Platinum Group
February 2011
The Platinum Group Newsletter
Transition Tips
Ideas that inspire action for business owners and leaders in transition
Jump-Start Your Sales in 2011
By Tom Ahonen, Platinum Managing Partner

Where should you look to take your sales to a new level in 2011? Here are three ideas:

Mine your database of former customers
I recently met the CFO of the company from which my wife and I purchased a water softener for our home. He lamented about how business was soft. I asked him why there had been no follow-up to our sale. His customer service people could have called to ask how the unit was working and up sold the additional filter system or discussed salt deliveries. There is frequently a treasure trove of potential business with former customers. You may have lost them to a competitor. Yet in these tough times, the competitor may have dropped the ball — or gone out of business.

Go deep with current customers
Similarly, I had lunch recently with another B2C services executive who said that business was soft, despite a wonderful track record of outstanding consumer service. No doubt many households would benefit from today's technology changes — but don't have a clue where to start, such as how to connect a Wii unit to a flat-screen TV. This company has the knowledge, but it was too focused on selling traditional services instead of developing a deeper relationship with existing customers to help them navigate changing technologies.

Leverage your team's core strengths in a new market
And then there's my friend with the B2B distribution and services company that sells, installs, monitors, and maintains gear — a one-stop shop, but focused on one technology vertical. My friend has begun expanding his reach by taking his organization's core competencies in project management and life-cycle support into other technology verticals. The incremental headcount and working capital needed to support this expansion have been minimal. And now his "one stop" value proposition is both wide and deep.

If you need more tips or help in go-to-market strategies and execution, contact Tom at

Platinum in the News
Boosting Predictable Revenue

Want to gain more opportunities for repeatable, predictable revenue in 2011? The key to operations savings and new business growth is the theme of a recent article by Bruce Mallory in Upsize Minnesota. Click here to read the article entitled "No more 'peaks and valleys': How to boost predictable revenue." (You'll need to scroll down the page to find it.)

Platinum in the Community


More Menu Options at 2011 Transition Breakfasts

Platinum's monthly Transition Forum breakfast series is expanding its menu of opportunities for business owners to learn from other leaders' transition experiences. The forums occur on the second Tuesday of each month, starting at 7:30 a.m. However, the format and location will change quarterly throughout the year. Formats will include: larger-venue case study presentations by the Twin Cities Resource Group; smaller-venue roundtables with owner stories; and, special interest group discussions, such as transition readiness and planning. Click here to see the full 2011 schedule. Contact Steve Coleman at for more information.

Lesson Learned
Be Respectfully Persistent!
By Patrick Hart

I learned a lesson in perseverance as a junior in high school when my buddies and I talked about getting seasonal work with UPS that might turn into a full-time job. If a young guy landed a UPS job back in the mid-1970s, he would really have something as the starting part-time wage was $7.75 per hour. This was a great chance to earn some real money that would help me move out of the house upon graduation and, maybe, I could go full time at $9.75 per hour. Wow, what an opportunity!

Four of us went down to UPS the next day to fill out the paper work, watch a short video and listen to the job description. Then the HR guy said, "We are hiring hardworking people that can manually unload a couple 48- to 52-foot semi-trailers per five-hour shift a night. If you are still interested, please wait for your name to be called for an interview." My buddies went ahead of me and each came out smiling and high-fiving each other. When my name was called, I went in and started answering questions. But HR guy abruptly looked up at me and said, "Thanks for coming down. I'll call you if I can use you."

I was very frustrated and couldn't believe I was left out -- that I didn't make the cut. So I went back the next day. After about 20 minutes of watching guys come and go out of the HR guy's office, there was a pause and I went in, sat down and said, "Sir, there must be a mistake, my name hasn't been called yet." He looked down the list for my name. Looking up he said smiling, "Anyone that has the guts to come in here asking for a job after what I told you yesterday must really want to work for this company. Mr. Hart, you are hired!

I worked very hard that Christmas season unloading trailers and made some good money, but decided my odds of growing rich were limited by working inside a semi-trailer. Lesson learned: Be respectfully persistent when trying to accomplish a goal. "No" often means the other person simply does not have enough information.

Patrick J. Hart is a Platinum Associate and President/CEO of Real Estate Equities, which is a Twin Cities based real estate firm with a primary focus in multi-family housing, townhomes, and senior cooperatives. The company's experience and expertise spans all stages and facets of multi-family housing developments. He can be reached at .
Platinum Group
9855 W 78th Street
Eden Prairie, MN 55344

If you do not wish to continue to receive our monthly newsletter please click on this unsubscribe link to be removed from our distribution list.