Roy's Blog: August 2017

August 28, 2017

What happens when startups avoid these 2 easy questions?

Some say 9 out of 10 new businesses fail.

Others say 50% will not make it 5 years.

Ignore the precision of the numbers and you are left with the inescapable conclusion that when you start a business there is a very good chance you will fail.

Why is the mortality rate so high for startups?

Startup survival

These four explanations are typically used to explain failure.

1. They don’t have sufficient financial resources; they run out of money. They are unable to attract enough investors who believe in their idea. The founder is no longer able to continue at “zero pay”.

2. They don’t have people with the marketing competencies required to turn the new “brave idea” into a market reality. They are unable to communicate a value proposition that captures the attention of their audience and entices them to support it.

3. Their product doesn’t address a compelling market need; the problem it is solving is not easy to explain. It doesn’t resonate with anyone. People have to think too much.

4. Their solution is basically the same as their competition. There is no differentiation; it’s not distinctive or unique. Cover your eyes and the solution provider could be any one of a number of players in the market.

All choices are contributing factors to be sure, but the main culprits are first, a product that doesn’t capture the imagination of the target market and second, the absence of clear competitive differentiation.

Without a compelling solution and a value proposition that stands out from the competition you will undoubtedly fall victim to the grim reaper sooner or later.

Two questions that startup leaders should ask themselves:

1. “What common problem (i.e. virtually everyone is aware of it) does my product solution solve?” How easy is it to explain?  To people “get it” right away? Is it intended for a large segment of the market, or a small specialized group?
If it takes an hour to describe how your solution “talks to” the problem, and if it is targeted to a small specialized niche, you could be in trouble.
People are attracted to products that have broad social appeal. It doesn’t take long to explain, for example, why a solution to “distracted driving” would be valuable to have.

2. “Why should a potential customer do business with you and no one else?” The world is full of hungry competitors; what makes you special enough to have potential customers consider you and ONLY you for the solution you provide?
If you can’t clearly separate your solution from the competitive herd, you will be invisible and go unnoticed - and your money will most likely run out.

If you offer a no brainer solution to a problem that the world understands and if you are the ONLY ones who offer it the way you do, you will have a long and rewarding business life.

If not, join the statistics.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 8.28.17 at 12:54 am by Roy Osing
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August 25, 2017

Air Canada: this is what happens when your policies are really dumb

Does this seem reasonable to you?

Air Canada flight from London Heathrow to Vancouver.

I am sitting with my granddaughter about to be served lunch.

I ask the flight attendant for 2 white wine when she delivers our meal — my motivation was to avoid her having to come back later to give me another bottle.

Air canada

She replies that she can’t give me 2 bottles because their policy is to offer only 1 wine at a time.

When I question her about the reason behind the policy, she tells me that “It’s to control drinking on the aircraft.”

I get the reasoning but surely such a dumb rule requires some common sense when it’s applied.

I was sitting with my granddaughter for heavens sakes; pretty obvious I wasn’t looking to party and not a threat to disturbing the peace onboard.

But the policy was the policy and it was clear the flight attendant was not empowered to bend the rule in my particular case. The assumption was that I was like every other passenger in the past who drank too much and caused them a problem.

My takeaways from this experience:

— Air Canada has no idea what serving people is all about;

— Air Canada believes that solving a potential problem requires that every passenger be treated the same regardless of circumstance;

— Air Canada doesn’t believe in empowering their people to do the right thing for the customer;

— Air Canada thinks they have the right to be a “big brother” and control the customer experience rather than try to accommodate a reasonable request.

Air Canada continues to talk about how great their customer service is, but they have no idea what they’re talking about.

My intent is not to beat Air Canada up but to emphasize how critical it is to have policies applied with reason to each customer circumstance and not carte blanche to everyone. And to empower frontline people to apply their own judgement in applying the policy.

It will be interesting to see if I hear from them, as I intend to send them the link to this article…


  • Posted 8.25.17 at 06:25 am by Roy Osing
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August 21, 2017

How to deliver amazing customer service in 5 easy ways

Customer service is one of those concepts that lives in the cloud.

Organizations claim they are “the number 1 service provider”, “the best at service” or “the leading service provider in the industry”.

These lofty helium-filled claims mean little, however, when compared with how many organizations behave on a day-to-day basis. The words and music don’t match. Their claim is vapourware and is intellectually dishonest to those they are trying to convince.

Amazing service

Claiming to be truly unique in a crowd of customer service providers requires an organization to start with “the little things”; do them well and consistently and the result will be a truthful claim.

These “little things” will create the evidence you are what you claim.

1. Hire people that love serving other humans and do it naturally. Probably the biggest determinant of dazzling service, recruiting people who “get” serving and want to do it is often not given the priority it deserves.

2. Empower the frontline to bend or break the rules. Very organization has its set of rules, policies and procedures which in my view are really designed to CONTROL the customer experience. The customer transaction is forced into a process the company wants and often the customer doesn’t. This isn’t a common occurrence but when it happens the frontline employee must be allowed to deviate from common practice and transact with the customer on THEIR terms (don’t worry, they won’t “give away the farm”).

3. When a customer is screwed over, DAZZLE ‘em! Mistakes, unfortunately, are commonplace in any organization but service savy ones recognize the opportunity that a screw-over represents. In fact, dazzling service recovery INCREASES customer loyalty and the customer forgets about the original mistake.

The formula: FIX the screw-over fast + SURPRISE them with what they don’t expect.

4. Eliminate the “dumb rules” that piss off your customers. Every organization has them.
Find them - ask your frontline - eliminate them or at least change them to make them more customer friendly. Form “dumb rules teams” in your organization to seek out and destroy things that don’t make sense to customers. Have contests; reward the teams with the best results.

5. Set performance and compensation plans to encourage the right behaviours. If leadership and service provider teams aren’t compensated on providing dazzling service they won’t change and the service lie will continue. Customer perception objectives for the overall customer experience and service recovery for service OOPS! should be established and constantly measured.

Five little things; one HUGE result.


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  • Posted 8.21.17 at 05:37 am by Roy Osing
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August 14, 2017

A really simple and easy formula to get fired

Maybe it’s time to do a 180 degree shift on the subject of maintaining employment continuity.

Much has been written on how to get and keep a job; I sometimes wonder if the guidance being offered by so many “experts” is resonating with people.
Volumes of advice in a world with so much communications clutter often goes unheard despite its worth.

Get fired

So let’s try a contrarian approach and see if it strikes a nerve with young professionals wanting to understand how they can increase their chances of surviving in a world of upheaval, unpredictability and chaos.

The actions you can take to contribute to prematurely ending your employment are:

1. Expect more than your employer offers and make sure others know it. You are entitled to certain things from your employer and when they don’t deliver, speak up (loudly) about it.
You are the new generation of workers, and it is critical that the employment community understands that they need to deliver work differently than in the past.

2. Work YOUR agenda rather than the organization’s. It’s about YOU and seeking ways to satisfy your own personal needs. They take priority over what the organization wants to accomplish.
Express how the company can support you rather than how you can play a part in helping the organization can succeed.

3. Be “the only child”. Do your own thing.
Avoid working on teams. Look for tasks that you can do on your own and have complete control over the outcome.
Teams require consensus building and you lose your identity with the outcome.

4. Never offer to step outside your job description. Do only what is expected It’s important that you establish boundaries in terms of what you will and will not go beyond.

5. Avoid spending time and engaging with your colleagues. You don’t want to make friends with people at work; it could lead to teamwork projects.
In addition, they could ask you for a personal favour requiring you to step up and step out.

6. Complain about what’s not working in the organization, and NEVER offer to do anything about it. Keep a record of what you find that is wrong with the company’s operating procedures and policies; deal them up when you have the right senior management audience.

7. Be the same as everyone else; copy what they do. Never offer anything creative or different than every other employee. You don’t want to stand-out from the crowd; you’ll be noticed and perhaps rewarded for doing something special.

8. Duck your head when someone asks for volunteers to work extra time. Play the “balance work and lifestyle” card. Taking on extra work without being paid is verboten.
It signals that you are willing to go the extra mile and that you care about what the organization does.

9. Actively promote yourself to other organizations and be seen doing it. You want your boss to know you are always on the lookout for better opportunities and that other organizations are headhunting you.
It gives you leverage for feeding the entitlement you feel you deserve.

10. Stay away from any of the company’s social responsibility tasks that arise. Being part of how the organization meets its community obligations will only require you to take time from your personal life.

It’s easy to lose your job if you follow to this 10-step process.

But don’t expect overnight results; it could take months for your boss to pay attention to your actions and fire you.


Check out my BE DiFFERENT or be dead Book Series

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  • Posted 8.14.17 at 05:57 am by Roy Osing
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