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By letting someone else do the heavy lifting!

One of the things I admire about the Rolling Stones is how they have managed to keep on rockin’ after all these years! They’re a worthy study for that reason and for how they have managed to maintain a brand over 4 decades. A strategy they employ is to delegate all the promotional activities to the promoters. The promoters get a whopping 60% of the gross in some cases. This at first probably sounds HUGE, and it is, but it’s actually of great benefit to the Stones because essentially, all they have to do is show up. The promoter works hard because his or her success is tied directly to the success of the show.

As Mick Jagger might ask, “How cool is that, baby?”

As I discuss in my book, these kinds of relationships can be a little tricky, so you have to be careful, but the benefits far outweigh the downsides in most cases. I encourage you to give serious thought to not only how can you get business from your network, but how to turn those in your network into brand evangelists for you. 

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turner_ted6_1.jpgTed Turner’s media empire started with his acquisition of a run-down cable station in the days before cable was cool. He put on programming that was older (and cheaper!) like Gilligan’s Island and The Andy Griffith Show. He sold advertising based on the simple fact that since most of the programming was in black-and-white, advertisers’ color commercials would leap off the screen. And it worked!

Great entrepreneurs often share a trait that makes all the difference: The ability to see an opportunity disguised as a threat.

Next time you’re faced with what looks like “bad news,” say to yourself, “That’s good!” Then get busy looking for what exactly is good about it and how you can profit.

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suitcase_full_of_money.jpgSimple Answer: Efficiency!

By improving your operations, you get more efficient, which means you better utilize your existing investments and assets. Because there is no additional investment, and because you’re getting higher performance out of what you’ve already got, you automatically widen your profit margins. You can do this without raising prices.

How do you get started? Simply start by looking at anything and everything that deals with how you deliver what you deliver to your customer. Then, look for any and every way to make it better, little by little. Or as we say in ECHO Marketing, “Optimize, Optimize, Optimize!”

You’ll find this little approach is applicable whether you are in manufacturing or service, selling a tangible or intangible, whether you’re a for-profit or not-for-profit, whether you are a large organization or a small business, and whether you own the business or manage a territory, a department, or a single project.

Make little improvements and the big picture results will surprise you.

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I said in an earlier post  that you should CHANGE a strategy or campaign only when it STOPS performing. That is, when it stops performing at an optimal level on a consistent basis.

Exactly how you measure “optimal” is up to you. You may find that even if the strategy isn’t working at as high a level as it once was, it’s still generating revenue and since you’re not having to throw additional capital at it, the returns you’re getting are really, really good. Like maybe several hundred percent good, because the strategy paid for itself some time ago and now you’re experiencing what our accounting friends call ROA or Return on Assets. I strongly advocate NOT getting sucked into changing strategies unless you have a very compelling reason just so you can maximize the returns on your assets.

On the other hand, because the world is, quite literally, changing right out from under us, we need to be THINKING about new strategies all the time. We need to constantly be asking “What if?”

What if a new market opens up that we could capitalize on? What if we want to add a product line, division, or acquire another business? What if some new legislation gets passed and drains the profit right out of our current business? What if new technology makes what we’re currently doing obsolete or will require a ton of new investment so we can stay in the business? What if a lower-priced competitor enters the market? What if an unethical competitor does something that taints the brand of our whole industry?

What if? What would we do?

By training ourselves to think in terms of the next threat or opportunity, we’ll be more proactive and won’t be caught scrambling. We can then create the future rather than try to cope with it.

So milk the cash cow that is your current strategy as long as you can, but be thinking about how to replenish the herd, too! 

When you’re green you grow…when you’re ripe, you rot!

– Ray Kroc,  McDonald’s

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