Automate & Delegate

gears Automate & DelegateOne of the best ways to increase profits in 2014 is to increase automation of …. just about everything. And that which can’t be automated should pushed to the least expensive person or external resource who can do it well.

4 straightforward steps will take you a long way:

  • Identify and calculate the total cost of each high volume and frequently repeated process in your business. Automation of things that are low volume and do not happen frequently are of secondary concern.
  • Starting with the highest cost processes, determine if there is an automation solution, the investment required to execute it and calculate your annual savings and, even better, the net present value (NPV) of your future savings.
  • For those projects where automation is feasible and financially attractive, move forward with automation as soon as possible – with the greatest savings projects first – to the extent that you have investment dollars available
  • For those processes where further automation is neither possible or does not generate significant enough savings to justify an investment, explore alternative resources such as pushing the work to more junior employees and/or outsourcing to another organization.

Humans are not machines and there are limits to what we can and can’t do. But we can agree that delegating work from a $75/hour employee to a $30/hour employee makes sense if we don’t suffer a loss in quality and the total cost (hourly rate x hours) is significantly reduced. We’ve just freed up the more expensive person to tackle something that has a higher return for the business.

Automate. Delegate. Build Wealth!

Fix it NOW

how to get results o 36518101 300x284 Fix it NOWReady for far better results in 2014? My experience advising more than 450 companies over 30 years indicates that the more of these things you get right, the stronger your earnings growth.

Honestly and reasonably estimate 2 things:

  • What would a business expert who has conducted thorough diligence on my company estimate to be my company’s sales and earnings to be in 5 years?
  • What 5 year sales and earnings do I truly believe to be achievable if I could throw a switch and operate according to best practices?

Now calculate the gaps in the 2 sales and earnings calculations and ask yourself:

  • Am I willing to make the changes necessary to fulfill the real potential of my business?

If your honest answer is “no,” and I fully respect that, you don’t need to read any further as it would be a waste of your time. Have a lovely day!

If your answer is “yes”, here are just a few improvements you can make:

  • Commit to an ethical, proactive culture that pursues niche dominance by:
    • a team of craftsmen where all are respected, professional growth encouraged and every person is specifically accountable for performing at an “A” level
    • customer service superiority
  • Pursue a target market niche you can dominate
  • Invest in high ROI solutions to create and execute irresistible marketing
  • Invest in “A” sales people who execute an “A” sales process
  • Invest in technology and training to achieve operational excellence

Want to do something special? You really can if you make the right moves.

Visibly Giving

November 11th, 2013 No Comments   Posted in Business Stories

A Better World 232x300 Visibly GivingDoing good, fighting the good fight in a very visible way is a smart business practice. We think well of those who make a real difference in our communities and the world when we know what they are doing. And we’ll only know when there is visibility.

I admire those who give quietly but when your business needs include developing new prospects, quiet giving is a much slower, low probability path. Much better to be “market facing” where you will be noticed sooner rather than later.

It’s important to properly plan and execute your giving activities so that you make a big difference for the organization and are recognized widely for doing so.

One reason that many people are reluctant to act on this is that they are reasonably concerned about wasting time and effort – they believe they may end up not making much of a contribution and have lost valuable time from their business pursuits. It’s true that you want to be careful about what you do and where you do it. Here are some guidelines to ensure that you get maximum benefit from your efforts:

  • Establish specific desired business goals: for example, I expect at least $100,000 in revenue annually from any organizations where I focus significant on-going efforts
  • Target organizations which meet the following criteria:
    •  Numerous members who are good prospects for your business
    • Good reputation & good/helpful/appreciative leadership & staff
    • Have a need where you can really help them a lot and be visibly rewarded on multiple occasions

So, let’s get to work making the world a better place and being celebrated for doing so. The accolades begin NOW!

 

It’s Lonely (and great) at the Top!

topOfMountain 300x200 It’s Lonely (and great) at the Top!

One unique benefit they can’t get anywhere else. Do you have the energy, discipline and determination to create it, deploy it and drive it like there’s no tomorrow? Yes, it’s lonely at the top…. YEAH!

Imagine having an accurate, thorough understanding of the product/service features, delivery, support and pricing that would make specific customer segments within your target market extremely satisfied and loyal (the desired benefits)?

These desired benefits may exist or are yet to be discovered.  For example, mobile security is desired and numerous mobile cyber companies are offering solutions but there has been very little adoption yet in the marketplace.

Even the most mature, oversaturated markets have big opportunities for innovation. Set time aside every week for research and creative brainstorming. It’s there, you just need to identify it and then figure out how to operationalize and deploy it.

Your “home run” move is to come up with something that even buyers never realized they wanted but completely delights them as it leapfrogs the features and benefits offered by your competition. Your “base hit” move is to provide at least one important benefit that they don’t receive today. \

So, being incrementally better is the least we are willing to accomplish while what we aim for is to game-change.

Make “loneliness” your reality!

Cyber-protect your business & create $1B in Jobs by purchasing from Maryland’s Companies: www.artjacoby.com/mdcyberlist

Ain’t it nifty, the Maryland Cyber Directory reached 50!

cyberdirectory 300x76 Ain’t it nifty, the Maryland Cyber Directory reached 50!

That’s 50 Maryland Cyber Companies selling to the commercial markets who have already registered on my new online, public service directory www.artjacoby.com/mdcyberlist.  Commercial Cyber has the potential to be far larger than Federal Cyber quickly yet has received scant attention until very recently.

An invitation from the Baltimore Business Journal to be a contributing columnist to their new CyberBlog www.bizjournals.com/baltimore/blog/cyberbizblog triggered the idea of turning the column into more than good information – by using the column to also provide a virtual introduction to an emerging new industry comprised of our neighbors.

This directory has been launched to accomplish 2 things simultaneously:

  • Help business officers and directors find exceptional products, services and training to make their companies safer, and
  • Market Maryland’s own superb industry locally, regionally, nationally and globally

Buy Locally from Maryland Cyber Companies: 2 for 1 Benefit

When a Maryland business purchases from another Maryland business, the money stays here and thanks to the “multiplier effect” generates yet more money that our local economy needs.

And when a Maryland business purchases cybersecurity products and services, you are making a smart business decision to properly protect your assets from ever more lethal cyber attackers.

Please visit the Directory soon and meet Maryland’s own, the best cyber experts anywhere.

Be Nimble or Get out of the Way

situational awareness 300x246 Be Nimble or Get out of the WayOne of a CEO’s most important duties is to ensure that opportunities and threat “inflection points” are spotted early and acted upon decisively in order to optimize results. Fast movers enjoy huge advantages that may never be overcome by competitors – speed to market, lower customer acquisition costs, brand dominance, etc.

3 years ago, my appeals to Intel Agency government contractors to diversify their businesses into the commercial markets were received with deaf ears. Why? They believed that Intel spending would continue unabated for years to come and that since they were unfamiliar with how to do business in the commercial markets, it wasn’t a good move for them.

Fast forward to government spending reductions, $250 billion per year in cyber damages to US industry with increasing threats and the commercial markets are now looking pretty good to many federal contractors.

Those who started making moves years ago have a significant head start and will reap greater rewards than those who start now. It’s still a great move as experience in Federal Intel is highly valued by the commercial markets – in stark contrast to the general perception of government work experience.

Here’s what you can do to improve your “situational awareness” of pending opportunities and threats:

  • Follow national and international news developments so that you have some sense of macro patterns
  • Follow subject matter experts in your industry closely and keep in close touch with the best practitioners via your trade associations
  • Stay on top of competitive moves and industry dynamics
  • Train your team – employees, suppliers and customers – what to look for and communicate with them frequently.

Situational awareness combined with good strategic and operational planning can help you not only survive but thrive as others lose ground.

5 Questions to Help Job Seekers

Looking ahead 300x199 5 Questions to Help Job SeekersMany people are in career transition, seeking their next opportunity. I want to be helpful to them, knowing that it is a very stressful experience for most people. In my experience, most job seekers conduct very inefficient job searches because when you ask them what they want they give general answers that don’t give me the information I need to be helpful. Example: “ I want to find a great company that can use my talents.” That’s not actionable to me.

Having helped many dozens of people connect with their next job, I’ve learned that my ability to be of assistance correlates directly with their ability to be very specific about what they want. So when somebody sends a resume to me and asks me to forward it, I write back and request answers to these questions:

  • 1 fantastic accomplishment in the past 2 years
  • Your #1 strength & how often you’ve put it to use in the past year
  • Your most extensive functional experience (marketing, sales, operations, finance, etc) & where you rank (guru, senior, junior)
  • The title of the role that is your 1st choice
  • The #1 industry niche and 2-3 other characteristics that narrowly define your target company

When I receive quality answers to these questions, I’m often able to provide good introductions.

Helping somebody find their next position is a very gratifying experience. Getting quality information from them dramatically improves your ability to help them.

Ask great questions and be a great helper.

Half-Pregnant

pregnant 300x168 Half PregnantWant more success? Determine your best few moves and give them everything you have – ALL IN! You’re either “pregnant” or you’re not – half-pregnant doesn’t work. If you’re not fully committed, don’t do it because you’ve dramatically lowered your probability of success.

Now, if the reason you’re not “all in” is you have serious concerns the strategy you’ve picked won’t work. Aha!

Ask yourself if it’s fear, doubt and uncertainty (FUD) or if there is a legitimate rational reason to believe you won’t succeed. If it’s FUD, take a deep breath and dive into it with full commitment.

If there is a legitimate rational reason that it might not work, then revisit if you’ve chosen the right strategy. If you have but there are still serious concerns, break them down to the specifics and what it will take to raise the probability of success.

The most common reasons for failure even when the strategy is right are:

  • The team – either the leadership or the workers may not have the right staffing (too few), experience, knowledge, problem-solving ability, passion, determination
  • Under-capitalized: you haven’t put enough investment into it to meet a minimum threshold
  • Timing: you’re too late or too early
  • Competition: they have an advantage that you can’t overcome

You want a “business baby”? Get pregnant!

Time to Hunt

hunting 300x199 Time to HuntI read a salesperson’s resume today in which the individual described herself as a “hunter.” Got my attention immediately because that’s what every business needs and few have. Imagine if your business had a great hunter or two. How much more could you accomplish?

Great hunters love learning, meeting new people and building relationships and moving sales forward. They are engaging and get you sharing information because you know this person genuinely wants to help and can add tangible value.

Here are some other things I’ve observed about the great ones:

  • They truly love the process
  • They make it all about the prospect
  • They move the relationship forward rather than trying to “close”
  • They work very efficiently and
  • They work hard

If your products/services are excellent and your sales performance less so, it’s time for YOU to go hunting….. for a hunter.

Way Beyond the Call of Duty

mile Way Beyond the Call of DutyWhen you deliver way beyond the call of duty, your clients are stunned with delight. They can’t believe that they have an unbelievable resource helping them.

My goal with every Client is to “game-change” their results and I am deeply disappointed in myself if I deliver anything less. What is your expectation of you and your team?

There ARE ways you can do this & here’s how:

  • Ask your Clients everything they are willing to share about their goals, their strategies and their needs
  • As they explain, ask questions so that you make sure that you have a deep understanding of their view of the world
  • Thank them for taking the time to share more with you, assure them that everything they’ve told you is confidential and that you’d like to come back to them after you do some thinking and research on their behalf
  • Come up with some great ideas by doing the following:
    • Think about related experiences that may be applicable by the Client
    • Ask experts for each specific issue raised- without revealing who you Client is – if they have any valuable thoughts
    • Do research – two great sources are industry associations that they Client does or should belong to and of course online articles by subject matter experts
  • Pull your thoughts together into a cohesive whole and then go visit your Client and share them
  • Ask permission to help with the things where you are confident you can make a difference
  • Do what you commit to doing

Way, way, way beyond the call of duty and you will prosper.

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