Plan to Succeed

Do you have a closet full of software, hardware or other business-related items that were purchased either online or at a trade show? How many of these purchases never made it out of the box? How many times have you promised yourself that you will open the box but never do? We all have made these impulse purchases with the greatest of intentions, and we know which road is paved with great intentions.

In 2010 I will be on an odyssey in search of the best products and services in the design/build industry. The goal is to provide readers with an unbiased opinion and provide you the opportunity to explore options that could add value to your company. The ultimate goal is to increase your market awareness and ultimately provide outstanding service to your customers.

This past fall I had the opportunity to attend the Boston Business Builders networking meeting where I was introduced to a wide range of business owners. There were about 100 people in the room and I met many of them. A few people stood out in the crowd, such as an Internet software designer, a commercial painter and even a Hollywood hair stylist.

Of all the companies I had the pleasure of learning about that night, one company stood out from the rest. This company provides a simple, low-cost solution to keep customers feeling good about why they would hire you and your business.

CardConcierge.com is an online personal greeting card service that enables business owners to keep in touch with their customers on a personal level. In theory, keeping in touch helps us build and maintain our branding efforts, but who has the time to send a “Welcome to our company” letter, a “Thank you for your business” letter or company holiday cards?

Sue Connaughton, president of Card Concierge, approached me two years ago with this idea and at the time it made perfect sense. Two years later the idea has taken off. It is clean and simple: Communicate to another person that you are thinking of them.

A few years ago a different company called Y2K Marketing also caught my attention and I listened to their marketing strategies on CD. They were explaining how to turn green apples (your prospects) into red apples (your customers) by fertilizing your market area on a regular schedule (personal touches). The CEO told a story to drive home his point.

He knew if he forgot an important date or event in his marriage there would be trouble in paradise, so at the beginning of each new year he purchased 12 personalized cards for his wife and prestamped them to be sent one per month.

This ensured he would not forget her birthday or anniversary. He figured if he planned at the beginning of the year to sprinkle the cards over the 12 coming months he would meet or exceed her expectations. Remember, happy wife, happy life.

We all look for the right idea, the magic bullet or the one thing that will turn our company around, but in reality there is no single solution. The solution is the sum of the parts. Last year was a wake-up call for many of us. For those companies that have managed to weather the storm, I hope you continue to push forward and get back to the fundamental mechanics of business.

You have a new year and a new start. Are you going to plan your work and work your plan? Are you committed to developing relationships with your past, present and future clients? Are you committed to turning green apples into red apples with personalized messages, and are you ready to delegate to people who can help your business?.

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