Archive for category Growth

Congratulations, you win

As you relax into  your well earned early retirement you recall some of the challenging moments, as well as the good ones, but in the end you made it.

It took a while, long hours occasionally, staffing issues, just a few, and of course customers from hell! But you made it, well done… If you could go back and tell yourself starting out in business what to avoid and what to focus more on you would probably be better off, but you are happy with things so far.

You were able to get out early, thanks to good planning, you still have a fair amount of good health to enjoy your retirement time and the good sense to really check out the details when something sounds too good to be true!

You can feel the warm sun on your face as you relax doing what you love best. The people that helped you get to where you’re at have come and gone, a few still about. You are revelling in your good fortune and know that amongst all that goes on in this mysterious world, things turned out ok because you put in a top effort. You listened to all the advice that was given and made clear decisions based on solid facts, ok so you occasionally messed up, but you learnt.

Then there was the other things that can get in the way, your personal life, family and friends and finding time to fit all the things you wanted to do and indeed some of those things that you needed to do into a tight time frame. Sure you may have been exasperated at the time but in the end you got there.

 

Relax it’s all under control, you did what you did and still came out on top.

You know it wasn’t plain sailing, and that the road ahead had very changeable scenery, but you managed somehow and when the tough times faded by you learnt but didn’t hold on to the emotional baggage for too long, you knew that life was too short.

You wanted things to go smoothly, you wanted the plans to all be good, profitable, effective and easy to implement. But in the end you knew better, and that to reap the long term rewards rewards that there would be risks.

The late afternoon sun shining through the trees cast beautiful dappled light on all before you, it all feels right.

So what made all this possible? Was it good Marketing, good service from you and your staff or rock solid management and operational strategies? You know it was a mix of these, of course it was, all off these things made the difference to the end outcome. As well as this the people you chose and trained, followed by environment you created all fed the culture of excellence that so elegantly seemed to happen with ease, just like you wanted it to be.

The sun sinks that bit lower as you now head inside, ready to enjoy life’s next fascinating chapter as you continue to plan and enjoy the fruits of your labour, congratulations, it’s all been well worth it!

Reluctant… yes you are, now what?

It’s all about resistance to change, you might have to, but you don’t want to.

I’m not sure I know why that is, it just is. My suggestion is to run whatever the idea is through a basic ‘filter’ and decide yes it’s a good thing for my business or not. If not move on, if yes, how can yo implement it?

Perhaps your reluctance to take on board the idea is based around the cost, or the time taken to implement it. Ask, can these be broken down into manageable chunks? Now move on the idea, if it’s of benefit to your customers and or the way you transact business in the background then get on with it.

Here are three areas of resistance you may have to overcome

  1. Cultural Change – This new idea won’t work here, we don’t do things that way
  2. Personal Change – What’s in it for me, maybe I will have less work hours, or some other negative outcome for me… Or if there’s a perceived positive outcome for me do I want that outcome
  3. Intellectual – I heard the idea, but I don’t understand it on some level

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

You need these five things for business success

Business people need these five points to ensure they can be on top of their game, especially in highly competitive markets. Do you have or can you develop these five things?

1. I know it’s good, but will others like it?5 business

What you offer to the world that they will pay you for, is probably the ‘best thing since sliced bread’… You might know or believe that, but how will you find out if others believe it too?

Find ways to connect to your prospects

People are the target market, robots don’t buy, yet… and specific people from within the billions of people on the planet, are who you are after. If what you have to offer is only available to people in a small area, then you need to get in front of more of those people to ask them if they like it.

This could be in social media groups, where you are a member and can post a poll, it could be in a shopping centre where you survey people, it could be via a phone call to specific businesses where  you survey them, perhaps you take what you have to them to discuss it.

Doing this kind of research is vital to ensure you are able to get valid feedback from the target audience, otherwise you could spend a lot of time and money creating something no one wants.

2. My development is vital

And so is yours… Your personal and professional development may mean reading a few books on business, attending seminars, short courses, doing whatever it takes to learn more and sharpen your mind.

One idea can really set your business apart

But where can you get the idea? Learning more about things can give you vital mental connections to a whole range of options and possibilities, you might explore five ideas and then settle on one that provides you with the solution to your challenge. Make time to learn more, so you can do more, be more and have more.

3. There’s only one me…

You can’t do everything, as much as you might like to. You can however work smarter and not harder. Outsource some of the work you currently do that you don’t want or need to do, to ensure you have the time and energy to do what you need to do properly.

Teams can do more than an individual

The internet has given us Virtual Assistants, and a range of ways to utilise the services of others by contracting various services out and of course you could always hire a staff member to do the things your business needs to do.

4. What do I do with all the ideas I have?

You have got your brain into action and the ideas are flowing thick and fast. Know that you will only be able to make a few of the ideas become reality

Start a journal

I have a Journal to keep track of a range of insights and key information I have learnt along the way, the same can be done for ideas. It could be a simple word file on the computer that you add to and review from time to time, or it could be a wish list on a whiteboard in your office. Whatever it is, start recording the ideas, prioritise them and then work to take action on the key ones.

5. Me time, business time and them time, how will I juggle all this?

There is only one you right, this can create a range of pressures on your time, business, family and yourself. Finding time for each is very useful to keep a balance and keep you happy. So schedule time for everyone, including yourself in your diary.

Time is in short supply use it wisely

While this is easy enough to say, it’s not necessarily easy to do. Outsource tasks to free yourself up, delegate tasks to your staff, even if you feel you might have to check it later on and tweak some details. Of all the things business people say is important, it’s having a balance in their lives, now you need to make sure it happens.

Regards

Steve Gray

Business Planning – Failure is NOT an option

Perhaps one of the reasons businesses fail is not having a tangible plan of action, so why don’t people create a plan? Why don’t people get a grip on the systems that make a business saleable, why don’t a whole bunch of things happen? Simple because humans are running the show.
If a robot was given the right sort of software in it’s ‘head’ it would come up with a plan before it did anything, store it in it’s memory and perhaps even print it out incase of power failure, or a hard disk wipeout.
There is too much ‘blind faith’ that our business idea will work and if you don’t need to get money from a bank or investors then no planning seems to happen.

One page or two?
One page is better than nothing, two pages might be better still! In fact it probably doesn’t matter how many pages the plan is, just so long as a plan is in place for you and your team to follow.

What goes into it?
Lot’s of things can go into it but the basics should be around the objectives you want to achieve, the strengths of the business, or the business idea. and the methods you will use to achieve these aims.

Strategy, what strategy?
Just like your favourite sports team has some form of strategy to how they will play the game, so should you. How to do better than your competition, how to promote more for less cost, how to use online media to get more interest in the business, how to get more staff to gladly turn up and help you out, without the hassles!

Do I start here?
Yes do it now, jot down what you want, so you can set in place a mental plan of action to take place. Think about what you currently earn per hour, what if you were to double that, would that be good? Would that be enough… now jot down that figure and aim to find ways to make it a reality.

Do I carry this on and for how long?
You have written down one or three goals, now add to the list, keep coming back to the plan, add to it, tick your achievements off, create more pages of info, ideas, options and strategies. Make that plan your lives mission to ensure it is loaded with great info, great options and strategies to be well worth its weight in copper, its worth much more than gold!

Are we there yet?
That depends did you write anything down? Did you do some other research on what else to put into your plan? Did you still have a fun time doing it even though you may have not started out with a fun time in mind! The end point in the journey may not be reached especially if you are completing tasks and building the business to do more, be more, create more.

Enjoy being in business and the thrilling adventures it takes you on, but at least have one page of objectives to work with.

Regards

Steve Gray

People who get results

Two Business WomenYou run a business or a project and your HR or advisory people want to give you people you know will fail, something in your ‘gut’ says so… So what is that gut feeling and just how do you find people that will get results in the role you have to fill? Try these pointers;

Selecting people that get results

An Attitude of gratitude – They have it, they might not say it but you can see and feel it, if you include them on a project you know they are seriously pleased to be there and take part, if not you might want to ditch them fast.

Ability to visualise – They see the bigger picture, they see the smaller picture too, in fact they see the whole movie right through to standing ovation… Not only do they star in the picture they direct is as well

They work smart, not hard – Do it, delegate it or drop it. If someone else can do it smarter than they can let them do it

They take responsibility – They will own up to an issue if they caused it, ethics are high on their value list

Great at time management – Emails get dealt with after the first hour, meetings, only if they are of value and the agenda is clear and achievable 

Clear head, clear planning – To do list written at the end of the day for instance cal ears a results focused peoples heads, they sleep better and when they get to the office, they can then tackle what needs to be done.

Brilliant at customer service – They can elegantly handle ‘nay sayers’ and are kept grounded in reality by those who scam, spam and complain. With internal customers, they service them well, they manage by wandering around, ask questions, delve into the real issues facing the troops, in short they are on the ball finding all the little things that make the big things matter

They can focus – They can see what needs to be done and can do it or get someone to do it. They can focus on major goals

They can lead – They can plan, delegate and make people feel fantastic that they can serve the leader, because they feel like a leader themselves

They have a system for passion – Most people say they are passionate about something these guys have a system to get and keep the passion going

They know their strengths – We are all good at some things, these guys know specifically what that is and how to use it to their advantage, the rest they delegate to people with the right skills

They have the skills and abilities for the job – They know their subject inside and out, they know the latest trends for that subject. They are then able to use that knowledge too

Respect, it’s their middle name – It doesn’t take much effort most of the time to have respect for everyone they come in contact with. It goes a long way to having people onside and keeps them happy

These pointers could create some interesting questions for interview and or review… Go looking for the type of person you want and see what shows up in their Linked in profile or facebook posts.

Regards

Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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Two Types of Business

laptop peopleOne – Local, the type that provides serivces and products to the local community, the money comes in and stays in that community. By doing this the local community moves the money about locally and no $$ gain is made.

Two – Global, the type that draws money into the local community by providing products and or services to the wider world. By doing this the local community benefits by having more $$ to spend.

When regional or city areas look to developing businesses it would pay to know the difference between these two and focus on those which offer the best opportunity for the tasks at hand. In an ideal world there would be a cohesive mix of both types, as the momentum builds for one, so the other would probably need to grow.

The challenge is knowing what to do to be able to build each and provide relevant training and development to boost each appropriately.

Regards

Steve Gray Free Business Tips

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