Friday, January 17, 2014

Why the F word is important to business

I enjoy extrapolating things and applying them widely, and I'd like to do that with something that author R. White wrote to people who sell to U.S. Federal agencies. White identified six steps that are necessary to establish a Federal sales network; while White believes that the second step is the most important, I couldn't help but notice that White repeated one word several times in his first step.

1. Focus on a few selected agencies where you have done business or who naturally buy what you sell. The key to federal sales is focus. Focus on select agencies, focus on existing customers, and focus on your competitor’s end-users. Growth will occur naturally outside the targeted agencies based on your reputation and network of relationships.

Of course, as the author of five separate blogs, I'm not the best practitioner of focus, but at least I try to keep myself within those five topics and not veer off into other stuff.

Additional thoughts on focus have been shared by Al Ries:

My company, Ries & Ries, works with clients all the time looking for ways to narrow their focus and get them out of offering too much stuff. However, many businesses aren’t keen on the idea, because when one narrows their focus they have to drop some product.

Ries then cites the example of Burger King, which was selling twelve different hamburgers. Burger King management was afraid that if it dropped some of those hamburgers, those sales would be lost forever. But Ries points out that Burger King forgot something:

[T]hey don’t look at the long term implication. The implication is when you simplify your product line, you make it easier for consumers to know what you’re selling and you’ll sell more, but not necessarily in the short term.

Ries then cites an example of a major automotive brand, and asks if the brand means anything. Read his comments here (excerpts) or here, here, and here (the whole thing).
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