Five best-selling authors, Speaker Hall of Fame recipients, internationally-acclaimed business consultants and best buddies give their insights on business and life.
From Mark Sanborn:
The biggest challenge businesses will face in the next five years is meeting increasing customer expectations.
There is a current dilemma that will only get worse: the more you do for customers, the more they expect.
Excellent service providers scramble to meet the expectations of customers who have become accustomed to great service. Aggressive competitors continue to bump up their offerings in an attempt to gain marketshare. This has culminated in a perpetual desire by customers for more, better, different and/or improved.
What used to be good enough no longer is.
The great art and science of business is to improve product and/or service offerings without giving up margins or increasing prices beyond what customers are willing to pay. It really is about adding value without spending too much to do it.
Any business that can’t do this will be relegated to competing at the low end of the market on price alone, and that is a difficult place to be.
Rally your team, from engineering to manufacturing to sales and support to regularly brainstorm how you can profitably grow your value proposition. Customers will increasingly demand it.
Mark Sanborn is president of Sanborn & Associates, Inc., an idea studio for leadership development. He is an award-winning speaker bestselling author of books including, The Fred Factor. For more information and free resources, visit www.marksanborn.com.
From Larry Winget:
An entitled, unskilled workforce. Too many children are over-protected, sheltered from disappointment, are not allowed to experience failure and believe they are owed a living. In addition, school systems give participation trophies and don’t allow keeping score because losing might hurt the child’s feelings and damage their fragile egos. Just as alarming is the new Princeton study that says American millennials are the least skilled in the world. They ranked last in literacy and basic math skills, can’t follow directions and can’t use technology well enough to use it on a job. A Bentley University study found that 60% of millennials are not considering a career in business and 48% say they have not been encouraged to do so. Yet, in the next 5-10 years millennials will make up the majority of the workforce.
We used to say that education was about the 3 Rs: Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic. Add two more: Responsibility and Respect. Those 5 are our issues and will be our downfall.
Scared yet? You should be. If we are to save American businesses from going outside of our country to hire a qualified workforce, parents must do their jobs and force school systems to do theirs.
Larry Winget, the Pitbull of Personal Development®, is a six-time NYT/WSJ bestselling author, social commentator and appears regularly on many national television news shows. To find out more, go to www.LarryWinget.com.
From Scott McKain:
The biggest challenge facing business in the next five years is creating distinction in the marketplace so that customers can tell a difference between you and the competition. Many executives and sales professionals complain about “price buyers” – yet, from the customer’s perspective, if I can see no difference between you and your competitor, why shouldn’t I choose the cheaper alternative?
Don’t misunderstand – this isn’t about being “different” for difference’s sake. You could slap every customer in the face, and you’d be different. However, you wouldn’t be successful.
It’s NOT about moving from “good to great.” It’s about creating distinction in your marketplace. You need to find a way to be a source of wisdom — a beacon of insight — to help your customers make sense of the plethora of information now at their fingertips.
If you can create distinction in your market, you’ll find you are not only more successful in your efforts to pursue business – you’ll also be attracting new customers, while simultaneously enhancing both repeat business and referrals.
Distinctive organizations – and professionals – are clear about their advantages, creative in their approaches, communicate through a compelling narrative, and have a customer experience focus.
Can you meet that challenge?
Scott McKain teaches how organizations and individual professionals can create distinction in their marketplace, and deliver the “Ultimate Customer Experience ®.” For more information: www.ScottMcKain.com.
From Joe Calloway:
The biggest challenge that businesses will face in the next five years is that the internet has killed hype.
Nobody cares what you say about your business anymore, be it in advertising or online. They care about what your customers say about your business. Recent consumer research shows that 84% of buyers go online to check out a new product or service’s consumer ratings and reviews before making a buying decision.
My business lives or dies depending on what people say about me online. I can run a thousand ads telling people how great my latest book is, but if I have a book on Amazon with 3 five star reviews and 53 one star reviews, that book is dead.
In a recent television ad, actor Gary Oldman says ““I could tell you how amazing the all new HTC One is, but I won’t. Because let’s face it, you either already know, or you want to see what others have to say about it. So go ahead, ask the internet……..I’ll wait…….”
What this means is that no one can fake it anymore. You either deliver rock solid value or you’re busted.
Joe Calloway helps great companies get even better. www.JoeCalloway.com.
From Randy Pennington:
The difference between excellence and irrelevance for your business will come down to this – can you be nimble and adapt to all of the changes and disruptions you will face.
Technology change and disruption are a given. But, you will be in for a world of pain if you assume that is the only change or disruption on the horizon.
Your customers will change their expectations. Joe is right – you will not be able to hide behind hype.
But wait. There’s more.
Your best competitors will change – both who they are and how they serve your customers. Your employees will change. The Boomers will finally leave and take all of that institutional knowledge with them. The people who replace them will bring a totally different set of expectations.
The regulatory and geo-political environment will change. The culture you need to attract the really smart, driven people necessary to win in this type of world will change.
Faster, better, cheaper, and friendlier are about to become four of your most used words for every part of your business. And, you had better learn to be nimble and change if you want to make it out alive.
Randy Pennington helps leaders deliver positive results in a world of accelerating change. To find out more, go to www.penningtongroup.com.