Jack Sims in Joe Calloway’s book  “A Category of One”.

Jack Sims considers himself to be incredibly lucky in that he learned about the retail business at an early age.  In his father’s store, Jack learned that in order to grow a business you must develop and cement relationships with your customers and be continually finding out what changes are happening in their lives to that you can help them fulfill their current needs.

Jack was the founder of a creative group in the UK that was consistently ranked as one of the top five in the nation.  Jack then created a marketing agency in the US that became the largest in America with clients that were some of the best brands on the planet, including Burger King and British Airways.

Jack is the author of Growing Small Businesses into BIG BRANDS and You Can’t See Your Back Swing – How to Win at Business & Golf.  Jack consults on business growth, marketing and branding and speaks to corporations and associations who are serious about business growth.  Jack also hosts the weekly “Jack Sims Radio Show” which is all about sustainable business growth and having some fun.  Find out more about Jack at www.jacksims.com.

I had one question for Jack:  “In terms of creating a Category of One company, what are some things people not thinking about that they should be thinking about?”  Here is Jack Sims’ list of “what we need to be thinking about” issues:

1.      Because things in business and in life are changing at warp speed, we need to work on our reaction time. How quickly can we change directions to adapt to whatever the marketplace is offering us?

2.      Speak to your customers, pick up the phone, take them to lunch, don’t just send an e-mail, actually get out and press the flesh.

3.      Make sure that the decision making process does not have to “go through committee.”  Keep the decision making chain as short as humanly possible.

4.      Our customers change, and sometimes without our noticing it. We have to stay close and be cognizant of all of the changing needs of our customers and the marketplace.

5.      Include your customers in your marketing, branding or communication sessions. We took this thinking to an extreme level in our business by actually creating a cardboard cut-out of our “A” customer and giving him a seat at the table. We even named him and referred to him as if he were a real person.

6.      Play “what if” more than ever before. What if we had a recession, what if the stock market tanked, what if the banks were not going to lend you any money, what if your cash flow has moved from a 45 day payment inflow to a 90 day version. What if?  Change is going to happen, that’s for sure, so it’s your job to stay ahead of that curve and take the time to look at the changing face of your business category. Is the “Bell Curve” in a declining mode?  Is the category in a flat growth period?  Does this actually create an opportunity to bring to market a new and improved product in a very boring staid category and capture brand share, just as James Dyson did with his Dyson Vacuum Cleaners?

7.      You must be ready to lead you business and the people who are helping you get to where you want to go.  Frankly, I believe that leadership comes down to this:

“Leadership is the ability to inspire others to be all that they can be,  while getting achieved all that you want to get achieved”

8.      You must inspire your people and empower them to make decisions that they are willing to be accountable for, that are in the best interests of the company and the customer. Create an environment that will encourage people to make mistakes.  They must be free from fear of retribution as long as what they are doing is in the customers’ and company’s best interests.

9.      Understand that your brand is your single biggest financial asset. You may not be able to list it as an asset on your books, but it is nevertheless very real.

10.  You should know that, in reality, you do not own your brand.  Your customers do.  They decide what your brand means by either buying your products or not; by telling their friends what a great product or service you deliver, or not;  by coming back, time and time again, and buying your products goods or services, or not!

Contact: info@jacksims.comwww.jacksims.com – 914 509 5170

NOTE: All rights reserved, but please feel free to use this article in any of your marketing communications as long as you give the following credit:

Jack Sims is the founder of two international corporations including America’s largest marketing agency. He is also the author of two business growth books including “Growing small Businesses into BIG Brands” and “How to Seriously WIN at Business & Golf”. He is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Business (Trinidad), a member of the National Speakers Association and is a Professional Golf Teacher in New York.