Doing the hard yards to make a great start in business

Plenty of people have started in business and failed, some failed quickly, others took longer, a LOT longer…

Years of observation and working with business people has taught me a range of things, the main things are how they failed in business, in often not so spectacular ways and what to do about it.

The reasons are often simple.

Business success

It’s all in the planning

  • No plan – No structural or marketing strategy
  • Technical skills to do something but no business ‘personality’ or charisma to really sell, promote or build interest
  • Low knowledge of the purpose and function of business – Profit is one thing, providing a reason to do so is another…
  • Inability to look at the challenges and find ways to overcome them
  • Being busy and working long hours does not always mean you are being productive
  • Not enough start up capital, CASH to really give your project a go
  • Lack of operational systems for when things really get going so you can develop a valuable asset not just a business
  • Research – making and selling a gadget that is about to go off trend and fade is one thing, knowing it is fading is another…
  • Not knowing how much money you NEED to make each week to break even and then how much profit to make, then what to do with it

A seasoned business operator will look at this list and say, hey that’s just the start… and they are right. There is so much to business that this list is just a starting point.

But that’s it, it’s all about starting points. Even people in business after many years find there are new starting points, like when computers started showing up in businesses, a new starting point. A new piece of technology for a manufacturing process… same. And so it goes on.

If you want to start in business, make sure you do something about addressing the basics listed above, sure they can be daunting, sure you will be tested, but you wanted to take the risk, you wanted to make your mark so do it, but do it right.

Regards

Steve Gray

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
Visit Steve's Website

The gift that keeps giving

Do you get excited and curious when you get a parcel you weren’t expecting? (Okay so you have figured out it won’t go BANG) 🙂 :()

So earlier this week when a plain box was delivered to my address… I was like a kid on Christmas morning. (clearly I don’t get enough deliveries :))

What was it? why me? oh and who sent it… (yeah that’s important)

Lot’s of questions running through my mind the whole time as I juggled my keys to get in the door (I met the courier out front as I was trying to leave to go to an appointment) then as my dogs barked with excitement on seeing me (Guys it was just minute ago that I left!)

From who?

Turns out it was a company I chatted to last week.

I hadn’t done any business with this organisation yet, so I was a little surprised.

As I opened the package, in it was a stack of samples of their food products and some promo gear (more good quality pens and simple notepads with their info on them. I like those, very handy…)

They sent it as a way of thanking me for the support and value I’ve added to her business so far. (one chat over for about an hour or so and a few emails of info)

Why?

Now, here’s the thing.

They didn’t have to send me this gift, but I’m glad they did, it picks me up, reminds me of the value I gave 🙂 and keeps them ‘top of mind’ with me and that’s good, very good!

An old boss of mine MANY years ago liked to call these packages “a pot of gold” and if the gift was just right and well considered it would be shared, that was a BIG pot of gold. We would talk about it for ages. (yeah pretty dull office I know…)

So, it was a pleasant surprise… it put a smile on my face AND, most importantly, it’s something I WON’T forget in a hurry!

It’s simple…

Going over and beyond what you have promised to your clients – by surprising them with bonuses they weren’t expecting – is a great way to build a loyal following.

People may forget what you say, but they seem to always remember how you made them feel.

Even if it’s something like a handwritten thank you note (these gifts don’t need to be extravagant or expensive) it’s the thought that counts.

Keep giving things to people that delight them and make them feel good, check out their needs and aim to keep them happy. Remember. it’s the little things that count.

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
Visit Steve's Website

Assessing Employees

Performance reviews are not new, and at the end of a probation period employees are often given vague reasons as to why they are kept on by the company or ditched… Sometimes non management staff have been perplexed by these moves and the reasons given can be as vague as the decision itself.

 

Steve Gray's assessment tool

 

To ensure an effective decision is made effort needs to be put into assessing the person and their efforts in the role. So I scoured the web for ideas, and coupled that with my own thoughts and came up with this checklist to assist in making decisions as well s being able to pinpoint areas for development which might go under the radar.

A contemporary business might give the list to the employee early in the probation period (probably not on day one…) and let them know what sorts of things you are looking for at the end of the process. Of course  you would do your own research and fact gathering from their peers and supervisors to ensure an effective mix of facts can be utilised.

EmployeeAssessmentTable

Check it out it’s three pages I feel sure  you will want to use often to ensure your staff are doing more of the right things by your organisation.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
Visit Steve's Website

Tags: , , ,

Stress and the New Employee

Starting a new job is challenging at the best of times, but if the supervisor, buddy and boss don’t recognise or bother to take notice of what might make the first few days or even weeks stressful then what hope has the person got. Here are some pointers for the ‘newbie’ and those who have to work with them.jobs wanted

Stressors at work for a new employee

  1. Not enough product knowledge
  2. Unsure if they will fit in
  3. Unsure of the expectations they will have to work to
  4. Customers…
  5. Being understood
  6. Fitting in with Co-workers
  7. Where things are
  8. How things work
  9. Where do I put things
  10. Will I be paid… When?
  11. Working conditions – Hours – Equipment – Facilities – Tools
  12. Safety – Mine – yours – ours.
  13. Producing quality outcomes
  14. Working fast enough or not?

The list goes on… 🙂

So dear ‘Newbie’, breathe a little

Take it easy, take a deep breath, and relax a little. The company wants you to succeed, they want you to be happy, they want you to feel at ease and know that “masterpieces take time”. There is plenty to learn and lots of things to figure out. If the company is doing things right they will train you in  how they do things, where things are and set  you on a path to success.

Some keys to new employee success.

  • Ask lot’s of questions – Even a few weeks in, the more questions you ask, the more answers we can give you, the more confident and assured you can become. There are no silly or stupid questions.
  • If you are not sure – Paraphrase a question, ask the question in another way, to get greater clarity,
  • Investigate and explore – Find out where things are and explore, within reason of course… To find out where things get kept and become familiar with where things might be found.
  • Research – Show you are interested in the role by doing your own research, check the internet for information and ideas, not to become a ‘smarty pants’ but to ensure you pick up the language, relevant techniques etc.
  • Be at ease – We know that might be hard for the first few days or even a week or two. Remember, breathe in, breathe out and repeat 🙂 They want you to be happy. There is no need to rush to learn or ‘get up to speed’ that will happen, so don’t concern yourself about it.
  • Think SAFETY – Always, for yourself and others around you. See something, do something…
  • Mistakes, we all make them – Mistakes are learning opportunities, however it is important that you let someone know that you made a mistake, perhaps they can fix it, show you a better way to do the task.

I hope your new job works out fine and that the Company people reading this jumps into action and makes sure you have a fantastic start, after all they know that a replacement always costs money and time…

 

Regards

Steve Gray

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
Visit Steve's Website

Juggle that business

That’s right juggling…

Juggling business resources

Juggling your business resources

When you know that the business has so many elements it’s almost impossible to juggle them all, you start to realise there must be an answer to being able to juggle at least SOME of the elements.

For those with a big enough business or the resources to do it, you might simply delegate those things that require more time to make sure things are done right. Not all of us are that lucky.

For those who are starting out, or those who want to keep the business alive and happening even though you have a small crew, this planning document is for you.

Download the free PDF file, it’s at the end of the article… It’s just two pages of planning material that you can copy to your heart’s content, then USE IT to get your planning act together. You know what they say… “Work on the business not just in it.” When you realise that’s a truism you want to aspire to, then drag this out and make it happen.

Ok, so it’s a planning calendar with a sheet of questions and query points to get you started. The aim is to get you thinking about the three key areas that make your business tick, then plan to work on each area. If you get stuck you can refer to the questions on the list, then develop  some starting points to go from.

Enjoy and drop me a line to let me know if it works for you or could be altered to make it better!

Planning guide

Regards

Steve Gray

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
Visit Steve's Website

Tags: , , ,

Make Your Marketing Work

You want more people to notice your business and take positive action, but what form of advertising or marketing should you use? Here are a few pointers to get you started.Two types of marketing

Passive MarketingTwo types of marketing

Passive marketing reaches the customer through effective positioning of your details. For example, a customer uses a search engine to locate the business and find the phone number. The marketing was done before their need arose, to encourage the customer into the business. Effective passive marketing is thoughtful and enticing. It takes planning and strategic implementation

  • Website
  • Signage – Vehicle, Building, Billboards
  • Print adverts & articles – newspapers, magazines, catalogues etc.
  • Fliers
  • Business Cards
  • Blog articles
  • Social Media – Facebook posts – You tube Videos etc.
  • Image based – Uniforms and promotional items
  • Broadcast media – T.V. or radio
  • Direct mail – Postal – email

Active Marketing

Active marketing requires interaction. It may mean networking with other businesses. It also includes selectively advertising to drive in new business. This type of marketing is deliberate and purposeful. It takes effort. Active marketing often includes meeting prospects face to face and making direct calls to introduce yourself and what you have to offer to prospects. This kind of marketing requires skill and persistence. Having someone doing this for you is called a big bonus, usually it’s a happy customer that likes what you do and tells others.

  • Networking – Face to face interaction with prospects at trade shows, community and business events
  • Direct meetings – Define a prospect, make a list, call and introduce yourself, meet and discuss, the aim is tto research and work an angle to cause them to say “Yeah, send me more info” or “Yeah drop in and talk to me about it.”
  • Word of mouth – Someone likes what you did and tells someone else, now you have a hot prospect

Making it measureable

All of these marketing types are useful, but you could spend a fortune and not know what ones are working the best for you, that’s when the notion of making them measureable comes into play.

If someone drops in to your business or gives you a call, you need to have some way of asking how they found out about your business, then you can start to quantify what’s working for you.

The best way is to find a point in your interaction with them to find the most natural way of saying “Oh and by the way, how did you find out about us?” then recording it. If 90% of your prospects say they saw an advert on social media, then you know you have something working for you.

One other way to measure results is if you have a radio advert that hits your prospects at a time when they need you and they call you. An example is a radio advert, for school stationery supplies that comes on the radio as your prospect pulls up to pick up their children. If the next hour or so sees a rise in the number of people dropping in with children, chances are your radio advert had some effect.

Taking it further

Having the above information can be a way to get started, but in reality you will need to consider a range of things, the business ‘brand image’, who you want as prospects, how many prospects you want and figuring out the best ways to influence those prospects with the words and images you use in the adverts.

Regards

Steve Gray

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
Visit Steve's Website

Tags: , , ,

Remember when your business was small and fast, not big and awkward?

eye for work

Image is courtesy of 2nix

Your business has grown and so too has the culture of focusing on being a ‘big’ business.

You now have procedures for everything, policies to deal with all the things that could be a risk to your business and in the process your team have become ‘big’ in their thinking.

On reflection you might just think that you would like to have some of the small business culture you used to have. The sort of thinking that was more ‘seat of the pants’ faster to adapt, faster to decide and that degree of ‘nimbility’ was what got you going, the late nights, the furious work pace made sure your small team were fed with work. Now it just seems big and awkward.

You like so many aspects of that small business approach you want to now use that in your bigger business. You want your people to think faster, be more creative and problem solve like you used to, on the run. You want them to be more flexible and not bogged down by lengthy processes.

Here’s your chance to do just that, think of it as taking a mirror to your business and looking back to see just how these qualities can be achieved again.

Think fresh

When you started out you probably asked your customers lots of questions to figure out their needs, send your teams out to do the same and make it a random thing you instigate throughout the year. If they already do that look at other aspects of the business thinking that could be freshened up. If you hold meetings in the same in house room day in day out, find a new room, in another building, a park, a training venue… Wherever you can have fresh stimulus.

Stimulate learning

In the early days when your business was small, you learnt a lot about many things quickly and you coveted people that could do the same. This ‘learning on the fly’ approach solved many challenges for you, everything seemed like a prototype and I bet your team jumped in to help find solutions. Take a look at the processes involved, perhaps you now need a team when one person was given the job in the early days. Consider doing the same and create a ‘maverick’ a lead person who can jump in and learn, plough though as if there was no hold ups and pass on their findings to the team to develop.

Create what customers want

Go and ask them what they want, and or test a new product or service early in the development process to see if it has ‘legs’. no legs no development. There, you just save the business a lot of money and time… now get on with developing what people want or need.

Provide solutions

Top sales people will soon tell you they sell solutions, so give your people the ability to problem solve and find ways to see what they have is a solution to a customers need, then they will have tangible ways to engage the customers and be seen as a source of comfort in their time of need.

Success is working towards any worthwhile goal, in this simple list of starting points I feel sure you can get back some of that small startup magic and reinvigorate the team to get better results.

Regards

Steve Gray

Steve Gray - Steve is a business educator - Trainer - Speaker (Steve Gray.biz). You can get his Leadership E Book from http://theleadershipguy.com.au The info provided in these articles is for educational purposes only and is intended as a starting point for you to build your business from, not as specific advice.
Visit Steve's Website
error: Content is protected !!