Don’t Give Away the Family Jewels

INC. Magazine,  in the latest issue, ran an article about a small online customer billing website that decided to change its pricing structure to increase revenues.  This was met by lots of bad publicity and negative internet comment because they had the nerve to start to charge their smaller customers….at all!  They had hoped that by giving away the service, as their customers grew, they would convert to paying customers.  This is a model that is being used with some online web publishing companies among others.

Here is the issue:  What is being given away is the most valuable part of the company’s offering.  Why pay for it if you can get it for free?

Instead of giving away the family jewels, the company might have considered giving away the service for a period of time with the understanding that after say, 90 days, there would be a small fee to continue.  Here you are able to get the customer to sample the offering, and get used to paying if they found value in it.

Another way to establish trust with a potential customer is to give away good information that potentially helps the customer improve their business  for free,.  Once the customer sees the value and gains trust, there is a good chance that they will sign up for a paying account out of loyalty.

So, it’s tempting to give away the family jewels to build a customer base, but be careful!  Look to other ways to gain trust and loyalty, but keep the most valuable parts of your offering protected.



Project Risk Management

Managing risk in any project is not about hoping that something unexpected will not happen or taking actions once something does happen.

Risk planning should occur early in the planning phase, where the project team looks at what might happen and puts risk elimination, monitoring and reaction tasks into the project work plan.

The team should have one or multiple sessions where they use Failure Mode and Effect techniques to identify potential risks.  Each risk should be rated as to the probability of occurring and impact on the project.  The team and the sponsors should agree at what level of probability/impact contingencies and risk reduction activities need to be put into the action plans.  Lean principles say that risk elimination should be designed into the end product from the beginning.  Each project team member needs to include risk monitoring activities into his/her plan, based on the risk management discussions.  Risk should be discussed at every team interaction, where, not only is the current risk profile is updated, but a mini FMEA should be performed to identify any new risks.

Every team member must put risk management at the top of their priority to prevent any unplanned project upsets.

Business Growth – Keeping it Simple

I read some sage advice from a source that may not be everyones cup of tea.  This person is a consultant to the MLM (multi level marketing – AMWAY is the most famous company) industry.

The point, though can be applied to every business.  How to focus on growing your business.

  1. Keep it simple.  Put all of your energy into the big picture for your business.
  2. Decide who the most valuable customers are to you.  Why?  Build a list of these people.
  3. Why would they be attracted to you?  To someone else?
  4. Focus on building a relationship with as many of these people, not just reaching them.
  5. Master one communication method.
  6. Finely craft your message.  Make sure it hits as many of the key points as to why your customer should be attracted to  you.  Hone your message, razor sharp.
  7. Spend 15 to 30 minutes per day perfecting your message and working on getting the message out to your target customers.

Focus is key

“The ’secret’ to having successful marketing campaigns is copywriting. Better known as persuasion by words. Communicating your message clearly and directly to your target audience to move your business forward. This is something you should put all of your psychotic focus into studying.”

What is Project Management For?

I heard a comment last night: “We use Project Managers to get us out of the &%*## can” .

Project management as practiced by the best is not to get a project out of trouble, but to eliminate the need to rush in and save the day.  Well practiced PM, uses tools, techniques and team problem solving to identify the issues up front, develop contingency plans and monitoring tools to make sure that surprises don’t occur.

The time to enlist the services of a PM is when the project is just a concept.  The PM can then help to develop a solid business case and plan the project for minimum upsets, thus insuring a successful outcome.