Tag: process

Part 2: 8 reasons your business is not growing and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

Part 2: 8 reasons your business is not growing and it has nothing to do with sales, revenue, or profit

In our last installment of the 8 reasons why we discussed two of the most immediate issues holding back your small business cash flow & owner-dependent model. I strongly suggest reading that previous blog before jumping into this one.

Today we will introduce the next two business roadblocks, your supportive relationships and lack of efficiency.

  1. Cash Flow
  2. Dependent Model
  3. Supporting Relationships (Trust)
  4. Waste/inefficiency
  5. Leverage
  6. Lack of curiosity
  7. Vision with a plan
  8. A mirror

These might not seem that important, and out of the eight on this list, they can make a lasting impact. We will discuss them today because prioritizing them can create the structure to move your business faster.

Supporting Relationships (Trust)

What is the first thing that comes up when you think about supporting relationships? I bet it is some combination of a spouse, a best friend, spiritual leader, doctor, etc. These relationships allow us as individuals to reach our highest potential, and thus you need to build a similar network for your business.

What does this network look like? It looks like many supporting businesses, from lawyers & accountants to your strategic joint venture partners. Many business relationships will be needed for your business to reach its greatest potential. Today, we will talk about two categories: the business that keeps you safe from the government and the business that keeps you focused on achieving your goals.

Keep you safe from the government: 

Business Accountant (CPA); there is a significant difference between an accountant and a business accountant. A general accountant can do your annual tax filing, but a good business accountant does your tax filing, plus evaluates your business for risk potential, and evaluates your business to provide strategic suggestions. When you select accountants, look for those that offer additional services. Plus, make sure to ask about monthly financial reviews and what they will provide.

Business Attorney: You need two types of attorneys (sometimes they can be the same person). The first is your preventative attorney; they can help you develop the best way to incorporate, write contracts, provide HR guidance, etc. The second one is a litigator; you will need this attorney for the inevitable time something goes wrong, and you need to handle a suit. This is why you need to ask questions about their core services. Here are a couple of suggestions to get you started:

What is your experience with my particular legal issue?

What are the potential consequences of this legal action?

Who all is on your legal team?

Are you willing to refer me to other small business lawyers as needed?

Business Insurance: The final business to keep you safe will be your business insurance partner. Now there are many options out there, but the best guidance I can provide is that you should be reviewing this provider every six months to continue to make decisions that are best for your business and provide you with the right amount of coverage.

Keep you focused on your vision: 

Business Coach: Everyone needs a coach. Listen to this carefully after you get develop your safety team. Your immediate next step is to find a coach. A coach is an objective person who can point out your flaws, help you to develop new skills, and it is in their best interest to help you reach your goals. When it comes to selecting a coach, it is essential to consider a few things:

What stage is my company in?

How honest am I about my flaws?

What is the biggest change I need to make to reach my goals?

You will notice that none of these questions are about the coach. This on purpose, many business owners fail to look at themselves first. Remember, growth is change; if you want to grow your business, you will have to make personal change, and the coach is the best person to help you do that.

CFP’s: Working with a good Certified Financial Planner can have several benefits, but most importantly, they should help you to get the best financial result out of the profit your business makes. In addition, they can provide many services from insurance to investment.

Bonus

  • The Networkers: The community connecter is the final relationship that is an absolute must. This person has been around for so long that they know all the players. This the person that all they need to say is “hey, you should talk with …” and that person responds with, of course.

Waste/inefficiency

The earlier a business puts in practice to reduce waste and inefficiency, the sooner they can scale. This is because a good efficiency plan allows your business to grow lean and while investing back into your business versus taking the best guess approach.

Now there are seven areas of lean waste:

  1. Delay: Waiting for any essential part of your process
  2. Replication: repeated tasks or information capture in your process
  3. Processing: simply too little attention or too much attention to a specific task
  4. Motion: This physical time it takes to walk across a room to get a document or disorganized inventory which is hard to look up a product.
  5. Under communication: the most extensive form is lack of systematic understanding. How are you confirming that your people know what to do?
  6. Errors: mistakes that are made multiple times and have not been improved in the process
  7. Under-utilized talent: Make sure you’re using your people correctly and checking to ensure it is still optimal.
  8. Opportunity Lost: This is the magic of your process; this is where your people have the guide rails to be flexible and help create the customer experience.

Now you will see that reducing waste and improving efficiency comes down to process. Do you have a process?

Most small businesses operate without clear SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures). These procedures should be the top priority of any business going from start-up to growth. However, the sooner you can create your SOP based on the eight areas above, the sooner your business can scale.

We covered a lot today, and I am sure you have a ton to think about. As always are coaches are standing by to assist you. If you want to discuss anything in these articles or if Fractional COO is suitable for your business, click here.

Next week we will discuss the two more reasons your business is not growing. But, remember, the best time to make a change was yesterday, so you better start today.

Charity is Good Business

Charity is Good Business

Is charitable giving a part of your organizational practice? If so, kudos to you; you are well on your way to building a culture and financially optimized business. 

Yes, you read that right, financially optimized. 

If giving purely for altruistic reasons is not your thing, don’t worry; in today’s blog, I will share four reasons why you should make giving a part of your business plan.

Need a little more convincing how about $2.45 trillion reasons

“Omnicom Group’s Cone Communications study shows, 70 percent of millennials will spend more on brands that support causes—and with millennials representing $2.45 trillion in spending power, the subject of corporate social responsibility carries an unexpected level of clout.”

 

Reason Number 1: Employee Morale

Gen Z and Millennials share an appreciation for “Why”; their desire for purpose-driven work can help you retain these employees. In today’s climate retaining talent can be as important as generating new business. 

According to a Deloitte study on volunteering, millennials were “twice as likely to rate their corporate culture as very positive” if their company participated in workplace volunteer activities. This is because employees respect companies that care for their community–it simply makes employees feel good and increases the emotional attachment to their employer.

 

Reason Number 2: Two for One Marketing Dollars

Charitable giving can be like doubling your marketing dollars. The goal of your marketing budget is to get your message in front of your target audience. One of the best ways to do this is by creating strategic partnerships with non-profit organizations that have similarly aligned missions to the product or service you provide. 

For example, if your company makes sporting equipment, consider sponsoring local sports teams or tournaments. That will show your current and future clients that you care about your business and your community.

 

Reason Number 3: Uncle Sam is going to take it anyway’s

This is one of the most immediate benefits of corporate donations. You may not instantly see how your contribution benefits your community, but you will quickly notice the tax savings. Of course, businesses shouldn’t donate with the sole expectation of financial gain, but there are financial rewards for helping a charity in need. In addition, companies can usually receive tax deductions from sponsoring charities or events. Still, you should make sure to follow the rules and go about the process in the right way to comply with all tax requirements. Talk to your accountant about creating a charitable giving strategy as part of your revenue model. 

 

Reason Number 4: Giving is Good

The final reason is arguably the most important. It feels good to know that you have found a way to help build your community. Plus, according to the Cleveland clinic, it can have the following health benefits;

  • Lower Blood Pressure
  • Increased Self-esteem
  • Less Depression
  • Lower stress levels
  • Longer Life
  • Greater happiness and self-satisfaction

Create an Action Plan

As today is Giving Tuesday, there is no better time to build a charity culture into your business practice. So here are a few different ways you to give back.

  • Volunteer Day’s
  • Event Sponsorship 
  • Sponsor Youth Sports or Programs
  • Donate to research 
  • Charitable match program 
  • A competition where each team member represents a charity, whoever sells the most or exceeds monthly expectations the company will donate to their charity.

The options are endless and entirely up to you. If you need help creating a charitable process that will benefit the community and your bottom line click here and one of our coaches can help you design the best program for your organization.

 

Now get out there and give. 

 

Win The Rat Race

Win The Rat Race

We’ve all worked jobs we hated. We were underpaid, underappreciated, and bored out of our minds. We either quit these jobs or were fired for poor performance because we just gave up. Instead of taking that approach, you need to consider every job an opportunity to learn something new that you can apply down the line to find success.

When you give people the tools they need to come up with unordinary solutions, you are enhancing their lives for the long run. What if one of your terrible jobs had been one with no pay at all, and you needed to come up with some ingenious ways of making money and finding value? 

You’re an entrepreneur, I bet if you were forced into this situation you would find a way to make ends meet and position yourself to reach your long-term goals. This same urgency can be applied to your company now.

I don’t recommend going into the next meeting declaring that no one will receive pay anymore. Instead, you can tell your employees that their potential raises, bonuses, and other perks are now dependent on their creativity in ways to enhance business. Present them with the opportunity and put success in their hands. This is the abundance mindset approach, it simply says there are infinite possibilities, resources, and opportunities it is up to us to see them and take advantage. 

Adapting an abundance mindset is integral to your success, the company’s success, and your employees. One way to start becoming abundance-minded is through a concept called financial literacy. A concept that sadly is not taught in school but is still essential to know.

 So, what is financial literacy? 

Our culture teaches people to be good employees and not employers. This mindset will never make you wealthy. Instead, you need to focus on becoming a good employer. You also need to learn how to not only attain wealth but sustain wealth for generations. This is what financial literacy is all about.

So, how do you get out of the rat race and start working toward a wealthier future? You need to understand the difference between an asset and a liability. Take a look at your own life, and you’ll probably find the following:


Assets

  • Real Estate
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Intellectual Property

Liabilities

  • Mortgage
  • Consumer Loans
  • Credit Cards

 

You’ve probably been fooled into thinking things like your house, car, and entertainment system are assets. They aren’t! Assets should be continuing to make you money. When you continue to struggle, you are not building wealth. If your primary income is from wages and each time you make more money, you pay taxes, you’re not creating wealth either, are you?

So, if buying a house isn’t an asset (and it’s not because you spend about 30 years of your life paying it off), then what is? Here are some of the best assets to attain and when you can start to see wealth being created because of it:

Average time of holding on to an asset before selling it for a higher value:

One year

  • Stocks (Startups and small companies are good investments)
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds

 

Seven years

  • Real estate
  • Notes (IOUs)
  • Royalties on intellectual property
  • Valuables that produce income or appreciate

 

So, here are the steps to getting out of the rat race and onto your journey of creating wealth:

  1. Understand the difference between an asset and a liability.
  2. Concentrate your efforts on buying income-earning assets.
  3. Focus on keeping liabilities and expenses at a minimum.
  4. Mind your own business.

If you need help getting out of the poor mindset and into the wealthy one, start by reading “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. Then schedule a call with one of our coaches to integrate wealth concepts into your company’s daily operations.

We went through the first three, and next time we’ll talk about how to mind your own business to keep your eye on the prize.

Maximize Your Resources – Part 1

Maximize Your Resources – Part 1

Title Photo

Over the next few posts, we’re going to talk about how to take a hard look at your current resources and get the most out of them. Your resources can help your capital go further and increase your profit margin.

Today we’ll cover three different ways to maximize what you already have. These include:

  • Recognize the obvious
  • Unconventional breakthroughs
  • Face the facts

Recognize the Obvious

Sometimes when you are too close to something, you can’t make out the big picture. You need to step back and take a hard look at the resources you currently have in front of you. You are surrounded by opportunities that can boost your career and help your business become more successful.

To identify your resources, I suggest starting with setting aside 1 hr a week to look at an aspect of your business. Make sure you select a location that is not your place of work or your home. Go to an area, that it will be challenging for someone to interrupt you. Then ask yourself any of the following questions:

  • What is the one thing you need to change or do differently that would make you more successful?
  • What is the one thing I could teach my employees to make them better at the tasks I’ve asked them to do?
  • What is one thing about my business that I need to know more about?
  • What is one thing I could do to bring additional value to my customers/clients?

This process is scalable; as you become comfortable with 1 hr a week, you can add, setting aside an entire day a month. Then, when you get to the Bill Gates level, you can take a whole week-long retreat to just focus on yourself and your business. 

If the lesson of “seeing the obvious” is not clear, it is as simple as setting aside time to identify the problem, plan a new course of action, and go back with energy to make a change.

Unconventional Breakthroughs

Don’t sit around waiting for breakthroughs; you need to create them yourself. A breakthrough is merely a new way of doing things or finding a new process or system for the same or better results. You should be having regular brainstorming sessions and encouraging your team to come forward with breakthroughs or ideas any time they have them.

Some great examples of breakthroughs are:

  • A health and beauty company discovers a side effect of a product that can be re-marketed and sold.
  • A company creates a roll-on deodorant inspired by the shape and size of a ballpoint pen.
  • The founder of Nike poured rubber onto waffle iron and created the most innovative and successful running shoe ever.

When attracting or strategizing for a breakthrough, there are some key objectives you need to keep in mind. They are:

  1. Looking for the hidden opportunity in every situation.
  2. Looking for at least one cash windfall for your business every three months.
  3. The more value for your client, the better your breakthrough.
  4. Creating multiple streams of ideas to find the best breakthroughs.
  5. Effective breakthroughs remove all risk or resistance.

Face the Facts

Before you can put your breakthroughs to work, you need to face the facts of the processes and systems that are not working for you and work to correct or get rid of them. System analysis is an excellent way to do this. Once you have a listing of your strengths and weaknesses, you need to compare those to the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. 

You can present some great questions to you and your team to get a handle on where your business is right now. They are:

  1. Why did I first start this business? Why am I in this industry?
  2. What products/services did I offer then? Which were the most popular?
  3. Why are my customers/clients buying from me right now?
  4. How did I generate new customers/clients then?
  5. Which of my marketing efforts were bringing in the best results?

Once you’ve got some answers to these questions, you’ll know better how to approach your weaknesses. 

These three areas we’ve gone over give you a jumping-off point for how to utilize your current resources to their fullest potential. If you need any help with your strategic or systems analysis, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I look forward to offering what advice I can. 

I appreciate you taking the time to read this article. If you have enjoyed it, please share it with someone you feel could benefit from it and leave a like.

5 Killer Mistakes – Part 3: Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle

5 Killer Mistakes – Part 3: Up Cash Creek Without a Paddle

Now to conclude our killer mistakes series, we will talk about the worst mistake you can make that will not only cost your clients but might even cost you your company. Today we’re going to talk about the fifth killer mistake: Cash Flow.

Even when business is good, there’s still a chance of running out of cash flow. You have to always be prepared for a slow in sales or a surge in expenses. One of the keys to balancing your cash flow is to get your clients to pay on time. Managing your cash flow can seem like a nightmare but is essential to a successful business.

Here are some tips to speed up the payment process:

  • Always send invoices on time and adjust your records for potential audits.
  • Learn how the client processes payments on their side and find out precisely where to send invoices.
  • Find out who’s in charge of processing orders and payments so you know who to contact if needed.
  • Have a follow-up procedure in place, just in case.
  • As a last resort, call your contact to ask questions.
  • Always make sure your invoices are correct before sending them out.

You also need to make sure your cash flow is protected. You can do this by:

  • Always knowing which accounts need to be paid and when.
  • Negotiate with your suppliers for the lowest cost possible.
  • Have a bank contingency plan in place.
  • Build your investor network.
  • Having a weekly, not monthly, cash flow management system.

These are all great ways to protect the cash flow of your business and be able to serve your clients. However, these last few lessons are all about finding and maintaining your big fish clients. These clients are essential to your success, and you need to take the time to work through each of these steps carefully and correctly for the best success.

I am here to help with any of the processes we have discussed; feel free to ask me how to get access to a wealth of Free tools and resources and our business coaching staff.

Take the One Thing Challenge!

If you feel frustrated with sales and marketing, the reason may not be a lack of effort or investment. Instead, the problem may be inadequate or inefficient service delivery to your customers. 

Remember, the best time to make a change was yesterday, so you better get started today! What is the one thing you need to change or do differently that would make you more successful?

Complete this quick form, and I will respond within 48hr with one action you can take to make your one thing a reality?

 

O No First Contact! Are you prepared?

O No First Contact! Are you prepared?

Home page picture, used for social post

In the last post, we learned the process for researching our big fish (ideal client). Being prepared to make a great first impression is imperative to your success. Your strategy needs to instill confidence. The prospect needs to know you can meet expectations on time, at a reasonable price, and the quality at or above expectation. 

Now let’s begin to create the perfect first impression. Building a good plan starts with identifying the right big fish. Take a look at your notes and the research you’ve done about prospective fish. Then decide which one will be the most straightforward approach to start with.

There are a series of things to go through in choosing which fish to start with. They are:

  • Compile Your Hit List
  • Prepare your position
  • Define where to start 

Compile Your Hit List

Start with a list of all the companies you’ve been considering. Then narrow it down to the ones who know could use your products or services. Don’t overlook obvious choices, whether they are big or small. Don’t discount a company just based on the physical size. A small company can have significant opportunities. Think back to your earlier work where you identified what makes a good big fish.

Prepare your position 

You need to prepare your customer research. This starts by creating a documented procedure including the companies revenues, perceived target audience, industry challenges, company culture, decision-makers, etc. Use this tool to get into the heads of your clients to understand their needs and wants.

Once, you have the information you’re ready to make the first move.

Define where to start (prioritize) 

Great so you have been able to narrow your list to a responsible 10-20 ideal clients. Now you need to set priorities of who you should contact first. To help you chose please consider the following:

  • Which have the most purchasing resources to spend?
  • Does their company vision complement yours?
  • What are their employee incentive programs as they relate to your products/services?
  • What’s the company’s actual need for you?
  • Will the partnership lead you off-course?

 

Now you should have a target in mind to start with. It’s time to plan your approach and execute that plan.

Here’s the step-by-step plan to help you make an excellent first impression:

  1. Build and analyze your database. Use the following lead tags to categories and track your sales process (if you don’t like these, come up with your own, but make sure you a definition that includes the behaviors your prospect should be displaying): hot leads, great fits, warm leads, and secondary leads.
    1. Great fits: these are the top 1-3 from your list above.
    2. Hot leads: these are leads that you have been able to engage in meaningful conversations. Specifically, you have spoken with them, and they have moved to the end of your pipeline.
    3. Warm leads: these are the leads that you have engaged in meaningful conversation but have not been able to get over all their objections. They see you as a problem solver and their most likely solution but you still have to get them over the hump.
    4. Secondary leads: These are not great fits, but you feel you can still bring value to them. However, they may not be your ideal for several reasons.
  2. Send out initial mailings (this a print mailing, you may, in addition, consider sending an email) to peak interest, educate, and establish preeminence. It should be short, clean, and concise. Ideally, to speak to the problem they have and don’t want.
  3. Follow up with your first phone call 2-3 days after they would have received the mailings. During the phone call, find out whom you need to be speaking with in the future and set up a meet with the right person.
  4. Follow up your phone call with another mailing/E-mailing/social contact that thanks them for taking the time to speak with you and offer more details about your products/services. Use this letter and opportunity to set up a meeting to do a presentation.
  5. Follow up the letter with another phone call a couple of days after receiving the letter. This phone call is to help you further develop your relationship with the prospective client. You should also be able to set up a presentation meeting with them. 
  6. Call again a week later if they haven’t agreed to a meeting or presentation. Ask if they received your creative letter (the second one) and if they have a minute when you can stop by and introduce yourself in person.
  7. Repeat, Adjust and Adapt. No process is perfect; keep adapting and changing your contact method and message as long as the prospective client fits that ideal process. 

Now, don’t be upset if you don’t seal the deal right away. Some people simply take a little longer to woo. This can all be a little intimidating at first, but you can’t go wrong when you know you are offering a quality product/service.

Once you’ve gone through this process and make the first contact (and hopefully a good first impression), it’s time to put your best face forward, which means sending the right salesperson to seal the deal.

If you need help putting together your approach and make an excellent first impression, schedule a free consultation to discuss your big fish.

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.

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.

Connecting the dots between behavior and business

Connecting the dots between behavior and business

Too many business owners, managers, etc., do not connect the dots between their behaviors and their process. Everyone wants to get the job done faster, with fewer mistakes, and make more money, but more times than not, the way to achieve those outcomes is to look at yourself and name the behavior and its associated emotion.

Remember, for all practical purposes; all behavior are, is the connection between actions and emotions. The first step, which is often the most overlooked, is a personal assessment of your state. Ask yourself the following questions before beginning any process improvement.

Establish State

  • What is the problem we need to solve?
  • Why is it important to solve this problem?
  • How do I feel at the current moment?
  • What is causing me to feel this way? List the causes.
  • How do I want to feel if (insert task) was completed correctly?
  • What actions/choices do I need to make to get to my desired feeling?

I hope you’re beginning to see the connection between understanding your mental states and making a process change. The ability to look at ourselves critically allows taking ownership of the change we wish to make. Enabling us to engage with ourselves and our team with honesty, purpose, and understanding of emotional outcomes, for lack of a better metaphor allowing us to put our oxygen mask on first.

By you and your team completing this exercise, you have taken the first step towards creating a process inlined with your behaviors. I suggest having all parties involved answer and share their results. This will allow all of you to be on the same page and see each person’s perspective on the problem.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, and please share this post with someone you think this article can help.

If you have a business challenge, please click here. I will answer any questions you have.