Tag: IASbiz

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.

Mom’s make the best customer service, experts

Mom’s make the best customer service, experts

The power of moms

My mother has taught me a lot over the years, but two key lessons that pertain to customer service are consistency and the Rule of 1%. In the last post, I shared my experience with STX and the lack of consistency and systems within their customer service experience. My mother’s lessons will ensure you do not make the same mistakes.

Your customer experience must be predictable and measured. You need to leave your clients, vendors, customers, and staff; feeling heard and cared for. The key to any customer experience is what do you want them to experience. Experience is a set of events and feelings. As you go about creating your customer service systems, keep this in mind. 

Be as my mother; she wanted to do what is best for me but rarely gave into everything I wanted. She listened to what I had to say even when I was wrong, acknowledged my feelings, and redirects me to the path of least resistance. She treated me the same every time, and I found comfort in knowing that. Everyone once in a while, she surprised me with something I never expected.

If you want to take your satisfied customers to Raving Fan status, you have to go above and beyond the average customer service experience. The key to any great customer service experience is consistency. 

There are three ways to develop consistency:

Limiting customer service options and. 

It is easy to give customers what they want. However, this can cause us to drift from our vision of how we want our customers to feel. Instead, stay true to your vision and offer one or two solid customer service techniques that will set you apart from the competition. 

Make sure the techniques you chose do not feel like a burden. To be honest, your goals are to address the customers feeling and before their problems. 

Start by fine-tuning your current systems before you can add anything to the mix. 

  • Think about how I want them to feel, and am I currently getting them to feel that way. 
  • What action am my staff or I taking to get them to feel that way?

There’s nothing worse than launching a new program when you haven’t even worked out the kinks of an old system. 

Put solid systems into place.

Once you know what you’re going to offer, you need to have a system in place to execute it flawlessly every time. This system needs to consist of the right people in the right roles and responsibilities and technology that guarantees a positive experience every time. Emphasis needs to be placed on the results, which ultimately is the satisfaction of the customer.

To get the best results to think about how you empower your staff to make decisions. If they have to go through a supervisor or you before they can approve a refund or replacement, what is the point? Your system needs to have the least number of steps possiable. Remember, your customer is already in a higher state of agitation, and your first job is to lower the feeling.

Good coaching is the key.

When creating excellent training, you need to remember it is not about the outcomes. It is about teaching your staff how to shift the emotional state of customers to create an optimal resolution for both them and the company. It is about the tools they have at their disposal and how information needs to be shifted through your organization. 

The final piece to consider is your process for continually enhancing your staff skills. Your goal is to train them to be confident that they are the empowered expert who can solve your client’s issues.

Small steps lead to great results.

You may be looking at what currently doing and saying, “shit, I have a lot of work to do.” That is okay let the Rule of 1% be your guide to implementing the change in your business.

The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this, you must have your consistency perfected, or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a massive increase over a solid chunk of time. It’s not a sprint; it’s a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at once, or you’ll set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your employees will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you’ll have improved more than 50%!

While rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers, and consistency is the key to how you provide it.

The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly, and you will fail.

Focus on your vision and baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you’ve learned a lot about good customer service and how it’s essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps we’ve gone through over the last four lessons, please feel free to connect.

In upcoming posts, we’re going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.

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.

Secrets Secrets they Can Be Fun… Let me tell you one.

Secrets Secrets they Can Be Fun… Let me tell you one.

Top secrets customer service information

In the last post, we talked about the first secret to building a solid customer service plan and how to decide what your vision is. 

Today we’ll talk about the second secret in taking your satisfied customers to raving fans. You must know what your customers want. Know who your customers are, and you will know better how to serve them. Having a defined ideal client is really important here. An upper-class woman in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a working-class man in his 50’s.

When considering what your customer wants, there are four main areas to focus in:

  • Listen to your client
  • Ask Your Customers Sincerely
  • Offer More than Just a Product/Service
  • Know When to thank them for their feedback 

These are all important when deciding what your customers want out of their experience. 

Listen to Your Client

You need to listen to both what they say and what they don’t say. Clients may say they want one thing and mean something else. For example, if your customers are begging for lower prices, you may find their real priority is quick delivery. Your clients fall into four categories.

First, you have the raving fan; they’re the person who will self-identify with your brand. Take, for example, the hipster that will say I will only use apple products. Most of the time, they love what you do and provide you with positive feedback. This is your 20% sweet spot. However, if you’re looking to grow or pivot, you have to listen to what they say and prod them for negative feedback.

Second, you have the passive client; you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine.” These customers are so used to bad customer service they only give a monotone response. Think of the client that leaves the 3-star review and writes it was good—clearly, no a lot to go on here. 

Third, you have the silent client. Listen to your “silent” customers. These customers don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted, and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.

Lastly, you have the detracter or “Karen.” These are your clients who had such a negative experience that will actively try to cause harm to your business. This can be in the form of a poor review or youtube rant. It is essential to make sure that you have a plan in place to handle these people. One suggestion is to create a Non-ideal client profile; this will allow you to figure out who that person is before they even have a chance to buy from you.

Ask Your Customers Sincerely

If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they will see right through you. It is essential to understand why you are asking them for their feedback. Are you truly prepared to take feedback and make changes? If not, don’t ask. Client feedback is not an opportunity to pander to them in an attempt to create some false value. This is your chance to reengage them and keep them as loyal customers.

You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should! 

Extra tip: If you have a plan of how their feedback is being used, share it with them during your review process.

Offer More than Just a Product/Service

Your customer service process does not just start after you have completed the sale. Make sure you are thinking holistically about your client’s experience. It starts from the first contact and continues indefinitely.

Your customers are looking for much more than a simple product or service; they are looking for an experience that makes them feel good. They gauge every step of the process with a value. When you consider this and treat them like people, they will feel like they belong. That is when your product or service becomes a community.

Know When to Ignore Them

First, you must acknowledge that your business is not for everyone and everyone is not your customer. You will sell to people, and people will buy from you that really shouldn’t have. 

It is okay; in reality, you can’t give them everything, and some people you will never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision and company don’t meet the customer’s needs, they will be best suited elsewhere. 

Be direct, tell them this is not working out, and create a process to help them find the right place for them, and then move on to those you can help.

Start Here

  • Who is my customer? 
  • What are my goals for my customer experience?
  • What questions can I ask to make sure I am delivering on that experience?
  • How will I use their answers?

Now that you have learned some quick tips and tricks. If you get stuck, I am happy to answer questions. Email me: doogie@ideasactionssuccess.com 

 

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!