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Monday, September 22, 2014

Success Soup - R is for Rainmaker

According to Wikipedia, a rainmaker is a person who brings in new business and wins new accounts almost by magic, since it is often not readily apparent how this new business activity is caused. 

Sales is not a term in their vernacular.  Business development and leveraging long term relationships is where it is at.

Rainmaking means making a big splash - generating substantial new business or additional cash flow from sources sometimes outside established business channels, sometimes by connecting with people in non-traditional or hidden markets, and sometimes by prompting current clients to spend more money. 

A rainmaker is not merely a salesperson, but a principal or executive who is usually highly regarded within the enterprise.

If you don't have one, get one.  

If you are one and are looking for a venture that values your skills enough to let you buy in to an ownership stake with your talents and results?   Call me.   Just click on the CONTACT button on my website.  Let's talk.

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Success soup - Q is for Quality

I got ahead of myself and published S before Q and R.  Actually it was just a placeholder, so now I have three blogs to write today to catch up.  I'd better get busy!

Today I want to begin with this cartoon from Tom Fishburne about Quality.

The QC person in the cartoon has come in and ranked the sunflowers as failing her quality tests.

I suspect the farmer was quite happy with his crop.

In this case, her definition of quality was perfection, that could only be achieved through a rigorous quality process, such as Six Sigma.

For the farmer, God's creation is perfection itself, even though there are variations in the output. 

The QC person's suggestion that only by switching to plastic flowers can perfection be achieved, would have caused the end product to be inferior.

As an entrepreneur that builds technology, while quality in everything that we do and build is important, perfection is not.  If you wait for everything to be perfect, it can be a good reason to delay doing anything.

Every recipe has ingredients in proportion.   Americans know from reading product labels that the top 3 ingredients listed represent those that are included with the greatest volume, as compared to the other ingredients.

If you are building a heart valve or a part that is used in missile guidance systems, Quality had better be your top ingredient, or at minimum, one of the top three ingredients.  But if what you are producing is not mission critical, I would suggest that you look at what you might have to give up to have an inordinate focus on quality.

Do everything you do with excellence in mind.  But a little variation or getting a product to market so that you can see how consumers react may just be more important than implementing Six Sigma.

Check the order of your ingredients to your success soup.

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Success Soup - S is for Significance

I am passionate about measuring what is important and what is significant. 

My problem comes when there is such an acute focus on statistics that we are paralyzed and cannot move forward without proper validation.

This Gaping Void cartoon has my favorite lime green character delivering a "big" message.  We don't know the topic, but the little blue cat is questioning whether his research included enough of a sample.

In my consulting career I have worked with organizations that spent so much money and time on research that they never actually did anything.  Don't let yourself get caught in that trap. 

Make sure that you know the top 3 drivers in your business and measure those.  The buzz word of the day is KPI (key performance indicators).  Figure out what each percentage point is worth (e.g. if you are up or down 10%).  Celebrate when you are up and take a hard look at the reasons if you are down.  Have an action plan in place if your basic metrics have a significant variation from what you expected. 

Also ask your customers (or potential customers) for feedback.  The ones that will know if what you are hearing is significant are your front line - your sales people, your service people. 

Listen and don't get hung up in numbers.  

Remember, 67% of all statistics are false.    ;)

Stay tuned for the letter T.  We are in the home stretch.

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