How to Earn Your Teams Trust

joshua-tree-illusion-dweller-10Go big or go home. That’s what we used to say to each other while climbing in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We pushed ourselves harder and harder every season. We were constantly trying to find our best on those boulders, cliff faces, and mountains.

I’m still trying to go big. Except now the mountains have become revenue goals, and the relentless desire to get to the top of the cliff has been refocused on some crazy new product. The game has changed, but the rules are the same.

One of the mandatory elements you have to have in climbing is trust. Trust in your partner. Trust in his abilities, his focus on your shared goal, and his commitment to always putting his partner’s safety first. Trust in your partner is sometimes all you have when your ten miles away from the nearest phone and on a 1000’ vertical rock face. Continue reading

Give Your Team the Power So You Can Win

team-spirit-1To be a disruptive force in an existing market you have to be nimble, quick, and lean. One of your primary advantages over the existing competition is your agility. The behemoths in your space have lots of employees, complex organization charts, and they hold endless meetings to make simple decisions.

You and your team are small. You are able to quickly respond to customer’s feedback and expectations. When a problem arises, you don’t have to call a review committee. You simply analyze the problem, formulate a solution, and execute. Continue reading

What Mud & Teams Have in Common

Jensen Tough MudderI have heard a lot about the Tough Mudder challenge for a few years now. It has always sounded like a great event, I just never found the motivation to try it out. Luckily for me, I work for a company that values team building and comradery. So when one of my co-workers called and asked me to join the official company team, I figured why not.

For those of you who don’t know what a Tough Mudder is, I will quickly explain. A few years back there were a couple of guys who came up with this idea for an endurance running event. The concept was to lay out a 10-12 mile course. Scattered throughout that course would be 20 military style obstacles that would challenge runners both from a mental and physical stand point. So participants scale walls, military crawl under barbed wire in mud, and run through a field with dangling electrical wires charged with 10,000 volts. Continue reading

Teach your team to succeed every day

arper-aston-office-chairs-custom-conference-tableHave you ever left work feeling like you worked nonstop all day, except you have absolutely no idea what you did? It was like you were there, you were working, but nothing worthwhile actually happened.

How about the constant interruptions all day? You sat down at your desk this morning knowing generally what you needed to get done,  then the phone rang, or your boss walked in, or your buddy down the hall chatted you up all morning about his weekend at the beach. Now it is four thirty, and just like before you have nothing to show for the day’s work. Continue reading

10 Reasons to Sell Based on Value

8011263891_ef86425c0d_cI have the incredible opportunity to manage a technical product line for my company. From a sales perspective, technical products are kind of cheating. They make it very easy to sell based on value. That’s because the technicality of the product can become the value proposition. Which is great for me, because I love to educate my customers on why my product will be so valuable to them.

Below are ten reasons why I love selling products based on value: Continue reading

Sell based on value, not price

QualityHow much does a premium latte actually costs the neighborhood shop down the street to make? What about that national chain of coffee shops we all know and love? Most of us probably don’t want to know the answer to that question. We might find out just how much money we are giving away each year.

As we have seen, there are a lot of different costs we might be talking about. These include fixed costs and variable costs. Buried in those are even more costs that our accountant friends love to talk about. A person can get rather dizzy trying to sift through all the different ways a company can look at its costs. Continue reading

Price and the Break Even Point

Pricing related to supply & demand

SupplyDemandThe graph to the right is the standard relationship between supply and demand. What I hope you will notice is that as price increases, the quantity of units sold decreases. The opposite is true as well.

So, if you are BMW, you can’t expect to sell as many vehicles as Ford while maintaining your high price. And if you are Walmart, you can’t expect to sell at the high volume you currently do if you raise prices. Continue reading

The relationship between a products price & its quality

A friend and I were working together this last week on a business plan he is putting together for the company he works for. He is taking at look at bringing a few new products into the market he currently serves. So we were talking about typical business model topics like his value proposition and mission statement. The issue that really started getting me excited was trying to figure what his potential product quality and price points were going to be. His proposal depends heavily on understanding these two pieces and how they relate to the competitions strategy. So I wanted to use this post to share some of the takeaways from that conversation.

Continue reading

Calculating the break even point

Calculating the break even point is one of the most important concepts that business owners, entrepreneurs, and general managers can understand. This is because the break even point is when you transition from operating at a loss and actually start making a profit, which is the goal of every business.
12913818035_3d896ffe78_zThe very first question to ask is what are we trying to sell? A service, a product, or a mix of products and services? For this example we will be assuming a very simple product offering. We are going to imagine that we are opening up a coffee shop that only sells lattes. You will likely have a mix of products and services that you will want to analyze. If your cost accounting is accurate, then you should be able to determine the break even point for each product and service you offer. Continue reading

Lead like you got nothing to lose

LizJoshBack in the winter of 2009 I experienced one of the highest points of my life followed a week later by one of the lowest. The high point was when I married my favorite person in the world, my beautiful wife. We celebrated our honeymoon in sunny Mexico and then headed back to another cold winter in the Sierra’s. The honeymoon really ended when I walked into work the following Monday to find out that I had been laid off due to the recession.

The next six months were some of the most humbling of my life as I searched unsuccessfully for a job. All the while my new wife supported our small family. I can safely say she did not marry me for my money, because I didn’t have any for the first few years. Continue reading