Creating Value – Part II

The BIG Idea.

As discussed in Creating Value – Part I, Chevy is using The Big Idea – patriotism – to sell their cars.

The Big Idea is often a value that is widely shared by your customers – hence the need to know them really well. Your Tribe, in Seth Godin’s phrase.

Here are a couple more:

Imagination!

The tag line for this baguette is, “ready to bake at home.” Comfort! Cosy nest!

Soroptimist International is committed to, “Improving the lives of women and girls, locally and around the world.” The Big Idea is Gender Equality.

Now here’s mine:

I personally need to feel like I am putting down roots in the place I live; I need to be connected to my community. I was telling a business coach about the toy store I used to co-own, in a small town where people wanted the small town feel. “Sure we were selling toys, but really we were selling the white picket fence.”

She said, “Isn’t that what you’re still selling?”

I slapped myself upside the head and went, “Oh duh! Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – it’s not just me, it’s everyone. I am selling a sense of belonging.”

Finding your Big Idea:

  • What is happening in your marketplace; What are the problems? At Soroptimist, we tackled 2 problems: young women who need to make their first home, and older people needing to downsize. So we created Anney’s Closet, and the mundane explanation is a free store, but the Big Idea is Passing The Torch.
  • What do your people want, that you can give them – adventure? Healthy food? Taking care of their parents or partners?
  • What idea hasn’t been pillaged (Being Green?) When in doubt, go with a classic.

I’ll leave you with a couple more I found:

The Future

The Future is the second big wagon to hitch your business to, in order to create big value. In The Art of War the Chinese general Sun Tzu said, “ Occupy the place of conflict early.” For example, water tables are dropping in the US Southwest. Therefore, water is a precious resource. I can associate with water conservation: occupying the high ground in the place of conflict.

Panasonic ads show the technology to its fullest potential, it brings you into Star Trek. This is the future of play, and Panasonic brings you there NOW.

The tagline for this annual biking event with over 10,000 participants is “Move the City.” You can be part of what cities will be like in the future.

One Soroptimist program is all about the future, based on research showing girls with access to mentoring are far more likely to achieve their dreams:

I’m taking a different approach, similar to Moleskine:

Moleskine is incredibly successful at mixing romance and history into their product. The future is one-world, one-size spandex spacesuits, and rush rush rush.

So my high ground is being ready to respond when people get fed up with the generic world. These paper calendars say, “My life is not disposable.” They are calendars for keeps, about a meaningful life.

Finding your Place in the Future:

What is our world coming to? More importantly, your customers’ world:

  • What’s in the future that you can identify with?
  • How can you advantage of what is going to happen?
  • Where can you take your customers that they want to go?

Your 60 Seconds of Fame

Here is a bit of glimpse to what it’s like at a Business for Business Networks meeting. We have 60 seconds in which to educate and captivate our fellow Business For Business Network members and guests.

60 seconds to help them understand what we can do, and how we can help them and their customers. To demonstrate we are the BEST at what we do, so they can recommend us with confidence.

Are you doing at that in your business? Do you have knowledge and practical tips that would improve the lives and businesses of other members? Do you have stories that give us insight into your world?

The point of Business for Business Networks is firstly to build relationships, and knowledge, and work through roadblocks we face with trusted business peers through round table conversation, to become better business owners and professionals. Second, it is to build our businesses by being recommended by others who trust us.

We gain and build trust by getting to know each other and watch each week, as everyone demonstrates how they are an expert in their field, and offer advice to one another at the round table.

Last week I let loose a bit of a rant in our Low Town Business for Business Networks meeting, which turned into a great discussion on our updates and infomercials and how to improvxe them. I thought I’d share the gist of it with you all.

The Problem: I don’t really know what you do and what sets you apart.

The Solution: Use your 60 seconds to tell us:

  • What’s one aspect of your business? Capson Electric is the top rated installer of NEST systems: what is NEST, that you are such an expert at?
  • How do you do stuff? I described part of my digital painting technique at Blue Heron Art to show how complicated it is.
  • How have you been a hero? I still remember how Iris Mayfair saved a marriage with eyeglasses.
  • What have you done for a customer? Vancouver Island Osteopathy has “fixed” all kinds of joints and muscles and ailments.
  • What sets you apart? Comfort Keepers uses iPads for up-to-the-minute communication.
  • What do you know? Kristen Yarker constantly gives dietary tips that proves she is the number one in knowledge.
  • Who loves you? Share a testimonial.

In other words:

  • Assume I know nothing about what you can do or how smart you are, but I WANT to.
  • Tell me, piece by piece, not just once, but repeat in a few months, because I forget.
  • Take the time to plan and practise – will it fit in 60 seconds? What is the important bit?

Tell me a story, week by week, that shows how awesome you are, and I will recommend you whenever I get the chance.

This is how businesses grow naturally and form loyal customers, be proud of your business because you are working hard to be the best at it.

Don’t be scared to ask for recommended and testimonials from happy clients and customers – you earned them!

If this post makes you want to drop into a Business for Business Networks morning meeting contact one of the leadership team of the group nearest you!

Creating Value – Part I

Most of us in Business for Business Networks own or are a part of small business, with relatively low volumes. That means, to make money, we need to have high margins, fairly high prices. That means, in turn, that we have to offer our customer BIG value. How do we do it?

I started my business under the auspices of the government’s Self Employment Program, with stellar business coaching from The Reger Group. One of the presentations was on just this: Creating Value. It helped me to see how I was doing that in my business, and how I could do more.

By the way, I am also a Soroptimist, meaning I belong to the best women’s organization in the world, dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls. I’ve seen how Soroptimist offers members, volunteers and donors BIG value for their time and money. I thought other Business for Business Networkers might get something out of the ideas, so over the course of a few blogs, I’ll share what I’ve learned.

Here’s one example, the one David Bell at Reger started with:

What is Chevy actually selling?

Patriotism!  If you own a Chevy, you are a full-blooded American.

There was even a song – the theme song to NBC’s “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show” (1957 – 1962):

See the USA in your Chevrolet

America is asking you to call

Drive your Chevrolet through the USA

America’s the greatest land of all

Etc etc for 3 more verses/ refrains . . .  Isn’t that priceless? No matter what we think of the Excited States of America at the moment, you have to admit that in 1957 – this was brilliant. A business can hitch themselves to a much bigger wagon than selling cars, and elevate what they are selling to a much higher level of value – and price.

Stay tuned for “The Big Idea” in part II – of which patriotism is one.

5 Languages of Appreciation (Adapted from the 5 Languages of Love)

Have you heard of the five languages of love? You know, how to show that heartfelt deep commitment to the ones your love. Now, lets put a business spin on that. Did you know there are also five languages of appreciation?

One quote from Clemens Rettich is, “If every single day is not customer appreciation day you may as well close your doors.” Sounds exhausting, right? More so because as we know, good businesses treat their customers well but better businesses also treat their employees – and suppliers – well.

The subject  of appreciation came up in our B4B Low Town Round Table a few weeks ago and a guest shared this list. I have pulled it off www.appreciationatwork.com, the website of Drs Paul White & Gary Chapman.

This list might apply more to the workplace than customers, though I certainly give customers a hug, a coffee or lunch, help out with a silent auction item, high fives in public.

Here’s the list; how can you make it work for you?

The language of physical touch:

  • Spontaneous, celebratory displays (high five’s, fist bumps, a pat on the back)

Quality time:

  • Stop by to see how they’re doing. Spend a few minutes just chatting and checking in
  • “Hanging out” together with colleagues, working on tasks together collegially, having coffee or lunch together
  • Having different types of experiences together to deepen relationships

Acts of service:

  • Ask if the other person wants assistance, if they need anything done
  • Do the service in the way the recipient wants it done

Verbal praise:

  • Words of affirmation communicated in front of others
  • Tell them, “I’m glad you are part of the team.”
  • Written communication through hand written notes, email, texting
  • Write a Thank You email; “I just wanted to let you know …; “It is really helpful to me when you ….”

Tangible gifts:

  • Less about the “thing” and more about reflecting that the giver knows what is important or valued by the recipient
  • The financial value doesn’t matter; can be as small as a card or a single flower

Try one of these great methods of appreciation in the workplace, be it with a co-worker or a customer! Leave a comment to let us know how it worked out!