I'm a big fan of Robin Sharma. In the last 10 years he's climbed the "leadership guru" ladder and positioned himself as very new age/old wisdom. Like most of his peers, Robin doesn't really tell us anything we don't already know (like a lot of undergrad marketing courses) What makes Robin (and yes SOME of these courses) special is his ability to communicate these points with practical application and in a cohesive framework that allows us to better rationalize and internalize what we "know" to be the right away to run our business, deal with our customers and grow as people.

I was pretty stoked that I'll be in Toronto when he's launching his new book at the Manulife Indigo. I think meeting him in person would be pretty kick ass! Like a lot of my clients, Robin lives the lifestyle. He talks about physical, mental and spiritual mastery. Ritualization, etc... It'll be a great experience.

What's great about Robin is that he doesn't give you the opportunity to zone out. His messages are quick, compressed and concise.

Recently, Robin posted a VLOG titled "The New Level of Treating Customers." Watching this post created an explosion of thoughts in my head. Here are some points that stood out for me:

1. If you deliver what you are expected to, give customers what they want, you're in a very vulnerable position.

(my initial reaction) What the hell? So we bust our a$# trying to give the customer what they want/need, some of them being SO high maintenance and picky and yet we're vulnerable? That's bullsh#$!!!  (deep breath) It's actually SO true. I moderated some focus groups a couple weeks ago for an ad agency. The design, recruiting, moderating all went off without a hitch. Fantastic feedback, full shows, a great night. As the second group came to a close, I noticed 6 happy faces and one lady huffing and puffing. I don't know where she placed on the totem pole, but she was hella pissed that the backroom had M&M's instead of Smarties. I mean she was livid!!! Really?? I think Robin's right. There are so many other companies that could do the same job we do that "unnecessary consultant abuse" is accepted and tolerated.

PS. The next day, she did apologize and we are running their next campaign.

2. Deliver GENIUS levels of value to your customers. Make the user experience so exceptional that people are breathless every time they do business with you.

Be the game changer! As management and business owners we get so caught up in administrative and operational CRAP, that we forget about how to do our jobs. From experience, I can tell you that spending time on innovation and marketing is what separates world class from mediocrity. The Malibu's from the M3's. But hey, we've built these companies from nothing. We're tight fisted and want to run the shop lean and mean. What if the economy takes another kick in the butt and we fall short on rent? We're CHEAP and we're frightened! Ugh... Dilemma. What we fail to understand, ESPECIALLY small businesses, ESPECIALLY YOU, is that by investing in competent resources, you empower yourself to grow the company's brand equity and bottom line. As the owner, what you will produce will differentiate you. AND you will have the resources to mobilize your vision into reality. BUT, my absolute favorite... Small business employees and suppliers are famous for holding their employers hostage. Remember Calgary's labour boom? I think that I used the term "self entitled little sh#^" at least two or three times daily. By arming yourself with the right people and treating them well, you'll discover that there are people out there who will treat your company like it's their own and give you the breathing room to mega size your business model.

Great insight. But only can this fully be effective if you like what you do. If it drives you. If you're not looking at your watch ten times a day waiting to get the f&^k out of here!

I'm a big fan of Eli Stone. I've always wanted to be a lawyer, I wrote the exams, but gave up my dreams to be an entrepreneur. In the last year, the mundane things have really started getting to me. I thought about going back to law and giving that a crack. Watching Eli fired me up. A lawyer who made money helping people. Revolutionary! I flip flopped for a while. My biggest barrier to entry was the unfortunate reality of articling. Taking a 1000% pay cut, running around gophering to "pay my dues" was not my idea of deflecting monotony. Approvals, bosses, politics, egos,... Screw that. I am, and always will be an entrepreneur. Then I had my eureka moment! I call it StyleLabs.

I realized that with my market research company I was in the right industry, just too tightly niched. With StyleLabs, I could help other organizations brand and position themselves, build business models, revitalize and most importantly grow and succeed. 12 months in, my clients continue to remain "breathless" every time they do business with us. Our Market Research Company, locked and loaded is growing at a breakneck speed and we're finally achieving a culture of growth, success and high octane performance.

The best part of it is that I got the validation I needed. Everything in my head, with passion and client focus, can be translated into win win scenarios for everyone we transact with. My shit works!!!! Stay tuned and I'll tell you all about it.

To your success!

________________________________________

 

Your Take Away -

If you're not passionate about what you do, I mean butterflies in your stomach, spring out of bed passionate, ignore the next two points, they are not for you. Meeting client expectations is not enough. Surpassing them holds your position. To grow, differentiate and hold a advantageous position, you MUST take your client's breath away. Every time. Non Negotiable.

Invest in resources. There's a reason they call it a company and not a proprietorship. By splitting up the role, you empower yourself to focus on the big picture and still have peace of mind that the little details are being executed well.

Almin Kassamali is the Chief Imagination Officer of StyleLabs Marketing Group. StyleLabs offers full service business and marketing solutions for entrepreneurs, musicians, athletes and small/medium business. www.stylelabs.ca

 

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