Archive for February, 2009

And now for something completely different.

Amanda in battle
Image via Wikipedia

And now for something completely different.

I am about to head out on a two week holiday (Some call this a reading break,  others a respite before a fire hose of book reviews comes down the pipe)  My wife and I have been chatting about how busier I have become again.  She has indicated that the cutting back work gig has not really taken hold. In fact I am as much a workaholic as ever.  So  she has decided to work more since I am.

For those who do not know,  my spouse, Amanda is a senior Executive Assistant with loads of experience in many different  Western businesses (Oil sands through to Engineering companies  and judges) .  In order to do my bit I am asking a favor from my local readers over the next few weeks.

In your circle of friends if you hear of someone who wants or
needs a highly skilled, highly productive EA, keep Amanda in mind., and drop us a line.

For the last few jobs she has been called in to “clean up the mess”
e.g when someone retires after many years in a job – who did not throw anything away.
She also worked on Ballard’s split off of the R&D group after the sale
and organized all the admin stuff – what to keep, throw, archive, move.
She gets along with anybody, but also gets the work done.
(I can testify that she is really organized, confidential and thorough)

Her ideal job might be with a sales group . She enjoys sales oriented departments, being customer facing,  and all the material they need created quickly.  Busy is good. Not a fan of really bureaucratic places. (Especially if all the EA does is work Microsoft Outlook Calendaring!) By the way she has the benefit of a real English education.

Speaking for myself, if your business did not yet need a full time person (or you were scaling back)  that would work since I use her for some of my own EA needs, (She would say I am a cost not a benefit!)

I said it would be something completely different.  Talk to you again in two weeks.

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Precision Sales and Marketing is more than getting better at selling

Eastern Bluebird
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I have been meeting with many folks over the last month, as Rocket Builders has been putting together several events (Ready to Rocket 25, 2009 It Outlook Executive briefings, and last night’s Vancouver Enterprise Forum on Social Networks for growing your business).  One thought keeps coming to me in my discussions.   Our industry ( and it is not alone) is stuck in a paradigm that to grow the business, you concentrate on getting better at selling.  Selling is important, but the single minded approach is so wrong (and outdated). Our research and that of many others indicates that today the no 1 problem with improving your sales revenues lies in getting quality leads in the door.

Yet leads in volume  are brought (or not brought)  in by the story that is being taken to the market. The hard marketing work that has not been done on clear  positioning, segmentation, messaging, value propositions and  nurturing is what is holding  companies back. Why? Because I have yet to meet a potential client who is able to generate the number of high quality leads they need for their sales numbers .

Of course if a high quality bluebird comes into the sales team, you  get the business. But you can not build a business on bluebirds.  And you can not get to where you want to be these days by having your sales force cold call lists.  That day is long gone.  As the market gets harder, companies need to get smarter about their marketing. They have to really do something effective!

In another post I will talk about how the complaint of very long sales cycles is also a symptom of an outdated marketing approach.

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Formed a Vancouver Enterprise Group on LinkedIn

City of Vancouver
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As part of our research for the Vancouver Enterprise Forum Social networking panel on Feb 17, I am inviting you to join this group for the VEF on linkedIn.

(Of course you will need to join LinkedIn if you are not already a member)

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Decline and Fall. Europe’s Slow Motion Suicide. Bruce Thornton

LONDON, ENGLAND APRIL 3: A composite of undate...
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Decline and Fall. Europe’s Slow Motion Suicide. Bruce Thornton. 2008. ISBN 9781594032068. A short well written sombre book.  The author is a classisist, who has an impressive academic background.

(From the UK description)  Despite the utopian promises of the EU, conditions are ripe for fulfilling Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis‘s prediction that in fifty years Europe will be an Islamic society, which is to say Europe will culturally disappear. In this penetrating and provocative book, the classicist Bruce S. Thornton shows how Europe reached this pass andanalyzes what Europe’s decline means for the United States.  

My lesson learned is that by turning away from its spiritual roots in Christianity (Through an Eloi-like pursuit of personal satisfaction) Europe is leaving itself open to a gradual Islamic assimilation. Compound this with the relative ease for immigrants to be caught in the EU social safety netbut continue to deny them upward mobility into the better schools, jobs and full integration into EU society and you have a breeding ground for anger, crime, terrorism and isolation from society.  

The author traces this disconnect to deeply held national prejudices in Europe. He points out what N. America is doing well in this regard but hints that the US just may get tired of bailing Europe out with money and troops. Although  Europe desires to solve all world conflicts with diplomacy vs might they have been ineffective in all cases – resulting in Canada, the UK and the US putting  troops and funds in play. The Islamic nations see Europe as having no world wide power to affect them. They just expect them to accommodate, apologize  and give way to Islam. (The population growth of immigrants is incredible.)

He asks the question, “When will the US decide that NATO is an ineffective use of largely American funds and pull the support? ”  That is a good one.

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I have created a short LinkeIn Poll to try out this new tool

Go to (If you have a minute?) :

The Designful Company. A whiteboard overview. Marty Neumeier.

Image representing Steve Jobs as depicted in C...
Image via CrunchBase

The Designful Company. A whiteboard overview. Marty Neumeier. 2009. ISBN 9780321580061.  An easy to read but insightful look at the impact of design on long term profits and shareholder value.  I have waited a long time for an analysis like this.  You will find a well thought out and logical train from the core of design to the company bottom line.  Lesson learned was the story of Samsung and how a focus on design has resluted in significant product growth.  There are lots of folks with the CEO/designer genes beyond Steve Jobs in the world.   Good airplane book in that you do not need many  words to speak the truth.

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