Why Your Business Back Stage Is As Critical As Your Front Stage

It’s critical that you execute on your promises and deliver what customers expect. If they expect something great and receive something mediocre, their perception of you plummets.

Systems must be in place to ensure perfect delivery. If you don’t execute and keep your promises, these customers will tell everyone about it, and they have the web to spread their bad experience. In my small business marketing firm, we call this “front stage” versus “back stage.” It doesn’t matter how pretty and flashy your front stage is if your back stage doesn’t deliver.

Front stage is your high-profile executives and spokespersons, events, website, materials, and media. Back stage is your people and systems-the inner workings of your company that customers don’t see, but the results of which they experience.

I once purchased a training course from a company with an excellent front stage. The speakers were persuasive. The events were flawless. The results seemed inevitable. However, after engaging with them for about a month, it quickly became apparent that their back stage was a mess.

They wouldn’t return phone calls. They never delivered on their promises. What looked like a golden opportunity was quickly exposed as fool’s gold.

I wasn’t the only one with a bad experience. The company went out of business a couple years after opening.

My business partner Carl once had a conversation of the leader of the execution team for a major self-help author. The author had written many books and had phenomenal success. He had the ability to speak magically to the hearts of the audiences to whom he regularly spoke. He put on his own events where he offered and sold a number of in-depth solutions for personal growth and financial success.

Unfortunately, he had the bad habit of biting off more than he could chew. In other words, he over-promised on stage and his staff had no other option than under-delivering. They couldn’t create nearly as fast as he promised. In the end, customers felt slighted. His staff felt the pressure and ended up leaving.

Most marketing and advertising firms focus solely on your “front stage” messaging. But you must also build your “back stage” so that it supports and synchronizes with your front stage.

Is the Economy the Only Thing Holding Your Business Back?

Dale Carnegie once said, “The only way to get someone to do something you want them to, is for them to want to do it too.” For you as a business owner, manager or leader of any capacity, this still rings true. So in these economic times, how do you get an employee, customer or someone part of your professional life to do something you both want them to do?

Many employers are feeling the pinch in these times. Not as many customers equals not enough sales equals not enough revenue (for those of you wondering, yes, I obviously aced 4th grade math).

But is the so-called recession the only thing causing your business not to thrive the way you dreamed it to? Unless you’re in the John McCain bumper sticker business, I’m going to say NO! As the great motivator George Bernard Shaw once wrote, “The reasonable person adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable person persists in trying to adapt the world to themself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable person.” So my question to you is, are you still trying to work with reasonable, pre-recession business-building techniques or are you taking a step back to see how you can adapt to our ever-changing world?

Sounds like a catchy line you’d hear at an Anthony Robbins seminar right? Maybe. However, it’s really not complicated. The tendency is to over think just about everything when all we really have to evaluate is one thing; relationships. No, this is not a Hallmark lead-in. Stay with me on this.

Think about it. What is your business made of besides a building, a desk, some computers, a parking lot and the product/service you provide? Alright fine, I’ll give you the answer to everything. PEOPLE! Who MAKES your product? People. Who SELLS your product? People. And who BUYS your product? And BINGO was his name! So if you want to grow your business, grow your people! Always remember, people move products. Products don’t move people.

Now, how do we build up people (customers, employees, etc) in a way that they will do, perform, buy anything you’d like them to? Here’s a hint: Babies cry for it, and men die for it.
Stay tuned for more in the next article…

Three Biggest Myths That Hold Crafters & Cottage Businesses Back From Being Profitable

There are 3 big myths that hold crafters, designers, and small cottage industries back from stepping up to the plate, realizing their full potential and making a profit. The truth is, all of these myths are centered around fear, doubt and uncertainty. Change is an inevitable part of growth. Take a look at these Myths and see which ones apply to your business:

Myth #1: If I price my products too high people won’t buy them. I keep my prices low to sell more

Truth: You can’t decide what other people will pay for your products. Pricing is an art combining perceived value, workmanship, availability and timing in the marketplace and perhaps actual costs. If you’re lower than everyone else you may encounter lack of sales because your products are considered inferior quality even though they are better than other similar products. I had a client recently who was thinking along these lines and when she raised her prices she not only sold more units but greatly increased her revenues. Ask yourself this question: do you always make purchases based on the lowest price?

Myth # 2: Shipping & Admin work takes so much of my time I don’t have time for creating new products

Truth: Shipping and admin work are tasks that can be easily systematized. You can’t afford not to hire help in doing those things that are not your forte. Rule of thumb here is: Do what only you can do and delegate the rest. You cannot grow your company if you do everything. As the owner you are the visionary – and it is up to you to be working on your business and not in it. For example, if it takes you 6 hours a week to ship and you could hire that out for $72 a week – with that time saved you would then have 24 hours a month to devote to product development, marketing & sales. You are actually losing money by doing it yourself – it is false economy!

Myth #3: It costs too much for marketing, people find me by word of mouth

Truth: The life blood of any product based business is marketing. If you don’t get your name and products in front of the public to let them know you’re in business, you will not have a business for very long. Marketing is what draws prospects in to take a look at your products. It is not enough to open up your website, buy an ad in a magazine or attend a trade show. You have to “work it” over and over again. The truth be told, marketing is what makes your business sink or swim. Marketing makes people aware of your product and they must be aware that you exist in order to buy.

There are many ways to promote your business that are low cost: social media, newsletters, post cards, phone calls, classified ads, special promotions, Blogging, SEO ( search engine optimization) and press releases to name a few. The more often you’re seen the more likely it is that your customers will become familiar with your company. You want them to know, like and trust you because they will then buy your products.