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Learn from our minds and the others that we look up to

We Love SYPE and You Should Too

Strategy loves SYPESaskatchewan Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (SYPE), is a group of young, influential business minded folks who are the future leaders of our economic powerhouse of a province. That’s correct, these people are moving AND shaking. Last Thursday night SYPE hosted their Movember Gala.

It turns out that we not only attended but I (Jeph) ended up winning Mustache of the year. Ironically, Derek Wu, Brandon’s brother, proudly won the worst mustache of the year, which might I add, came down to a sock off which Derek prevailed.

The night was a hoot to say the least.

If you haven’t been to a SYPE event, try one out or if you want to get involved in a major way, join the board.

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There Is No Such Thing as Getting More Than You Put Into Anything

the impact equation

“There is no such thing as getting more than you put into anything.”

I love this quote, it’s attributed to Kim Nicolaides, I read it in Julien Smith and Chris Brogan’s new book called The Impact Equation. I’m about half way through and have been highlighting in my Kindle a lot. It’s like the no bullshit guide to marketing your company and yourself.

“Well, no matter what your stance, it’s the process of starting that matters. Starting once, on any given day, is easy. Starting every single day is hard, but it’s how your media will be created, how your book will get written, and how your empire will be built. As Kimon Nicolaides once said, “There is no such thing as getting more than you put into anything.” In other words, the work creates the results. There are no shortcuts.”

There’s no easy way about it. It takes a lot of hard, pain-in-the-ass work to accomplish anything amazing. You don’t just wake up one day and have a well read blog, huge Twitter Following or massive Facebook page, you wake up every morning and try to improve just a little bit. Being persistent, doing the work, and constantly improving, in time you’ll have created a masterpiece.

We all have the choice to do the work or not.

The Most Underrated Part of Your Business: Your HR Strategy

Coda Family PageWe never talk about our human resource strategy, HR’s never really top of mind, and we don’t attend many board meetings on specific outcomes of next years’ HR strategy. Why is that? HR has a bad wrap stemming from University, everyone joked about the crazy HR lady at companies. You know, the lady that had been there for 30 years and still hugged you on occasion but recognized it was “wrong” in the workplace?

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Why A Retroactive Customer Service Strategy is Silly

Quotes-sam-walton-the customerThe vast majority of organizations don’t do customer service properly. Without a great customer service strategy, you end up being retroactive in how you deal with customers. The smart companies understand that if they first delight, impress, or go out of their way for their customers, they will have to do a lot less apologizing.

Proactive > Reactive

Sam Walton said it best, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.” Instead of the putting out fires when they arise why not give your staff the training they need to do their job to the best of their ability.

Too often we blame marketing for poor sales, or we make excuses as to why people don’t like our product or to frequent our establishment. Before you jump to the conclusion of whose fault it is, maybe for a change look at how you approach customer service.

Do your employees get adequate training when they start? How do you know? 

Do they receive more training once they have experience on the job?

What do your customers think of your customer service? Do you ever ask them?

What if you incentivized your customers to help improve your customer service?

Who has the best in class customer service in your category? If it’s not you, why not?

What company do you look up to as a leader in customer service outside of your industry? What can you learn from them?

Is customer service a priority to all levels of management and employees at your company?  Be honest…

Pricing And The Paradox Of Choice

While discussing pricing strategies and product line offerings with a client, I was reminded of a great TEDTalk by Barry Schwartz entitled The Paradox of Choice.

In the talk, he encourages us to break through the assumption that more choice equals more freedom and realize that we are often crippled by choice. In regards to marketing, people often refrain from purchasing something altogether if there are too many choices. Below is the TEDTalk. I consider it to be one of the most informative AND one of the most entertaining.

If you don’t have twenty minutes to spare, here’s a quick breakdown of Barry’s talk.

We all know what is good about choice. Here’s what’s bad:

Paradoxically, choices cause paralysis rather than liberation.

Example: Investment records from Vanguard have shown that for every ten voluntary retirement funds that were offered by an employer, ten percent fewer employees participated. With 50 funds to choose from, the fact that it was so hard to decide resulted in procrastination and a tomorrow that never came. Significant matching money (as much as $500/year was passed up).

Further, even if we overcome the paralysis of a decision that has many alternatives, regret is induced. This regret subtracts from the satisfaction of the choice that was made – even if the decision made was good and rewarding. We end up imagining the outcomes of the choices not chosen and become less content with the route that was chosen.

Example: A couple sitting on the beach in the Hamptons sits there dreaming about all the good parking spots they’re missing on West Eighty-Fifth Street in NYC. Everyone’s on holidays because it’s August and they could have prime spots in front of their building at home.

In summary, increased choices result in:
1. Paralysis
2. Regret

So, how should you apply this to your marketing strategy?
1. Don’t overwhelm your customers with too many product line and price options.
2. Don’t promise the world with your marketing and risk under-delivering. Create a situation where your customer is more than pleasantly surprised.

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