I was asked today what I thought about the LEAD programme. The truth is it should still be running. For me LEAD was a fantastic stimulus for both personal and organisational change. It helped leaders to personally and professionally grow.
Anyone running a business knows that if you don’t adapt and constantly move with the needs of customers you will quickly get left behind. Living in the “Customers World” by spending at least 3 days a week with them is a habit successful entrepreneurs exhibit. By doing this you get close to their problems and issues, ultimately locking in by becoming a trusted adviser
Any leader should be promoting the fundamental importance of sales. Great selling is about adding value, leaving positive mental imprints of yourself and your business. Integrity, trust and a strong reputation are key foundations of happy customers. Remember – the desk is a very dangerous place to view the market and your customers needs, get out there and practice the philosophy of success is 20% thinking and 80% doing!
LEAD helped to embed these very important principles for growth – bring it back !
I was delighted to part of last nights Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses celebration and first cohort graduation event. The results and growth achieved from the participating companies was very impressive to say the least. As usual I was observing what happens when a room full of ambitious entrepreneurs get together to network and share ideas and experiences – this is were real business advice takes place, in communities of like-minded individuals. The stimulus and input from other successful, been there done it, businessmen and women should not be underestimated either.
When ambitious people get together to share the pain and stories, remarkable things happen:
– The feeling of loneliness is less profound
– You get new ideas and different perspectives to take your business forward
– You get to hear about trusted advisers and networks relevant to your business
– You become introduced to new potential customers and collaborators
– Answers to challenges present themselves
– Your mind gets refreshed
– When you see others doing well you end up running faster!
These environments help to raise the bar of personal performance, training with the best is a very effective way to improve.
Congratulations to MMU on their facilitation of the activity and I am really chuffed to being part of this activity going forward. A great example of how public and private sector collaboration is the answer to growing new business talent.
Yesterday morning I spoke to a fantastic group of ambitious high growth SMEs. The theme was how do growth businesses embrace a winning approach to selling. My aim was to dispel some of the myths that go with this notoriously challenging dimension of business growth. Other key messages included, superior and sustained sales growth is achieved when there is clarity in the business model, strong team ethos, robust processes and systems linked to clearly differentiated propositions.
We also discussed what makes great selling at the coal face. When you love, believe in and are passionate about what you are offering it creates an energy and customers will very often tune into messages at an emotional level. If you don’t love what you are offering don’t expect the customer to. Only last week my philosophy of selling from within was summed up wonderfully by a delegate at another event, she said “my best sales performances are when I get the opportunity to just talk about what we do and how we add value”. The era of the hard sell is over, the order of the day is building customer relationships through partnerships and collaboration. It is vital to embrace this mindset when you turn up to your customers. Dont let them think you are only there to flog them something.
I spoke at the MMU/Goldman Sachs event last night and covered what I believe to be the 10 Rules for Growth, here they are:
1.Future Focused – know what you want, business and personally
2.Leadership – continuously learn or the business will leave you behind
3.Build a Great Team – you need thinkers, doers, controllers and sellers
4.A Differentiated Proposition – be clear on what makes you stand out from the crowd
5.Innovation & Creativity – a curiosity for exploring new ways of doing things
6.Live in the Customers World – know what they need before they do
7.Disciplined Systems & Processes – don’t let the wheels come off stay close to KPI’S
8.Life is a Pitch – focus on selling, the lifeblood of entrepreneurship
9.Having the Right Mindset – its down to you BYC (Believe You Can)
10.Find a Mentor – we all need help, find a companion to support through challenging times
A brilliant initiative, I hope our High Growth Foundation clients take advantage of it.
Its been a great weekend. Yesterday I spoke at a Goldman Sachs event managed by MMU – the topic was “Delivering a Great Sales Strategy”. My input was part of Goldman’s initiative to support 10,000 growth wish entrepreneurs across the UK. The set up was fantastic and the twenty odd companies and their mentors who participated were there for a number of valuable reasons:
1. To grow
2. Create wealth
3. Generate jobs
4. Fulfil personal intentions
5. Make a difference
6. Learn about business best practice
7. Network with likeminded people
When you are part of such an energetic group of people it makes getting out of bed so much easier. Owner managers/entrepreneurs/ ambitious people should realise the value of being part of a network of like-minded people. Yesterday reaffirmed to me that when ambitious individuals get together to learn, exchange ideas and share experiences the results can be transformational. It doesn’t feel so lonely after all!