In episode 52 of Frank Reactions I talked about the 1st P in the 3P Profit Formula: Promise. The other two Ps are People and Process. Today we talk about People, and the 8 different categories of people who influence your business success.
People With Power To Make Your Business a Success
When we think about the people factor in business, we typically focus on two categories of people: customers and employees. But they are far from the only ones we need to think about. There are 8 general categories of people who we need to deal with well to succeed. They are:
- Distributors, Resellers and/or Franchisees
- Investors and lenders
- Influencers, including mass and social media, and friends and colleagues of your target customers
Many of these I’ve covered extensively in other episodes and blog posts, so let’s touch on a few I haven’t discussed as much yet.
Lenders and Investors
One thing I hear over and over from people is that, at least when it comes to public companies, they don’t take customer experience improvements seriously because the investment in improving customer experience is long term, but the stock markets reward a short-term focus. This is a problem, but as more and more senior executives are telling their investors that improving customer experience is now a strategic priority, hopefully this is starting to change. The reasons private companies don’t invest in customer experience in are usually a little different.
- Often the founder is still the CEO and s/he doesn’t believe there’s a problem. As long as the company is still making enough money for the owner to be satisfied, why mess around with change?
- Others are just too busy running off in all directions to really focus on customer experience and the challenges of improving it. This is a typical problem in small and mid-sized businesses, which are often under-staffed.
- Owners who are thinking of selling their company may feel the same sort of pressure as publicly traded company executives to cut costs and show high short-term profits, even if that may hurt things in the long-term.
- Some private company executives may be getting pressure from their bankers who have set financial ratios the company must maintain to be in good standing.
- If lenders were friends or family, there is often a perceived pressure to repay those debts as soon as possible.
These reasons are all understandable, but not wise if the company is to be successful in the long term. Public expectations about customer experience quality are going up faster than most companies are managing to cope with. You can’t simply ignore them if you want to survive.
Media and General Public
We hear a lot about the impact of social media on people’s perceptions of your company, and there is no doubt that it does have a huge impact.
Part of the impact is not what it says directly to people who might be your customers, but the fact that the mainstream media now turn to sources like Twitter as a first place to find new story ideas, information and updates. And mainstream media still has a huge impact on public perceptions.
So too do everyday folks who might not be in your current target market themselves, but who influence those who are. Sometimes these are big name social media influencers, and many companies now have influencer outreach programs.
But they aren’t the only ones. Think about the influence of your children in the products you decide to buy for them. Or the invluence of others on what you buy. While it’s true that a surprisingly large number of people try to buy clothes that look like those the stars wear at galas or when they’re snapped by People magazine on the street, most people – even many of those star-struck ones – will want an opinion from a friend before they spend big bucks on something. If I’m buying a $300 dress (to say nothing of a $3,000 one, which I can’t imagine ever doing!) I want someone I trust to tell me that it really does suit me.
So courting the media, and staying on top of public opinion are still hugely important for many businesses and other organizations.
There’s a lot less written on the value of being on good people terms with your competitors, but one of the things we’ve seen happening increasingly is what we call “coopetition”. Companies will band together to work on some things even when they’re really quite strong rivals on other things.
Remember, back in the early days, Apple and Microsoft collaborated. IBM – once a computer manufacturer itself — is about to become the biggest user of Mac computers.
Businesses have also long cooperated with competitors through trade and industry associations, to the benefit of all of them (or most of them anyway).
Even at a personal level, understanding what makes your competitors tick will also make it less likely that the competition becomes ridiculously cut-throat. It’s more likely to stay at a civilized kind of level. And that is something that is beneficial for you and your competitors at a human level, and probably overall at a business level too.
So next time you are thinking about the people factor in your business, or doing some strategic planning, remember to consider all 8 categories of people.
I’m about to go into hibernation mode: focusing entirely on finishing writing my book, PeopleShock, before the end of this year. So today’s will be my last podcast episode of 2015. I’ll have more in January. Have a wonderful holiday season! Get your FREE Transcript Now!