KISS – as in Keep It Simple ….

We’ve all heard of the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid. Wikipedia says it was a design principle noted by the US Navy in 1960 but there are examples going back way further than that.

Model T Ford
The original ‘keep it simple’

Henry Ford’s first production car was available in any colour you like, so long as it was black A classic example of simplicity. He didn’t want to complicate his production process by having to cater for multiple colours.

Customer requirements

Now there will be some people reading this blog that say we need to give customers choice, because that’s what they are demanding. After all, if you go to buy any car today you will be offered a range of colours, trim levels, engine sizes, optional extras etc. etc. In fact, the concept of a standard production car doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s not what people want, is it?

Well, all this complexity comes at a price. In the age of automation a lot of the complexity is handled by the manufacturing systems ensuring the right colour accessories are in the right place on the production line to match the chosen colour scheme. But that makes the production systems more complex. More complex to design, more complex to build and more complex to test. And complexity means cost.

An example of simplicity

Let’s bring it back to a practical example. I’m launching a new business with my wife. Its called Motorhome Heaven and we will be hiring out a fleet of brand new motorhomes for people to take touring holidays in the UK and Europe. I say a fleet because that is the longer term plan, but we are starting with two, a 2-4 berth model and a 4-6 berth model.

Two different styles to target two different market segments. As the fleet grows, we will buy more of those two models so spares and maintenance are simpler. They are both based on the same Fiat engine, cab and chassis.

We are equipping the motorhomes to a high standard. But it’s a common standard. The same crockery, pots and pans, cutlery, linen packs etc. etc. We will have two of everything for both motorhomes, plus spares to cater for breakages.

Why? For simplicity. No chance of putting the wrong items in the wrong van. No having to replace the entire contents of a van because something got broken and is no linger in production. We simply swap things out from the spares, no matter which van it was on.

It’s simpler on turn around day too. Rather than worrying if the contents are clean enough for the next hirers, we swap them out for a complete set that we know is clean enough. We can check and clean (if necessary) the incoming set at our leisure, not during the short turnaround window between hires.

Optional extras are kept to a minimum and only reflect genuine differences in needs with a cost implication such as UK vs European insurance.

Where ever possible we are keeping it as simple as possible to run the business, and as simple as possible for our customers to buy from us.

Steve Job’s ‘simple stick’

I’m half way through reading a book at the moment. It’s called Insanely Simple – The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success by Ken Segall. It’s all about Steve Job’s obsession with simplicity. In it, Ken describes what Steve did when he came across unnecessary complexity within Apple. He would wield his simple stick. In one example a new version of a software product was being proposed adding colour functionality to an existing product line. The proposal was for two products and two price points, one with colour and one without. But this meant double the advertising, double the merchandising, double the training etc. It meant complexity. So Steve hit it with the simple stick. One product including colour. Keep it simple, end of story.

Choice adds complexity and makes decisions harder

Steve Jobs didn’t want his customers agonising over whether to pay the extra for the colour version or make do. He didn’t want his sales teams learning different product sets and pricing levels. But most of all, he didn’t want his customers to be confused or put off from buying by the complexity.

Complexity through choice
Sweet complexity

Not sure what I mean? Give a child a £1 bag of sweets that you know they like and they will be delighted and grateful. Take a child into a sweetshop full of all their favourite sweets and tell them they can spend that £1 on whatever they want and you are in for a long afternoon. Why? Because they have to make a decision or maybe several decisions. I can have 1 of those and 2 of those. Or I could have 2 of those and three of something else. Decisions, Decisions.

It’s the same when you go out to dinner and the menu is extensive. By the time you’ve all read and chosen what you want you’ve probably wasted a third of the evening. And then the waiter apologises because that item is out of stock so you have to choose again because they can’t keep a lot of everything for such a diverse, extensive menu.

Your customers are no different. Give them too much choice and making a decision becomes bewildering or just plain hard. And when something is hard, people walk away. Rather than make a decision about what to buy, they make the decision not to buy.

Complexity in what we do

We had a talk at one of the Business Hubs I’m a member of recently on the subject of the apps we use in our business. The breadth of apps and the functionality available is incredible. But the thing that struck me most was that with each app we add to our PC or phone, we are adding complexity. We try to do things quicker, more fancy, more ingeniously. And each step adds complexity. More passwords to remember. More steps in the process. More complexity.

As many of you know, I help my clients make productive online connections to grow their business through the use of social media in general and LinkedIn in particular. I see a lot of other coaches introducing complexity to what they recommend clients do. Try this trick or that feature – you might get an edge.

You might, for a while until LinkedIn or Facebook or Google changes again. And the one thing that is constant with social media is change! You might until you trip over yourself because of all the interactions. You might until you miss out a step because it was one of so many little tricks and tips you use.

In my experience, people buy from people. People they know, like and trust. People they have built a relationship with because they are authentic, giving of themselves and their knowledge. Personal, authentic, credible. Simple.

Wooden stick isolated on white backgroundSo why not apply the ‘Keep it Simple Stick’ to your business. Rid yourself of complexity and simplify things for your customers.

If you’d like to have a chat about how I can help you keep things simple in your use of LinkedIn and social media, click on the button below to book a free call. It’s as simple as that.

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The gift that keeps on giving

We’d all like to receive the gift that keeps on giving. One that delivers something for your business every single day.

Something you can turn to any time you want some business growth and know that it will deliver.

Something akin to having your own personal cash machine that dispenses cash whenever you want, but not from your bank account, but instead straight out of the bank accounts of your clients.

No, I’m not suggesting you hack your client’s bank accounts. Used wisely, this gift that keeps on giving will have your clients willingly opening up there bank accounts to pay you for your products and services.

 

So what is this magical gift that keeps on giving?

 

Why your clients give you their money

To understand this gift, you need to understand the psychology behind why customers do business with you.

People like to do business with people.

More specifically, they like to do business with people they know, like and trust. So to get them to open up their bank account to you and buy your products and services, you have to get to know them.

You have to build that trust.

 

How to build trust

Build trust through your actions

Be personable and get to know your prospects. Prospects become much more engaged when you talk about them rather than yourself.

So find some common interests, ask questions, be engaging.

Don’t splurge out your company history and all your latest offers.

Don’t go on about how awesome your business is. They mostly don’t care.

It’s there problem they want solved. So give them some free help or information. Stuff that is really valuable to them.

Show them just how great you are, without the merest hint of bragging or bravado.

 

Credibility

What your clients say about you speaks volumesYour prospects will be much more impressed with what others say about you than anything you say about yourself.

So lead them to where those glowing testimonials can be found, without ramming them down their throat.

Demonstrate your credibility by publishing articles demonstrating your knowledge and getting them read and commented on.

With credibility comes trust.

 

What is the gift?

What is the gift?

So is trust the gift? No.

 

Is credibility the gift? No.

 

Is the gift is a system and/or a process? No.

 

It is based on a system and a process. A system you almost certainly have, but don’t use properly. A process you probably don’t use or follow properly.

 

Have you guessed it yet?

 

Its…..

LinkedIn

 

But not LinkedIn as most people know or use it.

 

The gift of LinkedIn is:

  • A powerful personal profile that delivers real value to your prospects and clients.
  • A powerful personal profile that demonstrates your expert knowledge.
  • A powerful personal profile packed with glowing recommendations’.
  • A powerful personal profile that builds TRUST.

 

And the process? The process is what you do to make use of that powerful personal profile.

  • A process of drip feeding valuable content to your connections and followers.
  • A process that gets you seen by your ideal prospects because of where you post and comment.
  • A process that finds your ideal prospects.
  • A process that allows you to connect and engage without selling.
  • A process that induces your prospects to ask to be your client.
  • A process that you can repeat, over and over again.

 

A powerful personal profile and a process that means LinkedIn is the gift that keeps on giving.

 

One great gift deserves another. Learn how to give the gift of LinkedIn to your business with the LinkedIn Business Advantage Programme – at better than half price – that’s £100 off! Just enter the code GIVING at the checkout.

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Do what you competitors are too lazy to do. Get the advantage today and give your business its best ever present.

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New Year, New You

New Year, New You.

Sound familiar?

You’re determined 2017 is going to be different. It’s going to be the breakthrough year.

The year when you finally smash your goals.

You’ve made all the resolutions, set all the objectives, so let’s go for it right?

First day back

It’s the first day back at work and reality dawns.

The inbox is full of belated best wishes for the festive season, interspersed with the first bills of the new year (note to self – always ask for bills to be dated 3rd Friday of the month so the first day of January isn’t so depressing).

You desperately search for signs of orders, but nobody’s been buying over the holiday – at least not your stuff.

All of a sudden, those 2017 targets and goals seem a lot further away and if you are not careful, January will be gone in the blink of an eye and you’ll only have 11 months to achieve them. Well, ten and half really because everything stops mid-way through December.

 

Don’t get depressed

To paraphrase an often quoted  saying, I’m not saying this to depress you, but to IMPRESS upon you, that it doesn’t have to be that way.

You can have a New Year, New You, but it takes a bit of realism and action to achieve it. None of us have developed super powers over Christmas that have transformed us from the business person we were to a combination of Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and Alan Sugar. That sort of instant transformational change just doesn’t happen.

But with a bit of planning and determination, a gradual, incremental change can. And that is how your 2017 goals will be achieved. Not in January in one big bang, but incrementally, month by month throughout the year.

 

A realistic plan

Most plans that I see business owners create are idealistic rather than realistic. They set out what they would like to achieve, often ignoring the reality of business life. As a consequence they start to fall behind the plan quite quickly and become disillusioned with the whole process.

So the reality of week 1 for 2017 is most likely that there will be a lot of cr@p to sort out. So put sorting it out as the number 1 task in the plan. Attack it with gusto and get it dealt with. Clear the decks within the first day or so that the rest of the week, and then the rest of the month become clear.

 

Default diary

The number 2 task is to set up (or refresh if you already have one) your default diary. These are the regular diary entries for activities you need to do to grow your business and hit your 2017 objectives. Here’s a screenshot of mine for mid-February.

Default diary

There are no client meetings or client work activities booked in, just activities and time slots for me to work ON my business rather than IN my business. In my example,

The Hub meetings are aa combination of networking, business promotion and personal development and the connections meetings are networking sessions. These are important for me as they keep me in touch with my target market – other small businesses.

The 90 minutes sessions are the key to driving my business. I separately plan out what I am going to work on in my daily 90 minute sessions 1-3 weeks in advance. Here’s my 90 minutes plan for the first week in January:

  • Monday – Write Motorhome Heaven website copy (I know – it was a bank holiday, but we need to get the website live)
  • Tuesday – 1st draft of content for Customer Avatar module for LinkedIn Mastery programme
  • Wednesday – Finalise content Customer Avatar module for LinkedIn Mastery programme
  • Thursday – follow up old leads
  • Friday – Weekly engagement e-mail and blog post for next Tuesday

This 90 Minutes plan is a mixture of stuff to develop new business opportunities (Motorhome Heaven website and Customer Avatar module of the LinkedIn Mastery programme) which will deliver my longer term 2017 goals, immediate business generation (follow up on old leads), and keeping me front of mind with my target customers (engagement e-mail and blog post).

 

Your plan

Your plan needs to deal with today’s reality and then have a similar mix of tasks that will:

  • Deliver stuff to move you towards your longer term objectives
  • Deliver immediate business
  • Keep you front of mind in your target market

By setting aside chunks of time each day to work on something specific that will deliver against one of the three points above, you will move your business forward every single day, one step at a time. If you do this and then look back in three months’ time, you’ll see the impact has been transformational. Transformation through increments.

 

A lasting change that keeps on giving

Making this change to how you manage your diary – your time – and starting to regularly work on your business is a change that will keep on giving. It keeps on delivering benefits to your business and to you. You’ll find you have more time because you are planning and delivering the important stuff that will deliver your goals first, rather than trying to squeeze things into marginal time, the evenings or weekends.

Another change you should consider making very early in 2017 is how you use LinkedIn.

Most business owners have a LinkedIn profile, often a left-over from a previous corporate life. They read just like an outdated cv and do nothing for their business.

The problem is LinkedIn is not like Facebook or Twitter so business owners struggle to understand how to use it effectively. That’s great news for the business owners that are prepared to find out how to use LinkedIn, because they can steal a march on their competitors. They can do things their competitors can only dream of.

 

Two key aspects to success with LinkedIn

First and foremost, LinkedIn is a professional networking site so you should have a powerful profile that clearly demonstrates your expertise and authority in your filed of business. That way when a potential client, supplier or employee checks you out on LinkedIn, your already over half way to convincing them to do business with you before you have even met them.

Once you have that powerful profile, you can then go prospecting. Because LinkedIn is populated with people’s CVs, and CVs are stuffed with keywords about their jobs, roles and responsibilities, it’s very easy to find potential clients. With LinkedIn’s powerful search engine you can search not just by keyword, but also by industry, role, location and much more.

What’s more, all those great existing clients you have are probably connected to former colleagues and contacts in the same line of business at other companies. So connect with your clients and you will have an instant insight into a wealth on potential new clients, especially if you get your clients to add a recommendation to you profile.

 

LinkedIn Mastery

The LinkedIn Mastery programme that I mention in the planning section above is a 5 week programme where I help my clients create that powerful personal profile then use it to prospect for new clients that tightly fit their target market.

Revamping your profile and learning the process is a one-off task and if you then build using the process into you 90 Minutes plan – it only needs a 30 minute slot once a week – it’s a task that will continue to pay dividends throughout 2017 and beyond.

There are group and 1:2:1 options for the programme and some January special offers if you act fast. Follow the links below to find out more:

LinkedIn Mastery 1:2:1 Programme

LinkedIn Mastery group Programme

Using LinkedIn properly could be the one action you take that does enable you to smash your 2017 goals. In 5 weeks, 5 incremental steps, you could transform the way you find and win new clients. Click on the links now.