Marketing automation won’t save you

We’ve talked about marketing automation on and off over the years. On any number of occasions, I’ve suggested that you use these tools because they can help you get things done that most businesses simply can’t (or won’t) get done any other way. That’s still true. Even so, it’s important to understand that buying and […]

The one thing you dare not automate

The personal touch your clients appreciated when you were small can get lost in the chaos of growth. It eventually feels like tedious, recurring, mind-numbing work. That’s when someone like me suggests that you automate it. Just don’t automate the wrong things. Why automate? Automation outside of manufacturing environments is mostly about doing tedious things […]

Your backups are worthless

Last week, we discussed that business owners do a good job of protecting their business assets – except for work-in-process and data. While I could one-off any number of work-in-process situations, doing that in a vacuum isn’t particularly effective. I can, however, cover some common steps for making backups of your data that anyone can […]

This year, customer follow up will be different.

For many businesses, two things happen this time of year. One: You get a bunch of new customers. Two: Many of the new customers you acquired during this time last year “forget” to come back. The customers on the first list cost time and money to acquire. A fair amount of the people who “forget” […]

How fast can your business go?

Is your business ready to face a no-huddle offense? In case you aren’t a football fan, here’s a quick summary of differences between “regular” and “no-huddle” offenses: A regular offense has 25-30 seconds (depending on the league) to “read” signals (instructions) from coaches on the sideline, swap players in and out from the bench (if […]

Filling cracks with automation and metrics

How many emails did you send last Tuesday? How many phone calls did you make last Thursday? How many things fell through the cracks last week or last month? The first two are trivia until you start thinking about the time they consume compared to the return they produce. The last one is the big one: tasks […]

The importance of performance metrics

Last time, we talked about metrics that answer questions to help you increase sales. Metrics aren’t solely about sales and marketing. Quality and performance metrics drive your business. Can you identify a few that would cause serious concern if they changed by as little as five percent? If there are, how are you monitoring them? Monitoring […]

Half of China’s companies do this

Recently, I was reading a story in the New York Times about a Chinese city’s effort to vastly expand their use of industrial robotics. The story’s video hits home 98 seconds in. The official being interviewed indicates that the city’s goal is to reduce the number of employees by half and finishes his sentence by […]

A simple, high value tactic many miss

When people know that you help small businesses and you’ve had a newspaper column since 2007, everyone who has a bad (or even mildly annoying) experience at a business wants to tell you about their latest adventure in commerce. Sometimes I hear about situations that really aren’t the fault of the business. Other times, the […]