Ten Steps To Benchmark Your Marketing Plans

One way to address this is to use a set of benchmarks. I use benchmarks in different ways to judge my performance and also how my products are selling. I sell digital products on the web and look for ways to judge my performance (not only sales) against my competitors. Why? Benchmarks help me see things with greater clarity.


How to take your ego out of the business? Tricky at the best of times. For me, benchmarks are one of the most reliable ways to judge my true abilities against someone else’s.
You see this in sports all the time.
Maybe you have a friend that thinks they are pretty handy on the golf course. And maybe they are. Compared against those they know they can beat, of course.
But what happens when someone new joins the club?
Ever notice the way these loudmouths slink away and make their excuses. Suddenly the bravado is gone.
They adopt a ‘wait and see’ policy.
If the guy (or girl?) is really good, they’ll steer clear. If they know they have a chance, they’ll come bouncing back. You know the type, I’m sure.
This is fine on the golf course.
But, in business, you don’t have the same luxury. The pressure is on. You need to gauge how successful your product, service, or customer satisfaction is and adjust accordingly.
You can’t afford a ‘wait and see’ policy. Time lost is money lost.

Ten Step Benchmarking Model

One way to address this is to use a set of benchmarks. I use benchmarks in different ways to judge my performance and also how my products are selling. I sell digital products on the web and look for ways to judge my performance (not only sales) against my competitors.
Why? Benchmarks help me see things with greater clarity.
Instead of leading with my heart, which most small business owners do, the benchmarks allow me to assess things objectively.
It takes me out of the picture.
Here are ten steps to benchmarking your business.

Plan

1.  Identify the benchmark target – highlight the product, service or activity you want to improve. Start with one benchmark and learn from this. Don’t complicate things by defining multiple benchmarks at once.

2. Identify benchmark partners – look at competitors you want to compare yourself against, for example, similar size SMEs or startups with a similar market presence. Be realistic.
3. Collect data using a combination of web tools and excel spreadsheets. Google provides some excellent tools for monitoring firms and brands. You can compliment this by developing surveys, questionnaires, and focus groups to glean more information.

Analyze

4. Determine the gap – look at the market research findings, clean the data, and look at the difference in performance, sales, or customer satisfaction  between you and the benchmark you’re working against.

5. Project future performance – set a target of what you want to achieve and timeframes for getting there. Again, be realistic and allow some leeway if this is the first time you’ve benchmarked your products.

Integrate

6.  Share results – one way to keep the team motivated (and in unison) is to share this information. This also helps set the standard and show the team what’s expected of them from here on.

7.  Establish goals for each person – be specific about each person’s targets. The more you refine the targets, the greater the chance of them reaching their goals.
Action
8.  Develop Action Plans – armed with the information from the market research, develop an Action Plan that works with the goals and timelines you’ve established for your team. Use the Action Plan to clarify to each member of the team what’s expected of them and the critical success factors associated with these targets.
9.  Implement plans and monitor results – hold a workshop or team meeting and kick off the project. Assign a project manager to lead the activity and agree on how status reports should be delivered. Reduce misunderstandings by sharing examples of status reports, action plans and other deliverables. Monitor the results as per the action plan.
10.  Recalibrate benchmarks – look at the feedback and tweak the benchmarks where necessary. Don’t change things just to keep your team on their toes. Instead, encourage them on their work to progress and show how their contributions help the company move forward. Celebrate major milestones to boast morale.

Do benchmarks work?

I’ve used benchmarks in companies for different reasons.
Sometimes we’ve wanted to see how our customer service compared with another firm.That makes sense.
Other times it was to take people’s ego out of the equation. Benchmarks are neutral. They don’t take sides.
If your department or project is struggling and you can’t get a handle on where to move next, let’s say you can’t reduce the number of customer complaints:

  • Work with the team to setup benchmarks.
  • Show them that you have nothing personal against under-performing team members. These are the industry averages and we need to get there.
  • Then examine why we (we’re all in this together right?) have not hit this target yet.
  • Build consensus. Show that this is the best way forward. Take other suggestions but be careful with those who are trying to undermine you.
  • Create a Project Plan, assign tasks, and deadlines.
  • Create an Action Plan and walk each person through what’s expected of them.

Revise, revise and repeat.
That’s one way to do it.
How can we improve upon this?
Pic credit:°Florian

12 Steps to Get Started as a Business Consultant

In the UK, Barclays Bank report that semi-retired workers are responsible for 50% more start-ups than 10 years ago. In the UK, 67% of small business owners are over 45, while a mere 8.7% are under 34. Such data suggests that running a business actually plays to the strengths of older people. One area where my friends have done well is in Business Consultancy for small businesses (SMEs).

In the UK, Barclays Bank report that semi-retired workers are responsible for 50% more start-ups than 10 years ago. In the UK, 67% of small business owners are over 45, while a mere 8.7% are under 34. Such data suggests that running a business actually plays to the strengths of older people. One area where my friends have done well is in Business Consultancy for small businesses (SMEs). Continue reading “12 Steps to Get Started as a Business Consultant”

Productivity: How To Make Friday Your Busiest Day

Friday is my busiest day. Most folks power down and go into weekend mode. Not here! Ask yourself, ‘why do I go down a gear on Friday?’, ‘How does this benefit my career?’ Ok, let’s be honest. We do this because others do it. Right? This is a high-risk way to manage your career. You’re letting others determine how you behave. And it damages your career in many, many ways. Here’s an alternative approach.

Friday is my busiest day. Most folks power down and go into weekend mode. Not here! Ask yourself, ‘why do I go down a gear on Friday?’, ‘How does this benefit my career?’ Ok, let’s be honest. We do this because others do it. Right? This is a high-risk way to manage your career. You’re letting others determine how you behave. And it damages your career in many, many ways. Here’s an alternative approach.

How to make Friday your busiest day and reap the rewards

lance-armstong-getting-things-done
7 Mistakes to avoid:

  1. Don’t fill your day with low-impact tasks.
  2. Don’t get pulled into fluffy things that you don’t really want to.
  3. Don’t do project meetings when you know it will kill your whole morning.
  4. Don’t go to long lunches.
  5. Don’t leave early.
  6. Don’t waste time studying analytics, trends, click-thrus etc… you know what they’ll say, don’t you?
  7. Not Saying NO enough.

Do this instead.
You’ll get more success if you:

  1. Plan with intention – Use Friday to plan the entire week ahead. Spend at least 2 hours on this. Planning is decision making. When you plan, you make decisions.
  2. Get Ready for Monday – planning on Friday lets you hit the ground running on Monday. See the difference? You’re already a step ahead of everyone else.
  3. Do Strategic Meetings Only – Book meetings with key contacts on Friday. Most will say Yes. They’re in down mode, so they’re easy to arrange.
  4. Find Like-minded people – Connect with people that have the same values as you. Look around the office and ask, ‘who’s killing time v who’s using it’. Link up with those doing it right.
  5. Do high impact tasks – disconnect from activities that suck the life out of you, your projects and your enjoyment in life.
  6. Share useful information – everyone wants ‘relevant’ information. Select the 5 pieces of useful information you’ve read during the week and circulate these.
  7. Authority – Establish yourself as someone who provides ‘useful’ and high value information not just cats doing ninja tricks.
  8. Stay late – when everyone is gone, you can get focused and do more work. Global clients will still be up. Call them. Chase them up. Your colleagues won’t. They’re gone, so now is your chance.

What’s going on here?
It’s about behavior.

  • It’s how others impact the way you behave and respond.
  • To succeed, in the way you want to succeed, you need to observe how others make you behave the way you do.
  • Admit it.
  • Put a plan in place to create your own blueprint for success.
  • Find ways to do this every day.
  • See where you fall down, where you can improve and what you’re doing right.
  • Keep at it.

Success is like developing a muscle. You have to train it, assess it, and increase it. Luckily, there are no short-cuts. If you persist, you’ll succeed. You have to!
What do you think?
Do you plan to make Friday’s the busiest day? What would change if you did?
Photo Credit puliarfanita

How To Find A 'Second' Reason To Do Something Important

When should I start my business? When will I have all the information I need to begin? Answer? Never. You have to start with what you have. In this video, I share a very smart observation that Rajesh Setty made about getting started in business. You don’t always need to have 4 legs to make a table; sometimes 3 will do. Confused? Watch the video.

When should I start my business? When will I have all the information I need to begin? Answer? Never. You have to start with what you have. In this video, I share a very smart observation that Rajesh Setty made about getting started in business. You don’t always need to have 4 legs to make a table; sometimes 3 will do. Confused? Watch the video.

Getting Things Done Now: How To Find A Second Reason To Do Anything Important

Getting Things Done: How To Find A Second Reason To Do Anything Important

Rajesh Setty gets it. To find a second reason to do anything important:
1. Remove the legs (reasons) for NOT pursuing your dreams. The more legs (reasons) you remove, easier it is to break the resistance (topple the table) to pursue the dream.
2. Start finding legs (reasons) for pursuing your passion. The more legs (reasons) you find, the stronger the conviction (table) to pursue the dream.
Taking up his point, my religious teacher once said to us, ‘it’s not the hand you’ve been dealt that matters, but how you play your hand.’
It’s your attitude towards setbacks, circumstances, friction and conflicts that matters. Approach these in the right way and you can see how to overcome these obstacles and get closer to your true goals.
Taking up his point, my religious teacher once said to us, ‘it’s not the hand you’ve been dealt that matters, but how you play your hand.’
It’s your attitude towards setbacks, circumstances, friction and conflicts that matters. Approach these in the right way and you can see how to overcome these obstacles and get closer to your true goals.
What do you think?
How do you work past your obstacles? What reasons do you use? What justifications do you see in your own thinking? Please share below.

Action Plan Template – Responsibility Matrix

Action Plan Template – Responsibility Matrix

Anyone looking for an Action Plan template might be interested in this tutorial and template pack.
An Action Plan is a summary of what you are going to accomplish in your business over a specified period of time.
Use this template to: Continue reading “Action Plan Template – Responsibility Matrix”