Value Creation; What’s Freakin’ Hot and What’s Freakin’ Not!

Its essential to understand that not all products and service you can offer will be relevant to your customer. Some products and services are essential to the value proposition you make and some are just nice to have add-ons.

Products & Services;

These are the things you offer and do for your customers and you put in your shop window (so to speak). Its the full bundle of everything you do to help your customers satisfy either functional, social or emotional needs. However, you have to understand right from the off that products and services don’t actually create value of themselves, they do this when in context and in relation to a specific customer need.

Types of Products & Service;

  1. Physical; Manufactured Products, Goods you sell
  2. Intangible; These are services such as after-sales support…
  3. Digital; These are products and services such as downloads or an on-line recommendation service
  4. Financial; This is investments, insurances and services that assist in purchasing products

WHAT’S FREAKIN’ HOT

Products and services create value when targeted at a specific customer segment. When you do this you will filter your offering to only include those products and services that are relevant to the specific customer segment.

The offering will address needs of the segment and be communicated in simple straightforward language; “Will Save You Time”… But it is so important to make your offer relevant to the needs not the niggles.

You also have to realise that your offer will not meet every single need or want. You will have to make a clear choice on what you offer and how you communicate this offer targeting those needs you understand to be the most pressing for your customers.

Do this and you create value.

WHAT’S FREAKIN’ NOT

Listing all of your products and services is not good. In fact it’s decidedly bad to do this. You essentially are handing over your business to your customer and asking them to decide what is valuable to them. Of course you’re going to have to ask some questions to find out what they want but then you target your offering.

By listing everything you do you are adding to the customers pains by asking them to spend their time filtering what you do for you. This will be seen as a waste of time and wont get done. You don’t therefore add value and don’t make a sale either.

If you have filtered but got this wrong and you make an inappropriate offer, same thing. You haven’t added value and you have wasted time. Again no sale made.

What you have to keep in mind is that people, all people, you, me and everybody else as well are governed by what we see as our needs. Our needs are defined as;

  1. We’re hungry; give me food and water
  2. We’re scared; I need some place to hide and feel safe
  3. We’re angry; you better watch out pal cos I’m gonna get you
  4. We’re horny; no explanation needed

These are the basic emotions we all have to deal with and govern a lot of our behaviour including what we value. Satisfaction, Fear, Anger, & Reproduction.  So what we offer is going to have to be framed as meeting one of these four basic needs, the rest is just tinsel.

As ever, thanks for reading and if you have anything to say or you have a question please post in the comments section and I’ll get back to you.

Philip

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The VOID, falling into…

A void; an empty space, rendered invalid…

What do I mean about falling into the void from a business perspective?
Well, what I mean is that when people do business they will from time to time lose sight of what their customer actually wants to buy, what the quality standard is and should be, what the level of safety performance is and should be. What I find frustrating is that when businesses, often good businesses in the first place (and can be again if brought back on point) lose sight of their goal.

And you know what? A business has but one goal, and that goal is make a profit.

It’s a simple idea but fundamentally it’s huge. This is what business does, it makes money for doing what it does. It does a whole lot more things once it’s got the money, but it has to make the money in the first place.

Okay so here’s the thing, the void is the place your business falls into when it loses sight of its customers and starts paying attention to its own hype or worse still it starts to not care. It starts to cut corners, take the short cuts, reduce expectations.

Customer demands (expectations & needs) not met inevitably means that customers will drift away, they find another business partner, one who cares enough to listen and provide what they need.

So this leads to expenditure (investment) being reduced, spending cut, staff numbers cut, training cut…

Repeat…

That’s the void that is sooooooooo hard to get out of.

You may find yourself & your business there one day, you wake up, you realise you’re in the void, deep in the void. How did this happen? When did it happen?

It’s not possible for me to answer those questions but what I can tell you is that it was a process, a long (in most cases) process, but it was a process, no question about it. It took everyone to look the other way, ignore the little short cuts being taken, and ignore the right way of doing things. Oh yeah, the customer probably didn’t know or realise right away, and if it’d stopped then and there the customer may never have noticed, but it didn’t stop and the customer did notice.

Right so now you know where you are, you’re in the void, possibly someplace close to the bottom but it’s dark and you just can’t tell exactly. I can tell you right here that it’s a really long way back out. You’re going to spend money, time and plenty of personal effort to get back out. And at first it’s going to feel like nothing is happening, there’s no pay-off, you’re just not moving. This is natural.

It’s as if you’ve steered an oil tanker into a corner and now you’re trying to turn it in the opposite direction, to get out, to avoid the crash, to avoid sinking the ship. This is hard, very hard.

The challenge is to keep putting the effort in, keep turning up and doing the work without giving up on your great business.

And… if you work hard enough, inspire enough, start to do the turnaround soon enough you’ll save your business.

Thanks for reading.

Philip

Is Blogging Writing?

Is Blogging Writing?

I’ve been a blogger for the last 3 years and haven’t looked back since starting.

FINNA Project; this blog is the latest version of my blogging history and this blog if you read through it broadly speaking is concerned with business, management, leadership and business strategy.  These are the things that interest me most in a business & work environment and can make the most impact so far as I’m concerned on the relative success of a commercial operation.

I’ve also had blogs of a more general life-style nature where I express my personal opinions, not necessarily a good idea for generating commercial interest but a great way of getting things off your chest and perhaps getting, in some cases at least, really useful and helpful advice on how to handle and deal with awkward situations through the feed-back channels.

customers want what blogging stuff

The question however is does blogging qualify as writing?

I suppose in a simple and plain way of answering, it quite obviously is writing, the blogger writes as a process, they create content. But most people think of writing as something often way more substantial than a blog post.  My blog posts are typically in the 500 – 700 word count region (648 in this blog post) and so would not qualify even by my somewhat lax standards as writing as such.

None-the-less, taken as a whole can a blog qualify as writing?

Well my answer to this question is a resounding YES! Yes it does and yes it can.

Okay so why do I really blog?

FINNA Project is all about giving back for me. Giving back (or paying forward if you like) to anybody who might find some form of advantage from what I write. I draw in part on my MBA studies, so the content should at least pass muster on a business management/leadership platform you’d think.  I know I think it’s okay when I read it back over and so I’m more than happy to put my name to what I’ve written in my blog.

I’m about to launch a new blog on www.jarofgoodness.com which will also be the website for my new business. The new business will be an e-retailer providing great tasting products in a jar to the discerning customer looking for the ease and convenience of great products sourced from across Europe delivered direct to their door either as a one-off purchase or through an agreed monthly delivery service.

The blog part of this business will be a life-style type blog giving really useful general information about the products that Jar of Goodness can provide including recipes, advice about the health benefits of the products, news and information about the places the products originate from and news about Jar of Goodness activities.

Supporting this blog will be a Twitter & Facebook feed and other social media content. Essentially the social media feeds will drive people to the blog which gives really great and interesting information or content to use the correct term about the products that Jar of Goodness support and supply.  In turn I expect the blog to drive people into being interested enough to make a purchase. From that point on the blog is there to reinforce the customer experience and to encourage the customer to become a longer-term subscriber to a monthly delivery of fantastic products.

As for if I class this as writing, well, I do.

Following FINNA Project and the more specific www.jarofgoodness.com blog there will be a book about the process of leadership and how this fits with running a business and launching a small business as well.

As with the blog I think the book may well drive people into the blog and eventually onto making purchases.

Is Blogging Writing? Yes

Is Blogging Important in business? Yes and growing in importance!

Do I think that people should blog? Yes, everyone should have a blog.

Thanks for reading.

Philip

Can you pass the marshmallow test?

The Marshmallow Test

About 40 years ago there was a study done about children who couldn’t resist marshmallows and cookies; a test of will-power if you like which follows through into adulthood.

The research done by Walter Mischel at Stanford University was conducted on 4-year olds to show the importance of impulse control and delayed gratification for academic, emotional and social success.

Mischel put marshmallows in front of a room full of 4-year olds telling them they could have one marshmallow now, but if they could wait just 5-minutes they could have two.  He told them he was leaving for a short while and if you can wait till I return you can eat two.

Of course some children greedily grabbed a marshmallow and ate it.  Others waited, some had to cover their eyes in order not to see the tempting treat and one child even licked the table around one of the marshmallows.

Michel followed the group and found that 14-years later that the ‘grabbers’ suffered from lower esteem and were viewed buy others as suborn, prone to envy and easily frustrated.  They engaged in the process of ‘scoring points’ and short term gain strategies. Those who waited coped much better with complex and potentially frustrating situations.  They were more self-assured and assertive, more trustworthy and dependable and showed greater academic achievement.

whats-your-marshmallow-The-Marshmallow-Test

The moral of the story is that if we can find it within ourselves to wait the better the rewards will be.

How can we use this information in our everyday business lives?

You will meet people sometimes in higher positions, sometime not, who reach for the quick wins (all the time).  These people will usually prove themselves to be unreliable and possibly even untrustworthy.  We’ve all met them, we’ve all worked with them and sometimes we still do.

These people can be toxic to your business, regardless of their status and position and you are best advised to be aware of and wary of them.  If on the other hand you are actually one of these people then you can take heart and act to avoid the mistakes of your youth.  Information and knowledge is the key here.  Be aware of yourself and your impulses, don’t put yourself in harm’s (temptations) way and if unavoidable then you must try really hard, really, really, really hard not to do the thing that will lead to your making rash and ill thought through decisions, submitting to your temptations.

By controlling your impulses you will make better and more significant decisions for the longer term.  You may move yourself into the bracket of those who do not envy, do not get easily frustrated and who are not so stubborn.  You may with practice change your character for the better (for all).

Its been a pleasure to share my thoughts and thanks to all those who read my post’s.

For more information and insights you can also see what I have to say and share on;

Twitter; @dawson1965

Read about me; about.me/pdawson

Philip