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I know for years now you’ve heard me say plenty of times, “Don’t cut the price, build the brand.” And I’ve given you plenty of reasons to think that way, and several of you have offered some even better reasons in your e-mails and posted comments as to why you refuse to compete on price, too, which I always appreciate – and not just because we agree!

Turns out Warren Buffett, considered by most to be the greatest investor of all time, thinks that’s a good idea, too. Here’s a quote from him on the matter:

The single most important decision in evaluating a business is pricing power.  If you’ve got the power to raise prices without losing business to a competitor, you’ve got a very good business. And if you have to have a prayer session before raising the price by 10 percent, then you’ve got a terrible business.” – Warren Buffett

 

 

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Plan organize implement controlI know you’ve heard  success is a process, not an event (ahem…that was last week’s post, after all…). But what, exactly, is this “process” we keep referring to?

For the answer to that question, like so many that appear on the journey, we can simply go back to the basics. The very essence of the science of management, in fact. Management (and leadership) is the process of  four ongoing activities. Four verbs, in other words – Planning, organizing, implementing, and controlling.

You first develop the plan (or vision, or goal, whatever label you prefer) for what you want to accomplish, you then gather the resources necessary to accomplish the goal (people, money, materials, etc.), then you implement the plan (the execution, launch, or actual “doing” of the plan), and then you go back and compare the original plan with the results in order to see what worked and what didn’t (the control stage).  The findings can then be used to develop more plans and better plans in the future (back to the plan step again). Plan, organize, implement and control.

This one is simple in theory, but powerful in practice, so let me encourage you to be aware of how you use, or can use, this in your own world. Not just at “work,” but in everything you do, (learning, parenting, coping, you name it) break down the process into “Plan, organize, implement, and control” and see how working to improve on all the component parts can make the process more productive, faster, easier, more efficient, whatever.

And since you know it’s a process, and since you know if you stick to it you can’t help but be successful, why not make it a point to enjoy the process rather than waiting to celebrate after you achieve whatever you’re after?

 I don’t believe in failure. It’s not failure if you enjoyed the process.” – Oprah Winfrey

 

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It’s easy to look at someone who’s successful at just about anything and be more than a little envious. This is because really, really successful people make it look easy. The irony is that in most cases, getting to the point of real success was, for most successful people, anything but easy!

Author Judy Carter put it this way:

Oh how I wish everything I wrote came out perfectly like a newborn colt that gets up and walks. No such luck. Those of you who will be be successful are the ones who have the stamina to examine and rewrite over and over again, discovering each and every nuance.”

 

So rather than getting frustrated when an obstacle presents itself, consider it feedback that you’re on the right track!

Get knocked down seven times. Get up eight times.” – Japanese proverb

 

 

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In his latest book, Get Rich Carefully, Jim Cramer dedicates several pages to the praise of Whole Foods. He also works in a clever zinger, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to shop for fish at Whole Foods, he’ll be broke within the year.”

Ha!

In all seriousness, though, as Cramer points out, Whole Foods is quite a branding case study. They are, in the simplest of terms, a grocer. More to the point, a grocer dedicated to providing top-notch, higher-quality foods that come with the assurance of meeting rigorous natural and organic qualifications. As we’ve talked about, quality is always cheaper in the long run (you get what you pay for), but it initially comes at a premium, and that’s the case with Whole Foods. The fact that consumers are so willing and eager to pay that premium is noteworthy. The customer knows he or she is going to get quality, guaranteed quality, in fact, so they swipe the credit card with a smile.

Marketing is a VALUE for VALUE exchange. The more value the customer gets, the more he or she is willing to give in return, and as long as they perceive VALUE in the exchange (hopefully getting much more than they have to give up), they don’t begrudge a brand that charges a premium for the experience.

As a the provider of value, you shouldn’t be squeamish about charging a premium, either. To paraphrase what the late, great, legendary Zig Ziglar said when it comes to handling “price objections,” you can simply, but confidently, say that you made a decision as a company that you’d always rather explain the rationale behind your prices once rather than have to repeatedly, or ever, apologize for a less-than-quality experience.

Shouldn’t you welcome price objections as a way to proudly explain why you’re a better VALUE than the other guy?

Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for.” – Peter F. Drucker

 

 

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The 4th of July is always a good time to appreciate our men & women who have worn their country’s uniform. Feel free to revisit last year’s post if you like.

But it’s also a time to recognize that the free market we enjoy was an original, grand experiment of our founding fathers that resulted in the best system in the world. Not a perfect system, to be sure, but still the best yet and still the envy of the world.

Harold Evans put it nicely in his book, They Made America, in which he shares “…the story of the practical innovations by which the Americans over two centuries used their freedom to provide comfort and security, and so came to advance the well-being of all mankind.”

No freedom, no free market. Independence day, indeed!

Happy 4th to you and yours!

 

 

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