Tuesday, July 13, 2010

2 Business Lessons from George Steinbrenner

George Steinbrenner died today.

According to The Wall Street Journal:
Steinbrenner, a shipping magnate, bought the Yankees in 1973, turning the organization into one of professional sports’ premier franchises. Under his ownership, the Yankees won seven World Series and 11 American League pennants.

His tenure as Yankees owner — and his deep pockets — also made him one of the most controversial figures in baseball .... [including] his habit of spending markedly more than other teams to acquire the game’s best players. 
Here are two lessons you can take from Steinbrenner's career to boost your business revenues, without advertising ...

1. Recover lost glory

When Steinbrenner bought the Yankees in 1973, they were perennial cellar dwellers. Long gone were the glory days of Ruth, DiMaggio, Berra, and Mantle.

But by 1977, the Yankees won the first of 7 championships under his ownership.

Questions: Why did you start your business in the first place? What excited you so much that you were compelled to go into business for yourself?

Now, what can you do this week to recapture some of that "lost glory" in your business?

Example: Write a letter to or call your first 10 clients to thank them for supporting you in the beginning. Maybe offer to buy them lunch at a special round-table meeting. The resulting goodwill and referrals will likely repay you many times over.

(Don't know who your first 10 clients were? You have work to do. Start building a client database. Today. Now.)

2. Acquire the best

Steinbrenner was a man in a hurry. Instead of waiting for great players to develop in the farm system, he went out and bought them. The results were victory after victory, championship after championship ... not to mention the lasting enmity of his competitors, who couldn't (or wouldn't) spend like him.

Questions: Where are your best clients "playing" right now? How can you acquire the best of them, quickly?

Example: Let's say you deliver leadership training, and your best clients are typically real estate and financial services professionals. Where are those clients "playing" (doing business) right now?

Well ... they all use banks. Could you not "acquire" these clients by putting on a free seminar, held at a bank, which promotes your services to its real estate and financial services clients?

The bank wins by delivering a free seminar with a high perceived value. And you win, if your seminar is any good, because you will turn a portion of attendees into paying clients quickly; you can put the rest on your mailing list ("farm system") and convert them to paying clients over time.

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