Next Year (s)
Economic predictions are starting to flow as we approach the end of 2009. Some economists are predicting another difficult year. Some stating that recovery is slow and it may be five-ten years before employment rebounds.
Economists are pretty smart and they can make good guesses….yet they can’t predict the future.
A New Year is always good because it allows us to put the old to rest and reinvigorate our businesses/organizations for the times ahead.
For the next year (s) great businesses/organizations:
- Are resilient
- Become better
- Strive for excellence
- Become the best and only ones who do what they do
- Learn from others
- Move forward
One (and possibly the best ) of the business/organizational worlds management experts was Peter Drucker.
From the Pepperdine Business Blog:
“After all, as Peter Drucker said, the only purpose of a business is to create a customer.”
I haven’t read Drucker’s books in years….thought they are classics in management/leadership. I’ve written over the past year….the importance of the customer.
I am glad that I am on the same page with Drucker.
The bottom line for any business is customer experience. Customers determine the success of any business/organization. If we don’t provide a 5 Star experience….our business will not grow and eventually will not survive.
I like to read the restaurant reviews in the N&O. Not only is the writing good….the intent of the column is to highlight whether the restaurant is a 1- 5 Star experience. The most recent column was on Herons in Cary, NC. This is a fine dining….expensive restaurant. Everything was top-notch….from being greeted….to service….the meal….and the farewell.
The challenge for any business is to work to be a 5-star business. It doesn’t have to be a $100 dinner….it can be a $30 dinner….it’s the whole experience that counts.
Not all the time
We all like to whine at times….and for the most part we get over it.
Seth Godin wrote:
Smart businesspeople focus on the things they have the power to change, not whining about the things they don’t.
We can’t change economic realities. What we can do is seek out new directions….new ideas….new ways to market/sell.
Standing still is not a strategy.
Focus on what you do
“The one common denominator: don’t get hung up on all depressing challenges and blatant failures that now exist in the general state of business; and don’t get sucked into doing what everyone else is doing just because it’s “common”; instead, concentrate instead on what you can do with innovation and discipline every day—to transcend conventional wisdom and beat the lousy odds. , one day at a time. “ —- Oren Harari
Here’s how I saw this over the years. Being a small business has its advantages/disadvantages….and there were always larger competetors who it seemed got all the business. We did get our share….and the reason was that we focused on what we did best. Each day was a new day.
End Result: Seek and listen to good advice….do what you do best.
Dr. Dawg Hot Dogs
I really like discovering new businesses.
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentential had an article on David Ross, the founder of Dr. Dawg Hot Dogs in Manitowoc, WI.
The interesting part of the story is that Mr. Ross previously headed up Burger Yachts in Manitowoc. Quite a difference in selling $3 hot dogs as opposed to $30 million custom yachts.
There is alway room for entrepreneurs that believe in and sell a great product…and that know how to market their product (see the nice web site).
What Really is Important
Tom Peters wrote:
So here are “the real basics”—in five words. Achieve Excellence at these five things and the world (of human organizations) will pretty much be your oyster. To wit:
Read. (Outstudy ’em.)
Write. (Clear, concise, powerful.)
Talk. (Presentation mastery. Study. Practice-practice-practice. Storytelling, mastery of.)
Listen. (Study. Practice-practice-practice. Understand enormous power thereof.)
Appreciate. (Engaged. Thoughtful. Compassionate. Appreciative always, enormous power thereof.)
Tom Peters over the years has emphasized that the “soft” parts of business/organizational life are the most critical.
Tom is absolutely right.
These soft skills were not at the forefront in my business school experience. The “hard” analytical tools were taught at Michigan even in the MBA program.
If anything… the ability to clearly communicate ideas (tell your story) creates a solid foundation for a growing enterprise.
The first words out of our months when the Sales Reps made their visits to us were: What’s New? We were always seeking the latest news on our business….what new styles were being developed….what were the best sellers. We wanted the latest tidbit on what could help the business.
After all these years….I haven’t lost the desire to discover what’s new. Finding another great idea…. helps businesses grow.
If a business/organization isn’t growing (that is seeking new ideas) in one way or another….it isn’t healthy.
The internet is a great tool….it allows us to find those new ideas. Yet….often web sites become static….with nothing new. Those sites lose the effectiveness of the internet as a way to do business or supply information.
Down East Reinvention
This mornings News & Observer had a great story on a small “Down East” business that makes Christmas Trees from crab pot wire. The market for crab pots has almost vanished. (Down East being the small fishing villages around Core Sound).
A few years ago Neal “Nicky” Harvey used some crab pot wire to build a small Christmas tree. Crab-pot demand has fallen from 3,000 to 300 a year.
The folks down east had seen the local fishing industry being taken over by imports. Mr. Harvey used his craft skills to make a different product. There are not many opportunities in the small villages east of Morehead City, NC.
This year Fisherman Creations will send out roughly 150,000 crab-pot trees throughout the US. (That’s a lot of trees….if the number is correct!)
What I really like about the story is:
- The people in this part of North Carolina are resoureful….self-reliant
- They reinvented their craft-making creating a new product and new market
In another forum Ben Arment wrote:
The Future is in the New.
The focus of the story was that businesses/enterprises try to duplicate what is successful. Companies can’t just do that and expect the same results. Each business and organization must have an unique purpose.
My business approach has been to:
- Examine successful businesses
- Learn from well-developed resources
- Use experiences
Putting all of this together to create something NEW.
Ben wrote: ” honor the idea-makers of the past….but make room for the obscure, the unheard-of….and the ridiculous.”
The future is in the New.
It seems at times….enterprises get in holding patterns….the only way to get out of the pattern….is to create new products, new services for new customers.