I’ve just been stung! How not to grow a business

8:22AM | Tuesday, 20 August

I’m inspired to write this as I’ve just attended a seminar I wish I had walked out of after 10 minutes.   The sales pitch about the event was remarkably different to what was delivered. Everything about the event stunk.   I’ve been stung and feel stung. Don’t you hate being stung? It’s a terrible feeling and it hurts. Being stung makes you feel ‘yuck’. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, feeling angry and wanting to vent (hence my blog post!). All trust is gone with this mob and I’m likely to talk more about my bad experiences than my positive experiences.   I won’t lose sleep over it, but I guarantee you that I won’t be attending any of their future events, and will be recommending others to be very careful with this organisation.   While I can’t get my time back, I will always have a story to share with one of my business partners who also attended about how bad the event was!   Keep in mind that I am very selective about the events I go to and do try to make sure the event hasn’t been oversold in terms of what’s on offer. Also consider that because of my unbelievable experiences with the Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) events I attend regularly, I am probably quite fussy and critical, and expect quality when I attend non-EO events.   Here’s the moral of the story: Deliver what you say and don’t sting others! Make customers happy before trying to win more customers. Get it right. Deliver what you promise. Happy customers refer you more customers. Your business grows. Especially during a start-up phase you need happy customers! Sounds simple right?   I am not here to rant on about good customer service or unethical salespeople. The issue goes much deeper here. There is often a disconnect between the sales team and the operational team who deliver the actual product or service. Salespeople want to make sales and are incentivised to do so. However, the sales pitch creates an expectation in the customer’s mind.   The easiest way to grow is to actually provide a great product or service ‘in the eyes’ of the customer. Customers then come back and refer more customers. I call this ‘operational excellence’ in line with ‘matching expectations’. Do you think Gordon Ramsay would accept a substandard meal to go out in his restaurant?   It’s about delivering what you promise, otherwise the customer ‘feels’ stung! Whether they have been stung or not is irrelevant if they ‘feel’ stung. The price is irrelevant. Make sure you under-promise and over-deliver wherever possible. Work out what you can deliver and offer slightly less. Then constantly strive to improve your product and offer more over time. Blowing the customer away beyond their expectation is even better. Far too many businesses overpromise and under-deliver.   It’s a human right and not a privilege in our society to be treated fairly and not get ripped off. That’s why we have Today Tonight and ACA on at prime time to hear about the shonky builder! Can you imagine ringing the equivalent of Consumer Affairs in Bangkok saying you got ripped off and overpaid for your fake Nike t-shirt?   Or in Bali, you paid twice as much as the last tourist for that Sarong! The irony in this is that you almost come to ‘expect’ being ripped off over there so you aren’t so disappointed! The expectation is to overpay as a tourist!   Now here’s the test of the health of our economy: How many products or service providers have blown you away in the last 12 months and over delivered and made you feel amazing? Now, how many times have you felt ‘stung’ in the last 12 months? If B is more than A, our economy is in real trouble. In desperate times and probably in many third world countries, B tends to be disproportionately higher than A. The world needs more A’s. We need more positive experiences and stories spreading and we all win!

Apple working on iWatch to be released later this year

3:35AM | Friday, 15 March

The pundits who have been waiting for Apple to come up with a new product category may just get their wish. New reports today suggest Apple is working on a wristwatch that could be released as soon as the end of the year.

Salsa’s Australian Open pop-up prompts start-up advice

3:23AM | Monday, 11 March

Launching a pop-up shop to coincide with an event can be a huge success, according to a leading industry player, after Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill launched a pop-up shop at the venue of the Australian Open.

Atlassian rolls out second ‘Hack House’ for budding techies

3:05AM | Friday, 15 March

The first class of Atlassian Hack House graduates have highlighted their achievements since participating in the program, after the second class began work yesterday.

What makes a great tagline?

10:18AM | Wednesday, 24 October

I’m trying to think of a one-liner for my brand. What makes a great tagline?   This week’s Secret Soloist is answered by marketing guru Mike Halligan.   Taglines have the ability to quickly and succinctly define a brand’s meaning and position.

NSW schoolboy snags big-name brands for 360º Mall retail launch

9:44AM | Monday, 3 September

More than 100 brands have signed up for The 360º Mall, a 3D shopping centre created by a 16-year-old NSW schoolboy that will launch in Australia next month.

Microsoft changes its logo after 25 years: Here are three lessons you can learn

8:53AM | Tuesday, 28 August

Global tech giant Microsoft has updated its logo after 25 years in a bid to reflect the company’s ever-growing product portfolio, highlighting several logo lessons for start-ups to take note of.

Nike’s “House of Innovation” tipped to inspire start-ups

8:37AM | Thursday, 2 August

The London Olympics could be a boon for start-ups as they draw inspiration from major retailers such as Nike, which is allowing shoppers to compete against each other in virtual games.

Five great Olympics ambush marketing campaigns

8:38AM | Thursday, 2 August

While, in Australia, businesses are creating headlines for blaming price increases on the carbon tax, their counterparts in the UK are having to run a different kind of gauntlet.

Understanding the future of the media

7:42AM | Friday, 20 July

I just read an awesome blog post written by Albert Wenger from Union Square Ventures.

Brands failing to connect with young people – here are three ways to do it

6:45AM | Monday, 25 June

The vast majority of brands are failing to connect with the $62 billion youth market, according to the latest Urban Market Research Report, which identifies key trends start-ups should focus on.

THE NEWS WRAP: Packer open to News Ltd bid

6:23PM | Wednesday, 20 June

James Packer, one of Australia’s most prominent entrepreneurs, has welcomed the $1.97 billion bid from News Ltd that would see him exit the pay-TV sector.

Top 10 start-up logos

3:02AM | Monday, 11 March

It’s the most visible, striking aspect of your business. The thing that your customers will see more than any other, which you hope you will be plastered approvingly across billboards and the internet in double-quick time.

Six steps to building a culture of ideas

3:28AM | Saturday, 16 March

This article first appeared August 18, 2011.   In this climate fresh thinking is the most important tool we have and there isn’t a person reading this who doesn’t have the ability to tap into it to solve any business challenge.

Five essential DIY marketing tips

5:33AM | Wednesday, 2 May

Hopefully, your business will one day command a huge advertising budget, tasking hordes of Don Draper-types to scurry around and devise knockout marketing strategies for you.

I’m starting up an interior design business. I’ve been wondering – do I need a tagline?

3:21AM | Saturday, 16 March

Taglines have the ability to quickly and succinctly define a brands meaning and position.

Apple unveils iPhone 4S, set to launch in Australia on October 14

10:16PM | Tuesday, 4 October

Apple launched its new iPhone 4S at its press event in San Francisco this morning, and introduced a new, powerful voice recognition technology, but stopped short of releasing an improved iPhone 5 with an all-new design.

Facebook reveals radical new profile design, app ecosystem at F8 conference

9:56AM | Friday, 23 September

Social giant Facebook has announced some of the most dramatic updates to its profile design since the site's inception, with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg revealing new features including the ability to stream music with Spotify and watch films through the site using Netflix.

Don’t be left listless

9:09PM | Thursday, 1 September

Who doesn’t love a good list? Weekend Reads certainly does, which is why we are encouraging you to take advantage of a recent slew of business-related countdowns.

The iiNet evangelist

2:17AM | Wednesday, 9 February

You don’t get many firebrand preachers operating out of their mother’s garage. But then Michael Malone was never the standard entrepreneur.