Lower C.A.B. Fare Can Help Top, Bottom Line.
I had just finished leading the final day of the last Ethical Stalking for Government Contractors™ program for 2014 and was reflecting on the very high-level of energy in the room and the volume of information exchanged during these two days. One of the things I love about these intimate education opportunities is watching the participants become vested in each other’s business success and seeing them provide sincere feedback based on their own lesson’s learned. It is moving to say the very least.
This group of business leaders and professionals (we call them Business Growth Airways Flight 1113) came hungry for any and all resources and tactics for finding and exploiting information so they could step up their game as primes, subs or both and be positioned to win! Their energy met my energy and BOOM! we collectively left it all on the field as I was completely exhausted in the most positive way possible. I love my job and what it’s become over the last ten years as I have opportunities to collaborate with a number of the most intelligent and driven individuals and organizations in the business of government contracting. I know this because I come away smarter every time I facilitate one of our business growth programs.
That’s why I was so enthralled when the topic of ‘cab fare‘ became a pivotal point of the discussion. What does ‘cab fare’ have to do with business much less government contracting business? It was an analogy I introduced during the lecture (day one) to describe getting from one location to another in the most efficient way possible and keeping the fare low in the process. The business context was the journey that starts with finding viable opportunities and concludes (hopefully) with winning opportunities, and the top and bottom line impact of the ‘cost associated with acquiring that business.’ For the record, we describe this program as the means to ‘change how you look for, look at and use information to win government contracts and subcontracts‘ with the goal of helping companies make better use of information to positively impact decision-making that results in a lower cost of doing business and higher return in the ‘win’ column.
Which brings me to one of the many epiphanies realized by the folks on Flight 1113. I’ll position it this way. Many companies have a desire to grow. In fact, I would say most do. In acting on that desire, business leaders frequently invoke a plan that includes (or is centered around) expanding their customer base. This is not a bad thing unless the ‘cab fare’ increases too much. For one of the business leaders on Flight 1113, the resulting conversation started with reviewing their angle of approach to a specific opportunity and ended up in a near-literal group hug to help them reassess and reconsider where they were planning to cast a line. It was a CEO intervention where everyone in the room assumed a familial posture of protecting one of their own. It was incredibly moving to see it happen.
While I was the designated facilitator, other attendees began relating experiences and offering insights and opinions while the business leader and I listened, intently. It led to my bringing up my ‘backyard business’ philosophy and probing to discover why they chose to pursue new customers at organizations other than where they are already known? I, like everyone else in the room soon learned about the amazing rapport this business leader’s company had with current customers (multiple touch points within one federal agency), and the hoops their customers had previously and were still willing to jump through in order to give business to this leaders organization. The collective response equated to”Why change your fishing hole when the pond is so well stocked for you?”
The final nudge came as the discussion turned to how much does this agency spend on what you offer? What is the current and anticipated budget and need for that offering? How much of the business goes to your company versus others? What are the vulnerabilities of the other companies providing these services to this customer?
The “Aha!” moment arrived and you could see the wheels turning and the acknowledgment of the proverbial “bird in the hand” for this business leader. Almost immediately the meter in that cab began to tick more slowly.
This was just one of the great things that happened over the last two days. I love what I do.
The Chief Visionary
“The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.”