However; the past several months have found me fighting a battle with a chronic back injury which has taken my game down a notch or two and found me spending less time writing and more time "writhing." I think I am back now. Some new treatments have been working wonders and I am getting ready to resume my running. (I have permission providing it is on dirt and I don't try to break the 4-minute mile)!
For me, 2016 will be about blogging more on topics that I hope you will find relevant, but will also resonate with you to take action that will help your business to improve lineage, revenue and profits. I'll be blogging about marketing, management, customer service, and of course, a lot more emphasis on E-Marketing processes and tactics. So stay tuned.
Today, I want to write to you about the New Year and the resolutions we make. Only I am calling this "Ten 2016 New Year's Evolutions" for you to consider.
In no particular order, here they are:
- Fight mediocrity every day. Regularly refuse to compromise on your values, even when compromise might be the easier way out. Infuse this "beat mediocrity" value into every employee.
- You don't need another big idea or magic bullet to make your business grow. You have all the big ideas you need. You just need to execute better, be more specific about your tactics, test different approaches and, of course, have patience. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day.
- Don't take a program failure as a personal affront. Go back and examine what you did. What did you do right? What do you think went wrong? What did you learn from it? The last point here is the most important one you can discover.
- Don't race to the bottom with low pricing strategies. Differentiate yourself via e-marketing, using testimonials, and more importantly, invite reviews from your customers, companies, and fund-raising organizations with whom you have done business. Reviews are even more important than testimonials.
- Remember, most people are visually attentive, more than aurally attentive. Use YouTube videos in your emails as frequently as you can. Real people giving real world reviews are more effective than "words."
- Don't keep using emails and Facebook posts to "sell, sell and sell." Use social media to be social. Tell stories about funny, memorable and interesting things that happened at the center...and then offer a coupon that relates to the story
- Stop complaining that you have "no help" or no one to do what you can do. If that is the real case, then go hire someone to be a good number two. It will always turn out that doing a good job with good employees that share your passion is the single best way to get a chance to do an even better job with more, next time.
- The one thing you may be afraid of probably won't happen if you always take the long view. You know as well as I do that the industry is changing. It isn't modernization you need, it's "reimagining" your center to appeal to more types of open play and entertainment type of customers. Start examining your options from boutique lanes to arcades/redemption games to laser tags to better birthday parties for under served segments like teens and adults...not just kids.
- Get more involved in your community; more involved in fund-raising that affects the community's goals. Stay involved with the Chamber of Commerce, attend the meetings, take a leadership role and make sure that your center gets the credit it deserves. Do it because you want to, because you have a passion for the cause, not just for the money.
- What is a brand? Its something that someone looks for because it means something. It has value and makes the purchaser feel better about buying the branded product rather than a "generic product." Most proprietors think their center is the same as the guy's center down the street. Perhaps it is and that's why the only differentiation you have been doing is to fight the "genericazation" is with price cuts. That's the way it has always been done and I suppose will continue. But this year what can you think of that sets your center apart? This past year, we eliminated shoe rental at one proprietor, recreated his pricing structure, built in the price of shoe rentals into his new pricing and for the last three months, his sales have increased by double digit percentages over the past year. His position is, " Never pay for shoe rentals again." Now you may not like that idea, and that's OK, but what else can you think of? Remember, branding is the new marketing. Discover what your center stands for and communicate it.
And finally, here's wishing you and your family a most happy, healthy and prosperous new year.