Monthly Archives: September, 2017

Your Irresistible Value

September 26th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Engagement 0 thoughts on “Your Irresistible Value”
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On last week’s Business is ART podcast on the TrueChat Network, marketing and customer relationship expert Keri Vandongen (Earn Loyal Customers) was the guest. The episode was entitled “Defining Your Purpose”, but something like “Your Irresistible Value” may have been more appropriate.

Are you more engaged in your customers than they are in you?

Keri shared with listeners how when she used to provide counsel to clients, she may have felt a connection to them, but they weren’t necessarily feeling a connection to her in return.

So, in order to maintain enough clients to sustain her practice, she found herself doing more and more for less and less – until it dawned on her that this wasn’t a sustainable model. More importantly, she realized it wasn’t really what clients wanted either.

That’s when she began focusing on what it means to earn loyal and engaged customers.

Mandatory Simon Sinek

Keri’s journey included the mandatory stop in “Simon Sinek Land”, where we are encouraged to “start with why”. Why do you do what you do? Why should anyone care?

Coming to this core understanding is an important step, but Keri’s journey doesn’t end there. She takes it further, encouraging you to determine what your gift is. What is it about you that attracts customers to you? Keri calls this your irresistible value, or your “IV line.”

What is that special something that you have to offer? In previous posts, we talked about how your story is your brand DNA. Sharing your story can enhance customer experience but it isn’t necessarily your gift.

Don’t Just Say It

But it isn’t enough to say it – you have to show it. On the show, this was compared to walking around with freshly baked cookies, handing them out to people not because you want something in return, but just because you want them to enjoy a delicious cookie that you made from scratch. Their satisfaction is your satisfaction.

Starting with why, telling your story and understanding your gift are all part of the same package…that same core level of understanding not just who you are (or who your business is) but what makes it special, and why that is beneficial to the customer.

What is your gift? Keri provided listeners to the podcast with a link to a PDF document she put together that can help you get started. Click here to access it.

Congratulations Raffa P.C.

September 18th, 2017 Posted by Behavior, Blog Post, Inspiration 0 thoughts on “Congratulations Raffa P.C.”

We decided the topic of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was a good one on which to blog this week. Last week, we shared on Twitter and LinkedIn an article by Roger Wolens of The Green Organisation entitled How Millennials Are Reshaping What’s Important In Corporate Culture, so the topic was fresh on our mind.

The article emphasizes the importance of CSR, stating, “70 percent of millennials are willing to spend more with brands that support causes they care about.”

Looking for additional information to reference in this week’s post, we did one quick online search, which took us straight to CSRWire’s September 13, 2017 post entitled Raffa, PC, Honored As the Most Improved Impact Business, Leading the Race to the Top of Companies Creating Positive Change.

We needed search no further

That find concluded our search because Plan Canvas has an indirect tie to Raffa Social Corporate Advisors by way of Raffa team member Rich Tafel.

Rich was a major influencer on Plan Canvas founder, Jon Umstead, having served as Jon’s business coach and advisor for a number of years. Rich actually introduced the term “CSR” to Jon years ago before it was part of the common business vernacular. But the ties don’t end there.

In Business is ART, the book that inspired the development of Plan Canvas, Jon refers to his coach and the benefits of having one – that was Rich, who would go on to provide an inside cover review for the book when it was ready for publication.

Value-Based vs. Profit-Driven Goals

More importantly, Rich inspired 2 components of Plan Canvas of which we are very proud.

One is an emphasis on social responsibility within the tool’s planning and management functions. As an example, one of 4 long-term strategic goal categories is “Social Responsibility”. It is also 1 of 6 categories of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) used for defining long or short-term objectives.

With social responsibility as a major category of goals and KPIs, we emphasize that businesses, no matter how large or small, should start by setting value-based as opposed to profit-driven goals and objectives.

Personal Planning is as Important as Business Planning

But it doesn’t end there. Rich also introduced a personal planning process to Jon that, with Rich’s permission, was slightly modified and included in both the book and the software. The personal plan allows the leader or entrepreneur to step away from the business for a moment to focus on him or herself, the individual – which is critical to success and fulfillment.

Congratulations to the Raffa Team

The CSRWire post begins by saying, “Today, Raffa, P.C. was recognized as a top performer in the B Corp community earning a place on the 2017 Best for the World lists. Named 2017 Best for Governance by scoring in the top 10 percent of all B Corps and also 2017 Best for the World: Changemaker for making the most positive improvement on their overall impact based on the B Impact Assessment an independent, comprehensive assessment administered by the nonprofit B Lab, Raffa continues to lead in the movement of people using business as a force for good.”

Rich’s influence can be seen throughout Business is ART and Plan Canvas. We are absolutely thrilled for him, Raffa, P.C. CEO Tom Raffa, and the entire Raffa team for this recognition.


What Performance Metrics Should You Track?

September 12th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Key Performance Indicator, KPI 0 thoughts on “What Performance Metrics Should You Track?”

Most businesses and organizations naturally pay attention to 2 critical performance metrics – revenue and profit. Some may refer to “revenue” as sales, income, fees, etc. However it is labeled, it means the same thing – how much money you are bringing in.

The word “profit” might mean different things to different people/businesses. For examples, there is profit after direct costs, commonly referred to as gross profit, and there is profit after direct costs, sales costs, and general/administrative costs, commonly referred to as net profit.

Unquestionably, these are vital metrics. But they aren’t everything.

6 categories of metrics

There are 6 commonly referenced categories of performance metrics, as follows:

  1. Financial
  2. Sales & Marketing
  3. Customer
  4. Employees
  5. Operational
  6. Social Responsibility

Revenue and Profit are good examples of financial metrics. But there are any number of additional metrics that you might be concerned with, like Cash on Hand, Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable. Each of these can have an impact on the other, so don’t look at any of them in a vacuum.

New Customers and Website Visitors are examples of sales and marketing metrics. Customer Retention Rate and Customer Complaints are examples of customer metrics. Employee metrics might include things like Average Employee Tenure and Time to Hire.

Examples of operational metrics include things like Quality and First Time Resolution (of customer issues). Volunteer Hours and Energy Consumptions are examples of social responsibility metrics.

2 Rules of Thumb

It can be a bit challenging to identify the metrics that are important to you. When you look at a pre-defined list of potential metrics, it’s tempting to say, “This one makes sense,” over and over again until you suddenly have a long, unmanageable list of them.

So a good rule of thumb is to identify 1 to 3 metrics in each of the 6 categories. That will keep you well beyond the narrow view of simply tracking revenue and profit, but will keep your list of metrics to a manageable few.

A second rule of thumb is, once you have identified which metrics to track, set targets for each of them. Measuring without a target is an exercise in futility. What is the end game? What are you trying to achieve? Not only does setting targets add meaning to your metrics, it helps you to focus on the tasks, energy and resources needed to achieve the targets.

What metrics should I track?

The answer to that lies with you and your stakeholders. What is important to you? What does success look like to you? If you are unsure, sit down with your trusted advisors, team, and customers. Ask them. Compare their answers to yours. Then set your metrics.

The good news is you can change them any time it makes sense to do so.

We have you covered

The Plan Canvas software comes pre-loaded with over 50 common key performance metrics (KPI). If we don’t have metrics that are important to you, you can add as many of your own as you’d like.

For a demo of Plan Canvas, click here.

So what metrics are important to you? We would love to hear from you.

10 Tips for Your Business or Startup

September 5th, 2017 Posted by Blog Post, Strategy 0 thoughts on “10 Tips for Your Business or Startup”

It’s not enough to formally plan your business. Strategically managing it can make the difference between wild success and running your business into the ground. But it all may seem overwhelming at first brush. Here are a few tips for tackling it in chunks.

Plan Canvas is a community and a powerful software for improving your odds of business success and personal fulfillment.

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