The Knowing/Doing Gap

Posted by JasonBlumer on Dec 7, 2016 in

I love how Dr. Jules Goddard describes the very familiar gap of the things we know and the work we do in our businesses:I was referencing this in a recent blog post called What is Strategy, where I explained strategy to be(a) knowing something others don't know, and(b) being willing to do what others are not willing to do.Why is there a difference between what we know and what we do? The gap between the two requires an immense amount of courage. The video above goes on to explain the need for courage in running any business. Visioning ideas is one thing, but executing these ideas is where you win. Gaining courage can come from a team, a partner, or a community. Where do you gain your courage to close the knowing/doing gap?…

Tracking Job/Customer Profitability

Posted by JasonBlumer on Nov 30, 2016 in

Many agencies want to track profitability at a granular level. They choose to track profitability at either the customer or job level, or both. This method of tracking seems to be readily accepted by the agency profession, but I'm not so sure the benefits outweigh the costs or input.Why do we track?We track things to know new things, which then hopefully changes our behavior. Agency professionals often tell me that they want to know what their jobs 'cost' them so that they can price their services better in the future. But I rarely see this behavior play out in practice. Simply tracking customer or job profitability doesn't ensure that the agency pricing professional will price higher next time. Pricing is more a component of selling, education, and value recognition by the client. Because of this, new information rarely makes us better able to price our services. What would…

Perfect Company Positioning is Relative

Posted by JasonBlumer on Nov 22, 2016 in

Blair Enns of Win Without Pitching spoke recently at Thriveal's annual Deeper Weekend Conference. It was amazing content. There were so many takeaways, but I loved his statement about company positioning. "positioning is an exercise in relativity."When positioning your company, you are actually positioning yourself in comparison to the market your clients are comparing you to. The art of positioning is all relative. This is why strong positioning is polarizing. You have to make such a statement that your client can distinguish between you and the other guy. Weak positioning means you look like everyone else, and will then blend into the market. Blending in is death to your growth. Strong positioning also makes your selling job easier. If your positioning is strong, then your clients can show up at your door already convinced of your value, and their need to pay for your expertise. We all know how…

What is Strategy?

Posted by JasonBlumer on Nov 18, 2016 in

Defining strategy is super important but I think it's often misunderstood by those running businesses. It sounds like big goals, missions, and values, but I think it is much simpler.Strategy in business is...- knowing what others don't know, and- being willing to do what others are not.Simple enough, but certainly not easy. Knowing and implementing strategic ideas and activities takes experience and a big pile of courage. Knowing What Others Don't KnowThis alone is hard because you have to be on the search for new ideas that others are not looking for. In his book, Zero to One, Peter Thiel calls this secrets. And he makes a point that business owners aren't going to find these valuable secrets unless they are searching for them. Most don't make the time or margin necessary to search. But searching, and eventually knowing, can give your company huge advantage over those…

What You Really Want From Partnership...

Posted by JasonBlumer on Nov 15, 2016 in partnership

Where is the spiritual value of rowing? The losing of self entirely to the cooperative effort of the crew as a whole. -George Yeomans PocockI'm listening to the book,The Boys in the Boat, about the US Olympic Rowing team, and how they won gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. It focuses on one young man named Joe Rantz, and how his gloomy past affected how he trusted his teammates while rowing. He struggled to trust his crew - but when he came around and finally gave his trust to the crew around him, they became a rowing team that had never been seen before. They became Olympians.It's true too with partnership. I've had a partner for almost 1.5 years now, and I'm learning the beautiful process of losing myself to the cooperative effort of two people who can do way more than I can do on my own. I…

Profit Is Proof of a Successful Past

Posted by JasonBlumer on Nov 9, 2016 in

Profit can be confusing. Your company's profit says more about what you did in the past than what it says about your future. Though looking at your profit regularly is very smart, it doesn't fully tell you what to do in the future. Profit is a lagging indicator of past successful decisions.Let's use an example. Let's say you decide to implement a new marketing strategy, and you begin spending $5,000/month with a new marketing agency in November. Will you have more profit in November because you made that decisions? Uhm, no. You will actually have $5,000 LESS profit in November than when you made that decision. You are spending money now in hopes of making more money later. Now move forward exactly one year, and you find that your marketing strategy was very successful and that it begins to create brand new profit of $20,000/month by November of next year.…

Running Your Business in the Cloud is Better

Posted by JasonBlumer on Nov 4, 2016 in

We can help set your agency up with online accounting tools. I don't put much thought into this, but we require that our clients use cloud-based accounting software because we are a virtual firm. I probably haven't thought much about it because we actually can'tserve a client that has software installed on their computer in an office.But I don't want to take the cloud for granted. Putting your financial processes online really makes it easier to run your business. I think there are 4 key financial processes you want to get online so that you can run your business more efficiently from anywhere. Cash in - developing online processes for invoicing your clients is a key to make sure you get your money faster. If your 'cash in' process involves the mail at all, then you are slowing down your cash flow. We use great products that will…

Taking Time Off

Posted by JasonBlumer on Oct 31, 2016 in

My partner and I are pretty busy running two companies. We get overwhelmed from time to time. Recently we've taken some time off but it was only after we had come to the end of what we could handle. The time off came from a place of stress. But what if you could plan time off from your business and do it when everything is going well? That seems smartSo, my partner and I are scheduling days off now - just one day per month where we do nothing related to the business. We give our brain a rest from the daily needs of a business. Planning some time off will actually give you something to look forward to, like a reward for all of your hard work. Besides, it will give you a clearer window into how well your business runs without you.Do you take time off?…

Placing Requirements on Your Clients

Posted by JasonBlumer on Oct 11, 2016 in

Getting back control of your company has a lot to do with how you onboard your clients. What is onboarding? You can read more about Onboarding in Part 2 of my eBook, The Intimacies of Pricing Your Customer. Gaining control over the process of serving your client happens from the moment you meet them, ask them questions, and give them a price for your services. Gaining control happens on the front end of your processes, not after they become a client. "Gaining control over your client" sounds like a negative, but it is imperative if you want to deliver high value services. And it's really about controlling your company'sprocesses more than controlling a person anyway.So how do you gain control over your processes? One way is to place requirements on your client. That is, you make clear the things you require of your clients before you will agree…

Selling Wants, Not Needs

Posted by JasonBlumer on Oct 6, 2016 in

Value pricing in agencies is much different than selling services by the hour. This may be obvious, but if you are attempting to sell value then you are trying to sell services that are more valuable than what you've been selling already. If you want to find out more valuable services that you can sell, then we have to focus on the client's wants, not needs.Clients know to come to you and ask for their needs. For example, if a client thinks they need a website, then they may come to an agency and say "I need a website." But the client may actually want to change their business model so that they are not overworked. Or they may want more clients so they can be more profitable. Clients don't often know what they want, so they tell you their needs. As the sales people in our companies, we…