Sunday, February 26, 2012

Warren Buffett Annual Letter

This is the weekend that Warren Buffett posts his Annual Letter. Each year Warren puts a years worth of thinking into a short, this year 21 pages, letter. Many believe this letter is a mini MBA from an incredible teacher. Warren has a book he credits for much of his success. It's a book written by his mentor and he still uses the philosophy of the book today.

The Intelligent Investor by Benjamin Graham was the book that Warren credits with his success. Below is a video answering why he thinks this book is worth reading.

Warren Buffett knows business and investing. He gives us a free course each year with his Annual Letter and he believes we should be reading The Intelligent Investor. If it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shortest Course on Selling - Jack Daly!

A few years ago I was in a sales training session being put on by Jack Daly. He was full of energy and enthusiasm but more than that he was full of great sales training ideas. One of the concepts Jack taught was the "Shortest Course on Selling" - it is only four words. ASK QUESTIONS AND LISTEN. That is it, nothing more. He knows that if a sales person just believed and lived by these four words s/he could really improve.

How can it be this simple? It's simple but it's not easy. Many sales people get into sales because they are outgoing fun loving people. They are good at meeting, getting to know and talking with others. All of that is great but it doesn't always help the customer. Asking questions and listening is customer focused. It becomes all about the customer and not the sales person. By listening you can find out what is on the customer/prospects mind and what is driving the purchasing decision.

Who are we there for? How can what I am doing benefit the customer? Do I just show up and throw up? We need to spend more time focusing on the customer and finding out what is important to them. Selling is about serving the client and making sure they are taken care of. Take some time to go to Jack's website and buy some of his material - it's a great investment.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

7 Marketing Lessons From RIM’s Failures

Just to be clear, I don't think RIM has failed - I have a Blackberry and have had one for years. The technology is good and it's stable. That being said, Blackberry has had some problems. In a recent Mashable article, Alex Goldfayn discussed seven lessons we can learn from the problems RIM is experiencing.

The first lesson is to make great products. RIM has historically made the best product, the Blackberry, but as other smart phones have taken off, they have been left behind. As a company that is at the top, it is easy to not respect what others are doing. When this happens other companies can pass you up. This is not a phone only problem. In our industry, commercial printing, there have been two Ohio based companies who were seen as the best and could command a 10 to 15 percent premium. Unfortunately, both of these companies are now in trouble because as they were enjoying success, many other companies were able to pass them up.

Keep talking to your customers is another lesson covered in this article. Here is a quote from Alex, "If you’re not talking to your customers, you’re just guessing from a conference room." It is imperative to get in front of customers. I remember once reading that Michael Dell, the founder of Dell, spent 30 percent of his time in front of customers. That is a great benchmark.

The other 5 lessons are well worth reading and learning from. It's valuable for all of us to keep working on our companies and keep improving so articles like this are not written about us.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"What Got You Here Won't Get You There" with Marshal Goldsmith, PhD

I know this is a long video but it is great to the core. About a year ago I read the book and it was a great read. If you like the video, buy the book, support Marshall and learn something.