The following is an excerpt from my book, “Business Transformation: A New Path to Profit for the Printing Industry.” To read the full book, or to contact me directly with any questions, comments, or feedback, please email me at JohnF@interlinkONE.com – I’d love to connect with you!
When you make the decision to undertake the transformation to a marketing services provider, you are not alone. There are companies and resources available to help make the transition as seamless and pain-free as possible. You don’t have to know everything about everything. You personally don’t have to be on top of the latest and greatest technology. That’s what you leave to your support team. Here are eight steps to help you move forward towards a successful transformation.
- Make the decision. Sounds easy enough. But we all know that the process of making a major business decision can easily hold us frozen in place. We become too scared to take that step forward even when we know that the road behind us is no longer available. It’s time to take stock of your current business. What is working? What is not working? And what do you plan to do about it? The questions, and the answers, deal with serious stuff. But when you really take a cold, hard look at what you’ve done, where you’re headed, and the fact that the future points to a marketing services model, you’ll see that your decision makes sense. You just have to make it, embrace it, and move forward.
- Evaluate your current clientele. Are these the clients you want to continue working with? Should you narrow the focus (specific niche) or do you want to widen your target market? Or, do you want to head in an entirely new direction? There are no wrong answers here. It’s okay if you decide to mix things up a bit. During the transformation process, you have an opportunity to make these changes with the least amount of fuss and muss. So it’s important to make those decisions now rather than later.
- Determine exactly what services you plan to offer. Do your research. This means contacting the very market you plan to target and asking them what they need and what they want. There’s no point in offering solutions to a group of people who don’t need them. You must determine exactly how you can fulfill your target market’s needs.
- Write your business plan. It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds. And the outline we are providing you in this book will help you through the process of developing an exceptional business plan. Every business should have a business plan. As Lewis Carroll said, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” The business plan sets the destination and maps the road to get there.
- Look for integration. Your business plan clearly lays out who you will be working with (your target market) and what products/solutions you will be selling. You know the pieces of the puzzle are out there. But, did you know that you don’t have to piecemeal it all together? Make it easy on yourself: find a company that can provide integrated solutions. This means less technical support is necessary and you will have fewer issues down the road versus trying to glue different products from different suppliers together, doing the integration yourself.
- Look for accessibility and support. You should never feel like you are all alone and floundering after purchasing an integrated solution. A good supplier will not only walk you through everything step by step, but also help you as you build your business. Who doesn’t want a partner in their corner, ready and willing to help at a moment’s notice? Marketing, and not IT, should be the primary interface with your supplier(s). Your IT department can be engaged when additional integration is needed or to customize elements of your solution. Marketing tools are for marketers. Make sure your supplier/partner has the customer support behind its offering to minimize the need for your IT group to become engaged.
- Hop on board the learning train. Again, you don’t have to know everything. But you should embrace the learning process, for the entire organization. It’s time to learn about technology, about the new solutions you will be selling, about marketing, and about how you can implement those solutions within your own business.
- Practice what you preach. You will be providing marketing services to your clientele…how can you help them if you haven’t worked with the system yourself? You need to understand the basics of marketing and help your clients create marketing plans if they don’t already have them.
Enjoy the excerpt? Contact me directly at JohnF@interlinkONE.com to receive a free copy of the complete book!