Leading a Company; Read a Book & Stay Current

Small companies do have their particular challenges, that is for sure.  Starting with senior managers wearing too many hats and having not enough time to invest in current best practices.  This can lead to discontent and apathy among employees, which can then result in high-turnover.

A second problem we meet is owners who lack vision, with the inability to see the big picture.  Too many times this is due to a skewed focus towards achieving only short-term objectives, which can range from meeting quarterly sales, preparing for the next trade show or implementing a sales promotion.

The third problem we discover is that there are always people in the wrong places, managers and key decision-makers who either don’t have the skill-set or the knowledge to move the company forward.  Basically learning their way at the cost of their employees.

The fourth challenge, which is the most popular is that too often there is an over concentration, an unbalanced level of importance on the creativity, the image, the background, the font…, well you get. 

Harsh?  Yes and yet, true.  If a company wants to move forward, here are our suggestions:

1. Learn marketing 101.

This ranges from finding out what is permission based tactics and why purchased lists are not good branding programs.  This also includes understanding the history and implementing simple legalities such as why it is necessary to keep the company’s address in an e-newsletter, the importance of having a privacy policy on your website to definitions on what is great customer service which includes asking before just placing a client’s logo on your website.

2.  Read often

According to a number of recent studies*, business people who read at least seven business books a year earn over 2.3 times more than those who read only one book per year. 

Why?

One reason is they have a constant flow of new ideas and strategies they can use to help their careers, their teams and their companies.

When someone continually invests in themselves either by reading a business book, subscribing to our blog or attending a leadership conference with the aim to be the best one can be; would this certainly offer more opportunity for your business.

And, more opportunity means more money!

There are many wonderful books, blogs and conferences helps companies define processes, make better decisions and remove the micro-level management that can come with not seeing the big picture.

Here is our recommended reading list.

3.  Understand the difference between micro-management versus project based mandates

Too much time spent on the creative that never makes any money for a company.  We are not talking about consumer products, like a new soda or cleaning product.  We are talking about a flyer for a trade show or a promotional give-away, like a pen.

Another true and harsh fact.

A story….

We once spent an entire meeting on explaining why it is better to create value-add content in a USB key, instead of printing everything that can fit, including your mother’s face outside the USB.  It is a waste of money and energy.  Folks, you can hand out all the USB China can make and you still won’t get the leads you want, because there is nothing of value inside the USB key.

4. Understand strategy.

Marketing strategy is asking senior manager to make decisions, and that is strategy.  Making tough decisions.

Most small companies don’t have a strategy.

They go everywhere thinking that is a strategy.  They get a call from India, they are now in India.  They have one client in Columbia, they are now in Columbia.  Without market research, back-end support or SWOT analysis, they simply run after the sale.

And, what do we say when companies run after the sale?  If you’ve followed us for a while, you know our opinion in this area.


* Sources: United States Department of Labor, Survey by Yahoo! Chief Solutions Officer Tim Sanders and Business Majors. Heidi Richards Mooney, Founder – Women in Ecommerce.

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