Archive for category People!

The Web Marketing Connection

Image courtesy of Sommai from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Sommai from freedigitalphotos.net

In the hustle and bustle of running a business it can be easy to be confused and concerned about the things that matter. You’re trying to run the business, your mind full of daily details, it’s easy to miss out on what should or could be happening in the business.

Not everyone is good at all areas of the business, many are technically adept at the ‘doing’ side of the business, others more marketing or management focussed. So when things happen you need to know about to grow your business you can soon be overwhelmed. Let’s take marketing for instance.

In the ‘good old days’ marketing was a somewhat simpler affair, sales reps would drop in and sell you everything from T.V. space to to print advertising and sign writing, to name a few. These days there seems to be a more to it.

The technology revolution means people are now hassled via email and directly by organisations saying they can get their website on the first page of google, others say your website needs updating, oh and  how is that email campaign going… The list of questions, technical details and so on is seemingly endless.

Also know that some of these people can provide you with a solution that may not work, it may look alright to you but in the back end functionality details can be missed and performance may not be all you want it to be.

Like anything in business there are times when you have to trust your gut instinct about the people you are dealing with and the way you want to do business. Knowing if the technology solution is right for you can be a minefield but also know that with some research and effective questioning you can find more answers without being too bogged down with ‘techno babble’ here are a few points to consider…

The sales rep says…

  • We can get you on the first page of google – Any body can get on the first page if they google their own business name, ask them to show you examples of sites they have done which have achieved this ranking with appropriate key words. Now call that business and ask them what they thought of the web company in question
  • We can give you an email campaign that works for just $x per month – That’s good any examples of that? Do you have a red hot copy writer that will work directly with me to create sales letter type emails that will suit my prospects?
  • We can link with your social media – Yep so can I, generally it’s a no brainer to add in a link to your site
  • We make it so you can add in new info to your site – Great but is there a catch? Do you train me how to do that? Any others you have done that for? There are free options on the web for creating websites that you can add information to, photo’s videos, text etc so you should have full control of the content on your site.
  • We look after you – That’s great, but can I still have the access details for the hosting, the domain name registration etc so IF I change my mind I can take my web details elsewhere? Some will baulk at this, wanting you to be a customer for life. Others will give you all the details you need to be in control
  • It won’t cost much – For now… What about ongoing monthly fees and what do you get for that ongoing fee? Support? If you are on a tight budget you probably want to think twice about any ongoing fees and charges

There’s a start, I guess it’s all about due diligence in the end, just watch out for the technical details where the sales rep will want to confuse you with foot work, dazzle you with charm and deliver a knockout punch you may regret in the long run.

Here are some other web based marketing articles you might like to check out Content marketing Social media for business Using face book for business

Regards

http://stevegray.biz

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Are you scaring employess away?

Image courtesy of Stock Images from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stock Images from freedigitalphotos.net

You hire people, you want the best, you are given guidelines to follow, some formal and some informal (e.g pick a woman)…

You find the job description template, write a description and send it off for approval.

The supervisor reads it, sees that it’s comprehensive and approves it, based more on the key selection criteria and the basic job description.

The process continues and you get what you get, a new employee. Hopefully they are a fantastic fit to the team and in a short space of time become a profitable addition to the organisation, however reality tells an all to common different story, at the end of the probation period, the person is ousted and the process begins again. Or worse, the person makes it through the probation period and becomes an anchor weighing things down often for a variety of reasons.

But I have an issue or three with the approach that causes this drama to happen.

Most job descriptions I have seen are too wordy and can actually scare people away from applying, and sometimes those that do apply find the job is not what they thought it would be, or they have the wrong ‘disposition’ (attitude, personality etc) for the job.

I have applied for enough positions to see this first hand and I now believe there should be a more relaxed approach, at least in the first instance.

Okay so there are those who say the idea is to attract more of the right people so you don’t end up getting too many applicants for the role, fair enough, but find another way of doing it rather than trying to bury people in detail and scaring them off.

The ideal employee is probably a fun team player, a person who is interested in more than just the role (it might be seen as an entry role to the organisation). Of course they will have the qualification to do the job, but the right attitude and personality will make them a better fit to the whole system, not just the technical aspects of the role.

Start thinking about how you can get a simpler approach started, then add the details in at another layer if need be.

Simply put, your current processes might just be causing long term headaches for the organisation.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Let’s build a crumbling mess

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

You actually wanted to create a solid business but what happened next didn’t turn out that way. In the beginning you will take care to make it look good and it will hold together for a few years, but most assuredly it will crumble. The ‘business’ fulfills a need, a void, and as such it has merit in the marketplace so let’s build it, time is of the essence!

It will provide shelter, seem warm and inviting, but then some cracks will appear, soon we will then fill these gaping holes with false hope, ask for some asisstance from the cavalry… But alas none will come. Soothsayers, mystics and others with potions and wisdom seemingly produced by ‘slight of hand’, will offer ways forward, but no such road will be travelled.

There, as the last vestige of hope is held aloft I will concede, that the real hope, the real failure, the real demise was visible, right there in the beginning, the mystics and others were right.

If only we knew then what we know now… We would not have dragged so many others into this screaming heap of maudlin mayhem, mind you we did a great job of ‘dressing it  up’. At its peak it looked like a princesses castle, bright and shining in any light. The challenge was what to do when the lights went out…

Alas no, there was no escaping the ego driven, maniacal ‘team’ building a tempestuous empire, despite protests from more knowing folks. No, it was all our doing, we created it, we ordered it to be fashioned into the shape it was… Underneath we fuly knew it’s demise was certain.

Sure we could have stopped, but the time seemed right. Sure we could have done things differently, but it weemed as if we had little in the way of suitable resources. Sure we blamed others, but ultimately it was us who selected them on their merits, qualifications and that all so imporant rapport we had with them, they were so like us it wasn’t funny.

Now as we look back and consider what could have been, indeed what should have been, some of us are filled with a sense of dread, a sense of “what if we had just done things differently…” No, there was no way to change the past, it is what it is, a crumbling mess, a shadow of its percieved former glory.

We now understand what numerous wise people had said about having a good foundation to build on. We also understand that in one persons life things will change, and if luck is on the side of the person with a solid vision then an amazing legacy can be left. A legacy that provides the guidelines on which people can chisel away at the notion and vision of utopia, a legacy where people of strong means can guide those not so fortunate. A legacy where financial profits are not the only hallmark of a growing organisation.

Perhaps we am now reflecting on those around us who built stone houses while others made theirs from straw, or are we simply sensing that what we did build, although we used stone, had mud instead of mortar to join it and therin lies the problem.

One thing is for sure there are many things that made the crumbling mess, it started with a smallgroup of us and then became an extension of us, the team were a bunch of people who knew when to say yes and although they could have said no for all the right reasons, they failed to do so.

More things come to mind about how this disintegrating behemoth so stunningly limped, then stumbled into ruinous oblivion. Seeminingly the more that was added on, the more the rot set in, in the foundations and framework. like termites so busily doing what they do so well, so efficiently, but over time the hollow remains can no longer support the once ‘glorious facade’.

It’s simple to say it should have been an easy ride, serve the customers, make a profit to sustain us in quiet times and build from. Work with more of the ‘right people’, plan well and above all listen to your heart and temper it with reasoned debate… but no, that didn’t happen.

What did happen causes heartache and pain. So many gave so much for so little, clearly the crumbling mess was more than just physical materials, it in fact ended up creating huge emotional burdens far more invasive than we can imagine. This can not be apologised for, we can not know how deep the viens of pain run, nor how much can be attributed to the physical ‘crumbling mess’, or the lack of human compassion the driven team possessed.

It’s all over now, the sordid details and their oh so high level of importance at the time, the losses, the pain and anguish. Finished, complete, time to move on. Time to learn and start a fresh, time to let others explore, build and ‘run riot’ in the marketplace. It’s also time to believe that others will learn from the details of this crumbling mess. A time to hope that they have the desire to create a positive legacy rather than the afore mentioned disasterous, deluded crumbling mess.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

 

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Ready for answers to your business success?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Your business does what it does, you have built it up to be all it can be.

You realise there are only a few things you need to make happen to get positive results.

More sales, more customers and effective systems to deliver the results, right? But other ‘things’ seem to get in the way of this simple approach and you are left wondering what happened.

The simple answer is, there is more to your three pronged approach than meets the eye.

Here’s how it works…

  • Energy – Your team has a certain amount of energy to give to the job they do, things happen to boost or sap that energy, harrassment, poor pay, poor training, poor leadership can sap energy… Get the point, and get good at these things
  • Flow – When things are going great your people seem to get a lot done readily, it all seems to come together like a well thought out plan but more automatically and with greater ease, people will be happier, relaxed and able to get on with things
  • Systems – The policies, procedures, checklists, coaching and mentoring. If these are done well, people know they are working for an organisation that wants positive results. They feel supported and can get on with what they do best
  • Positive values – Things like respect, cooperation, service and quality all come into it. Check your organisations mission and vision, are there values clearly spelt out as part of that? There should be, to ensure all your team are focused on the right approach to each other and the customers.
  • Useful communication – Lot’s of communication takes place, but is it useful? Arguing with customers… not useful (well, rarely anyway). The same with the staff, how well do your team communicate with each other? Excellent leadership often starts with positive and useful communication – Talk, listen and make great notes to implement solid results. Coach and mentor your leadership team to coach and mentor their team members in fantastic ways to make the organisation work effectively

Now you are about to ask “What happens if I don’t have those things or they are out of alignment?” Simple, things slide… Sales, Customer numbers, energy is sapped and the results of all this can cause your business to fold in on itself.

What to do to solve the challenge? Call me to tailor a suitable approach for your organisation 🙂 Ok if that’s not possible take each pointer in this list and work on the details of it with all your people.

  • Learn to train your people to pursue all these points to build organisational excellence
  • Brainstorm with your team to find out how they can assist with these points
  • Listen to the feedback your team provides, then figure out how to implement the positive changes they point out along the way
  • Communicate the positive changes as you introduce them
  • Live with the notion of organsiational change, it happens, so make it happen in a useful way to get positive results NOT the opposite

It’s now up to  you to put this information into action, it may not be easy, it may take a while to achieve, it all starts with you.

 

Regards

Steve Gray

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A Sense of Belonging

Which would you rather have, a team that turns up because they have to or because they want to? The latter right… Why? Because they don’t have to be there, their mindset is different, they might shy away from a challenge if they think their mortgage is on the line, but they will put in for the greater good of the team simply for one reason, a strong sense of belonging. 

Image courtesy of Stuart miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Not just any sense of belonging, no no, as I eluded to in the opening paragraph, there are more reasons to want to do something, than if you have to do something.

Sounds easy, if I was talking about a club or group people belong to, people would soon get that stronger connection. However I am talking about a business, an organisation that people mainly get paid to work for, an organisation where the numbers often seem to be king, no profit no go…

So how do you as the business owner/manager cause this sense of belonging to go beyond the basics of need and get to a top class “one in, all in” situation where you know the people want to be there?

Connect, find ways to cause people to be part of a greater cause, ways to be aligned with the heart and soul of the business. Ways to communicate that they will benefit, just as deeply as you do by doing more, being more they will in return get more.

Perhaps the more they ‘get’ will be satisfaction, a warm sense of “I am part of something worthwhile”, the concept that the money is there but there is more to the equation.

Sounds far fetched perhaps, but in reality there are organisations where people willingly put in, willingly go the extra mile and hang in there to do it all again. Why? A sense of belonging, belonging in such a way they realise that the sum of the parts is greater than the value of the individual parts. As a team they can do more, as a connected and active team with a shared sense of belonging they can evolve to do MUCH more.

How then do we connect these ‘disparate parts’ to become cohesive, to join as one and be a truly mighty force?  Language… It’s what sets humans apart from other animals, it’s what ensures we can, discuss, plan, explore, find answers and ensure a higher sense of belonging can take place.

If you have ever noticed that people who use casual language, slang and the like to get through their daily routines, you will have probably noted their position in life is not one which often inspires. These people often seem to lead lives of deep desperation, working on minimum wages and struggling at every turn. While others with more developed language find ways to forge forward, to explore better options in life, to find depth and more profitable outcomes, and I don’t just mean financially.

Language

  • It helps us express the values we want our teams to align to
  • It gives us the chance to influence people to do great things
  • It assists us to lead
  • It provides opportunities to learn more, explore and pursue our dreams

How are you using language to better your teams, lead, influence and explore better ways to live and be a positive part of this world? Hopefully you will start with the positive values your organisation stands for and ensure your people are with you every step of your value motivated life. Without language we have little to commend us.

Regards

Steve Gray

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Train to Ease the Pain

I like to watch people in their businesses, their staff doing what they do, or don’t do… Case in point a restaurant. Even better when an industry expert with 25+ years of experience is with me.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from  freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

I like seeing the little things, the details, the ‘one percenters’ as I call them, the details which can snowball into a drop in efficiency a drop in quality and eventually lead to staff bad attitudes and fast staff turnover.

So there we were watching, table service people arrived and one had an attitude that was abrasive, short tempered, end of the shift type “gnarly-ness”, It was noticed. We had a simple order so things happened in an okay time frame but “with attitude”.

Earlier in the day we had a more positive experience at another establishment that we will cherish and smile about because it was great food, served professionally by pleasant attentive staff.

So here I am pondering the ‘experiences’ we had during the day and my mind flips through many other experiences I have had and my thoughts on how things can improve.

A big example shows up from my memory bank… Watching staff get behind in their service standards  in a fast food joint. Any semblance of a systematic approach seems to fade when they are under any pressure (more than three orders at one time.) The Manager seems flat out at the back frying chips or some such offering no guidance, motivation or positive communication to get and keep the team in line.

Years of experience mean I am on the lookout for things that don’t seem right and my analytic brain goes into overdrive as to how things can improve. The short answer is it’s all in the training, or lack of it.

I go back to my own experience delivering pizzas 25+ years back. Grab the packaged pizza, read the address, head out the door deliver, collect the money. Simple enough.

After doing this for a few nights I start to notice the guys processing the orders as they came out of the oven, slide the pizza onto the cutting board, cut then slide into a box, easy. The challenge is  however getting the practice to be able to do it fast without mistakes.

A few weeks in and box folding became a thing you had to do when things were quiet, a few paper cuts later and  you realised it wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be. Good practice however made it easier. The same with the slice and box routine, after a while you could recognise which pizza was which, put it int eh right box, cut the right way and all was good but heaven help you if any part of the process was slightly out the pizza could end up on the floor!

Any training takes instruction, followed by practice to get it right. Then when things end up getting into pressure cooker mode, it’s easy to do more of the right things, simply because the skill has become automatic, the  you do the right thing.

As I see it most people in business are not natural trainers, they are busy running a business and many see the training side as a cost rather than a thing to get right and save money later on in reduced staff turnover and by keeping customers satisfied with timely service and staff with a positive demeanour.

Learn to train your staff and do it long enough for the staff to really know the skills, if you let them loose on the customers before they are competent problems will arise. It’s up to you to get it right.

We can’t do that here…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Many enterprises have challenges trying to keep up with what’s happening in the world, technology changes, practicalities in the workplace, better processes and procedures so how do you keep up? If like other organisations you find yourself saying “We can’t do that” there will be reasons for it. Let’s pull out a few ideas and possibilities and take a look at what might be preventing us from achieveing the results we want.

Key imporovement areas

  • Best practice in all areas of the business
  • Flexible work arrangements
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Training
  • Innovation
  • Intrapreneuring/Entrepreneuring
  • Better induction and probation processes and procedures
  • Living Values

All of these things, and more, are some of the things that are making organisations ’employers of the year’. They have higher productivity, less staff turnover than others in their industry. They are also making organisations more profitable with stronger foundations to weather challenging times.

Yet all too often organisations don’t implement these things because of a few simple things. Want to know what they are?

Ignorance — The staff in control of an area don’t know what “best practice is’ or if they do they don’t want to do it because of a perception it will create more work for them. They think it may be better to bury their heads in the sand unless they have a solid directive from the boss to do

Loss of power or control — They are the boss, or the supervisor, they currently have a measure of control, you better believe it, anything that threatens this they will eliminate as fast as they can. Either by deriding it, trying it but making sure it fails or seeing it as a fad and dismissing it.

Fear of failure — Fear of success — Yes fear of… both of these are valid and are problematic. “We can’t try new things, what if we fail, it will  have cost us dearly and what’s wrong with how we are doing things now?” and for success… “We are a small business and want to stay that way there is no need for us to ‘go for the big time’ and try new fangled things…” SIGH… each of these loops around and devour each other, the more I don’t want to fail the more I probably will… These two areas are key points of business psychology and require careful handling. If you have team members who fit into these categories, are they the best people to assist your business to be all it can be?

We don’t know how — Things like Best Practice, Coaching/Mentoring, training and exploring business values. You may not know how to do these now, but what if you were to learn about them and slowly build your skills in these areas, or at least get some of your team trained in these areas. The aim is to build skills which can add to the flexibility of the organisation rather than being too rigid and unable to move.

We don’t know why — Why you should do something… Let’s see if your industry has developed  new technology and you have not kept up to these then you could be going backwards fast. Consider printing industries when computers started to make an impact on layout and design, effectively cutting out many people from the process. Things got easier and more cost effective for the client. Again it’s about ignorance, know what is cutting edge in your industry and business in general and aim to do it.

We don’t have the money — People said that when computers came in, they managed, some fought to the bitter end but one way or another computers made a huge difference. What else will cost money now but probably save the business in the future? LOTS of things, if yo have looked into each of the initial areas I mentioned you will know they can be highly beneficial to  your bottom line and profitability, while making the staff happier in the long run.

We don’t do change — Many people fear change, what if it goes bad, what if it costs us, what if… but what if it makes the business more effective, more profitable and have a better bottom line… Then that’s got to be useful right? Some see the glass half empty, some half full, others drink it and order the next drink. We all have choices, if your people won’t change they are probably  stuck in  some form of fear loop, seeing the worst rather than entertaining the possibility things might be better.

It’s up to you how you handle your business and develop that ‘can do’ attitude to make the most of what you have. Move to the can do approach to add depth and value to  your business, keep your staff happy and make more money in the process. The flexibility and strength this can add can be very useful in a highly competitive marketplace.

Regards

Steve Gray

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