Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

Tracking KPI’s

After reviewing your analytics report, you can confidently make a conclusion about your website’s performance and identify actionable items that will help improve the key performance indicators (KPI) going forward. You can start by looking at the average time a user spends on your website. This report will be able to help measure how visitors interact with the website’s content. If you dig deeper, you should be able to see which pages create the longest stay and conversions, and which pages users are not finding to be relevant toward their search. Digging even further, you can begin to see which pages users last visited before abandoning the website. If you see a common trend of user activity, you will be able to make the corrections as needed. The other two metrics, unique visitors and ratio of local audience to national audience, will be important in helping you understand how engaging your website content is to customers. These two metrics may also be useful in helping with future marketing. By having a true understanding of what your visitors are looking for, it will help you develop effective campaigns to accumulate more leads, which will lead to an increased ROI.


The productivity of both you and your business are important. The ethics of your business has a tremendous effect on the morale of the employees. If morale is down, work productivity may also slack. As a leader, you are responsible for creating a healthy environment by supporting your employees. How you lead is crucial in developing productive employees and influencing employee morale and satisfaction. To implement and maintain morale, you should place importance on stress prevention programs and develop effective communication methods with employees to discover and address issues regarding dissatisfaction and potential ethical dilemmas.

Don’t Do Too Much

One of the biggest business mistakes I have ever made was trying to do everything myself. I wore the hats of the marketing department, sales, customer service, collections, technical support, developer, graphic artist, etc. I understand that you may want to save money or may simply not have the financial support to hire someone to complete additional tasks, however, do what you need to do until you can get help, but get help quickly. If you must take a cut in pay temporarily to hire a project manager while you handle sales, you will be grateful in the end. Otherwise, you will drain yourself dry and never have the time to do what you love. Do yourself a favor and focus on what made you love the idea of being a business owner in the first place.

Applying Ethical Frameworks: The Concerns With Being Ethical.

When making an ethical decision or coming forth in someone’s defense, consider the scenario and whether or not it leaves room for reasonable doubt or fails to provide necessary information to make the ethical decision. As a professional, I would need to convince those charging the individual that my words are reliable. In this scenario, I would need solid proof versus simply stating that I believe or I think the defendant is the wrong person. Without solid proof and evidence, I don’t have confidence that my words would hold up to whatever evidence was already presented. In addition, if an employee member came to me as a leader to express their concern on someone’s innocence, I would require evidence from them and could not base a decision off of an opinion without facts. If I were able to present a solid argument backed by evidence, then I would speak-up on the matter, considering it could be justified.

My response is dependent upon my position within the company and whether or not the company has a code of ethics system in place, which the scenario fails to present. As a respected leader, I would come forward considering my title and position would likely be respected and reliable. Reasons that I would be skeptical to come forward as an employee, laborer, or volunteer, are: no physical evidence, would not want to cause unjustifiable conflict, would hate to be wrong, I would not want to sour relationships, and there are no penalties for saying nothing.

No physical evidence to support me. I wouldn’t feel comfortable or feel that my words would be enough proof to cause a change. Without evidence, I wouldn’t feel optimistic. If I don’t feel optimistic about the outcome, or believe that my words are relevant, then I would have a hard time convincing others.

Would not want to cause conflict unjustifiably. If I create trouble by coming forward without evidence, I could cause even more conflict that creates more questions. Creating questions doesn’t solve problems. Unless I have answers or facts, I would not speak up.

Afraid to be wrong. I wouldn’t want to come forward just to find out that I was wrong. Being wrong will waste everyone’s time, and cause me to be a potential troublemaker.

I may lose relationships and trust. Being wrong will cause me to lose relationships with the friends I plan to get in trouble by my speaking up. Considering those relationships are important to me on a business and personal level, I would not want to ruin them unless I was certain and could prove my stance.

It will cost me nothing to say nothing. If I don’t speak up, I lose nothing personally outside of ethics. If I speak up, I may lose many more things including relationships and trust that are important to me on a business and personal level.

The reason for my not coming forward has nothing to do with whether or not I believe I should come forward. Ethically, I would love to come forward and assist in producing justice for someone and something that I believe in. My responses for not coming forward are based on what proof I can present, as well as my position within the company. In my career and life I have been right and wrong about many different situations. I have learned that if I want to present a plan of action to leaders of a company, I must present them with either facts or my professional opinion. Without proof or authority of power within my opinion, my action plan will not be justified as being a solid plan. The winning argument is oftentimes the one with the most power and not necessarily the best argument (Ivaniš, 2012).

The concern that would be preventing me from instantly making an ethical decision is the fact that this is a business setting. In such a setting, there are rules and conducts that I must adhere to. As a business employee, it is my responsibility to serve my leaders. By going outside of their request, it could be viewed as misconduct or unethical behavior if I have not properly disclosed my reasoning and evidence to support such act (Boatright, 2013). An ethical dilemma is a situation that has the potential to result in a breach of acceptable behavior (White, & Wooten, 1983).

Doing business ethically means to do business rationally (Ivaniš, 2012). Organizational ethics exists to prevent damages from lack of ethics (Ivaniš, 2012). Organizational ethics isn’t simply doing what’s right in an organization, it is doing what’s professional. Ethically, as a business professional, it would be unprofessional of me to come forward with a lack of information to support my cause. In order to be ethical in such a complex situation, I would have to act on my own consciousness as it is the most useful and reliable tool that I have (Ivaniš, 2012). Though the case would be coming to a close, I would not allow the pressure to cause me to come forward until I’m ready and with proof. Without properly understanding the code of ethics within the organization, questions would arise, such as, is the person acting in accordance to the legal regulations, is the person being responsible, and what is the potential positive and negative cost of being ethical (Ivaniš, 2012). With proper law and regulations in place, the ethical decision would be much easier to make.

If my coming forward could be done anonymously, I could remove a few of my reasons for not coming forward. I would like to be able to make the ethical decision. However, the scenario had many missing answers that could help me justify my reasoning. Without fully understanding the situation, I cannot say that I fully support coming forward with an assumption and without evidence.

To resolve my ethical dilemma within my organization in the future, the business that I work for must have proper business ethics and moral guidelines in place that would allow me to safely and anonymously report my peers and leaders. To prevent ignorance, the business should converse about ethics often, educate employees, monitor ethical behavior, and have documentation within the office that is available for all members of the organization (Ivaniš, 2012).

Bagozzi, R., Sekerka, L., & Hill, V. (2009). Hierarchial motive structures and their role in moral choices. Journal of Business Ethics, 90¸461-486.

Boatright, J. R. (2013). Confronting Ethical Dilemmas in the Workplace. Financial Analysts Journal. pp. 6-9.

Ivaniš, M. (2012). BUSINESS ETHICS – MORAL RESPONSIBILITY OF THE MODERN COMPANY. Conference Proceedings: International Conference Of The Faculty Of Economics Sarajevo (ICES), 507-525.

White, L. P., & Wooten, K. C. (1983). Ethical Dilemmas in Various Stages of Organizational Development. Academy Of Management Review, 8(4), 690-697. doi:10.5465/AMR.1983.4284684

Customer Perception

Customer perception is a significant predictor of customer purchasing outcomes. The customer’s perception of your purchasing processes can influence your business’s reputation and sales. Customers with a positive perception of your business will likely react differently to reviews posted by previous customers compared to customers that do not have a positive perception.

Value Perception. As a business, you should seek to position positive product knowledge at the beginning of your customers’ journey. While attempting to examine the relationship between customer uncertainty reduction and value perception, I found that customer uncertainty about a business influenced the overall value perception of the selected businesses. To reduce the concern of potential customer uncertainty, your business should publicly display reviews and testimonials to assist in improving the value perception of your business.

Frameworks and Strategies

Michael Porter defines overall cost leadership as producing a same or better quality product for the consumer at a better value. The company that I work for offers marketing, branding, and media services to consumers. My role within the company is as the marketing manager. We consider our prices to be aligned based on industry standard prices. This doesn’t mean that we match prices, but that we choose competitive prices that can be affordable and beneficial to both our company and the potential customer. Considering the industry is somewhat polluted with low-cost and cheap alternatives, it is difficult to understand or explain to a consumer that we offer a better service than the competition. Because of this, we base our marketing on understanding the consumers’ needs and adapting and selling toward that point. For instance, a consumer who only seeks to keep cost down, will rarely select our company considering freelancers will always present a lower value. For consumers looking for high-quality results, we often focus our sales pitches on our strengths, which include presenting examples, providing references, and feeding the customer with knowledge. While our cost advantages will fit within the median of the industry norm, our quality is considered to be very competitive. By having better quality, business experience, and educating customers, we can sell our experience through strategic marketing plans. The difficulty of gaining the attention of the consumer is not whether or not we are competitive, but how well we know our customers. We’ve found in the past that trying to please everyone was a difficult task. Our prices would never be cheap enough, and our quality could often be too overwhelming. By focusing our attention on our key customer demographics, we were able to put together a competitive package, at an affordable price for our desired consumer. 

Porter explains that businesses can beat competition by offering products or services that are unique to the industry and competition. In trying to differentiate ourselves, in the past we have run into issues with consumers not fully understanding the change or differentiator. By offering unique products or services, we can gain new customers. Considering we are in a service oriented industry, we have to educate our customers on why we are making a change and how it affects them. In addition, considering our industry is one in which consumers will never fully understand in depth, creating a differentiator can be difficult for this reason. A setback of creating a differentiator is in dealing with companies that will eventually imitate our unique value if it is deemed successful and sought after by consumers. The more services we add on, the more our customers will become skeptical in the sense that we may be nickel-and-diming them for things that they believe they don’t really need to achieve success. To resolve this, we can take precautions and carefully educate our clients on what it is that we offer and the importance of the additional service(s). In addition, we have to explain the positive and negatives of implementing the service into their monthly budget. We have not found difficulty in creating a differentiator, but we have had trouble figuring out how to explain the differentiator to the consumer and why they need something that they may not understand, the competitor doesn’t offer, and will likely cost more money. However, we can improve this confusion by explaining to the consumer that being different is better.

Porter states that business focus is based on not trying to satisfy all customer demographics by offering too many products or services. Instead, businesses should focus on limiting their products or services and marketing them to a niche customer base. There are many options to focus within my company. We could focus on a particular service such as design, marketing, or media management. However, we have done this is the past and we have instead transformed our marketing firm into a full and complete branding firm. The reason behind this is because consumers who come to us with a simple business plan will likely need help in executing the plan entirely and not just a portion. For instance, if a customer came for a web design, but wanted marketing service also, we would be limiting our services and possibly pushing our clients to competing firms that do offer full services. We have discovered that consumers do not like dealing with multiple people or companies in order to complete one task. By offering them everything they need and managing what they can’t, we build strong and lasting relationships with our customers. Nonetheless, we do focus  on making sure that each customer is equally fulfilled with their service. For instance, all of our web designs use content management systems and our online marketing techniques use focused strategies such as Google, and Yahoo rank, as well as Facebook and Twitter. We are focused in our knowledge and understand the importance of marketing and creating success for all customers on the most targeted social networks, search engines, and by using industry standard methods to achieve our results.

Overall, Porter makes good points that businesses should implement better quality at competitive prices, present unique services, and focus on niche products and services to market toward a desired consumer. Within my company, while we have implemented a few of these strategies, we still have plenty to learn in this ever-changing industry and until we are the leading branding firm that we desire to be, there will always be room for improvement. 

Developing your personal brand

Your brand matters most

Your brand is often your business’s most valuable asset. A strong brand can generate loyal customers and positive sales. It is the responsibility of the marketer to create a brand that customers view as positive and valuable. For the brand to be valuable to the customers, it needs to simplify the decision-making process and reduce the risk for the customers. Positive branding can influence customer behavior. Having a strong brand will result in better earnings and profit performance, which will generate greater shareholder value for your business.

A personal brand is a presentation of your unique skills, knowledge, experience, and expertise that help make you memorable. These unique assets influence employers to hire and professionals to want to work with you. For you to expand your social brand and generate brand awareness, you can start by creating or cleaning up your social media pages. On social media pages, you should not post anything that you don’t want employers or customers to see. This includes both text and images. In addition to social media pages, you should create digital portfolios and personal websites. The benefits of these are that customers can easily find websites, and it allows you to present yourself in favorable conditions.

CMS Benefits

Having fresh content is mandatory if your intent is to drive traffic to your site to gain new and repeat customers. With a CMS, you can keep your website updated with the latest news, articles, products, and services. A CMS provides you with full control to manage the content on your website.

Updating. A CMS allows your website to have new content added on a regular basis and be easily upgraded with the latest technology as it becomes available. Additionally, a CMS gives you full control so that you can easily add new updates and blogs to your website without having to call a programmer to do it for you.

With a CMS, you can easily implement, update, and manage:

  • Article publishing
  • Website forums
  • Photo galleries
  • Surveys and polls
  • Interactive event calendars
  • Complex data entry forms

Management. Through the use of a CRM, website content can be managed through a simple user interface that allows for quick task completion. The administration area of a CRM is often easy to use and can involve multiple access levels for various employees and management control.

Corporate Governance

A stakeholder is a group or individual that assist with structuring a business, and can influence the decision making process. Stakeholders often focus on multiple levels of a business depending on their position within the firm and their knowledge of the business and market. Shareholders have a general goal of maximizing business profits and their wealth, and can also influence the decision making process.
In the U.S., organizations primarily focus on generating profit for the shareholders. Within other countries such as the continental Europeans and Asian systems, shareholders tend to focus more on the interest of those within the corporation. Examples of stakeholders can include employees, customers, and suppliers. Shareholders can also be stakeholders, which means they can be directly affected by the organizations performance. Shareholder value has often been considered a way to measure corporate value. 
Shareholders can stimulate growth through offering rewards to managers, CEOs, and other senior executives. Shareholders also have the influence to elect board members with similar interest to represent their goals and help generate wealth. Business managers have a responsibility to keep shareholders happy. However, managers should first seek to satisfy the needs of the business. To effectively grow share prices, managers must exceed expectation or develop a new value proposition for the organization. As with most all businesses, the core offering will inevitably slow in generating growth. To maximize value, the organization should expand its development with new opportunities.
Wealth can be maximized by making strategic decisions and acquisitions that can maximize long-term earnings. While stakeholders view the organization as primarily serving the parties involved, shareholders value an organizations success based on societal wealth including share prices, dividends, and economic profits. Neither focusing all resources on profits or organization members is ideal and have their risks. At some point, both must matter in order to produce organizational value.
Finding a financial investor is paramount. However, it is not worth the money to have an investor that is not dedicated to the organizational goals or ethical in doing business and achieving success. Unfortunately, ethical problems stem from a lack of ethical standards and education. Additionally, moral reasoning is developed throughout adulthood and that leaders are often unethical because business graduate education fails to teach the subject. Nonetheless, as a business leader and decision-maker, it is my responsibility to have standards and remain committed to my personal ethics no matter who or how much money is involved.
Being able to satisfy and relay the company’s initiative to each group will generate and maintain a positive relationship. The objective in building the relationship is to find a common ground where both stakeholders and shareholders can agree. To find a common ground, it may be necessary to go beyond project task to find returns on investments for each party involved. Furthermore, by satisfying both stakeholders and shareholders, it builds trust between investors and decision-makers.  If the needs of the stakeholders are not addresses, company performance and shareholder returns could be adversely affected. Having trust creates cooperation and advantages for everyone involved.  By building trust and going beyond the needs of stakeholders and shareholders, firms can generate a commitment and organization bond. 

Gaining Attention

Cost leadership is a term used to describe a strategic concept that entails creating a competitive advantage in a business/sales market by producing a quality product or service at a better value compared to the competition. Although cost is in the name, value is the major factor in cost leadership. The quality of your product or service may influence your overall value and increase or lower the cost at which you sell your products or services. You don’t always have to sell at the lowest price or match prices, but you should offer competitive prices and value that is beneficial to both the business and the targeted consumer. Most industries are polluted with low-cost and cheap alternatives, so it may be difficult for customers to understand why you don’t lower your price. Your marketing materials and your staff will need to get across to your customers that you offer a better service than your competition. For example, relay to customers that your product is backed by services that add value to the product such as expert advice and dedicated personnel, bundling capabilities, frequent-buyer rewards programs, and education. Base your marketing on understanding the customer’s needs, and adapt and sell toward that point. For instance, a customer who wants to keep costs down is unlikely to select an expensive company to purchase from. For customers seeking quality results, you should focus your sales pitch on your strengths by providing examples, references, and knowledge.

Some methods for influencing customers to purchase include:

  • Persuade buyers they will achieve worthwhile results.
  • Minimize the perceptionof risk by demonstrating experience, building trust, and inspiring confidence.
  • Connect with customers by listening to, and addressing, their needs and desires from your business.

The difficulty of gaining the attention of customers is not whether you are competitive, but how well you know your customers. Trying to please everyone is a difficult task. Your prices will never be cheap enough, and your quality will never satisfy all customers. By focusing your attention on your key customer demographics, you can put together a competitive package at an affordable price for your desired customer group.

Focus Groups

Qualitative research focuses on analyzing the in-depth details of why customers behave the way in which they do. It searches for the barriers in place that may affect a customer’s reasoning. For instance, a new company may want to know about their product in terms of how it feels, smells, and tastes. Using a qualitative approach would assist in finding the appropriate marketing or product solution. A qualitative research setting would be used to collect user information and explore the reasoning for their perspectives. In addition to those responses, details could be collected to determine how they arrived at their conclusions. Those details could include motives, emotions, and mental triggers. A focus group setting would be perfect for conducting qualitative research considering that focus groups allow for in-depth interviews with customers that can be used to gain valuable product insight.

Focus groups can provide your business with resources to seek legitimate feedback, conduct beta testing, and evaluate customers’ perceptions through real-time reviews. Focus groups are ideal for acquiring data for measuring status and trends while also providing your business the opportunity to decide the cost of products and services based on the opinion of topographically diverse participants. The core segment of focus groups are the connections among the participants. In particular, the interaction with participants could help gather less accessible data, which would not generally come to surface using traditional data collection methods. Focus groups are also more reliable than data mining on social media because of careful validation processes that consider time, commitment, and credibility of the results produced by study participants.

The drawbacks of using focus groups are that using the method would not help you observe participants in a natural setting, which often affect the results. However, in an attempt to analyze the reliability of focus groups, researchers concluded that the group setting was as reliable as other methods of interviews, and the credibility relied on the mentalities and demographics of participants. Considering focus groups take place within a group setting, participants could affect the decisions of other individuals. Therefore, using a structured process is critical to the success of focus groups.


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