This blog concept started when a friend suggested the word “current” for our consulting business. This simple homonym crystallized things I believe create a successful business. Current is up to date; a pulse of electricity or spark; and a strong flow or direction.
That’s was it –four key ingredients for success: up to date thinking, continuously sparking the brand or experience with innovative ideas, understanding the pulse of the customer and a focused business direction.
Up to Date thinking
Being a continuous beginner is a great way to keep a product, brand or business current. I am often at my best in developing a brand or business when there are fewer filters or “that won’t work” to prevent something new. I try to deliberately practice fresh curiosity to avoid those filters or at least to evaluate whether they are actually true.
The rapid evolution of concepts, products, distribution channels and technology has made keeping up to date challenging.I subscribe to great blogs, newsletters or magazines in wide ranging fields of interest to expand my views and spark ideas.
Sparking the brand with innovation
Be remarkable is the lesson of Seth’s Godin’s famous “Purple Cow” book. I have regularly included this as required reading in business workshops. It covers two essential themes. A brand or business has to be remarkable – sparking the interest of guests and differentiating themselves from competitors and being remarkable doesn’t last long.
Another thing I have learned is that it is often the little things that make something remarkable. Getting the basics right every time is especially important in businesses geared to stress relief. Remember spa guests have likely been in a long line at the grocery store with an indifferent cashier, a long line at the bank to fix their error, a flat tire on the way to pick up a grandchild …… well OK that is just my day.
Pulse of the Customer and Competitors
Be a guest- don’t just look at the stats.
A number of years ago we hired a great research company who orchestrated an anonymous on line discussion with guests that I could also listen in on or read transcripts. It was fascinating and many of the insights shaped the experiences and marketing we developed.
But it doesn’t have to be that complex or costly. I love to get in a robe and simply sit in the lounge of one of the spas or my competitors and really listen to the guests’ conversation. Yes! I was an eavesdropper! Women share everything – how they feel, how they booked, what they ate and generally why they spa. They thought I was writing in my journal but I was actually taking copious notes and mapping out future programs.
Focused on the business
I have worked with so many leaders who came to the wellness business with a strong sense of purpose or vision. Many are healers, therapists or trainers who have stepped up to lead or start their own projects and this step up requires a shift in focus and new skills. I am sure that this is true for many small businesses.
A disciplined revenue focus is the most critical.Productivity and cost management may be important but they alone won’t guarantee success. Technology, channel management, social media and digital, mobile, pricing, SEO, customer insight, loyalty programs are key and often overwhelming.
One quick win might be a simple log of how your time is spent over a week. I have tried this a few times and it surprised me how quickly I got distracted on items that were not a priority or could be delegated. I ended up shifting more time to revenue and it paid off every time. Developing a revenue focus starts at the top.