When I am out and about finding clients one of the biggest objections I find is lethargy. Obviously this is not stated but it comes across. The business owner is making enough or feels they can’t do more. They are stuck in a rut. One business in particular comes to mind and I see so much potential for it but the owner doesn’t want to take the next step. They say they are happy where they are – which is barely making ends meet. Why is there this lack of ambition? My view is that we should always be striving to do more.

I think Seth Godin sums it up nicely with his post…..

“I’m making money so why do more?”

Because more than you need to makes it personal.

Because work that belongs to you, by choice, is the first step to making art.

Because the choice to do more brings passion to your life and it makes you more alive.

Because if you don’t, someone else will, and in an ever more competitive world, doing less means losing.

Because you care.

Because we’re watching.

Because you can.

One of our tag lines at Small Fish is – “its about getting things done”. A lot of people, probably 99.9% of them, know what they have to do to achieve their goals. However, the distance between “I know” and “I do” is the biggest difference in the world.

Having the ability to do the activity that will bring about success – whether it is managing time better, saying no to the unimportant  things or simply not procrastinating over the tasks you don’t like doing – is huge. The issue is that very few of us go about our days in an “on purpose” way. We react rather than plan and then are frustrated by not achieving anything.

If you want to achieve but aren’t, then maybe you need a coach to help you get the right things done. 

ImageIf you are not getting the results that you want then you need to ask why. I have found that the best thing is to ask questions around:

1. Did you have a plan – did you know what you wanted to achieve and know the actions that you needed to take to achieve it.

2. How did you take action – were you purposeful and focused on what needed to be done or did you do a bit here and a bit there?

3. What action did you take – did you do the right things or only those that were easy for you but didn’t give you the best results.

4. Were you persistent – this is a hard one as you never know when the plan is going to fall into place but from my experience most people give up too easily.

5. Was you vision clear – when you planned, was the outcome truly what you wanted. Some business owners say they want to double their profit. The reality is, to do this they need to bring in more staff and start to manage the business rather than be on the tools and they don’t want to do that.

So, to get results make sure you plan for something that you trully want. Implement the plan in a focused and persistent manner to get the right things done.

 

It’s a new year, a new month and a new day. Go to work with a positive attitude and do what you can to sustain it through the day. This is easier said than done, but it’s always worth remembering that one of the quickest things you can change about yourself and your business is your outlook on the current day.

To keep this attitude and not fall back into a rut, mix things up a little. Have drinks on Wednesday instead of Friday. Take one of your holiday activities such as swimming, riding or reading for relaxation and incorporate it into your working diary. Write down your goals and plan how to reach them – what is the daily thing you need to do to get there?

Start the year how you wish to continue and back yourself. If you need someone to hold you accountable to ensure things get done then find yourself a business coach, a mentor or colleague.

What are you waiting for? – Make this your year !

I know that sometimes it is difficult to serve your customers or even like them but if you don’t attempt to try you soon will have none to worry about.

I went into a hardware store 20 minutes before closing on a Sunday afternoon. I understand that they want to go home but I needed a new shower head. My greeting at the front door was “we close in a few minutes” – no “hello”, no “how are you?”, no “how can we help you?”. Didn’t I feel welcomed!

Next my husband and I went to the area for shower heads. There was a sales assistant but they were too busy gathering their gear to help and when they had that together they then stood behind us tapping their feet. Again no offer of help and I started to feel hounded.

After making our selection we were then herded (staff seemed to be surrounding us on all sides as we walked) to the checkout. The staff, apart for the check out assistant, then all stood at the front door. As our sale was rung up a bell went and all the staff exited the building and we had to wait for them!

This is definitely a place where the customer does not come first and I will not be returning. It is a shining example of what not to do. We could have bought quite a number of things and we did the next day at a different store.

It is interesting that 67% of customers leave because of perceived indifference in this case it was blatant. I wonder how many customers they have lost over this type of service. I wonder if the staff know why they have a job.

Customer service is a culture that needs to be lived and breathed in an organisation. After all if you don’t want customers why are you in business? 

There is a three step process to pricing advice:Image

  1. knowing what the cost to provide the service is.
  2. knowing what the value is of your advice and
  3. packaging this to your clients

There are different pricing models (packages) out there for those that offer advice.

For example some Solicitors use an hourly rate, so although someone is charging $150 per hour and another is charging $300 per hour it really doesn’t tell you what your final bill is going to look like. The first person might take 10 hours to do the job when the second only takes 5!

Alternatively you pay a retainer and no matter how many hours they do in a month you pay the same amount.

Then there is a fixed fee for service. For example to write an employment contact the Solicitor may charge a flat $3,000. 

So what is the best model?

The first means that you diligently have to track time so there are costs associated to implement the systems for this. The second means you have a constant cash flow but your work flow could vary dramatically and the third means that you have to be very sure that you are pricing accurately. That is one increase in your cost to serve and you could be losing money.

If you need help understanding how to price your advice then contact me or any of the Small Fish team.

ImageHow you structure a business has many impacts not only from a financial/ taxation, asset protection and growth perspective but also on the exit strategy as well. It is money well spent to talk to your financial planner, accountant and solicitor to ensure that you have considered everything before deciding on the structure you want.

A business associate is in the midst of the dissolution of their business partnership – the other party has just walked away. Not only has this left a hole in the management but also in the level of customer service provided. The partner that is staying is working horrendous hours to keep the doors open and the financiers from closing in.

The sad thing is, is that this event should have been accounted for in the partnership agreement. It should clearly outline what the responsibilities of each party are and what they are liable for.

When was the last time that you reviewed your business structure?

ImageAfter years of procrastination I finally took my children to a show. Having grown up and, dare I say, even competed in the agricultural shows they hold no interest to me what so ever. The kids had a ball and I survived. The day was a success!

From a business perspective it was a walk down memory lane to the old sales techniques – the in your face “everyone’s a winner” call out, to the “you can’t let your kids miss out on this one love” guilt trip. And the worst part is, is that they worked – I am a sucker for this kind of sale and I work really hard to avoid it in my everyday life.

The people that used these techniques were the ones doing the sales the others that just manned their booths had few if anyone participating in their games/rides. My pearls from this:

  1. It is hard to say no to pushy people (you could read passionate instead of pushy) 
  2. Customers want you to try – they want you to earn the money and
  3. Customers want to interact not just hand over money

Yesterday I talked about planning and why it was so important. The next logical step is implementation. I heard this quote (but I don’t remember who said it) which sums it up – “to know and not to do is to not know”. How many of us know what we should be doing to make the changes we need but don’t do it?

Once you have a plan – action it. Once you work the plan you will see the difference, you will begin to accomplish things and move in the right direction. This is what has happened for me. I created my plan in January and have stuck to it (most of the time :) ) and the results are showing. I am getting more leads, more people calling me and more business.

If you need help to focus and/or be accountable to your plan then get it. Find that person who will challenge and motivate you. Hire a business coach and see the return on investment.

ImageA big part of Business Coaching is putting together plans. They can be strategic, marketing, action or exit plans to name but a few. The reason we do this is to understand what we are trying to achieve and to keep us focused. In the long run planning saves time – 10 minutes of planning saves an hour of work so I hear.

I am meeting a prospect tomorrow who needs a plan – in the last 18 months of business one thing after the other has happened and they are forever reacting. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what to anticipate 80% of the time? To know you are being proactive and not reactive, to ease your anxiety/stress by knowing that you will have a solution already thought of for what may happen next.

If you need a plan then contact me to help you.

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