Tag Archives: Expert

How Do You Create a Roadmap for a New Business? Four Suggestions

Situation: The CEO of a new company is building her business. She has a business plan but is struggling to bring in new clients. How do you create a roadmap for a new business?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Creating a new business is a numbers game. Draft a 3-year plan that will generate $1M in billings.
    • The bottom line of the plan is bringing in new clients.
    • Create a financial template that is driven by how many clients it takes to reach the financial goal in three years. Fill out the annual numbers including where new prospects will come from and set quarterly and monthly goals and activities to generate those clients.
  • Develop a marketing “hook.” For example, in the case of business services:
    • Fixed cost business tune-up – a low-level retainer with limits on time and services offered (up to x hours work per month or quarter on y projects)
    • Fixed fee in-house service for small business – again with limits on the services offered
    • Additional services beyond the limited services will be at the company’s normal rates, possibly with a discount to those on the basic retainer service.
  • Create a list of desirable new clients – the company’s sweet spot. Next look for people who can connect the company with these clients.
  • How to get to the target client?
    • This is a funnel question. To build the funnel take three sources of clients: referrals, current business contacts, networking. How many contacts are needed from each source to generate 10 new clients per year?
    • Make presentations to groups which may produce clients or referrals.
    • Get to know the local business people who make referrals.
    • Write articles for magazines that these business people read. Be an expert.
    • To save money, use student interns from nearby colleges and universities to do some of the basic work – target client research, researching and writing articles (make then co-authors on the articles – looks great on their resumes!) This is an inexpensive win-win for both the company and the intern.

How Do You Manage Conflicting Demands from a Client? Three Points

Situation: A CEO is struggling to manage conflicting demands from a key foreign client. The client frequently changes targets and priorities; however, the performance contract with the client does not allow variations from plan. In addition, the CEO and client have different expectations concerning ROI. How do you manage conflicting demands from a client?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Recruit or access expertise from an individual who knows both cultures to coach you on intercultural communications. This will help you to avoid inadvertent miscommunications where your well-intended queries are negatively interpreted by the other party.
    • Cultural interpretation is an increasingly important factor for multi-national business growth.
  • Are there elements of the client’s structure and the agreement with the client that offer significant benefit, but which are underappreciated by company staff?
    • Access to capital?
    • Access to funding or allowance on expenditures that allow the company to increase staff to meet company demands?
    • Assure that staff are aware of these benefits and how critical these can be to the company’s, and their future growth and income.
  • Meet with the client’s leadership to outline the conflicts that the company faces meeting the client’s needs and demands. Explain to them how these conflicts are compromising the company’s ability to meet their needs. Once the conflicts in priorities are clearly expressed this may help the client to understand and resolve the conflicting demands.
    • This may involve a considerable personal risk and cost to the CEO. However, if the effort is successful it will, in the long-term, benefit both companies.

How Do You Brand a New Product? Seven Suggestions

Situation: An information services company wants to launch a new product in an existing market. Their current brands are well-recognized with excellent reputations. Should they tie the brand to the company name or current products? How do you brand a new product?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Brand specifically for each product or market – just as consumer product companies brand the same product with unique names for each consumer or commercial market.
  • A brand name is not the company’s identity – Apple as a company has created separate brand identities for computers, iTunes, iPods and serves multiple markets.
  • Attend conventions and survey the target market and current providers. Network to meet people and ask questions about what is important to them and to their buying process.
  • Think about the marketing funnel. The first element is awareness.
    • What are the company and its current brands now known for?
    • Build a brand with value that leverages the reputation and expertise currently valued by customers.
  • Define the current and planned market segments and tie branding to them.
    • Who are they?
    • How do they do it?
    • How will the new product fit?
    • Look at ROI for each market and create a strategy for the optimum combination of speed and profitability of market entry.
  • Tying meaning to a name can be a mistake. When one CEO named her company and service around a specific capacity, she limited the way that it was perceived. She is now considering a complete rebranding to open new markets.
  • Hire expert consultants with experience in developing brands. While this is an investment at the outset, these individuals are better, cheaper, and faster than doing this yourself.
    • Monitor the consultants to assure that they are spending the company’s resources wisely and addressing the company’s needs.
    • Hire someone with a network to gather the data necessary to support the branding exercise, a project manager. Use more expensive resources to plan and manage the exercise, and less expensive resources to gather the data.