Category

Uncategorized

Consistency

By | Uncategorized | No Comments
photo credit: StockMonkeys.com via photopin cc

photo credit: StockMonkeys.com via photopin cc

I have always enjoyed the posters at Despair.com. If you need a good laugh, check them out. My favorite poster there states, “Consistency: It’s only a virtue if you’re not a screw-up.”

So let’s start being consistently awesome!

Let’s look at three primary ways to be consistent:

  1. Consistency in Message

I was seriously considering the service of a specific business, but the timing was not right. We were about to set a follow-up time when he started mentioning the network marketing business he was part of. He wanted to know whether I would be interested.

I experienced an inconsistency in message. Do you sell insurance or makeup? I am not opposed to complementary products, or even having a side businesses; just make sure your potential client knows to whom she is talking.

If you are sending mixed signals to your target market, it is not intentional. Most of us do not want to be thought of as dishonest. When your message is inconsistent, your potential client starts to think you would say anything to get the sale.

On the other hand, repetition is the best way to learn something. If you are constantly beating the drum about how your client’s life will be easier, more exciting, more safe, more delicious, or more anything, she will be more consistent in buying from you.

  1. Consistency in Frequency

Jay Conrad Levinson, in his book, Guerilla Marketing, explains how a customer needs to be exposed to your message seven to nine times before she makes the decision to buy. However, a customer only consciously acknowledges your message one out of five times. Therefore, she needs to be exposed to it forty-five times before she is ready to buy.

While those numbers are staggering, you can improve them with targeted marketing, great content, and being consistent in your frequency.

If you are running ads on your local radio station and have decided to buy fifty spots, it would be better to run the ad three times a week at the same time (or on the same day and time over an extended period), than to run the ad at fifty random times for the next month.

A customer will be more likely to place trust in you if she is hearing you over several months because she perceives longevity in your business. That longevity communicates several desirable aspects of your business. It tells folks you are successful—and if other people are buying from you so much you can stay on the radio for several months, then you must be good. It tells them you are going to be around if they have any problems with your product. It also tells them you are interested in the long-term and not just a quick buck.

A quick caveat to consistency in advertising: This is for advertising that has already been tested and shown to be effective. As I mentioned before, direct-response marketing is the most effective for small businesses. Make sure your consistency in marketing is not a “branding” campaign.

  1. Consistency in Follow-Through

The money is in the follow-up. That is one of the major differences between old-fashioned ads and today’s direct response sales process. Failure to follow up with a prospect or customer is why most sales don’t happen. Remember that it takes seven to nine conscious exposures to you before clients buy. If you already know who those clients are and how to contact them, why are you waiting for the other forty-four advertising exposures? Call, email, send a letter, knock on the door. Follow through with potential clients while building a relationship.

While you are following up, remember the long-term plan. Clients may not be interested now, but life changes, businesses move, employees quit, contracts are lost. You may only contact a potential client once a year. You won’t know what has changed until you call him or her.

Be consistent in your message and don’t let potential clients down. Your ability to follow through will impress them and develop a higher level of credibility.

If you are ever to get through to your customers, you have to begin to cut through the advertising clutter that is choking them.

By implementing the 4Cs (Content, Clarity, Consistency, and Call to Action), your marketing message will better resonate with the niche that we established in the last chapter. You can begin to develop a deeper relationship with your customers because they feel that you understand them and are speaking directly to them. They trust you more because you communicate clearly and simply who you are and how you help them. That trust is again increased as they see your consistency across time and by experiencing your business in different ways—yet always consistently. Finally, you have given them a clear next step with a specific call to action. They know exactly what to do next and you have made it easy for them to do it.

Read More

Money Talks

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Why did you start your business? I bet it wasn’t to go broke. I bet it wasn’t to work 16-hour days, to see how long you could go without sleep, or to have a constant turn-over of employees. You probably started your business to create a lifestyle and a legacy you could be proud of.

A big part of that lifestyle is making money. Even better than just making a miniscule profit, is developing a business that will actually make you wealthy and allow you to share your wealth the less fortunate.

So let’s start thinking of money as more than just a means to an end. In previous posts, we talked about how price is a communicator. Your ability to turn a profit and build wealth communicates something as well. It communicates how good you really are at what you do. Not just as an artist or technician, but as a wise administrator and steward.

If you have exceeded your customers’ expectations, they want to say thank you. What better way for them to say thank you than with a thank you note with a dollar sign and signed by the US Treasury. Unfortunately, most contractors don’t ask for enough gratitude and don’t manage the “thank you notes” they do get.

We sometimes have a tainted view of money. Many see it as dirty, a necessary evil, or even the root of all evil. It’s important to note that the biblical reference to money as the root of all evil states that the “LOVE” of money is the root of all evil; not the money itself. The desire for abundance and wealth is not evil. It’s difficult to share with others when you barely have enough for your own needs. It’s when we take that money and hoard it for ourselves. It’s when we don’t use it for good purposes. It’s when we use it to harm others that it can become a negative thing.

In days gone-by, the way you showed your appreciation was with a small tip or something of value. Now we expect everything as a “common courtesy.” Free is something we anticipate with every purchase and for every interaction.

Watch the reaction on your server’s face when you give them a healthy tip. See what happens when you readily accept a bid and don’t dicker over the price with your roofer. Money talks and it says a lot about how much you appreciate someone – especially if they deserve it.

Not just collecting what your worth, but also creating greater value out of limited resources is a source of wealth. There is no way to cost-cut your way to prosperity. However, you have to be diligent about not wasting your resources in the process.

Simple philosophy. If you do not have a healthy philosophy and approach to money, you will never be able to amass or keep much of 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 foundations of business: Marketing, Leadership, Operations, Finance and Systems.

Approaching a team member with the wrong kind of authority can be counterproductive

No authority

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Approaching a team member with the wrong kind of authority can be counterproductiveI once called an employee to my office for a disciplinary conversation. I don’t remember the specifics now, but I do remember sitting and scratching my head afterwards. It seemed like what I was saying had very little impact. I had my director in the office with me and I asked her what was wrong.

Her answer: “You said all the right things, but it was as if she couldn’t hear you – like there was some kind of barrier.”

Looking back on it now, I know exactly why this disciplinary meeting fell short.

First, the employee did not believe I had formal or positional authority. She believed I wouldn’t (or couldn’t in this situation) follow-through. I held little true authority on firing in the organization. Several times I had gone to terminate someone and had backed away from it myself or had Human Resources tell me that couldn’t. We also had a very strong union and the many of the staff were quick to “union-up” anytime there was discipline. Often the negotiation in the room would cause me to down-grade the level of discipline, which further diminished my authority in the eyes of the team.

Second, I had not established a relationship of trust. Even if I could not fire her, we did not have a relationship where we respected each other’s insight and point of view.

Since that fateful day, I have learned (mostly by doing the wrong things) how to develop a relationship of mutual respect based on the five sources of authority:

Positional – based on your official position in an organization

Coercive – based on your ability to punish

Expert – based on the expertise the group believes you have

Reverent – based on the ability to influence a person or group through charisma

Reward – based on your ability to provide positive reinforcement

Here is the kicker: The team grants you authority. You can work to establish a type of authority by demonstrating your ability to penalize, reward, influence or convince. But, if the team does not recognize that authority, you have little influence. This happens in parenting, too.

If you are not being effective as a leader, it may be because you are implementing the wrong kind of authority. On the other hand, you may not have established the right kind of authority that your team needs.

If you’re having a hard time moving your team forward, let’s chat:

 

Getting too much sleep?

Better Productivity

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

The other day I awoke refreshed, but still wanting to wallow in my comforter for a few hours more. It’s not that I didn’t get enough sleep; on the contrary, it was one of the best nights for sleeping I have had in a week! Last week I was sick as a dog and had a difficult time sleeping.

 

I was shocked to find myself in bed at an earlier than usual hour and Getting too much sleep?looked forward to the full eight hours of sleep I needed. I slept nine instead and still felt groggy. I should have known better.

 

If I get more than seven hours of sleep – I always feel more tired than if I got less. There is something about my biology that makes me sluggish and lazy on days when I get too much sleep.

 

So how does that impact your business? Why am I sharing all of this with you in a business blog? Simply put: Know yourself and your work habits. We can often derail ourselves if we don’t observe how we work best.

  • Know what your body needs to be at peak performance. How many hours of sleep do you need? What foods energize you and which drag you down?
  • Watch your peaks and valleys and try to observe what happens around them. Do you work better on a full or empty stomach? Are you energized after visiting with your team or more drained?
  • Find out when your peak productive hours take place. Are you better in the morning, late afternoon or at 11:00 at night? Find when you are most creative or social. Schedule your work appropriately.

 

Every one of us is different in our biological rhythms.

 

Find yours.

costly hires

By | Uncategorized | One Comment


How Much a Wrong Employee Can CostEver hire the wrong person, but you wanted to “give them a chance” anyway?

 

I once hired the wrong someone for a physician group practice. This individual was going to be working directly with one of the doctors and she had impressed him by digging up some research he was part of during his residency. I had my misgivings and had someone else as my first choice. I set aside my hunch and decided to offer the job to the physician’s choice since he was going to work so closely with her.

 

From day one, we could see the writing on the wall. She came in with an unfortunate odor (not noticed during the interview). She had a “frumpy” appearance, did not mesh well with the team, and struggled with the computer. The physician was clamoring for her to be let go. I let her hack it out for about two weeks. Two weeks of time, effort and her salary WASTED on the wrong person. The process of hiring restarted all over again.

 

Too often we let a small interaction determine the fate of our business. Your whole business pivots on the one-hour (or less) interview.

 

Many of us are in such a hurry to get “someone” that might fit, we overlook what is staring us right in the face. We have so much to do, that we don’t follow due diligence before giving them the keys to the kingdom. 

 

Take your time, decide what your expectations of the position are and devise a series of interviews and tests to make it work.

 

I always cover the following in my selection process now:

 

  1. Technical Ability – This can usually be seen from the initial application or resume. You would be surprised how many positions require minimal technical skills. Most can be trained on-the-job. Unless it requires a knowledge base (accounting, bookkeeping, programing) or a license (nurse, therapist, doctor), you can skip this part. There is a reason many financial advising, real estate, insurance and other firms and agencies requiring a license offer the training and certification directly.
  2. Problem Solving – Give your interviewees some specific options situations and problems they will face. No right answers here. You just want to see if they can think through the problem. There are a lot of wrong answers – “I don’t know” is the worst of all.
  3. Personality – This is a question that can only be answered by listening. You can spur questions that help peel back the layers, but it often requires spending a little time with them.
  4. ReferencesALWAYS check references. Make sure they didn’t give you their best friend’s phone and tell you it was a previous employer.

Happy Hunting!

 

Don't wait too long to fire a bad employee

You Can’t Always Rehabilitate a Bad Team Member

By | Uncategorized | One Comment

Don't wait too long to fire a bad employeeI have always been attracted to learning about leadership. Partly because I seem to have been placed in leadership positions throughout my life as a young scout, as an athlete and in my church youth groups. I often felt proud, but undeserving of the position.

 

Somewhere I developed the belief that a team member’s failure was mostly due to poor leadership: me. I thought that my job as a leader is always to develop the team. I would take a team member’s lack of development as a personal failure, even though it was the choice that the team member made. I never consciously recognized it until much later and after many failed attempts to “rehabilitate” a poorly matched employee.

 

Therefore, I often worked too long with an employee long after it was evident to everyone else that he/she had to go. It made bad situations worse.

 

But I did learn the consequences of lingering too long with a mismatched employee:

 

  1. Undermines authority. Employees keep score. They know when a bad employee should go often before the leader does. When you as a leader do not recognize it, they lose confidence in you. Not only do you begin to lose the whole team, but the employee you are trying to help doubts you will follow-through with any consequences you provide them.
  2. Wastes time. If you are spending too much time with a problem employee, other team members who are doing good things are not being recognized. In addition, it distracts you from your responsibilities.
  3. Develops resentment. While your team loses confidence in you, they still have to work with the problem. Eventually they begin to resent you for it.
  4. Wastes money. I recently heard a study that turn-over in any position costs the business about 6 months of salary for that position. So if you are paying the employee $40,000/yr (about $20/hr) you will lose $20,000 in turn-over costs – including missed revenue.

After Monday’s post, I am sure many of you think I am a hatchet-man. I disagree. I have learned through my own failures the balance between Leadership and Management. There is a time to lead someone, but there is a time to manage them out the door.

The Magic Bullet of Success

By | Accountability, Follow-through, Leadership, life style, Marketing, Motivation, Strategic Planning, Time Management, Uncategorized | One Comment

What's the secret sauce?I’ve been reviewing the many clients I have had over the years and looking at what the difference has been between the ones who grew their business and those that did not.

 

As I developed my list, here is what I have determined made them successful:

 

Follow-Through – This was the single most important factor in who succeeded and who did not. The ones that I saw increase their sales, hire better employees, and create exstatic customers were the ones who put into action the things they committed to doing. 

 

Burning Desire – not a passing craving, or a “that-would-be-nice” motivation. They were almost obsessed with changing their business to become something incredible.

 

Willing to Be Challenged – they did not mind having someone challenge their way of thinking. They were humble and wanted to learn. However, when they would defend an aspect of their business, they had a well thought-out reason and could logically defend why it was that way. Emotions were important in the decision, but there was  logical basis to it.

 

Time to Think, Plan and Dream – Successful clients I have worked with took the time to think through what was happening every day. They (usually) did not allow everyone else to dictate their schedule or the just rely on their to-do list to determine what would happen next. Dreaming was an important aspect as well since it allowed them to re-focus on what they wanted to accomplish (see “A Higher Ideal” below.)

 

Support – As a coach, I help provide support and provide accountability. Those who are amazingly successful, however had another person or group that was cheering them on.

 

A higher Ideal – The success of the business was merely a symptom of something bigger. Successful people started their business because it was their passion. They did have to find a way to monitize and leverage it for it to be able to grow. Sales became easy then and their focus became more about doing what they love – the money followed.

 

Faith – Faith in something greater than yourself is critical. I don’t mean an ideal or a passion. I mean someone or governing power that controls the universe. Faith in God is an easy one to identify. Some of my succesful clients have been agnostic or aethiest, but they believed in something – that people are basically good, natural energy, etc.

 

Creativity – The ability to see potential in the mundane is key to any success. People that I would deem successful were able to look beyond what is right in front of them and finding value where others could not.

 

Discernment – Beyond seeing the potential in the mundane, the people I know who have moved to great heights are those who can push away the distractions and the waste of time. They did not spend much time on failing efforts. They either changed it or abandonded it.

 

Courage – I don’t just mean the courage it takes to branch out on your own. I mean the quite courage it takes to do the most important thing when no one is looking or holding you accountable to it.  

 

So the challenge for today is this: What are you missing within yourself that is keeping you from growing?

support

Get Surrounded

By | Accountability, Accounting, Leadership, Marketing, Operations, Systems, Uncategorized | No Comments

support“Surround yourself with people who take their work seriously, but not themselves, those who work hard and play hard.”

 

Colin Powell

Retired four-star general and former Secretary of State (2001-2005)

 

In the last few weeks, I have repeatedly come in contact with businesses that have achieved a level of success and want to take the next step, but can’t get through it. Often their biggest obstacle is getting the right people on the team.

 

This was emphasized in the Kitsap Business Forum on Tuesday. It seemed we kept coming back to the same point:

 

You shouldn’t do it all yourself.

This does not mean you have to hire and replace yourself in your business – at least not right away.

 

It means finding the core team you need to make your business a success. Here is my list of professionals you need to be successful. There are many others, I suggest every business owner have the following.

 

  • Accountant
  • Bookkeeper
  • Attorney
  • Insurance Agent
  • Banker
  • Marketing Expert (actually a team of experts here)
  • Cooperative/Complimentary Business owners
  • Accountability Source (Master Mind, Coach)

 

Surround yourself with great people and great minds. If you are surrounded by people or businesses that you do not wish to emulate – it’s time to get find a new group.

 

Don’t do it alone! Entrepreneurship is lonely enough already.

 

measurement

Don’t Make a New Plan!

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

measurement“The more constraints one imposes, the more one frees one’s self. And the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.”

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971)
Russian Composer, Immigrated to France and Later the US
Considered Most Influential Composer of 20th Century

 

Welcome to 2013!!

 

I was listening to the radio on Tuesday (New Years Day) and heard the following commercials run repeatedly:

  • Plastic Surgeons – get liposuction
  • Weight Watchers – get on the program now
  • Plastic Surgery – get the beauty you always wanted
  • Goodwill – urging you to clean out your junk

How often have you heard the catch phrase: “New Year, New You!” It seems every fashion, fitness and gossip magazine has that blazing across the top.

Most of us consider the new year the moment to start over. Marketers know this. This is the biggest month of the year for the self-help industry.

 

I want you to go against the grain.

 

Only scrap your plan if you are implementing on all cylinders. Re-evaluate your implementation – not your plan. Chances are, you are not failing from a bad system or process – it’s how you implement that is the problem. 

 

But, if you are flying by the seat of your pants: it is time to get a new plan.

 

Improve Execution

 

Accountability is key to proper impelementation. Get an Accountability Partners Group to follow through better this year. I’ve developed a great program that will get you going strong. Get a sounding board and a committed professional group to help you reach your potential in 2013.

 

Learn more at the Accountability Partners Website!

www.boommybusiness.com/accountability_partners.html