Do you ever wonder if there is power in one? We believe there is and as business coaches we work with our clients to help them break down the business activities they need to participate in into bite-sized chunks.
In some cases doing one more thing can reap amazing results. Here are some powerful “ones” you can incorporate:
- Suggest one more service to every client you speak with. Just as the fast food restaurants ask, “Do you want fries with that?” you should be asking your clients the same thing.
- Make one more client visit or cold call every day. To determine whether this method might grow your business, consider your current conversion rate and multiply that by the power of one more call a day.
- Commit one day per month to developing your skill set. Regardless of whether you attend a training networking event or sign up for an online class, stay connected and educated keeps you relevant.
- Read one book a month. If you already read for your area of expertise, pick up a work of fiction or something in a genre that has nothing to do with your work life.
- Ask one client a week for a referral or testimonial.
- Show up an hour early. If you believe the early bird gets the worm, then you want to be that early bird, you want to be the one whose doors open earlier than the competition and you want to be the business owner who answers his phone an hour earlier than “the other guy.”
What type of “ones” can you incorporate to help grow your business?
There are times when customer service just isn’t what you had hoped for when you’re shopping or even when you’re dealing with another business colleague. What is wrong with people today you may wonder? With this in mind, you need to make certain that both you and your staff continually provide stellar customer service in all interactions with clients and potential clients.
Here are our top tips for providing a great customer experience:
- Answer your telephone. Business owners need to make it a practice to answer their phones during business hours. If a client has taken the time to call you, you should have the courtesy to not make him or her wade through a phone menu to get to you.
- Listen to your customers. They may be telling you something and if you’re not listening you may miss out on an opportunity to further serve them.
- Under-promise. Over-deliver.
- You don’t have to be everything to everyone, but if a client asks for assistance in an area for which you’re not proficient, make a few calls to colleagues (they will thank you for it!) and make an introduction. You will have helped your client and your colleague.
- Provide an add-on service or product. Just as infomercials promise “but that’s not all” if you buy one of their products, so too should you offer something additional — if possible to your clients.
What steps can you take today to provide a better customer experience?
We may not be accountants, but we know that business owners need to track their income and expenses as well as keep track of myriad other details that will help make tax filing time much easier. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first time business owner or a long-time entrepreneur, now is the time to make certain your business is in a good place with its record keeping — don’t wait until December 31!
What can you do to stay organized and on track with your business records?
- Set up folders — whether virtual or in a file drawer — label them and take time at the end of every day to put the paperwork into the folders that needs to go there.
- Keep track of your receipts. File your invoices and income. Set up file folders for your clients so you know when they need to be billed and whether they’ve paid.
- Have your contractors and employees complete W9s or W2s at the beginning of the year and file them with your year-end tax information.
- Track the miles that you drive for business. Keep a mileage log in your vehicle and note your beginning and ending miles every time you get into the car to visit a client or attend a meeting. Tally up the miles at the end of the year and share them with your accountant.
- Build your business team. Look for an accountant, a legal advisor, an administrative assistant or a marketing person, etc. determine what roles need to be filled to keep your business viable and for which you don’t have the time or talent to complete.
We can help you with your business systems, business plan and with implementing systems and processes to make your business as successful as it can be.
You cannot do it all. What does this mean to an entrepreneur? It means you need to set boundaries (and likely learn to delegate) but in order to truly get anything done, you need to set boundaries with colleagues and even family in order to get to the tasks at hand.
We know it’s tempting to work all day, every day, especially when you’re in growth or start up mode, but doing that means you leave yourself at risk of illness and honestly the more you work, the less productive you become.
What can you do to set boundaries and remain productive? Here are three suggestions:
- Social media and anything online can take away valuable time from the tasks at hand. Turn off your email and social media notifications and set your mind to a particular task. Once that task is complete, treat yourself to a little online interaction.
- Is there a task you’re procrastinating? Did you know that procrastination takes more mental energy and saps your reserves than simply jumping into a task you’re dreading? It does. Give yourself a time limit — 15- or 30-minutes — and delve into a task you’re dreading. Anyone can work on any objectionable task in small chunks.
- Be deliberate in your plans. If you make a goal concrete rather than vague you are more likely to complete it. For example, saying, “I will make client follow up calls Wednesday” instead of, “On Wednesday from 10 am until noon I will make client follow up calls.” Even better would be to attach a number to that, “I will make 10 client follow up calls between 10 am and noon on Wednesday.” If you don’t set a time frame to it, the day will come and go and that item will remain undone.
Set limits. Write your goals down. Note if your productivity increases.
How productive are you? When is your most productive day of the week and when is your least productive day? The answers might surprise you and you should compare your results to these:
- It’s been shown that Tuesday is the most productive day of the week; Friday is the least.
- The most productive time of the day is 10:26 am and the lest productive is 2:55 pm.
Do you agree with these? While it might be difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when you’re the most, or the least, productive, we’re certain you’ve heard of the “three o’clock slump” so we think that’s where the 2:55 pm comes from.
What does all this mean to the business owner? It means you should take time to determine when you, personally, are most and least productive and then arrange your work tasks around those times. Tackle the hardest tasks when you’re most productive aka attentive and menial tasks during your own slump-time.
Do you know your personal productivity times?
When social media was first “taking off” everyone touted the numbers of followers and likes they had on their Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn pages, but did those numbers matter? Were those people engaged with you and your content? Chances are some were, but there were those that were not.
In everything you do in your business you should be tracking your numbers and your successes as well as your failures. But to make it valid and to make those numbers mean something, you need to track the correct ones.
After you’ve set a goal, here are some numbers you may want to monitor:
- The time frame for your goal, broken down into measurable, actionable items. Track whether those goals are being met.
- What numbers actually mean success? Is it dollars? Numbers of new clients? Additional engaged followers on your social media pages? More clicks on your newsletter? Once you choose the numbers, it’s best to put a dollar value to them. Why? You’re in business to make money, right?
- Compare the goals you’ve set with the goals you’ve met. It doesn’t do any good to set a goal if you’re not checking in to see if you’re achieving the results you’d set for yourself.
What are you measuring? Are you following up to make sure they are numbers that make sense? We work with clients to help them set goals and targets. If you need assistance, contact us.
Before 2015 makes its appearance, it is the ideal time to look at your achievements from the current year and set forth goals for the upcoming year. Do you look at the new year as a clean slate? Do you make it a practice to clear out last year’s goals before year end?
Here are items to reflect upon before the new year arrives. Determine now whether you need to change the way you track and monitor your goals and successes:
- Are your goals clearly defined? You need to set goals that have measurable outcomes trackable performance indicators.
- Are you tracking the correct metrics? Are you using the proper tools to measure goals?
- Do you set aside time, on a regular basis, in your calendar and on your to-do list to check-in with your goals and make certain you’re on track? Taking time to regroup and set a new course early on is the best course of action; you don’t want to get to the end of the year and wonder what went wrong.
Take time now to write your goals down and kick start the new year with a plan of action!
The new year is fast approaching and perhaps you’re thinking that you want to become a business owner in the new year. If that’s the case, you will want to not only put together a business plan, but you will want to determine whether you’ve got what it takes to lead. Not everyone who has entrepreneurial drive has the skills to be a leader.
Whether you’re a solopreneur or are leading a small cadre of employees or contractors, you will need to answer the question of, “Do I have what it takes to lead” before you leave your day job.
Consider these qualities and determine whether you fit the bill. (Remember, that leadership and business skills can be taught by working with a business coach):
- Could you share your professional value and your expertise with others? Either verbally or on paper? If you’re a business owner and need to lead, you need to be able to articulate your vision.
- Do you have the skill to look at a problem and determine where your solution aka expertise will fit in and solve the problem?
- Many a great business idea has fallen by the wayside because its creator didn’t have follow through. Do you have the follow through to cope with disappointments and downsides of being a business owner? The ability to get up and dust yourself off after a failure?
Are you looking to become a business owner in 2015? If you’re not sure where to begin, give our office a call and we can walk you through the start up process.
Business owners — whether you’re a new entrepreneur or have been in business for decades — still need to spend time marketing themselves and their businesses in order to achieve growth and success.
Here are our top three business building steps:
- Word of mouth and credibility will take you a long way. New entrepreneurs will need to work to prove credibility and this can be done by consistently performing at high levels of service.
- Once you’ve signed a client to a contract, the work isn’t over, it’s just beginning. You need to be available to your clients and responsive to their needs and concerns. You also need to be visible at networking events, volunteer organizations and other places in which you can network with others to grow your business.
- Share your expertise and skills. How can you do this? By blogging. By being on a board or a member of a group in which your talents will shine through. It is your unique expertise and the knowledge that you bring to the services you offer that set you apart.
Being a business owner is only the first step in the process of success. Continuing to network and market yourself and to continue keep up with trends in your industry are crucial.
As every person knows, it’s easy to stay within your comfort zone. In many instances, though entrepreneurs are willing to move out of the comfortable space and take a chance on a new endeavor. I
Entrepreneurs know that if they don’t move outside of their comfort zone they won’t be able to grow or change and they — and in turn, their business — will become stagnant.
Here are three ways you can step outside of your comfort zone:
- Have big plans. Do you have a vision for your life? For your work? If you don’t then you aren’t dreaming big or planning big.
- Your attitude and perspective will help you to move out of that place in which you are comfortable. You need courage to grow your business.
- Having a “can do” attitude will help you go far. You must also be willing to fail — many entrepreneurs do and they get up, brush themselves off, and try again. Don’t be self defeating in your desire to grow and move outside of where you’re comfortable.
Are there any steps you can take today in your life and in your business that will push you outside of that comfortable place?