Category Archives: Team Building

Why Pilot Pete and Entrepreneur Ed Don’t Make Enough Money

Pete had been an airline pilot for 20 years.

One day Pete was talking to his friend, Ed the Entrepreneur, and noticed that Ed’s business was doing pretty well.   Apparently, Ed had all of the things necessary to “hit it big”:

– A product customers loved, with great “word of mouth” advertising;

– Years of experience “in the industry”;

– An incredible work ethic;

– and a lot of people who really “liked” him.

In fact, Ed was SO busy working in and growing his business; that he never sat down and wrote a “Business Plan” or a developed “Strategy.”  As long as he kept working persistently, Ed told Pete, one day he would achieve everything he dreamed about.

Pete felt this made perfect sense.  After all, when you know what you are doing technically, and people are coming “on board”; if you stop and take the time to Plan, it will just slow down your momentum and cut down on the “freedom” that comes from being your own boss.

So, the day before Thanksgiving a couple of years ago, Pete and several of his pilot friends talked about this and decided that since they knew how to fly, their planes were full of fuel, and people were getting on board the airplanes; it would be a waste of time to file flight plans or listen to the Air Traffic Controllers.    After all, most had been flying for a LONG time; so their Plans were “in their heads.”  What could go wrong?

So they took off together…….

– 2 ran into each other before they left the runway – because they were going so fast that, by the time they saw each other, it was too late;

– 5 got lost and crashed into mountains that were higher than the clouds below the flight path of the planes;

– 7 had to make so many “course corrections” that the fuel they started with was not enough and they ended up crashing;

– 4 had mid-air collisions with other planes that seemed to “come out of nowhere”;

– 5 landed at the wrong airports;

– 2 DID make it to their correct destinations, but it took them twice as long as expected.

Pete was one that made it to the right airport, several hours late; and he was fired.  AND he lost his Pilot’s license; so now he’s a cashier at McDonald’s (pays less than a job as a commercial airline pilot).

What about you?  Are you so convinced in your own abilities, your “experience,” and current “busy-ness” that you don’t think that you need a Plan (or maybe you will get one when things “slow down”)? 

Just because you are moving fast, does not mean that you are going to be successful in the long run:

– The Planes that run into each other on the runway are those businesses that do not do their market research, and run into a competitor to their “unique” offering that they never knew existed;

– The Planes that hit the mountains are those businesses that believe that they have “made it,” but never plan far enough ahead to anticipate surprise obstacles like shifting markets, loss of a big customer, or changing customer requirements;

– The Planes that run out of fuel are the businesses who, because they lack a clear plan, run out of cash before they hit their “tipping point” (happens a LOT);

– The Planes that have mid-air collisions are the businesses who do not plan and forecast continuously and so never see new competitors until it is too late;

– The Planes that land at the wrong airports are those businesses who, while they eventually get “somewhere,” do not achieve what they had hoped for;

– The Planes that DO make it to the right airport are those businesses who eventually succeed, but after a LOT more pain, stress, and time than they should have needed.

Ignore Pete.  This is your ideal time RIGHT NOW to sit down and create a comprehensive plan, WITH accountability; so that your business will take off quickly,  fly with less stress, and land at your goals in the time frame that YOU want.

By the way, Ed’s not doing so well in his business because his “word of mouth” customers do not come frequently enough to support Ed and his family.

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– Roger Boneno, Roger@CoachRogerBoneno.com

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Jim and Diane’s Trip to Chicago – Based on a True Story

Today I wanted to share a little story with you about a couple, Jim and Diane (based on a true story, so enjoy…).

One day, Jim and Diane decide to take a vacation.  They had both been working very hard, and would leave their comfortable house in the suburbs of Houston and visit Chicago.

So, one slightly misty morning, they packed up their new car and headed out.   They were excited, and knew that they could get there really fast if they took turns driving.  After all, the sooner they got to Chicago, the sooner they would be able to check into their hotel room.

They were going to LOVE Chicago.  They planned to stay at the Westin right on Michigan Avenue.   Across the street would be the “Magnificent Mile” of shops.  A quick elevated train ride would get them to the ballpark.  Fantastic food choices..the Navy Pier, the beautiful lakefront.  They had their whole visit scheduled perfectly.

So they backed out of the driveway and started driving.   Jim told Diane to get on the freeway, and she did.  They drove for a day.  Chicago, here we come!

They drove for another day.  They were getting closer..they just KNEW it.   They had a great car, and knew that Chicago would be fun!

But the third day passed, and Jim was getting perturbed.  So, he told Diane to drive faster.  And they drove for a fourth day.  Still, no Chicago.

Now it was Diane’s turn to tell Jim to drive faster.  And turn NORTH.  They stopped at a gas station, bought a compass, and turned North.

Day five….Day six…Day seven.  They now both wondered why, even though they were CRYSTAL CLEAR about their goal of going to Chicago, were driving a great car,  and were certain about what they would do once they got to Chicago; they never arrived there.

Finally, they looked at each other, and exclaimed, “We probably should have followed a map.”

Sound crazy?  Who would try to get anywhere that far away without a roadmap?

Well?  How many can honestly tell me that YOU have a CLEAR, step-by-step Plan to get from where you are NOW in your business to where you want to be?

The fact is: EVEN WITH A CLEAR GOAL, AND EVEN WITH GREAT PRODUCTS;  YOU STILL NEED A PLAN..A ROADMAP. 

Every day that you spend without one is time you will NOT spend enjoying your goals.  

It’s time, RIGHT NOW, for you to get that Map.  

This is my specialty:  helping you create that map.  It’s a crystal clear, what do you do today, next month, next year, to get to where you want to go. 

To enjoy your Goals….

To stop driving around aimlessly…

I have built these with billion $ and million $businesses, with start-ups, with businesses that have been around for 4 generations (even THEY need better roadmaps sometimes), and even with MLM’s.

Engage Now for a Very Special Year-end rate.  CLICK HERE  and reserve your spot!  As soon as my calendar fills up –  which may be today, and may be by Friday –  the year-end offer is over. 

PS.  It is OK for you to say “No” and keep driving around without a professional plan.  Just make sure that you DECIDED to do that; instead of letting it happen to you like it did to Jim & Diane..by default.

5 Things Most Business Owners Rarely Do…But Should

How many of you as Entrepreneurs/business owners recognize this as your typical day (having worked with a LOT of you, this is what I hear quite a bit)

Basically, most business owners are moving as fast as they can trying to get customers so they can stay afloat.  The idea of having excess working capital is a wish…a dream.  You tell yourself that, “when things get better,” you will be able to create the systems and processes that you know are important (but you are too busy to work on right now).  This may surprise you, but I even get THIS as an objection:

“When things get better, I’ll be able to work with you, Roger.”  As if a world-class athlete would say, “When I get into the Olympics, I’ll work with a trainer.”  What do you think the odds are that they will get INTO the Olympics? (hint:  pretty close to Zero).

So, I am going to break it to you gently (or, not so gently):  THAT DAY WILL NEVER COME AS LONG AS YOU KEEP DOING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER!

It’s time for you to draw a line in the sand and at least do these 5 things. 

1.  Forecast Sales

Be specific.  Start with what you want to sell in a year, both in dollars and number of customers; break it down to quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily (and even hourly for some of you) targets.   But make this more than a numbers exercise.  Who is buying?  When are they buying?  Why are they buying what they buy, with the frequency they buy it?  ETC. ETC.

I love a quote I heard from Bob Burg (from one of HIS mentors) that said “If you miss the target, it’s not the target’s fault.”  But, if you don’t even know where the target is; you don’t even have a CHANCE of hitting it.

2.  Spend enough on targeted Marketing.

When you learn to forecast sales well; you will realize that you need to be more methodical in your marketing; instead of the blind chase most of your competitors (and maybe you) are doing.

Consider any great athlete.  If they want to be a champion, how likely is that to happen if they were just randomly running around every day for 20 or 30 minutes; hoping that…somehow..their excercise will be enough to help them be better than their competition?

Yet, I was sitting with a Restaurant Owner the other day who was complaining that “marketing never works.”  When I asked what he did, and who he was targeting; he said he had bought newspaper ads (yikes..for a restaurant?) and said he wanted to target people who wanted “great food and great service.”  (for my regular readers, you know how I feel about THAT one).

Even worse, most business owners not only do not have enough process around their marketing; they underspend.   Just to MAINTAIN your business, you should be spending AT LEAST 5% of your revenue on marketing.  To grow, you might invest 10% or even 15%.  Yes, if you do the math, that may seem like a LOT.   But, the 8, 10, or 12 hours of training by a champion athlete also seems like a lot to the 3rd place finisher.   As long as you underspend and lack focus, you WILL be the one in 3rd place; struggling to get ahead, and often wondering why your competitor gets “the lucky breaks.”

By the way, I would 100% recommend that, before you increase your spending or try targeting; do your research and learn what works, what does not, and how to test for maximum effectiveness (or, find someone who specializes in marketing, so that your learning curve is not so steep).

3. Analyze and ACTIVELY MANAGE your Costs, especially Cost of Goods Sold and Labor

This is much more than just knowing your product costs and “beating up” on your vendors to get the lowest price; while paying your team members as little as possible.  It involves incorporating your marketing, product sales strategy, and operations strategy into a cohesive plan to ensure that you are making money.  Since I work with Restaurants, my experience is that most of them throw their menu together with no strategy or understanding to how it affects either their food cost or labor expense.  So, when they are not making any money; they THINK it is just because “sales need to be higher.”

Even if you are selling mufflers, though, the concept of this integration is the same.  Sales cures a lot of ills..but it won’t fix anything if your cost to deliver more product is more than the revenue.     Or, if your marketing gets more customers, but they all come when you are at capacity already; so you cannot serve them well when they DO come (which can be bad).

4.  Recognize Positive Actions by at least half your Team – EVERY DAY

If I had a Dime for every business owner who wonders where all of the “hard workers” have gone….I’d have a lot of dimes.

Seriously, maybe the problem is not in their motivation, but in the fact that many business owners have the attitude that their “employees are lucky to have a job.”  Well, maybe they are; but what are you doing to make sure they are motivated to care as much about the business as you would like?

If all you do is continue to point out their errors and faults; eventually you build it into their heads that they need to work on “avoiding errors.”  Can you see what they are now focused on?  Errors.

Now, I am not saying you should celebrate mediocrity; but set a goal every day to find positive actions by your team and recognize them.  Guess what you do then?  You will create in them a focus on doing positive actions.  Then, even when you need to point out opportunities for improvement, your team is going to be more accepting.

5.  Get  HELP!

If things are not working as well as you had hoped, get help.  Stop doing your own website, creating coupons and offering deals when you do not understand how these impact your business and your brand, hiring people without a profiling system, etc. etc.

I talk to restaurant owners every day who, with very little experience in the business, have put down half of a million dollars of their savings in a building and equipment (because someone said they were great cooks); yet have let their nephew do their website, have designed their own menus, and let the Groupon people talk them into money-losing online deals.    Then, they cannot afford to get help because by the time they realize that they should get help; they have burned through all of their working capital and are funding a burning building out of their own pockets.  It’s painful to watch.

If you do these 5 things, I can guarantee that, in the very near future,  your business will be 100% better than it is now.  You will have more sales, more cash flow, a more motivated team, and a business that you feel GREAT about.

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Please comment below: are you doing all 5 of these?  If not, which ARE you doing, and how will you begin doing the others (PS.  if #5 is on your “to do” list, email me at Roger@RestaurantSuccessGuru.com for some ideas.  If I’m not the right one to help you, because of my Restaurant owner focus; I have an extensive list of contacts to find just the right person for you)

How to Implement Stevie Wonder’s Best Business Building Tip

No April rain

No flowers bloom

No wedding Saturday within the month of June

(If you are feeling a little romantic, or WANT to feel that way 🙂 , watch here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwOU3bnuU0k)

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I am probably revealing how old I am, but this was a very popular song when I was in High School.  So, why am I bringing this up in a Business Blog?

Because, while many business owners believe that “word of mouth” is a great way to build their businesses with less  effort; very often they believe that just having a great product and service is how to get referrals.    But, realistically, how many of you have received great service from someone, and MEANT to tell everyone about it, but never did?   You get busy, so you never do.   Or, maybe there was just this one thing…

This is where Stevie Wonder comes in.  His advice?  “Just [Call] to say I love you…just [call] to say how much I care.”   And Stevie says to do it not because of an occasion, but “just because.”   Here are some ways for you to do that:

1.  Send physical (NOT email) Thank You notes;

2.  Send them a little gift (or, if it is a BIG contract, a BIG gift…assuming you are not in a regulated field);

3.  Actually CALL them, and say how much you appreciate their business;

4.  Actively seek out a referral for them, or make a strategic connection that might help THEM;

5.  Provide a little unexpected bonus service.

Again…don’t just do these right after they give you money or because of a holiday; but do it when they might not expect it.  Perhaps you send them something midway through the contract period.  Or maybe a month after they bought something.  You CAN schedule it on your calendar, but just do not do it around any specific event.

And do NOT..I repeat..do NOT ask for more business or try to sell them something else at the same time that you do one of these.  Otherwise, it does not really feel like love.

The fact is, loving your customers and telling them (in words or unexpected actions) is a fantastic way to get more referrals AND more business.     Plus, when there is love, they will overlook minor faults,  forgive errors, and are loyal based on more than price.

PS.   This assumes that you really DO love your customers.  If you do not, then you are just a “Con Man” and need to be in a different business (or jail).

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 Schedule a 15 minute call with me – Marketing Guru, Financial Wizard, and Team Motivation Expert – and we’ll make you Love what your business can do for you:    https://my.timedriver.com/191CR  The Call is free, unless you don’t schedule it…then, your opportunity cost is expensive!

4 Ways Most Business People are like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”

“Here’s Johnny!”

So says Jack Nicholson’s character after he chops through a bathroom door with an ax in “The Shining.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7JB68sLGY8  (If you have not seen the movie, spoiler alert!).

The short version of the movie (based on a book by Stephen King): Jack Torrance is a writer who, for a variety of reasons, goes insane and attempts to kill his family.  My experience with most business owners is that they are a LOT like Jack Torrance in they you run their businesses.

1.  You are trying to “go it alone,” but all that ends up happening is that you end up doing the same thing over and over and getting the same results.  In the movie, Jack wanted to have solitude so that he could write his book; but all he ended up writing over and over was “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”  If this seems a little “crazy,” then ask yourself what you are doing differently now in your business than you were last month to:

– Get more customers

– Increase your customer loyalty

– Motivate your Team

– Manage your cash flow

If these are not ONE HUNDRED PERCENT where you want them to be; then take some time to evaluate what needs to change.     Sometimes, one little tweak will make a huge difference.  Last month, a client of mine was frustrated because he was trying for months to get a CEO to meet with him on a very large contract.  When I gave him a simple change in approach and wording, he was able to close the $55,000 opportunity within a week.

2.  When you seek advice, are you sure it is from the right people?  In the movie, Jack eventually DOES seek advice; but it is from a ghost bartender.  As you can imagine, the advice is not very beneficial.  Is this you?  Are you getting “opinions” from your brother, dad, or friend, etc; whose life is not 100% focused on how to grow YOUR business.    I am not saying that your relatives are trying to drive you crazy or are evil (:-) ).  However, before accepting advice, make sure it is based on DATA and is focused on a goal that is MEASURABLE.    Too many businesses struggle and fail because the “advice” they get lacks any real “success criteria” tied to what is best for you.

3.   Do you automatically attack people who are seeking to help you?   Jack’s wife, as well as the cook (Scatman Crothers), both tried to help Jack; but his response was not friendly.   Before you say “I never do that,” ask yourself what is your response when a Telemarketer calls you, or someone offers you a service for your business.  Do you hang up abruptly; unsubscribe from their newsletter; or (the most inconsiderate thing) ignore them?   Maybe this comparison seems like a stretch, but I would challenge you to be more open-minded the next time someone offers you help.  Give them 3 minutes; then, be POLITE if you do not feel like you want to learn more (just follow the Golden Rule).

4.  Are you “chasing footprints,” trying to force your solution onto your prospects?  In the final scenes of the movie (spoiler alert!), Jack was chasing down his family through a maze during a driving snowstorm.  In the end, by covering up his tracks, Jack’s son was able to fool Jack into going the wrong direction.  As a result, Jack became hopelessly lost, and froze to death.

How is that like you?

Do you REALLY know what your customer wants, or are you just “chasing tracks”?  Because Jack’s customer was filled with fear (wouldn’t you be?), his son kept running away and doing everything he could to avoid the confrontation.  After all, the boy did not see the result as a positive situation.    In his Insane mind, jack probably could not see why the boy did not want to stop.  But, interestingly enough, that’s just like many of you.

You have not created compelling marketing, or a customer-friendly sales process; so your prospect runs, hides his tracks, and does everything he can to avoid meeting with you.  You feel frustrated, and wonder why your customer seems so “afraid” to meet with you.  Most of the time, YOU have created that fear; and so need to change your approach.

OK, I will say that the comparison between you chasing business; and Jack hunting down his family to kill them seems extreme.  However, If your business is not where you want it to be, and you have ever said that it is “driving you crazy,” maybe you need to make some changes…

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It is SUMMER and I am offering a very special opportunity to work with me for ONE YEAR for one investment.  For the first 5 Business Owners who engage with me in my “Summer Business School” program, we’ll cover highly important topics like:

  1. Your Marketing message and strategies (especially how to differentiate in a competitive market)
  2. What to say to a prospect, in person or on the phone; and how to convert more “leads” into long-term customers
  3. How to hire the RIGHT people (or, if you should hire anyone at all)
  4. Cash Flow strategies for a growing business
  5. Anything you need to cover, since it includes unlimited email support!

If a business cannot offset this investment in the next YEAR; then they probably want to rethink even being in business.  🙂  So, fax in the Engagement Agreement today, and we will get started on making your business “Shine,” instead of you feeling like you are in “The Shining.”  https://coachrogerb.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/summer-business-school.pdf

To learn more, schedule a call:   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR  Do it today, since the offer is only for a select few.

Which Little Pig is YOUR Business Like?

Which Pig are you?

No, I am not asking you how much you eat.  Or what you weigh.  That is your personal business. 🙂

However, based on my experience with many business owners; every business is similar to one of the houses in “The Three Little Pigs.”  How do you know which one of these you are?

1.  You have built your business from “Straw” – This business has minimal start-up costs and begins easily.  You have some skill, and perhaps people who love your work; and so you decide to be your own boss.  However, it lacks a strong strategic foundation, structure, or any clearly defined goals.

Interestingly enough, this is one that can “trap” a business owner the easiest, because it seems to start quickly.   If the economy is doing well, or you get a few early customers, it looks like you are “done.”  Unfortunately, because it seems to be doing “OK” so quickly, you do not solidify its structure; and do not have a plan to deal with challenges like:  losing a major customer or an important strategic partner.  Then, when the “Wolf” comes along in the guise of a challenge or setback, your lack of a solid foundation or clearly defined goals makes your business easy to “blow away.”

And, by the way, the ORIGINAL story does not have this pig escaping.  No.  He gets eaten (which is what challenges do to many of these business owners).

2.  You have built your business out of “sticks” – You are a little more advanced than the “straw business owner.”  Maybe you have “Free” business plan help from SCORE, or the Small Business Development Center at the University.  Or, perhaps your Uncle, Cousin, Nephew, Sister-in-Law, or other friend has given you some advice.  So, clearly, you are smart enough to know that your business needs some foundation and structure.  These are good things.

That said, these businesses FEEL solid; but lack the fortitude to withstand issues like marketplace shifts, or new competitors.   This is because the “plan” was based on what “once worked,” the marketplace at a point in time, or a generic “one size fits all” system.    The worst part about this is that your “Plan” may actually have been successful for a while.  So, when sales start to fall suddenly or you find yourself working more for the same profits, you have what the Organizational Behavior theorists call “Escalation of Commitment.”  You try harder; you work longer; but you refuse to change even when the “sticks” all around you are falling down.    This can not only be exhausting; but your hard work and persistence alone are not enough to keep you from getting “gobbled up” when the rest of the building caves in.

3.  You build your business with Bricks – You are the one who does not get “eaten.”  Your business is made of:

– “Bricks” that include solid strategies around your Time Management; your Team Development; your Marketing Strategy & Tactics; and your Financial Strategies, Performance Metrics; and Success Indicators;

– The “Mortar” of good people who will help you execute that strategy; including your staff, your leadership team, as well as your advisors and coaches (who may be paid by you, but do NOT work for your company directly).

– Plus, you have the advance consideration to know how to build the “fire” of ACTION that will keep you one step ahead of the “wolves” of business challenges.  So, when you find that you have new competitors who are underpricing you, or offering better service; you respond quickly and powerfully (and NOT by lowering prices).

So, it is YOUR choice:

1. Have a Business that gets “blown over” easily (or WILL get blown over easily);

2.  Build a solid Business plumped up with fat profits, happy customers, amazing cash flow, and an incredible future.

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Learn how to build a SOLID business that both makes you comfortable AND protects you from the “Wolves” trying to knock your business down.  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR

The 5 Diseases of Business Owners that Cripple their Success

After working with dozens and dozens of businesses, from billion $ public companies to startups, I see many very smart and very nice business leaders suffering from disorders that are crippling their chances for achieving amazing success.  Based on my experiences, here are the top 5 diseases afflicting business owners:

1.   Independitis – The feeling that, because they need to be “independent,” no one else can help them.  The problem with this is that, if your expertise is in AC Repair; you would be much better off if you spent your time repairing AC’s while getting expert help to work on your Marketing and Sales tactics or coordinating your schedule;

2.  Blamethemenia – The belief that, when sales go down, it is because of “the economy,” “dumb prospects,” or “unfair competition”; when the real issue is an uncoordinated marketing plan (or no plan at all).  This is often an outgrowth of a previous case of “Igetallmybusinessfromwordofmouthia.”

3.  Denialopathy – When what “used to work” is not delivering results; you refuse to believe that you need to make a change.    You keep denying anything is wrong; even as your bank account dwindles rapidly.  Or, when employees perform poorly, you believe it is because of their lack of motivation or laziness; when YOU hired them and do not have a well-designed team building plan, training system, or job description manual.

4.  Putitoffinoma – When you delay doing what you KNOW you should; because you have rationalized that you can just do it “later.”  Sadly, all those “little” items eventually pile up and spread, so that your business dies a painful death; even though you HAD the knowledge to make yourself successful.

5.  Flybytheseatofmypantsology – You have no Plan; no strategy; you do not know what numbers you should know to track the health of your business; and you have not set a goal for the next month, the next quarter, or the year.  The biggest symptom of this is a business owner who is working 14 or 16 hour days, and keeps hoping that things will “get better” if they just “persist” and “persevere.”  Unfortunately, days, weeks, months, and years pass and nothing gets any better.

Other symptoms are:

-you cannot take much time off without worrying about your business; you have to tell your employees OVER and OVER AGAIN how to do something that seems so simple to you;

– your final profit margins are a lot lower than you expected, based on what you charge for your product;

– if someone asked you what your average sales were over the last few months, or what your most profitable products are, and why, you do not know;

– and, if someone offered to buy your business right now and pay you to not work, you know in your heart that the business just will not run as smoothly without you managing all of the details.  This disease actually is often accompanied by “Youownajobia.”

The fact is, many business owners suffer from more than one of these maladies.  And, even though these are “curable” with the right prescription and ACTIONS, how many of YOU still continue to suffer and hope it gets better on its own?

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Everyone knows that early detection of any disease greatly enhances your chance of a cure.   Waiting is just allowing the disease to become more entrenched.   Let us give your business a thorough “Exam.”   Just like a Doctor, I will ask you some questions about your business; and then we’ll work on the “cure.”  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR

Sales Lessons You Can Learn From Scooby-Doo

How many of you would like a 100% “Capture Rate” in turning prospects into customers?

Well, Scooby-Doo and the “meddling kids” DID capture 100% of “prospects.”

Yes, I know it was a cartoon.  But, if you watched closely, you could take away some lessons that might just increase YOUR ability to convert prospects to customers.

Lesson #1:  Have a Strategy to bring the prospect to YOU, even if you feel a little intimidated.    The kids never really caught these “scary monsters” by chasing them.  Instead, the team created a strategy to get the creature to fall into a trap they had set.  Now, I am not saying that you need to “trap” your customers.  But, I am telling you that you are far more likely to get a sale if you LEAD them to you based on a defined plan.  Will it work perfectly every time?  No.  However, you have a much greater chance of success if you have a strategy for them to want to chase YOU.

Make yourself interesting; ask a lot of questions; and create more compelling marketing than “we have provided great service at reasonable prices for thousands of years” (see Why Most Marketing Copy is Terrible).

Lesson #2:    Your prospect is not a Monster; they are just a person.  You do not have to be afraid to prospect.    Interestingly enough, even though EVERY time the “monster” turned out to be some crook in a costume; these kids acted like it was real the next time it happened.    The kids in the “Mystery Machine” never seemed to connect the dots.  But…YOU CAN.  Many of YOU will not prospect because you have mentally put your prospect into a monster costume.   You are afraid of the terrible consequence if they say “No.”  But, as a former VP I worked with once said, “They can’t eat you.”

Lesson #3:   Find out what your “Scooby Snack” is; then use it.  I do not know what was in those things, but they must have been amazing for a dog AND a person to be willing to face mortal danger in exchange for a couple of bites.   Of course, most of you are not facing mortal danger; but, you DO face the unknown.  So, maybe you need to listen to a favorite song, a motivational CD, speak some affirmations to yourself; read some previous customer testimonials, or get someone to “pump you up” before making your sales calls.  Whatever you need to do, it it perfectly OK, and even recommended (although, I cannot recommend that you eat dog treats for strength..unless it works for you 🙂 ).

Lesson #4:   Watch for clues, and then be open to information and inspiration from those clues.    If you watched Scooby-Doo, there was always some point at which Velma would say “Jinkies”; because, suddenly the clues added up.  Not only would she have an idea of the “who,” but also the “why.”  For many of you, if you do your research, your customer will leave you clues as to whether they are the ideal candidate for you.   Also, with the proliferation of Social Media, websites, and online reviews, and the expertise of companies who can do research for you; you can discover specific factors that will help you create more targeted marketing, as well as be far better prepared when you are prospecting and presenting.

Many companies spend very little time researching their markets’ and their customers’ specific needs; then wonder why their marketing is ineffective and their prospects are “shopping” them and then negotiating on price.

As a side note, CONTINUOUS research is essential.  Just because your product/menu/service were the perfect solution 6 months ago does not mean they are still appropriate. 

Lesson 4.5:  Relax and watch some Scooby-Doo this week.  Give your brain a break. 🙂

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Are the “Monsters” of the Economy, unmotivated team members, and/or cash flow stresses chasing you and your business?   Take the Mystery out of having a business that makes you more money with less stress.    Contact me for an initial consultation, business analysis, and ideation session.  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR

Business Lessons I Learned Caddying for my Grandfather

When I was young, I used to get up very early in the morning to caddy for my Grandfather.    We used to head down to City Park in New Orleans, meet up with some of his friends, and I would get to ride in his cart and hand him whatever club he asked for.

And, my Grandfather was an EXCELLENT golfer. When he was much younger, he had been invited to be a Pro Golfer; but he chose to work in the Post Office  (he eventually had 8 children, and golfers did not quite make the money in those days that they do now.  🙂 ). In his 60’s, he could shoot in the 60’s or low 70’s.  I would watch him hit straight drives, chip in shots from bunkers, and make long putts.

So…I thought golfing was easy.  All I had to do was watch what he did, and then imitate it.   How hard can it be?

Well, when I played my first round of golf, I did score an 81..ON THE FRONT NINE.  That’s only because I got to stop at 9 shots for each hole.

And that’s where we get Lesson #1: Just because someone else makes it look simple; does not mean you can just pick it by “role modeling.”   Yet, in many businesses, both the manager and the managed tend to believe that skills are learned by osmosis.  “Just watch how I do it and learn.”  All this results in is frustration when the team member does not perform as well as expected:  the manager thinks the team member is not paying attention, unmotivated, or incompetent; while the team member feels like the manager is unrealistic.

Have YOU ever wondered why your team does not work like you think they should?  Have you ever said, “My team is not motivated” or “My boss does not listen to me”?   Maybe it is because your training process is not well structured and systematic.  There is art AND science to team building (which is why the smartest companies PAY people to help them do it right).

Back to my caddying…

I always wanted to drive my Grandfather’s cart.  After all, what could be more fun than driving a slow, electric-powered vehicle on a pebbly path?

Finally, after I had asked for months, my Grandfather gave me a chance.  And……..the first time he let me have the controls, I drove it into the mud and we had to push it out.

So comes Lesson #2:  Pay attention to where you are going.  So many people in business are just trying to go as fast as they can; but are not watching where they are going.    They have no goal, but believe that all they need to do is “press the accelerator” of marketing and everything will turn out OK.  However, in reality, they do not have an idea of where they want to go; and so get “stuck.”     Many of my clients are very smart business people who have built million dollar businesses; but have gotten stuck.  When I ask them their goals, even for the current year, many lack a specific target as well as any specific plan to move forward.

Once we help them set goals, and begin following specific success paths, the results we see are rapid and extraordinary.   It’s like their wheels were turning; but they just needed me to help them push the cart out of the mud.

As for me, once I got stuck; it was a lot harder for me to get to drive the cart again.

Which leads me to Lesson #3:  When people (your customers OR your employees) put their trust in you; it is essential that you deliver.  It took me months to get the opportunity to drive the cart, and about 30 seconds to break trust.  It’s not like my grandfather stopped loving me.  But, all he had to go on were the results I produced.  That’s like many of your businesses.  You market, you follow-up, you negotiate, and you finally get that client.  But, without a plan, flawless operational execution, and a crystal clear customer satisfaction strategy; all of your efforts can go for nothing.  They may still LIKE you; but will not do business with you easily because you have broken their trust.

Worse yet, since unhappy customers spread the word these days so easily with online reviews and social media; great marketing with poor execution can do incredible damage to the health of your business.

Unfortunately, most business owners spend a lot of effort and dollars on marketing; but very little on team training and development, strategic planning, or execution process development.     Really great companies – those that survive recessions, and provide lasting benefits for their owners, their communities, their customers, and their employees – are those who realize the importance of doing these things.

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Are you trying to just “role model” success, and driving your business “cart” without a plan?  Get your business unstuck, or avoid the “mud” in the first place.   Contact me for an initial consultation, business analysis, and ideation session.  Use my online calendar to schedule a 15 minute call to learn more.   https://my.timedriver.com/191CR

Proof that Most of You REALLY Do Not Believe in Your Business

I know what you are thinking. “What is Roger saying?  Of COURSE I believe in my business.  After all, why else would I be doing it?”

Well, to be honest, I really don’t know why you are doing your business, either.   Because, very plainly, the facts speak for themselves.

Here are four very clear signals that you just do not truly believe in your business (and NONE of these are that old-fashioned notion that you “would do it for free”):

1.  Your “pipeline” is not full of potential customers, and STILL you do not prospect enough.   Ask yourself this:  If you saw a burning building, and had a hose in your hand that would be guaranteed to put out the fire, wouldn’t you point the hose at the fire and turn it on?  So, if you are not prospecting, that’s pretty good evidence that you are not a real believer that your offering is a real benefit to others.   If you really thought it was amazing, you would do whatever it takes to find more people who need it.

2.  You discount your prices.   Let’s say the test results come back, and you need to have your knee replaced.  You go to the hospital, and they ask you who you want to have operate on you:  Dr. Joe, for $3,000; or his fishing buddy Mike, an accountant who has seen “House” a few times, and will do it for $2000.   That’s $1,000 cheaper!   Do you think Dr. Joe is going to buy your argument that, because Mike is $1,000 cheaper, Dr. Joe should lower his rate?  I doubt it.  Because he knows it takes skill, experience, and knowledge to do what he does.  If you REALLY believed that you have strong skills, experience, and knowledge in your business; you would not discount either.

3.  You insist on “staying small.”     Again, back to the burning building.  You have the hose, the building is on fire; now would you just put out the fire on one part of it, or would you try to put out the WHOLE fire?  I’m hoping that most of you would put out the whole fire.   If you REALLY believed in your business and its ability to benefit others, you would try to build your business so that it could serve more people.  Or, is your talk about wanting to “help others” just a cliché’?

4.  You do not invest in a Coach/Consultant because it seems “expensive.”  This is a LOT of you, isn’t it?  So you are working 12 – 14 hour days; your sales are not as strong as you had hoped; but, you think you can “figure it out on your own,” “it is not the right time to make the investment,” or you “want to wait until you can ‘afford’ it.”   Given that independent research has shown that, if you really implement what you are taught, you get $5 for every $1 you invest in someone like me;  if you REALLY believed in the long-term potential of your business, you would figure out any way possible to make that investment.   Even the BEST investors rarely return $5 for $1.   So, your delay in getting help is just your belief that your business is not really a long-term solution.  In fact, waiting to invest is telling your subconscious that you want to “see if this business works out.”

Interestingly enough, if you do #4, I’ll show you exactly HOW to avoid 1-3.

I always welcome comments.  🙂

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