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Why You Can Never Stop Perfecting Your Business

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The most successful owners, like the best athletes, know there’s no reaching the top. There’s only working harder and learning faster than the next guy.


“Practice makes perfect” is not true.  You have to add one word: “Perfect practice makes perfect.”

I wish that I had coined that phrase, but I didn’t.  Legendary pro football coach Vince Lombardi did.  I also like the quote attributed to the virtuoso violinist Jascha Heifetz: “If I don’t practice one day, I know it. Two days, the critics know it. Three days, the public knows it.”

There are no walk-ons at the Super Bowl or Carnegie Hall, or, for that matter, when it comes to the survival of your company.  Athletics and performing arts aren’t perfect metaphors for business, but they’re not bad. In all three, talent will only take you so far. From that point on, it’s a question of determination and learned skill.

I’ve had numerous coaches help me develop whatever natural talent I have, from public speaking to running marathons to dancing and many others.  I’m not embarrassed to ask  for coaching when it comes to business decisions, either. After learning from the experts and practicing until it became second nature, I felt like I was “in the zone” more often than not. The “zone” is that magical place where performance seems inspired and effortless.

You, your business and your employees can also get in the zone–that place where you are making the right calls as leaders, sales people, quality control, marketing, the works.   Concentrate on doing the things that give you the best chance.  

  • Commit to excellence.  You must want to be the best.  Good enough doesn’t hack it.   People who want to get into the zone crave coaching and embrace practice.  They don’t whine about tough competition. They look for it.
  • Work hard.  You must be willing to put in the effort and make the necessary sacrifices.  The greatest athletes are the hardest workers.
  • Build true confidence.  True confidence is not the same as swagger. It’s a combination of mental and physical skills learned from practicing the right concepts.  Confidence enables you to perform to the best of your abilities because you know what works and what doesn’t.
  • Concentration.  If you have total concentration, you will have total control of yourself.  Great athletes maintain their poise and concentration whether they are on the verge of victory or when they’re staring defeat in the face. The same is true in business. It’s always just about the best execution, no matter what.
  •  Be physically at your peak.  Fatigue makes fools of us all.  It robs you of your skills and your judgment, and it blinds you to creative solutions.  It’s the best-conditioned athlete, not the most talented, who generally wins when the going gets tough.
  • Thrive on pressure.  To be a champion, you have to learn to handle stress and pressure.  But if you’ve prepared mentally and physically, you don’t have to worry.

Whatever it is you do, you have keep practicing the skills and concepts that got you where you are.  The annals of business are filled with stories of companies that thought they had it made and could milk their enterprises without having to bother about improving their products or services.  It’s amazing how fast they found their markets disappearing.

Mackay’s Moral:  All the world’s a stage, and most of us need more rehearsals.

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Jan 4, 2012

The Purchase Path of Online Buyers

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Successfully reaching online shoppers during the critical holiday season is crucial to the Q4 success of
eCommerce businesses. Forrester collaborated with the eCommerce service provider GSI Commerce
to understand how retailers in fact did connect with online buyers. Actual retailer clickstream analysis
from 15 online retailers who are GSI Commerce’s clients showed that traditional forms of web marketing
(e.g., search, marketing) continue to drive online sales while experimental tactics like social continue
to be just that, peripheral tactics that have generated buzz but are rarely associated with revenue. This
retailer data also showed that some tactics like display advertising may be underrepresented as they are
earlier in the purchase funnel. While this data highlights findings from the holiday season of 2010, it is a
useful illustration of how retail eBusiness executives can accommodate those findings in their customer
acquisition and retention programs throughout the year.

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Jan 4, 2012

Five predictive imperatives for maximizing customer value

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Applying predictive analytics to enhance customer
relationship management


Whether you call solving the business problems related to customer
profitability “customer relationship management” or just good business,
you know that strengthening customer relationships is imperative for
business success for one simple reason: customers drive profits.

In today’s increasingly global and competitive marketplace, customers
have more options available to them than ever before. Many analysts
and journalists, in fact, are calling this a “customer economy.” Attracting
customers cost effectively and meeting their expectations for selection,
price, quality, and service are essential to a customer value strategy. It is
equally important, however, to identify and retain profitable customers,
and increase their value over time. This requires the ability to anticipate
customer needs and present attractive offers in the right way, at the
right time. The companies who can do this will be the companies that
thrive in the customer economy.

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Jan 4, 2012