So, you want to excel in 2015?

WITH a new year on the horizon, many organisations are reflecting on the year 2014 and trying to come up with strategies and ways of making 2015 better.

As I was reflecting and doing a little reading, I came across a beautiful article by Jon Gordon. I shared his insights at a conference last week. However, I feel it would be a sin not to share them with everyone else.

I guess you will all agree with me that it is tough going in business these days.

We are all trying to discover ways and means to stand out and woo those evasive customers.

Gordon, in one of his weekly newsletters, writes about four ways to stand out and grow your business.

I would like to share these methods with you:
Create a great culture: A culture is the values and practices shared by the members of the group. When you focus on your culture you create a strong foundation of values, beliefs, expectations, and habits that cause you to stand out in the marketplace and ultimately grow your business.

Lead with optimism: Now, more than ever, optimism is a competitive advantage. It is not the pessimists who will grow this economy. It is the optimists who believe in a brighter future that will take the actions necessary to create it.

Optimism will also help you navigate the set-backs and challenges as you seek to grow your business. You have a choice. You can believe success is impossible or you can believe that with faith, hard work, and an optimistic attitude all things are possible. To grow your business, choose the latter.

Show your customers you care: The most successful companies find unique ways to show their customers they care about them. If you want to stand out and grow you must create your own signature way to show your customers that you care about them. When you show your customers you care they will talk about you to everyone (even write about you). Consequently, you will stand out in a crowded and competitive marketplace.

Pursue excellence: Gordon states that too many times we are quick to blame the economy for the failure of our businesses. He suggests that the economy has merely exposed those with weak business models, bad cultures, poor leadership, toxic work environments, apathetic sales forces and mediocre products and services. In contrast, those who pursue excellence are thriving.

I am sure we all know of businesses that have been in existence since time immemorial and are still going strong. Many exude this characteristic.

Does your business stand out from the crowd? As Tom Peters states, “In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” It is time to step up, stand out and be visible.

Nonto Masuku is a partner of an image and reputation management firm.

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