Do You Put on Your Lifejacket After You Fall Off the Boat?

Everyone knows that open season in the health insurance industry provides a huge moment to recruit new policyholders. But an insurance office manager is too busy to invest 2.5 hours to improve his agents’ sales skills in September. “We will focus only on sales (no matter the quality of the skills) and consider some training … Continue reading Do You Put on Your Lifejacket After You Fall Off the Boat?

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The Big Mac: Is 50 Years Too Long?

McDonald’s iconic Big Mac is 50 years old in the summer of 2018. It’s hard to think of many other products that are so familiar, so ubiquitous in the US and globally AND that are 50 years old. So much of what’s front and center in our lives is less than 20 years old.

What’s interesting to me, as a leading advisor to owner-run companies, is that the 50th anniversary is not causing a great deal of happiness. The Big Mac is not the icon to millennials that it has been to their parents and grandparents. Its competition is what’s known as the “better burger” such as at Shake Shack and Five Guys. Away-from-home eating trends have clearly moved in the direction of fast casual, which means food that is more healthful, allows for complete personalization as a matter of course, and just bit more expensive. But observers do not see McDonald’s pivoting from the Big Mac any time soon.

I’ve been reflecting on the companies I’ve advised and how they recognized when the time was right to pivot away from their own tried-and-true into a new type or group of offerings. Here are some powerful examples:


The Power of Bundles

What motivates a buyer to approach your company? Most of the time buyers come to your company to meet a need or a want. “I need my tax return completed” or “I want a more energy efficient heating and air conditioning system” or “ We have to get our people on the same page.”

It’s perfectly understandable that your company would offer ways to fulfill these needs or wants.

Unfortunately, you get into the habit of selling a la carte: one item at a time, priced individually. This forces the buyer into a sequence of asks, and, more critically, it allows them to look elsewhere each time.

The most powerful source of new revenue is your current buyers. I have worked with hundreds of owners to capitalize on their current buyers and this is often where we start:


Flat Revenue is Bad But There is Good News

Flat revenue means your company does have buyers and makes sales. So it’s unlikely that your sales process isn’t working.

What is most likely, as I’ve seen scores of times, is that you can’t imagine new ways of increasing sales to your existing buyers. Giving current buyers imaginative and good reasons to buy will put your revenue on an upward trajectory more quickly and less expensively than any other effort.

I enjoy thinking back to clients from across many industries who fired up their imaginations and put their revenue on an upward climb. Consider a few of their examples.


Ever Feel “We’re Stuck”? That’s Great for new Opportunities

One entrepreneur told me he felt he was running in place. “Stuck” is how he summed it up. He was frustrated that all his busyness wasn’t leading to more revenue. For him, stating “we’re stuck “was a statement of fact that opened his company up to new opportunities. It was not a judgement.

Another owner told me her company revenue was flat—i.e., “stuck”— but then backed away from that and pushed me away. For her, being stuck felt like an admission of years of bad decisions. It was a harsh and uncomfortable judgement and she closed herself off to new opportunities.