Category Archives: Organization

Resolve for a Better Business in 2015

How’s that new year’s resolution going? Many of us are on our annual quests to better ourselves through resolutions. Seven days in… cut extra spending? Still exercising? Seven days without a cigarette? Keeping up with your read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year program?

New-Year_Resolutions_list

What about our business? While we’re spending time reflecting on how to turn over a new leaf personally, perhaps we spend time considering resolutions for our business. In 2015, how can our business:

Lose Weight / Save Money… how can we run a more efficient operation? If there’s one way to trim the fat, perhaps that could mean cost savings. As the employees. As they work day to day, they probably have an idea or two.

Be Smarter… are you investing in continuing education for you and your employees? Resolve now to allow for every staff member to attend a seminar or conference this year to help them gain insights and work smarter this year.

Spend More Time With Friends/Family… how can you reconnect with a lost customer? How can your sales staff keep in touch with clients better. It’s said it takes six “touches” to keep your business top of mind. Plan now how what those six touches will be this year.

Those are the most popular resolutions. How about these additional six for your business this year:

Improve Customer Service… businesses can ALWAYS be working on improving their customer service. Here’s some tips to consider.

Be Friendlier… perhaps this falls under improving customer service, but make 2015 the year the staff greets customers more cheerfully, remembers names, or heck, just smiles more.

Operate with Honesty and Integrity… not suggesting you’re not today, but do you always follow through on your promises? When a customer calls to get information or complain, do you answer honestly? Gain trust in staff and customers. Be the company of integrity.

Improve One Thing This Year… Is that product long overdue for a new feature? Could the store front be given a freshener? Website need updated? Is it mobile friendly? Could there be an easier way for your customers to pay you?

What are your ideas for a “business resolution”? I would love to hear your comments and suggestions. I’m sure there are more than the nine I thought of while on the elliptical. Yep, I have about 20 pounds I could loose!

Thanks for reading.

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The Fifth P of Marketing

A colleague at a recent tourism function was sharing how her DMO was getting in a “turf war” between the City and the Chamber – both trying to take over the management of the organization. She concluded by sharing ‘I’m staying out of it. I’m not in politics.’ A few of the glancing looks from others at the table communicated that we were thinking the same thing, “Oh yes you are like it or not!”  (And you’d better engage now or you may find yourself in a place you aren’t going to like!)

 

I thought going from a DMO to an attraction I’d find less politics. Boy was I wrong. On the heels of her statement above, I thought I’d dust off this post from April, 2011. Still as timely today! 

 

Remember the Four Ps of Marketing?  Product – Price – Placement and Promotion.  It’s Marketing 101. It’s the core of what we do – destination development (Product), drive hotel rates (Price), advise on the location of the attractions (Placement), and of course advertising and media relations (Promotion.)  But the longer I spend in destination marketing, the more I realize there is indeed a fifth P of marketing.  That fifth P is Politics.

 

I once read that destination marketing professionals are “politicians with marketing skills”.  And while I don’t like to consider myself a politician, I recognize more and more frequently that we do a lot of politic-ing.  Consider that…

 

– The CVB was active in recent City Council elections.  We assisted with candidate profiles and submitted questions for the candidate forums.

 

– Recently we’ve monitored and spoke on City issues related to business lighting and storm water runoff.  Further back, we took a stance on a state education issue and supported both a parks master plan and funding for a business park. (Following this post, we monitored and spoke on high density housing near a popular shopping district and engaged in the passage of a bond issue to improve one of the main corridors into the destination.)

 

– I accompanied our Chamber of Commerce on a ‘fly-in’ to DC to meet with our five representatives and Senators. We also met with NOAA as weather is big business in Norman! (Delighted to see my successor continued the practice!)

 

– In the near future we’ll discuss raising the transient guest tax and the split of that tax to maximize it’s economic impact on the local economy. (It passed increasing the DMO budget by $250,000.)

 

US Travel Association has long recognized the fifth P of destination marketing.  DMAI is engaging more and more in advocacy.  A committee is developing a tool kit for a community to utilize.  Not soon enough as we spend less and less time on the Promotion side of our jobs and more time on the Politics of our job. Update: that tool kit has been developed. It and many other resources can be found here.

 

It’s not the customer interaction we crave. It’s not the full conference hall corridors we like to see. And it’s not the dynamic new advertising creative we like reviewing but politicking has become a vital part of our jobs. Again, like it or not.

 

I’d love to hear success stories or best practices.  Please share those below.

That’s It! I’m Getting Organized!

I’m writing this 10 days after I was supposed to post it. (“5 at 5” means five things posted or shared on the 5th day of each month.) On the 5th, I left the office with more than 1,100 emails in my in box, 7 voice mails, 3 months of reports to be compiled, and a report for the Chamber left undone. How can I even leave and enjoy the weekend with no sense of accomplishment!? Let alone be prepared for the 950 things next week!? 950?

Liz Davenport says the average businessperson receives 190 pieces of information each day. (and that was in 2001. I’m sure it’s increased! Plus I wonder if that includes the spams for Russian women and Dr. Oz pills or not!?) AskMen.com stated it clearly, “the world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster. So much technology. So much information. So much to understand, to think about, to react to. Never before has it been so important to be grounded and intentional and to know what’s important.”

Another emphasized “if you don’t have a system in place for getting things done, you’re likely losing a lot of productive time to repetitiveness and inefficiency.”

Add to those 190 pieces the fact that “the average businessperson wastes 150 hours each year looking for stuff. Add 10 more hours and that is an entire work month!” Think about this “if you got organized, you could have an extra month each year! Just think how much more you could accomplish (or how much vacation you could have) if you got organized. You could take a three-day weekend every other week and still do as much as you are doing now – or more!”

So there’s got to be help out there. Search the internet for ‘organization’, you get 264 million results! ‘Organization at work’ narrows it down to 136 million. ‘Getting things done’ down to 55 million. Just look for a book… Search Amazon and 108,000 suggestions appear for ‘organization at work’. Time management, productivity, manage your schedule, reclaim that desk, organize your week, eat that frog!

There are 10 tricks, 13 steps, and 50 tips. I found the 5 second rule on YouTube. Oddly it took 3:45 seconds to explain the 5 second rule which is “Count to five and do the task.”

Maybe friends have suggestions. I asked Facebook friends for their tips. To-do lists was the repeated answer. My sister posted, “(I) read once to categorize the day’s ‘to-do’ list into 3 categories: like easy, medium, hard or must-do, like-to-do, and won’t-die-if-waits-until-tomorrow. That way each day you get to check off lots of ‘done’ things -feeling good- and have manageable expectations for what you have to do and can do. It really works for me. The tomorrow list makes me look far in advance and as things move up to the today’s category, I can track my time requirements.”

Amanda’s variation on that is to “block off time on (her) calendar for hot or time intensive projects; group a bunch of small tasks to tackle in one sitting–makes you feel really accomplished when you cross them off!”

Nichole keeps a small white board on her desk l for daily to do’s, that way she gets to erase the line when it is done.

Here are additional tips on the to-do list:

— Create a daily to-do list at the start or end of each day. Make sure it contains single-step tasks, not projects. “Call Bob” is a to-do. “Develop Marketing Plan” is a project.

— Keep a master project list (“Develop Marketing Plan”) but have the to-do list made up of all multi-step tasks you want or need to do. In other words, make your to-do list pebbles. Break it into tiny pieces of the mountainous job writing down only tasks you can accomplish in 24 hours. “File my taxes” vs. “get my receipts out and put them on the table.”

— Run An Assessment – does every item on the to-do list deserve to be on the list?

— Focus on Value and Outcome – identify the true value of the task. Is it really worth it? What will you get by completing it? Focus on outcome not on the task its-self. If you’re really truly passionate about the task, then the result should inspire and motivate you to get it done.

— In prioritizing, ask who’s task is on your list? Are we prioritizing other people’s most important tasks or ours? Additionally we may set ourselves tasks that we don’t really believe in and that have little value to us and then wonder why we never end up getting those things done!

— Write down your to-do’s as soon as they pop into your head. Keep small note pads and pens handy — in your office, briefcase, wallet, and purse. Regularly collect the pages from your note pads and add them to your to-do list or master project list.

It’s that last part that I miss! I wind up with stacks of pages from 5×7 legal pads, sticky notes and napkins with to-dos written all over them!

What are your tips? Comment below. This subject will continue in future posts… more on getting things done in subsequent months.

Thanks for reading!