Remember the Rocky III movie in 1982 when Rocky goes back to Apollo Creed’s “old” gym to train for the big fight with Clubber Lang? Of course you do. Apollo takes Rocky back to basics to polish his fighting style and prepare him for the ‘big’ match in which he knocks Clubber out in the third round.
The same thing happens in the NFL. The hours of mindless, but necessary, stretching, drills, and weight training. The team meetings pouring over playbooks. Sports massages and physical therapy. These are the basics that teams and their players positively need to do regularly to prepare for the “big” game. It’s in the crucible of basics that we poise ourselves for victory.
If the fictitious Rocky Balboa, and the NFL, benefit from the basics, then as business owners and entrepreneurs, we absolutely need to do the same.
Here are my top 5 ‘Back to Business’ tips that will take you back to basics and will set the tone for future success:
1. Know thy customers name and their families’ names and birthdays
What? Are you kidding? Not exactly…back in the day, companies took pride in really getting to know their customers. I believe that is a lost art. It doesn’t take a ton of effort to maintain a database of your customers’ names, birthdays, anniversaries, kids’ names, and perhaps their pets’ name. If you really don’t have the time, hire a Guru.com freelancer to do it for you for $10.00. The personal attention will drive you to the front of the line in your customers’ hearts and minds.
2. Make honesty your middle name
Do your values translate into every transaction, every customer conversation, and every financial deal? It had better if you want a stellar reputation and referrals. Consider the first thing you want your customers to remember when they think of you and your business.
3. Value, value, value
It’s a given that you desire to provide value for your customers. But do you tell your clients, vendors, and team that you value them and the talents they bring to your table? When was the last time you had a pow-wow with your team to communicate that if it weren’t for them and their hard work and dedication, your company wouldn’t be flourishing like it is? Have you asked your clients lately how you can serve them better? A simple thank-you travels the high road to loyalty and value.
4. Re-aligning for forward progress
Even giants like Starbucks need to do this if they want to stay sharp and focused. Back in 2008 when Starbucks realized that McDonalds was gaining an edge on specialty coffee, Starbucks HQ did just that; re-aligned, re-ignited, and re-organized. They re-visited their core strengths, streamlined management, and re-grouped for future positioning and forward progress. At times we need to seriously examine where we are, if we like being there, and, if not, re-align for the greater good. If our goal is simply to maintain a steady stream of clients, we’ll need to position ourselves as such. If our goal is growth, we’ll need to re-ignite our passion and search ourselves for the real reasons we started our business and then head back to basics.
5. Increase clarity for more impact
As your business progresses, it’s easy to lose clarity at times. Believe me, it will benefit you in the long run if you sit down for an hour with an actual pen and paper in a quiet space and answer the following questions about your business:
a. How do I define success and what does that look like to me?
b. What will I absolutely NOT do in my business?
c. How many benefits can I list that my business offers?
d. In what ways can I maximize my potential?
Following these 5 ‘Back to Business’ Basics will help assess where you’ve been, where you are now, and where you’re going. Your assessment needs to be in alignment with your core values and objectives or you’ll be stuck at 4th and long forever with no solid game plan. So, go back to the “old” gym and take your mojo back.