Category: Education

What has D&D taught us about sales?

What has D&D taught us about sales?

Now that you’re prepared to make your first impression, you have your plan and profile in place. It is time to think about how to match your big fish to the right salesperson. The process is all about matching the right salesperson’s personality/ style to the correct prospect.

Before we jump into this, make sure you go back and double-check your process because once we assign the salesperson, there is no turning back. The human factor and the benefits of each of your salespeople’s personalities will now come into play.

Ok, so now that you’re clear on making sure your process is ready, let’s talk about your salespeople.

You need to do this in two steps:

  1. Profile your salespeople’s personalities.
  2. Match the right salesperson to your target fish.

There are essentially three different selling personalities. Most salespeople are usually strong in two of the three arc types. It is crucial to think about your people and see which one each of them is.

The Sage 

This salesperson offers knowledge, experience, comfort, and trust. They can make a concerned customer feel at ease. It is their mission to educate the client to empower them to make the best decision. This salesperson tends to relay the logical information and speak to those benefits. 

To be successful, they need plenty of information, a demo of the product/service, references, and case studies, if possible. They tend to shy away from using emotional appeals and staying grounded in the client’s needs, not their future wants.

The Companion 

Much like it sounds, this is a salesperson that shines at building relationships. They can instantly relate to the prospective client and make them seem like old friends in no time. They work best with clients looking for friendship, information, and a similar peer group as the salesperson. This can include anything from age and culture to hobbies and nightlife. While sharing experiences can be beneficial to creating a new relationship, your salesperson must always keep it professional and dignified. 

This salesperson focuses on painting the picture of the ideal future state. They spend their time working towards the long-term sale and only get a few big wins. They excel at upsells and cross-sales because they are seen as the guy for their customers.

The companion can get in trouble because they tend not to have a large volume of clients. In addition, their sales process takes longer than the others, which can cause trouble for high transaction volume businesses. 

This personality type needs help pairing with the right client, schmoozing budget, and the correct information to meet the client’s needs. In addition, you should consider putting this person in a role working with the big clients that you need to maintain a relationship with.

The Brawler 

Obviously, this personality type is a little more aggressive than the others. They are all about business and the bottom line. While this may seem harsh to many people, there is a set of business people who want the same thing and respect someone who can get down to business and the benefits of a partnership. This salesperson will need to be trusted with a bit of authority as they will likely be closing deals on the spot. They’ll need plenty of resources and access to products and services. They are best placed in environments where they can work independently, exercise their authoritative discretion, and seal deals quickly. 

They are great in high-volume environments or with clients who want to make the now decisions. You tend to see them work best with your straightforward type A personalities.

Pick the right map

Any of these salespeople can all be successful when used in the correct environment. You can easily see how matching the right salesperson for the client can secure more big fish and for a more extended period of time. 

It is up to you as the business owner or sales manager to put your people in place to be most successful. It is also vital to create an environment for your sales team to work collaboratively vs. adversary. This way, you ensure that complimentary styles can share in the benefits. It is important to both have team and individual goals and bonuses.

If you need help figuring out how to capitalize on your sales team and land the big fish. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our coaches. We would love to offer our aid.

Where is your next big client? Picking a pond is important.

Where is your next big client? Picking a pond is important.

Let’s continue where we left off last week, where we talked about bringing the big-company mindset into your business and your team. Having a big fish mindset will help you overcome the mental obstacles that will keep you from being successful.

Now that you’ve learned how to overcome that, we’re going to identify who is our ideal big fish. It’s essential to know about the fish you are looking for before you put a plan together. We’re also going to take a moment to talk about the potential “red tape” you may encounter along the way.

It is important to know a few things about your fish. All people and companies have habits, and it essential to be able to identify them. For the sake of this article, we will talk about the most important habits for you to identify. These habits are their purchasing habits, procedures, and company culture.

Purchasing Habits 

  1. Fiscal Budgets:
    1. It’s essential you know the fish’s fiscal budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year. Knowing this information allows you to tailor your plan to approach them just at the right time.
  1. Current Fulfillment Partners
    1. Spend time identifying who they are buying from already. Your goal is to understand why them and not you.

Procedures

  1. Responsibilities:
    1. You need to know who has influence over purchasing, who does the actual buying, and who can kill a deal if they want.
  1. Purchasing structure
    1. Besides knowing who the decision-makers are, it is important to identify the company’s desired sales process. For instance, do they want an RFQ or RFP, an estimate, etc.?
  1. Get on Their List:
    1. You need to know how to get on their list of people to buy from. Your name needs to be on the list but at the top of it and in as many categories as possible for more interaction. Ask about a procurement program and what you need to do to go through the application process.

Company culture

  1. Lingo:
    1. You need to learn the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords, and even the nicknames they have for their employees.
  2. Values
    1. Take the time to identify the values at all levels of the company. Not just the ones on the website. Values are essential to understanding motivation is the path to problem-solving.

These three areas are just the starting point for identifying your “Big Fish.” I encourage you to spend additional time creating an Ideal Client Avatar.

Red Tap Warning

Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the “red tape.”

Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the emotions it stirs in all of us. “Red tape” is a necessary evil, but one you can use to learn from. There are two ways to learn from their system:

  1. Analyze their activity.
  2. Review their correspondence.

Being an outsider looking in can have its advantages too. If you hate dealing with the “red tape,” imagine how their employees feel dealing with it. If they need to crunch some numbers, offer to do it. If they need more info, make sure you are giving it to them in a user-friendly way.

Congrats on creating your Big Fish profile; you have taken the next step. As much as fishing is a solitary activity when it comes to business, it is important to get help. Engage your team, support network, mentors, and coaches in this process. As always, I am here to help. Don’t hesitate to ask a question.

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine.

About the Author

I am a business coach and consultant specializing in uncovering the root cause of a challenge and offering an unexpected solution. That solution typically results in a substantial increase in profits and the peace of mind to set you free from your business.

I ask powerful questions to clarify who you are and what you want. I am empathetic, although surgical in approach. I make my clients feel they are the only person I am working with. I have an uncanny way of drawing people out and getting to the heart of the matter.

I am a Pittsburgh native who aspires to free business from the rat race. If I am not working to improve the lives of my clients. Then you will most likely find me on the ice playing hockey, reading, or making plans for the future.

If I can ever be helpful to my readers, it would be my pleasure to connect and see where I can bring you value. I look forward to continuing to share more great lessons with my growing community.

One Fish two, Fish, I can’t stop thinking about the Big Fish.

One Fish two, Fish, I can’t stop thinking about the Big Fish.

Title picture

In the last post, we started our series on catching big clients, or “fish,” that will sustain your business over the long run. Today we’re going to take that a step further by talking about understanding and thinking like a big fish company and how that can help you plan your approach and find success.

Before you can start landing big clients, you have to make sure your entire team is on board with your approach and vision. There are six keys to finding big client success. They are:

Six Key’s: Big Fish Mindset

  1. First Impression: Never give them a reason to doubt your abilities. Plan your interaction and be prepared to listen, learn, and act to solve their problems. Make it about them and not you; be patient. 
  2. First Priority: Your fish must always feel like they are your priority. Return calls and emails promptly and find solutions to their problems or questions as quickly as possible. Over-communicate on the process; let them know your thinking of them.
  3. Flexible: You need to be flexible in your negotiations. If they need a particular service or for you to customize a product, say yes for the benefit of the long term. A little hassle now will be a big payoff later.
  4. Long-term: This goes along with the last one a bit. As you are approaching and negotiating with big fish, you need to think about the long-term benefits for your business. If you go for a one-time big score, you will lose their interest.
  5. Have Fun: Work should be fun, even when trying to land big clients. Going after the big fish should be the most fun. You are sharing your vision with new people and including them in your future success and likewise. People work better in a fun, happy environment. Your passion will also be contagious and pull the fish into your vision even more.
  6. Put them first: If you take just a little bit of time and offer your clients ways to save money or time by introducing them to potential business partners, this will show you are invested and interested in their business. Strive to find the balance between your business needs and your client’s needs.

Now that you understand the basis of the Big Fish Mindset. You might be asking, great, how do I develop a vision for my entire company? There several tactics to employ, but here are a few of my favorites. 

  • Engage your team in defining who is an ideal “Big Fish Nothing gets a team to share a vision like having them be a part of the process design.”

 

  • Write the vision and goals everywhere. Create signage that reinforced the company vision and goals. Everyone loves suitable bathroom reading materials. A fun poster in the stalls can go a long way. Plus, this is a great way to reinforce company values.

 

  • Training, Training, Training: Constitnantly reinforces the goals and objectives while teaching your staff the skills to achieve them. Get help and provide resources for your team to be successful. May I suggest starting with a lesson on the “Big Fish Mindset.”

 

  • Score Board: create a way to share the progress with your entire company. It is a great way to show each person’s contribution to the whole. Plus, it can be a great way to track and evaluate your process. 

 

  • Strategy eats tactics for breakfast, holds frequent meetings to make sure your strategy is working, and adjust the tactics to achieve your goals.

 

  • Create a communication policy, be very clear with your team about how quickly you expect your staff to get back to customers. In addition, create shared language and terms around communicating to clients and other team members. Defining these parameters will solve a lot of problems down the road. 

 

  • Reward in public, coach in private. As often as you can, praise your team. Find a reason to thank your team and appreciate their work. If they’re not performing, pull them aside and ask a straightforward question. What do you need to be more successful?

Including a big fish mindset in your overall company vision and experience will allow you to achieve more as a business owner and organization than you could ever imagine. It will enable you to start thinking long-term and give you the ability to invest in your people, process, and profits. Include the tactics in your strategy, and your company will begin landing big fish in no time.

If you need help creating the system, process, and developing the strategy big-company mindset, contact us today to work with one of our coaches or check out our resources and tools. 

The best time to start was yesterday, but today will do just fine. 

Let’s Go Fishing with Dynamite

Let’s Go Fishing with Dynamite

There are several factors to consider when prepping yourself and your company to approach the largest clients you’ll ever work with.

Today we’re going to start with a brief look at the three paths every business faces and show you which one is the path to success. Then we’ll talk about the mindset it takes to attract the big fish.

There are three major paths a business can take:

  • Path of least resistance
  • False Success
  • Catch the Big Fish

Path of least resistance

This is the path most business owners chose. They chose it because it allows them to do what they like to do and avoid the discomfort of the things they don’t want to do.

Business owners who chose this path ended up working themselves into the ground without much reward or success. This is what happens when you fool yourself into thinking you will find quick success. This path is filled with highly skilled people but who fail to embrace the other parts of running their business.

You may also find yourself following this path when you are afraid of change. If you find yourself avoiding discomfort and not getting anywhere, t is time to choose a new direction.

False Success

This describes a business that shoots to the top so fast you are overwhelmed and don’t have the right resources in place to adapt. This can also happen from being overwhelmed by small clients and not finding large clients, which will sustain your business after the small client sales slow.

The business in this category tends to lack the systems and processes required to sustain the energy level to operate. They tend to have high revenue and low profits. They feel great because they have a ton of activity, but the reality is they are living month to month.

Catch the Big Fish

This is the path that allows you to build at a steady pace that you can manage by not allowing your customers to outpace you. You can do this by putting these tips to work:

  1. Attract, keep and lock in big clients.
  2. Integrate “big business” culture into your company and employees.
  3. Acquire the expertise you need to grow.
  4. Have the courage to make changes as you grow.

Now we are going to transition a bit and talk about the “big fish” mindset. It may sound easy to find and catch that big fish, but if you are stuck in the small business mindset, you may find it harder than you think. 

Think of all the benefits of aiming at more prominent clients:

  • Inexpensive
  • Highly Profitable
  • Longevity
  • Security

To catch the big fish, you need to believe your company can make a difference with theirs. It’s easy to get into the thought that a large company doesn’t need anything from a small business like yours, but this is entirely wrong!

Once you look at how big companies operate, it’s essential to know which ones are the best fit for your company. So how do you know if a company is right for you?

Ask yourself, is this a company that has problems you can solve? Does it scare you to solve their problems? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then I hope you know what to do.

It is essential to note the big companies are relative to your industry and your business. If your current average client is $500 per month, then jumping $2500 per month would be a big fish. The goal with the big fish mindset is to get the best return on the time for money exchange. 

Now once you have determined your big fish, then it is time to create your dynamite strategy for getting them. Here are a few tips that people tend to forget to include in your plan.

  • Whom can I network with to get an introduction to a leader at the company?
  • How are you going to turn perceived weaknesses into strengths?

If you need help catching a big fish, get a free copy of my book, the 8 Steps that Change Your Business Forever, to l help you fine-tune your strategy to create instant results.

I interrupt our regularly scheduled blog for an important customer service announcement.

I interrupt our regularly scheduled blog for an important customer service announcement.

the image is call attention the fact that this not my typical blog but sharing a personal experience

In the last post, we talked about figuring out what your customers want out of a positive buying experience. Today I was going to talk about the concept of Deliver +1 and how this concept can take your customer service to the next level. Instead, I need to share a recent experience as an example of what not to do in your customer service system. 

Over three weeks ago, STX hockey ran a BOGO special. Anyone who knows me knows I love STX equipment. As you can imagine, I was excited. It was the chance for me to pick up their top-of-the-line sticks for $100 or less, which, if you are a hockey player, it’s a steal.

However, when my order arrived, it only had two of the four sticks I had ordered; the box was ripped open. I was shocked. I immediately went online to look up the customer service number. I called no answer; upon listening to the customer service message, it stated that they do not have customer service hours on the weekends and suggest sending an email. 

I left a voicemail and then followed up with an email to highlight my issues and my desire to speak with someone. I expected them to get back to me on Monday. 

Monday afternoon rolls around, and no replay. So I decided to call again, no answer. I leave another voicemail and email. Two days later, I called again. This time added how they could resolve the issue to my satisfaction. (see email below)

Apr 16, 2021, 13:54 EDT
Hello,

I am following up because I have now left three voice messages and have not heard anything from you. I was a major supporter of the STX, but I am now becoming extremely frustrated that you have been unable to get back to me about the issue with my stick order within a week.

I would like to either receive the other two sticks that I ordered with your BOGO deal or a refund for the product I didn't receive.

Please call me at (edited to remove personal information)

I waited another two days and no response. I left another voicemail and an email. At this point, I have created three support tickets and was starting to get frustrated. I am a massive fan of the brand and love their equipment, but the lack of support was ridiculous. 

Once again, the weekend  was approaching, so I knew I could not get a hold of anyone. So I decided to try the hail marry of getting shit done before I just cut my losses and move on, never to buy from them again.

I looked up the CEO, email, and phone number using a prospecting tool, shout out to Seamless AI. I sent a final email highlighting my displeasure and how I would like to see it resolved.

Apr 22, 2021, 9:34 EDT
Hello Kenneth,

I am reaching out as a concerned customer and business owner myself. I have been trying to reach someone at STX customer service for over two weeks. I have left 4 voice mails and sent 3 emails and have not heard back from them.

I had an issue with your recent BOGO sale, in which I only received two of the four sticks I should have received as much as I am pissed that I did not receive what I ordered. I am more concerned about my favorite hockey brand.

I have truly enjoyed using your products, but I am now considering switching because of the lack of customer care. It is ridiculous that not one person could reply to a voice mail or email in two weeks. I hope that you, as the owner, have taken the time to read this email and will hopefully respond to me.

My phone number is (edited to remove personal information)

My support ticket (26556)

Later that afternoon, I got my first response. Now it took me over two weeks of messaging and calling to get a response. You would think they would have taken the time to read my emails and listen to my voice mails, where I spell out my problem.

No, the first thing is two different customer support agents contacted me—each one asking for my order number, which I had shared with them twice in earlier emails.

After giving them the information, they credited my account and have sent me the two missing sticks, which seems like a desired result. I got everything I wanted and then some; however, they still made several significant mistakes. These were the ones that bothered me the most.

  1. Their customer service agents were called agents instead of having names, which made the limited interaction feel impersonal. To be honest, this was a characteristic of the entire experience.
  2. They were extraordinarily unorganized and failed to communicate how they resolved my problem. Suddenly, I got an email from my credit card company that I had received credit and a similar message from UPS that a package was on the way. 
  3. Lastly, no apology. I am glad they resolved the issue, but seriously they took no ownership and left the experience feeling cold. 

As you continue to read this series on customer service, I hope you take my experience to heart while developing your customer service systems. Next week I will introduce the concept of Delivery +1 and the 1% rule.

In the meantime, if you need help building a holistic customer experience that turns your clients into raving fans. Then don’t hesitate to contact me.

Customer Service Secrets

Customer Service Secrets

Attract client to post about customer service

Shhh... I Have a Secret

You can create a great customer service system for your business in 3 easy steps.

Customer service is a pretty hot topic and can make or break your business. Consumers have little patience for lousy customer service and quickly get tired of waiting in long lines, trying to get a live person on the line, going through an interrogation to return something, or trying to communicate through a language barrier. 

If you provide them with a simple, efficient, pleasant experience, they will revisit your business over and over. More importantly, your clients will tell everyone they know! 

There are three secrets to good customer service; the first one we’re going to conquer is knowing exactly what YOU want.

You are the captain of the ship and the visionary for your business’s future, so you need to have a clearly defined plan for your business, including customer service. There are three main goals you need to consider:

  • Understand Your Road Blocks
    • It needs to be easy for your customers to do business with you. You can do this with advertised discounts, kiosks, your website, and other technology-based programs to help them shop. No matter what medium you chose, make sure you understand all of the steps your asking your client to do. Then make sure you can make them as easy as possible.

 

  • Your Experience Needs to be Like Talking with Mom
    • Doing business with you needs to be a warm and pleasant experience. Your staff has to be knowledgeable, approachable, warm, and patient. Your customers need to feel like they are getting good value for their time and money. Perceived value goes beyond the price of the products and extends to their shopping experience.

 

  • A Penny Wise a Dollar Foolish
    • Change your mindset and ask yourself, “How can I NOT afford to do these things?” This shouldn’t be a question of expenses, but making and keep happy customers. It is always essential to think about customer lifetime value when dealing with complaints, refunds, replacements, etc. Think a penny today is a dollar tomorrow.

With these thoughts in mind, you also need to consider a few things when deciding on the actual programs and standards you’ll put into place.

  • Share your customer service vision with the rest of your staff. 
  • Empower your staff to make decisions at the moment.
  • Connect your incentive programs and bonuses directly to customer service.
  • Monitor the level of customer service your staff is putting out.
  • Set a time to review and improve your customer experience regularly.
  • Know when you can ignore what your customers want.
  • Continuously focus on your goals.

 

Now that you know what you want, you can start thinking about meeting those wants and creating a positive customer service experience.

If you’re having a hard time deciding on what you want, the tools, resources, and coaches in our GUIDED TOUR can help you define your company’s wants and needs in relation to customer service.

Business 2.01: Grow the Right Way

Business 2.01: Grow the Right Way

Show how your business grows just like planting a tree. It is to serve as symbolism for the work we put in as business owners.

Two weeks ago, we talked about the first three of the seven specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

(The first three focus areas were covered in the blog: Business 2.0, please read before continuing)

Creating a focus in these seven areas will get you on the path to creating a business that works for you. Today we are going to cover the last four.

Before we jump into it, think of constructing your business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so tiny and weak you wonder if it will even make it through the night. But, you keep watering, fertilizing, and nurturing it. Your ideas will grow the trunk, and each of these strategies will extend out like the branches of your now a strong tree. Finding the perfect support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers, and other relationships will make your tree flourish with leaves and flowers to bear fruit. 

Grab your pen and paper, roll up your sleeves; it is time to get to work.

Management Strategy

If I told you, having excellent management is not about finding great people with a lot of experience but about creating a system to cultivate, promote, and train talent. 

The way you structure your management team development is essential to your growth and your employees’ happiness and, ultimately, your customers/clients. This strategy is results-oriented and doesn’t depend on the people but the actual system that’s in place.

A management strategy, in short, includes goals, rules, company direction (mission/vision), standards (supervisor expectation of behavior and performance), skill development. That tells your employees how to act, grow your business, and meet clients’ expectations. 

It is a well-orchestrated procession of actions that allows your staff to exceed your clients’ expectations while fulfilling strategic objectives over and over again. It is your operation manual, your series of checklists, scripts, and action processes. 

People strategy: 

If your management strategy is what you want your people to do, your people strategy is how you get them to do it.

You need to show your employees how you feel about their job performance and dedication to your business. They also need to understand “why” they are doing specific tasks. This helps your employees personally connect to their job, leading to better production and a happier workplace. 

There are several strategies you can use to get the highest performance of your employees (They are in order of effectiveness):

  • Constant, regular, and public reminder/thanks of how their work is impacting the community (companies goals)
  • Internal education program
  • Internal staff dream program
  • The innovation game
  • A learn this business program:” not just your job.”
  • Performance Incentive Programs
  • Contests that reward high performance
  • An employee of the Month
  • Performance/Holiday Bonuses

These are just a few of the ideas you can use. To create a great people strategy is to find the balance between appreciation, education (the why), and directing of staff energy.

One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is by calling a meeting and asking them how they would like to be rewarded. Think about it for a while and put the best strategy into play. Keep it fresh and change up the system you use from time to time to keep your employees guessing. Once they get used to the prize, it’s time for a whole new approach.

You need to build a community within your company. There needs to be support, appreciation, and respect. The more “at home” an employee feels, the better they will perform and the higher their loyalty level.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing is, of course, essential to the success of any business, but it also must work cohesively with the other strategies you’re using. There are two central pillars of successful marketing strategy-the demographic and psychographic profiles of your customers.

The psychographic tells you what your customers are the most likely to buy, and the demographic tells you who they are, which can help you learn why they buy specific items.

With this information, you have answered the pivotal questions of marketing:

  • Who are they?
  • Where are they at?
  • What do they want?

Now all you have to do is speak to them. 

Systems Strategy

There are three types of systems in every business:

  • Hard Systems
  • Soft Systems
  • Information Systems

Hard systems refer to those that immutable they’re opening and closing procedures, your standards of office cleanliness. These are the systems that don’t have any wiggle room and are usually all internal.

Information systems include customer data, product information, financial…anything with data and numbers. This the recording of important information to the operation, use, and success of the business.

The most important of all three systems is the soft systems because it is where your employees have the most flexibility in execution and usually require the most creativity.

The most critical soft system is your sales system. In your sales system, the two keys to success are structure and substance. The structure is what you sell, and substance being how you sell it.

All three systems are essential to your business’s success, and while they all have their particular roles, they all must work together to get the job done. This also goes for your entire business development program.

Recap 

I want to take a moment to recap on the ideas we went over through these business development lessons. We have covered a lot of the series of blogs.

An entrepreneurial myth, or e-myth, is an assumption that anyone can succeed at business with: 

  • Desire 
  • Some capital 
  • Projected a targeted profit

There are essentially three key roles that need to be filled to set your business up for success:

  • The Technician
  • The Manager
  • The Entrepreneur

The four different stages of a business life cycle are:

  • Infancy
  • Adolescence
  • Growing Pains
  • Maturity

There are a few things we are going to talk about:

  • Business Format Franchise
  • The Franchise Prototype
  • Franchise Prototype Standards

There are three main areas of business development:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

Seven specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy
Question and Actions

If you have been following along over the past few months, I thank you for those who have not; then you have a lot of work to do. Below are guiding questions and action steps. As always, I am here to help.

  1. What do I do now? First, identify what role in your business you play. Are you a technician, manager, or entrepreneur? 
  2. Where do I need the most help? Take some time to think about the area you need the most help, then start taking your business’s next step.
  3. What will it take to get past my ego? As entrepreneurs, we constantly feel we must go it alone, but in reality, once we get past our ego holding us back, we can get the help we need to succeed truly.

I am here to help you work through all of these areas and give your business a jumpstart that puts you ahead of your competition right from the start. Feel free to contact me directly at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com. I am happy to answer any questions you have and discuss the success of your business.

5 Quick Tips for a Kick A$$ Internship

5 Quick Tips for a Kick A$$ Internship

Internships are no longer a tool for massive companies to get grunt work out of college kids. It is a significantly underutilized option for small businesses to develop high-quality talent. Entrepreneurs tend to be overworked and stretched thin. Many of them have dreams of growing their business by adding digital marketing, business outreach, sales teams, or taking a real vacation. However, most feel they lack the funds to invest in their business. 

Here comes the power of an internship. The internship provides you the opportunity to get high-quality inexperienced talent at a low to no cost. It also is a fantastic tool for building relationships with major educational institutions.

Take a minute and review the graph to understand the cost and benefits of adding this program. It is always essential to understand what your committing to before you get started.

Cost/ Benefits

I have created several internship programs, from short 4-week middle school programs to multi-year professional programs. Here are my tips for creating an effective program for both you and the participant.

Set aside time.

It is pivotal before you get started creating a program, you first organize your schedule. Most internships require a reasonable amount of time upfront to get up and running. Then minimal time to maintain the progress.

Here is a rough time breakdown to run an effective small business internship program.

  • 3-5 hours for initial planning
  • 4 hours for onboarding 
  • 1 hour a day for the first two weeks 
    • Specifically for skills training and internship planning
  • 15 min a day for daily check-in
  • 1 hr every two weeks for the remainder of the internship 
    • Continued skills development
    • Performance review

Start with the talent.

Now that you have a rough idea of the time commitment, my next tip is to start by finding great talent. Most people will tell you to start by having a problem in mind and then find the person to solve it. 

However, when it comes to internships, most of the people you talk to will not have extensive experience or knowledge. It is best to look for two things talent and attitude. The rest you can teach them or even better they will learn themselves. Hire fast and let them have some control of the scope of their work.

Define the scope.

When starting a program, make sure you keep the project somewhat vague. Once you have great talent, engage them in identifying the work that will benefit the organization. How do you do this?

Tell them your desired outcome, for instance, if you would like them to take on your marketing. Then simply say that you would like to see a 10% increase in inbound leads. Then they can figure out how to achieve this goal, and you can coach them to this desired goal. 

Find the right partner.

Go to your local high school, junior college, college, technical school, or university and offer an internship for the semester by connecting with the student affairs office and at least one professor in a field similar to your business. Set up a meeting and discuss the possibilities.

For example, every business needs additional administrative help, so offer an internship to a student majoring in business administration. The schools LOVE it when a company provides internships since they act as a value-add to their educational offerings by providing their students with real-world experience. Make sure you negotiate that the school will give the student credit. On the flip side, if you find the right student, they can do all of this for you.

Prepare to mentor, be patient. 

Have a plan to mentor and develop the missing skills of your interns. Once you have created the space for them to successfully make sure you provide them access to the coaching/skill development to achieve your desired outcome. 

I strongly suggest taking a scientific approach to coaching. What I mean is be prepared for your interns to fail. Use their failure as a chance to improve your process. Remember, an internship is a low risk and high potential reward. The only way to get those results is to create a process around failure. 

Measure Your Results.

The final tip is to make sure you measure your results. I strongly suggest committing to running your internship at least three times before you scrap it. Each time you run, make sure you measure it against the previous results and against what your business was like before having the program. Make adjustments and improvements with each iteration.

Here are few categories to consider when evaluating your program:

  • Revenue/profit
  • Where you spend your time
  • Problem solved vs. created
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Intern satisfaction 
  • Your happiness

Let me know your thoughts in the comments section and feel free to share your top internship tips. For additional business improvement strategies, get your free copy of my book here

I am actively seeking business case studies for my next book; if you would like to be featured, please email me at doogie@ideasactionsuccess.com to set up a time chat. 

Business 2.0 Replace Yourself

Business 2.0 Replace Yourself

Prototyping is not just for building robots. It should be an integral part of every entrepreneur’s plans. It should be every business owner’s goal to have their business run without them needing to make a decision. 

This is why it is imperative to think of your business as a franchise prototype. This business development method allows you to remove your emotional attachment from your business’s tasks and focus on your desired outcome.

The seven specific areas you need to consider in your business development prototype process:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These seven areas are the step-by-step process through which you convert your existing business into a perfectly organized model for thousands more, just like. In this lesson, we are going to cover the first three steps. Get your pen and paper ready to start creating your prototype.

Primary Aim

Your primary aim is the answers to all the questions. It is not just the target but the arrow, the bow, the water bottle on your hip, and the reason you got out of bed. Simply put, it is the purpose that is bigger than your business.

It’s essential in business development to set goals and see a vision for the future. This needs to go beyond the business, and you need to think about what you want out of life. How would you answer the following questions: 

  • What do you dream about?
  •  How do you see your success unfolding? 
  • Who do you wish to be?
  • What is your ideal lifestyle?

Knowing and understanding your aim will give you the momentum to get started and the stamina to see it through. Take a minute to write them down and tape them to your desk for a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for.

Ask yourself every day, how am I meeting my primary aim?

Strategic Objectives

Once you have the picture of how you want your life to be and realize it is more than fancy cars, big houses, and that it is a state of feeling. Then it is time to set strategic objectives. These are essential in taking your business from surviving to thriving. All of these objectives should offer solutions for how to get to your primary aim. There are many things you can use to set strategic goals, but here is a couple of the most popular:

  1. Money: Setting monetary goals is a great, simple way to see how you are doing at any point in the game. It’s easy to measure and easy to find adjustments to help meet this goal.
  2. Worthy Opportunities: These are emotionally driven goals. This is how you measure lives impacted; client served, positive reviews, in essence, you speak to your customer’s psychographics needs and, to a further extent yourself.
  3. Through or Throughput: This is your automation goal of removing yourself from the day-to-day equation. We will measure this by hours worked, emails answered, or any way you wish. The critical piece is that these goals get you to business Nirvanaha when your business work for you and you don’t have to work for your business.

The key to setting standards and goals is not to limit yourself or stress yourself out. You need to find some quantifiable things you can use to measure your progress toward your primary aim. These are just three suggestions, but make sure no matter what standards you set, you are paying attention to the details, as these are one of the biggest keys to your success.

Organizational Strategy

The strength of your organizational structure can make or break your business, so it’s essential to take the time to put together a solid framework for your business to grow from. Generally, a company is organized around the roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of daily. And the personalities that need to fulfill those roles. 

No matter what roles and responsibilities you’ve defined for your employees, you must always keep your primary aim separate from your company’s primary aim or mission statement. Once you’ve identified the primary aim for your company, it will be easy to set up a position structure that will work.

Don’t forget to put together position contracts. Your employees should sign a statement of their roles and responsibilities. This helps keep them clear for you, the employee, and other employees/vendors or other individuals.

Question & Actions 

You’re probably going, wow, I have a lot to do. Well, you do but let’s create some action steps to get you started.

  1. Answer the big question: What is my primary aim? This is more complex than just answer the question, but what you need to do is create your first draft. Take a stab at it, write it down, and test it for the next few weeks.
  2. What are my strategic objectives? Create one goal in each category and start tracking it. Set aside time each week to review and see how you’re meeting that goal.
  3. How can I automate or replace one job I do? Set a goal to automate, delete, or replace one task that you currently do. Then give yourself a timeframe to do it. Then repeat until your business is running itself. 

You can see how these areas all work together to build a solid structure to build your business. If you need help defining any of these areas, don’t hesitate to contact us. Look out for the next four steps in a later blog.

Lesson Learned from a Toddler

Lesson Learned from a Toddler

My first career was as a youth professional. I spent over ten years working in everything from boarding schools to summer camps. I learned a lot about people, empathy, behavioral development, but I also learned the most important business lesson.

Let me paint a picture for you. Imagine you are a parent trying to get your child ready for bed. I bet your conversation goes a little something like this:

Parent: “It’s time to brush your teeth.”

Child: “Why?”

Parent “Because we brush our teeth at bedtime.”

Child “Why?”

Parent “Because we want to have healthy teeth.”

Child “Why?”

Parent “So we can…chew.”

Child “Why?”

Parent “Because you don’t want to starve.”

Child “Why”

Parent “Because I am going to throw you out of the house right now if you don’t brush your dam teeth!”

All jokes aside, as a parent, this may seem very frustrating, but as a business owner, this is the most important lesson you can learn that questions are powerful.

Why and Business

Only when you follow the course of question will you discover your business purpose, how to overcome its challenges, and what your client genuinely want. Learning to be curious is one of the essential skills to develop as a business owner.

Being curious should be applied in many areas. We will spend some time exploring a few of them.

Purpose

You should always be asking yourself:

Why am I doing what I am doing? 

Why does this help me to be a better person?

Start with one of these questions and repeatedly ask the same question at least seven times. Going through the seven stages of why will unlock your sense of purpose and correct any sway you might have as you go through your entrepreneurial journey. 

Whenever you’re feeling doubt or unsure, just ask yourself why and keep asking until you can take an action step in the right direction for your goals.

Decision Making/Problem Solving

I think this is the most obvious place to use the power of why. It should be used in two crucial ways problem solving and decision making. However, to use it properly in these situations, you will need to ask more than why questions instead. I suggest adding the following:

Problem-solving (Why?):

  • What will we need to change?
  • How can we prevent it?
  • Who do we need to coach, train, hire to make sure it does not happen?

Decision Making (Why?)

  • How is this insert job/task/project important to meeting expectations/goal/bottom line?
  • What will we need to change to implement?
  • What area of our business will be affected by this change?

Clients 

The final area we will chat about today is understanding your client. It is imperative to understand your client’s motivation, desires, hooks, triggers, pain points the list can go on. The best place to start is, you guessed it, with the why. Here are a few of my favorite client-related why questions to get you to solve problems for your ideal client?

  • Why does my client have the problem they have?
  • Why do they want to get rid of this problem?
  • Why am I the right person to help/solve/serve my clients?
  • Why is my solution the best/optimal solution?

Now that you understand why “WHY is so important. Find your inner child and ask why then keep asking why until you don’t know the answer. This is the point that you have identified the real problem and begin to make the lasting change in your business & life.

Looking to get your business to work for you instead of working for your business, check out my E-learning marketplace, which is filled with great tools, tactics, and strategies that will have you doubling your sales, cutting your cost, and increasing your annual revenue by 10k or more!

Ask yourself: Why should I invest in myself and my business today? Want to find out more about the coaching? Schedule your discovery call today!