Welcome to 2018! After a hopefully restful and enjoyable holiday break, it is time to get back to business, and this year promises some interesting trends I want to share with you. In my 30+ years of experience helping small businesses, I have seen many significant changes, and this year brings new ways you can further expand and develop your business. I’m excited to highlight some of the trends worth noting, and look forward to working with you to implement these changes to grow your business even further in 2018.
The Mobile Experience – Consumers are using mobile devices to search for information, browse social media, and make purchases more than ever before. Ensuring that your business has a website that is easy to find and navigate, specifically on mobile devices, will help you expand your business’ reach to new customers.
Taking It Outside – Getting tasks done through freelancers, contract workers and outsourcing is becoming easier and more popular than ever before. Many businesses are leaving one-time functions or administrative tasks, like shipping, logistics, graphic design and content writing to others, thus leaving your staff to focus on other areas of expertise, and potentially saving overhead costs as well. Furthermore, giving your own employees the means to work and contribute from outside of the office can improve productivity, and satisfy your employees.
Engaging with Customers Online – The Internet is being used more and more by customers and companies to engage in business and share experiences. It’s becoming more important that businesses keep an online presence in order to communicate their brand, answer questions, respond to comments, and engage directly with consumers to highlight positive experiences, and minimize negative ones.
Storing and Protecting Data – Businesses are increasingly dealing with large data files and technical planning and software in their work. In order to best maintain, organize and protect their data, businesses that leverage the Cloud and other software can save storage costs, work with distant clients and partners, and increase their productivity.
Want more advice on ways to build on the success of your business with these trends, or general advice from other business owners like you? Make 2018 the year you join a TAB Board and get the support you need to make your plan a reality. Contact me today!
Many senior executives want to share the lessons they’ve learned from their 20+ years of experience at several large corporations, but with the changing landscape of corporate culture, these execs are being ‘pushed’ out or looking for new opportunities.
I’ve spoken to countless senior executives that have climbed the proverbial corporate ladder, and have been dedicated to progressively building their careers at a huge multinational for years, even decades. However, they are finding that the face of the company is changing and a younger group of individuals now reflect the corporate culture. Some are facing the possibility of being phased out, or are looking for ideas and direction for what may become the next chapter of their career.
There is little doubt that today’s rapidly changing, globally competitive environment often requires a shift in mindset and competencies, and a growing number of senior executives in their 50s are evaluating their value and long-term growth plans. These professionals were hired by large multinationals when in their 20s and have enjoyed travelling the world, solving business issues, creating new processes and plans, organizing teams, going to tradeshows and conferences, and engaging in high-stake meetings with their colleagues in Asia. Where do they go from here?
When you have fully invested in your career and have a wealth of knowledge, the question is how can you share your wisdom and help others reach their goals?
If you are interested in learning about an opportunity to leverage your business expertise and provide guidance to business owners while giving you the freedom to work at your own pace, build equity, meet local business owners and become part of your business community, check out this website or simply contact me to discuss your situation.
I’ve seen it time and time again, business owners, whether they own an accounting, engineering firm, marketing agency or IT company, are left feeling vulnerable due to the feast and famine of income streams.
When I meet with business owners they share with me their concerns about their struggle for consistent revenues; one month the financials look great, but next month, they are not on target and they begin to stress about making enough income to cover their expenses. Sometimes this cycle is endless and it can take a toll on the many business owners striving for income predictability and growth.
When a business experiences the feast or famine scenario, things like hiring staff for a project today in hopes that there is work for them tomorrow can result in more stress and pressure on the owner to bring in more business.
Owning a business can be one of the most rewarding experiences, but so often business owners are conflicted with decisions about hiring the right staff, committing to paying rent for the appropriate space, investing in office equipment and technology, not to mention marketing. Without consistent and predictable revenue it is hard to make long term plans that will allow owners of professional services businesses to accomplish their goals.
If you are interested in learning about a professional business that will put an end to this feast or famine scenario but still give you the freedom to own a business, check out this website or simply contact me to discuss your situation.
It’s the end of the first quarter and many of you are looking at your sales results compared to your sales goals and if the results are poor, blaming your sales strategy. Well, the sales strategy may not be to blame.
Sometimes it’s obvious what went wrong, but sometimes it can be a few factors that contribute to the overall poor results — market predictions, understanding the skill set of your sales team, and understanding the sales cycle of your customer. I have found that the following 3 reasons are why sales strategies sometimes don’t lead to the desired results:
I have seen it time and time again, sales strategies failing at the execution level. The best-laid plans are just that – plans. The real results happen in the execution of those plans. Part of reviewing your execution includes:
Were your expectations too high?
Was your plan too ambitious? If you are ending your first quarter not having met your sales results, your plans could have been too grand. Was what you planned realistic? For example, if you planned for weekly call-out campaigns, your sales team needs to understand if they are to secure an actual sale over the phone or just generate a lead for future sales nurturing. Had you hoped that your sales team would deliver sales, or your marketing team’s campaigns would drive more leads? Adjust your expectations to a realistic level.
Did you have the right resources?
Consider the skill set of your sales team and whether they had the right training to execute the sales strategy. Providing them with a formal onboarding program for each service or product is essential to help them be successful. What about your support team – are there enough order takers or shipper-receivers in place to handle new orders, and what resources are in place to handle from lead to delivery? Every person in the sales cycle is important, but perhaps there was an area that was not covered. If so, adjust the plan to reflect that. You can’t expect great results if you don’t have the infrastructure in place to support the growth.
Who was accountable?
When you created the sales strategy did you share it with your team and hand off tasks to each of them to be accountable for? Did you hold regular meetings with your team to hear of any hurdles and get status updates? Did you hold yourself accountable for ensuring the plan was executed properly? Someone has to take responsibility for ensuring all goes according to plan.
After you’ve conducted a full review of the execution of your plan, you’ll easily see what areas and factors contributed to the failure of your sales strategy. In all likelihood, your plan was good and just needed some adjustments based around its execution. Once the adjustments are made, your sales strategy will help to grow your business.
Successful businesses have three things in common: effective policies, processes, and procedures. We can refer to these as the three Ps. Each employee in a company has their own set of rules to follow as they complete work tasks, and it is critical for the prolonged success of a business to ensure that each employee understands the company’s three Ps.
The problem is that far too many businesses struggle to both define and differentiate their three Ps, leading to confusion among employees and the muddling together of these three fundamentally different but equally essential elements.
Understanding the three Ps is important for creating and maintaining a complete working system. Too often do we see businesses implementing only one or two of the three Ps, yet all three elements are equally necessary in order to properly delegate job tasks and ensure continued productivity and profitability.
I’ve outlined below the definitions of and key differences between each of our three Ps. It is my belief that understanding these three elements is one of the key determinants of success in any business.
A policy is a guideline used to set direction in an organization. Without such guidelines, there is much more room for error in your business. An example of a policy that is prevalent in today’s business world pertains to email. Common email policy within a business often includes rules regarding imitating others, the use of foul language, and malicious content.
Policies should be seen as courses of action to guide and influence the decision-making process in your business. With clear and effective policies comes increased efficiency and the mitigation of avoidable mistakes that threaten productivity as well as your bottom line.
A process is the high-level overview of a task. In other words, the process is the expanded view, or “map”, that defines exactly how an objective can be reached, from start to finish.
Take a moment to think about any task that may be required to be completed in your business. What steps must be taken in order to complete that task? At any level in your organization, it is critical to have processes with clearly defined objectives as well as steps to take in order to reach these objectives. Whether you are an intern or senior management, you need processes that plainly outline your objectives and how to meet them.
Building on what we now understand about the high-level nature of a process, a procedure refers to the series of steps required in order to complete a task. If the process can be seen as a map, then the procedure covers the directions to reach the destination. If the task is posting a blog, then the procedure would detail the exact steps that must be taken to complete the task from start to finish.
As you can now see, the three P’s are interconnected, yet fundamentally different from each other. Each of these elements must be present in order to encourage maximum productivity in your business.
Creating, maintaining, and continually updating your policies, processes, and procedures mitigates avoidable mistakes and ensures that every employee at every level of your business knows what is expected of him or her, and how to achieve their clearly defined objectives.
How are your three Ps? Do you think you are giving them the attention they deserve?
Every business owner, regardless of how big or small their business is, needs goals to keep their business moving forward, their employees motivated and to maintain momentum. There are many different approaches to goal setting, and each one can be as successful as the next.
As a business owner you should define short and long term goals, and establish a plan for how to get there. Goals set for your business should align with your personal goals, and be fueled by a big-picture, forward-thinking perspective. Without strategic goals, you may struggle to find the path from where your business currently stands to where you’d like it to be.
I’ve put together some goal-setting tips that should help you achieve even your most ambitious business goals!
Tips for Goal Setting
Determine who you are and where you stand. Determine what strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats may be helping or hindering you from reaching success. Ask yourself why you began the company — does that old spark still drive your business as it is now? Revisit your personal vision and reflect on how your company has evolved.
Write your goals down. Putting your goals in writing and sharing them with your team confirms your commitment to achieving them. While brainstorming is a great place to start, without writing down your goals your focus will fade. Force yourself to focus by outlining specific goals you and your company can work toward.
You may even find writing your goals down to be exciting! In my experience, goal setting brings out the optimism and ambition in myself and my colleagues, and acts as a reminder of how much good we all have to look forward to.
Have realistic expectations. Setting unattainable goals won’t lead you to success, and it certainly won’t give you the motivation needed to get there. Goals should be attainable through hard work and effort, and focused around the most important aspects of your business. The goals you set should challenge you and your team.
Establish milestones so you can track and measure success. By failing to plan, you are essentially planning to fail! Think about short and long-term success, and visualize what will help keep you and your team motivated. Have a schedule and set monthly milestones so you can track whether or not you are accomplishing the things you wish to. While tracking your success (or failures… because it happens!) you will be able to see what roadblocks lay ahead, and how you can get over them to come out on top. Once you reach a milestone don’t forget to celebrate!
Think of how your goals affect your whole team. While goal setting, be tactical and set goals for individuals, different departments, and the business as a whole. Have employees contribute their knowledge and ideas when goal setting to help keep goals realistic and attainable. Sharing goals with the whole team can encourage team effort, and a sense of responsibility.
Know your plan of action. Create a plan that supports your specific goals. When reviewing your plan be sure to think about how you will tackle issues as they occur, how issues will affect the team, clients, stakeholders, and whomever else is connected, and whether or not you are clinging to goals that no longer make sense for your business.
Fear of failure should never hold you back from setting goals and reaching for them! Effective and strategic goal setting will allow for individual accountability, and most importantly, will help keep your business aligned with your vision, and on the track to success.
Do you have short and long term goals set for your company? Do you feel like your goals are attainable and motivating? Tell me about your experiences by commenting below.