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.

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


7 Skills Required for Business

Here are 7 skills/competencies that can really help you with your business.

1. Financial Acumen – Running any business involves money. Love it or hate it, a business is about generating sales, paying suppliers and investing or using the profits. In business it is very important to understand terms like: Margin, Markup, Gross Profit, Net Profit, Cost buffetof Goods, Carriage, Creditor Days, Debtor Days, Interest rates. Unless you take the time to understand these metrics, they will cost you money because you will not ask the right questions. No one cares about your money as much as you should do.

2. Marketing Skills – Marketing involve communication of your message about your product or service, It has to be compelling enough for a potential customer to be interested in it. But marketing goes far wider and deeper than a product – it needs to reflect you and the company as well. Every time a communication is delivered from you or your company, that’s marketing. It evolves all the time. Learn it and embrace it.

3. Sales Skills – Sales are the most important thing in any business, but for most they get the least amount of attention. Most business owner and their teams never receive any formal sales training, yet their business depends on sales for its success. Rather than saying – “yeah, yeah, I know how to sell” – simply say “I can sell, but how good am I at selling”, then go and read a book about selling in your industry. Good sales skills are critical to your success.

4. Networking Skills – Its not about who you know, its about who knows you – old adage – always true. And if you are known – what are you known for – All the right things I hope – Are you the “go to” person in your industry, in your area. Are you an expert? When networking do you look to get or give? It should be give – thats how networking works –

5. Purchasing Skills – making a margin and a profit are 2 of the fundamentals of business. Good buying will allow much higher profits and margins and the customer can also win. Learning how to negotiate on purchasing is a key skill. Knowing your marketplace, knowing your sources, having alternative sources, knowing what your competitors are buying – being able to say “NO”, getting FREE carriage.

6. Pricing Skills – The obsession with cheap often leads people to think that every person knows the price of everything and that they will only buy based on price – this is not true – Price is only a minor factor in the buying decision and it is important to price with this in mind. Being cheap will break your business and attract the worst type of client – price only driven, no loyalty, no appreciation of service, no appreciation of convenience, no appreciation of aftersales service.

7. Customer Service – Again, often neglected – but people will return because of the service they get. Again too many people receive no service training, not even a good induction. A consistent approach to excellent service will deliver more profits than any marketing campaign that you undertake.

We work with our clients every day on the above skills – If you would like a FREE business review – get in touch today – 087 222 0720.

They know how – but they do not do it!

When the team don’t do what they have been asked

“I have told them a thousand times and they all claim they know what I want and they all nod in agreement” claimed a client recently “and they they go and do something completely different.”

My client was nearing the end of his tether. He was frustrated because he had taken the leadership-quote1time to communicate the message to the team. He has taken the management team aside for a day and had spent the day instilling his vision and mission. They had all finished the day espousing how much they believed in and “got” the message.

But the message was not communicated and there was no way that it would reach every team member in the business and most importantly the team at the coal face of the business. So it was highly probable that the customers in the business would not experience any change. And thats exactly what happened.

So what to do about this dilemma?

We suggested a few things:

1. Communication of the message via more than one medium

2. Challenging the managers and their teams on a more regular basis to check delivery and adherence to message

3. Spot checking and random assessments

4. Getting feedback from team members about what the message means to them and how it would help them personally.

he is implementing these over the next few weeks.

An important feature when it comes to change is that it can take quite a while to fully embrace change and see that it can enable a business to work better. the lure of “how it used to be” is always there.

It can take a few months fully fully learn.

It is also important that the new changes enable team members to live in some correlation to their own values – otherwise change will never stick for long.

It is also important that the team members understand why changes are being made.

Want to be a better leader – speak to Derek O’Dwyer – Business Growth Specialist – 087 222 0720



Business needs to change but team won’t engage

It is said that the only constant in life is CHANGE. Yet most people avoid it, shun it, deny that it is necessary in the first place.

Every team meeting is full of ideas on what the business needs to do to grow and prosper. work-for-changeHOWEVER, the instant that the change affects the individual team member, we get resistance, push back, obstinate behaviour, delaying tactics and in some cases in-subordination.

Very often, the main driver behind this reluctance to change is FEAR, very often it is COMFORT ZONE.

Getting team members to understand and embrace change is an important aspect of good leadership. Encouraging discussion on why things have to change is also good, but only if everyone shares the common goal of the business and understands what the long term perspective is.

Businesses have to be adept at changing in 2013. They have to make decision fact, they have to react to changes in their environment fast because it is important that the business survives.

Behaving as a CHANGE BLOCKER is one of the fastest ways to alienate yourself in a company. In implies that you do not want to do whats best for the business, whats best for the team and very often whats best for the customers. It implies that you have stopped learning and growing as a person and have made the decision that the present is as good as it gets. This viewpoint does not help business development and growth.

The world around us is changing rapidly – Smartphones did not exist 6 years ago, YouTube did not exist 7 years ago. Google did not exist 15 years ago. Yet we want life to be the same in our business, in our office. No – be open to change, be open to embracing new things and you will be an invaluable asset to any business.


Confusing assertive, over confidence or arrogance at work

Have you ever been accused of being arrogant? or Over Confident? How did you feel about it? Did you feel that you were just being assertive in your position? Its a common problem and if not dealt with can lead to problems in your managerial career, ones that will eventually cause your advancement to be limited.

Good leadership is all about the ability to lead people in a particular direction, in pursuit of a particular objective, within a particular time frame  An assertive person will have a very clear vision of where he wants to go, he will also understand the team he is leading and he will tailor his communication and leadership around the needs of his team. His communication will be inclusive but focused and clear. They will involve their team but will guide the discussion to prevent the objectives being sidetracked.

The overconfident leader will sweep everyone along in a haze of enthusiasm and this will work well while everything is going right. Once they hit a bump, the will lost their team because they have been more focused on themselves than on the whole team they are responsible for leading.

The arrogant leader will issue the orders with no opportunity for discussion. Their belief in bigstock-Big-businessman-crushing-a-sma-33796280their own superiority or their unwillingness to show any weakness because of their own insecurity will prevent them from listening or engaging in any conversation. This situation is further exacerbated when something goes wrong. The arrogant leader will rarely accept any responsibility for any wrong decision, they will blame their inferiors or make other excuses. And this can be very disconcerting and disheartening for team members.

In most cases, it is mis-communication, what is said vs what is heard, how something is said vs how that same thing is interpreted.

Dealing with an arrogant leader, at whatever level in the organisation can be very challenging. There is always the option of going to management if that option exists. If you are being forced to deal with it on your own, its important to realise that the arrogance can be a mask for insecurity, or lack of knowledge or lack of ability. It can stem from the person being in a position of authority without having eared the right so they cover their lack of experience with arrogance rather than learning how to be the person they need to be.

It can also stem from the title or profession assumed by that person and they may be using this title for more than it was intended. This is often evident in professional services businesses or businesses where the principal has achieved a higher level of educational qualification without receiving the same level of people and business management skills required.

If you are faced with any of these situations take the first step and call me…

Train your team in sales – It pays off

Have you ever considered the cost of missed sales opportunities to your business? Now add to this the cost of advertising for all those prospects that you did not convert. Now multiply this by the number of years you are in business. How much opportunity have you and your team missed.

We call this your conversion rate. Very simply, out of every 100 prospects, browsers, quotes issued – how many do you turn into customers of your business.

Whatever the number is, there is an opportunity to improve and increase it and thereby increasing your turnover and profit. In many cases this can be done without even spending one cent.

Here are a few suggestions on how to improve your conversion rate:

1. Measure your conversion rate. believe it or not, simply measuring will make you and your team more attentive and your sales figures will increase. Measurement can be done in a number of ways depending on what business you are in but remember this – everything is measurable and no excuse is acceptable.

2. Write sales scripts – Again a very simple way to improve your sales. Write out what you would like your team to say and get some consistency in their approach to customers. Some words used in sales are a turn off for customers, some motivate them to buy. Identify the ones that work and dont work and encourage all your team to follow suit.

3. Role play – either on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, carry out role play training with your team and get others to listen and observe. OK its all staged but it gets people thinking and it takes them outside their comfort zone – they will sell more out their comfort zone.

It is also a good idea to record role plays and replay them for team members. They will learn from them and their sales will improve.

4. Provide feedback for the team. No sales person or customer service person worth their salt will like to see customers leave without buying. As part of the process, make it acceptable to give constructive feedback on anyone’s sales techniques. With their permission, you can listen, observe and give feedback to them and their sales will improve.

5. Challenge beliefs – people lover to buy but they hate to be sold to. What are you and your team doing? Selling or professionally helping people to buy. There is a huge difference and when you and your team start to see what their role really is, their attitude and approach to customers will change and your conversion rate will improve as well.

Need a conversion rate improvement? Get in touch today…

Applying for Jobs – Getting Past Stage 1

Over the past 6 months, I have been involved in the recruitment of about 10 people. This is very positive as most people were filling new posts.

I usually just use FAS.ie as my advertising medium and receive up to 100 applications. This requires a lot of work so naturally, I am looking for ways to deselect candidates and have to be ruthless as follows:

1. When there is no greeting or cover note accompanying the CV – I just delete it.

2. When there is no reference to what job they are applying for – I dont rate them highly

3. When there are references to other jobs they have applied for and it is quite simply a copy and paste job with different colours and fonts – I dont rate highly.

4. When they fail to give their attached CV a relevan name – Best option is to call it “your own name” cv. doc. Receiving latestcv.doc 50 times means that I have to rename and re-save – easier to delete

5. Spelling and Grammer mistakes plus txt language is not appropriate on application

6. Screening calls or not answering your mobile when on the hunt for jobs is crazy – you are either looking for a job or not.

7. Not replying to emails in a timely manner will affect your chances.

8. Mis-spellings in the CV

9. Badly prepared CV with irrelevant information – I’m not bothered that you did a manual handling course in 1981! Keep it current.

These are just the reasons why you will not stand a chance for first interview – and you have full control of this.

Its tough out there – but don’t make it tougher on yourself….