Do Not Choose Your Suppliers Based On Price Alone

Happy New Year!  I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday season and is ready to make 2012 their best year yet!

Over the holidays I had a couple of challenging situations with companies contacting me to help with emergencies.  Ironically, these emergencies could have likely been prevented had some cautionary steps been taken to prevent them from occurring in the first place.

These emergencies occurred because these individuals simply chose their suppliers based upon price alone.  These suppliers both were new in their own respective industries, smaller companies with very few testimonials and mixed online reviews.  A quick review of the quality of their products revealed several clues that they were most likely not very experienced in their respective industries.

If you were ever to require an emergency operation, and have the option of two potential surgeons; one that has performed a dozen operations with a 50% success rate versus one that has performed a thousand operations with a 95.3% success rate but costs marginally more, which one would you choose?  Now that you’ve answered this question, think about why you’re willing to take so much more risk with the success of your business?  Is it simply because it’s your company’s life on the line and not your own?

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I’ve got a website… now what?

You’ve decided to take the leap, the daring yet completely sensible move to launch a website for your business.  You know that an online presence is vital to the success of your business.  After all, in practically all cases, online presences have become the primary method with which potential customers are introduced to businesses.  In the last week you’ve even used the Internet to research day cares, televisions and organic food suppliers in the area and made purchases as a result of that research.

You’ve hired the right team and ensured that your online presence is better in every way to that of your competitors, because you cleverly realize how vital it is to stand out.  Thinking about how you shop online, you realize each time you perform research, it feels like a speed dating session whereby you, like the majority of others, quickly browse 5-10 websites and within mere minutes have narrowed down your potential supplier to one or two options.  A combination of first impressions and your own personal priorities have been the criteria in which you’ve narrowed your choice.

So you’ve got the most visually appealing website that’s the easiest to use in your industry and your products and services are among the highest quality.  Your prices are even amongst the lowest… everything is going for you!  You’ve even ensured that your website has been optimized for indexing by search engines (if you don’t know what this is, please read this article next: What Most Search Engine Optimization “Experts” Won’t Tell You).  But… there are no customers!  Why?

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Social Media Tools that Measure Effectiveness and Keep You Accountable

Today I’ll write a brief article about social media tools that help to measure effectiveness and keep you accountable, ensuring that your social media efforts are making a positive impact on your organization.  I’ve decided to write about this because it surprises me that the majority of companies that have started to leverage social media can’t even answer the simple question, “Is it making me money?”.  My response every time is “Don’t you think it’s time you figure out how to validate and justify your investment?”  When done right, it can easily become the single most powerful marketing tool for a company.

Let’s briefly consider what should be measured during our social media efforts:

  • Are we using social media right?
  • Which of our social media announcements are gaining engagement? Where should we focus?
  • When is the best time to send out our social media announcements?
  • How much engagement do we have?
  • Are we gaining additional fans/followers/traffic?
  • Is the traffic resulting in additional leads?

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If You Build It, Will They Come?

The dawn of the Internet era.  The “dot com bubble”.  Everyone was entranced by the misconception that if they built it, success and riches would ensue.  It was surreal, the entire world was filled with excitement, a reinvigorated sense of energy almost as if a whole new world was discovered, full of innumerable opportunities and dreams to be fulfilled.  Was it all a fallacy?  No!  Then what went wrong?  The same thing that goes wrong over and over again in so many technology projects.  The failure to plan.  While many people would argue that it was more complex than simply an omission of planning and the argument would quickly spiral into a complex in-depth discussion that covers topics ranging from business to finance to sustainability, in the end every time I’ve had this debate I’ve come out with the glorious prize of the opposing party slowly lowering their head and mumbling “You’re right”.  This is not a reflection of my argumentative skills, but merely my ability to showcase the evidence and help them to understand where it all did in fact go wrong.  The failure to plan happened at every stage – planning, investment, sustainability assessment, cashflow analysis, accountability profiles and the list goes on.  It’s scary to realize how many individuals had their hands in the pot, but nobody spoke up… we were all simply spellbound. Continue reading