In this podcast, Tom Stimson explains how to understand and work with conflicting truths, and how to make conflict useful for your business.
In this podcast Tom Stimson explains the most important aspects of managing your cash flow, including tips on how to take advantage of the opportunities a good cash flow brings to you.
In this podcast Tom Stimson talks about the difference fun makes in business, and where fun starts for you.
Tom Stimson describes the makings of true success, and the difference between “abundance” and just “enough.”
Over the past decade I have learned a lot about what it means to own a business, how business owners think, and what is most important to them. I have narrowed this down to a list of five recurring themes in the order that they manifest most frequently. Not all owners want the same things in the same order, but the underlying issues seem to be somewhat universal. The five themes are Cash Flow, Profit, Growth, Satisfaction, and Harmony. Cash Flow Of all the themes, cash flow is the most critical. It is emotional and practical. Cash is oxygen and when in short supply, owners become light-headed, then despondent, then desperate. Cash represents success and lack of it, failure. This is the one theme that always goes home with the small business owner. You might leave all other issues behind when you depart the office, but not this one. Check out this Podcast: Seven Tips to Improve Cash Flow: Short Term Expect to get paid. Give customers multiple options to pay including credit cards. Get better terms from suppliers, landlords, and banks. A 90 day reprieve on loan repayments is probably there for the asking. Cut back on discretionary spending […]
I have been saying for many years that we have to sell the end result and not the plan. That means focusing on outcomes for the customer instead of the parts and pieces of the transaction. In order to do this, AV companies must first do three things: 1. Identify (and understand) the Ideal Customer 2. Develop and promote a compelling Value Proposition 3. Understand how your Pricing affects gross profit If you have taken the time to truly understand the three points above, then you will have taken steps to change how you market your services. Customer qualification will be taken seriously. Value will replace price in conversation. Margin contribution will supplant gross profit when evaluating pricing. Your pitches and proposals will look dramatically different. Negotiation will be peer-to-peer instead of fear-based. However, I must caution that these steps alone are not enough to undo years of selling on price. As an industry, AV companies have trained their customers to be excellent price-shoppers. Line item proposals and head-to-head competition on cost give the buyer a satisfying victory in negotiation, but often fail to deliver the outcomes they were seeking in the first place. Changing this circular logic takes time […]
Sometimes we have to deal with price shoppers, but they aren’t necessarily bad business – if you know to play the game. Actually, it’s more like a war. “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu teaches us lessons in strategy instead of battle because, “He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.” When it comes to price shoppers, you have to beat them at their game before negotiation ever begins. “Attack is the secret of defense; defense is the planning of an attack.” One of the tools of the effective buyer is to allow you to burn out then take you at a weak moment. The more effort the seller puts in, the more he or she expects to win, which leads to ‘winning at any cost.’ Buyers know this and will allow you to expend as much energy as you want as they wait patiently. Remember, money is more valuable than time to a price shopper. “If he sends reinforcements everywhere, he will everywhere be weak.” Sometimes salespersons will attempt to inundate the buyer with information: options, variables, data, you name it. Too often, buyer incentives get mixed in and the savvy price shopper knows that the […]
One of the benefits of having evaluated and advised so many companies, is that I can quickly see the patterns that connect underlying conditions with overarching needs. I thought it might be helpful to share one of my techniques: The Customer Response Profile. I can use this chart diagnostically or analytically. As a diagnostic tool, I can observe the strength of the company brand and whether the business dialogue is geared towards its customers or its products. The resulting intersect will place the company in one quadrant or another to varying degrees. Conversely I might observe how customers interact with the company, which would also indicate a prevalent quadrant: Quadrant 1: The company is a proposal mill, pursuing any available opportunity and focusing on revenue over strategic growth. A weak brand and product-centric dialogue creates a price-centric relationship. Quadrant 2: Customers are somewhat indifferent. Even when the seller does a good job, buyers resist long-term relationships. Adding better customer service wins more business, but a weak brand undermines customer loyalty. Quadrant 3: When customers seem genuinely pleased with the finished product, but aren’t happy with the journey – they become more demanding. The strong brand of the seller makes the […]
As I scroll through my LinkedIn feed, I am underwhelmed by business and technology trends that are interesting but not important. Social Media experts can tell you exactly what headline to write and more importantly, what pictures to post that will get people to click on your link, thereby validating the expert’s advice. It may be entertaining, but the only beneficiaries are the Social Media experts that have figured out how to get paid for their trendy advice and the platforms we spend our digital days browsing. LinkedIn should ban the self-congratulatory selfie. Who’s with me? There are hundreds of things more important than that trend you just read about on LinkedIn. As a small businessperson, you should care more about the issues that affect your business today. Let the CEOs of mega-corporations worry about what Millennials will wear in virtual meetings ten years from now. Off the top of my head, here are five issues that should matter to you, your customers, and your employees – today. Retention Unemployment is low and that means demand is high. Your skilled workers have more options for switching jobs. It is time you paid attention to reducing their reasons for doing so. Simple […]