Category

Systems

Keep adding new processes, and you end up with a cluster.

How did I get such a jumbled mess?

By | Leadership, Operations, Systems | No Comments

One of my wife’s many gifts is that she is extremely organized in everything that she does. I, on the other hand, am not that way. I have had to learn as an adult to keep organized and still have to make a conscious effort.

Even for an organized business owner, adding staff and complexity to the business can cause your processes and systems to become a jumbled mess.

Poor systems never start as bad. Usually they occur because the system in place has not responded well to unexpected challenges or new opportunities.

Imagine your original business systems as a single bubble. You’re happy with your bubble. It works and produces the results that you need.

Your core business starts as a simple set of processes
Eventually a new problem or opportunity comes up that you need to address. It’s easier to just add a new system or process instead of growing your system.

A new challenge can present a need for a new process

However, if you keep adding new processes to every new opportunity, you have a business full of disjointed processes. They sort of fit together, but they are cumbersome and difficult to manage.

Keep adding new processes, and you end up with a cluster.

To get out of this jumble of un-manageable, independent processes, you have to start looking at your Standard Operating Procedures and see how they fit together, figure out transitions, communication methods, and how to better wow your customers.

You need tighter operating procedures.

Don’t roll your eyes. None of us like the restrictions and the “corporatization” of our businesses. Most of us started our business to get away from the smothering of someone else’s stupid rules.  The truth is, great business is somewhere between smothering bureaucracy and flying by the seat of your pants.

By developing written procedures and processes, you create a team that produces the same level of quality as you would if you were doing the job yourself. How detailed and how specific you get with your processes depends on how much decision making can be left to your newest and least experienced employee.

 

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.

Marketing Strategy Defined

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

Marketing strategy should be thought more of as a system to produce the best results.One of the biggest challenges to most businesses is how to market themselves. There is a reason why many executives have climbed their way up from the Marketing ranks.

Over the years, I have looked at many strategies, methods and systems for marketing. The type of system that brings the most possible clients to you with the least amount of effort or expense always have the following five attributes:

  1. Marketing is a system – just like every other system in your business.
  2. There has to be an over-riding strategy for it. Just making sales is not sufficient.
  3. The system only works if you stay with it.
  4. Test, evaluate, adjust, repeat.
  5. There are only three methods of investment in your marketing: Cash, Time, and Effort. Of which do you have the most?

There is no silver bullet to marketing. If there was, there would not be so many marketing consultants,sales people, etc. We would all use the same bullet.

As you delve into the different types of strategy, remember that there are two kinds. The first is your Method Strategy. The Method Strategy is the step-by-step process that your customer takes from exposure to the sale. On the other hand, your overall strategy is how each method builds and interacts with your other marketing efforts. By having methods that integrate and work together, you create an exponential model for growth.
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.

The Achievement Cycle

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

Most of us approach goals the wrong way. What we miss most is some very basic concepts that the Boy Scouts have been using for over 100 years and what video game developers have been adding into their games to make them addicting.

Find out how to use these “addicting” achievement methods for your goals.

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.

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.

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.

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.

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.

Product Before Marketing

By | Follow-through, Marketing, Operations, Systems | No Comments

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.Time to stop worrying about “satisfied customers:” customers that will pay for what you give them and be content with the transaction. If you are in a market where there is good demand and little competition, that’s all you need. However, add a couple competitors and your service becomes a commodity as customers feel they can get a “better deal.”

To avoid the race to the bottom, you have to create what Ken Blanchard calls “Raving Fans.”

If you want someone to keep coming back and to tell about how amazing you are, give them something that blows their mind. Even better, people will pay a premium for the experience over the commodity.

What additional “wow” are you giving your customer? If you’re a barber, give every client a beer. If you clean houses – leave a $2 flower in a vase with your logo. Realtors can have the clients’ favorite coffee or treat in the car before looking at their list of houses. The most simple way to keep a customer coming back is to treat them as an individual.

While you’re creating your amazing experience, also look at the things customers hate about your service or industry. I hate going to the cheap, quick, drive-up oil change businesses – sitting in a dirty waiting room with uninteresting and out-of-date magazines. Why not be able to listen to my radio and read my favorite newspaper, magazine or open my tablet and get some work done? That is exactly what one particular oil service does with their oil change service. Even though the service is more expensive than the other places – every dock is full when I pull up! I know I will get someone in their flat cap (once it was a woman) and an offer of my favorite newspaper or magazine to read. I don’t even have to leave the car. By the way, the newspaper is for sale if I want to take it with me – they will just add it to the bill.

Many of my clients fist come to me asking for marketing. They don’t realize that they don’t need more promotion. The reason they don’t have enough customers is because their business is a revolving door. Their customers leave as quickly as they come in. With a little effort, they could simply close the back door and keep the customers they worked so hard for in the first place!

You can get more ways to develop word of mouth by downloading the free ebook “3 Easy Ways to Get More Referrals” on the left-hand side of this page.
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.

Build a Better Mousetrap? Don’t Forget The Marketing

By | Marketing, Strategic Planning, Systems | No Comments

Just having a better product does not equal great sales

The old saying goes: “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.” Unfortunately, this saying has led many business leaders to believe that they only need to “build a better mousetrap.” A focus on quality and creating something amazing will fix everything. Eventually word will get out. Right?!?!

Unfortunately, the world cannot beat a path to your door unless the world knows about your amazing mousetrap.

There are businesses that corner the market on word of mouth. People love them and their product so much, that they tell everyone about it. I wrote about one of these businesses here. However, they are  very intentional about encouraging word of mouth.  Also, depending on word of mouth alone leaves a large portion of your target market out of the loop.

Promoting your business is much easier once you have defined the other 4Ps of your marketing (Product, Price, and Position). Using the steps below, you can begin developing your promotion campaigns

  1. Define your target Market: Determine who needs to hear your message. The more specific the market, the more successful you will be. (More here)
  2. Define your message: Understand the motivations of your target market. Then describe how your business solves a problem or fulfills a desire. This is where a copywriter comes in handy. Copywriters are professionals that are experts in writing to sell. They can help you sculpt this message and avoid most of the trial and error it would otherwise require of your marketing. With a clear message, the design can then be sculpted around it with logos, pictures and graphic design.
  3. Define the strategy: Just running an ad, publishing a website, or networking is only effective if you know the steps that will take your ideal customer all the way through the sale.
  4. Always have a next step in place: If a person in your target market does not take you initial offer or buy on their first encounter, what is your next step? Remember that most sales don’t happen until the seventh interaction between the customer and the product. Are they on your newsletter list? Do you have a way to contact them and provide more information? How will you continue to develop that relationship?

Getting away from pure tactics and hoping they make the sale for you will get you the marketing success you have been craving.

 

spinning-plates

Nice Problem to Have

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

spinning-platesHow many marketing methods do you have spinning right now?

About a year ago, I met with a successful business owner. As we started talking about his marketing, the list of systems he had working for him kept getting longer and longer. He had about 15 methods that all were bringing him highly qualified leads.

While there were some systems he recognized that needed some tweaking or refreshing, he had approached me because his client base was becoming too big and he did not like turning people away that he could help.

Nice problem to have.

So how do you get so many plates spinning at one time?

The short answer is one at a time.

But its not always that easy.

Business leaders are frequently bogged down with too many ideas, unsure of the best place to start with each idea, and often dissatisfied with partially (or poorly) completed projects.

Really, a marketing plan is meant to clarify all these ideas and half-completed projects. You start with creating a schedule of projects that will create several promotion systems to get your target market’s attention, qualify customers, and move them to the sale.  Many of these promotion methods converge into a single sales process called a funnel.

Tis the season to review how your 2013 marketing did and develop your marketing plan for 2014.

 

To get a jump on the process, I will be holding a Marketing Plan Starter webinar on October 18th at 12:00.

Be part of it and sign up here.


You can also email me with questions at dmitchell(at)boommybusiness.com.

Word of mouth marketing lining people out the door

Referrals and Word-of-Mouth

By | Marketing, Operations, Systems | No Comments

Great word of mouth marketing gets them lining up out the door.There is a GREAT taco place just around the corner from my office. The good news is they have some incredible food, great service and not too expensive. The bad news is that they are so easily accessible, that I eat there too often; and even though they are delicious, it’s not the best choice for my weight management.

There is something else about this place: lunch has a line out the door every day, rain or shine.

They do not have a website and I have never seen any advertising. The only advertising I have seen is their Facebook site. So how do they do it?

They have a simple recipe:

A Great Experience: Going to this taco place is more than just getting great tasting food. The décor, environment, the people, even the selection of drinks (home made horchata or Jarritos sodas) and sides give their customers a feeling of stepping into a Latin-American taqueria. It’s more than the food – it’s an experience that gives you a mini-vacation.

Consistency: I know exactly what I am getting when I get my favorite dish. It doesn’t matter who is at the register or who is cooking that day. I always get what I want.

Encouraging Word of Mouth: They are involved in their community. I frequently see posting about activities in their church and charity events they are supporting. They are also located close to the largest employer in the area – allowing employees to easily walk to their mini south-of-the-border vacation.

The most important marketing you can do is to keep your customers coming back. Give them more reasons to come back to see you and bring their friends– besides price.

 

If you are interested in creating an incredible experience that keeps them coming back, let’s talk.