Thursday, 28 March 2013

Business Quotes on Diligence and Opportunities

Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th. 
J Andrew

Most of us never recognize opportunity until it goes to work in our competitor’s business.
P.L. Andarr
When one door closes another door opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.
Alexander Graham Bell 
A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
Francis Bacon
Four things come not back-the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity.
Arabian Proverb 
There is nothing in the world really beneficial that does not lie within the reach of an informed understanding and a well-protected pursuit.
 Edmund Burke
This is no time for ease and comfort. It is the time to dare and endure.
Winston Churchill
 The expectations of life depend upon diligence; the mechanic that would perfect his work must first sharpen his tools.
A determination to succeed is the only way to succeed that I know anything about.
William Feather

Between Being a Manager and an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurial ventures has been considered as a means to build successful free market economics. It has been considered as a tool for economic development and growth, job creation and business successes.

However, not every entrepreneurial venture is successful. It all comes down to who is managing it. In the business world, there are two types of people you meet, the managers and the entrepreneurs. They may look the same, but they are separated by what they value most.

According to research, entrepreneurs pay greater attention to honesty, ambition, capability, independence, courage, imagination, and logic than managers. These characteristics drive entrepreneurs as well as their businesses to success. Whereas for managers, they tend to consider being loving, forgiving, helpful, and self controlled as more important.

Whether you are managing your own business or working for someone, paying attention, greater attention to what entrepreneurs value most will give you an edge.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Nine Effective Strategies for Success

Heidi Grant Halvorson identified nine most effective strategies in her article The Most Effective Strategies

In order of effect magnitude, the most impactful strategies are:
  1. Be Persistent no matter the situation
  2. Know exactly where you are, how far you have gone and what is remaining
  3. You should know exactly what you want. Define what success means to you.
  4. Seize the Moment to Act on Your Goals — Know in advance what you will do, and when and where you will do it
  5. Focus on What You Will Do, Not What You Won't Do — Instead of focusing on bad habits, it's more effective to replace them with better ones.
  6. Build your Willpower Muscle — If you don't have enough willpower, you can get more using it.
  7. Focus on Getting Better, Rather than Being Good — Think about your goals as opportunities to improve, rather than to prove yourself
  8. Be a Realistic Optimist — Visualize how you will make success happen by overcoming obstacles
  9. Don't Tempt Fate — No one has willpower all the time, so don't push your luck
 Can you tell what your most effective strategies for success are?

What is Most Important to Customers in Relationship Marketing?

The high rate of competition, and quick collapse of small businesses, has necessitated the shift from transaction orientation to relationship marketing.  Business is a going concern, and if a firm must continue to remain in business, it is important  that it considers relationship marketing as a strategic tool for creating and retaining customers. Achieving longevity in business is largely dependent on customer-service provider's relationship with their major stakeholders - CUSTOMERS.

Globalization of various markets and competition, has caused a major shift from short term sales and transaction orientation to relationship marketing. Relationship marketing helps businesses to generate repeat repurchases through providing good quality customer service. It recognizes the long term value of customer relationships through building trust and exchanging information that is beneficial to both parties. Although it means different things to different people, it is often considered as the process of attracting, maintaining and enhancing relationships with customers and stakeholders at a profit. It is used to build enduring relationship with customers, however, it is important that a firm that wants to deplore a successful relationship marketing programme should channel its efforts to customers who have a  relational orientation, and at the same time know factors that consumers consider important in their regular interaction with the business.

Research studies have consistently identified some relationship marketing elements that consumers consider more important than others. Some of them are:

This is the reliablity and beliefs that you will perform your duties as expected without negative surprises. It is a state of mutual honesty and confidence that customers have in your product or business. Such trust can only be built on the platform of shared or similar values. You can't earn the trust of your customers when your values are different from theirs.

How often do you communicate with your customers? Customers have need for information, they want to interact with you regularly and to be paid attention to. For a business to maintain a good relationship, there must be timely and meaningful information exchange with the customers.

This is the psychological attachment of your customers to your business or product. How far can you go to give your customers that experience money can not buy. This is your involvement in seeing that a customer gets what he wants. Customers want to see that you are dedicated to serving them.
Support and Cooperation
This includes all activities that are mutually beneficial to the business and its customers. Your customers need your support and cooperation in attaining that satisfaction level as well as your business needs them.

In this era of intense competition, creating, maintaining and enhancing long-term relationship with customers has become the basis for building successful businesses. To make this relationship work, a business owner must know what the customers expect, and in what order.

Have you asked your customers what is most important to them in your business relationship?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

From 'Customer Satisfaction' to 'Customer Delight'

In business, when customers' expectations are met, the out come is satisfaction with the product or service. This means that a business has fulfilled the contract with the customer, and the customer is expected to be happy about that. However, satisfaction is no longer enough for customers who constantly demand for more than they receive. They expect much more from businesses even if they don't request for it, they want to be delighted about the product or service coming from a business. Studies have suggested that for a business to develop and maintain loyalty, it must go beyond mere satisfaction; that is, it must delight or over reward its customers.

Customer Delight is a positive emotional state that comes as a result of exceeding one’s expectations to a surprising degree. Delight requires a mixture of joy and surprise.  It is a more positive and more emotional response than simply excellent.
While customer satisfaction is generally based on exceeding one's expectations, customer delight requires that customers receive a positive surprise that is beyond their expectations. 

Berman Barry identified the important differences between satisfaction and delight:
  • Satisfaction is more cognitive; delight is more affective. 
  • Satisfaction is based on perceptions, while delight is more emotional. 
  • Delight is often associated with such emotions as arousal, joy, and pleasure.
  • While satisfaction is based on meeting or exceeding expectations, delight requires out-of-the-ordinary performance
To continue to survive in a competitive market, you need to give your customers more than they expect, you have to delight them.

Monday, 18 March 2013

How to Incease Your Customers' Loyalty and Encourage Repeat Purchases

Here are 4 simple ways for you to increase your customers' loyalty and encourage repeat purchases:

  • Always keep in touch with your customers.
Your customers are your friends, treat them as one. The easiest way for them to forget you is to stop hearing from you. Any when you are not calling, be sure that your competitors are talking to them. When  know that you care about their needs, they will also care about your .
  • Make your service value noticeable
Customers want to know the value they will earn by patronizing you. What value does your business have over that of competitors? It could be as simple as saving time, or more money. Give them something that will help them place a value on your business more than that of the competitor.

  • Do you customers have an experience that you can share?
Nothing sales more than a wonderful experience from a satisfied customer. Make the best use of your satisfied customers' experiences. When your customers share their experiences with you, share that experience with others. Customers feel more secured when they see others who can testify about your product or service.

  • Help your customers succeed
As your customers patronize you, also patronize them if their businesses meet your need in any way. You can also help them by linking them up with customers that may need their services. Let the relationship be one of mutual benefit.

It's easier to nurture existing relationships than make a new one. No business survives without customer loyalty and repeat purchases. The only way to make that possible is to build a wonderful relationship with your customers, give them wow! experience, and they will remain loyal to you.

Originally Written by
Lenann McGookey Gardner

Lenann Gardner is the author of "Got Sales? The Complete Guide to Today's Proven Methods for Selling Services." A Harvard MBA, Lenann was the #1 sales representative worldwide at a unit of Xerox Corporation, and achieved unprecedented results as an executive at Mattel and Blue Cross Blue Shield. She is a winner of the American Marketing Association's Professional Services "Marketer of the Year" award. For more information, call 505.828.1788, or write

Monday, 11 March 2013

Sometimes, Facebook Destroys Startups Built For Its Platform

Investors and entrepreneurs say that the unpredictable way that Facebook cuts off apps or suppresses their presence has made them increasingly wary of building companies that rely on Facebook. Some believe Facebook could eventually attract regulatory scrutiny because of its ability to make or break companies that rely on its billion-strong base of users

Alaba Market: Piracy Business Worth Millions in Nigeria

Founded in the 1970s, Alaba International Market, located along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway is by far the biggest electronics market in the West African sub-region. Thousands of people throng the market daily from as far as Ghana, East Africa, Togo, and Benin Republic to buy a wide range of items such as computers, broadcast equipment, television, videos, household appliances, refrigerators, video games, generators, security equipment and CDs. The market has a mixture of individual customers and retailers who bulk-buy for their shops across Nigeria and West Africa. Manufacturers also ensure that their products are represented in the market. Retailers from all major Nigerian cities come to the market for their supply of electronics and allied products. To an ordinary man on the street, Alaba market is just a thriving market but behind the business transactions in the market is an unquantifiable piracy business of all kinds.

The situation has got so bad that even record label owners now come to the market to make distribution deals. Top music stars such as PSquare, Tuface and Nice were recently reported to have made bargains with some known music pirates in the market to sell off outright the right to some of their albums. The move is believed to be a clever attempt to put the responsibility of marketing their album on the pirates since they determine which CD and DVD sell in the market. A businessman in this sort of business in the market told our reporter that every reasonable artist who wants to succeed must come to negotiate with them.
Speaking to our reporter, he said: “If an artist has a recorded album and wants it marketed, all he needs do is come to us, because we are the market. What we offer to pay depends on an artist; if it is an
established artist, we could pay up to N60 million for a three-year contract, but if it is an artist that is yet to be established, we might offer them N1 million since we are taking a risk and we don’t know if the public will accept the artist’s album.”

A new dimension was recently added to the piracy business as two persons were arrested in the market for allegedly pirating DSTV signals. The suspects John Andy and Valentine Ezenwaka were arrested for importing, selling, and distributing devices capable of illegally accessing DSTV’s broadcast signals to members of the public.
They were arrested last Friday by Police from the Special Fraud Unit, SFU. The suspects are believed to have made huge sums of money selling the decoders which transmits all DSTV channel at no cost to the user.

As the piracy business continues to thrive in Alaba market, many have called for the closure of the market. Recently, the chairman of Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, and Mr. Tony Okoroji added his voice when he advised government to seal the market.  Okoroji opined that since Alaba market has become a haven for piracy, it makes sense to close the market.
The traders in the market however disagree with the idea, saying that other genuine businesses go on in the market and that it will be injustice to close a market because of a few individuals.
—Henry Ojelu

Read more from 

Friday, 8 March 2013

From CRM to CEM: Has anything changed?

There was a time when we had sales men, later it was changed to Sales Rep., and now we have Sales Executives. Initially, I thought there was a big difference in their responsibilities atleast in my country, but I soon found out that it was a mere change in nomenclature, their activities are still the same.
Same thing is happening in the Services industry, we now talk less of Customer Relationship Management and more of Customer Experience Management. Unfortunately, the change in name has not changed anything about how the consumer is managed.

What is going on here? Why is there such a big difference between the words and the reality? Why is it that whilst the words have changed from CRM to CEM, the indifference to building emotional bonds with customers continues? Is it a lack of understanding? Are people in business simply ignorant and so they need more education from the likes of customer experience gurus?

I say that a shift to an authentic customer orientation, one where the focus of the company is to come up with value propositions and customer experiences, that enrich the lives of their customers (and all the people who have to play their part in making this happen) requires transformational change. It requires a complete break with the past and operating from a radically different context. It is the kind of break that the caterpillar makes in order to show up as a butterfly. And that is a big ask for almost all of us especially large companies that are doing ok.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Briefly On Customer Experience

Spend a lot of time talking to customers face to face. You’d be amazed how many companies don’t listen to their customers.” -Ross Perot

If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.” Jef f  Bezos, CEO

Customer experience (CX) is the sum of all experiences a customer has with a supplier of goods and services, over the duration of their relationship with that supplier
The best experience a customer can have is when your products meets  his/her expectations. This can only be achieved when you make out time to talk to your customers, discussing about what motivates or disturbs them about your business. 
This helps you to understand how and what they feel about your product/service or business generally, and it also gives them that sense of belonging.

For the business, it helps you to build a better strategy, and a more customer oriented business.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

What You Need To Know As A Business Owner?

As the CEO of your company, part of your responsibility is to know your business, your industry, your competitors and your customers. Frank De Raffele shared 4 things a CEO must know about his business in his article,Four “Knows” to being a great small business CEO”

1       Know What is Happening in Your Industry Now
 Having this knowledge will help you determine how events in the industry will affect your business over time, as well as preparing your business for the future. You need to know what is trending and how it is relevant to your business. Not only do you need to know where the industry will be but you need to know how it is going to transition into the future.  
Don’t wait until everyone knows what needs to be done before you, else you will be playing ‘catch up’ or ‘keep up’ and that will be hard when they have a bigger budget than you do. Being current earns you customers trust and builds your credibility in the industry. Adapting is easier when changes occur in small than in big business.

2.     Know That Technology is Your Friend
A recent study showed that over 70% of small business owners are yet to adopt technology in their businesses. Successful businesses are leveraging on the huge benefits of technology to lower cost of operation, and at the same time, reach-out to more actual and potential customers.
Technology, whether in form of new software, smart phones, websites, internet marketing, gizmos, gadgets etc. If it can help you market, sell, run or manage your business more effectively then you need to know about it and use it even if it means engaging someone to keep you up-to-date on the newest trends in technology in your business.

3.     Know When Your Target Market Shifts.
 Do you know the demographics of your customers? Market characteristics are changing very fast. The set of target market you had maybe 10 years ago has changed. Even if they are the same people, their style of decision may have changed and even the factors that influenced them to buy years back may not be the same today. Make efforts to identify changing variables within your customer base. You must be strategic in your thinking and your decision making. Don’t always rely on yesterday’s sales record; know when the customers are moving.

4.     Know and be the leader that is needed.
Don’t just be “a” leader, be “the” leader that is needed.  As businesses grow, shrink, struggle and thrive, your employees are watching to know how you react to crisis.  
 As a leader, your employees will respond to situations in the business as you respond. Show them that you are capable of handling crisis, and that you can lead them out. The more respect, confidence and trust they have in you, the more influence
you will have with them. Be the leader that they need, not just who you think you should be. As the CEO it is important to know the pulse of what is going on with your people.

Culled from:
Four “Knows” to being a great small business CEO by Frank De Raffele.
March 7, 2011 Hudson Valley BUSINESS JOURNAL

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Consumer's Need Still Drives Business

"From the start, our entire business, from design to manufacturing and sales ... was oriented around listening to the customer, responding to the customer and delivering what the customer wanted." Michael Dell

Every lost customer is an opportunity to learn more about how your company handles its customers' need.
Some businesses have been punished at one time or the other for neglecting core needs of the consumer while focusing on other distracting factors like profitability, quality of product, competitors activities etc. As a business grows, often, there is a tendency to change from dealing with customers' needs to reducing cost of operation and making profit.
While it is important to ensure that you operate your business at the most profitable level, keep the competitors from your market, its also necessary not to sacrifice customers need for that. Every customer has a reason for choosing to go with your product, and that choice should always be considered as a favour, and must be respected.

Companies like Dell were successful because of the direct customer contact business model they operated. They gained information through regular interaction with customers and designed their products to match each customers need and expectation. As long as it maintained this philosophy, there was no problem however, the moment Micheal Dell stepped down, and Dell changed its focused to profitability, customers complaint increased and the company lost its market leadership. It took the coming back of Micheal Dell to put the business in the right perspective.

 In the case of IBM, they were too confident that their customers will definitely remain with them irrespective of what the competitors are doing. When Gerstner took over as IBM's CEO in 1993, he identified that IBM's focus had shifted from customers to other activities aimed at increasing efficiency of the product, and reducing cost of operation. At the same time customer tastes were shifting from big mainframes toward networks of smaller desktops.
It is good to be confident of your product or service, and even improve on it, but only the customer defines what quality product or service is. Needs change with time, and consumers will not continue to stick to a product that doesn't meet their current need. Imagine that IBM detected the need from Mainframe computers to desktop computers, they may still continue to lead the market.

How about Coca Cola and Pepsi, sometimes focusing on the activities of the competitors can be very detrimental to your business. Coke wanted to change the taste of its flagship product because they felt that Pepsi was taking the market from them. But the outcry from the consumers showed that the original taste was still preferable. 

No matter how big or small your business is, if customers need is not the driving force, you are heading for a crash.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Loyalty Programs Don't Make Loyal Customers

Loyalty programs are designed to reward customer experiences when they patronize your business or store. But are these rewards programs really worth it? Although they are free to join, they cost the customer more money once the decide to change their buying behaviour because of the reward. 

 As good as this program may look, studies have shown that it has a little effect on customer loyalty and retention. Although businesses engage in this reward program to change consumer behaviour,  Byron Sharp, professor of marketing science from UniSA, noted that such programs don't change people's buying behaviour because they will end up buying such product anyway,  reward or no reward. So consumers are not really buying because of the reward but for other factors.
Consumers choose where to buy based on a few dominant factors like store location, parking, product range, familiarity with layout, adjacent stores and pricing, while loyalty programs have the least influence on consumer choice.

Money cannot buy loyalty, and even when it does, it is only for a short time. Consumers want to maximize pleasure, and no amount of loyalty programs will do that. True loyalty from your customers is a function of your relationship with them and their needs.

Loyalty means mutual commitment -- a willingness to give up alternatives. Loyalty is given when customers expect to realize compelling benefits from their choices - Marketing Magazine, 2013