The Bitsing Company – Dublin is hosting our first FREE Bitsing Session with the founder of the Bitsing Methodology, Frans de Groot.
Places are limited!
To reserve your place, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Bitsing Company – Dublin is hosting our first FREE Bitsing Session with the founder of the Bitsing Methodology, Frans de Groot.
Places are limited!
To reserve your place, email email@example.com.
Spaces (Regus) Australia presents:
BITSING GOES DOWN UNDER!
Sydney – 9 March 2018 (Last seats available)
#1 Best-selling author, Frans de Groot, and founder of the Bitsing Methodology visits Australia and gives two of his acclaimed inspirational lectures about the world’s first business management model that guarantees success – The Bitsing Method, for FREE!
For everyone who wants to learn about the proven ‘Seven Laws of Guaranteed Growth’. Experience how the biggest multinationals and thousands of entrepreneurs around the world reached their goals seamlessly and even grew by amazing percentages of over 300 Percent!
This event has passed, stay tuned for the next session!
FRANS DE GROOT is A #1 best-selling author and the pioneer of Bitsing, a business goal-achievement method that achieves breath-taking results. More than twenty years of scientific and practical research preceded his discovery of the method. Frans lectures on Bitsing in the European Master’s program, at several universities and at various tertiary colleges. With his business, The Bitsing Company, Frans helps thousands of people and organizations to simply and efficiently achieve their goals, every day.
I write many blogs. I do this, on the one hand, to share the benefits of my Bitsing method and on the other hand to inspire people who are on the way to achieving their goals. The blogs are widely read. And one of them drew an unusual response: “Bitsing remains impressive in its simplicity and accuracy”.
It came from Sven Kramer, Senior Strategy, Planning & Performance Management Lead at one of the world’s biggest companies, Shell.
The positions Sven has occupied during his long career at Shell could fill their own chapter in this book. Rarely have I seen such an impressive career. So I am not surprised that Sven is responsible, at general management level, for ‘global business performance management in support of capital investment decisions worth billions’.
And I expect this makes him a source of inspiration when it comes to the business of making difficult decisions.
So I am pleased and surprised when the subject of this impressive resume responds to my request for an interview with an immediate ‘yes’. More so when he continues, “I have great confidence in your method. In fact, a smart colleague recently applied the theory to show that a large-scale, international initiative was not all that profitable”. I was, of course, flattered – and keen to know more.
Join me, as I learn a few things from a conversation with Sven Kramer.
We’re in the room in which Sven once attended one of my Bitsing Master Classes. “I still remember attending that inspirational master class here”, said Sven. “Your method has had some great successes. You will continue to grow, of course, if you just continue to apply your own model”, he smiles.
Sven has been inspired by Bitsing, in a number of ways. But what has intrigued him most is the method’s ability to detect answers to complex problems using fact-based models. “It’s this factual aspect that I find so special. It’s what occupies Shell each day; making things … factual. We don’t just take action. Everything is tested, made fact-based, as it were. Because what we are doing represents investments of billions.”
“In my role as international Strategic Advisor”, says Sven, “I received a question requiring the full attention of my colleagues and myself – as unprecedentedly large investments are involved, with equally large risks if it all goes wrong. The question concerned a new energy source – one that is hidden deep in the earth. (I’ll just use the general term ‘new energy source’ here, to avoid a long technical explanation.)”
“This new energy source had seen a lot of growth in some parts of the world, and the question was where else we could grow this new energy source? So they engaged my department to find out.”
“At the outset you think of the big financial potential; the resource is everywhere. But this quickly narrows to: ‘But where, precisely?’ So yes, we search, worldwide, at the locations where we think we’ll find it. And we went for it. We invested. We searched. But it gradually became apparent that it wasn’t going all that well. A kind of awareness dawned: We think we’ll find it somewhere … but how factually correct is that thought, in itself?
“Then you arrived, with the Master class on your Bitsing method. Your approach to making choices, in the form of the pencil philosophy, was particularly relevant to this problem, and we applied the model to our situation with the new energy source.”
“The issue is that we work in many different countries, all over the world. And the size of the investments involved and, indeed, of the world as exploration area, are a cause of concern. The investing starts with the first geological analysis, which of course costs money. Then there are the next steps, each of which cost even more money. I’ll keep it simple for the reader, but think of drilling a well, or a number of them; the amount of money you invest without knowing what it’s going to yield, grows with each step. And if there are, ultimately, cautious, positive signals, you’re not there yet. You must then build a whole lot of facilities and pipelines, and invest an even larger amount.
In short, all the stages you pass through and all the investments must at least be repaid. However, you don’t know in advance whether those cost will be recovered.”
Sven remains quiet for a moment. “Do you know that only a minority of the pilot projects are ultimately successful? Yet the investments in the majority of the unsuccessful attempts, or where we should have stopped projects earlier, must also be recovered?
This corresponds to those experienced in product innovation in general. Only about one innovation in ten is successful – and that one success must cover the investment in the other nine innovation attempts.
“That means”, continues Sven, “That this, single, successful project, that will undergo full development, must pay for all the projects, worldwide, that are not successful. And that is a lot of expense.
If you do the sums you quickly conclude that you need to raise your strike rate. Partly on the basis of your pencils model and the philosophy behind it.
We started costing out all aspects of the new energy source; using numbers which, as your model says, must be based on hard financial facts. This showed that our focus model actually wasn’t so great,” said Sven, his tone reflecting the negative impact of this discovery.
“The focus on this new energy source was out of proportion – far too big in relation to its expected turnover, to its capacity to produce a positive yield. That yield appeared more marginal than what we can make on traditional oil and gas – in other words from our ‘sharp pencils’, to use your terminology”, said Sven.
“So the new energy source was a ‘blunt pencil’, but one that got an amount of attention comparable to that given to our sharpest pencils, namely oil and gas. And we had to use its much smaller margin to cover a very large investment, with a much lower chance of success.
So, yes, as often happens with the Bitsing model, we had to conclude that our initial approach didn’t look too good from a commercial point of view. The degree of focus, of course, had to change.
So we did that.
We first looked at making a more intensive version equivalent to your model; at how we could refine the model and adapt it to our complex processes. By applying a more factual focus, based on financial facts, we aimed to increase the success rate of our selections.
We started identifying criteria, which raise the chance of financial success. We called them the Big Rules. If a project didn’t sufficiently match the criteria, we immediately stopped it. We stopped earlier than before, in this way keeping the costs as low as possible.
We applied this. And it then appeared that the new energy source had more chance of succeeding if you prospect in areas in which you already produce, areas that represent sharp pencils – where we have a firm handle on the models.
In contrast, if you explore in a totally new area, you have to set up everything without knowing whether the project is going to be profitable. To keep within the pencil metaphor, you have to sharpen that pencil from the start, but without knowing if you’ll ever manage to get a sharp point on it.
The selected areas, on the other hand, the pencil is already sharp [there is no perfection in underground oil & gas]. And so, working together, we arrived at the Big Rules: What do we have to take into account to increase our chances of success? In so doing, we had actually created a predictive model for future projects, with all the positive implications of such a tool, such as significant savings in terms of efficiency and an increase in effectiveness and success rate”, says Sven.
He follows this fascinating account with how they are now applying the approach in practice.
“We are therefore making increasingly critical evaluations of whether a project matches the Big Rules. If the answer is ‘yes’, we have a big chance of continuing the process. If not, then we must be disciplined enough to stop applying it, before it goes wrong.
I do operate at mega high level. One shows a number of slides and makes a proposal and then the people in the country take that and get to work. And once I see that happening I step out of it. But in the case of the strategy for the new energy source I hung around, because I found what happened there very special”, says Sven.
“It’s so great when you see a result. They were using the sharpened approach, which was something in itself, and there was a positive result for our business, for our employees and for the surrounding area.
What I could recommend to everyone is focus on your current source of business. Look at the facts: Do not just go out and start the adventure anywhere and then go for it, full on. Things could go very wrong. The chance of things going wrong is much larger if you’re in areas that are new to you, than in those where you already know all the ins and outs.
The risk of something going wrong in unfamiliar territory is many, many times bigger – and that is the risk we have now reduced, with this new approach.”
“You’ve been with Shell for a long time?” I ask.
“Yes”, says Sven – in the manner of one contemplating this for the first time. “In fact, for my whole working life. The funny thing is that when I had interviews at Shell there were people who’d worked for the company for ten, twelve, fifteen years – and I was amazed that they could have been with the same company for so long. I didn’t understand it. Now I can identify with them completely – the international opportunities, job rotation, leadership development and travel are all things I’ve now also experienced and, indeed, have enjoyed very much. So I would now give the same answers if young people asked me why I’ve worked for this company for so long. I have had many different jobs. I have worked in different countries. I work for one of the largest and oldest companies in the world. In fact a company like this is a world in itself. It has everything. Yes, it has everything and, as a result, evolves and continues to re-invent itself as time passes. Which fascinates me no end.
Somewhere in our company smart men and women are busy right now, just like you, discovering their own Bitsing method and, in the process, applying it. Using it to develop smart things and trigger better and different ways of doing things. They also help drive the entire company, by continuously improving themselves. It’s what we at Shell do, we’re always improving ourselves.
These people are spread throughout Shell, they are to be found in every department and country. And that is very inspiring.”
“Looking at the Bitsing method as a strategist, at Shell, I think it has wide applications”, says Sven. “I was also recently thinking about its application in searching for a job or career, and in the achievement of many other kinds of goals. This methodology automatically makes you think about the choices you are offered. You ask, ‘Does this job offer fit the overall picture?’ Instead of just taking any job. The whole career process could be approached more thoroughly and systematically. I haven’t developed this any further yet. But there, too, lie many opportunities. There are so many applications. I think it’s a great opportunity to investigate all these other applications and apply them.”
Nothing would please me more than to tackle these tasks, together with Sven. Instead, I ask my last question: “You responded to my blog with, ‘Bitsing remains impressive in its simplicity and accuracy’. It’s great to hear this from someone who works for a company the size of Shell, in a complex area, and who has so much influence in the world.”
Sven: “What we’re after isn’t something that’s available off the shelf. Gigantic sums of money are involved and a lot of uncertainty. And one has a lot of responsibility then, to the world. Because no one knows exactly what is under the ground. There are huge uncertainties, with many different aspects, in which a lot of money is involved. And a lot of responsibility – for instance to your employees and to the environment, to take just two aspects.
I would like to pass on the following advice: Keep making forecasts – and use that information to populate a financial model and a planning model.
Try to keep this as fact-based as possible. For us at Shell, this is not an easy process. We don’t know what is under the ground, or in a reservoir. And, to re-visit my example of the new energy source: whereas we originally invested in areas just because we thought we could be successful there (with investments that quickly rise to tens of billions), our forecasts are now significantly more fact-based, also using a Bitsing-like method.
So what I am basically saying is, don’t just start up a project. At least make sure that you estimate the risks you’re going to take, based on the facts to hand and taking all possible risk factors into account.”
BITSING: The world’s first management model that guarantees success
By Frans de Groot
Businesses are on the lookout for the one methodology that singlehandedly helps to achieve their goals, and definitively addresses issues such as ‘what needs to be done’ and ‘which activities to avoid’.
With BITSING, a scientifically proven methodology, one is able to predict results by using facts in order to be 100% certain of achieving goals. This book enables factual insight into (positive) financial returns, in advance of executing strategies accordingly. BITSING can be applied by the biggest multinational to the smallest startup.
As a result of working closely with several universities, the methodology is scientifically validated, in addition to its proven performance within numerous organizations and businesses. Shell International, Hewlett Packard EMEA, and Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen are amongst those that have benefited from this method, by using it to meet targets time and time again. Some have experienced exponential growth and reached the magic 300% level. This book provides valuable insights for CEOs, as well as financial, commercial, and marketing directors/ managers, business owners, startups, and students.
Frans de Groot is the founder of the revolutionary BITSING Methodology. Frans spent 20 years developing this method.
160 pages | 19 x 24 cm | paperback wit flaps | ISBN 978 90 6369 413 5 | € 29.90
Pub date: September 2016
As I enter Selecta’s offices the first thing that greets me is the authentic and delicious aroma of fresh coffee. Selecta is the leading vending and coffee services company in Europe. The market leader (with a turnover of more than 740 million euros) employs 4,300 motivated people, who provide
6 million customers in 18 countries with self-selected coffee, soda, snacks and candy on a daily basis, from 140,000 workplace and public sales points. The company was founded in 1957 in Switzerland, where its head office is located.
I’m visiting commercial director Kristien Jansen. Before starting the interview I help myself to a delicious cup of coffee, sit down and enjoy what Kristien has to say how about setting goals, the creation of a positive brand experience, cooperation with top brands like Starbucks and the achievement of success. (Kristien was elected Commercial Director of the Year!)
“Participating in such an election is great fun. But winning the award is obviously a nice boost. At the same time the next day is just business as usual, with or without this prestigious award”. That’s Kristien all over, sensible and down to earth. “You don’t want to get carried away by these things”, she says. “Two other women also made it to the final round. That was very unusual, because it is such a male preserve.
So if three women make it to the podium it’s great. They weren’t there because they were women. They were there as a result of their performance and, of course,
to win the prize. The fact that I won it does not, of course, diminish their individual achievements.”
Nevertheless, the jury thought you had earned the award. Would you like to share what you did with our readers?
“To achieve your ambitions, it is necessary that you have a clear goal. For me that goal is always linked to turnover growth. Because: no profit without turnover. That’s what appealed to me so much about the Bitsing method – that you use turnover as your goal and focus all the resources
of the organisation in the achievement of that turnover goal. Financial resources are, of course, necessary for growth. When I joined Selecta we had little financial resources to invest. If that’s a fact, you’ll just have to deal creatively with that situation – which is what I did. It appears that I had quite a few opportunities that I could deploy to achieve growth.
My ambition is to be number one in terms of the coffee experience. I put this question to my colleagues when I first came to work here and I got many different answers.
So, we first asked ourselves on how we want our customers to experience us. And ultimately, Frans, you used your Bitsing method to help us find our Golden Egg, which defined our point of difference. Or, to use Bitsing terminology, made us uncopyable. The outcome was so simple, but so true. It was something that had always lain hidden in our organisation, but which we had never raised.”
That was your independence wasn’t it? Being independent is what makes Selecta uncopyable?
Kristine answers, “Yes! Selecta has three USPs. The first is that we are European market leader. This means that we have an organisation with room for innovation; one in which we are supported by plenty of expertise and a wealth of best practices. This enables us to behave and operate like a market leader, even in countries in which we are not. Our second USP is that we offer the best service. This is widely acknowledged and is supported by the fact that Starbucks chose us, as it’s exclusive partner. And if Starbucks selects you…well, everyone knows how proud Starbucks is of their brand and that they wouldn’t share it with just anyone. Which is where our third USP becomes relevant – the Golden Egg. We can always offer the solutions that fit our clients, because we are independent, not tied to a particular brand of coffee, nor coffee machine. Bitsing helped us enormously in identifying our Golden Egg and also in identifying other USPs. The score map analysis showed us where we really differentiate ourselves from competition”.
So how did you use that; what did you
do with it?
Kristien: “We expressed our independence in the theme of unlimited enjoyment. With Selecta, enjoyment is unlimited – and we used this uncopyable theme to communicate with our environment.
With our employees, our clients, our prospects and with other stakeholders. The Golden Egg supports the sales department in so far as it enables it to easily express what differentiates us. Look, what I believe is that when you’re selling something, which really contributes to the achievement of your client’s goals, you will make the difference. Our clients are all unique. They all have different objectives. So for us the task is very much focused on how we can ensure that each solution fits the client’s needs.
Does your independence enable you to de- liver that? Does it make you indeed uncopyable in relation to other market players?
Kristien: “Yes! That’s the important thing - the Golden Egg. That’s what Bitsing has made clear to us. Another important thing: it made us think about our resources and the selection of media in the marketing, sales and after sales process.
It starts with the B. This is where we commence our carefully structured approach to our prospects. Our target group is facility managers. You have to stand out in order to gain awareness in this target group. We achieved this by sending them cookie tins bearing our name. We developed this campaign two years ago and are still using it.”
At the time you did a test on a very small number of recipients.
Only when this proved successful did you approach the entire market.
Kristien: “That’s right. We dispatch cookie tins every month, pro rata to the number of ‘I’s we require and the number of visits (‘T’s) we need in the relevant period. This makes it much easier for the marketing and sales departments to follow up with the next step and we get a significant improvement in conversion from
B to I and I to T.”
So how did you do the I and the T?
“Well, the cookie tin arrives empty. But when you open it you confront the first step towards the I: a flyer in the tin refers you to a teaser website, where you can order your own cookies. You, the customer, deter- mine what happens, you make independent (our Golden Egg) decisions, you order your own cookies – and then we deliver. And so this is the first promotion towards the T. When we deliver the cookies you’ve ordered we make a follow-up appointment, for the real, hard T meeting. We use a tailor-made, risk-free non-commercial traffic offer for this. When we did the test it was an offer of sharing research information of an independent (coffee) survey amongst thousand employees.
Our current, risk-free offer depends on the topic, on what is happening at that time. So, at one time it could be ‘the Coffee survey’, at another ‘fair trade’, or ‘sustainability’. It’s always a general subject, but one that always relates to the experience of coffee and our independency. Now, for instance, we’re sending cookie tins to a selection of the businesses that rank in ‘Great place to work’.
The interesting thing is that we thought this up ourselves. External agencies are often used for that, but we didn’t have the budget.
We were facing a growth challenge but we also had to make profit. So, we had to be creative with the resources that we had. In this situation you have to consider your options carefully. You can only spend the money once, so the question is, what do you invest it in?”
So you put a whole lot of e ort into getting this right, but what did it ultimately deliver? Did it have effect and if so what?
“We had experienced a three-year decline, but after one year of Bitsing we had broken this trend and accomplished turnover growth. My team did this by no longer investing in blunt pencils: markets, target groups, products and initiatives. Instead we used the available time in a productive way, as prescribed by the pencils analysis. In addition, we compared our marketing, sales and after sales activities with the Bitser steps, to check that each target group on a particular step was getting the attention it deserved. This provided a clear overview of the roles of our marketing and sales departments, as well as account management. While previously marketing had expected sales to do everything and, of course, vice versa. We got a lot of help in making the right choices by checking, a few times a year, where we are investing our time and available budget – using the pencils analysis and the BITSER steps.”
So what role will Bitsing play in your future?
Kristien is firm. “We will keep using it. It’s automatic now – part of our daily processes. It defines what we have to do. For instance if our European market leader position means we have to innovate, if we have to try out something new, we no longer blindly commit people and use budgets already allocated
for other purposes. We don’t touch them. We examine step by step whether the innovation will develop into something worthwhile, whether it has the potential to become a sharp pencil. We also do things like entering partnerships in order to limit risks and maintain the correct degree of focus. When you are forced to not just throw money at an opportunity you become far more creative in your approach.”
And then you received the commercial director of the year award.
Kristien continues, her tone modest, “Yes, I am proud that we turned the trend around in the two and a half years that I’ve been here. My motto is ‘dream it, believe it, achieve it’. Which is also about our dream – to be the number one coffee experience. You have to make your dream concrete. Each department has given its own interpretation to our dream. Keeping our core values and Golden Egg in mind.
Toys XL interview: “retail magic – with Bitsing!”
Eddy Assies is the General Manager of Toys XL. Assies moved into the ‘real’ toy business in 2012, working for Toys XL. We asked Eddy a few questions about his experience, as general manager of the business, with the application of Bitsing, and what the business consequences were for Toys XL.
Question: You’ve now been implementing a Bitsing master plan for a few months. What are the differences between this and your previous approach?
Eddy: ”Bitsing introduces structure, efficiency and direction. Thanks to the Bitsing plan, we know what we have to do. All our choices are now governed by the Bitsing pencils strategy. The pencil strategy ensures that you always make the right choices for your organisation.”
Question: What else has the Bitsing pencils strategy done for Toys XL?
Eddy: ”Lego was identified as one of the Bitsing ‘focus products’ at Toys XL. In other words Lego played a dominant role in our turnover. According to Bitsing thinking, the product should therefore receive a corresponding degree of attention. The reaction at Toys XL was therefore to establish a 100% Lego store. We also laid out all of our stores according to the proportionate turnovers indicated by the Bitsing methodology. We no longer apply the traditional retail formulae which prescribe that your ‘money maker’ product should be placed in the back of the shop, in order to lure the customer to walk through the entire shop. Bitsing prescribes that you must use the actual ranking of product turnover. If Lego dominates, then that must be the first product you see when you enter the store. Playmobil is the second most important brand at Toys XL, so after being impacted by the Lego sensation the customer must enter the world of Playmobil, followed by the other products, pro rata to their turnover ranking.”
Question: What else appealed to you about the Bitsing approach?
Eddy: ”The idea of the ‘risk-free offer’. Bitsing told us that if you want to attract store visits you should make a risk-free and, in particular, a non-commercial offer. The offer should be free of any threshold to acceptance and attractive enough to motivate people to visit one of our stores. This requires more than a simple discount. Bitsing calls this a risk-free offer.
“So we claimed the ”wish list” during the St Nicholas (a Dutch tradition, early in December) and Christmas periods. Children could fill in their wish lists for presents and throw them into a wishing well, which we constructed especially for this purpose. These cardboard wishing well displays were supplied to every store so that children could throw their wish lists into them. These wishing wells were then placed just inside the store entrances and a winner was then drawn from these entries. The winners won every product on their wish list.
“Children brought their wish lists to the stores in the company of one of their parents, which then increased our store traffic enormously. The wishes could, of course, also be delivered digitally, which also ensured more online traffic to our web shop.”
Question: Were there other surprises that emerged from Bitsing and were applied by Toys XL?
Eddy: “Yes, certainly. We always thought that mothers and grandparents spent the money in our shops. This was an assumption. The Bitsing analysis shows that it was actually fathers. And that was in fact so. The father pays for the products at the checkout and the mother and children influence the father and stimulate the purchase. As a result, we started to focus more on fathers in our communication.”
Question: Which Bitsing element, applied by Toys XL, turned out to be the most significant and was responsible for the most change? Eddy: “Bitsing provides an analysis which reveals exactly what makes your organisation uncopyable. It’s not a strengths and weaknesses analysis, such as we are familiar with, but a tool that ensures that Toys XL will be unbeatable in the marketplace. In Bitsing language, ‘unbeatable’ means that Toys XL’s messages to the market are unique – it’s communication which our can never equal or imitate. It’s quite an experience to implement this. After all, if you say or do something in the market which others can copy, that doesn’t make you any more attractive than them – but according to Bitsing we had something really unusual. So what was it that made us uncopyable? The Bitsing analysis revealed that we were a “Dutch child with American parents”. We are, after all, derived from Toys ‘R’ Us, the world’s biggest toy store, which originated in America. And the largest Toys ‘R’ Us store in the world is situated – where else- on Times Square in New York. While our competition in the Netherlands is Intertoys and Bart Smit – and they come from Volendam, a small fishing village! The difference is obvious.
“Bitsing revealed our uncopyable factor and this what Toys XL have applied. We do business, for instance, with a mixture of the traditional Dutch emphasis on common sense and business sense, combined with thinking big and being service orientated in a typically American way. Which is why we chose for a marketing communication approach that uses typically American traditions, such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On these days American shoppers go completely crazy, because the shops are open for 24 hours and stacked with special offers.” Question: Do you have more success stories in which Bitsing methodology has played a role?
Eddy: “Yes. Something that I personally found interesting happened at the Meet and Greet at the Spiellmesse, the big toy fair in Nuremberg, in Germany. Lego was so impressed by our approach that they rewarded us with some special benefits. So Toys XL now receives its Lego shipments before all the other toy stores in the Netherlands. We won’t be surprised if we get Apple Store scenarios unfolding, with kids camping outside shops in sleeping bags in order to be the first to get the latest Lego Chima or Lego Ninjago items!
“As a result of this success story we are busy opening our second Lego store and, by the end of the year , we plan to have four Lego stores.”
Question: How would you describe what Bitsing has done for Toys XL, in one sentence?
Eddy: “retail magic !”
The Bitsing method consist of 20 proven strategies and tactics which have helped businesses of all sizes to achieve their financial and commercial objectives, even in times of recession! The rules have been proven to be successful across a wide range of industries, sectors and clients. Ranging from golabal multinationals to the single entrepreneur and even Governments.
Here are the proven Bitsing rules that must be followed to ensure success.
Applying the 20 rules means that your organisaion has been Bitsed which means it will reach its objectives with a guarantee. Althought the 20 Rules have an surpising positive effect on the total business, they have 7 major effects:
You will always set an objective that is crucial for the continuity of your business or organisation.
Achievement of your goals will be ensured.
The approach of you markets will be unbeatable and outclass competition.
You will get everything out of every person in every target group – in order to achieve maximum results.
You will only deploy effective activity programmes.
The results of your actions will be predicted before rolling them out.
Positive (financial) return is ensured.
The Key Housing Corporation: What do you mean, a ‘depressed’ housing market?
• Achieving impossible goals in an impossible market
• Laying the foundations for a competent internal organisation
Lidy van der Schaft – CEO
After a hard day’s work I was letting off steam in the local pub, on the harbour just outside my office. The place was unusually busy. Unknown to me, a prize was being presented – to someone who had come up with the most innovative idea for benefitting the neighbourhood. The prize was being presented by the director of housing at De Key Housing Corporation. I ended up talking to her and, as usual, business cards were exchanged. Her name was Lidy van der Schaft, an extremely pleasant and disarmingly open person. We met again, not long after that. This time to talk about the Bitsing method. She found it interesting. As a director of a housing corporation she was keen to find out more, particularly as Bitsing has the potential to sell houses. She then decided to apply the method to her business. The housing market was depressed and Bitsing seemed to be just the thing to inject some life into it. Her specific objective was unusually challenging: sell 240 houses in a seriously dormant market. A target twice as high as the number of house sales achieved by the corporation in the previous year. Doubling sales performance in a depressed market represented an extreme challenge. Although not an impossible one if the Bitsing method was applied. Bitsing was applied, with the following results: * The key Housing Corporation sold 126 houses in 2011. * In 2012, with the help of the Bitsing method, they sold 244 houses. * This is a 193.7% year-on-year increase in houses sold. What did De Key do, so differently, to so successfully defeat its competitors and the market conditions?
What De Key certainly did differently was that it did a lot – it did much more than other organisations’ rather cramped efforts to sell houses. Probably the most important thing that it did was not to focus purely on selling the product, houses, but also to profile itself as a brand. This combination of product (house) and brand (De Key) – laid an essential foundation, on which the sales success was then built. While other players in the market seemed to want to look as much like their competitors as possible – saying the same things and marketing themselves in the same way, De Key, driven by Bitsing methodology, communicated its uncopyability. De Key Housing Corporation is one of the oldest housing foundations in the Netherlands. In itself this is nothing spectacular- every organisation has a history, after all. Until one looks deeper into the historical information and discovers that De Key laid the foundations for people being able to have their ‘own’ home – albeit in the context of social housing. De Key was also able to uniquely communicate this primary need: ‘At home – in your own home!’
The housing corporation effectively communicated this uncopyable proposition to its target group, thus successfully completing the phase of creating preference for the brand, De Key. In addition to his typically Bitsing approach, Lidy adopted other aspects of the methodology. The corporation’s marketing communication allocated no more than 15% of its content to selling houses. This 15% sales focus was in sharp contrast to the usual approach in this market, in which communication is 100% devoted to selling the house. Other players in the market were characterised by the assumption that the house and its location were the determinants for sales success. For them, logic dictated that all attention was to be focused on the house and the sale thereof. This assumption has of course being proved to be extremely oversimplified – and wrong. The house and its location – the product – can only be partly instrumental in making a successful sale. Indeed, this factor amounts to just one of the six Bitsing steps. The market contains another five factors which determine whether someone will by a product (a house) or not. Namely: the other five steps of the Bitser ladder.
De Key was outstanding in its application of the other five steps and, yes, this resulted in their getting the most out of every individual in their target group.
The principle that six Bitser steps always have to be “climbed’ apply, of course, to every market and to every target group. If your organisation focuses purely on sales, then the achievement of sales and turnover success will be difficult. There are another five steps – and these also demand attention. This approach requires working on the basis of facts – and always keeping the relevant ones in sharp focus. An interview with Lidy van der Schaft (a retrospective on an initial Bitsing period) It is precisely one year later and I am again visiting De Key, in one of Amsterdam’s most beautiful locations. Standing in Lidy van der Schaft’s office I once again enjoy the classically Amsterdam view across the Amstel River.
My most pressing question receives an immediate answer.” Did you achieve the objective?” I ask.
“The objective was achieved”, answers Lidy. “At least 240 houses were sold.” I feel my eyebrows rising in astonishment. I know, of course, that the Bitsing method always guarantees the achievement of its goals, but I’m nevertheless surprised that this has again proved to be true – in the most difficult market imaginable. The prevailing opinion is that the housing market is depressed. However, once again, assumption seems to have been disproved by fact. And the plan had indeed predicted that this goal would be achieved. I had every reason to believe the outcome, but the news that this had once more been demonstrated in practice…resulted in a euphoric moment! ‘Wow!’, I said. “Again!” I questioned her further on how the Bitsing method had helped. “Well”, said Lidy,” It’s brought us more than we expected”. She described how Bitsing had provided a foundation, a basis for the organisation’s achievements. She added, and I quote her literally, ”Bitsing provided the basis for changing how we looked at things. It showed us that we must focus on facts and avoid assumptions. Bitsing provided handholds that enabled us to get a grip on the correct focus.” Such successes can never be completely attributed to the method, in every detail. There are always a host of other activities which contribute to the results. However, Bitsing did lay the foundation and a foundation can be built on. In this case, to sell nearly twice as many houses as in the previous year and, in so doing, to achieve an ambitious objective. Lidy agrees, ”The support of a solid foundation enables you to be more adventurous in looking for further opportunities. And we did discover them. For example, we developed an intense focus on existing tenant and student target markets. These were options that we otherwise would never have discovered.” De Key also experienced, ”That because Bitsing is based on facts, one is constrained to make the correct choices”. And as Lidy said, “This is why we were able to communicate with the correct target markets”, in effect those which would be responsible for generating the required turnover.
Answering my question as to whether Bitsing had further benefitted the organisation, Lidy came up with something very interesting indeed: “Unknown to ourselves, we lacked competency. Bitsing makes you aware that you’re doing things the wrong way. It made us aware that we lacked certain competencies, that we had been ‘unconscious of our incompetency’. It then provided the handholds for us to get to grips with correcting these shortcomings – we became conscious of competency. Then we came to the phase of rolling out the Bitsing programmes, thereby entering the next phase: that of unconsciously becoming even more competent, in yet more areas. The entire process made a big impact on us. In a period of one year the team at De Key became truly professional.” ”Bitsing enables you to discover your organisation’s talents. Again, this is due to the solid foundation provided by the Bitsing method”, said Lidy. ”Our organisation is large, diverse and consists of a number of islands, each with its own language. As a result of applying Bitsing across the entire organisation, we have all started speaking the same language. As a result, we work better together – and working together is, of course, always the best way of working. It’s another benefit of the Bitsing method.” I asked Lidy whether Bitsing had not only been appreciated by management, but also by the employees. Her answer was straightforward, ”You quickly learn to be selective about who you want in your team. The early adapters stand out and these are the people that you need first. All of our employees experienced the Bitsing method in a very positive way though. Why? Because it facilitates and supports them. It tells them how to do things, how to tackle issues… Bitsing gave them handholds. It means there’s always something to rely on, a system, and that’s very useful for everybody.” Lidy was also lyrical about the effects on their website – and other areas of the organisation. ”Our website was passive, static. As a result of applying this methodology it has been transformed into an active website, which is intensively used in the communication with our target groups. And because we now work so efficiently and have the correct focus, we are now also in a position to deploy this approach to other parts of the organisation, such as student housing and parking sales and rentals.” Lidy continued, ”It’s now a year later and we use Bitsing on a daily basis. It has introduced a structure. This means, for instance, that I now automatically receive the reports I need, every week. These reports provide the necessary facts on our sales and turnover. They put us in a position to react appropriately and to take advantage of any changing trends in the marketplace. And all this comes from Bitsing’s insistence on having the correct focus on the facts, as they stand today.”
Lidy concludes, ”And, of course, things like our ‘house-buying cafes’ and open house routes are also very popular, because we now know who to talk to…because we’ve identified our target group. All of this has grown from the foundation laid by Bitsing.” De Key is a perfect example of how an organisation should use the Bitsing method. My mission is to enable any organisation to apply Bitsing autonomously, following an initial, guided Bitsing period of about 12 months. This development is precisely what took place at De Key, which is why this case study is a source of particular pride!
What ROI really means
The term ROI is commonly taken to mean ‘return on investment’. ROI stands for what you get back from an investment.
But what is that exactly? What do you actually get back as return on your investment? According to this definition, it could be anything. The traditional business definition of ROI is much too broad, too superficial, has no deeper meaning.
This website has already made amply clear that the Bitsing method represents the new modern economic era. It’s an approach in which tools and terms are specifically defined – so there’s no room for the ‘free translation’ of meaning that ROI invites. Accordingly, in the world of Bitsing, the term and concept of ROI – return on investment – just don’t exist.
What if your ‘return’ is a financial loss and collapses your organisation? You can achieve a great ‘return’ on your investment with increased sales and new customers – but you can still go bankrupt because you paid too much for the return.
So from now on we’ll only talk about ROS. With the Bitsing method you can now look forward to having a Remainder On Spend – in which you end up with more money than you spent on achieving your objectives (a Remain). Traditional business thinking was happy with ‘return on investment’. In Bitsing we focus on the positive financial remain, delivered by the money you spent – the Remainder On Spend. This is what it’s all about. And, as you can see, rather not talk about ‘investment’ at all, but rather about ‘spending’. Investment implies that you never know what you will get in return. While with expenditure you know precisely.
Forget ROI, say hello to ROS: Remainder On Spend.