Be A Visionary in Your Business
Yes, at last, I have moved into my brand spanking new home office and I am loving it! I have leased an office for the last ten years. When I started my business my children were infants and I felt that my corporate clients would not understand a child playing in the background while I was on a call, and for me, it would be very difficult to split my attention between my work and my children, so leasing was the right option at the time. Now, my girls are 10 and 14, growing too fast and they are thrilled that I am now available when they come home from school and need help with their homework and I am equally happy to be with them, as much as possible. I love the convenience of not traveling to an office and being readily available to my family and if I need to speak to a client on the west coast at 7:00 at night, I no longer have to trudge back to the office after dinner! It is quite peaceful and my productivity is super without the distractions of other people in the office, and as you can see, I am looking at the woods behind our home and I am forever hopeful that I will see the bear that comes in the night to steal our bird feeder!
On another note, the loss of Steve Jobs was a shock.
I understand that he was ill, and we all were aware of his illness, but he seemed so powerful, I guess I just thought he would beat the disease. He was an amazing visionary and his death a tremendous loss for the world. A great leader and strategist for Apple while changing the entire world with his contributions in computer, music, phone and lets not forget Pixar – where would we be without animation! I am a Mac devotee. I was a pc gal for a longtime, until a friend strongly suggested Mac and as the saying goes, “once you go Mac, you never go back”. Great branding!
I have no doubt that Apple will continue to introduce the world to new innovative products and we all will continue to be stunned and thankful for all that they offer, but Steve Jobs was an icon that will be greatly missed. Steve was a force with tremendous vision and a superior marketing strategy to support the Apple brand. Steve Jobs understood what emerging technology could offer, he knew that he wanted his product to be intuitive to the user so as to seem simple, yet sophisticated enough, so as to outlast his competitions attempts at penetrating his market share. He was a master in building the Apple brand step-by-step.
Now, let talk about another company who once experienced tremendous success, but did not have a clear proactive vision and is a dying grape on the vine - Kodak. My friend and photographer Les Jorgensen recently was telling me that twenty years ago when digital photography was just emerging, Kodak responded by saying it was just a passing phase and not worthy of attention. Ah, an example of entrepreneurial blunder or outright failure.
When you compare and contrast the Kodak / Apple story it is easy to conclude that the pivotal ingredient of success is vision and the ability to embrace emerging opportunities and market accordingly.
The strategy for growing any business, large or small, is to have a clear vision of what it is that you are offering that differentiates you from your competition. What is your Value Proposition? When I started my ad specialty company, my value proposition was that I provided individual attention to each client that the big companies who were my competitors could not afford to provide. I knew that this would set Alchemy apart from the competition in proving our creativity and superior customer service. I also was not leasing 15,000 square feet, so I had very low overhead and that cost savings was passed directly onto my customers. So the value I provided to my customers ahead of my competition was superior service and a better price level and that translated into more profit to my client, not only with the ROI on their marketing plan, but also in real dollar expenditures for their marketing efforts. Marketing my company with a clear understanding of our value proposition has translated into an unusually high client retention rate and continued growth.
Once you have wrestled with identifying your value proposition and have a clear vision of your marketplace, then market accordingly. Carefully strategize and consistently implement your marketing approach and watch your business grow.
A clear vision and a rock solid marketing strategy will keep you in line with the apples and keep you from being that next dying grape on a vine.