If you don’t know how to create high performing teams then managing a staff will quickly feel like a burden and drain your time, energy and money. But, the alternative is just not acceptable either.
You don’t want to resort to wearing all the hats in your business or you’ll quickly burn out and so will your sales. Trying to grow your business all by yourself is definitely the LONG, SLOW way to go. Even if you are running a solo practice you’ll grow your business much faster with a small team of just you and one other person.
When you create high performing teams you no longer have to “babysit” your staff or waste precious hours each week chasing after them to meet deadlines.
If you want to know the secret to creating high performing teams — onsite employees or a virtual team, then don’t miss this week’s Q&A episode.
This might sounds like a simple question, but it is definitely not a one answer solution.
In this week’s Q&A episode you’ll discover:
* Strategies for holding your virtual assistant (and onsite team) accountable, so you don’t have to constantly follow up with them. * How to build team morale even when everyone is living thousands of miles away from each other. * Plus! I have a special free 11-point checklist you can download to help you create your very own high performing team!
Click the audio or video below.
Then, be sure to share your questions and comments below. I’d love to know what your biggest challenges are when it comes to managing your team.
PS. Ok, I gotta tell you … I am loving recording these Q&A episodes for you!
This feels so much more interactive for me to hear your questions directly from your voice messages. The feedback I’ve gotten so far is that you love being able to listen on the go. And, many of you shared you like that I do a much deeper dive on the audio than I can typically cover in a text only blog.
I have to say, it’s definitely a win-win because these audio and video sessions are so much faster for me to record than writing everything out on a regular blog. (Believe it or not, I am a painfully slow writer!)
So, as long as you guys keep sending me questions I will keep sending you the mini lessons through the audio blog and vlog format.
Recruiting the right talent is critical for business owners to quickly scale your business growth.
So, how do you go about finding top talent?
Many companies are trimming down on payroll in an effort to run leaner. But, staffing decisions affect both budget and revenues. While high turnover certainly bleeds resources, low turnover can also inhibit a company’s growth if that staff has gone stale. Seniority should not win over stagnant.
In either case, recruiting the right talent will be vital to survive tough economic times and to thrive in years to come. Although more people are out looking for work today, business owners will still have to compete to attract and recruit top level talent.
As a business owner, one of the most important things that you always need to think about is making your business profitable. Of course, an exciting goal for any entrepreneur is to double your business. Here are four tips that I have used to help me double my own business 4 years in a row. These same tips have helped many of my clients like Jack Wilson who doubled his business in just 6 months.
1. Refine your business model.
You need to have clear formula for how you will double your business. Be very clear what your business model is and exactly what numbers you need to achieve your goal. Sure, you can double your business if you simply double your fees or double the number of customers you have, but these are actually the two hardest ways to go about achieving that.
When I work with entrepreneurs on their business models, the answer typically lies in diversifying the revenue model. In essence, it’s about creating more ways at different price points for people to do business with you. Think of your business like a retail store. The more entry doors you have, the more people you can have flowing into your store.
2. Clarify what drives you
What is your single, motivating purpose behind why you do what you do? Articulate that purpose in a short, simple message you can use to remind yourself of your true calling. Every entrepreneur has the same basic needs of course, to pay the bills. But, money only fuels a short drive. If you want to double your business and create a company built to last for the long run, tap into what is the single purpose that’s driving your business. Motivation can move mountains.
3. Write down a plan
Let’s say you are an occasional runner and you decide your goal is to run in a marathon that’s coming up in 12 months. In order to transition from being hobby runner to becoming a marathon runner, most people would hire a trainer. Professional trainers would never leave your sessions without giving you a written plan for what exercises they want you to commit to doing in between sessions.
Doubling your business is no different. It’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to double your business from trying flavor of the month approach when you feel like it. Be very specific and write down your plan in advance things like:
Which marketing tactics will you implement?
What will your freebie offers be?
How often will you execute?
How much will you budget?
What will your call to actions be?
4. Find the best support
If have never climbed a mountain before and you trek out alone, you’re bound to learn a lot of things the hard way and suffer a ton of pain in the process. If you want to go slow; go it alone.
If you want to go far; get support.
Trying to double your business is no different. Finding a mentor gives you the guidance to be well prepared. Be sure to choose a mentor who has climbed that mountain before. The right mentor can help you avoid costly, painful mistakes and help you get to the top of your business much faster!
Are you looking for expert guidance to help you grow your business faster?
*This article was originally published in Lowe’s for Pros
A brand is a major differentiator among small business owners in the same industry—it’s a way consumers and even competitors identify a business. But creating a solid brand strategy is no easy feat. In part one of a three part series, learn how you can brand your business for success.
For many small business owners in the building industry, pondering the launch of a brand can seem like an abstract concept—like examining a piece of modern art for the first time and having no clue as to what it’s supposed to be.
Maybe it’s puzzling because it’s supposed to look simple, but still convey the essence of your company. An effective brand represents a tidy mini-portrait of what you want your business to be. It should instantly convey a clear image that resonates with customers. It should even project an engaging personality that draws repeat business because of positive, associated experiences with you and your crews. In the end, your brand-launching strategy will impact everything from the way you train your employees to your marketing/advertising methods and the visual images that are stamped on your trucks.
Here are five simple steps small business owners in the construction industry should take when launching a brand:
1. Define who you are—and what you want your business to be. It’s not enough to identify yourself as a residential or commercial builder or re modeler, plumber, electrician, property manager or landscaper. Nor is it enough to say that you “specialize in remodeling upscale homes” in a particular region. Potential customers need to know what you can do for them—right now.
“You need to target a very specific type of customer—not just a market, but a market niche,” says Yoon Cannon, a Philadelphia-based business consultant. “You need to find the subsets within the subsets.”
So if you use your marketing materials to focus on that upscale, local market, push a message that highlights a winning niche. Maybe you’ll provide homeowners with gorgeous lawns and gardens—and chemical free. Or you provide counter tops that represent the latest and most elegant designs of any local kitchen-remodeling business. Or you’re the plumber who can install fixtures that will turn a drab bathroom into a luxury spa worthy of a five-star hotel. Whatever your niche is, run with it.
2. Learn everything you can about your competitors—then brand yourself as something else. You can’t launch a brand without researching first what your competitors are selling. Are they fixated on price? If so, you need to latch upon something other than price, like value or service. One way to get a sense of this is to go online and seek public forums where the levels of satisfaction and dissatisfaction with completed projects are discussed.
“Learn everything you can about other builders and associated industry support companies that serve your area,” Cannon says. “Know their philosophies, approach, strengths, weaknesses, brand positioning and marketing plans.” (Look for more about distinguishing your brand from competitors in next month’s Branding for Success Part 2: Differentiating Yourself.)
3. Create marketing/promotional materials to constantly reinforce your niche. Once you determine who you are, then you need to align this focused message in all of your marketing efforts, whether online, print, radio or television. Keep the message clean and streamlined. Also, come up with a logo that’s simple and memorable. If you need to hire a brand or marketing consultant to advise you on your logo or messaging, do it. Since this brand is intended to last forever, it should be a one-time fee.
“Ultimately, you need to nail down a message that explains in a few words why your business is the smartest solution,” says Cannon, whose business, Paramount Business Coach, provides service companies with branding, business management and sales training. Then make sure all company materials—from printed materials to the shirts your crews wear—convey these words and images. This extends to everything that’s associated with your business, even your email address. So rather than use generic free accounts provided by Internet companies, provide your employees with email addresses that use your company name as the domain.
4. Come up with a story. A business isn’t simply a collection of tools, trucks and buildings—there are people behind it. Perhaps there’s a compelling story about how your company came together. The easiest way to engage customers is to share that story, whether in your promotional materials or your Web site’s blog.
“Every business has a different story, a history and background,” says Caitlin Sharp, a consultant at Design Management Company, a business management firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York City and London that works with residential/commercial development companies, among other clients. “Use that to make your company stand apart from all the others. Bring that story into your message.”
5. Get employees’ buy-in. Your staff needs to get on board too, so train them on the proper way to convey your brand identity. After all, the way they approach customers, perform jobs and follow up all speak to your brand.
“Your brand identity needs to stay the same and be conveyed effectively, no matter what form you’re talking about,” Cannon says.
*This article was originally published in AARP – Life ReImagined
Word of mouth is an unbeatable career and business builder. Here’s how to max it out.
As a business coach, Yoon Cannon relies on word of mouth referrals to grow her venture. But she faces a tricky challenge: The nature of her service makes it awkward for clients to tell their connections about her. “It’s an odd thing to say, `I think you should hire a business coach,’” she observes.
Cannon has found a way around that. To market her firm, Paramount Business Coach in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, she posts a blog that covers interesting topics, like inexpensive marketing techniques and the traits of successful entrepreneurs. When she adds a new post, she shares it on LinkedIn, making it easy for her followers to pass the links along without suggesting the recipient needs help. Similarly, she sends her contacts links to information on free webinars she holds, which they, in turn, can pass along to their network.
“Those are things that make it easy for people to refer me,” says Cannon. “They’re not referring me as, `Hire Yoon to be your personal business coach.’”
Whether you’re trying to stand out as a small business owner or in a traditional corporate career, enthusiastic professional referrals are an important way to get an edge. Doing so is a much better way to express ideas by word of mouth than in the cold formality of print. In a recent study by Manta, an online social network for business owners, more than half of recipients said that, compared to meeting people at events or participating in social networking sites, customer referrals provided the biggest boost for their business. At the same time, in corporate America, more companies are turning to their staff for referrals to prospective employees, instead of relying only on outside sources like ads on job boards.
But as Cannon’s experience shows, getting referrals doesn’t happen by accident. You’ve got to understand how to make it easy for people in your network to refer you. And your timing and approach need to take into account what’s at stake for those who might refer you.
“When you give a referral, you give a little bit of your reputation away,” says Ivan Misner, PhD, founder and chairman of the global business networking group BNI (Business Network International). “People give relationships to people they know and trust.” And she points to the downside when things don’t work out down the line. “They understand that giving a referral can hurt their relationship with the party they are giving the referral to.” Here are 5 strategies for making yourself more referable.
Nurture relationships with customers and colleagues. The people who report the most success from their networking efforts focus on building relationships first and on doing business second, according to research by BNI, which helps members build referral networks.
That doesn’t mean wining and dining everyone around you. It’s a matter of building trust—and that comes from giving every client your highest level of service, or, if you have a corporate job, making sure you meet and exceed the expectations of your boss and colleagues consistently. “Networking is more about farming than hunting,” says Ivan Misner, Ph.D, BNI’s founder and chairman. “It’s about cultivating relationships with other business professionals.”
Those who are more “transactional” in their approach—trying to tap people they’ve just met for favors or new business–often find their approach less effective, according to BNI’s research. If you’ve ever had a great conversation with someone at a business conference and then gotten a phone call a couple of days later pressuring you to make a deal, you understand how off-putting it can be. That new acquaintance is suffering from what Misner calls the networking disconnect. “They try to sell before building a relationship,” he says.
Raise your profile. If you’ve just started a small business or recently made a career change, becoming visible and establishing credibility in your professional community are the first steps to getting referrals. “People have to know who you are and what you do—and know that you’re good at it,” Misner says. Contributing to industry publications or volunteering to serve on a committee or speak at a conference for your professional association are all good approaches. As well as promoting by word of mouth by putting signs and posters up.
This works for well-established pros, too. Cannon, who is in her forties, attends meetings of the local chapter of Le Tip International, a networking group where members make brief presentations about what they do. Instead of attempting to make deals with people she’s just met, she’s asked the group to consider her as a speaker or to pass along information about a seminar she is holding. “I’m giving them value as a thought leader in my area,” she says. In four or five years, the group has given her 32 referrals to people who eventually became clients.