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HOOPLA Notes For Consultants


Creating a startup, or managing a business, is mostly about problem solving.

HOOPLA Blast is not about you solving other people's problems, rather it's about providing suggestions for others to consider, own and action.

Sharing what you know with an independent view often provides an achievable solution for the business owner to implement.

When receiving a HOOPLA Blast request, please consider the following points as outlined below when composing your response.


  • No one is at fault. Never contribute blame or fault to the person requesting your assistance, any other party or organisations.

  • Provide suggestions and never instruct. Never instruct the person what to do.  Eg. "Have you considered ....., ..... or ....?"  
    A standard disclosure statement is provided at the beginning of your response pointing out that the following feedback is not personal advice or an instruction to act.

  • Take the time to understand the problem. It is easy to jump into solution mode immediately, even before understand the root issue.  Identify what really needs to be considered in the response. What is being asked of you? What are the deliverables?

  • Pursue alternate paths on “facts of life”. Remember, there are some things that you and they can do nothing about. They’re not problems; they are merely facts of life. Often, what appears to be a problem is actually an opportunity in disguise.  Reveal the opportunities.

  • Provides suggestions from several angles. Beware of providing only one potential suggestion as it may appear to be a solution or instruction. The more ways in which a problem can be addressed, the greater a solution can be found and implemented. For example, “sales are too low” may mean strong competitors, ineffective advertising, or a poor sales process.  Create suggestions for each of these.

  • Ask to look back. In business, problems tend to repeat themselves. A good follow up question is, "Has this happen before and if so, what was done to resolve? Recalling familiar experience and how they got through it can internally solve a problem by simply retracing their steps.

  • Team Building. Business is very much about relationships so encourage the person where applicable about connecting with other groups like an industry body to create leverage through membership, sponsorship, events etc. Also ask if they have staff, friends, directors, suppliers, clients etc that may be able to assist and provide guidance.

  • Confidence Building. Some people may need the reassurance that they can solve the problem. The key is for them to focus, not to get worked up, and try to hone in on a solution. Eg. It does take a little time to rebuild a business identity so start soon, remain confident and be patient.

  • Hit the 80%. Address areas that deal with 80% of all problems quickly. There is no need address every aspect of the request. The smaller side issues will normally disappear once the main problem is addressed.

  • Assign responsibility. As HOOPLA experts, it is not our role to take on the responsibility to resolve a problem. You are simply providing suggestions for their consideration or insight that may help them to process the problem. The business owner need to take ownership and action if they wish to create a change otherwise.

  • Is it measurable? Ask them to consider the ability to measure the outcome otherwise they will have no way of knowing when and whether the problem was solved effectively.
Sample HOOPLA Blast Request

Hi HOOPLA

I have been running a small fabric and dressmaking business in my town for over 10 years and until recently we had little competition but now we are contending with a number of new and larger stores taking our trade.  These larger businesses have poor quality products and their marketing is misleading. 

We now get calls comparing prices.  It's very frustrating as we never get the sale.

We have recently created a website that contains all of our products that can be purchased online.

How can we deal with this level of competition.

Regards

Possible HOOPLA Response

Thank you for outlining your concern about dealing with new competitors and reduce sales.

Competitors can be a challenge for many businesses however it does provide an opportunity for you to look at what you can do differently. 

Here are some ideas for you to consider:-

1. Consider how to reconnect with past customers. They know you and your business and the quality of your products. Consider a "VIP Open Shop Day" or a special offer to remind them that your business is still about.  There are some very simple online products that can help you stay connected and measure the level of response to online mailouts like MailChimp. 

2. Potential customers need to identify the difference between competitors and your business.  For example have you considered offering free fabric samples?  Can they call into your shop or go online to ask questions?

3. Many customers will do online research so you may wish to consider a BLOG linked to your website.  This is a good way to connect and build relationships with customers.  A few short articles on design ideas, tips etc that incorporate your products backlinked to the online store product pages.  Also post links of recent BLOG articles on social media to attract further awareness and interest.

4. ....... 

5. .......

6. In the past when sales have been low, did you do anything special to grow sales and would this work again"

Also consider how you can measure your efforts. Online sales should be easy to measure. Ask your web developer how they can help you measure the number of website visitors etc.

It does take a little time to rebuild a business identity so start soon, remain confident and be patient.

I trust that the above information helps and should you need further assistance please feel free to contact us.

Regards

John Smith 
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