Tag Archives: Houston Business Coach

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

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The REAL Reason Your Business is Mediocre (at best)

I know what you tell everyone.

‘Everything is doing great”

‘We are growing steadily”

“Things will turn around soon, once the economy picks up”

How many of you have heard that if you just continue to “think positive” and “persist,”  your business will eventually hit it big?  I am going to tell you that, truthfully, this is probably keeping your business down.

OK, before you start grumbling, let me back up a minute.

You have heard the story of the guy on his roof when it was flooding, haven’t you?  A Fire Truck comes along, and he says, “No, God will save me.”  A boat passes by and offers help, and the guy says, “No, God will save me.”  A helicopter flies over and drops a ladder, but the guy says, “No, God will save me.”  Eventually, the water rises and the guy drowns.  When he gets to heaven, he says, “God, why didn’t you save me?”  God looks at him, and replies, “What?  I sent you a Fire Truck, a boat, and a helicopter!  What else did you want?”

But, isn’t that like most business owners (perhaps you)?

– A Telemarketer calls you to offer help with your “Lead Generation,” and you hang up, complaining about them bothering you

– Someone suggests some great books or CD’s  on leadership, or marketing, or sales tactics; but you never read them

– You read the books or listen to the CD’s, but never implement what they recommend

– You meet a business consultant or coach, and you think to yourself (or say to them directly), “I’m not interested.”

So, your dreams always seem “just over the horizon”; but you never seem to get there.   Has your belief in “positive thinking” and “persistence” closed your mind to the Fire Truck, Boat, and Helicopters others offer to you?

Sure, it is easy to blame “the economy.”  But that’s just an excuse, isn’t it?   There are a lot of Super-Successful people, even in a bad economy.  People who are open to getting help with their lead generation; learning from books; getting a consultant or a coach to help them with strategies, tactics, and accountability.

No doubt you should evaluate people who offer to help you.  But, open your mind to the possibility that you may not have all the answers, no matter how positive you think or how long you persist.  Try this: stop hanging up on Telemarketers or Salespeople before you really know what they are offering; make it a habit to read at least 1 new book every 2 weeks; and listen to self-improvement CD’s in your car.

When you have everything you always dreamed off; the concern you had about not having all of the answers yourself will seem very far away.

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Are you a Big Thinker, who has had success and now would like to dominate your market?

Do you have a Good Team, but want to learn how to make them a GREAT Team?

Have you ever felt like there was just ONE THING that would help to catapult your business to stratospheric levels?

Is taking more vacations and having more personal time a LONG-TERM GOAL that you would like to be a SHORT-TERM ACHIEVEMENT?

Are you willing to stand there while people ask you how you “made it so quickly”?

Schedule a short call via my online system to see if you are ready to learn new strategies and tactics to blow the doors off your past results!  Click Here

Care and Grow Rich!

How many of you who are reading this ask yourself over and over why, since you do SO MUCH for others, your business still struggles?  After all, isn’t there some sort of “Secret,” or “Karma” that says that the more you “give,” the more you will receive?

Are you frustrated because you feel like you have a great product, but cannot seem to get enough buyers?

This is where I get a little tough and say that, if you truly “cared,” you would make far more money than you could imagine.

If you truly “Cared”:

– You would spend an hour EVERY DAY thinking of creative ways to reach new prospects;

– You would do the research to ensure that your product or service really does have value to others (and perhaps even strengthen your commitment when you do this);

– You would spend 30 minutes EVERY DAY thinking about ways to provide more value to your current and future customers;

– You would hire a Coach who could point out your “blind spots” and help you with tools and accountability that will maximize your strengths and minimize your weaknesses;

– You would make those extra calls and visits, moving past the “no’s”;

– You would implement a SYSTEM that ensures you do not lose prospects because of your ad-hoc follow-up activity;

You would be RELENTLESS in trying to find a way to get YOUR product or service into the hands of people who would benefit, because you TRULY CARE.

The fact is, when you do care about others, you want them to get the best.  Assuming you do believe that you have a product or service that serves others; then the only thing holding you back from massive success is how much you care.

PS.  Stop playing the tape in your head that says that “real caring” means you cannot make money from helping others.   If you cannot sustain your business, you won’t be able to help anyone.  And the bigger you grow your business, the more people you can help.

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Are you a Big Thinker, who has had success and now would like to dominate your market?

Do you have a Good Team, but want to learn how to make them a GREAT Team?

Have you ever felt like there was just ONE THING that would help to catapult your business to stratospheric levels?

Is taking more vacations and having more personal time a LONG-TERM GOAL that you would like to be a SHORT-TERM ACHIEVEMENT?

Are you willing to stand there while people ask you how you “made it so quickly”?

Contact Roger at 281-937-7196 or email Roger’s assistant, Kelly,  – Kelly@CoachRogerBoneno.com –  to schedule a brief call to see if one of our Programs is a fit for helping you get Rich and Stress-Free.

The ONE thing you need to do to make One Million Dollars in 2012

Make $4,000/day.

What?  Were you expecting some magic bullet?  Sorry, but there really is no secret beyond the fact that, if you work about 250 days per year (take off weekends and a few holidays), you must make $4,000 EVERY DAY to get to a million dollars.

Based on working with dozens and dozens of business owners; I can tell you that the obstacle behind you earning $1,000,000 is usually not anything but your choices.  It is often one or more subtle things (that you CAN correct) which are holding you back from that $4,000 daily amount:

1.  You do not believe you could deliver – Picture this:  people start lining up January 2 with open checkbooks and AMEX Platinum Cards, and ask you to deliver your product as soon as possible, in a large enough quantity to earn you $1,000,000.  If that thought makes you nervous; then it is time you at least WRITE DOWN your execution plan, detailing how you WOULD deliver if that happened.

2.  You really do not believe you are worth it – Sounds odd, doesn’t it?  But how many of you have old recordings in your heads (or still have the “live broadcast”) of well-meaning friends and loved ones casting doubt on your ability to succeed “in this tough economy” (for example).

3.  You accept the general mediocrity of those around you who might be doing something similar to you – To clarify, how many of you look at the results of the “average” owner in your industry, and set that as your “Success Result”?  Think hard.  Yes, you may SAY you want to make big $; but have you allowed your subconscious to keep telling you that somewhat exceeding the average is “OK.”

4.  You are not REALLY committed to your success.  This reality manifests itself in several insidious ways:

–  It shows up when you will not make the calls and work necessary to get FACE TO FACE with prospects; instead, you spend hours “building relationships” on Facebook and Twitter.  I have a Tough Question for you:  of the last 10 times you have logged onto Social Media when you should have been working; how many times have you REALLY been working a Strategy designed to bring you income.

Really, I have no issue with you using Social Media for social reasons when you are not supposed to be trying to build income; but, how many times have you used it as a diversion from something that, while unpleasant, is more value-added.

– Lack of commitment comes when you refuse to ask others for help.  If you are committed, you will FIND a way to get the help you need.    Many clients of mine (and clients of many coach friends I have) make the investment even when they cannot see clearly HOW they could afford the first payment.  A client of mine whose revenue I helped DOUBLE to well over $1 Million (in 1 year)  had no idea of their cash flow when we started working together; but made the investment anyway.  Now, they will gladly tell you it was worth it.

– You get “Loser’s Limp.”  Have you ever watched a game in sports where someone drops a ball, or misses a tackle; and then, mysteriously, they limp to the bench?   That’s called “Loser’s Limp.”  What are business symptoms of this?  You begin complaining about the economy, your incompetent employees, your unfairly priced (or trash-talking) competitors, how “tired” you are, how you “really don’t WANT to make a lot of money,”  etc..etc…  By the way, this is where I am worth my weight in GOLD for my clients, because I know how to appropriately “call your bluff” for your own good.

In the end, the world WILL pay you what you are worth.  And, the only way to make $1,000,000 is to deliver enough products to enough people at a high enough price so that you earn $4,000 EVERY DAY.     If that is not happening, then Take Action to change that right now so that  2012 is amazing for you!

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Are you a Big Thinker, who has had success and now would like to dominate your market?

Do you have a Good Team, but want to learn how to make them a GREAT Team?

Have you ever felt like there was just ONE THING that would help to catapult your business to stratospheric levels?

Is taking more vacations and having more personal time a LONG-TERM GOAL that you would like to be a SHORT-TERM ACHIEVEMENT?

Are you willing to stand there while people ask you how you “made it so quickly”?

Contact Roger at 281-937-7196 or email Roger’s assistant, Kelly,  – Kelly@CoachRogerBoneno.com –  to schedule a brief call to see if one of our Programs is a fit for helping you get Rich and Stress-Free.

As a Business Leader, Do You Feel Like a Gerbil?

When I was a kid, we begged our parents for a pet.  So, one day, we went out to the pet store and came home with a couple of Gerbils, a big glass case, the little spinning wheel, and one of those plastic balls.

We enjoyed watching the Gerbils in their case.  But our favorite thing was to put one into that plastic ball and watch it run, hit a wall and turn, run some more, hit another wall and turn again, run some more, etc. etc.  The Gerbil never got hurt….but it never got anywhere either.

How many of you does that sound like?  You are running as fast as you can; but keep hitting walls.  When you hit one, you change your tactics or strategy; then, you start running again..until you hit another wall. And so on, and so on.

The worst part?  You do not want to ask for help; because then you might feel like a fraud.  You’ve been in business for a few years, or a lot of years; and, admitting you are “stuck” might make others look down on you, right?

But ask yourself this:  is it worth it to keep feeling that frustration and pain? 

If your business and life where delivering you everything you had hoped, how amazing would THAT feel?

What if, instead of putting the Gerbil in an enclosed ball, I had put the Gerbil on a track with sides (to keep it from jumping out)?  What if I had put food within “smelling distance” along certain points of the track; and then prodded the Gerbil gently along its way?

It would have gotten along much further, with a lot less frustration, wouldn’t it?

I will be direct with you; there are A LOT of people who say they can help you.  And some of us are right for you; and some us may not be.  That’s why I recommend that you interview at least 3 different coaches; then choose the one (or two, or three) you feel will help you in your particular situation.

At the very least, give yourself permission to get out of that plastic ball; and start getting the education and accountability that will get you moving rapidly towards your goals!

How To Get Your Business from “ALMOST THERE” to “Goals Achieved”

Do you ever sit down and say to yourself, “I wish I had more clients NOW!”?  So, you think about what you can do to improve your business,  and your head fills with all of the advice people have given you about what to do in your business.

  • Read More business building books, 30 minutes every morning
  • Create a more focused Strategy
  • Develop Your Website
  • Hire an assistant and a salesperson
  • Design and produce better marketing materials, targeted towards your IDEAL customer
  • Implement a Customer Relationship Management system;
  • Engage a Business Coach

But your challenge is:  you need clients NOW!  And, those things will all take time.  And money.

So, you promise yourself that you will do all this…just as soon as you get more customers and business gets better.   So, another month passes, and you are still “almost there.”  And this goes on, month after month.

The fact is: the sooner you get started; the sooner all of those will start working for you.

So, here’s your task:  pick 2 of these and write down WHEN (as in: 8:00am on Monday) you will start working on them; and another time (as in: Thursday, November 15th, you will complete a major milestone around your tasks).  Then, share it with as many people as possible.  The more people you share it with, the more likely you are to do it.

When you make the commitment, and take action on these tasks; next month will come and you will be on a growth track that will most likely be more than you had even imagined!

Comment on this and tell all of us:  which two are you doing this week and WHEN?

When Saving Money is Bad Business

When is the worst time to try to save money?  When your customer has a problem.

Two stories illustrate the challenge with this:

– Yesterday, the transmission on my XC90 went out, just 30,000 miles after it had been replaced.  Unfortunately, after it had been replaced last time, and I was having issues, my (former) mechanic told me that it was probably just “settling in.”   I then asked if there was a warranty (in case it WAS a real problem) and they said it was 18,000 miles.   Given that I had just spent $4,000;  perhaps they would have been smarter to tell me to bring it in so they could fix it, and then they could have offered me a longer warranty.    Because, once I felt like they were not really standing behind their work; they lost me as a customer for EVERYTHING.

– My parents were paying for a monthly “pass” at a car wash service.  One day, they brought their car in for a wash and the system ruined their customized license plate (had their names on it) AND broke a side mirror.  Rather than give them $125 to pay for repairing the mirror; the Car Wash said it was not their responsibility.  So, to save $125 one time, the Car Wash lost a customer for life; which will cost them hundreds over a lifetime.  And guess how many people now know about their problems with that Car Wash?

What is tragic is that: everyone knows how valuable customers are.  We have all heard how much more expensive it is to acquire a new customer than keep a current one.  Every business owner prides themselves on providing great “Customer Service.”

So, WHY do businesses continue to have issues dealing with customers?  Because most businesses do not have a specific process to deal with issues.

The fact is: you cannot just SAY you believe in customer service.  What you must do is EXECUTE when the situation comes up. When your customer calls you with a problem; that is your chance to shine!

Here is your four step “THRILL Your Customer” Process:

1.  Apologize.  After all, you ARE sorry your customer had a problem, right?  Even if it is not your fault; your customer often will relax if you just say you are sorry.

2.  Offer to make it right.   Yes, it may cost you a little to have a longer warranty; or repair that mirror.  But, how little that is compared to the lifetime value of a customer?

3.   Give your customer something free.  Wouldn’t THAT set you apart?  What if, instead of refusing to fix that mirror, the Car Wash had paid to replace it AND given my parents a free month?  How many people would they have then told about their positive experience?

4.  Step back and examine how could avoid the issue in the future.   In steps 1-3, you addressed the symptom; in this step you address the cause.  Skip this step, and it WILL cost you more money in the long run to deal with customer issues (as you deal with the same problem again and again).

In the end, when your customer has a problem; use it as an opportunity to create a “Raving Fan” AND improve your quality.  Making your customers happy is almost always a path to profitability.

If You Love Your Business, Let It Go

How many of you are working INCREDIBLY hard, keeping all the pieces of your business together?  Sure, you have a team; but you find it essential that the important decisions are made by you.  After all, your business is your baby!  No one else cares as much about your business as you do. And, if you do not steer the ship, the economy will catch up to you.  Right?

The challenge is…you are not running your business.  Your business is running YOU!  And  it seems like there is no end in sight to this chaos.

So how do you stop this?  You need to “let your business go.”

No, not sell it.  But enlist and/or hire a team to take over  the day-to-day aspects of running the business so that YOU can focus on the Vision and Strategy.

Will your team make mistakes?  Certainly.  But, you can minimize them by using a structured Apprenticeship Program along with a well-developed Operations and Training Manual (including job descriptions and workflow documentation).

Will it take time to write manuals and train the team?  Absolutely.  However, the time that you spend documenting what needs to be done,  and training someone, will be MORE than made up for once you hand off that  task.  Even if the job, for example, takes you 2 hours per week; you could spend 20 hours writing a manual and training someone, and you would be “time positive” in less than 90 days.

And what could you do in your business if you had an extra 104 hours, or 2 ½ weeks every year to work ON your business instead of IN your business?  How happy will your family be (or will YOU be?) if you can get home at a reasonable time in the evening?

So, if you really do love your business, let it go!

Why your Success is Holding You Back

A few months ago, I read a terrific book by Rebel Brown, called Defy Gravity.  In the book, Rebel very eloquently lays out the case that sometimes the way that you achieved success in the past is exactly what is holding you back from future success.    (I recommend that you read the book, as it is full of great insights).

This week, a business owner told me that “the Economy” has really hurt his retail store.  I asked him what he was doing differently now that could help change the tide; that perhaps we could sit down and see what opportunities existed.   After all, I saw that you cannot order products directly from his website (it says “Contact us”).

His response, “I have 30 years of Retail Experience.  You could not teach me anything I do not already know.  The Economy is just bad.”

Uh-oh.  That is a sure sign of the “Gravity” that afflicts so many business owners.  In his mind, he knew what needed to be done; but it was some unchangeable external things which were the problem.  If only those would change….

As a Business Coach, the biggest obstacle I find in clients and prospects is NOT that they do not WANT success.   It is that they do not want to CHANGE THEMSELVES.

And I get it…many of you have built your business to maybe $100k or $500k or $1 Million dollars in revenue; often by pure force of your knowledge, your will and tremendous effort.   However, the business climate is changing; so you must be willing to change your approach to your business.    Try new approaches, even those completely against what you may have done in the past.  Get help from DIFFERENT people, even if they go against everything you think you know.

The best analogy I can give is that many business owners have been standing in sunshine for years.  But, now that it is raining, too many are just assuming that they MUST get wet.   Maybe it is time to get out the Umbrella!

4 ways to Pick Your Prospects to Power Your Profitability

You probably do not need to be told this: some customers are more profitable than others.  If you can learn to pick the RIGHT prospects to be your customers, you will truly accelerate your profitability.

While this is more challenging to do than to say, there are some things you can do in your marketing to bring yourself more profitable customers.

1.  Target those prospects with a bigger reason, or “Why,” they want your product.  This is not a question of how they will use your product.  It is really about the emotions associated with what you sell.    A good example is a landscaper who markets not to people who just want a nice-looking flowerbed; but to the people who want top win “Yard of the Month.”  So, instead of dropping flyers off at the houses with ugly  lawns; they introduce themselves to the people with the BEST lawns in the neighborhood.

2.  Make your Advertising about your most profitable Customer.   I am sitting here looking at numerous ads that are basically a list of items or services.   When you do this, you are BEGGING people to shop you around.  And those people who are looking to “shop” you are very price sensitive.    A construction company that says they do Patios gets less profitability from their customers than the contractor who offers Backyard Entertainment Areas.

3.  Position yourself as an INVESTMENT instead of a purchase.    Interestingly enough, many businesses strip away features and benefits from their offerings to be able to offer (what THEY think is) the lowest price.  Unfortunately, this moves you closer to becoming a purchase instead of an investment; and, when that happens, you end up targeting prospects who are MORE price sensitive.   Wal-Mart can sell bicycles to children who want to ride them around the neighborhood; you should sell bicycles to people who are looking to ride in triathlons.

4.  Focus your marketing on customers for whom your product is a LOW % of their cash flow.  The smaller the percentage; the easier it is for you to get them to “try it out” if they have never used your product/service before.   The key word in this rule:  FOCUS.    This rule is almost never broken intentionally; but because you think that promoting yourself to “as many people as possible” is the way to go.    Whether you have $1,000 or $100,000 to spend on Marketing;  focus your resources on those who can more easily afford more of your product or services.    As an added benefit, once these prospects become your customers: you can increase your profitability by offering them more opportunities to invest in and benefit from your products and services.

In your business, the more you work you do around making sure you are marketing to the RIGHT prospects; the more likely they will come to YOU, and the less work you will do trying to convince them to buy.