Tagged: board strategy

I just returned from a magnificent conference in Miami with one of my mentors, Alan Weiss. Every year he invites members from his 450+ person Million Dollar Consulting community to a prestigious location for two days. We discuss the state of the consulting industry, expand our thinking on our practice potential, sharpen our saws, and commiserate on our respective businesses. His business wisdom and prognostications are worth the price of admission.

SFO Jan 31 2011 018

As a 16-year yoga practitioner, I often wish that I could find a place to practice while I travel. Most of the time, I have to traipse halfway across a city. But recently, I was surprised and delighted to learn that San Francisco Airport–which offers harried travelers a room specifically set aside for yoga practice–may be my next yoga destination.

Some B2B companies are finally awakening from a 2 year hibernation period and pursuing top line growth again. Will you be one of them? If yes, don’t ignore these five trends as you finalize your 2011 growth and marketing plans.

A recent article in U.S. News & World Report disclosed that in 2010, airlines have generated $2.1B in additional passenger revenues through clever, and often egregious pricing strategies. If they had asked their customers for ways to make travel memorable again, would they have selected this strategy to grow revenues?

The "pay to breathe, walk or eat" pricing approach is rapidly eclipsing customer service in the airline industry, and customers like me are furious. Their nickel and dime strategy are earning them billions: Extra baggage fees comprised $600M in additional revenues and flight changes comprised another $900M.

StarCite_R-highres StarCite, a B2B technology company serving the travel industry, has charted a different course to fuel growth. I recently met with Greg Dukat, their CEO. He outlined a customer-centric growth strategy that challenges the airlines' approach, and will surely outlive it.

Ten Rules for Modern Mastermind Groups

What is a mastermind group, and why should you care? They may just be the secret weapon to help you outpace your competitors and weather these stormy economic seas.

In the 1930’s, wealth expert and author Napoleon Hill defined a mastermind group as “the coordination of knowledge and effort of two or more people, who work toward a definite purpose, in the spirit of harmony.” Well before he authored Think and Grow Rich, Ben Franklin introduced a similar model.

In 1728, at the ripe young age of 21, Franklin created a club of mutual improvement called a junto (pronounced “hoon-toe”). Franklin was struggling to grow his printing business, and knew he could not do it alone. The junto, which comprised seasoned tradesmen, a bartender, and an astrologer, gave him the boost he needed to thrive. As a side benefit, this group surreptitiously shaped public opinion.

Benjamin Franklin Junto 

Whatever you prefer to call these special societies, you will notice they have withstood the test of time, and have created fortunes for thousands, if not millions. Today, you can find juntos in Paris, London, New York, and parts between.

Chip Conley and his investors were forced to make some tough decisions.

Several months ago, Conley, the CEO of Joie de Vivre Hotels in San Francisco, California, witnessed competing hotels facing potential foreclosure. According to the Wall Street Journal, “there is about $5.6 billion in securitized mortgages tied to hotels coming due this year and next…27.8% cover properties now estimated to be worth less than their mortgage balances.” (source: Trepp LLC’s Foresight Analytics). Billions of dollars of mortgages are coming due in the coming years. Analysts are forecasting that the hotel industry will not regain its full strength until 2013.

Chip_Conley_Joie_de_vivre

Joie_de_vivre

Photo courtesy of Chip Conley 

I barely survived three “mergers” in my 27-year career. Most proved to be greedy land grabs motivated by impatient investors, stagnation or bored founders.
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Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh’s new book, “Delivering Happiness,” and his stock sale to Amazon prove to me that some mergers may just be made in heaven….

Anim_walking_dragon 

(photo courtesy of http://www.webweaver.nu/clipart/dragons3.shtml)

Let’s be honest. In today’s volatile economy, strategic growth planning and marketing innovations are easily pushed aside in favor of reactively averting poisonous arrows and perilous moats. 

Those hazards continuously threaten us—and often appear from a surprise enemy. How many of us keep putting our foot on the gas and have not slowed down to finesse these dangerous conditions?

We may not be able to control unforeseen events and demanding clients. What we can control is how we respond. It starts with arming ourselves with knowledge and confidence.

Knowledge begins by understanding the most common pressures our clients are facing: