Tag: business blog

MONDAY MADNESS DOING THE SAME THING AND EXPECTING A DIFF RESULT.

Is there anything, anything at all this week that you should stop doing and do differently?

Give yourself permission to let go of a strategy that deep down you feel doesn’t work. Or maybe it is time to acknowledge that it doesn’t work?

And it’s only a week – just try something diff this week in your business.

Here’s a few very simple things clients of mine changed and they experienced significant improvements/results:

– Put the approval checklist for projects on a big white board instead of a spreadsheet on the computer. The problem with computers is the info is out of sight, out of mind. No one could quickly see where approvals were at for projects so there were delays and this meant cashflow delayed. Now its on the white board, no one can escape it and projects are getting approved 40-80% faster = more revenue/month.

– Stop preparing and sending quotes for orders under $500. Just send a pricelist. It was taking time preparing quotes and for anything under $500, there just isn’t enough margin. This has freed up time to spend on the larger quotes and win more of those.

– Followup emails to enquiries that have come in over night were not getting done the same day. The culprit was continuous interruptions. The change in strategy was to ban anyone talking to the admin person between 830-9am. Now she has no problem getting replies out first thing which achieves their customer service goal. It wasn’t a hard change or complicated change but the results are significant. Note: recent research found that it takes 23 mins to get back on task after an interruption. Hence the reason they are so destructive!

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The key point here is that small changes can make HUGE improvements to your business.

Don’t delay on doing something different because you feel it has to be ‘large’ to make a difference. If you analyse the difference between good and great companies, it is the small things that they do differently that sets them apart.

3 Keys to Effective Meetings to Help Turn Your Business Around

I’ve facilitated over 15 meetings with clients in the past couple weeks, and hundreds more with all the businesses I’ve worked with over the years and there is a trend.

Businesses that are NOT achieving their profit targets or have productivity issues, are not having meetings.

And I mean ‘effective meetings’.


When I ask why a business isn’t having meetings, the two common reasons are: they take too long and they don’t work.


If you have this belief and are looking to turn your business around, here are my tips for effective meetings:


> Set an agenda/checklist of topics. You may or may not need this and it can be the same checklist every month so you don’t have to rewrite it. But it can help add certainty to the team. No one is wondering if their question/issue is going to get raised etc. And can keep you on track and prevent you missing important bits. If you, as the boss, don’t discuss it, then the team will assume it isn’t important, and you can’t blame them for not taking it seriously either. Note my points below to add weight to what you think is important.


> Focus on outcomes and what needs to be done. It is quite natural for everyone to want to explain the background or talk around the subject, and about the people involved. It’s human nature. However in order to keep your meetings short and sharp and prevent people from blaming meetings for taking too long, you need to encourage the habit of allowing just a couple sentences on the issue, decide if it needs fixing and then just go straight to the outcome you want and what needs to be done to get it. Short a sharp. Issue is raised, “great, what do we need to do about it? Who’s going to do it? When do we need it done by?” Bang, done. Next topic.

> Make sure you write down and clarify:

  • What needs to be done – outcome needed, what it looks like, how you will know it’s done
  • Who’s going to do it – check the person is comfortable doing it, knows how to do it or needs some support/help/equipment/training
  • When does it need to be done by?
  • Give permission to get it wrong. New procedures may not work and that is ok. You don’t want people fearing taking action to improve things.

The above prevent staff losing faith in meetings because they ‘don’t work’.

Communication breakdown is a major reason businesses fail. Effective meetings are essential.

Contact me if you need help identifying the kind of meetings you need or to facilitate the first few to coach everyone on how to have effective meetings.

Fixing a Business is Easier Than You Perhaps Think

Just finished doing a turnaround consult on two businesses and I’m posting this to give encouragement, perhaps hope, to those of you running a business that is driving you nuts or sucking all your time for little financial reward.

If you think fixing your business is going to take ages or cost a lot, I can almost guarantee you are wrong.

Yes, there are some businesses that just can’t be fixed. But the majority can quite easily be ‘fixed’.

For example these most recent two businesses took 6 wks and one started implementing important changes in week 3 and is already operating like a different company! Wonderful to see the changes.

Both businesses had good products and service but were failing to make profit despite turning over $1.4m and $3.7m. They also had staff performance issues and the wrong people in the wrong roles.

My turnaround service involves an auditing process I’ve developed over the years and includes my own questionnaire, staff interviews, audit of processes, audit of financials and if required, customer interviews.

I then make recommendations on priority things that need fixing and how. Often this is enough. Sometimes the business needs me to support and facilitate the changes. I’m here to help for as long as required.

To emphasise again, seeing the way out when you are in it can be impossible. However this doesn’t mean the solution is hard or impossible! Quite the opposite!

I tried renovating a one bedroom apartment once. After 12 months of no rent, my wife made me get a builder in and we finished it in a week. I was spending nights after work in that apartment looking at the mess I had created pulling out the kitchen etc and I was paralysed. I didn’t know where to start or what to focus on so I just dabbled at fixing this and that. The builder came in and immediately knew what to do. He made it so easy.

Same in business. If you are having issues or want to take things to the next level, give me a call.

Don’t Ask for a Meeting or Reply!

SITUATION: YOU ARE NOT GETTING REPLIES TO EMAILS OR REQUESTS FOR MEETINGS.

This can be due to several reasons, but here is one that you may not have thought of or considered.
A client today had a lightbulb moment regarding their issue of prospects not returning their calls or replying to emails.

It highlighted how easy it is to be more in OUR world instead of being more in THEIRS. And as a result we get ignored.

My client was telling me:

“I’ve asked them many times to meet so we can explain our service, I’ve even invited them to come to one of our sites and see our work firsthand! And I’ve given them names of clients they can call to confirm we are good.”

I translated this for him so he could understand what the prospect may be hearing:

“So you want me to interrupt my day and give you time I don’t have in my overloaded schedule, to help you, a stranger, make money?”

The penny dropped. Yes he’s got a good service but everyone is busy. And he was approaching his business development from the perspective of himself. So every email or phone message was asking the prospect to agree to an action and add yet another task to their already overflowing to-do list. Even replying to an email is an extra task they don’t need.

The solution was to brainstorm a range of ways he can remind them he exists and how he can ‘give’  value before asking for something from them.

businessdevelopmenttips, prospecting, businesstips, salestips, businessdevelopment

 

Are You Making These Mistakes Chef Ramsey Often Finds?

Chef Ramsey is horrified by these mistakes

YOU MAY NOT BE RUNNING A RESTAURANT, BUT YOU COULD STILL BE MAKING THE SAME MISTAKES.

I love watching Kitchen Nightmares.

There are several common issues Chef Ramsey deals with that are applicable to all businesses.

1. Too many items on the menu.

Are you making yourself inefficient and unprofitable because you are trying to offer too many things?

Are you scared to drop items or believe you have to offer a lot of options?

Red flags. You might want to reconsider and rationalise your offerings. Why? Because you can save time and deliver a better service for less if you streamline your offerings. And significantly reduce your stress levels.

 

2. You think the food is great, but no one else does.

Customer feedback systems, secret shoppers or audits by consultants such as myself are often required to get honest feedback. It can be very hard for a business owner or Director to have an accurate measure of service.

 

3. The head chef has lost their passion.

Has your manager or sales person lost their passion or is doing the bare minimum?

Are you micro-managing or failing to act on their suggestions?

Have you stopped doing the regular meetings or BBQ?

Is it your way or the highway?

Red flags!

 

These are the common issues I see. All easy to fix. Turning a business around can be actually quite easy, when you know what needs fixing and how to fix it.