Tag: business strategy

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.

Staff Interviews Can Quickly Solve Issues

Approaching the end of the year, is a great time to have those chats with the team about their personal goals, suggestions they have, training they would like or equipment/software, and what they would like to do more of or less of.

I’ve just finished a round of interviews for a client and as always, they have delivered absolute gold in the way of suggestions, and truth about what needs fixing or improving in the business. Also what is causing some angst.

The example I’d like to share, and it is just one of many from this round of interviews, is one where the business owner was getting nervous and stressed about getting a second employee to do a very specific job. The employee was getting stressed because they wanted to retire (but hadn’t told the owner this yet) and felt they couldn’t reture until the owner had a replacement for them.

Now this is all quite simple and straight forward on paper, but it is a good example of how the business owner doesn’t always know EXACTLY what the team are thinking/feeling or planning. Everyone is head down getting through the day-weekly tasks. Making time to discuss ‘other’ things can be low on the priority list.

As a result, both sides can become stressed and worried about something they don’t need to worry about.

The outcome of my interview was that both parties now know the situation and there is massive relief on both sides.

The business owner no longer feeling hesitant about hiring a replacement and is running an ad this week for a new person to start training for this role, and the current employee has the relief knowing they can retire in one year. That was their goal, to retire in a year. So now we can plan around that, there is no mystery about the plan and everyone is happy and can move forward. Case solved.

Please, please, please…make sure you make time to get honest and open communication happening with your team. And remember, its not all about you and what you want them to do better. It’s about them too! Find out what they want, what they want to do more of, what they want to do less of, what suggestions they have.

And if you feel they won’t be honest with you or you don’t have the time, simply engage me to do it on your behalf. I summarise my findings for you and provide my recommendations. Easy. Saves you a lot of time and I find staff open up to me and tell me things they don’t tell the business owner/GM. I do the same for your clients that are good, bad or have left you if you ever want to know the truth about how you doing, what they think about you, what they would like improved in order to give you more work.

The 4 Stages of Your Business

Sometimes it is helpful to hear that we are not alone and what we are experiencing in our business is actually the ‘norm’. It is also helpful to benchmark where we are at and what we need to do to go to the next stage.

Here are the common four stages of business…which one do you relate to? As a mentor and coach my role is to help you efficiently move from one stage to the next with minimal fuss and pain. Contact me to discuss how this can happen – it’s usually a lot easier than you think!

  1. Start Up

□ It’s all about survival – doing whatever it takes to make it

□ You’re in “do it yourself” and “it’s all up to me” mode

□ You enjoy the freedom this gives you

□ You get to make decisions on the go and change your mind at a drop of a hat, and it’s okay to do this, it’s all down to you anyway

□ You put out bushfires all day

□ You can cope though, because it’s mainly just you and you know what needs to be done

□ You know everything that’s going on, and you’re the go-to person for whatever is needed

 

  1. Start Up to Initial Growth            

Keep in mind, most businesses don’t ever get out of start-up phase, because the business owner never adapts their style of doing things to allow the business to move forward.

□ Seat-of-the-pants leadership and decision making isn’t going to cut it anymore. (I should know.)

□ You need to become more strategic, and you need to start thinking ahead and planning how it’s all going to happen. People can’t sit around waiting to see which way you want them to jump today.

□ Change your role from doing to decision maker and delegate effectively

□ Learn the difference between delegation and abdication – you don’t give it to someone in the hope they’ll sort it out for you

□ You need to decide which way the business is heading, delegate what needs to get done that isn’t core to your business (sales and marketing) and monitor the progress made on the projects with key performance indicators and regular feedback and reviews so everyone knows where they stand and how they’re progressing

□ You will be the bottleneck if you keep making all the decisions yourself

□ You need to shift from bush fire management to anticipation, planning, design of systems and procedures

Initial growth is often difficult to manage because every step means growing pains and systemising and doing things so that others can as well.

It’s a time in the business where everything is more complex, and you have to rely on others to get things done and to make decisions. Unless you’re across everything in detail all the time, you would only get in the way.

It will actually become physically impossible to do everything you need to do. You will find people will want your time but you don’t have time for them. Bushfires seems to be lighting up everywhere – you put one out and five more appear.

 

  1. Initial Growth to Rapid Growth            

You need to become more of a team builder and planner. Your focus is on getting a management team in place and building a steady and strong infrastructure.

You’re going to become even more proactive in recognising what your business needs and do so before you get to crisis stage.

You need to be thinking in one year horizons and acting in 90 day cycles with weekly and daily focus. You want to hire people who are better at their roles than you could ever be. They are specialists who focus solely on that function or area.

You’re now moving more towards having to make sure your team come together and that there is team cohesiveness.

 

  1. Rapid growth

Your product, service or program is ready, proven and sells. The market is growing and your sales are going up.

Survival is not on your mind – you’re trying to ride the wave, make the most of what’s going on and keep the momentum going.

This is what’s interesting – infrastructure at this stage will be lower than the next stage – maturity. Make the most of this phase, save as much money as you can, maximise profits and pay off your house or any other big bills. When you get to maturity infrastructure will have caught up with turnover and it won’t be as much fun in terms of cashflow!

(c) The Coaching Institute 2016

QUICKEST AND CHEAPEST SALES BOOST

Just finished a session with a wonderful client who is a high-end car mechanic. He generated two weeks of extra work by a few phone calls to old clients.

Mining your database of past customers (and even their friends, family, clubs, networks) IS THE FIRST MARKETING STRATEGY YOU SHOULD EVER DO!

Your list of past customers is like ‘gold in your hand’. It’s a goldmine!

If you need more sales fast.

I’ve rarely seen it fail. It generates immediate results because the customer has already passed that invisible barrier of trust and uncertainty about whether they will get value.

BTW – I should mention the next most important thing you should do before ramping up your marketing spend is work out what you should be selling. What are the profitable products/services? And which ones will take you to your vision?
No point spending marketing dollars and time in order to sell more stuff that will make you less, or steer you away from your vision.

UNFOCUSED? THIS CAN HELP

 

Core Improve Innovate
Focus on getting core right before improving or innovating.

This might help and maybe something to think about over the weekend.

 

It’s the CORE, IMPROVE, INNOVATE model by Sharon Pearson.

In a nutshell…only focus on core business activities and getting them right before you focus on improving your core. Only spend time and money innovating when core and improvements are done.

Core activities is your day to day stuff that makes money, brings business in, processes orders, keeps customers happy, sends out invoices, keeps staff happy etc.

My tendency, because I love innovation, was to get distracted with improvements and innovation and I dropped the ball on ‘core’.

This is like building a house on wet soggy, soft soil that isn’t compacted or even right for the job!

As a result my innovation might work but would fall over because core business was up to scratch.

So…if you are switching between ‘this and that’ in your business and not sure what you should focus on…perhaps you are doing what I used to do and are distracted by innovation or improvements?

This weekend, have a think about your core activities. What kind of shape are they in?