Businesses racing towards impotence

Things that fly in the face of public opinion often leave a big welt.  Sometimes we forget that anarchism is a form of leadership led by an anarch—noblesse oblique.

There is a smartphone app that allows you to erase random people from your photos.  I have a team of programmers working on an upgrade for it that will enable me to erase random people from my life.  Imagine a farfetchual situation; sitting in a meeting and with the swipe of a finger being able to do away with the person sitting across from you—the Ron Burgundy character with the seventies hair and moustache.

Anyway.  Have you noticed that too many people view fixing business problems as rocket surgery?  These are the same people who confuse motion with movement.  These are the same people who come to work each day and work on what was happening yesterday.  Who is working on what needs to be happening tomorrow?

If your own employees view going to work and company functions with less enthusiasm than they would have going to an all-day, outdoor Celine Dion concert in the dead of winter, is it any wonder that customers are running away in droves?

Businesses begin to die the day they open their front door—ask GM.  What then is the secret sauce to remaining viable?

As different as businesses are from one another, the common factor among all businesses is one thing—customers.  Hospitals, professional services firms, manufacturers, software companies all have the same mission statement, one they do not publish—We do stuff for money.  Guess who has the money—customers.  Businesses only remain in business by being able to one thing; getting those with the money to give their money to them.

Without OPM—Other People’s Money—there is no business.  We do stuff for money.  If that is true, should not every activity, every plan, every process, and every investment somehow contribute, somehow add value to the transaction of transferring OPM from them to you?  Are activities that do not add value to that transaction wasteful, redundant, or unnecessary?

With the exception of altruistic activities, every business decision, every strategy, every acquisition, and every hire should be evaluated in terms of whether or not they increase the firm’s ability to increase the amount OPM captured.

If this idea sounds too simple, that is because it is.  There is nothing complex about focusing on the customer.  But you would never know that from scanning the internet job boards.  Companies are looking to hire for a cornucopia of customer related positions; CRM, CEM, customer for life, customer first.

What do these companies need?  Business intelligence, a data warehouse, a chief marketing officer?  Hardly.  Marketing keeps trying to figure out ‘how do we get customers to pay attention to us?’  What they should be asking is “what do we have to do to pay attention to them?”

Most company executives would not know a customer if they sat next to one on the bus or in their Mercedes.  They may know about the customer; income, age, social stratification, number of children, but they do not know why they are a customer or why they were a customer.

Customers leave all the time.  They leave to find a company that either treats them better, or one with which they do not have to interact.  Welcome to the land of customer initiated virtual RFPs.  Instead of companies deciding to whom they sell their stuff or their services, customers decide from whom they are going to buy.

CRM is dead and companies killed it.  Customers know when someone is trying to manage them and they do not like it.  Now customers are managing the sellers using tools like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, and they do not need multimillion dollar systems to do it.

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