Why goal setting on its own does not work…

Having worked with hundreds of business owners over the past 15 years, you start to see patterns emerge. Patterns connected to success, achievement, struggles & failure.

We work with clients on creating plans for their business, setting goals and objectives. We work with them on ensuring that their teams also have goals and objectives.

We then help them implement strategies that should deliver on these goals and objectives, testing and measuring as we go.

Many are very successful but some fail to get off the ground at all. And we wonder why and look for a pattern.

The most common pattern that I see emerging is that the people who succeed place a greater meaning on the success, it means something to them, they can visualise it and see it. For the less successful ones, the goals and objectives are set because that’s what they are supposed to do.

Don’t get me wrong – they do want to achieve but they have not connected what that really means to them and what it will help them achieve.

People blame lack of discipline for not achieving their goals.

Its more likely “not having a big enough reason to achieve”

When you are planning your 2017, make sure that every goal is accompanied by a big enough reason for you, that will mean something for for you and your family.

So, dont give up on the plan, the goals or the objective – spend more time establishing the reason why you want it in the first place.

If you need any help – call me.

 

 

Not everyone can make a sale, but everyone can lose one

How many times have you heard a team member say that they have nothing to do with sales? How many times have you heard people say that they are not sales people?

If you own or run a small business, you will be only too aware of the importance of every

Couple buying car at dealership and negotiating price with salesman

sale to your business. You will be equally aware of the importance of holding on to each customer and nurturing more business from them.

Because every business depends on their customers to repeat, it is highly likely that more people than the sales person will deal with the customer throughout the relationship and therefore, they too become responsible for ongoing sales success.

We all know that repeat business is more profitable than new business.

So why then do we allow team members to deal with customers? Especially when these same team members do not understand the importance of excellent customer relations and excellent service, when they do not understand that an adverse interaction with a customer can cost the business money. And its not just the money in that transaction, but the future money that your business could have earned from this same customer.

Winning new customers can be difficult, keeping them does not need to be at all.

The key to the continued success of your business is the education of your team on the importance of consistent, professional, common sense service with good commercial acumen.

This can be taught and it can be measured. This is your responsibility. This is where we work with clients on a daily basis and we can do this in your business as well.

If you are keen to grow your business profits by double digits in 2016, we probably need to schedule a call. Email me today to schedule a call.

 

Find more bottom line profit in your business

As a business owner, it is important to keep focused on building a profitable company (with integrity). Sometimes profit can seem elusive, and even when you do make a profit, it can be hard to see the money anywhere.

Some quick ways to improve profits and find the money:

  1. Review all purchasing agreements and look for overcharges on carriage, deals not adhered to.
  2. Review your margins – sometimes when we negotiate better deals with suppliers, the only one that benefits is the customer – Great that they can benefit, but you can too. Sometimes having formulas to work out your margins can be a bad thing.
  3. Return stock to suppliers where ever possible – If it is not selling, time to move it on and cash in.
  4. Look at all expenditure on Not For Resale items – can you make savings. Remember that every euro you save here goes straight to the bottom line.
  5. Know your numbers. Every business has metrics that they can compare, i.e Gross Profits, Wages to Turnover, Marketing Spend etc. If yours are out of whack, its costing you money. Why do you allow it.
  6. Add on sales – customers will buy more from you if they are aware that you supply it. Don’t assume that they know. Not every suggestion for an additional sale will work, but the more relevant they are, the better. i.e if you sell tyres, would you not automatically recommend wheel alignment. Of course you would. Non aligned wheels will destroy new tyres.

As a business owner, it is not ok just to accept what happens – You can affect your business positively every day.

Call me if you would like to find extra profit in your business. 087 222 0720

You are not the boss of me!

Small businesses with flat structures often suffer from this phenomenon. As a business gets bigger, it is impossible for one person to mange the entire team, nor is is feasible to introduce too may layers into the business.

When one person may be involved in multiple functions of a business, they may sometimes be required to ask or give an order to a fellow team member. This is often met with resistance in the cry of “You are not the boss of me, I only report to the owner”

And trouble ensues

And as the business owner, this is your problem

So how to address it?

Firstly, this is a common problem and it is also one that can be fixed by improving the communication within a business.

  • All employees must be clear about the direction of the business
  • All employees must be clear about their role within the business
  • All employees must be clear about the different inter-department relationships that may exist in any small company
  • All employees must understand that just because they are asked to perform a task by someone other than their line manager, that the other person is any different to them or superior to them.
  • All employees must be conscious of and open to the idea that they may be required to deviate from the norm at some point during their day or week.

Being flexible as an employee makes for a valuable employee because they understand that as part of the team, they may have to do something that they may not normally do.

Your job as owner or manager is to ingrain this culture into your daily and weekly function. This is best use of your time, rather than fire fighting and dealing with daily and weekly cat fights.

This is underpinned with a good employee handbook, a clear job description for all and a HR system that works.

If you would like to discuss your company structure, give me a call today on 087 222 0720

 

 

Who is responsible for sales in your company?

Every business relies on sales to survive. Whether your business depends on existing customers or you are out looking for new ones, sales are the lifeblood of any business. And while there may not be the same fanfare when an existing customer buy some more, they are equally important.

The challenge in many small businesses is that there is not enough focus on sales:

  1. There is no one responsible for driving sales at the right margin
  2. There is little or no measurement on sales activity
  3. There is no sales plan for the business
  4. There is an over – reliance on existing customers for sales
  5. There is a raft of negative beliefs about sales amongst the entire team.

The vast majority of businesses deliver a product or service which enhances the lives of their customers, either they solve a problem for the customer, they make their lives easier, they fulfill a need or want.

So why the lack of focus?

  1. Is it lack of knowledge?
  2. Is it lack of experience?
  3. Is it a belief that we should not have to sell and that the customers should just buy from us because we are here?

As an ActionCOACH, we spend time helping clients to improve their sales process, to help them focus on driving sales (profitable ones) and to ensure that they know why they are getting the results that they are getting.

If you would like to analyse your sales process, please contact me today on 087 222 0720

 

Are you hibernating for the Summer?

By now, you will have experienced the all too regular response from prospective customers… “Call me back after the summer holidays”. With this response you are effectively being told not to call back until September. That’s 3 months away.

Are you pushing back deals until after the summer or have you decided yourself that no business is conducted during the summer so you have given up marketing?

Yes, it can be more difficult to connect with business owners in the summer, and yes, sometime decisions are deferred to a later date. But this is not true for everyone.

Here are a few tips to avoid complete hibernation for your business:

1. Plan your summer sales and marketing activity. Focus on the results that you need to get and then establish the level of activity required to achieve this. On the basis that some people may be on 1 week or 2 weeks holiday, your own activity levels may need to increase slightly to combat this. Communicate this to your team.

2. Target customers who are not as tied to the summer holidays. Most parents of school going age children will take their holidays between July and August. Many other people avoid these times because they can, and because they can get better deals outside peak times.

3. Spend more time if you have it testing and measuring marketing. The world of marketing for new customers is changing all the time. There are new strategies that really work. How is your marketing working right now and how much are you spending per lead.

4. Ensure that all prospective leads are being followed up. They already know of your existence. Having the deadline of a holiday can be a good time to get a decision. Whether the decision is a yes or a no – at least you know and you are not deluding yourself.

The three months of summer can be very profitable for you and your business, if used correctly – start planning today and reap the results in the Autumn.

 

 

Your business RESULTS reflect your MINDSET

I meet a lot of business owners. Many of them are from very similar businesses, operating in the same markets, in the same business environment. But their results vary wildly.

When we question the results, we get a vast array of reasons and excuses.

The business that are struggling generally focus on external factors or factors that do not involve the business owner. Things like the economy, the weather, the competition, the products, the price, the team that they have working (or not working) for them. Its is never about activity and results.

The business that are successful generally focus on understanding their business, planning for success, understanding leverage, understanding how to differentiate, understanding how to make tough decisions about team, about customers and about products. They understand and act on what is good for the business in the short medium and long term, they have a plan and they stick to the plan. They understand about ownership and accountability and most importantly, they understand about leverage and leadership. They also take massive action.

So if this is so obvious, why does everyone not do the same?

Is it because we are conditioned for instant gratification, for immediate results. Do we not understand about growing a business, how it needs structure and a plan. Do we not understand about how to hire and manage the best people.

Being in business is a long term play, it is very difficult to work a long term play when everything you do is based on immediacy and short term results. It is very difficult to build a long term business when there is no foundation in place. It is even harder to sell a business that has survived for a long time with no structure – it has no value.

Business Success starts in your mind, it needs to be developed and it needs time to develop. Are you working on this?

As a business coach, I work with client who want to build their business properly.

If you have a business that works, but only with enormous effort from you, we probably need to talk.

My direct line is 087 222 0270

 

 

Employers – Protect Yourself Today

No Contract of Employment – No Defence

No Employee Handbook – No Defence

No Job Description – No Defence

When there is harmony in the workplace and everyone is working towards a common objective, no one ever thinks of contracts, job descriptions and employee handbooks. There is no need to because everyone is properly aligned.

But things can and do change. External circumstances/influences can cause employees to becomes less satisfied at work, or less focused on their work. Changes internally in the organisation can lead employees to feel less valued and may cause them to questions their position.

Sometimes you get employees who are competent in their roles but simply not committed to the company or their fellow team members. When a conversation about poor performance does not seem to work and the situation seems to be deteriorating with no party willing to find a resolution, you have to look at all your options.

You have very few options when you do not have the infrastructure in place that will allow clarification of role, clarification of rules and clarity on the process that can and must take place to rectify the situation.

What percentage of your team are working below par?

Do you have team members whose performance you need to question?

Have you been avoiding addressing team issues because you have no infrastructure?

What is this costing you and your business?

What do your other employees think about you when they see you not addressing poor performance?

Do you think this may have an impact on their performance?

Time to take action. Call me today to schedule a review on your employment infrastructure.

You had me at hello!

People will judge you within a few seconds of meeting you. It’s primarily a subconscious thing.

If you are in business, it is very important that you make a good first impression because it increases your chances of doing business, it increase your chances of a profitable transaction, it rewards your marketing activity and it makes it easier for the customer to recommend you to someone else.

“you never have to recover from a good first impression”

While first impressions are created when you meet someone, they are also created:

  1. When one of your team meets a prospective customer on your behalf
  2. When one of your prospective customer reads something about you in a newspaper
  3. When you post something on social media
  4. When a customer walks into your premises and takes a look around
  5. When a customer calls your business on the phone or takes a look at your website.
  6. How you respond to an enquiry from a customer and how quickly you respond.

You have a huge amount of control over all these experiences. Each of these experiences really costs very little to be perfect, to give you a head start and to give you the edge in business.

So why is it then, that people do not take enough care when creating the good first impression?

Sometimes you may need an independent assessment of your first impression. Be open to the feedback, be open to the fact that you may need to make changes and you may need to also look in the mirror and make some changes there.

If you have a team and you receive feedback that your first impression (or whole service) may not be up to speed, then collectively you can work on this.

We work with clients every day on how to define and implement a customer experience that they can be proud of, a customer experience that will help them make more sales, a customer experience that will drive down your customer acquisition cost and greatly improve the return you get for your marketing spend.

Contact me today to discuss your first impression – or contact me with some feedback on mine..

What happens when a customer walks in…

Believe it or not, we are creatures of habit who dislike change, love consistency and crave security.

Knowing this, why do we not focus on delivering these things to our customers. If you asked the same customer to contact each team member you have and conduct a transaction with them, the results would shock you.

Some team members would be very good, others great, other brilliant, others not so good. And sometimes, this is where the problem lies. It’s not that any team member wants to deliver a poor service, its that the service being delivered by different team members is in-consistent and because of this, customers become fearful – to the point that they elsewhere for consistency.

I often meet business owners who believe that everyone of their customers needs to see them. Its not because they are btter, its not because they are liked any more than any of the team members, it is because, the customer knows that the consistency will be there.

As a business owner, you must spend sometime developing and improving the consistency that you can deliver on a continuous basis, irrespective of whether you are there or not.

It’s a straightforward exercise and it is one that can be conducted with the entire team.

We call it the Ideal Customer Experience.

We simply establish the following:

1. What should we always do and say when a customer contacts our business.

2. What should we never do or say when a customer contacts our business.

3. What do we always and never do when something goes wrong in our business

4. How to we keep the level of service consistent between the team members.

If your team understand the importance of consistency and they understand that they can play a major role in developing it, they will contribute to its success.