Setting Expectations for New Team Members

We are entering a time in Ireland where it is getting trickier to find the right people. The Welcome Aboard Handwritten With Chalk On A Blackboardentry level jobs are harder to fill. Correction – they are easy to fill, but not so easy to fill with a candidate that is right for the role.

Employers are fearful that if they take on new team members, they will leave as soon as the going gets tough or the first minute they have a challenge in their role.

Employers are reluctant to invest time and money into new starters for this very reason.

From an SME business standpoint, this is easy to understand. Taking on an extra team member when you have less than 10 or 15 staff is a big job. There is massive disruption to the team, the dynamic in the business changes, time is invested in ensuring that the new team member settles in well gets on in the business.

What many SME business owners fail to to is to clearly articulate their expectations to their new team members.

Even when they do, they do not check the level of understanding of those expectations.

We have experienced, time and again that the best way to induct a new employee into an SME business is as follows:

1. Slow down the recruitment process and meet more than 5 potential candidates for the role. Meet the prospective ones more than 2 or 3 times and get other members of the team to meet them as well. Remember you will be paying them from the minute they accept the job. At this point it is only costing you time.

If you feel that a candidate is not suitable for a position that you have, do them a favour and do not hire them.

2. Use profiling tools like DISC to help assess character dynamics and skills.

3. When the successful candidate starts, take the time to position the role correctly in the following ways:

  • What your expectations of them will be in one month, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year
  • What level of training they can expect to receive
  • How they will be managed throughout the year and how the feedback will be given to them
  • What they need to do if they have a problem of if they need help
  • Establish what their career aspirations are and agree how, if at all, the role can help them on their journey.
  • Agree with them that you will give them constructive feedback
  • Clarify the culture of the business, what we always do, what we never do.

4. Meet with them on a regular basis and review progress.

5. Over-communicate with them.

The investment in a new team member is an investment of time and money. Investing using only one element is a recipe for disaster.

If you would like help in selecting excellent team members for your business, contact me today.


The difference between value and price…

Business owners continue to be challenged to reduce their prices and in many cases reduce their margin. When the product you are selling is not a commodity, it is your responsibility

So actually what is this value, how would you define this concept?

The Value Formula: Value = Benefits – Cost

Please note this down somewhere prominent and when a member of your team asks you if they can discount – point this out to them.

As a business owner, it is important for you to add VALUE for your customers.

You can achieve this by reducing the cost or you rcan do it even more by increasing the benefits that they will get. Either way, the value for the customer increases.

Reducing the Price is the QUICK Fix and you will find yourself repeating it time and again.

Increasing the Benefits needs to be learned, taught and understood but once it happens it will actually benefit your for ever because your team will understand.

The price is what your customer will pay, the value is the benefit that they derive from the product. There are benefits associated with the buying process, the peace of mind associated with doing business with you, the follow up or after sales. there are a number of ways that you can add value.

When you reduce the price for the customer, you do improve the value they get in the immediate short term, BUT you greatly reduce your own ability to build value into that customer in the long term. Coupled with the fact that the customer is of less value to you. You reduce your ability to nurture and look after them as well because you have less profit in your business. DO you really think they want that – especially if there was an opportunity for you to add real value.

People remember the value and experience the benefits of a product long after they forget how much they have paid for an item.

If you would like to find out more about improving the margins in your business, hit reply and request a free assessment.





I would be quicker doing it myself…

If you, as a manager or as a business owner ever find yourself say, “I would be quicker "  A Chain Is No Stronger Than Its Weakest Link " Written On A Bdoing it myself”, you have a problem on your hands.

Either you are not good at delegating, you are not prepared to take the time to train your team, you do not trust your team or you simply have the wrong team.

While “doing it yourself” may be the only option available to you in the moment, the problem will remain with you forever, unless you decide to resolve the problem.

Thinking that “you would be quicker doing it yourself” will lead to the following:

1. You being caught up endlessly in the “busyness” of business.

2. An ineffective team that get no satisfaction from working in your business.

3. Sluggish business growth restricted by your “busyness”

4. Poor customer service – Good while you are there but disengaged when you are not there.

5. Burnout for you.

So whats the answer?

It’s simple. If you want to grow and develop a business that can work without you, you will need to invest some of your time and some of your effort creating systems within your business.

Once the systems are created, you will need to train the team on how to use the system

If the system works properly, there should not be any reason why 80% of the tasks in the business can be completed by people other than you.

Most business owners will not take the time to create a systemised business. This is a shame as the business cannot grow beyond their own capability and the number of hours in the day.

The word SYSTEM is an Acronym for:

Saving You, Stress, Time, Energy and Money

In theory, all business owners want all of the above.

I have a list of systems required by every business. I have examples of systems that work in businesses that I have coached over the past 12 years.

If you would like a copy of the list or to see some examples, email me and I will rush them to you.



Quitting on change is not an option…

As a general rule, people do not like change. Even if the outcomes of change will mean improved job satisfaction, better quality of life and in some instances, more money.

It’s like world peace – everybody is in favour of it but very few want to start the journey to make it a reality.

Coaching is about helping people through the change process. It is about helping people to define “world peace” in their business and then identifying the steps that are needed to achieve it.

Often, the journey starts with fire fighting, addressing daily and weekly challenges and helping clients to deal with them in a different way, so that they do not repeat.

Changing your team starts with changing yourself…

The single biggest challenge that business owners have is getting the most from the team. Its also the area that they avoid the most. Its also the area that they spend the least amount of time learning about and developing. Its also the single biggest expense they have in their business each week. It’s baffling.

for many business owners, it’s like they have a really expensive audience. The business owner is flat out and the team are working away but not necessarily lightening the load for the business owner. This is not their fault – More often than not, the business owner has not take the time to explain what he expects of them and taken the time to instruct them correctly.

Helping business owners to change from being the “reactive, “busy”, “up the Walls” type of person, to the one that is leveraged, forward thinking, decisive and people orientated takes discipline. The results are that you have leveraged results. Your entire team working on a common goal. This can only be good for the business.

Further leverage can be achieved by giving them supportive feedback and recognising their efforts. Again – this is not easy to do if you have never done it before.

The best place to start is to analyse how you actually spend you time every day. Being busy or productive?

Contact me if you want to effectively measure how effective you really are….

In a sales slump? Look back at your activity.

If you own or run a business or sales team, you will be familiar with the daily requirement to generate new leads, create new business opportunities and start new relationships.

An important determinant to your success will be your level of consistent prospecting Moving Through the Sales Funnel words on gears with customers waactivity. Don’t measure your productivity (your sales success), measure your activity on a daily basis and every day, the number of quality activities that you do will determine you success.

With the development of online tools such as email and online tools such as Linkedin it is much easier to get a message to your prospects. Having said that, its much easier for your competition to do it as well, and they will, incessantly.

To be successful in sales, irrespective of your product, your prospecting habits must stand up to the scrutiny they will receive on a weekly and monthly basis.

Word of mouth and referral based lead generation usually gives the highest quality leads with an above average conversion rate and in many cases an above average sale value.

If you are not getting referrals from existing clients or if your word of mouth business is not good, this is a good place to start. Are you adding enough value to your client. Do you deliver consistently.

Past customers and even existing customers are also worth considering, they have already purchased from you so if you have delivered for them, they will more than likely purchase from your again.

What businesses do from here can vary, from networking to telemarketing, to bold calling, to email list and email marketing.

The most important things for any business owner is to do everything on a consistent basis and ensure that you are looking for ways to leverage yourself in the process so that you are there to deal with the warm prospects.

Business owners and sales people can get caught in the nitty gritty of the process and sometimes relax on the follow up and relationship building which is where the real money is.

Marketing, Sales and business development is the most important part of any business. Would yours pass the consistency and sustained effort test.

Stop costing your business money – contact me today on 087 222 0720 and we can carry out the test and identify improvement potential immediately.

Too Busy! Where does your time go?

Have you ever completed a grueling week in your business, felt exhausted at the end of the week but had no financial gain to show for all your efforts?

Do you often find yourself doing tasks in your business that you could have, and shouldToo-busy22 have delegated properly to a team member, or outsourced to another party?

Do you work more hours in your business than anyone else?

If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions then you need to stop and assess yourself and your business.

You could be costing your business a fortune.

I recently asked a client to do a time study because he seemed to always be very busy but had very little to show for his efforts. His debtors were running at a quarter of his turnover, he was falling behind in his payments to suppliers. He was not getting to all customer enquiries and as a result was losing business to inferior competitors. While he worked in a price sensitive business, being on time and being in a position to do the work would give you an additional 5% margin.

When we analysed his time – the results were staggering:

  • He worked 90 hours over 10 consecutive days.
  • He spend 40 hours managing deliveries, loading and unloading, organising the warehouse, etc.
  • He spent 10 hours on deliveries, driving the van and also on collection from suppliers.
  • He spent about 4 hours on sales and dealing with customers
  • He spent 10 hours sorting out issues that his team handed to him, from pricing to customer complaints.
  • He spent 2 hours on the financial aspects of his business
  • He spent 1 hour collecting money
  • The rest of the time was spent on trivial tasks/
  • He did not meet his team at all

This man’s business was in trouble. It was in trouble because he had not delegated and he had not introduced any accountability to the team. He did not like confrontation and he felt that it would always be quicker if he did it himself.

I worked with this client on hiring one team member to do all the warehouse, stock and deliveries. We introduced proper roles for all the team and carried out some training and reporting. We focused more effort on credit control collecting about 70k additional in 6 weeks. We also went to work on selling, converting more enquiries in less time.

If your business is not performing well because your your inability to manage yourself, call me today on 087 222 0720

until next time…



Cash Strapped Business? 6 Tips…

Being in business can be frustrating. You seem to be making good sales, you seem to have the right margins and you seem to be growing but you are broke and the business is in danger of imploding. Equally, your business may be going through a little bit of a lull and you are short of cash. 5 tips on improving your cashflow…

1. Do an immediate stock take and identify any stock that simply is not selling. It is fastcashimportant to turn this back to cash as quickly as possible, even if you have to sell at cost or below. Buy in product that will sell and use the money to repeat the process. People tend to hold on to underperforming stock as if they were emotionally attached. Cut the cord and realise the cash…

2. Do a price review – there may be some items where you can achieve a higher margin – Higher margin means more cash available to run the business. many people are afraid of this tactic but just because you buy well, should not mean that all the benefit is passed on.

3. Brief analysis of costs – some cost items tend to fluctuate in price or are negotiable – do a quick calculation on where costs can be saved. Recently we did this with a client whose monthly costs were 32000. Within 20 minutes we had identified savings of 2500, without touching wages or impacting on customer service. This can be the difference between profit and loss, survival or failure.

4. Settlement deals. Some suppliers may be prepared to do settlement deal if you can get the money together. Discounts can be achieved if you ask. They may need the cash injection as well so approach them. You have nothing to lose.

5. Review your opening hours – it may be that business is passing you by or it may be that you are opening when there is no business to be had. Again, small savings or small increases can be achieved – worth a quick review.

6. Most importantly – train your team on sales – so many businesses are leaving business behind because they do not help the customer when they enter the business. There are many strategies that can be taught in this area. start today.

for more cash strategies and quick wins in you business, cal me on 087 222 0720





Need a Business Plan that rocks!

Recently some clients and non clients have come to me with ideas for a new businesses. new manager challenging teamSome are brilliant, some less so. One thing I recommend to all prospective entrepreneurs is that they go through a business planning process. To your average Entrepreneur, this can sound like a pain worse than death. After all, the idea is burning brightly in their heads, its all they can think about, they are consumed by it, they have thought it through and can see no downside – it’s like being in love for the first time.

So my suggestion of a business plan is like bringing your mother along on your first date with the love of your life – questioning your every move, looking over your shoulder, admonishing you for every wrong move, not liking your date because they are fearful for you. But they only want the best for you – same as a business plan. Enough of the analogy…

Here’s why you need to take the time to do the plan – And I mean a proper plan where you will test all your business acumen, where you will have to think things through and where your judgement will be questions.

1. If you go through the plan properly, you will be asked to cover all the eventualities in the business. You may not have all the answers, but they will be highlighted to you.

2. You will be forced to think long term – 1,3 and 5 year because that’s what being in business is all about

3. You will be forced to think of the people you will need, the skills you require and the source of these skills.

4. This is a business, so you will be forced to look at the financials. If they do not make sense at this stage, they will not make sense when you have sunk all your money into the project.

5. You will be forced to think of your target market – who will buy your product and will they buy it again and again.

6. you will be forced to think of your marketing strategy. getting a new business off the ground, be it global, national or local, requires a strategy and it requires a continuous commitment. Who will do this and what will you pay for the privilege .

Any time you spend on your plan will be time well spent. Yes it may cost you some money but it will cost you loads more if you do not know where you are going.

Take the first step today and give me a call on 087 222 0720 – for a business plan that Rocks



Promote from within or recruit new talent?

You are faced with a challenge. A vacancy has occurred on your team. An important role, promote-or-hirecritical to the success of your business. Looking around, there is no candidate expressing an interest in the role, nor can you see anyone that you think would fit the bill.

So do you immediately recruit from outside?

Or do you decide to take a good look at your organisation and re-evaluate your skills requirement?

Both choices have merit and both choices carry risks.

Avoid a knee jery reaction about how the business will manage in the next week.

Your decision needs to be formed based on whats best for the business in the long term. And your decision needs to be based on the skills and attributes required for the future rather than older skills being repeated.

Is the business currently headed in the right direction or does it need to be steered differently?

Is the business growing at the right pace or does it need an external injection?

What skills do you have within the company that are transferable?

How would the rest of the team feel if you recruit externally? Maybe the job had been coveted quietly by many for a while and maybe they would also like to apply for the role?

This is a time in the business for true leadership and clarity of vision. the decision you make will have an immediate an long lasting impact.

If you do happen to make a decision that is proven wrong, correct it immediately by making another decision – don’t protect it at a cost to the business – correct it.

The correct decision, based on what is best for the business in the long term, best for the future of the entire team and best for you financially will be easy to articulate and will make sense once properly thought out. Take the time to weigh all the options.

Generally we encourage promotion from within. You know what you are getting. Other team members will be motivated by it, you can demand results faster and there is more commitment immediately.

University studies also suggest that employers give much easier appraisals to new joiners for up to 2 years after they join a company. That’s a long time to wait in my opinion.

Helping business owners to get the right team on the bus is part of what we do as business growth specialists. Call us now for a discussion about your business requirements. 087 222 0270


Setting up a New Business or Buying an Existing?

Its a bit like buying a house or building your own?

Usually emotions take over and decisions are made for the wrong reasons.pros-and-cons-resize

With the failure rates for start up businesses running very high in Ireland, why do more people not try and buy and existing business? Is it that there are none for sale? Are sellers looking for too much? is there no way to value a business properly?

My own advice to anyone looking at getting started is to always consider buying first without emotion.

Here is an example:

Day 1. You decide to set up your business, you invest in your idea development, sourcing of premises, research into the market, looking for staff, looking at marketing, testing your products, focus groups, PR, sales plans, budgets, forecasts for banks, Business Plans from scratch etc…

Day 90 – Open your doors – 0 Customers, loads of good will, loads of energy, loads of passion for the business.

Day 97 – 1 week down, new customers arrive, products sold, very positive about the future and getting good response from customers. Everyone busy. Not breaking even yet.

Day 180 – just about breaking evening with running costs, no salary taken yet, things looking up but tougher than expected.

Starting a business from scratch has challenges and costs. Know them before you start.

Consider the alternative.

Day 1 you want to start a business – you look at who else is doing a similar job or who else has the same customers as you would like.

Day 7 – research all the possible businesses that could be bought and prepare a plan to approach them

Look for ones where the business is struggling because of poor team, service or leadership but located well.

Look out for one where the owner seems to want out or where the owner is not present.

Ask if you can work for them. You will soon see the ups and downs, the opportunities and threats that exist in a business like this, you will experience the seasonality.

You will get to understand what the business might be worth.

You have not spent any money at this stage but you have invested in your education.

Seek out advice from people that can help you. Starting your own business venture does not have to mean starting from scratch, neither does it have to mean starting alone.

This is the time to make good decisions – not when you have spent a fortune.