2016 is the year of the Entrepreneur.
Those looking for leadership, financial stimulation and a “leg-up” from government or the mining industry will be disappointed.
In both instances for them the cupboard is bare.
For the innovators the potential for financial rewards will be substantial – but as rare as genuine entrepreneurs.
Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the United States of America abound with people of enterprise. However, that is not we need and seek for 2016.
Western Australia is a great contemporary case study. It is the home of some 2.45 million people, around 11% of the national population. It’s land-mass of 1 million square miles is one third of continental Australia.
The state generates 44% of the gross national annual export earnings, and is the head-office location for some 42% of the publicly-listed companies on the Australian Stock Exchange. Now that reeks of enterprise.
The essence of entrepreneurship is original thought, for the benefit of all.
Risk tolerance is innate, rather than risk-taking. Gamblers typically fail, at a great rate with the effluxion of time. True entrepreneurs are neither high risk-takers nor gamblers.
They are typically disciplined, focused and persistent. Six key principles sustain entrepreneurial success. They are detailed in two co-authored hard- cover books:
- The Jindalee Factor
- From Black Hole to Blue Sky
Available through the website:
It is encouraging that Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian Prime Minister, has set the national narrative for the year.
He must be careful, and measured, to ensure that his government facilitates – and does not attempt to legislate and regulate – for entrepreneurial success.
Start-up enterprises are warned to be sensitive to the base characteristics of many accountants, patent lawyers and financiers, who seek to provide counsel – at a fee.
But they generally seek compliance and conformity, which are hardly the values and virtues of entrepreneurs.
“The Year of the Entrepreneur – from Potential to Profit” is our new high impact customised keynote presentation which is enjoying great support for a series of forthcoming conferences, conventions and in-house business development workshops.
I wish you well for 2016, and both applaud and endorse the spirit of entrepreneurism.
A BLACK STAR
“I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.”
These words were revealed publicly on Friday, 8 January, 2016, the 69th birthday of David Bowie, and on the release of his final music compilation.
Events had revealed that with his cancer-riddled body he was not immortal. However, his words have the potential to be eternal.
What a message, and challenge! That is, get on board, and enjoy the ride.
Within reason, is a great and appropriate mantra for all in business … reach out, engage with and involve customers and clients on a journey with enjoyable experiences.
An ideal outcome for all is to have fun, and to enjoy a sense of happiness. That has been described as being a state of subjective well-being.
In business one must strive for balance between fulfilling the purpose (satisfying customer needs) and experiencing pleasure.
It’s a fine line to draw, and unique to each entity and relationship.
Good luck in your endeavour, and let the good times roll.
Tactical, yes. Sometimes, a focus on the short-term can lead and contribute to longer term advantages, benefits and rewards.
So, this year, don’t be boring. Have fun. It well may lead to better business, profits and mutually rewarding relationships.
PURSUIT OF BUSINESS
Expensive, time consuming and largely unsuccessful.
Three measures of the endeavours by many business owners, leaders and development managers to generate additional revenue during 2015.
There was no shortage of energy, enthusiasm, pride and focus. Even creativity and innovation were to the fore in presentations. The Australian Prime Minister would be pleased!
Among the consequences of the downturns in commodities, mining, exploration and consumer confidence was the freeing up of time which had previously been dedicated to the pursuit of business and revenue growth.
New and prospective clients were identified, contacts initiated, meetings scheduled and submissions presented. But success and sales contract conversions were largely isolated and marginal.
For many, the words and concepts “new” and “prospective” represent risk. Across the spectrum of businesses, sectors, nations and marketplaces there was and is a decidedly low tolerance of risk.
Established relationships have been rewarded, respected and prioritised. Supply channels have been narrowed, to the benefit of some, and to the detriment of many others.
In the early months of 2016 the best prospects for generating additional revenue lie with existing and past relationships.
Conversion rates are optimised by remodelling and repackaging of products, services and apps which are conspicuously and quantifiably to the advantage and benefit of clients and customers.
Let me again paraphrase the international futurist, Alvin Toffler:
“Old information looked at through new perspectives creates new information.”
Put simply, value packages need to be subjected to polish, refinement and promotion.
In facilitating a series of high-impact, interactive business development workshops in recent months the effectiveness of an independent, qualified facilitator, who can ask telling pertinent questions and identify previously unrecognised opportunities, features and competitive advantages has been apparent. Changing suppliers, brands, products and services involves real and opportunity cost which impacts on margins and profits.
There is a better way. Find it.
DIGITAL-ERA LOCAL MARKETING
Local area marketing initiatives remain effective, relevant and essential in the digital era.
Global and national mass-media branding campaigns should be complemented with locally conceived, driven and applied integrated micro-focused communications.
The burgeoning number of social media channels accelerate, not complicate, the capacity to reach out to prospective and past clients at minimal cost.
However, resources need to be allocated to ensure that the content is current, relevant, challenging, informative and newsworthy. An ability to tell a story is imperative.
Some members of franchise, buying and marketing networks in real estate, finance, building, health, pharmacy, travel, hospitality and retail have the capacity, and an enviable record of capitalising on recognised brands and compelling attractive offers.
Selling has always been, is now, and will continue to be an integral component of the marketing discipline. Its productivity is enhanced by the use of established brands in the prevailing, contemporary marketing era. That is best achieved and sustained with a well documented and executed local-area digital marketing plan.
MAKE A STATEMENT
For those seeking to increase the revenue volume from “Business-to-Business” relationships there is one fundamental and preeminent question:
What are you going to do to benefit for the other person, or entity, in the relationship?
Simply asking for more business at this time seems misplaced.
Explaining what initiatives you intend to implement for the benefit, advantage and reward of the “partner in profit” is far more compelling.
Talking more to clients, associates, members and suppliers is a good start.
During the first quarter of 2016 Barry Urquhart and Marketing Focus will be delivering a series of customised keynote breakfast and dinner addresses on behalf of a range of clients companies and entities.
The topics are diverse and include:
- The Challenge of Change
- 2016 – The Year of the Entrepreneur – From Potential to Profit
- Digital Era Local Area Marketing – Optimising the network
- How Best to Embrace and Profit from a Culture of Service Excellence
If we can contribute to your endeavours, don’t hesitate to make contact.
ARTICLE: THE DIGITAL DIVIDE
Time for a reality check.
Searching and buying on-line can be cheaper, provide more information and offer greater variety. It does, however, tend to be slower for consumers taking possession of the product, service or apps, and can be disappointing – reflected in the 300% differential in product returns, compared to those bought in-store.
Above all, many consumers perceive and report the on-line shopping experience to be hollow – devoid of emotion and fun.
Purchases made in bricks ‘n mortar premises are typically faster and more emotionally fulfilling.
However, the line between the two categories is becoming blurred.
The fastest-growing component of on-line sales is “click and collect”, in which the transaction is undertaken on-line and the consumer chooses to collect the product in-store.
Thus, convenience and price advantage meet positive, emotional shopping ambience and experience.
The in-store buying scenario is increasingly involving use of a smart phone for price-checks, brand preference selection and scanning available offers. Information is power.
Modern, contemporary consumers are connected, informed, discerning, price-aware and demanding.
THE DIGITAL ACCELERATOR
Consumer traffic, sales and satisfaction can be leveraged and optimised with the astute use of digital marketing initiatives.
Video walls, with dynamic changing graphics are replacing posters. As a result, there tend to be less signage and clutter, fewer displayed products and greater focus, impact, energy and a sense of urgency – all reflected in greater productivity.
Interactivity introduces a new dimension of the visual merchandising. Touch-screens enable intending buyers to find more information, to correlate and integrate differing products, colours and concepts and to customise those to best fit and suit house designs, personal needs and preferences.
A palpable consequence of professionally applied in-store digital marketing initiatives is up-beat attitudes, behaviour and movement of both customers and staff members.
The positive emotions are infectious.
They stand in stark contrast to ambience of neighbouring stores which retain “tired” dated and dog-eared posters, and point-of-purchase signage.
Real-time updates, high definition content and the integration of omni-channel displays resonate, often subconsciously, with consumers.
Encouragingly, use is not limited to telecommunications retail premises, to electronics, fashion, furniture or flooring outlets. It is equally effective in enhancing the ambience, store traffic, sales and customer satisfaction in coffee lounges, medical practices and motor vehicle sales centres.
CONTENT IS KING
Static displays are passé. Therefore, upgrading to digital marketing requires a budget, allocation of resources to constantly update and change presentations and the retention of people who are skilled and committed to the concepts the outcomes and benefits.
This is the new face of modern retail entertainment. Much of the customers’ experience is centred on and determined by the ambience, settings and contexts.
Illuminated signs brighten up premises, product displays, and above all, customers.
These can be literally alive – with movement, colour and action. That mosaic attracts attention, consumers and results in sales.
The digital divide is palpable on several dimensions. Static displays tend to be associated with static sales and performance levels.
SET THE SCENE
Location, established consumer traffic flows, natural ambience, lighting and quality premises, products, services, apps and people remain important.
The essence of great digital signage is creative content, interactive options supported by an appropriate, liberal budget and a recognition and tolerance by senior management. It is often difficult to quantify and monitor the actual financial returns on investment. Dividends from investments in digital marketing transcend multiple disciplines including, branding, image, competitiveness, relevance, attractiveness and overall appeal – in short, intermediate and long-term returns.
It’s enough to brighten up your day …..- and that of your existing and prospective customers and clients.
Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus is an internationally recognised and respected conference keynote speaker, consumer behaviour analyst and marketing strategist.