All Posts By

Dave Mitchell

Atlas

Excellence

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

Seeking excellenceI have recently been listening to an audio version of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. I am only half through with this massive book, but realize the common theme: the conflict between those that seek excellence through achievement and those that wish to gain power through manipulating regulation and taxation in the name of “the greater good.”

 

It has put my mind to thinking about excellence and high productivity.

 

Being human, we don’t always produce the results in as excellent a way as we would like. I recently had a challenge where my efforts did not produce the results I had planned. As I reviewed what went wrong, I found five basic things that are common in most failures:

 

  1. Incorrect assumptions
  2. Impatience with planning
  3. Poor follow-through
  4. Communication break-down
  5. Just plain laziness

It is a frustrating and demoralizing moment when you realize that you have run into a brick wall – a wall you placed there.

 

So how to avoid it? Get help. Have someone look over your shoulder. They can often  provide you feedback and point out your oversights.

cerate systems for what you love

Don’t Forget to Live

By | Leadership, life style, Systems | No Comments

hammockWhat an exciting week! I had the opportunity to spend a few days in just outside of Yosemite for a family reunion.

Now before you start to yawn and think it’s another opportunity to hear your ninety-something uncle Frank talk about how life was before they invented paper while passing copious amounts of gas – this was 20 great people and their children ranging in ages from a few months to 21 years old that I happen to be related to. I’m sore from the softball, basketball and invented games that have yet to be named.

I came away with a great reminder about my business. My business is designed to support my life – not the other way around.

So here is a call to action for you: Make sure you have time to enjoy the people you love or do the things you like most.

If there is business that MUST be done while you are off – it means developing systems in order to make sure the team members and technology can handle the load for you.

 

Ready for some time off? Click here

Marketing is a lot like being a mad scientist

Test Test Test

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Strategic Planning | No Comments

Marketing is a lot like being a mad scientist - test test testI occasionally get responses to my emails asking me what the best day, time, or how frequently they should send out their emails. Unfortunately, the answer is: It depends.

 

While there are certain marketing principles that everyone should know and apply, the direct application of those principles really depends on several points:

 

  1. Target Market
  2. Purpose
  3. Value
  4. Follow-Through
  5. Consistency

If you look closely, these are the same things you should consider before you start any marketing strategy.

 

Unfortunately, like most marketing, you have to test it to find out. No matter how well you believe you are inside your ideal clients’ mind and know what they need, you really aren’t. It takes time and patience.

 

It’s very much like a mad scientist trying his latest experiment. Create what you think will happen, develop a plan to see if it works, launch and evaluate.

 

Think through it a little. Send out a few emails and see what kind of response you get. Know your numbers and what works versus what doesn’t. Make adjustments.

 

The most important aspect is to BE CONSISTENT. I get more unsubcribes after I miss my regular intervals than at any other time.

 

Version one is better than version none.

Do you know how well your marketing is working? Click here to find out: http://boommybusiness.com/free_coaching.html

 

Benefits of creating an Email Marketing strategy

Benefits of Email Marketing

By | Marketing, Strategic Planning | No Comments

Benefits of creating an Email Marketing strategyMany of you have been getting my emails for some time. You often open, read, click-through, and attend many of my events.

 

As I have been reviewing my data and my marketing over the last several weeks, I began pondering the efficacy of these twice-a-week emails.

 

While it has been a long-term project (nearly two years) I have discovered that my emails do several things for my business:

 

  1. Establish Trust: The contacts on my list (you) have had ample opportunity to get a glimpse into my business philosophy and application of principles in business.
  2. Establish Rapport: Not only do you see what my thoughts on building a business are, but you have also looked into who I am through my stories and sharing my experiences of who I am.
  3. Create “Top of Mind”: Many of you have called me when you get into a business bind.
  4. Give Permission: I have the opportunity to market to you once in a while. I have given you value over time while creating trust and rapport. Because you and I have developed this kind of relationship, it makes it easier for us to connect off-line through seminars, speeches, events, and other products or programs.
  5. Develop Content: These emails have also allowed me to develop website content and traffic. This improves my Google ranking which makes it easier for people not currently getting my emails to see me, sign up, and even contact me for services. It has also given me a rough structure and content for a book I am writing: “The Smallest Business Book You Will Ever Need.”

Having said this, Thank You! Thank you for allowing me to speak from my heart and my passion into your business. Thank you for allowing me to connect with you in a personal way

 

To many more returns through the years.

 

By the way: if you would like to explore how to create your own email marketing program for you own business. Please click here: http://boommybusiness.com/free_coaching.html

 

Job Training

Teaching Systems

By | Accountability, Leadership, Operations, Systems | No Comments

One of my first potential clients several years ago mentioned that she and her husband were considering hiring an employee and might need me. I had a hard time getting in touch with them for a month. When I finally had a chance to speak with her, she let me know they had already hired someone and fired them. “I’m never hiring anyone again,” she informed me.

 

Job TrainingAs I dug deeper, I discovered a few key elements that she missed in the hiring and training process. She told me that this employee had mishandled invoicing and collecting payment (in a rather suspicious nature), was chronically late for service calls and didn’t follow through well with clean-up and other key follow-through items.

 

I know I beat this drum often. Without a doubt, it boiled down to systems and the system to train a new employee to follow the systems.

 

  1. The business owner had not verified the quality of the employee’s work. The work they were performing was very technical. Because the employee had several years of experience in the field, the owner had assumed the employee would do well. A ride-along in the interview process and an expectation for the new employee to shadow in the beginning would have saved them time and money.
  2. They did not develop a clear system that created double-checks and accountability in how invoicing and payments were to be handled. They expected the employee to get them the payments “when he could” since he would sometimes be on a service call until late into the evening. There were too many opportunities to lose payments or simply “borrow” some of it for a beer on his way home.
  3. The owner had not developed any level of clear “service standard.” When an employee has not been given clear expectations and no process to be held accountable to them, they create their own standards.  

 

In order to create an incredible experience for your customers, consistency in your systems coupled with a system for training and a system of accountability will create an incredible operation and value for your customers. Ultimately this creates value for you when its time to leverage and sell your business.

Keep your bottle-neck full

Drum Buffer Rope

By | Cost Controls, Operations, Systems | No Comments

Keep your bottle-neck fullMy Introduction to Process Management professor should have retired 20 years before I sat in his class. This was a required course and he was not only quirky, but a little disconnected as well.

 

However, the one concept that clicked with me – and something that I have used often – is how to improve operations through a simple concept:

 

“Drum-Buffer-Rope”

 

I have a close friend who is an industrial engineer. I am sure he will be irked by my over-simplification below.

 

Ideally, you should eliminate bottlenecks. However, there are many times when a bottleneck is outside of your control or ability.

 

To make the most out of a bottleneck, you have to keep it as full as possible without creating too much back log.

 

  1. Identify the bottleneck and decide what it’s highest speed is.
  2. Set the rest of the system to only work as fast as the bottleneck rhythm (Drum)
  3. Create a “lead-time” on the work needed (Buffer)
  4. Only send enough work through the system that will pull the work through the bottleneck at a consistent rate. (Rope)

 

Simply put: know your bottlenecks and maximize their operation. It will eliminate wasted time and expense.

Create an experience to remember you by.

My Most Amazing Dining Experience

By | Marketing, Operations | No Comments

Create an experience to remember you by.Walls that looked like they had been quilted with a red, eccentrically patterned cloth and embedded with all kinds of small beads that reflected the low light was the first clue that I was in for something special.

 

I sat down at the table with about 10 other people I did not know. To my left were another 10 people in my party seated at two large, circular booths with curtains ready to be drawn for privacy.

 

This was the House of Blues Foundation Dining Room in the Red Light District of New Orleans – an exclusive club inside the New Orleans House of Blues and one of the hottest concert venues in the South.

 

I was interviewing as a graduate student for an Administrative Fellowship with one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country.

 

The dining experience was so amazing, I can still remember what I ordered more than 10 years ago!

 

I sometimes hear struggling businesses tell me that they have depended on “word of mouth,” but that it is just not working anymore.

 

My first question is usually, “What have you done lately to wow them? Are you providing an experience?”

 

Customers will remember and talk about their experience and the relationship you create. Not your service.

business budgeting

On Paper, On Purpose

By | Accountability, Accounting, Cost Controls, Finance | No Comments

business budgetingIn many organizations, one of the most hated seasons is budget season. Your past performance and ability to stay within projections are carefully analyzed. You are also responsible for developing every detail of your budget for the next year and justifying that amount. Often you are not just justifying your budget to your own boss, but also justifying your amounts to his boss or even a panel or board.

 

Why do good organizations focus on budgets so heavily? There are some basic principles at work here that everyone, big or small, needs to take into consideration:

 

  1. Spending decisions are easier to make when you have decided in advance when you have the time to work through the logic of how to run the business without the emotional pressures.
  2. A budgets is really a goal. Knowing what you expect from your business in terms of sales, revenue and expenses helps you to focus on the activities that are going to make your business the most successful.
  3. The difference between a goal and implementation sometimes is accountability. By continually comparing your performance to your budget, you can hold yourself accountable and keep motivated.
  4. Budgets can also be a communication tool to your employees. By laying out the expectations of the business in terms of black and white numbers, your team can better understand what you expect of them.

Often managers don’t use the budget tools they are given wisely and end up losing their department a great deal of money. Business owners make the same mistake.

 

Dave Ramsey says that every dollar should be put down on paper, on purpose every month. Just knowing your budget numbers for each month and not walking blindly will make a large impact in your success.

 

You have to know where you stand before you can know the direction to take.

 

pie

Aren’t Numbers Fun?

By | Accounting, Cost Controls, Finance, Systems | No Comments

Business Numbers matterNumbers, numbers, numbers.

 

Hate them or love them, they run our world. Material wealth is based on a number assigned to the value of your assets and the revenue they produce. How we feel about something is often reduced to a scale between 1 and 10. Even in social media, you base your “acceptance” on the number of likes, shares or re-tweets.

 

So what numbers matter to you?

 

Some numbers you should track even outside your accounting books. Some numbers many businesses need to keep include sales effectiveness (sales calls/store visitors, positive responses, objections, etc.) or quality measures (Re-dos, refunds, material waste, labor hours) but are often not kept.

 

iContact (the email provider I use for this newsletter) provides me with numbers about how many open the email, how many click through, or how many unsubscribe. I use this feedback to know what content you would prefer to read, how to format it and the best time to deliver it.

 

The challenge with keeping numbers is establishing a discipline to:

  1. Record the numbers
  2. Analyze the number to make sense and
  3. Use the analysis to improve your systems.

 

What do you need to know in order to improve your business?

Know your sales least common denominator

Break Down Your Customer Numbers

By | Accountability, Accounting, Cost Controls, Finance, Marketing, Strategic Planning | No Comments

Walgreens over the last few decades has become the most prominant drug store in the United States. When I was growing up, Rite-Aid and Eckerd pharmacies where the top two “corner pharmacy” giants. Jim Collins, in “Good to Great,” details how Walgreens went from a struggling family-run corporation to a national brand.

 

Know your sales least common denominatorOne of the key components that Walgreens focused on for their growth was their per-customer sales. This is a simple number that averages a store’s receipts per customer. Everything including the location, store layout, sales, and product positioning is sculpted towards increasing their sales-per-customer numbers.

 

It is critically important to know your “least common denominator.” For a primary care medical practice you would use charges and collections per visit whereas a surgical practice would use charges and collections per surgery because of what insurance calls global fees that cover all follow-up visits. Every business should know it’s least common denominator to drive business.

 

When you look at your ratios from your your P&L and Cash Flow statements, you take a 30,000 ft view. By looking at your least common denominator you can begin realizing sales and cost-savings that you are missing on a macro level.

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