Here are some success stories from our business clients.
Business Transformations take many forms — some clients need help with one area in their business, others need help in multiple areas and the one common denominator with them all is that they are “Here” (represented by the Stickperson) and they want to be “There” (represented by the Star). Using the S.U.P.E.R. Reinvention Process™ and the S.T.A.R.S Reinvention Technique™ we assist them to understand the gap and what it takes to get there.
F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ in Action – Multiple Areas
Ralph owns a online marketing consultancy. He offers website design and social media marketing as his primary products. He wants to expand into speaking and writing a book but he is so busy with his primary business that there is no time to do so. I’ve discovered that there is always the surface problem, the underlying problem and then some chatter from at least one of the Quadruplets of Discontent and Ralph was no different. The first thing we quickly uncovered was that he didn’t have any systems and processes that were documented for training purposes and for consistency, which was evident in the feedback he was getting from his clients. Some were very happy and others were not because things were missed. We needed to improve the customer experience so his reputation improved, his customer lifetime value improved and to receive more referrals. Every client required the same general information about them, their company, what they expected and what was needed, so we started with the onboarding process for the clients. What systems would they use to keep track of all this information? Who would have access to what as he grew his outsourcing team? How would he control his team so that no-one had access to all the keys to the Kingdom? I helped him to identify the processes and the areas where he would permit his team to have a little freedom to be creative or innovative (we cover this topic in 3 areas of the F.O.R.C.E. Formula – Systems and Processes get covered in Operations; consistency is covered in Customer experience and giving people areas to be innovative and creative is covered in Employee Experience.) Together, we created his entire back-end system for managing his operations and we created a step-by-step training manual for each (with the help of his team). Now that he had the systems in place, he set about training his team on how to use it. He explained, in no uncertain terms, what had to be done the same way each and every time and the areas where some discretion could be granted. In those discretionary areas he gave specific parameters and expectations. We then ran into problems with team members who wouldn’t follow the processes, so we looked at his hiring process and how he provided feedback and appreciation for his team. He explained the mission and vision for his business and how the various team members fit in. He asked for feedback and then told them again, why it was important to follow the process. He also gave notice that anyone who chose not to follow the process would be replaced – and a few were. We explored his customer experience again to be sure all the negative comments had been addressed and he set up a system to check in with his customers and nip any problems in the bud before they became a big problem. We discovered that there was more work to be done in the areas of managing expectations and scope creep – which is a common challenge in business. We worked on the sales process and the client agreement to be sure that expectations would be managed and the specific inclusions and exclusions were outlined in the agreement. He then added provisions to explain what would happen if the nature of the project started to evolve, which reduced complaints. Ralph set up an affiliate program and entered into strategic alliances with non-competing businesses to help increase his sales without adding a dedicated sales person. He still kept his role as the client contact because it is something he is great at and something he likes to do. Now with all of the operations issues out of the way, Ralph now had time to focus on his next chapter – what he really wanted to do – to share his message of hope to those who had a tough childhood and who found themselves in a situation where they were surrounding themselves with the wrong people. As we dove deeper into why he wanted to do this, what his vision was and how he would achieve it, he would procrastinate on nearly everything I requested. He was having all sorts of stuff coming to the surface – lots of hurt, anger, fear and other negative feelings were coming up. He fought me tooth and nail but I wouldn’t let him off the hook. I’m not a therapist, nor am I trained in life coaching or psychology so I recommended some people in my network to work with him. It took a while but now he’s back on track with defining his exact message and how it will unfold. We’re not done yet because his Quads keep popping up and he’s not quite ready to let them go completely and that’s fine – it’s a journey and he’ll get there, just like the rest of us who battle our demons and self-doubts. So, as you see, most businesses start off with a specific pain that they need to address which typically fall into one of the areas within the FORCE Formula – sometimes they cover a couple of areas. As we work through the initial pain, other things surface – after all, everything is interconnected within life and business.
F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ in Action – Multiple Areas
Cheryl was the marketing director for a timeshare company tasked with ways to increase the number of leads for the company. She hired us to create a plan to increase the referrals from existing timeshare owners. As you likely know, referrals are a great way to grow your business and we cover this in a few modules within the F.O.R.C.E. Formula™. Using the elements we cover in the Customer Experience module, we worked with them to understand their brand, understand their customers and how their customers respond to certain types of incentives and appreciation. We then created a program to increase referrals by offering a 3 stage process of appreciation for referrals received. The first stage was when a member referred someone to take a timeshare tour. To avoid gaming the program there was recognition and appreciation but no financial reward. When the person referred had been qualified in terms of interest and financial capacity and they then took a tour of the resort, a financial reward was offered in terms of points which was the currency used to purchase rewards. When a referral purchased a timeshare a much larger financial reward was offered. We built a customized reward catalog for the timeshare owners to redeem their points – one for the US, one for Mexico and one for Canada and we were processing reward requests every day. Over the course of the program the number of referrals increased significantly and the percentage of referrals who purchased exceeded expectations, which helped lower the Customer Acquisition Cost which can be quite high in the timeshare industry.
“Employee Experience” in Action
Beverley was the Director of HR for a large provider of technology infrastructure and consulting services and she hired us to help with their Employee Experience, specifically as it related to rewarding and recognizing their employees for living the core values of the company. We worked with her to strengthen their culture of appreciation and recognition – at the manager to employee level and between the employees themselves. Creating a strong and supportive corporate culture where the vision of the company is understood and the core values are being “lived” day in and day out is incredibly powerful. One of their core values related to the customer experience, so I really resonated with them. I was sooo excited to visit their office for the first time because we’d created a recognition program that produced certificates of recognition using our software and these certificates were everywhere. Each cubicle and office I visited had multiple certificates proudly displayed, each with a detailed explanation of why the recognition was given. This program was deeply ingrained in their culture of appreciation for the work each person did to contribute and I will never forget how proud I was to be part of that. I cannot give you specific financial metrics as to how this program impacted turnover, profit or other key performance indicators because, sadly, this was one of the clients that went bankrupt when the economy took a hit – nothing to do with the work we did with them though!
F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ in Action – Multiple Areas
I’m proud of all my clients and the transformation they make in their business. However, I’m especially proud of Alison. Alison has been working as a confidential adviser to heads of state, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and other high-powered leaders for over 15 years. She is a very well educated and powerful woman and I was a bit intimidated at first when she asked me for help. While she has an enormous gift and is well-known for the work she does, she was feeling that she needed to do additional work that will be more challenging. She wanted to do so much more but she wasn’t sure of the details. We’ve been working together for over a year now and during that time she has identified specifically who she is drawn to help, how she will help them, what her positioning and messaging will be and how she will get her message out. It isn’t unusual for this clarity to be a challenge for entrepreneurs – many people feel they don’t want to be too specific because they exclude certain people. However, this is a great thing – when you are really specific you attract the exact type of people you want to work with. Your marketing is so much easier and delivering on your brand promise is simpler because instead of trying to please the world, you are only helping those who resonate with your message and need specifically what you have to offer. (We cover this in the Reach Module and the Customer Experience Module of the F.O.R.C.E. Formula™). As someone who has her PHD, Alison was used to having to justifying her assertions to the nth degree, which just wasn’t translating to the new audience she felt compelled to serve. We’ve been going through the process of creating a message that resonated with her new audience in words they can relate to. It was a bit challenging to get clear as there was a bit of slippage between our calls. Terminology and phrasing we agreed on in one call had been replaced by the original version when we met again. I knew it was a huge stretch outside of her comfort zone but I kept on stretching her and mentoring her until it finally clicked. In my role some days I’m a cheerleader, other days I’m more like a personal trainer pushing, pushing, pushing. Alison had also been writing a book for a couple of years – and she was expressing deep frustration that it wasn’t coming together the way she envisioned. She’d hired 4 editors, yet none of them delivered what she wanted to achieve. One day, I sent her a copy of my 5 Surprisingly Simple Ways to Increase Your Profit using the F.O.R.C.E. Formula™ booklet (which you can get below) and she responded – “This is exactly what I want my book to be like. You have such a way with words – you had me on a roller-coaster. Just when I was getting in my head, you had me reading with my heart and then I was back in my head again. Will you edit my book for me?” I’m thrilled to say that her book is nearly complete and the transformation in her is obvious. Not only is her messaging precise but it no longer reads like a Thesis. With my mentoring and editing, she’s doubled the size of her book by adding riveting stories and she dug deep to find the words that really taps into the emotion of the ride that she takes people on. She’s preparing her book proposal for the publisher and when her book is done we’ll get back to work on her website and other elements within the Reach Module.
“Reach” in Action
Karen is a Realtor® and she hired me to expand her reach and to differentiate herself from her competition. After identifying how she was different and who her ideal customers are, we sat down and looked at what she was doing in her marketing – which honestly was similar to most Realtors® – where she placed in the search engines, what her online reputation was like and what her website looked like. I came up with a strategy for her using a main website (her hub site) and a number of niche websites. Each of these websites would have keyword rich phrases and individual pages for each listing for that niche. She would create videos and use the power of YouTube and Google to tie her website to her Google+ profile and her YouTube Channel. The strategy for having all these sites was to be found for various keyword phrases and to get her sites found. Karen is also writing a book and she intends to use it as a marketing tool to gain more listings. Note: Due to the personal and confidential nature of the work I do with clients in a consulting capacity, I am unable to share full names, company names or where they are located.