, entrepreneurs now have powers and capabilities equal to businesses many time their size. In fact, a company’s small size, simplicity and responsiveness is rapidly becoming a key competitive advantage.

Why is this true? Because a trend towards mediocrity and bureaucracy creeps into almost every business as it grows. No matter how enlightened their management, the employees never exercise entrepreneurial decisiveness. In a frenzy for legitimacy and stature within and without the organization, the most productive people are ... (click to continue)

Are you missing the key ingredient for wealth creation?

Are you missing the key ingredient for wealth creation?

Memo To All BizTrekers

Wealth and influence is most strongly determined by abundant giving. The giver mindset is one of the biggest distinctions between people who create wealth and those who do not. They are givers before they ever become receivers. Success is all about how much more value you give to people than you take in payment.

Trust is lavished on people who seek first to serve others before serving themselves. That trust converts into productive business relationships and sustainability, which gradually converts to financial wealth too. Wealthy people have influence, but their greatest influence came before their wealth. They first developed influence because they wanted to make a contribution to the world.

The marketplace can quietly distinguish between ... (click to continue)

The autopilot mindset

The autopilot mindset

Memo To All BizTrekers

If you look at world-class companies, they have mastered the art of doing everything they do in such a way that all key functions are pretty much on autopilot. No matter how large the business grows, world-class companies can always produce a predictable result. They have everything tightly refined and automated. They are not constantly reinventing their business model. This includes their Mechanical processes (producing a consistent and reliable end result), their Monetary processes (cash flow and reporting), their Manpower processes (getting optimal performance from their people), their Marketing processes (a steady flow of revenue) and their Management processes (leaders who lead effectively).

On the other hand, most budding entrepreneurs and professionals are constantly fiddling with their business model and processes. Their customers never know for sure what to expect from them. Likewise, their employees never know what to expect either. Constant reinvention is a leading cause of business failure. Certainly every business needs to make modifications now and then, and every entrepreneur or professional may need to adjust their plans during their launch (or relaunch), but the urgent goal should be to standardize all key functions and put them on autopilot. Don't succumb to the temptation of constant change. Build it well and then focus your energy on putting your business machine into the revenue fastlane!