(Time to read this Blog is about 3.5 minutes)

Before we get to the main topic, here are a few things to get you thinking or smiling:

  1. My Biz Quote of the week:  
    “If we’re committed to always getting better, every day we’re beginners on the wonderful journey to what we will become!”  
    …Donald Cooper.
  2. Quick Biz Tip:
    The 4 key requirements for an effective website creator are:
    1. Strong Graphic Design as it relates to websites,
    2. SEO Optimization,
    3. Marketing and business smarts. Knowing what motivates people to make a buying decision? 
    4. Compelling content creation and word-smithing that’s congruent with your Brand and style.

Very few web designers are experts or even journeymen in all of these requirements for a great website.  Most are mediocre graphic designers pretending to be excellent website creators.

  1. Wild pigs are taking over. A crossbreed of domestic swine and wild boar, known as ‘super pigs’, already a huge problem in the USA mid-west, are wreaking havoc across Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and are spreading at an alarming rate, ruining farmers’ crops, killing wildlife, and contaminating water and livestock.
    These wild pigs have been described by experts as the worst invasive species on the planet, and are now also popping up in smaller numbers around Ontario and B.C.
    Why it matters: Wild pigs can cause some serious damage — in the U.S., they cause US$2.5 billion in damages annually, just to crops. They can also carry up to 89 different diseases, some of which can be transmitted to humans and livestock.
    Foot and mouth disease alone — one of the diseases these ‘super pigs’ can carry — could cost up to $51 billion in national exports if it spreads to cattle or other meat products.
    Programs are being set up to encourage the hunting of these super menaces but their reproduction rate is so high that, even if 65% were hunted every year, the population would still increase.
  2. Best ‘top-shelf’ liquors for the festive season. Some of you might want to know what the best booze items are for the holiday season.  Here’s a link to the list of the 13 best liquors,    13 Best Top-shelf Liquors That Belong on Every Bar Cart (travelandleisure.com
  3. Use my insightful 5-minute ‘Business Key Challenge Audit Sheet’ to help plan for an extraordinary 2024. As you work toward planning your sales, marketing, operating expense and profitability commitments for 2024, you’ll find our ‘Key Challenge Audit Sheet’ most helpful in determining which issues and opportunities need to be addressed in your business or department.   It will take just 5 minutes. If you want help interpreting it, send me a copy at donald@donaldcooper.com and we’ll chat.   
    To access this Biz Tool, no charge, Click Here.

Now, to this week’s important topic:

Cooper’s two levels of business improvement:

We must constantly work to improve every part of our business.  From our compelling value to the employee experience and operating efficiency and proactive marketing, mediocrity is no longer an option! 

To do a check-up on what might need improving or fixing in your business, download my hugely insightful 1-page ‘Business Key Challenge Audit Sheet’  offered in item #5 above.

For our Biz Coaching Clients, we’ve developed two levels of business improvement…and they’re both important.  They’re described below: 

Level #1:  The easiest way to improve your business is to learn from the best.  Do you know who does it better than you, anywhere in the world?  Better design, better service, a more amazing customer experience, better packaging, more effective processes and logistics, quicker response times, better policies, marketing or promotion?  What are they famous for and how do they do it?  Have you physically gone to check them out, wherever they are or, if that’s not practical, have you studied their websites and read about them on the internet?

Who in your industry, in the entire world, has the lowest price?  Are they making money?  How do they do it?  What can you learn from them about business model, efficiency, logistics and process?

Who in your industry charges the highest price?  What do they do to justify that high price?  Are they making money?  What can you learn from them about creating extraordinary customer experiences, adding value, marketing and brand positioning?

Who are the ‘disruptors’ in your industry…those innovative upstarts who are changing ‘the game’ completely and making your business model obsolete?  Don’t dismiss them or write them off.  They may be the future.

Who are the legends, the ‘celebrities’ in your field?  What are they famous for and how did they get there?  In every industry there are ‘commodity’ suppliers who are undifferentiated and, usually, struggling.  Then, there are the ‘experts’ who are known, respected and sought out for their knowledge and ability to deliver.  They get more than their fair share of the business and often command a premium price for their products or services.  And then there are the ‘celebrities’.  Those few brilliant operators and tireless marketers who have mastered the art of becoming famous.  Customers rave about them, the media talks about them and make them even more famous.  ‘Famous’ is good!

So, what will you do to learn from the best…then do it even better…and become the new best?  How could you take it to a whole new level and become a ‘celebrity’ in your industry? 

Level #2:   How could you improve and differentiate your business by doing what has never been done before?  What is it that no other business has had the creativity and courage to do  What would be so powerful, so compelling, that your target customers simply could not resist you?  What could you become ‘famous’ for and are you willing to do the work to make that happen?

So, stop playing it safe.  Stand out…aim higher.  Be ‘famous’ for something!  The very successful Yard House restaurants in the USA are famous for offering the world’s largest selection of draft beers. They have over 150 selections listed on their website, including a gluten-free beer for people with wheat allergies. Beer-lovers flock to Yard House for an extraordinary beer experience.

As an award-winning fashion retailer, I fundamentally changed the customer experience. Our award-winning destination ‘warehouse boutique’ delivered honest savings of 20% to 40% every day…“No games, no tricks, no lies!”   We had electric massage chairs for husbands, a pirate ship play area for kids, free beverages for everybody, free diapers, wipes and cream for young mothers with babies in distress.  Whether you needed the diapers or not, you were blown away that they were there. 

The store became famous for our invitation to “Please take as many items in the change room as you wish”.  We put 4 hooks and a mirror in each of our 50 Change Rooms. A large sign at the front door stated, “Our staff are not on commission…they treat you this well because they love what they do!”  We were the only fashion retailer in the world doing any of this stuff.  Nobody else had the insight and the guts!  And, it was all wrapped up in ‘the world’s most unusual guarantee, “We’re so sure you’ll love our store that if you show up and think, ‘we’re for the birds’, we’ll pay your gas mileage!”  Customers loved it!  They raved, “It’s amazing, you’ve thought of everything!”   

It was a heck of a lot of work to pull it off, day in and day out, but women drove up to three hours to shop in our store.  Customers loved us, they told their friends and sales were 4 times the national average.  So, have you thought of ‘everything’ in your business?  If not, you have work to do.

To be extraordinary requires both creativity and courage.  There’s lots of talk in business today about creativity…but very little talk about courage.  One is no good without the other.  There’s no point be creative if you’re not also courageous because you’ll never have the guts to implement the cool stuff you came up with.  Creativity and courage walk hand in hand in both business and life!

So, how can you use these two levels of business improvement to grow your business, delight your customers, irritate your competitors and grow your bottom line?  For each action that you commit to take, get specific about what will be done, by whom, by when, at what cost, with what outcomes, measured how and rewarded how? 



That’s it for this week…

Live brilliantly!       

Donald Cooper 

Donald Cooper speaks and coaches internationally on management, marketing, and profitability.  He can be reached by email at donald@donaldcooper.com in Toronto, Canada.

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