All Posts By

Dave Mitchell

focus on one task and eliminate distractions

Personal Efficiency

By | Stress Management, Systems, Time Management | No Comments

focus on one task and eliminate distractionsI once read of an efficiency study done for an airplane repair company. They couldn’t understand what took so long to complete the repair on airplanes. When they dug into where the bottle neck was, they discovered that the hold-up was with the engineers. The problem wasn’t because there were not enough engineers; the problem was that the engineers were constantly being interrupted for issues that needed immediate attention. As they dug into why this was a problem, they discovered that on average an engineer would lose 15 minutes of productivity every time he switched tasks.

To better draw out the scenario, an engineer would be engrossed in his project at hand. The lead on a job would enter the office with a question or an obstacle from the floor. The engineer would have to mentally change gears from the task he was on, re-orient himself to the problem at hand, resolve the problem, dis-engage from the problem he just fixed, again re-orient himself to what he was working on before, and again begin work. That whole process of disengage, orient, engage, disengage, re-orient, and re-engage actually lost 30 minutes of productivity because he changed tasks twice. 15 minutes per task change.

To eliminate the interruptions, they defined what items were appropriate for interruption. It was a very small list. Everything else was placed into one bin and the engineer cleared out the items in batches two or three times a day instead of at random times.

Multitasking is a myth. Numerous studies have shown that the human mind cannot focus on more than one thing at a time well. In reality, what we call “multitasking” is to constantly move our attention from one activity to the other. This is easier when some activities only require muscle memory (like driving and talking with a passenger), but decisions that need to be made often get overlooked. Ever been heavily engaged in a conversation and miss your turn or run a red light? It’s a great example of our inability to multitask. You can keep the car on the road (muscle memory) and carry on the conversation. But depending on the intensity of the conversation, we might end up arriving late or getting a ticket (or worse).

A surgeon in the operating room must focus on the task at hand. He does not have time to run throughout the operating room monitoring blood pressure, pulse, and all the other details required to keep the patient alive. He gets and requests occasional updates from the systems and people in place to make sure the patient continue leading the procedure.

Throughout your day, find the times to check into the system (email, phone, etc). Put your own personal system together to allow you to focus on the task at hand. Turn off your email notice. Close the Facebook in the background. Let the voicemail get the phone.

If you’re looking at taking on multiple projects, become a plate spinner. Determine your project and focus on it until it is ready to be set on auto-pilot, delegated , or performed on muscle memory. Once the project is set to auto-pilot, it only takes a glance to verify that the system is still operating. Now take on the next one.

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five foundations of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Give a helping hand. Be a servant Leadership for your team, your customers and your community.

Service-Minded

By | Leadership | No Comments

Give a helping hand. Be a servant Leadership for your team, your customers and your community.The greatest thinkers since the beginning of time have encouraged us to look out for each other. Every advanced society encourages it. Every faith requires it. The best leaders are “servant leaders”: leaders that believe that their purpose is to serve customers and team members alike for a greater purpose than themselves.

Building a market means delivering a product that serves the customer well. You lead your customers to a better version of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, there are products that actually destroy the customer either immediately or eventually while giving immediate satisfaction (tobacco, drugs, pornography, etc.) We often talk about providing great customer service, but do you truly have a spirit of service or are you constantly balancing what we are providing compared to what we are receiving?

Building a team requires service. You have to give attention to every person on the team and give them the tools, skills, and confidence that your your customers need. Building your team is more than plugging a peg in a hole to stop the gap. It means mentoring and coaching them. It requires more than management, it requires leadership – which requires being service-minded.

Building the community around you through your personal and business efforts is also important. It’s no secret why businesses enter into philanthropy. Not only is it good for your soul, but it’s good for your bottom line.

The character and integrity of your business is only as strong as your own. By becoming a better person, you become a better leader, and you build your booming business.

 

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five foundations of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Communication suffering in your business?

Miscommunication

By | Follow-through, Leadership, Systems | No Comments

 "I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." Robert McCloskey, the award winning children’s author once wrote: “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

I have had many conversations like that. What I thought the conversation was about turned out to be completely misunderstood by me or the other people involved. I have also had my words twisted into an indiscernible mess.

Business revolves around agreements between parties that find the arrangement mutually advantageous. Good communication builds trust and a stronger agreement and thus a greater advantage for everyone involved.

For the operations of your business, the most important system that connects all of your systems together is how information moves. From lead, to proposal, to planning, to completion, to invoice, to collections. How does information flow or not flow?

I have found that communication of several forms can help clarify and solidify our meaning. By first having the conversation and then providing a written follow-up, we can make our own point more clear.

Remember also that communication goes two ways. We need to be open to understanding what other people are telling us. If we repeat back what we think we heard to the other individual, it allows them an opportunity to clarify their message as well.

Volumes have been written on how to improve communication. Chances are because they are so difficult to manage.

 

 

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Leading a team through change is one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. Even though the team knows that change needs to happen, they will resist it the most. Here is where you will begin to make some of the most difficult decisions in your business.

Manage Change

By | Leadership, Operations | No Comments

Leading a team through change is one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. Even though the team knows that change needs to happen, they will resist it the most. Here is where you will begin to make some of the most difficult decisions in your business. Leading a team through change is one of the biggest challenges a leader can face. Even though the team knows that change needs to happen, they will resist it tooth and nail. This is where you will begin to make some of the most difficult decisions in your business.

As a leader you will need a large dose of humility. It can be a blow to your ego to know that some of your pet projects are not only superfluous, but detracting from your continued growth. Reevaluate what is most important to the business. You’d be surprised at what will really makes your business successful. Be ready to let go of your own thoughts and ideas about how things should work.

Getting an outsider’s professional view might be necessary. You can be so close to the problem that you can’t see the solution. Depending on your team and the culture you’ve created, they may not be able to see it or feel uncomfortable cluing you in. If you haven’t already, identify a consultant, coach, mastermind group, or all of the above that you will use.

Note that by implementing these changes you will purposely take your team from the Norming stage back to the Storming stage as they try to hash out their new roles and how they will work together. This will create conflict – which will be good. But knowing how to manage your team through the conflict and avoiding complete nuclear warfare will be your challenge. 

Know also that there will be people that need to leave the team. Be comfortable with that. Their departure does not mean that they are a bad person (though some might be) or that you are a bad leader. Sometimes people refuse to grow with the company. It’s OK. But if they cannot grow with you, then it’s time for them to find a place where they will be happier.

 

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Hiring the right person is only the beggining. You have to give them the right tools and train them to your standards.

Getting the New Guy Started

By | Hiring, Leadership, Leverage, Operations | No Comments

Hiring the right person is only the beggining. You have to give them the right tools and train them to your standards.When I first started managing and supervising others, I thought it was about giving the person the tools, telling them what I needed done and letting them loose to carry it out.

You’re probably chuckling to yourself because you thought the same thing in the beginning.

You and I have both realized that there’s a lot more to it than expecting them to “just do their job.” There has to be accountability and frequent check-ins to make sure the project is on time, on task, and exceeds the quality your customer expects.

Every employee needs to be provided the tools to succeed and the accountability that motivates them forward. Great training does both.

I’ll bet you teach them how, let them do it a few times and then walk away. How many times have you done that and then come back to a disaster after they found an “easier way?” You didn’t hold them accountable and instill that they did it your way.

So let’s put together a training program that gives them the tools and accountability they need to be succesful.

Here is how:

  1. Using your interview question, create a list of core skills that the worker must have to be successful.
  2. Now map out how quickly you want them to show expertise in these skills. Using time frames like 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 6 months and a year work pretty well.
  3. For each skill, create a measurement that the person must meet to show their expertise. Usually this includes quality and timeliness parameters.

Just making the checklist won’t work. You have to use it for every new hire – regardless of their credentials or experience. When the journeyman with 25 years of experience rolls his eyes at it, you continue to press him to sign off the expertise. It communicates very clearly that you have areas you will not compromise on. It also tells the old-timers that it does not matter how it was done someplace else – it’s done your way and to your standards. If they want to improve the process, then they need to first do it your way. They can propose their way after they have signed off on yours.

I use this competency punch-list in the interviews. Revisit it occasionally with the guys who have been with you for a while. You would be surprised at how quality and timeliness improve by using training this way.
is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Choosing an employee requires a strategy and more than just finding someone to fog a mirror. I can provide the business coaching you need to make that happen.

Hired!

By | Accountability, Hiring, Leadership, life style, Operations | No Comments

Choosing an employee requires a strategy and more than just finding someone to fog a mirror. I can provide the business coaching you need to make that happen.There just aren’t as many skilled and experienced employees in the market as there once were!

When the economy tanked in 2008 – especially for the housing and building industries – many skilled workers went back to school or found a job in a different industry. Those that did stay in the game are now demanding more cash and can be hired away at the drop of a hat for a little more an hour.

Hiring young workers and training them seems more frustrating than losing your quality employees.  The basic skills taught a few decades ago are not being taught so readily to the new generation. How to drive a straight nail even seems foreign to many workers entering the market.

This has created a huge gap in many industries. Not enough experience to hold the quality end up, higher labor costs, and little new talent coming through the door.

Time for a “Hiring Strategy.”

It feels like more work than it’s worth, but if you can create an incredible strategy for finding, hiring and training excellent people you will save yourself weeks and months of lost productivity and revenue.

Actually, a hiring strategy is not very different than a marketing strategy. It boils down to several questions you need to be asking that you probably are not:

What are the key, measured results that I want from every worker?

  • Besides experience, what are the key values my ideal worker will bring to the table?
  • What can we teach and – more importantly – what can we not teach?
  • What can we do to make the hiring process more detailed instead of just hiring the guy that can fog a mirror?

Hiring for experience is good, but hiring a team member who has a great work ethic, a desire to learn and a drive to succeed will be a better employee every time. Some of the best people I have ever hired had zero experience. Why? Because they had a drive to succeed. Granted, certain positions require specific qualifications. I won’t hire a doctor without a degree or license to practice but a great attitude. However, once the minimum qualifications for a position are met, the rest can be taught.

A mistake I often see in hiring is not doing your due diligence in the process. Put your people through the ringer. Do multiple interviews, perform a “working interview” by requiring them  to “ride along” for a day. I even suggest that you know their spouse or someone important in their life. You don’t want the employee who has a crazy person at home draining the energy they should put into their work.  And of course, check references, review backgrounds, and have drug tests performed.

Ultimately, you have to have a process for hiring. Just like your sales process, framing a door, booking a patient, or wiring a house. There are certain principles to use and can be adjusted for the job you need done. But when you start short-cutting the process, you start short-cutting your results.
is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Knowing more is not always what you are missing - sometimes you just have to implement what you already know.

Implement or Fail

By | Accountability, Follow-through, Motivation | No Comments

Originally posted at: http://www.readysetgrowmarketing.com

Knowing more is not always what you are missing - sometimes you just have to implement what you already know.

Chance are, you are not looking to sell your business to a large corporation. Chances are you are the independent doctor, contractor, specialty baker, landscaper or restaurateur. You want to create a business that allows you to get paid well and do what you love. People want and need what you offer. You have built a business around what you know best. You had hoped that by building a business you could take control of your own destiny, build a legacy and build wealth.

The trouble is: your talents, skills and artistry in providing your service or product do not always translate into the freedom and prosperity you had hoped.

Even with so many business books and now e-books, podcasts and “free reports”, businesses still suffer. You are still running a business on the seat of your pants, fighting for adequate revenue, can’t find good employees or keep them, and will probably sell your business for the salvage value of your equipment.

There is something in the business advice industry that many coaches, consultants, and gurus know. It’s a dirty little secret that keeps many clients and “followers” constantly on the hook for more:

1)    Most people feel that they have missed some key piece of information or skill instead of realizing that their biggest obstacle is their own failure to implement.

2)    Few people actually implement. Of those that implement, fewer implement well.

Here is the “catch 22” to this dirty little secret: education and developing your abilities as a business owner is one of the defining factors between those who succeed and those that don’t. There are many things that we just cannot know.

Few people start their business truly understanding how they will run it. You are not alone. Education in business is easier to get now than ever before thanks to Google and countless business advisors putting some of their best stuff out there in blogs and books.

So how do you become one of the few successful business owners out of the millions who read business books and attend countless seminars around the world?

Here are the biggest trip-ups I see and what business leaders tell themselves:

Silver Bullet – “There has to be a secret out there. If I can find the one trick that is going to transform my business, my life will improve dramatically.”

Strategy of the Week – “Hey! There’s something I haven’t tried yet. I think I will give it a shot. All the other things I have going on can wait.”

Failure to Launch – “I want it to be just right before I put it out there.”

Overwhelm – “I have so many ideas, I can’t seem to decide which one to do.”

Now that we have diagnosed the problem, here are the remedies:

No Silver Bullets – There are as many paths to success as there are definitions of success. The key is measured implementation of one sound strategy.

Follow Through – Constantly changing tactics and strategies is going to get us nowhere but with a shop full of half-completed projects. Pick one and stick with it until it is operating on auto-pilot

Just Put It Out There – A friend of mine told me recently that “version one is better than version none.”

Get Organized – Most people who talk about having too many ideas never write them down and therefore cannot prioritize them. Keep a notebook of ideas handy and write down anything you come up with. When putting together an annual plan, prioritize them and pick only the ones you can implement well.

As I work with clients, only about 40% of my time is spent in education. Most of what I do is help people get past the challenges they face. Usually business owners know what should be done and have more than enough ideas, but they have not figured out how to implement well.

Get out there and make it happen!

Method Strategy

Method Strategy

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Systems | One Comment

 

Don't lose the sale because of poor follow through.

A few weeks ago, I had in my hand a coupon for a free 30-minute massage and was planning on paying for another 30 minutes. I had also considered trying the chiropractor in the same office since I had never had an adjustment before. Here is how the phone call went:

Me: I have a free 30-minute massage coupon I would like to schedule.

Office Gal: Great! When would you like to schedule it?

Me: Actually, I have some neck pain that has been bothering me for a couple of days because I slept wrong. Is there any chance you can see me this afternoon?

Gal: I don’t see anything available right away, but we are open on Monday, would you like to see what we can do then?

Me: Actually, I am on my Bluetooth and driving right now, so I can’t see my schedule. Is there any way you can squeeze me in today?

Gal: No, I really can’t squeeze you in. Why don’t you call us back when you get to your location and we can set something up next week.

Me: (Disgruntled) Sure.

I didn’t call back.

So what was the problem here? There were several problems, actually. I am a potential customer trying to get an appointment. Did they have “Same-day” slots for people like me? Perhaps even refer me to someone who takes same-day appointments. But the biggest problem of all is that she left it to chance that I might not call back!

By getting my contact information, she could have followed up later that afternoon to get me on the schedule. Even if all she could do was call me back and get me scheduled for Monday, I would at least be more likely to visit them in the future. Since then, I think I lost the coupon.

Dean Jackson with the I Love Marketing Podcast best laid it out in a recent seminar with the following equation:

Use the Method Strategy to help walk your potential clients from attention grabbing to the sale.

 

 

 

Get their Attention + Get their Contact Information + Build a Relationship   =     $ales

 

This process I have dubbed the Method Strategy. A marketing method is a means of promoting your business through a single avenue. A radio commercial campaign is a great example of a method. Many times these radio campaigns have several different messages that build on each other or are targeted to specific markets based on the radio station and the playing time. Even though these ads build on each other, it is only one method. Networking, flyers, TV ads, public relations, referral groups, direct mail, and countless other methods exist and are being invented every day.

Any of the methods are for one purpose: discover who might be interested in learning more. All you really want to accomplish is to find out who might be interested and get their contact information. The method alone will rarely make the sale on its own.

If you have honed in on your target market, have created a great message with an awesome call to action, and are running some amazing content with a strong call to action, you have started getting phone calls, web traffic, people walking into your store, or emails from some great potential customers. As they respond, make sure you get their contact information.

Now its time to start developing a relationship with a measured sequence of contacts you make with them to slowly develop the trust they need to have in you. Here is a quick example of one that I helped a client set-up.

This processes can be simple or complex depending on what you are selling and the decision making process. So if you are selling high-end medical equipment, the process to pull build a relationship will be much longer than if you are selling monthly housekeeping services.

The key to this planned sequence of contacts is asking yourself “What’s next?” until they buy (repeatedly) or ask not to be contacted any longer.

Happy planning!

 

 

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Clarity

By | Marketing | No Comments

Have you ever seen an ad and wondered, “what was that about?”

How about a commercial that engaged you but then left you wondering what they were trying to sell?

Usually this is because many marketers are too concerned with being witty or artistic to win an award instead of trying to get their audience respond appropriately. While wit and humor can be very effective, it should always carry the audience (your target market) toward an action you want them to take.

You can’t make that happen without clarity in your message.

Clarity in a marketing message is really an art as much as its a process. A clear message accomplishes several things. It cuts through the advertising and marketing clutter that every one of your potential customers sees and hears every day. It leads them by the heart and mind to the conclusion that you have what they are looking for. Finally, it educates them in how you are different and why you are their best choice.

Each of us has a “reticular activator” in our brain that helps us filter information and only allow into our consciousness what we have subconsciously decided as important. It’s the reticular activator that makes you think there are more pregnant women in the world when you are expecting a child of your own when the birth rate has probably not changed significantly. However, you notice it more because it is something important to your subconscious mind.

Your target market needs you to activate their reticular activator by being part of their thought process. In order to cut through the clutter and enter their conscious mind, you have to know your audience and what they are thinking. The audience, of course, is you target market. The way you cut through is by entering into the conversation that is already happening in your audiences mind.

Once you have their attention, it’s time to help them walk with you towards the logical conclusion you already have set for them: take action on what they read or hear. Here is where you have about 10 seconds to win their trust and convince them that you have the answer they want. Remember, purchasing is not always about what they need – its often about what they want.

If you can gain their confidence and interest that you have the solution, you have earned the right to continue the communication. Whatever method of marketing you are using, whether it’s a 30 second commercial, a business-card-sized ad, or a lengthy presentation, you are asking for their permission to continue leading them down the path to the sale.

Clear content does more than whet their appetite for more information. Clear content educates your customer on more than bells and whistles of your gadget. It communicates who you are, why they should choose you and what makes you a better fit for them.

When talking about a clear message, I want to emphasize the importance of using a great copywriter to help you sculpt your message. Most people think of a copywriter as the person that will keep your work from being plagiarized. But, in marketing circles a copywriter is a professional who has studied the art of selling through words. For a few dollars, they can help you sculpt and create an incredible message that will bring customers right to your door step.

If you are not sure how clear your message is, it might be time to have someone else take a look at it. 

 

 

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Most businesses never ask for the business. A good call to action can make all the difference.

Call To Action

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Sales | No Comments

Most businesses never ask for the business. A good call to action can make all the difference.My youth pastor once shared a story with me about a high school pal he had run into on a business trip. As they discussed where their life paths had taken them, my pastor was surprised to find that not only had his friend become a faithful church-goer, but his friend was now serving as pastor of a congregation.

The high school pal had accompanied my pastor as teenagers to many activities, camps, and services; but had never taken the next step to join – always a visitor. When my pastor asked his friend why he had not joined in high school, the response was simple: “No one ever asked.”

Often we assume the customer will buy when they are ready, but in reality they have never been asked. Just putting your phone number on an ad or letting them know you are available is not a strong call to action. Even if your marketing method is a follow up phone call, letting them know you can help is not enough. Give them something specific to act on. A free estimate only takes you so far.

A strong call to action is based on your customer getting something very specific for taking only one small step. If they call you, what do they get for their phone call besides a sales pitch? If you are calling on them, what advantage do they have in meeting with you?

Take a look at the last credit card offer you got in the mail. They are pointing you to one action. “Guaranteed Acceptance,” “Lowest Interest Rates,” “Bonus Air Miles,” and “No-Fee Balance Transfers” are strong incentives intended to get you to fill out that form at the bottom.

Anther common mistake is asking someone to take too many steps at one time. Remember that sales – especially large dollar sales – are a process. Your initial intention is not to get their money. Your initial intention is to get them to contact you and voice an interest.

Selling is teaching. If you take the student too fast down the path, you will not only create confusion and disinterest, but also resentment. Think of a child who may not be as fast as others in the class to pick up on math. If she has someone to help her along at her own pace, she is much more likely to succeed and even start to enjoy the challenge. However, pushing her to keep up when she is not ready for it will only cause her to decide that “math is not her thing.”

Most importantly: just ask the question. What’s the worst that could happen? Don’t allow someone to opt out of enjoying your product only because you never asked.

 

So here is my ask:

 

I am looking for one business that has a solid track record and good potential for growth. I would like to enter into a form of partnership with you to help you grow your business and your profits.

I have a proven system to help grow your sales and profits.

I am so confident that my system will work with any company that I am willing to provide a money back guarantee if you agree to participate in my growth program.

To find out more, let me know here:

 

 

is a business coach and consultant that works with business owners and managers to create momentum in their business with strategies and tactics that they can implement today. These strategies are based on the five building blocks of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.