Overcoming Challenges within your Business

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Business Challenges|Overcoming Challenges within your BusinessRunning your own business can be tough and challenging at the best of times. There are always obstacles and hurdles in your way. How you deal with problems and how you overcome challenges says a lot about your personality and about your leadership style. Tackling problems as soon as they happen and working out solutions is just what good business owners and leaders do. Here’s what to do to make sure you’re overcoming challenges effectively.

Facing problems head-on

Whether you run a bricks and mortar based business or an online-based business, you will have daily challenges and problems to overcome. These could be smaller problems like running out of office stationery, or they could be bigger problems such as sourcing last minute suppliers’ or making sure pallet rack protection is in place for your next delivery to ensure no goods get damaged when in transit. Whatever the problem, how you deal with it and overcome it will determine how successful you are within other areas of your business.

Seeing issues or problems through to completion is what needs to be done. Don’t be afraid to compromise to get the best solution for your business, but at the same time, don’t become a pushover – you will struggle to regain authority and respect.

Delegate and seek assistance

This may be easier said than done, especially if you have run the business from day zero, but remember that as an entrepreneur or small business owner, nobody is expecting you to do everything. To succeed in business, you need to know when to delegate jobs and responsibilities to others. Trying to do too much all the time will lead to burnout, which is no good for you or your business. Never shy away from seeking assistance or help from friends, family, and possibly even freelancers.

Evaluate and learn from your actions

To move forward within your business and to push it to the dizzying heights of success that you deserve, you need to regularly evaluate your business and yourself. Take some time out to focus on what you have achieved since you started out, and ultimately, where you want to finish up. It is important not to be too harsh on yourself but to simply see where and how you could have done things differently in certain situations or scenarios. It is beneficial to utilise business consultants when evaluating where you are wanting to take your business next and deciding which direction to go in.

Consultants have a wealth of experience and can provide you with an in-depth growth and development plan which you can implement within your business and start working on as soon as possible.

There will always be challenges to overcome within a business, this is part of the fun which you thrive on and live for. Make use of networking both online and offline to meet like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs. When you are facing difficulties or facing other small business challenges, the people you met through networking will be your business support network, which you can rely on to help you continue picking things up and moving forwards.

Tips to Make Your Digital Marketing Agency a Success

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article |Digital Marketing Agency|Tips to Make Your Digital Marketing Agency a Success
Image courtesy of Launchpresso

Starting a digital marketing agency is one thing, making it a successful entity is quite another. There are many such agencies that have reached the pinnacle of success with their own formula. They have worked hard and made all the right decisions at the right time. Their stories are inspirational and offer food for thought for all those people who are striving to succeed in this field. If you are in Australia then look for the digital marketing Brisbane has to offer.

Let’s discuss in brief how you can profit from the footprints of these successful entities, and reach the heights that you have always dreamed of.

1. The Essentiality of Networking

There is a saying in the business world: If you are easily able to count on your fingers the number of business connections that you possess at any given time, you better start working overtime.

In order to grow in any line of business, you must be out in the field connecting with relevant people. These connections will provide you with the referrals that you need for building your client base. In order to build a great network, you need to:

Begin locally: If you are in the same area as the business entities that you are targeting, nothing can be much better. You can introduce yourself and your digital marketing agency with great ease and comfort
Remain focused on your niche: You may find yourself compelled to offer your services to everyone, but you must first find out a target or a niche market. This is because you are an expert in a niche, and it would be best to not lose your focus by attesting to win over everyone.

2. Focus on Your Own Branding

Some digital marketing agencies are so busy working on the branding of others that they simply forget to work on their own brand management. However, the truth is that no one can grow their own business unless they are known well by their own clients and customers. This makes it imperative for digital marketers to keep aside a hefty amount from their budgets to be spent on their own marketing.

3. The Pricing Factor

Pricing is a factor that is very important whether you are making a million-dollar sale, or simply offering a T-shirt. Price is the thing that decides whether the customer will make a purchase or begin looking at other venues. Some of the promising digital marketing agencies have failed because – due to high competition – they wouldn’t charge enough for their clients. On the other hand, some failed simply because they were charging too much.

The pricing may differ for every agency. One of the best ways of arriving at the right pricing is to observe what your main competitors are charging for similar services. You can calculate their average prices, and see if the same price will provide you with a profit after you deduct all the expenses to be incurred on providing the required service. It is never advisable to set your price low in order to satisfy a few customers. You should never sell yourself cheap. Your price should always reflect the value being offered to the clients.

4. Develop Comprehensive Procedures

You should have comprehensive procedures for everything that you are doing, or plan to do. In fact, briefly defined procedures or SOPs are the cornerstones of any good business. These procedures serve as the blueprint for effectively managing the daily operations of the business in an efficient manner.

The reporting procedure should also be completely automated. Rather than typing big proposals every time all over again, there should be templates readily available that can be customized for clients, and sent to them a.s.a.p.

Appalments with clients should also be streamlined with the help of scheduling software. The team should have all the procedures and guidelines readily available so that they are able to carry out their tasks effectively and steadily.

5. Hire Professionals

One of the drawbacks faced by digital marketers and especially the newcomers is that they are unable to handle all the work coming towards them. Of course, it is your duty to deliver all the required work to the customers on time, but it is not essential that you do everything by yourself.

If you are busy doing all the work, how will you plan further growth? This means that you need a team of likeminded professionals who possess the set of necessary skills to assist you in delivering. You can also outsource some of your work to others. This becomes relevant when third parties have the required expertise in a certain field that you do not possess. This could be SEO marketing, Management of social media accounts, and other aspects of digital marketing. Your best option is either to hire people who can carry out the functions for you, or outsource them to third parties

The Final Word

Like in every other thing in life, there is no set formula for success in digital marketing. This is because the situations and circumstances differ from one business to the other. What is relevant for one company, maybe completely irrelevant to another.

However, the tips shared in the above article provide a general overview for digital marketers to follows. Of course, they will need to be taken into account and the unique circumstances in which they are operating, but still, the general rules will apply to each and every company. At the end how you are able to use these tips for your own success is entirely up to you.

The risk of 9 to 5. And the reality of BEFORE and AFTER.

95 percent of all salespeople try to fit their sales day into a normal workday. They want their day to be from 9 to 5, maybe from 8 to 5, maybe even from 8 to 6, but very little before that or after that.

The reality is, that 9 to 5 is the riskiest time and the worst time to make sales. Especially a new sale, a sales call, or a cold call to a prospect. People are busy doing THEIR stuff from 9 to 5.

NOTE WELL: If you have a solid relationship with your customer, and are doing ongoing business, you have a good chance of making a daytime appointment. But a new sale, or a new prospect, you have virtually zero 9 to 5 chance.

And salespeople continually beat their heads against the wall, and sales managers continually demand more activity, even as foolish as cold call, in order to get their numbers up, when in fact numbers do not go up from 9 to 5, unless they are with existing customers.

From 9 to 5, people are busy working, not buying. Real salespeople make sales from 7 to 9 in the morning, and from five until seven or eight in the evening, and at breakfast and lunch.

Only about 5 percent of sales people get this. The 5 percent that make all the sales.

My financial planner, Walter Putnam says, “The best thing to know is: the best time to have meaningful conversation. And the best way to find out is to ask the prospect or customer. And get a date at the same time.” In other words, when you ask the question, make the appointment.

This self-assessment will reveal your opportunities or missed opportunities:

  • How many hours a week are you working or networking BEFORE the workday starts? Five hours a week is a great number.
  • How many hours a week are you working or networking AFTER the workday is over? Five hours a week is a great number.
  • Who are you meeting for early morning coffee? Why not have a daily coffee with a customer?
  • Who are you meeting for breakfast? Why not have 2 business breakfasts a week?
  • Who are you meeting for lunch? Have lunch with an existing customer once a week and bring a prospect for them.
  • Where are you networking before 9 and after 5? At least two events or groups per week.
  • Are you a member of a business development group like BNI? At least one group.
  • Where are your face-to-face meetings occurring in order to maximize your exposure, and your sales opportunities? Where are your sales taking place?
  • Who is NOT returning your calls? WHY?
  • Who is NOT setting an appointment? WHY?

These are challenge questions to determine the productive use of time before and after normal work hours. From 9-5 you’re busy chasing people, leaving voice mails, and being frustrated by a consistent lack of progress. More than half of your time will be wasted (you just don’t know which half).

Sales require relationship building. Not just for loyalty of existing customer base, but also to earn referrals and testimonials. Early and late sales meetings net positive outcomes. And early-late prospecting is MUCH MORE relaxed.

What can you do? Here are 7.5 things to enhance your relationships and your sales results. CAUTION: They require WORK.

1. Establish a mutually agreeable game plan with EACH existing customer. Not just how to sell, but also how you will help them.

2. Discover and document ‘best times,’ ‘best topics,’ and ‘most important.’

3. Reach and engage customers and prospects socially.

4. Meet for early morning coffee every day if you can.

5. Send a weekly value message to everyone.

6. GIVE referrals.

7. Seek leadership positions in every group you join.

7.5 Study your struggles and your successes. Identify where your last ten sales came from, because it’s likely your next ten will come from the same places.

The key point of understanding is the difference between a job in sales, and a dedicated, relationship based sales career. Which do you have?

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

About the Author

Jeffrey GitomerJeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

The Big Picture of Business – The Realities of Branding… Slogans that Mislead

It is both comical and sad to analyze certain promotional hype that one hears. Some companies claim that purchasing their product is the ‘be all, end all’ panacea for life’s dilemmas. If only you will buy their version of ‘The Answer,’ then you can surely fast-forward your way to instant riches, success and an easy life.

This is not written to take swipes at responsible branding, marketing and advertising. More than 80 percent of what one sees and hears is clever, informative, research-based, sensibly executed and intended to orient target audiences toward marketplaces. Advertising fulfills many essential niche needs. Branding is a sub-set of marketing, which is a sub-sub-set of corporate strategy. It needs to reflect and support strategy, not to deter from it.

This is written to address the bigger issue that some companies believe the hype that they are issuing. One most often hears inflated misrepresentations, false perceptions and over-statements via such contexts as:

  • Corporate image spots that appear on TV news shows.
  • Business-to-business publication advertising.
  • Self-promotional brochures.
  • Direct mailings to niche audiences.
  • Catalogs.
  • Cause-related marketing materials.

Some companies are downright parsimonious about themselves. Some either skillfully lie to get what they think they want, or may really believe themselves to be what they hype to publics who don’t know any better.

Many consumers are gullible, ‘name’ crazy and susceptible to grandiose claims. They take what is said at face value because they have not or don’t care to develop abilities to discern what is hyped by others. They believe distortions faster than they believe facts, logic and reason.

This negatively impacts our society, which continually seeks button-pushing answers for life’s complex problems without paying enough dues toward a truly successful life. Consumers naively believe misrepresentations, to the exclusion of organizations which are more conservative, yet substantive, in their informational offerings.

Many of the hucksterisms represent ‘copywriting’ by people who don’t know anything about corporate vision. Their words overstate, get into the media and are accepted by audiences as fact. By default, companies have the appearance of credibility based upon misrepresentations.

Companies put too much of their public persona in the hands of marketers and should examine more closely the distorted messages and partial images which they put into the cyberspace. Our culture hears and believes the hype, without looking beyond the obvious. People come to expect easy answers for questions they haven’t yet taken the time to formulate.

Here are some examples of the misleading and misrepresenting things one sees and hears in the Information Age:

‘Achieve Perfection.’
What they’re really selling: Computer software.
My analysis: There is no such thing in life as perfection, as anyone who had led a meaningful life has learned. Continuous Quality Improvement is a higher level of thinking. Computer software is merely one tool out of many. It cannot single-handedly create quality.

‘Solutions for a Small Planet.’
What they’re really selling: Internet access.
My analysis: It takes more than a keyboard to effect solutions. You need global thinkers, planning, visioning, human interaction, the ability to reason…and much more.

‘Problem Solvers.’
What they’re really selling: Computer technicians.
My analysis: Yes they are, for less than one tenth of one percent of business issues.

‘Helping You Achieve Your Future.’
What they’re really selling: Photocopying equipment.
My analysis: You achieve your own future, with the help of skilled advisors. Once you strategize your life’s plan, it is a good idea to share photocopies of it with others.

‘A Better Life for the People of ____.’
What they’re really selling: Electric power plants.
My analysis: Yes, but how community-responsive are the companies which sell equipment to public utilities. What is their commitment toward literacy, social services, health care, the environment, multicultural diversity and other key issues that really create a better life?

‘Work Smarter, Not Harder.’
What they’re really selling: Computer software.
My analysis: Productivity software does no good unless one commits to change, alters behavioral traits and commits to time management. Then, we move on toward the bigger issues which software is not capable of addressing: what you do with your time, what you contribute and how you grow-succeed.

‘Tap the potential of companies focused on the future.’
What they’re really selling: Stock investments.
My analysis: The stock market looks primarily at profits…one small part (1%) of the business picture. It must also focus upon people, products, processes, procedures and potential.

‘How the Fortune 1000 Made Their Fortune.’
What they’re really selling: Paging equipment.
My analysis: Pagers were not invented when they made their fortunes. Communications is fundamental to maintaining, but technology is only as good as the people using it. The bigger question is: how accessible are the executives, and how is company vision articulated and shared? That’s the kind of communications that really grows companies.

‘Products for Healthy Living.’
What they’re really selling: Skin cream.
My analysis: An overstatement. Health care professionals rank other things higher on the list of priorities.

‘Your Survival Could Depend On It.’
What they’re really selling: Home fire safety gear.
My analysis: Agreed, though I would include continuing education, self-fulfillment and the ability to plan one’s future life to the equation.

‘Change Your Hairstyle as Easily as You Change Your Mind.’
What they’re really selling: Ladies’ hairpieces.
My analysis: Many people (women and men) have trouble changing both…which still reflect the mindsets and self-images of their college days.

‘Speak the Language of Business Success.’
What they’re really selling: Foreign language lessons.
My analysis: English is the international business language, and most people do not use it to best advantage. Workplace illiteracy is much more rampant than people even understand. Many managers have poor people skills, as well as poor verbal-written communications skills. Business writing and public speaking classes should be mandatory. The ability to communicate must be taught to all who wish to attain business success.

‘Develop the Drive to Accomplish Anything.’
What they’re really selling: Motivational tapes.
My analysis: Agreed, in philosophy. They require human development, mentoring, knowledge enhancement and much more to be successful. Tapes alone are not enough. They may start or augment a path of self-growth and success. Tapes cannot take the place of reading.

‘Insightful Advice for a Complex World.’
What they’re really selling: Banking.
My analysis: Financial planning does not constitute global thought on life. It’s 1% of the total picture. Banks buy money wholesale and sell it to borrowers at retail rates. Banks are now trying to compete with financial planners and investment banking houses.

‘Getting you back to the way things once were.’
What they’re really selling: Home owners’ insurance.
My analysis: There is nothing more permanent and positive than change (which is 90% beneficial). Too many people spend much of their lives clinging to the past, fighting change and criticizing those who progress. While insurance is important, nothing should promise a return to the past. That plays into the hands of has-beens.

‘Enhancing Your Life at Home.’
What they’re really selling: Outdoor signage.
My analysis: To facilitate enhancement, focus upon quality time with the family, hobbies, reading, exercise, gardening and entertaining guests.

‘The Spirit of Excellence.’
What they’re really selling: Residential real estate.
My analysis: Price and location are the deciding factors in real estate. Knowledge of the agents is the next factor. While all companies should achieve excellence in what they do, no single organization embodies it all.

‘Your opportunity of a lifetime is here. You owe it to yourself and your family to be successful.’
What they’re really selling: Multi-level marketing, home-based business.
My analysis: The language of infomercials often preys upon low-income and low-esteem people. It alleges that their scheme is the only true way to riches…which is a quick path toward a successful family life. Obviously, they are mixing messages to sell their programs. Life is a series of progressions, choices, dues-paying and self-earned successes. There is no substitution for diligence and hard work.

‘Has All the Trappings of a Box Office Sensation.’
What they’re really selling: Trucks.
My analysis: That means that it’s based upon flash, sizzle and hucksterism. This week’s box office sensation will be forgotten soon enough. There’s always another waiting to take its place. Why do TV newscasts devote so much valuable airtime to show box office grosses for movies? That’s not news. Further, it reinforces the erroneous message that sales rankings are the primary measure of a company or product. Anybody who hangs their hat upon changeable, temporary rankings is headed for a fall. The public also loves to see celebrities, products, trends and cultural icons fall just as quickly as they rise. It’s a sick phenomena. Nothing – not even reputable films – should be judged only by fickle box office ratings.

‘Accelerate Your Business.’
What they’re really selling: Computer software.
My analysis: Not every company grows at the same rate. Database software does not make a company grow. It is a tool of people who put thought, planning, products and processes into perspective. Computer ‘consultants’ are not business strategists. Their product is one out of hundreds of business tools and must, therefore, be kept into proper perspective.

‘Improving Health Care in America.’
What they’re really selling: Data processing systems.
My analysis: Managing data and managing doctors (which is tough to do) are not the same thing. Non-core vendors do not and cannot improve the quality of a client’s core business. Products and services assist the bureaucracy to do its job more efficiently but cannot claim credit for Big Picture success of a client’s entire industry. In the case of health care, it’s more of a societal phenomenon that goes beyond the controls of its industry, providers and vendors.

‘Brewing solutions for a better environment.’
What they’re really selling: Packaged beverages.
My analysis: It is misleading to list the charities one has supported in one’s history, especially to prove a deceiving point. When you’re in the business of manufacturing and marketing packaged beverages, it is misleading to suggest that you’re in the business of protecting the environment. Cause related marketing is wonderful, but a company that exploits one cause may paint a partial (and thus false) picture of itself.

‘The Internet is fast becoming the greatest business revolution ever.’
What they’re really selling: Computer software.
My analysis: The Internet is a vehicle for sales and marketing. History tells us that revolutions are never fast. For terms like ‘greatest,’ try practical experience, learning, planning and human communication with colleagues…qualities which a sales vehicle cannot provide.

‘The Bumpy Road to Success Made Smooth.’
What they’re really selling: Small business banking services.
My analysis: Banking, like computer hardware and software, is a tool of the trade…not a driving force. Success is a long process, based upon how well one takes the turns. There are no shortcuts to true success.

Red Flag Expressions: When You Hear, Beware of False Claims!

Family Tradition
Fastest Growing
In One Easy Lesson
#1 in Sales
World Class
Wealth and Riches
The Best
For All Your Needs

‘Our Mission.’
What they’re really selling: Retail merchandise.
My analysis: Beware of that phrase in advertising. It’s a sales ploy. Retailers are motivated by keeping the cash registers ringing. It’s unlikely that sales people know what a Mission Statement and the Strategic Planning process are. To confuse sales and Big Picture messages is a travesty.

‘Family Tradition.’
What they’re really selling: Usually retailers, restaurants, service companies.
My analysis: If the founder is still active in the business and is accessible to customers, then the reputation is upheld. Dysfunctional family-run businesses reflect dysfunctional families. Hiring blood relatives, in-laws and old friends is not always good business. A few pull their share, and others coast on the certainty of nepotism. Research shows the odds are against family businesses going past a second generation, for these and other reasons. Tradition is a red flag expression because it implies that change has not occurred. Nobody does things exactly as they did in the early days. To say they do is deceptive to customers, employees and the good family name. Tradition and maintaining the status quo are two different concepts. Real tradition is predicated upon change management and steady evolution of the business.

7 Defeating Signs for Growth Companies

When a company says they are the ‘Fastest Growing,’ beware! These circumstances are likely in place, each of which will defeat their claims:

  1. Systems are not in place to handle rapid growth…perhaps never were.
  2. Their only interest is in booking more new business, rather than taking care of what they’ve already got.
  3. Management is relying upon financial people as the primary source of advice, while ignoring the rest of the picture (90%).
  4. Team empowerment suffers. Morale is low or uneven. Commitment from workers drops because no corporate culture was created or sustained.
  5. Customer service suffers during fast-growth periods. They have to back-pedal and recover customer confidence by doing surveys. Even with results of deteriorating customer service, growth-track companies pay lip service to really fixing their own problems.
  6. People do not have the same Vision as the company founder…who has likely not taken enough time to fully develop a Vision and obtain buy-in from others.
  7. Company founder remains arrogant and complacent, losing touch with marketplace realities and changing conditions.

‘Caring for the Community.’
What they’re really selling: Perceived corporate self-image.
My analysis: Television stations are notorious about producing and airing self-serving promotional campaigns. They ‘care’ about the community. The bulk of their ‘caring’ is to promote local newscasts, which are their most lucrative sources of advertising revenue.

They say they are facilitating community dialog. Most available public service time, instead of going to non-profit organizations, is sold to corporations. Cause-related marketing packages have the ‘feel-good’ look of public service but are really disguised ad campaigns to promote corporate agendas and produce more revenues for the TV stations.

Newspapers brag about all they donate toward educating the community. What they’re really ‘donating’ is unsold ad space. They make up by increasing rates of advertisers…offering cause-related marketing packages as incentives.

When one media insists upon having exclusive name rights to a special event, that’s the kiss of death. For years, I’ve recommended to charities that they not put all their eggs in one basket. If one media is the ‘name sponsor,’ then that will negate coverage by other media. Charities rationalize that exclusivity gets them more intensive coverage than would a ‘shotgun publicity’ approach…which is not true and has never been proven so.

Name media are also notorious about failing to give all the exposure that they promised, citing advertising commitments as the overriding factor. This is truthful because media companies are firstly in the business of running advertising. Running programming and local news coverage is just the ‘wrap-around’ to generate audiences for advertisers. At the bottom of the totem pole sits coverage of community activities…unless they can sell advertising around it.

‘In One Easy Lesson.’
What they’re really selling: A quick fix, or a quick way to get company buy-in.
My analysis: Meaningful strategy, improvement and change are not achieved via quick fixes. They also need not be long drawn-out processes. Reasonable timelines may be achieved. Company growth or success cannot be accomplished In One Easy Lesson because human beings require more than once to learn meaningful lessons…plus the time and attention necessary to put lessons learned to good use.

What they’re really selling: Their way of producing and selling.
My analysis: Human behavior training tells us that judgmental qualifiers like ‘good, bad, mean, evil and better’ are self-defeating. To be better is to slam someone else.

‘#1 in Sales.’
What they’re really selling: You should buy from them, since so many others do.
My analysis: #1 is for now. Sales rankings constantly change. To buy only because a company hypes that they are #1 is not a valid reason. Buy what you want…from a company that you respect. Also, if they’re #1, you’re just another sales statistic and customer service will suffer commensurately to the numbers behind whom you must stand in line.

‘World Class.’
What they’re really selling: If you want to be associated with a winner, buy from them.
My analysis: The organization that claims ‘world class’ is trying too hard to be put in the league of others. ‘World class’ is not self-bestowed…it is earned via a long track record.

‘Wealth and Riches.’
What they’re really selling: Their product is all that you need.
My analysis: There are no shortcuts to wealth and riches. Nobody will give away their secrets. Pyramid marketing schemes take advantage of failed hopes and ungrounded wishes. As P.T. Barnum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

‘The Best.’
What they’re really selling: Temporary rankings.
My analysis: There are too many ups and downs in business, without proclaiming yourself in a position for others to dispute or attack. Being successful in the long-run is much more admirable than being temporarily ‘the best.’

‘For All Your Needs.’
What they’re really selling: Wanna-be syndrome.
My analysis: No product or service fulfills all of a customer’s needs. To suggest otherwise is narrow-minded. The more self-assured business makes long lists of what it doesn’t do. It knows and relishes its niche, without trying to be all things to all people.

Now, to Salute Good Examples of Slogans and, thus, Company Posturing

As many misleading statements and campaigns there are, I would like to cite some of the ones that I respect. These prove that marketing can be compelling, thought provoking and intriguing at the same time. Here are some that I salute:

Better Grades Are Just the Beginning. Sylvan Learning Centers. This illustrates that continuous quality improvement is a process, not a quick fix. I heartily agree that learning is the key to everything else in life and that it must be planned and nurtured.

The Difference is Planning. Merrill Lynch. Agreed, although financial planning (a subset of Branch 3 on The Business Tree) constitutes less than 1% of full-scope organizational planning. If every consultant and vendor would advocate a cohesive approach to planning, directed toward a Big Picture, then organizations would run better and individuals would lead quality lives.

It’s All in How You Look At It. The New York Times. Bravo. Very insightful. Perspective is everything…continually changing, reflective and powerful for our future.

Look and You See the World Around You. Investor Owned Light and Power Companies. If one ages gracefully, they become more perceptive and enjoy life better. Otherwise, they stagnate. The choice is up to the individual (and any organization, as well).

Silence is Acceptance. Public service campaign to facilitate discussions about drug abuse. Many families abdicate responsibilities for parenting to schools, the community or to anybody but themselves. Organizations reflect their own lack of training about people skills and management issues. They either cannot or won’t try to teach what they were not taught. Managers tell employees what not to do and criticize them for being wrong. Yet, it’s their fault because ground rules were not adequately communicated, nor has mentorship occurred. Doing nothing causes much more organizational damage than making mistakes while operating in good faith. Silence (followed by harsh criticism) is the worst way to communicate.

We Make Money the Old Fashioned Way. We Earn It. Smith Barney. Business is a process, not a sure thing. Companies which are prepared to ‘go the distance’ will reap greater rewards, including financial.

Touches the Lives of Just About Everybody. General Electric. If more companies thought of the implications of what they do upon multiple constituencies, they would do a better job. Don’t think in the ‘micro.’ Think more ‘macro’ about who decisions and policies affect.

Life Is About Learning. Depends undergarments. Absolutely. Maturity is a process. Too many young people don’t know that, or care. Too many ‘mature’ people have ceased to continue learning. The really wise ones learn each year… in a continuum of experiences.

The mantle of greatness cannot be earned in a single summer or in a decade. Greatness is earned over an entire career. Rolex Watches. Yes, indeed. Too many people want the acclaim of their seniors but are not willing to do the things that their seniors did to get there. Wanna-be’s generally will not go the distance because they don’t take the time to amass skills for success. Those who achieve long-term do so because of a plan to succeed, commitment to their profession, people skills, community stewardship, participation in mentorship, ongoing professional development, self-fulfillment and a positive attitude.

Characteristics of Good Slogans-Campaigns and, thus, Company Philosophy

Focus upon the customer.
Honor the employees.
Show life as a process, not a quick fix.
Portray their company as a contributor, not a savior.
Clearly defines their niche.
Say things that inspire you to think.
Compatible with the company’s other communications.
Remain consistent with their products, services and track record.

About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.

The Big Picture of Business – Tribute to Dick Clark

First-ever article on Dick Clark, as a business case study. Motivating pop culture piece designed to foster better, more successful companies.

Dick ClarkThe passing of Dick Clark brought about widespread nostalgia and cultural interaction in our culture. Those of us who have known and worked with him will never forget his humor, his sense of fairness, his encouraging ways, the optimistic disposition, the gut instinct and the lasting impacts that he made on our later successes.

I started out my career by aspiring to be like Dick Clark. Thanks to great mentors, I learned to be my own best self, a visionary thinker and a repository of great case studies. I appeared on radio and TV with him, as well as on conference stages. It was he who encouraged your own leadership qualities, because your success ultimately honored him.

As a onetime radio disc jockey who evolved into a business guru, I offer this tribute to Dick Clark as a corporate and entrepreneurial study in excellence.

Dick Clark grew up working in a radio station in Utica, New York, perfecting the talk and the interest in music. He realized that music styles changed rapidly and that their cultural impact affected. When opportunity came calling, he was ready, willing and able. He replaced other DJ’s as host of a local bandstand show at WFIL-TV in Philadelphia, switching his musical emphasis from big bands and easy listening music to the emerging rock n’ roll. His bandstand show was a runaway hit and quickly was picked up by the ABC-TV network as a daily after-school show aimed at teens.

The success of ‘American Bandstand’ spawned a weekly TV music variety series from New York, ‘The Dick Clark Beechnut Show,’ which in turn inspired concert tours, ‘The Dick Clark Caravan of Stars.’ He appeared in movies, as a teacher in ‘Because They’re Young’ and a doctor in ‘The Young Doctors.’ He was clean-cut, respectful and mannerly, thus bringing legitimacy to rock n’ roll.

With the celebrity, he was hired to guest-star as an actor in TV shows such as ‘Stoney Burke,’ ‘Adam-12,’ ‘Honey West,’ ‘Branded,’ ‘Lassie,’ ‘Ben Casey,’ ‘Coronet Blue’ and ‘Burke’s Law.’ He played the last villain on the last episode of the ‘Perry Mason’ weekly TV series.

The 1963 move from Philadelphia to California launched Dick Clark Productions. Though ‘American Bandstand’ was owned by the network, he mounted what became a 50-year span of programs that he owned, produced and nurtured, including ‘The People’s Choice Awards,’ ‘Where the Action Is,’ ‘Live Wednesday,’ ‘American Dreams,’ ‘The Happening,’ ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve,’ ‘Academy of Country Music Awards,’ ‘Super Bloopers and Practical Jokes,’ ‘American Music Awards,’ specials, TV movies, game shows and more.

To go to his office and have meetings was like being in a museum. You sat at his desk in antique barber chairs, wrote on roll-top desks and enjoyed furnishings from nostalgic shops. Big band music played from a Wurlitzer juke box, and classic cars adorned the parking lot.

These are some of the principles that I developed myself but do credit being inspired by Dick Clark. I’ve taught them to others and shared with him as well:

  • As times change, the nature of ‘nostalgia’ changes. Each entertainment niche may not be your ‘cup of tea,’ but relating to others will create common bonds and exhibits leadership.
  • People are more products of the pop culture than they are of formal business training. They make strategic decisions based upon cultural memories. I would ask corporate executives to articulate core values, and they could only recite meaningful song lyrics, movie lines and quotes. That’s why I developed the Pop Culture Wisdom concept, to interpolate from the cultural icons into business jargon and workable policies.
  • Companies and industries need to embrace change sooner, rather than becoming a victim of it later. The entertainment industry is the best at being flexible, spotting new trends, changing with the times, packaging creative concepts and leading cultural charges. Other industries could well learn from the entertainment business practices.
  • Applying humility and humanity helps in bringing people together. Music is something that everyone relates to. Finding common ground about the zeal and joys inherent in running a company results in better buy-in and support of the goals.
  • A lot of people in show business asked Dick Clark for advice. He had a lot of wise business sense, and the best came from gut instincts. My gut is usually right. If something feels wrong, then it is. If it is a good move to make, then I cite precedents as to what led to that recommendation. Trusting your gut comes from long experience, for which there are no shortcuts.
  • Dick Clark was good about treating the teenagers as friends and with respect. He never came across as a scolding parent but rather as a friendly uncle. Long-term business success is a function of developing stakeholders and empowering them to do positive things with your company.
  • Dick Clark Productions had a select list of projects. The take-back for business is to grow in consistent fashion, sustaining the down times with realistic activities.
  • I recommend that organizations periodically revisit their earlier successes. Learn from case studies elsewhere in the marketplace. Review what you once did correctly and how your competitors failed. It is important to link nostalgia to the future. We can like and learn from the past without living in it.

Dick Clark liked to celebrate the successes of others. I’ve found that reciting precedents of successful strategy tends to inspire others to re-examine their own. Here are some other lessons that he taught us:

  • Be a mentor and inspire others.
  • Learn as you grow.
  • Periodically celebrate the heritage.
  • Be inclusive.
  • Be ethical.
  • Give the public more than you need to.

7 Levels of Mentoring and Lifelong Learning:

  1. Conveying Information. Initial exposure to the coaching process. One-time meeting or conference between mentors and mentees. The mentor is a resource for business trends, societal issues, opportunities. The coach is active listener, mentors on values, actions.
  2. Imparting Experiences. The mentor becomes a role model. Insight offered about own life-career. Reflection strengthens the mentor and shows mentee levels of thinking and perception which were not previously available to the mentee.
  3. Encouraging Actions. The mentor is an advocate for progress, change. Empowers the mentee to hear, accept, believe and get results. Sharing of feelings, trust, ideas, philosophies.
  4. Paving the Way. The mentor endorses the mentee…wants his-her success. Messages ways to approach issues, paths in life to take. Helps draw distinctions. Paints picture of success.
  5. Wanting the Best. Continuing relationship between the mentor and mentee. Progress is visioned, contextualized, seeded, benchmarked. Accountability-communication by both sides.
  6. Advocating, Facilitating. The mentor opens doors for the mentee. The mentor requests pro-active changes of mentee, evaluates realism of goals, offers truths about path to success and shortcomings of mentee’s approaches. Bonded collaboration toward each other’s success.
  7. Sharing Profound Wisdom. The mentor stands for mentees throughout careers, celebrates successes. Energy coaching and love-respect for each other continues throughout the relationship. Mentor actively recruits fellow business colleagues to become mentors. Lifelong dedication toward mentorship…in all aspects of one’s life.

Truisms of Careers and Business Success:

  • Whatever measure you give will be the measure that you get back.
  • There are no free lunches in life.
  • The joy is in the journey, not in the final destination.
  • The best destinations are not pre-determined in the beginning, but they evolve out of circumstances.
  • Most circumstances can be strategized, for maximum effectiveness.
  • You gotta give in order to get something of value back.
  • Getting and having are not the same thing.
  • One cannot live entirely through work.
  • One doesn’t just work to live.
  • As an integrated process of life skills, a career has its important place.
  • A body of work doesn’t just happen. It’s the culmination of a thoughtful, dedicated process…carefully strategized from some point forward.
  • The objective is to begin that strategizing point sooner rather than later

I’ll close this tribute to Dick Clark with some of the songs from American Bandstand that have applicability to business strategy:

“Did you ever have to make up your mind? It’s not often easy and not often kind. Did you ever have to finally decide? Say yes to one and let the other one ride? There’s so many changes and tears you must hide.” John Sebastian and the Lovin’ Spoonful (1965)

“Do you know the way to San Jose? In a week or two, they’ll make you a star. And all the stars that ever were are parking cars and pumping gas.” Sung by Dionne Warwick. Written by Burt Bacharach & Hal David (1968)

“Don’t you want me baby? You know I can’t believe it when I hear that you won’t see me. It’s much too late to find you think you’ve changed your mind. You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry.” The Human League (1982)

“How will I know if he really loves me? Tell me, is it real love? How will I know if he’s thinking of me? If he loves me… if he loves me not…” Whitney Houston (1986)

“See the girl with the diamond ring? She knows how to shake that thing. See the girl with the red dress on? She can dance all night long.” Ray Charles (1959)

“What is love? Five feet of heaven in a pony tail… the cutest pony tail that sways with a wiggle when she walks.” The Playmates (1958)

“What’s your name? Is it Mary or Sue? Do I stand a chance with you? It’s so hard to find a personality with charms like yours for me. Ooh wee.” Don and Juan (1962)

“Each night I ask the stars up above, why must I be a teenager in love?” Dion and the Belmonts (1959)

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older? Wouldn’t it be nice to live in the kind of world where we belong? Happy times together, we’d be spending. Maybe if we think and wish and hope and pray, it might come true.” The Beach Boys (1966)

“I’ve looked at life from both sides now. Those bright illusions I recall. I really don’t know life at all.” Judy Collins (1968)

“There ain’t no good guys. There ain’t no bad guys. There’s only you and me, and we just disagree.” Dave Mason

“Life goes on… after the thrill of living is gone.” John Mellencamp, “Jack and Diane” (1982)

“I’ve found the paradise that’s trouble-free. On the roof’s the only place I know, where you just have to wish to make it so.” Sung by The Drifters. Written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin (1962)

About the Author

Hank Moore has advised 5,000+ client organizations worldwide (including 100 of the Fortune 500, public sector agencies, small businesses and non-profit organizations). He has advised two U.S. Presidents and spoke at five Economic Summits. He guides companies through growth strategies, visioning, strategic planning, executive leadership development, Futurism and Big Picture issues which profoundly affect the business climate. He conducts company evaluations, creates the big ideas and anchors the enterprise to its next tier. The Business Tree™ is his trademarked approach to growing, strengthening and evolving business, while mastering change. To read Hank’s complete biography, click here.