In America alone, tens of thousands of businesses crop up each year. Unfortunately, few will succeed, though not due to a lack of ingenuity, initiative, or even capital. Why, then? Because, according to Dick Cross, most business owners lack not just the fundamentals, the nuts and bolts of operating a business effectively day in and day out, but the bigger picture of how to achieve business success. This shortcoming is pervasive: it handicaps most new businesses from the start and it prevents the lion's share of existing ones from ever becoming significant. After taking dozens of mainstream companies from under-performing to outstanding, Cross observed a pattern, out of which he devised his Just Run It! formula. This simple formula now helps small and medium-sized enterprises how to visualise their mainstream businesses on "the back of an envelope" and to achieve the next level of success.
You can run a successful business with "back of the envelope" ideas. Grab an envelope. Look at the back. There are four quadrants. Label the flap "Positioning" because it impacts the three together. It deals with how you're "seen" by your prospects and customers. How will you become known? Brochures, advertising and a well-thought-out Website/Facebook page must tie into how your customers think and what they need. That said, the Web offers customers many choices. You need testimonials to create "buzz." Relative to influencing buyers, Cross states that endorsements beat paid advertising by a margin of 10:1. The viral reach of Facebook and Angie's List postings drive business to you. Label the side quadrants "Customers" and "Needs," respectively. With respect to customers, businesses usually rely too much on demographics (i.e. gender, age, income, family size, etc.). None of these tap into how they think. Buying habits are affected by emotions. Answer some market-research questions: "What's really important to your customers?" "How can you solve their problems?" Your answers need to speak to the customer's view, not your view. "Needs" expands on what you learned about your customers. "Nearly every example boils down to just two simple ideas: reducing fear or making people feel better about themselves." Make two lists that address the two simple ideas. Overlaps present opportunities for differentiation. How can you position your product/service to meet those needs? Label the bottom quadrant "Competencies" -- a reality check on what must be done to focus all levels of your organization on customer-centric doing (i.e. relationships, not transactions.) The overlapping "Needs" drive what you have to do differently to mesh the other three quadrants. Don't be surprised if you don't have the resources and talent required. But by focusing on what you can do, you'll have a foundation to build upon. Cross sees the back of the envelope plan as the way to jumpstart organizational