Tag Archives: Best Practice

How Do You Identify New Customers? Four Alternatives

Situation: A company wants to expand its markets and customer base. Currently their business is dominated by a single customer. What best practices have you developed for identifying new customers and markets?

  • The key to getting new customers is to devote dedicated time to this task.
    • If your company is populated by engineer or software specialists, consider hiring a sales professional – a commission based hunter sales person who has experience landing big accounts in markets similar to yours. You may pay this person a good percentage of sales for brining in this business, but gaining the additional business can be worth it.
  • Much depends upon your relationship with your large customer. When a single client has rights over or ownership of the technology of the company but is not pursuing broader markets that the company is interested in, is it feasible to negotiate rights to pursue this business?
    • The larger client will pursue their own interests, not those of the smaller vendor. Perhaps a win-win deal can be worked out, but it may be difficult – particularly if the larger client is concerned that use of the technology in other markets could affect its interests in their primary markets.
    • Be very careful in this situation. The easiest tactic for the larger company to defend itself from a perceived threat is to sue and simply bury the smaller vendor through legal expenses. While the smaller company may be legally within its rights, deep pockets can beat shallow pockets through attrition.
  • In the case that the larger client simply continues to buy all capacity of the smaller company, an alternative is to raise rates, or perhaps to just say no.
  • Consider recreating the opportunity – create your own adjunct proprietary product with your own software or design talent and expand your horizons with this product.
    • Be aware, the large client can still sue if there is any appearance that your proprietary product impinges on their product rights. As in the case above, the larger company has the resources to bury the smaller company in legal expenses regardless of who is legally correct.

What are Best Practices for Emergency Preparedness? Three Guidelines

Situation: Local and world events continually remind us that both nature and events are unpredictable. At any time we may have to deal with emergencies including water, fire, earthquakes, and the possibility that we or our employees may not be able to get to or communicate with our offices for a period. It is prudent for all of us to have plans in place that will enable us to deal with emergencies. What are best practices for emergency preparedness?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • You must have an extensive business continuity plan. This includes:
    • An outline of potential situations that you may face in your locations, potential losses associated with these situations, and plans for responding to each.
    • Redundant remote data back-up.
    • Manufacturing continuity planning.
    • Personnel contingencies.
    • Alternate vendor and service arrangements.
  • Drafting a full emergency plan takes time and work. However, it is essential. Start simply:
    • Look at the obvious risks in your locations.
    • For each, develop your back up or continuity strategy and start to put it in place.
    • Let the list of contingencies grow with time as you recognize more risks.
    • Start this exercise NOW.
  • Once you have a plan, drill the plan. Make sure that your people know what to do in each case so that if something happens they are prepared. It is amazing how this can build the confidence of your employees that they will be able to handle emergency situations.

Key Words: Emergency, Preparedness, Plan, Best Practice, Continuity, Data Back-up, Contingency, Confidence