Leadership, Personal Development, Recruitment, Team

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A key to success is to surround yourself with people who are excellent – positive, supportive, intelligent, motivated, diligent – helping you achieve success. With these type of people it’s still a challenge to run a successful business, but without them it’s really tough.

So why is it that whenever I meet a business owner and ask about the people around them, they’re quick to talk about the ‘problem people’? The phase that often springs to mind is “Better the devil you know… than the devil you don’t know!”, meaning that this person’s bad, but a replacement could be even worse! Stop! With thinking like that, you’re destined to be surrounded by walking disasters.

In other blogs I’ve discussed two related topics – “You get what you tolerate” – highlighting that you really mustn’t tolerate bad behaviour or you’ll get more of it. And “Do your team really know what you want?” – stressing the need to give absolute clarity about what you want from your team, in terms of both actions and attitudes. If you’ve arrived here for advice on dealing with problem people, I suggest you read those two first. They’re all about taking responsibility and understanding if maybe part of the problem is actually you and your management? Continue reading

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Marketing

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No matter how good we are at telling people about our products and services, it’s always heard with a degree of scepticism; After all, we would say we’re good, wouldn’t we! But if your current and past customers say you’re good… it’s a lot more believable.

What I most often see businesses using are unattributable one-liners: “Excellent service at a great price! – Mrs. Smith of nowhere”. These kind of things could be made up, and often are. They have little if any value. Far better to proactively create some great testimonials and case studies. Continue reading

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Entrepreneurship, Goals, Personal Development

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Do you have all the results you want? Or are you substituting results with excuses?

The problem with excuses – or ‘reasons why not’ – is that they prevent us from taking exactly the action that would be needed to achieve the results.

Think about some aspect of your business that you would like to have better results with. It could be having more customers or more leads or more profit for example. First of all, what exactly is the result you want and when? Lack of specific goals is the first barrier – you have to have or invent a specific goal before you can find a solution for it. “More profit” sounds like a goal, but it isn’t, it’s just a vague wish. A goal would be a specific number by a specific date. Ideally such a goal would be one that you’d be happy with, not one you’d settle for. Continue reading

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Leadership, Management, Personal Development, Team

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Gratitude and celebration are severely lacking in our lives and business, but it’s a choice – and you can change it.

When someone says “Well done!” or “Thank you so much!” do you think or say “It was nothing” or “I was just doing my job”? Worse, when your staff do something well do you think or say “they were just doing their job, it’s what I pay them for”? Think about it – what does it cost to say “Thank you”?

Business owners often ask me about linking bonuses and other financial rewards to employee performance, along with questions about how to get staff to do what’s important. Ask someone if they want more money and they’ll say “yes”. Ask someone what would motivate them and many will say “more money!”. But repeated studies have shown that beyond a level necessary to get the basics in life, more money does not actually provide much motivation. In fact it can leave people feeling confused and dissatisfied – they thought they wanted more money, they get it, but don’t feel happier.  Continue reading

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Personal Development, Sales

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Would you choose to work with someone who you don’t trust? Would you buy from someone who you don’t trust? Would you spend more with someone who you trust more? How much do your customers trust you?

Trust is one of those concepts that we all have in the back of our mind, but it’s hard to focus on deliberately doing anything about it. We tend to think that either people trust us, or they don’t. It’s not something like profit that we can measure and put in a bank account. Or is it? Continue reading

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Entrepreneurship, Marketing, Sales

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Every business provides a guarantee – your business provides a guarantee! But do you know what your guarantee is? And do you promote it overtly to increase your sales?

Let me explain what I mean by a guarantee, because most people immediately think of it like the warrantee you turn to when your new toaster breaks down. And that’s a form of guarantee  “your new toaster will work for 12 months or we’ll replace it or give you your money back.”. However, guarantees don’t have to be about buying electrical goods.

I once asked a florist who was attending one of my seminars if he offered a guarantee to his customers and he said “no”. I asked him what would happen if I bought some flowers from him today… and tomorrow they were dead? He said “Well, that wouldn’t happen with our flowers, but if it did we would obviously replace them immediately.”. That sounded like a guarantee to me, and to everyone else, and to the florist himself – yet he wasn’t telling his customers. I asked what would happen if the other florist in the town put a sign in their window saying “Guarantee – our flowers will last at least 5 days or we’ll replace them free of charge”. He didn’t much like that… because it might imply to customers that their flowers were better than his.  Continue reading

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Entrepreneurship, Goals, Leadership

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No business is immune to change. It’s often said that the only constant is change. For long-term survival it’s absolutely vital to take a step back and re-evaluate the products or services that you offer and the way they’re provided, which are separate aspects.

At the heart of every successful business is the product or service. You’ll be solving a commonly perceived ‘need’ or ‘desire’. Whichever it is, needs and desires change and you’ll be out of business if you don’t keep up with the changes or, better still, anticipate and be just ahead of the change. History is filled with lessons from the companies that manufactured mechanical calculating machines, typewriters, and more recent examples like photographic film, let alone examples from the world of fashion where today’s biggest hit is next year’s recycling. Continue reading

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Goals, Leadership, Management, Team, Time Management

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It’s not about having enough time, it’s about how you use the time you have. Most “time management” tips will tell you how to save some time. My view is different – when you know clearly what you should be doing and feel motivated by it… you’ll do it. Rather than trying to save time, focus on USING time in the most effective way and they greatly reduces the chances of you misusing minutes and hours on things.

So here are my top 5 tips to use your time most effectively:

1. Have a plan
Create a plan for the next five years, then for the coming year as part of it, and then for the next 90-days. If you don’t think you have time for this you should seriously question your commitment to running a successful business. This is a non-negotiable – you MUST have a plan. Everything else flows from the plan.  Continue reading

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Leadership, Management, Personal Development, Recruitment, Team

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After you’ve recruited a really good new team member, you need to ensure that they perform well and stay in your business. There are a few things that you should ensure are in place for every employee:

– A clear job description and list of responsibilities
– Performance measures
– Measurable goals for the quarter and year
– A Personal Development Plan (PDP)
– Regular appraisals
– Annual review
Continue reading

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Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Management, Recruitment, Team

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I was recently asked “How can I ensure I build a great team?”. After a bit of thought I summed it up as the following:

Recruit great people, train them well, set clear goals, motivate and lead them.

A great team with great leadership will achieve great things. No company with a poor team of people will achieve as much as one with a high performance team.

In the next article I’ll focus on how to maximise the performance of your team, but first let’s look at recruiting them in the first place. However, the two are very much linked – new employees look at what it’s like to work in your business.  Continue reading

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