Where Will You Live in Your Old Age?

The world of senior living is changing. The average move-in age continues to creep up (from 81 to 85), housing demand for middle-income seniors is on the rise, and today’s seniors are better educated about their living options than ever before. People also are staying in their homes, and when they decide to move to a senior living community, they expect more than their parents did.

What does that mean for your marketing, operations, fundraising, staff recruitment and retention, and facility development?

We asked ourselves variations of that question many times over during the recent 2nd Annual Interface Seniors Housing Midwest Conference, as we thought about our senior living clients. During the conference, industry experts highlighted variables unique to each facility that can drive success or drag down an organization if neglected or mismanaged.

We recognized those variables as critical to strong brands: the caliber of executive leadership, location, amenities, culture, sales approach, marketing, communications, employee recruitment and retention, quality of care, scope of care, customer service, relationships with partners, including capital partners, and more.

Taken together, these variables become the opportunity to tell your unique story, to provide an authentic experience, and to claim a distinct brand. Even if some of them are aspirational for your organization, you’ve likely prioritized areas of focus, improvement and growth. That’s a sign of health and progress.

Equipping your organization to meet the demands and preferences of today’s, and tomorrow’s, seniors is a worthy mission. You live it every day. We live it through our clients. And, we’re all going to be bona fide residents someday, somewhere. Let’s make sure we lay a solid foundation.  

Client Spotlight: Plunkett Raysich Architects

Every once in a while we like to give a shout out to one of our clients and showcase our good work together. This month, we’re putting our strategic planning project with Plunkett Raysich Architects (PRA) in the spotlight

The process

In summer of 2015, Bottom Line facilitated a day-long strategic planning session with the architectural firm’s partners to refresh their focus to be business-savvy. We worked with the PRA partners to identify performance expectations for themselves and for each other before the session, so during the session, they were free to have open, effective discussion. Our hope was the more time the partners had to discuss expectations, the more consensus would be gained around areas of improvement regarding business skills and firm growth.

The results

During the strategic planning session, the PRA partners:

  • Created a greater sense of cohesion in the partnership and opened their eyes to how important it is to meet client expectations and make a profit
  • Identified goals and metrics to better gauge success

A year after the strategic planning session:

  • The partners report they are more transparent and hold themselves and each other accountable for their overall performance
  • The firm has reduced time billed versus time budgeted by 40 percent in just one year
  • The partners have grown their leadership skills through monthly learning sessions
  • The firm has received multiple awards in 2016 for work performance and culture
  • The firm was selected for the 2016 PSMJ Circle of Excellence, which is awarded to the top 20 percent of all architect/engineer/contractor firms across the country

To learn more, check out the full PRA-Strategic Planning case study!

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Interested in improving your strategic planning process? Let’s talk

The Brand is the Business. The Business is the Brand

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Everyone has a brand. Whether you like your brand, whether your customers relate to your brand is another question.

The key to a strong, lasting brand is to hardwire it internally first  –  articulating the brand story clearly and consistently to every single employee, regardless of title.

Your brand is your company’s heart and soul. It defines not only what you do, but how and why. It defines the experience your customers will enjoy (or not) with every touch point and the benefits that experience will bring  –  some call it the value proposition.

By hardwiring your brand internally, you define for every employee the expectations the customers have about them keeping the brand promises  — delivering on the value proposition.  By consistently articulating the brand story to every employee, you make certain that no matter who the customer interacts with everyone will deliver the same positive, on-message experience.

The bottom line is your brand is simply what your customers take away from their experience with you  –  good or bad.

It’s Friday! It’s Summer!

People who live in northern climes get it. Summer is finally here after a long, cold winter (every winter in Wisconsin is long and cold, even if the weather people tell us otherwise), and every minute of sunshine and warm air beckons us beyond the indoors.

At Bottom Line, we live into that by working half-days on Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Those extra four hours of summer living are a gift!

Here’s how it works: The workload is unchanged. All salaried team members put in their 40 hours (or whatever it takes to get the work done) before noon on Friday. Part-timers do the same thing for their work assignments. Get it done by 12 p.m. Friday if you want a glorious summer afternoon outside, poolside, lakeside or on any side of the golf course your ball takes you. If it means coming in early, working through lunch or staying later Monday through Thursday, we gladly do it.

We still put clients first, however. If a client call, meeting or deadline demands our attention, we’re there, we’re on it and we do it willingly. That never changes for us.

In a happy coincidence, many of our clients also take advantage of Friday afternoons in the summer. It’s something about that seemingly endless winter…

The benefits of this opportunity are limitless. Here are few we experience – several of which have improved our work processes and flow throughout the year (yes, even when it’s dark at 4 p.m. and we have our space heaters going all day):

  • Increased focus and steady work pace, especially around planning and advancing longer-term projects
  • Strong calendar management
  • Reduced chit chat – we’re a small shop and we still talk casually, of course, but in the summer we naturally tend to limit it
  • Cheerful spirits and grateful hearts that our owner and president, Jeffrey Remsik, provides this opportunity. Whatever the time of year, those two traits make for a happier team.

What does your organization do for employees to boost morale? Anything special in the summer? We’d love to hear about it. Leave a comment below, Tweet us your ideas, send us an email at www.blmpr.com/contact-us, or comment on our LinkedIn page

Make Relationship Marketing Work for You

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© Atee83 | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Relationship marketing is a strategic process to develop and grow relationships with people both inside and outside of your circle of influence–customers, prospects, community leaders, elected officials—anyone you value getting to know on a deeper level, and anyone who may become a friend and ally.

Our clients understand the value of relationship marketing, and they turn to us to support their effort. Some already have full plates and are unable to add this into their workload. Others are not comfortable or do not know where to begin to reach out to prospects without a specific ask in mind.

The Bottom Line approach

At Bottom Line, we use a proven process to make relationship marketing work on behalf of our clients. We start by leveraging our own contacts, and we look for and identify other contacts who might benefit from a mutual discussion.

The key to a successful connection is to identify a benefit to the person you want to meet with. What’s in it for them?  For most of our relationship marketing meetings, we let contacts know there is no agenda and no sales pitch. There is a desire to meet, learn from one another and possibly, depending on the client’s strategy, talk about a specific idea. We are clear, however, that the meeting is not a sales meeting. It’s about relationship development. 

For example, one of our clients has an objective to meet with business and elected officials in the community they serve. We start by identifying the business leaders and elected officials at the local and state level. We invite those leaders to take a tour of our client’s headquarters and spend a little time with the leadership team. The benefit to the prospect is to meet with the company’s executives, gain deeper understanding of the company’s commitment to the community, as well as get an inside look at our client’s facility, something they wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to do.

After the initial meeting, we encourage our clients to send a personalized thank you note and to do any follow up. We look for other opportunities for the client to get back in touch with someone they’ve previously met with. This could be something as simple as forwarding an article the prospect might be interested in. That is made even better if it relates to something that was discussed during the initial meeting.

Bottom Line uses a customer relationship marketing software program to track meetings and follow ups on behalf of our clients. We also generate status reports and contact lists to share with our clients.

Our relationship marketing approach has been successful in strengthening our clients’ reputations in their communities as experts in their fields, reliable partners, and good corporate citizens.

Tips for success

We touched on these tips in a previous blog post, but they’re worth repeating when building and maintaining a relationship:

  • Be persistent, but not pesky when scheduling a meeting. Most of us have few openings in our calendars and emails get lost in an inbox that is already full. Stay in touch. Chances are, the other person let it slip and appreciates the follow up.
  • Respect others’ time. If you set an appointment for a follow-up meeting, be specific on the start and end time, and adhere to it.
  • Know what you’re going to say. It’s best to listen and learn rather than have a specific ask in mind. Get to know the person before you jump in with a request.
  • Follow up. A handwritten thank you note is always appreciated.
  • Stay in touch periodically. Send an article of interest, a note of congratulations, the latest news release or newsletter about something happening in your company. Always include a personal note and the reason for sending. Periodically, extend an invitation to get together again.
  • Be patient. Solid relationships take time to grow.

Give us a call if you would like help expanding your circle of influence. We’d be delighted to help develop a customized plan for you personally or for your business.