Four out of Three People Have Problems with Fractions – How to Really Grow Your Business

Since 37.843% of all statistics are made up, how do you know what you should be measuring? (grin)

This is a rant on numbers.  Not just any number but one particular item and how it impacts your world.

These are the days of eliminating the number of commas in your world.  What?  Commas.  You know those nifty little period symbols with a tail.  They, the coma, will allow you, and anyone else, to write sentences, and those, with independent clauses (OK . . . so I only got 6 commas in this sentence.)

I have a problem with commas when it comes to describing what I do.  I am great at facilitating Strategic Planning.  I am also fantastic at Marketing and Branding.  My Leadership training and Teambuilding is a blast. I am told my sales coaching is world class. 

So therefore I proudly proclaim, with my fists on my hips, my feet in a fighters stance and chin jutting out at a strong angle, “I am a Strategic Planner, Marketing Consultant, Sales Coach, Customer Service, Leadership Trainer” . . . and I could keep on going.  That is five commas for describing myself.  I am a comma whoosie. 

Do you think Red Adair, the famous Oil Well Fire Fighter used commas?  Tiger Woods?  Oprah?  Heck she not only has eliminated her commas, she has eliminated her last name.  Remember when Michael Jordon couldn’t decide if he should play baseball or basketball?  Losing his comma turned him into the “greatest of all time” (at least until LaBron catches and passes him.)

In a competitive market we tend to want to not limit ourselves and so the broad brush comes out.  Dust off the comma key on your computer and go crazy.  Hopefully something will stick.  “Sure, I can do anything.  Walk on water?  No problem.”

The problem is a broad brush is more expensive.  As you market and sell you will need more money to get your message out to more people. 

The second problem with diluting your business is you fall into the trap of not focusing, really focusing on your core customers and their problems.  The more you get into the DNA of their problems at a helix level, the more you drive up your value by becoming more specialized.  There are fewer competitors in that landscape. 

Years ago IBM discovered that 84% of the customers will re-purchase who do not experience any “major problems” with a product.  But those customers who have product issues that were resolved . . . their re-purchase rate was 93%. 

It is a time to focus on our core business and repent of trying to be all things to all people. 

For example, McDonalds found their growth stagnant.  A shiny new CEO in Jim Skinner arrives to polish up the golden arches.  He has purposely moved McDonalds OUT of several very good businesses so they could focus.  He is a de-comma-izer.  Ever hear of Boston Market?  How about Chipotle?  Maybe Redbox Video Rental machines?  All McDonalds businesses that were diluting focus. 

The results are telling. His margins are up, as are profits as a percent of sales.  His focus on current franchise holders has the number of new locations each year shrinking.  “Dance with them that brought ya”

Don’t you think there is some irony in the premise that growing sales, taking command of demand and moving your business “up and to the right” requires you to laser like focus.  More requires less.  To understand current customers problems and needs, to put a polestar convergence on your efforts. 

Reminds me of the Bill Watterson quote, “ God put me on this earth to accomplish a certain number of things.  Right now I am so far behind that I will never die”. 

Reduce the number of commas in your life . . . and start living an inspiring and focused path. 

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