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    Wednesday
    Feb142018

    To Manage Effectively Today, Start from The Beginning

    Many business leaders have confessed to having considerable challenges managing the complexity of today’s business environment. Managing has always been a major task – dealing with the big picture, handling the demands of meeting deadlines, keeping costs under control, working through the emotions and performance issues of those on your team – but somehow, today’s workplace has added more stress factors for the average manager to consider. That’s why I believe you must think through the needs of the business from ground zero today, considering all aspects of managing the business.

    One factor I’ve noticed in my own business is the 24/7 nature of it all. I’ve always been willing to work a little later, catch up on the weekend, and call clients and colleagues during “off hours,” (much to their dismay) but today, this has become the norm. Smartphones make it so easy to follow up at any time, our level of expectation has risen to want to see the document now, hear what happened at the meeting now, and see the latest version of the presentation, now. If you’re in client services you must discipline yourself to not immediately show the client the latest progress, just because you can. If you take advantage of every capability today, you run the risk of conditioning your client to expect immediate and ongoing updates – and experiencing personal burnout.

    Then, there’s people management. Today there’s a workforce with different habits, outlook and experience than their management might have. This is particularly the case with digital natives – those who have only known a world of digital technology. What is voicemail? Do I use full sentences when I send a client or staff member a text message? What do I wear to the presentation? These are all questions that many managers are confronted with today as lifestyles and habits are weighted toward the casual. When it comes to these matters, you might have to spell things out more than you might otherwise think.

    I often ask my consulting clients to make no assumptions when it comes to their management staff and their direct reports and thoroughly train their team on 14 key focus areas. These are:

    1-Managing (An Overview)

    2-Supervising

    3-Goal Setting

    4-Planning

    5-Executing

    6-Prioritizing

    7-People Skills

    8-Motivating

    9-Communicating

    10-Leading

    11-Hiring

    12-Creating Harmony

    13-Servicing

    14-Getting Results

    Take my word for it. When it come to managing, take no shortcuts today. Start from the beginning if you truly want to develop a premier business.

    (My Effective Management Series is a great tool to build your management team. Find out more here: http://www.andretaylor.com/effective-management-series/)

    Monday
    Jan292018

    Can You Meet the Demands of This Vibrant Luxury Market?

    This is an exciting time for luxury marketers. Whether you’re in apparel, hospitality, travel, culture, cosmetics, or automobiles, the explosion of luxury products and services onto the marketplace has been met with wide acceptance and approval by consumers. Where the luxury market was dominated by a small number of companies, just decades ago, there are many brands today, driven by entrepreneurs, and many more choices in pedigree, quality, taste, ambiance, and style for luxury buyers.

    This shift presents one of the more challenging business climates for luxury marketers, because buyers today have far more options. There are original luxury designs and products, as there are many copies of luxury products to meet the demand of buyers that do not care about authenticity or heritage. The line between luxury products and products given a “luxury flavor” has also blurred. Market analysts continue to wonder just what a luxury marketer is, and the branding, price, and quality threshold for luxury products and services. (I abhor the constant question: “What is Luxury?,” and wonder why we don’t get on, learning how to sell it better.) This evolution of luxury has implications on how these products are sold, and you should take careful note of this in your business.

    First, business savvy as a luxury sales professional today is crucial. You simply cannot take for granted that because your product is well-made, beautifully designed, decidedly upscale, or otherwise distinguishable, that it will be purchased and repeatedly bought by your clientele. You may find yourself with a customer one day, and no customer the next, because a new luxury option – at least in the minds of the customer, has emerged. This means luxury sales professionals are selling into a fickle market and special consideration must be given to how to close deals and make money in this market.

    Some years back I was conducting a series of seminars on luxury in Hong, Kong and Singapore. I had a group of participants that included corporate marketers, entrepreneurs, and staff from entrepreneurial companies. I was struck by how those closer to the customer were able to latch onto strategies and tactics aimed at producing a sale, today, while those cloistered away from the sales transaction were hungry for more theoretical concepts – a big problem in the luxury market. Everyone in luxury will have to gain a grasp of practical strategies to make the cash register ring.

    You are also selling into a market where there may be misconceptions about your product and your product category. This presents a unique opportunity in luxury sales, because you can use competition and customer confusion to your advantage. With luxury this is often much to clarify and distinguish one product from the next. For example, a luxury sales professional might ask a prospect a series of direct questions that set up the sales conversation:

    “How familiar are you with our products?”

    “What other products have you considered?”

    “What factors drive your buying criteria?”

    “Are you ready to make a decision today?”

    The point here is that the key demand in today's luxury market is becoming more savvy about the sales and business development opportunities which have not just changed, but broadened, and are aided by technology but not rooted in technology changes alone.

    Meeting today's demands requires that you understand the old and new and become skillful at blending the two to drive sales and market penetration amongst a very receptive and well-resourced consumer base appreciative of the wide variety of luxury goods and services available.

    Saturday
    Jan132018

    Define Your 2018 Habits and Routine

    Most of us develop routines in our lives. We awaken at a certain time, we get cleaned up, we have breakfast, we commute or begin working, and so on. Within our routines are habits and combined these make the difference between our success and failure, impact and ineffectiveness, our languishing and legacy. Successful people have habits that align with their goals. Unsuccessful people don’t. Our routines and habits can work for us, or work against us.

    If you’re a writer and you discipline yourself to rise each day, and you get started writing, and do so diligently, focusing on quality output, you’ll complete a manuscript. If your habit is to allow yourself to be interrupted, distracted, can’t get coherent thoughts down, and you delay the process, you will produce nothing of value. So, it is important to not just have routines and habits, but they must lead to the outcomes we desire.

    If you want to see a difference in your life, pay close attention to your habits and your routines. Identify those goals that you want to achieve and consider the habits that will enable you to reach those goals. The beginning of the year is a great time to get started. They say it takes 21 days to make a habit stick. You have plenty of time to define and get working new, empowering habits and routines for 2018.

    Monday
    Dec182017

    2018: The Year of Discipline

    I don’t know how your 2017 is ending, but I can tell you that this year has been one of great discipline for me. My focus has been so keen that I am surprised the year is almost done. That’s because I have been disciplined when it comes to focusing on those things that will bring the greatest value to my life and business.

    In just about every field, you’ll find the people who have the hardest time are those who lack discipline. It is not easy to be disciplined in life and in work. There are so many distractions, and working toward goals can seem tedious and boring. It may feel easier sometimes to find something more exciting to do.

    To succeed in business and in sales and marketing, you must be disciplined. Those who have high levels of discipline often beat those who have greater smarts. Rather than being impulsive and whimsical, the disciplined have an agenda filled with high-value tasks and they stick to it.

    Identify those things that you must do consistently and make sure that you do them. When you have diminished enthusiasm for the tasks that must be done, you must remain focused on doing them, nevertheless. And even when it looks like little progress is being made, or that it’s taking a long time to accomplish what you want, you must stick with it.

    You can look at discipline as sacrificing short-term pleasure for long-term gain. When we are disciplined, we are often doing things we don’t want to do, but know that we should do. Doing what we have to do with regularity, poise, and confidence is what self-discipline is all about. When we exercise self-discipline, we know that ultimately, the outcome will be that we reach our goals. Make this your top priority for 2018.

    Wednesday
    Nov222017

    What Will You Be Thankful For – A Year from Now?

    If you’re like most people, you’re amazed at how quickly this year has gone by. We‘re already nearing the end of November, and it seems like we were just celebrating Thanksgiving. It was, in fact, a year ago, when we were at this very place, but hopefully there’s much for you to be thankful for, which has transpired or become apparent in the last year.

    As time moves on, we can become more appreciative, or more resentful of where we are, and what has taken place, but in reality, you can decide what you’ll celebrate at any time. You have the opportunity to decide what you will celebrate not only today but I invite you to consider how you will approach Thanksgiving, next year as well.

    Being deliberate about how you approach the months to come is probably the best way to be sure you have something meaningful to be thankful for when Thanksgiving comes around again. If your business, career, or life is not quite where you want it to be, or even messy, and you’ve been working on it for some time, you can make remarkable changes in the next twelve months. A good way to be sure that happens is to decide right now, to list those things you will be thankful for, and then go to work on your attitude and activities. Next year, you’ll be thankful for all that has happened, and that you planned your Thanksgiving in advance.