Business Turnaround Example – and one of the reasons why I love my job.
A client this week has just taken his first holiday away from the business in 6 years. And the staff were absolutely determined to prove they can man the fort, keep the jobs flowing and the customers happy…and prove to the boss they can do it. And they did. And they were really proud of themselves. And so they should be.
3 months ago this boss was seriously contemplating throwing in the towel.
He felt he had no more fight left in him.
It was a ‘fight’. Doing anything, when you don’t know how to, can feel like a ‘fight’.
He certainly knew how to do his trade real well…but he didn’t know how to manage his people. As a result he had staff that were milking the system, not on time, moody and threatening to leave.
The solution was not hard or complicated. And it’s a solution I’ve seen work wonders time and time again. It’s so effective and quick, it’s like magic.
First step was the boss brought me on board – but that isn’t the magic part. I assessed the situation, interviewed the team and identified the issues.
The major ‘fix’ I want to share in this post is the need for your staff to know where they are going.
An analogy I like, is to think of your business as a bus and it’s taking you and your staff on a journey…preferably to a destination you want.
When the staff don’t know where the bus is going, they start to get fidgety and think about getting off the bus.
Add to this confusion poor driving by the boss and you have a situation like my client in this example.
The major turnaround by the staff was due mainly to the following:
1. We met with them and found out their career goals and what they liked doing and wanted to do more of, and what they wanted to do less of. We then rewrote their position descriptions with these changes and included a career plan which mapped out their growth in the business.
2. We implemented team meetings every week initially and then reduced this down to every two weeks. These meetings focused on hearing from the staff what needed fixing or changing, and sharing with them great actions taken by the team, number of jobs completed and updates to strategy and where the business is heading.
Both of these actions have given the staff the certainty they wanted in where the bus is going. They are no longer on a mystery tour. One way of looking at this is appreciating that your team are sacrificing time in their lives they can’t regain…how would they feel if they didn’t know where it was taking them?
The two actions have
given them a sense of belonging, significance, contribution and growth.
One particular staff member who was really playing up and looking for work is now busting his butt, cooperating, hitting targets, going the extra mile and even telling others they should come and work for the company.
If you are having staff issues, and you are not discussing their goals, their challenges, their opportunities and where the business is going, this could be why.
As always, I’m just a phone call away if you need some advice or want to run an idea or issue past me.
This business just had the first profitable Feb in 8 years and now has staff that are motivated and excelling in their roles. Next step is to get the owner down to 4 days per week.
Time to achieve: 6 weeks
Elimination of grey areas in leadership and who staff report to. It was ‘fuzzy’, there was two leaders. No there is one.
Clarification of roles and expectations. This included staff interviews to understand their personal career goals and the type of work they liked doing and where they felt they needed more training/support.
Clarification of where the business is going. Every business can be thought of as a ‘bus’ and as the owner you are the driver of the bus. A common cause of low motivation is staff on the bus that don’t know where the bus is going. So they start to think about getting off the bus. Who likes to be on a mystery bus ride!? The bus driver must keep everyone informed as to where the bus is going.
Clarification of the culture, vision, mission and vibe the staff want and the owner wants. This is key and part of the Critical Alignment Model I use. Actions are then measured against this – do they help create the desired culture or not.
Competitor prices were confirmed and the price of one common service was increased by $100.
2. Pilates Studio
This business never had money in the bank, and any cash in was going straight out. This meant there was no surplus to hire more trainers, buy equipment, invest in marketing or cover an unexpected slow period. The business now has $17K in the bank and this is continuing to grow.
Time to achieve: 3 months
The main action that turned things around was simply putting a staff member in charge of calling clients about outstanding fees. It wasn’t any more complicated than that. The owner now realises that they probably have lost thousands over the years by clients not paying.
We have been implementing a range of other improvements to help improve lead generation, increase clients, increase profit and decrease the time the owner is working in the business. However the main cause of money in the bank is simply chasing up clients that haven’t paid.
So there you go!
I hope these two case studies give you ideas for your own business.
If you need more info or what to run by me your business issue to see if I can help, simply call or email or message me.
Do you find yourself getting distracted and working on non-core business tasks? Or you aren’t sure how to prioritise the million business development tasks in front of you?
In this short video I give you a great little strategy for categorising what to focus on. It is extremely effective, especially for businesses that need to focus on more sales. You only have a finite number of hours in the day. I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to focus on what matters. Otherwise 6 months go by, a year, two years and your business is still in the same position.
If you have any questions or want me to run through it with you or help you prioritise what you should focus on, I’m just a email of phone call away!
Want to stretch your piriformis? Or checkout our new fabric?
If you are writing copy for your website, flyers, emails or making sales calls this week, remember your customer is interested in BENEFITS. And as business owners, close to our work, it can be bloody hard to break away from the ‘technical’ and features.
I get my suits made by a company that comes to Melbourne and custom tailors them and they call up every couple months saying they are in town. They called yesterday …and asked if I wanted to see their new fabrics, new shirts. What is the benefit to me of that?
Sometimes I might be interested in ‘new’ but I’m interested in latest fashion, iron free shirts, eco-friendly cotton etc etc. If he had just dropped one sentence about these he would have increased the chances of hooking me, capturing my curiosity.
Pilates – spent yesterday afternoon developing better words for a great pilates business. We had a lot of fun. They love their technical stuff and procedures and muscles (eg piriformis) but that isn’t what the customer is buying. Some might be looking for the technical but most are looking to solve a specific ache, pain or range of motion issue. The content must address the benefits, the outcome…after all that is what the customer wants in exchange for their money – an outcome.
Check if you are focusing or mentioning the positive OUTCOME for your clients.
I call this unpacking the box. This strategy might help you.
You can look at your text or sales script and draw boxes around technical features.
Then ‘unpack’ that box. Ask yourself or your team…’what are the benefits of this feature?’ Put them on the whiteboard.
Only takes a few mins to do this but you will experience:
– Immediate improvement in sales
– Increased conversions
– You’ll reach your financial targets 3x quicker.
– And it’s a strategy you’ll make money from for the rest of your business life ($100K’s to millions!)and achieve that dream house, business class holidays, financial security.
That was my attempt at stating some benefits! 🙂
Another example: I can say I work with a client for 30-50 mins and they gain clarity. That’s nice. What does clarity mean to my client? Big deal, they got some ‘clarity’! LOL
If we unpack the clarity box…it can mean an end to weeks of wasted time and energy and lost opportunity from stressing about what to do. Clarity for my client could mean focused action in the most effective direction so they hit financial targets far quicker. Just like driving lost and asking for directions, it doesn’t matter how long you have been lost, the directions make all the difference, they don’t take long to receive, and you get to your destination.