Tag Archives: the octopus solution

The Octopus Solution Lectures at Suffolk University Business School

Attention:  Our blog may be down for an hour or two today while we migrate our blog over to our website.  Thank you.

Last night Professor Jorge Riveras hosted The Octopus Solution for his International Business class at Suffolk University, Sawyer School of Management.  We were honored to join the class of 30 MBA students who were in the process of learning about corporate structures, organization and business productivity.

We had the pleasure of speaking about the work we do relating to Performance Management and Leadership with our clients and the results we have achieved.  It was great for them to see how the lessons they were learning about regarding organization structure and performance  are applied in the real business world and what benefits they provide.

We started the class  by discussing many of the issues the students see with the companies they are presently working for and most, if not all, were performance management issues.  We talked about the impacts of poor organization structures and architecture and how that can lead to poor communications, break-downs in teamwork and disorganization.

The class asked many fantastic questions about the results we generate with performance management and were very engaged in the classroom discussion.  We would like to thank Professor Riveras for having our company as a guest speaker and to the class for being great participants.

Thank you Suffolk University!

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Sometimes They Just Don’t Get It!

Many times marketing firms and advertising agencies do not listen, pay attention or care about your success.  With these types of firms you become a number and the relationship goes away.  We do not want to see your business hire a marketing firm that will not provide you with the experience and results you deserve.  Our firm, The Octopus Solution, is not a fit for all businesses and organizations, but the ones we do work with achieve high levels of success and break through barriers.  That is what we are dedicated too.

Enjoy the video and remember that all great relationships take time to develop and earn trust.  Contact us to talk shop about the marketing needs of your company and we will tell you if we can help:  info@theoctopussolution.com

Results Come From…..

Teamwork & Organization!

Working with one of our clients on a marketing project revealed internal issues around lack of communication which has been effecting their marketing.  Communication breakdown revealed major issues around teamwork and organization within their business.  If you remember from our last blogs, the 2 reasons most small businesses fail is because of teamwork and organization.

How did we fix the problem?  Communication happens in 2 formates:  Written and Verbal.  Written can include things like email, memos, letters in mailboxes, etc.  Verbal can be done one-on-one, groups, in meetings, etc.  Written communication is preferred because it does not leave anything to forget.  There also needs to be an agreed upon hub of communication such as email, project management database, weekly scheduled meetings, etc.  As long as there is an agreed systems being USED CORRECTLY there will be significantly less issues.  When something as simple as an agreed system of communications is not the standard, then all employees will be trying to communicate on different levels.

There also needs to be a flow of communication based on an organization board that allows for communication to flow up and down the chain of command smoothly and in a manner that all members of the organization are knowledgeable of.  The method of communication must be consistent and done in a process that all staff members are aware of.  The issue was that no one knew where to go for answers or information.  That causes big problems that will lead to angry employees, confused customers and negative energy.

Now you can start to effectively market when the channels of communication are corrected.  If you want more details on how to handle miscommunications in your business please email us at: info@theoctopussolution.com

The Secret of Running a Productive Business

“The one quality which sets one man apart from another – the key which lifts one to every aspiration while others are caught up in the mire of mediocrity – is not talent, formal education, nor intellectual Brightness – it is Self-Discipline.

With Self-Discipline, all things are possible.  Without it even the simplest goal can seem like the impossible dream.” -Theodore Roosevelt

self-dis·ci·pline

–noun

Discipline and training of oneself, usually for improvement: Acquiring the habit of promptness requires self-discipline.

Self Discipline is a method for effecting change in oneself which leads to change within an organization.  If you can not lead a disciplined life, you will not have a disciplined business.  It starts with the leader.  Here is how you do it:

Take on one discipline on at a time.  It takes roughly 60-90 days doing a task daily before it becomes habit and part of your behavior.  Only undertake one at a time.  Now think about how you implement change with your company and start new projects?  If you try to change too much the employee’s will not be able to maintain the disciplines to complete them.

Remember……..“Talent without discipline is like an Octopus on roller skates.  There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

Does your Company have Standards?

What are Standards?  They are a set of agreed on behavior a business employee’s have with each other.  If a business does not have a corporate set of standards how can they be efficient and communicate effectively?  Each person is operating on a different level of understanding which leads to confusion.  Let’s level the playing field!

Having standards in your company will set the Minimum Acceptable Level of Behavior.  If you want to up the performance bar of your company you can implement a set of standards for your business.  Many companies do not have a corporate identity and the employees are in the black.

The bad news is that standards require a significant amount of discipline to be able to introduce and more importantly maintain.  Some types of standards for a business could be:

  • Return emails within 48 hours
  • Return phone calls within 24 hours
  • All staff show up to meetings on-time (what is the agreed upon measure of time?)
  • All problems presented come with suggestions for solutions
  • All projects or milestone are completed on-time
  • No Gossip
  • Do what you say you will do (honor your word)
  • Etc.

The list can be as small or big as you would like.  The discipline required to making implementing standards is up to the ability of the leadership to maintain the standards and lead by example.  Until all staff buy into and UPHOLD EACH OTHER, then you have not made the standards acceptable behavior among each other.

Get Standards!  Our business world needs the bar raised.  Email us if you are interested in talking more about The Octopus Solution Management Model:  info@theoctopussolution.com

The Easter Bunny Gone Bad

Like many holidays there is money to be made on Easter.  It is sad that we commercialize all the major holidays, but we do so lets talk about it.

When did Easter go commercial? It seems that in the past 100 years corporate America has tried to make every holiday an everybody celebration.  We now have mini-Christmas’s with this holiday and purchase:

  • Food
  • Candy
  • Decorations
  • Toys
  • Easter baskets
  • and a ton of the small things

These are all billion dollar industries and Easter is another point in a year to be able to capitalizing on increasing annual revenue.  Maybe we should start to come up with huge holidays every month.  The capitalization pulls away from the importance of holidays which is to share time with your family and those in need.

Can we using marketing to shift back into the other direction?  Or does marketing screw holiday spirit up or do we need it to shift mass focus back to a different context?  Can it be done?

The Octopus Solution is passionate about marketing and enjoy helping business owners increase their top line or brand exposure, but we do not want to do that if we compromise our ethics.  Marketing is powerful. You learn about customer buying behavior, price sensitivity, demographics, rational, and many other things.  With that information, marketers have tremendous power for how they can present products or services.  We need to be careful.

For example, should we market products with aspartame knowing the damages it causes to our bodies?  Should we market products we do not believe in?  Can we honestly serve our clients?

So Easter is selling candy and other things to the public and what boundaries should we not cross?

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!!!

We take for granted the amount of work required to build a customer base and all too often small businesses start up with the expectation that just having a physical location on a busy street will mean success.  The fact is that you need to take the steps to aggressively pursue customers!  Do not fall into the trap of being complacent and expecting them to know you are in business and walk in your door.

The second your doors open, you may get flooded with customers and your attention may shift to operating the company and marketing takes a back seat because you thought your job was done.  Nothing could have been further from the truth. Over the next six months you watch the revenues declined and customer frequency and attendance slow.  You thought you were doing a great job running a businesses until you quickly realized that there was no marketing being done to bring in new customers.

You get complacent with the marketing and assumed that everyone else in the world would just hear about you through word of mouth.  Wrong again.  Marketing needed to be done consistently.  If it was not, there can be noticeable dips in dollars.  Small businesses never want dips in dollars, but they do happen for a variety of reasons.  Let’s make sure those dips are not the result of a lack of marketing.  Let’s talk PR.

Would you like to spend $375 for a quarter page newspaper ad in your local paper, or come up with a creative idea for a story that lands you front page and doesn’t cost a cent?  Which do you think will give you the most exposure?

Public Relations (PR) is one of the best tools to gain the lime light exposure for your business.  Our clients have been on the cover of over a dozen newspapers and stories inside tons of magazines, websites and papers.  We create news worthy stories or events to send out as a press release to the print &online  media world.  These newspapers and magazines need stories, information and content that are sellable and  creative thinking and persistence can lead your business into the spot light.

All sources of media love to provide coverage on events happening throughout our communities. You should understand how and when to approach media personnel with ideas for  coverage.  It would not be wise to call a newspaper after the Super Bowl or a Natural Disaster because of the media focus on that universal event.

Create a list of editors (their names, email, phone, address) and do not feel like you can’t do this–you can.  Local papers like to help local businesses.  Editors are not unapproachable tyrants, they are business people with the mission of selling print material and creating online exposure in a competitive world…respect their time.  If you feel that your story can help them with their mission and is presented as such, then you will gain an attentive ear.  Pick one local media source to send an idea to and not shop it around to more than one because of exclusivity! Understand that papers and magazines compete with each other and in order to build a relationship you need to respect that and only offer one story to one source.  Exclusivity is a big deal and should be dealt with with respect.

If the media source is not interested in your story or are dragging their feet, simply say: “Mrs. Editor I wanted to give you the exclusive story, but if you are not interested in running it, are you okay with me taking this to another paper or magazine?”  That will get things moving, god forbid another paper gets the story.  Here are some tips for getting started with your media campaign:

  • Identify all the media sources you want to work with that best reach your potential customer.
  • Create a database of media contacts (editors, etc) and communication time lines for mapping out your company’s output.
    • Contact data for the editors can be found in the first few pages of the newspaper or magazine and onine
    • Remember to always start with the editor.
  • Before you pitch the idea, make sure that you are well prepared to support your idea with “what is in it for them” and determine the best way to deliver it.
  • Determine how often you are going to pitch ideas to them.
  • Try to establish a long term relationship and become the expert in your field as the go to person for questioning.
  • Follow up after events or postings to get the feedback from the media source. This will show that you care about their business and they will remember that jester.

There are different levels of commitment to getting good PR and those levels correspond to the level of exposure and status of the media source being sought after. Local, regional, national and international media sources all need to be approached differently and require different strategies.  Plan accordingly and best of luck.  Email us if you would like The Octopus Solution to handle your PR needs.