Roy's Blog: January 2017

January 30, 2017

How can I stand-out from the crowd? 10 steps to follow…

People always ask me how they can stand out from the crowd.

Here are 10 critical steps to take:

1. Ask yourself the question “How can I do this differently?” Just having the subject top of mind will lead you in the right direction. Ask yourself this question everyday!

2. Purge every aspect of copying from your being. This is tough because it’s almost second nature to benchmark best in class and apply best practices.
We have been conditioned to believe that we are better off when we follow the best in the herd. Nonsense. All we have done is temporarily change our position in it.

3. Look at what everyone else is doing then do the opposite. Amazing results are achieved by contrarian acts.

4. Learn to focus on the critical few things you need to be successful. It’s so tempting to chase the possibilities that are out there but the problem is that you are busy but ineffective in delivering quality results. DiFFERENT people are “mindlessly” focused on a few critical things that are not on anyone else’s radar.

5. Shed the “CRAP” that gets in the way of your ability to focus on your key priorities. Holding on to “comfy food” may satisfy your appetite but it won’t enable your quest to stand-out from the herd.

6. Hook up with weird people. If you’re going to seek stimulation from others, lean in to people who don’t follow the rules and have “off the wall” views.

Peculiar

7. Be the first to take on new projects. Covet opportunities to offer standard solutions to radical problems that have not been addressed before. Your solution to a new problem will carry the DiFFERENT tag.

8. Loosen up on planning; tighten up on execution. Most people think the value is in the plan; don’t go with them. Jump in to the messy inelegant world of implementation where results get delivered. DiFFERENT people get stuff done; they don’t sit around pondering possibilities.

9. Be imperfect (a lot). While others are seeking the impossible dream of perfection DiFFERENT people are achieving results. Get as much stuff as you can “just about right” and hit the ground running.

10. Recover when you make a mistake (and you will, that’s what execution artists do). Fix your mistake (because that’s what people expect) and surprise them with something they DON’T expect. You will be remembered for your risk taking and brilliance of recovery. Your mistake will quickly be forgotten.

There is no scientific formula to get you out of the herd of commonality but these 10 steps will do the job.

I know. They worked for me.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
7 factors that will sustain competitive differentiation
Don’t MAKE the list; DO the list
Does “sameness” really kill?

  • Posted 1.30.17 at 05:02 am by Roy Osing
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January 23, 2017

Once you create it how do you keep it? 7 factors that will sustain differentiation

A competitive advantage is hard enough to create; it’s even more difficult to keep.

It’s inevitable. Once you carve out your uniqueness in the market, the “competitive hordes” see it and copy what they like.

Everyone loves benchmarking the best, so once you step out and lead the pack, expect others to dissect what you’ve done and pick out their favourite morsel.

There is no preventing this. It’s one of the few things in business that CAN be predicted with certainty.

Once you’re “done” your work, it’s not over. You have to keep your feet moving.

You need to put in motion actions that will sustain your market position.

These 7 tactics will help.

1. Monitor the execution of your strategy monthly. Be obsessed with your performance. Dig into the revenue numbers. If you fall short, determine EXACTLY why. And then take immediate action to resolve (and monitor that).

2. Assess the value you provide. Is your value proposition still relevant? Are you continuing to address a real compelling need your target customer group has expressed?
Many companies have died by becoming complacent and assuming they continue to be relevant. They see margins decline and see it as a cost problem. It rarely is. It’s a revenue problem. They slash and burn their organization but spend no time assessing relevance.
They often cut out service and marketing capabilities that are sorely needed to rebound.

3. Create a strong social media presence to monitor what people are saying. Act immediately on any concerns raised over your performance.

4. Test your competitive claim with both customers and employees. Successful organizations have a clear statement of how they are different than their competitors. They answer the question “Why should I buy from YOU and not your competition?” in a compelling way.
Your positioning statement must meet the test of “Is it relevant?” (does it continue to address the high priority needs of the target group) and “Is it true?” (do you actually do what you claim?).

5. Stay close to your main competitors. Their actions in the market are useful in assessing if there are actions you need to take to sustain your momentum. Look for any activity they have had with your customers.

6. Continue to bear down on delivering memorable experiences for your customers. Competitive advantage is more about how people FEEL about you than the cleverness of your product.
“Emotional” experiences produce unforgettable memories which translate into your customers never wanting the exit door to find someone better.

Feel

7. Review your marketing plans and programs to ensure you are moving inexorably to “ME” and away from flogging to the masses. A focus on the individual drives you to create unique solutions for them personally. Catering to the masses dilutes your customer attention rate and your brand; heroes for people earns the right to do business with them for a long time.
Keep the move to “ME” going!

Driving your competitive stake in the ground is merely the beginning of a never ending journey of continual renewal.

Stay with it.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
Don’t MAKE the list; DO the list
Does “sameness” really kill?
How to create a competitive claim that stands out from your competition

  • Posted 1.23.17 at 04:49 am by Roy Osing
  • Permalink

January 16, 2017

Don’t MAKE the list; DO the list

Too much energy is consumed on making the list.

There is something gratifying about jotting down all the things you need to do. It quenches one’s thirst for being organized and for wanting some control over one’s life generally complicated by too many things to do with insufficient time and financial resources to do them.

When we complete the list we feel that we have accomplished something.

The longer the list, the more pleased we feel as the long list represents mastering the translation of our complicated and ever changing personal world into concrete terms.

We spend considerable time making the list and managing the list when changes are required.

Frequently we lose the list.

Occasionally we are unable the decipher items on the list due to the abbreviated language we use to “save time” making it.

And list making teaches a bad habit, namely that if you write an action plan down it will happen.

We all know this is delusional thinking. The list is never completed the way it was originally conceived yet we continue to pour our energy into making the list knowing (hopefully) that it is a draft at best.

It’s time to change the list dynamic from MAKING the list to DOING the list. I know it’s called a To Do list, but it’s realły a statement of intent: “(I intend)To Do” is the common interpretation of what the list means however the “Do” action piece normalły gets short shrift.

It’s time to rid ourselves of good intentions; cut back on the time spent on creating the list and increase the time spent on DOING it.

The list is an imperfect “creature” anyway; it will never be 100% complete. Tomorrow something will come up that will render the list or a portion of it irrelevant. And the list will have to be revised.

Here are some quick-hit suggestions to DO the list.

1. Think short term. What absolutely must get done in the next 7 days? If you think beyond the next week you allow intentions to guide the list, you waste time and DO nothing.

2. Limit the list to not more than 3 things. You can’t DO more and if you think you can, you are falling victim to intentions.

3. Allocate the 3 DO items to the 7 days you have available. Space them out; don’t cram them in to one or two days where time constraints could impair your ability to execute.

4. Don’t allocate the full 7 days to your DO items. Leave some spare time to deal with temporary unexpected events (which will always happen) that distract you from your list.

5. Stay focused and avoid multitasking. “Get-one-done; move-on-to-the-next” is the formula for DO. Some argue that sequential action is unimaginative; perhaps, but it gets things done.

6. When an item on the list is done, strike it off but don’t replace it with anything. This could jeopardize the remaining item(s). You are on a 7-day DO cycle; new items will be listed at the start of the next cycle.

7. Develop the next list at the end of the 6th day. Carry over incomplete tasks if they are still a high priority. Incorporate what you have learned from DOING in the current cycle.

Apply this template to your career and your job where success is measured by what you DO, not by your intentions.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
Does “sameness” really kill?
How to create a competitive claim that stands out from your competition
8 proven ways to build marketing muscle

  • Posted 1.16.17 at 04:16 am by Roy Osing
  • Permalink

January 6, 2017

Does “sameness” really kill?

BE DiFFERENT or be dead.

The implication is that if you’re NOT DiFFERENT, sooner or later you will be irrelevant and you will “die”.

Sameness kills.

The path to organizational death is predictable.

Sales revenue declines because the value proposition of the organization is limp; it has no distinctive substance.

People stop buying because the company’s offerings are no longer relevant; they no longer serve a compelling need. They lose their “edge” that was the original reason people bought from them and not their competition. Their product portfolio is now common and indistinguishable from that offered by others.

Customers migrate away, looking for more value for their money; to get their specific needs satisfied.

Price cutting is invoked as the salvation, believing that lower prices will increase sales volumes. Footnote: with a limp value proposition, driving prices down also drives revenue down. Most products in the commodity category are price elastic folks!

With revenues going south, management decrees that costs be reduced to preserve operating margins. Across-the-board cost cutting is ordered as a “balanced” approach which means customer serving functions get whacked; fewer frontline people are expected to handle increased volumes of calls (from the price reductions).

Customer service suffers.

Customers look for alternative suppliers. Degenerating service creates an immediate disloyalty response. Customers find it easy to switch suppliers since so many alternatives are in their faces; they are coveted by many other providers.

Revenues spiral downward; margins are squeezed; more costs are sliced from company operations; customers are casualties.

It’s a relentless cycle.

Leadership looks for a short term strategy to reverse the trend; they are forced to abandon a longer term growth view.

The organization looks to acquisitions as a “fast and easy” way to expand their customer base and bolster their revenue line. This process burns valuable time and people resources and is limited by financial capabilities due to shrinking margins and an unhealthy balance sheet.

Acquisition activities shift priorities away from fixing the @home value proposition issues to assessing potential acquisition candidates and determine how to integrate the winner into the buyer’s overall operations and culture.

Revenues continue to decline; confidence erodes.

The cycle becomes entrenched; the organization explores selling off assets to improve financial results.

No investments are made in solving the endemic value proposition issue they face.

It’s not a matter IF they will die; it’s a question of WHEN it will happen - how long can they hang on.

When customers start to leave, they are telling you that you are becoming irrelevant; you don’t have any uniqueness relative to your competitors.

You are the SAME as them.

Fix THAT problem and the revenue line will take care of itself.

Cheers,
Roy
Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

Recent articles you might like
How to create a competitive claim that stands out from your competition
8 proven ways to build marketing muscle
The price cutting game is insanity not good marketing

  • Posted 1.6.17 at 06:15 am by Roy Osing
  • Permalink