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The 3 Pillars of Business Growth

No matter how well your business did last year (and we hope it was a brilliant year for you), there are 3 fundamental things you need for continued business growth and mastery.

The new year is the perfect time to reassess where you are now, and where you want to be when Christmas rolls around again – and trust us, this will seem sooner rather than later!

Over the last 15 years we’ve helped business owners and teams achieve everything they want. We focus on the 3 things that are essential for continual business growth and mastery. We call these the three pillars of business success. Here’s more about them, and how to get them to support you and your business in 2018…

business growth, business success, business advice, business mastery,

1  Mindset

If there’s one thing we’re sure of, it’s that successful people have positive mindsets. They look for solutions rather than problems, and focus on the end goal rather than obstacles. Knowing that challenges will continually appear, they face them directly and quickly to ensure they get back on track with minimal detour.

As Brian Tracy says in his talk The Secrets of Self-Made Millionaires (get it here on audible.com), problems in business are like waves on the ocean that come in sets, with one towering above the others: “Problem, problem, problem, problem, CRISIS!” Successful people understand that as they learn to deal with challenges they grow as business leaders.

Successful business leaders learn the skill of goal-setting. They challenge themselves constantly by pushing outside their comfort zones. Familiar with perturbation – that uncomfortable feeling of tension when you’re moving past your previous limits – they have learned to think big and dream bigger.

They acknowledge that they can’t do it all on their own. Their support team includes a proactive accountant, responsive business banker, trusted legal advisor, and qualified and experienced business coach to help them reach their goals.

 

Business growth, business goals, business success

2  Knowledge and Education

Successful business leaders know what they don’t know. They commit to continually improving their knowledge, and rely on experts to assist them to achieve business growth. Instead of stretching themselves too thin by trying to be the best at everything, they work with their skills and talents. They focus on their core strengths, while learning what it takes to achieve business growth and mastery.

Clear on the difference between being the technician and the business owner (as defined in Micheal Gerber’s classic business book The E-Myth Revisited), they are free enough from daily business operations to work on business growth. Rather than learning from their own mistakes, they use a business advisor or mentor to fast-track their success. They learn and grow from the mistakes and success of others.

3  Accountability

Taking responsibility and being accountable for your own business success is critical for business growth. When you accept that your past, current situation and future are all a result of your own actions, your can truly make improvements. Yes, the unexpected will happen. Challenges will occur (refer to point number one above). But with resilience, grit, and taking charge of your own destiny, you will hold the keys to everything you want.

Masters of business growth rely on a business coach to keep them accountable to their goals. Just like a sports coach, a business coach will push you to work harder than you would on your own, and ensure you’re operating in top form to reach your desired results.

 

Business Growth, Business goals, business success, business mastery

The Next Steps For Your Business Growth

Have you achieved a certain level of business success but are ready for more?

Are you not only interested, but committed to business growth and mastery?

Are you are ready to take the action needed to get the results you want from your business?

Yellow Coaching will help.

Discover if you’re eligible for a free 90 minute consultation to discuss the future of your business.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Do you still want a dream team of employees in your business?

Do you want a team of high-performing employees in your business? 

Have you got some star players, but a few stragglers bringing the team down? 

Do you want to stop “oiling the squeaky wheel” so you can spend time developing your key staff?

When you started out in business you dreamed of having a team of passionate people working with you to build the best business in your field. If you’re like most business leaders, sadly after a few years you’ve found the reality falls short of what you’d hoped for.

Some business owners resign themselves to the notion that having a great team just isn’t possible.

Better employees, better business

But we believe having a great team isn’t only possible, but a certainty when you implement the right systems and manage your team in an effective way.

The team you’ve got today is a result of the standards you’ve set until now. Are you ready to stop settling for second-rate performance from your staff?

To get a different outcome you’ll need to do different things. Are you ready to do what it takes to get your team to either step up or step out?

Follow our tips below to get them moving in the right direction …

Leadership, employees

How to create a high-performing team …

The first step is to ensure each team member knows what great performance looks like. You can ensure this by providing them with the following:

1. Team Culture Statement

Every team has a culture, whether it’s defined or not. Unfortunately sometimes it’s a toxic one! The behaviour you’ve settled for means that the original standards of performance you set may have slipped. As new employees join your business, they follow the ‘norm’ of how everyone else is behaving rather than performing at the level you’d like.

It’s important that you create a culture statement in your business that outlines expected behaviour. We call this the Rules of the Game.

Our culture statement includes our non-negotiable values, including excellence and fun. Each team meeting we assess how we’ve lived up to those standards, and how we’ve observed it in each other.

A culture statement isn’t merely a laminated piece of paper on your office wall, or a statement on your website! It must be the ingrained way of ‘how we do things around here’.

2. Position Descriptions

As your business has grown, you may not have taken the time to record what each person’s position involves. Even if someone has been doing a role for years, it’s essential that their duties and main areas of responsibility are visible to them and their team-mates. This avoids the notion that ‘someone should ….’ and lets everyone know who is responsible for what.

As well as a position description, an updated organisation chart should be provided to each employee so they can clearly see where their role fits within the business, and their reporting lines.

3. Key Performance Indicators

In addition to knowing the rules of the game, key responsibilities and where they fit in the organisation, it’s essential that employees know how and when how they will be assessed on their performance.

A document outlining key performance indicators for their role should be provided to each employee and reviewed at regular intervals.

KPIs should include not only the technical aspects of their role, but also categories such as customer service, admin and systems, WHS, and team membership.

Most business owners hire for skills but fire for behaviour. Have you ever employed a brilliant technician who despite their great technical skills was terrible at customer service, who your other team members didn’t like, or who rarely completed time sheets or followed systems?

Ensuring each team member knows the expectation of them in each of these categories means that you can manage them up or out based on any area of their performance.

Download our e-book “How To Get A Great Team Culture: Bringing Out The Best In Your Team” 

Leadership, teamwork, employees

 

Keeping standards high
How to ensure they stay on track

When you set guidelines for your team by providing a team culture statement, position descriptions and KPIs, you’ll find that your team members either rise to the challenge or deselect themselves.

It’s not unusual for a few changes to occur in your team when standards are raised and enforced.

This is a positive step forward, as now you can recruit new people who will perform from the outset according to your high standards and expectations.

To ensure continued excellence, you can then:

  • Maintain standards using regular communication
  • Give feedback to adjust or encourage performance
  • Coach your team members to improve their performance, and
  • Delegate effectively to grow your employees’ abilities.

Find out how by downloading our e-book: The 4 Essential Habits of Effective Managers.

 

Is It Time To Get The Employees You Deserve?
Yellow Coaching will help
Yellow Coaching assists established businesses and organisations of every size to improve their team culture, business efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability.

We do this through business coaching, executive mentoring, team training, and workshops for owners and staff at all levels within organisations.

We’ve helped hundreds of businesses improve their profitability, provide outstanding customer service, and get happier and more productive employees.

Want to take your business from good to great? Get in touch to see if you’re eligible for a free 90 minute consultation. We look forward to hearing from you.

Andrew Masi & Julianne Schwenke

Why You Don’t Want Satisfied Customers

7 Reasons to Improve Your Customer Service in 2017

Matthew had an anniversary surprise for his wife – a limousine trip to the city, dinner at a fancy restaurant, and a night in a suite at a 5-star hotel. He had planned it for weeks, and was excited to spoil her with a special weekend away.

A week later we ran into them and asked her how it was. “It was satisfactory” she said. When she saw us exchange puzzled glances, she explained, “I was satisfied with the food, the room and the service.”

customer service

Now exactly the response Matt was hoping for!

And the restaurant and hotel probably wouldn’t be too happy with her feedback either.

Now of course this is a metaphor, and hopefully any thoughtful person would at least act more excited about such a kind gesture from their spouse.

But let’s relate this to business for a moment. You started your business to romance your customers and provide them with something special, right? A quality product, outstanding service, and enough ‘wow’ factor to keep them coming back and telling all their friends.

Most business owners start out excited to provide something exemplary, and to delight their customers.

But somewhere along the way they get jaded. Customer complaints trickle in despite their best efforts, and it seems some customers are just never happy. Their energy and effort slips, and so does the level of customer service. And when team members see the business owner feeling defeated, they also drop their standards.

Sound familiar?

Even if you haven’t given up completely, you may be thinking that if your customers are satisfied that’s all you can hope for. But wouldn’t you rather have delighted customers?

We believe that if you want a successful business, it’s not only desirable, but essential that you focus on customer service.

Here are 7 reasons to focus on improving the customer service your business provides in 2017…

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1. People have a lot of choice

Unless you have a truly unique product or service, or are the only provider in your region, people will have other options. If you don’t give them the level of customer service they want, someone else will. You might remember the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld and think that if your product is good enough, people will come regardless! Rarely is a product that incredible (and if you have one, you’ll know about it).

2. Word gets around

We’ve heard that a dissatisfied customer will tell between 9 and 15 people about their experience. That’s in person. Now with online communication they could reach 2000 or even 200,000 easily. If you don’t believe us, read about American restaurant chain Applebees’ social media crisis.

This example also shows how important your online response to customer service complaints is – you want to calm the storm, not fuel the fire!

customer service

3. When you do it right, it’s free advertising

Happy customers don’t spread the word as far and wide as unhappy ones, but word still gets around. It’s human nature to ask people for recommendations, as we don’t want to make a mistake when choosing from several options. How often have you asked a friend what butcher they go to, their favourite restaurant, or how a movie was? Social proof is the psychological concept of trusting what others say and wanting to go with majority opinion (and people believe what others say about your business far more than what your advertising says!).

4. Happy customers are less sensitive to price increases

One mistake businesses can make is increasing prices without first considering if their customers are happy. As their customers leave in droves, they hear “you give us an ordinary product and bad service, and now you want to charge us more for it?” When customers love what you offer they will be more likely to stick with you when inevitable price rises occur.

5. You outplay your competition

While we don’t advocate a business strategy based solely on crushing your competitors, we do encourage you to be the absolute best you can be. When you continually improve your levels of customer service, your customers will be less likely to shop elsewhere.

6. It meets two fundamental human needs

Anthony Robbins talks about the six needs that drive human behaviour. Two of these are the need for significance and contribution. By giving great customer service, you contribute to the happiness of your customer and the success of the business. You are also likely to feel significant when your customer, employer or P&L is grateful for your efforts! We believe the majority of customer complaints occur when the customer does not feel valued or heard. Great customer service makes people feel important to you, meeting their need for significance.

7. Because it’s what we’re designed to do …

This quote from Winston Churchill sums it up:

customer service

And Albert Einstein said, “The high destiny of the individual is to serve rather than to rule.” Who are we to argue with a genuis?

– Andrew Masi & Julianne Schwenke

Two Business Secrets You Need To Know

(one your competitors won’t tell you, and one everyone should be told!)

Do you sometimes feel that your competitors have a secret that’s allowing their business to do better than yours?

Do you look at other businesses and think they are smooth sailing, while yours is weathering rough seas?

If you’re like most business owners, at some stage you’ll be comparing yourself to your competitors and wondering what their secret is to getting ahead.

There are many secrets in today’s competitive world, and keeping your important information confidential is essential.

Details about your finances, marketing, and team concerns should be shared only with trusted professionals – such as your business coach, accountant and banker.

While privacy is important, this secrecy among business owners can lead to misconceptions. No-one wants their competition to know they have challenges, so you’ll usually hear business owners say “we’re flat out!” and keep up the facade that business is always great.

Without knowing what other businesses go through, you may think you are the only one struggling with team issues, tight cashflow, customer complaints, or a lack of leads.

You may fall for the psychological trap of ‘comparing and despairing’. Just like on social media, where it’s easy to contrast your own behind-the-scenes with others’ highlight reels, you can start to believe that everyone else’s business is doing better than yours.

As business coaches, we are in the privileged position of seeing the truth behind the outward image. We don’t work with broken businesses, but rather those that want to go from good to great. No matter how successful a business is, one thing is constant – challenges, frustrations, and worries are a part of every business.

As Brian Tracy says, problems are like waves on the ocean which just keep coming (with the inevitable dumpers mixed in) … problem, problem, problem, problem, CRISIS!

subway

So are you ready for the two secrets?

The secret other business owners don’t want you to know:

They all face challenges.

The secret everyone in business should be told:

Challenges are inevitable. To get ahead you need to tackle them early while they are still small, by growing your own ability to overcome them.

It’s not the business without challenges that comes out in front, but the business which overcomes its challenges the fastest.

So if business challenges are inevitable, how do you ensure that you deal with them effectively?

When faced with challenges in life and in business, you have three options.

  1. Turn around and run as fast as you can in the other direction

It may sound comical, but this is a common response to challenges. Some think that if they flee in the other direction, they can outrun any problem. Ever known someone to change their situation but end up facing similar problems down the track? Even when you run, some problems follow you wherever you go. As you haven’t learned to deal with them, you’ll be in the same position next time they appear.

  1. Stand still, ignore them, and hope they go away

Just like running away, this choice does nothing to defeat your challenges or grow your own ability to deal with them. In fact, ignoring your problems and hoping they go away often makes them grow larger. It’s almost as though they increase in size to demand your attention!

  1. Face them and tackle them head on

This is always the choice made by the most successful business leaders we know. When you choose to confront your challenges, you are forced to grow to overcome them. When you do this, instead of your problems growing, YOU grow. Next time you face a similar situation you’ll overcome it easily, and be ready to jump the next hurdle that appears.

Let’s see how choosing to ignore or face your challenges can result in very different outcomes.

Hoping it goes away …

A business owner meets with us to discuss his challenges. He started his business nearly three years ago, and it has now grown to a team of 7. His staff turnover has been high, and customer satisfaction is low.

He tells us that his staff members are the problem. After initial training, they stop following procedures and start doing things their own way. Their inconsistent service results in customer complaints, and loss of profits due to inefficiencies and wastage. One or two employees started out okay – but they’ve lost their motivation and just don’t try anymore. His newest team member in particular, Tom, is dragging the rest of the team down.

He tells us that he doesn’t know how to deal with this problem, that he just wants them to shape up, and that he’s angry and frustrated. He is reacting rather than responding to situations, and is losing his cool often at home and at work.

His comments include:

  • My staff never do what I ask them to do
  • I have to tell them again and again how to do things and they still don’t get it right
  • I always have stay back at work to fix their mistakes
  • The team doesn’t like Tom, and I don’t want Tom to stay, but it’s easier than having to replace him. I don’t have time to train anyone else – it’s coming up to our busiest season
  • I earned more money and had fewer headaches when I was working on my own.

He complains that he can’t believe the bad luck he’s had with employees. “You just can’t get good staff these days”, he says.

We explain a few things to help him. As he’s not giving the team direction and guidelines for performance, they are setting their own bar. When poor performance is ignored, it’s condoned. He needs to give Tom feedback and an opportunity to improve, or standards throughout the team will slide. We suggest that he learns some new communication and management skills and ways of dealing with business challenges.

Unfortunately he decides that he is too busy to make changes right now. Besides, he tells us, it’s the staff that’s the problem, not him!

Three months later we heard from him that Tom’s performance had deteriorated even further, and other team members got more and more frustrated at having to pick up Tom’s slack. They started leaving one by one. As the business became under-staffed, standards slipped further, and the business lost more customers and profits. The owner had since recruited a new team member, but he wasn’t happy with that person’s performance either.

By ignoring the problems, the problems had grown, but the business owner’s ability to deal with challenges hadn’t. As he was finding out, ignoring problems and hoping they go away doesn’t work.

Tackling it head-on …

In our second scenario, let’s imagine the same business owner comes to see us to discuss his challenges. Just like before, he tells us that he doesn’t know how to manage his staff. They are not following procedures, are losing motivation, and it’s impacting business results. In particular his newest employee Tom needs a lot of direction.

His outlook this time is one of finding a solution, rather than focusing on the problem. He tells us he doesn’t want his frustration to impact his enjoyment of work, the service he can provide his customers, his business profits, or his home life.

His comments include:

  • I need to learn how to communicate more effectively with my team so they do what I ask
  • I want to learn how to hold my employees accountable
  • I want advice on how to improve their skills and behaviour
  • I want a strong team throughout our busiest season
  • I want to grow my business and team, so the team can work without me there every day.

The business owner has clear goals for his business, and doesn’t have time for distractions. He knows he needs to deal with this problem before it grows.

He decides to learn some new management skills, knowing that to get a different result he needs to change his own actions. As he puts into practice what he’s learned, team morale improves. The team creates a company culture or ‘rules of the game’. The standards rise, and he finds the team members holding each other accountable to perform to their best.

He gives Tom feedback, support, and extra training, but unfortunately Tom’s performance doesn’t change. After receiving a written warning, Tom chooses to resign. The other employees are relieved that they no longer have to take up Tom’s slack.

This business owner has a new problem – he now has to replace Tom as they enter their busiest season. But now he has skills and experience in dealing with underperforming employees, and can focus on a solution and move forward. The team help recruit a new employee in line with their new company culture.

Instead of the problem growing, the owner’s skills, ability, and confidence to deal with team issues has grown.

Three months later this business has employed another two team members, and is looking forward to a year of record growth.

As this business owner found out, business is a journey of constant and never-ending improvement, and problems are often the push we need to grow.

Challenges are inevitable in business and in life. To be successful, we need to focus on what we can control, which is the way we deal with them. Having a solutions-focused approach and choosing to grow – rather than allowing our problems to grow –  is the secret.

3 Things You Need To Know About Business Success

Think of the successful business people you know. What makes them successful? Is it their wealth, management ability, respect they get from others, perseverance, determination, or character? People you perceive as successful have something you admire. Perhaps you see similar characteristics in yourself, aspire to have what they have, or want to be like them in some way.

Whatever it is you aspire to, if you want to be successful, there are 3 things you need to know about business success:

  1. Success means something different to everyone
  2. You need to know your values in order to achieve success
  3. Success is a result of the actions you take and choices you make each and every day.

pablo-22

What is success?

Each person has their own unique set of values and their own definition of success. For some people success means a happy and healthy family; for others it means financial independence; for some it’s quality relationships; and for others it’s about accomplishments.

Achieving what you want in areas you value essentially equates to what success means to you. 

Philosopher Dr John Demartini says to help work out your values, think about what you’d like written on your tombstone – known as your epitaph – a short statement summarising your life. It could be:

  • Loved life
  • Bloomed where he was planted
  • Never gave up
  • Made the best of everything
  • Dedicated her life to others

Interestingly, what you’d like written on your tombstone may not have anything to do with the ideas you have of what success means, such as wealth or health. But having the things you believe define your success, like money and health, allow you to live a life that’s meaningful to you and that’s in line with your values. Financial independence, for example, allows you to give to others when contribution is high on your values list. Health allows you to appreciate the beauty in everything when gratitude is one of your values.

How do you achieve success? 

You achieve success by living your life according to your own values.

Success is a by-product of the actions you take and the choices you make. When you know your values you can prioritise the many possible things that compete for your time. At each and every moment you can identify what is most important to you to do, and define and accept the cost of doing that (yes, there is a trade-off for every choice you make).

Want to train for a half marathon? You may need to go to bed early instead of staying up late watching tv, so you can be up at 5am to run before work.

Want to get a qualification? You may need to enrol in a course and reduce your work hours and income until it’s complete.

Want a more productive team? You might need to learn how to be a better manager. You could choose to read management books instead of novels, meet a mentor instead of a friend for coffee, and attend seminars instead of sporting events.

Those that say business success requires sacrifice usually follow it with a story of someone who achieved it at the expense of their family, friends, or health. Yes, we’ve seen this happen. And we agree that anything you want in life takes effort and involves some sacrifice. The simple fact that there are only 24 hours in each day means that you need to make choices about what’s important to you, and make time for it at the expense of other things you could do.

There’s never enough time to do everything, but when you know your values and stop doing things that aren’t important to you, you make time for things that are.

Does success mean having it all?

Many people believe that balance is the key to living a good life. The idea that you can have equal amounts of time for exercise, relaxation, family, business, spiritual pursuits, innovation, contribution, friends, and fun is wonderful – but not plausible!

At Yellow Coaching, we don’t believe in helping people find balance – but we do believe in helping them understand their values and be at peace with their choices. There is no right or wrong when it comes to values, just choices and consequences.

We ask our clients to list their hierarchy of values from options such as family, health, wealth, lifestyle, life partner, and contribution. We then ask them to assess if how they are currently spending their time is a reflection of those values.

An unfit business owner might list health as number 1, but has not exercised in the last 3 months. An executive may say her children are her main priority, but she doesn’t see them Monday to Friday as she’s at work early each day and home after they are in bed. There is no right or wrong, and no judgement from us! But we do ask them to decide what needs to change – their behaviour so it’s in line with their true values, or how they rank their values at this particular time of their life.

The unfit business owner might choose to prioritise exercise and commit to a program and a goal, or alternatively acknowledge that exercise is not that important to him right now, and he’s okay with the consequences of that.

The executive may choose to commit to a couple of nights a week being home earlier to put the kids to bed, or she could accept that work is her focus right now, and admit that she’s happy with the consequence of that decision.

Whatever they choose, if it’s line with their true values, it will lead them closer to their definition of success and a fulfilling life for them.

At Yellow Coaching, we work holistically with business owners and their teams, and executives and their team members, to find meaning in their work and achieve their goals, both personal and professional. Call us to find out how we can help you and your team.

Why you don’t want your customers to be satisfied…

A key goal in business is satisfying your customers, right?

Wrong. Satisfaction is a word that has become synonymous with customer service, but we don’t believe it’s good enough.

In legal terms satisfaction can mean repayment of a debt. It can also mean having your expectations met.

Sure, when you go to a store you want to be repaid in goods or services for the money you’ve handed over. This completes the transaction. You also have an expectation that when you pay your  money, the goods or services will be provided as you expected them to be. Again, the business has been settled.

But is that what customers are really after? A satisfactory transaction that meets their expectations? Yes and no. We say it’s the bare minimum of what your business should provide, not its ultimate goal.

Satisfactory service keeps your customers staying – for a while. At least until they get a better offer. Delighted customers keep coming back time and time again, and bring their friends. You want to provide the kind of service that gets people talking about your business, and turns your customers into a tribe of loyal followers that wouldn’t go anywhere else.

When teaching our own clients about how to provide exceptional customer service, we first ask them when they’ve experienced it. For some it might have been when a business has gone above and beyond to fix a problem, thereby turning a bad experience into an exceptional one.

customer service, business advice, business coaching

One of our clients had checked into a hotel room which wasn’t cleaned (there was even still dirty sheets on the bed). The hotel fixed this by providing an apology, a clean room, and a return stay for free in the best suite of the hotel. They fixed the unsatisfactory service with an exceptional experience.

Another client checked into a hotel and the room wasn’t ready when promised. They were given free drinks at the bar while they waited, and their drinks for the remainder of their stay were complimentary.

It’s natural for businesses to make mistakes now and then, but how they fix them can either break their relationship with the customer, or get them a customer for life.

Of course, the best customer service is given straight off the bat. As a customer, when have you received something unexpected, surprising or delightful?

I once attended a hair salon in the U.S. that had its own DJ spinning tunes, and wine by the glass. That was unexpected. A week after that visit, I received in the mail a hand-written card from my stylist, saying how much she’d enjoyed our discussion about a particular topic. That was delightful. Did I go back? You bet.

If you want to assess your current level of customer service, write a list of all the things you provide your customers under two headings:

Expected | Desired

Your customers need certain things from you. This is what they pay for and what they expect. There are also certain things you could provide that they desire. This is what delights them.

You may find that things you are currently doing (eg. appointment reminders, coffee on arrival, gift on their birthday) have actually become expected, and are no longer adding extra value to your customers. They would expect to get them from anyone who provides your product or service.

There are other things that you can do above and beyond that they would love. Have their favourite coffee ready for them at the start of their appointment, ask how their son’s soccer grand final went, buy them a book you know they’ll love for no reason, serve pastries from their favourite patisserie at your next meeting. It doesn’t always have to be a grand gesture to be delightful service that makes them feel appreciated.

Think about things you’ve done for your customers in the past that have delighted them. Do more of those. Ask your clients: What would delightful service look like to you? What would keep you coming back time and time again?

And if you mess up? Make up for it with exceptional customer service, something that will get them talking about how you made up for the mistake rather than the mistake you made.

As a business owner, it can be hard to see from the outside in to get your customer’s point of view. Your business coach can help. Call (02) 4933 6622 if you’d like to find out how.

Top Time Management Tips

Time is your most precious resource.

Time is one thing we all have that’s not replaceable. We can’t slow it down, stop it, get it back or create more. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever.

Each life lasts a different amount of time, and none of us know exactly how much time we will get. Some people race to the finish line leaving a trail of accomplishments, and some find themselves at the end of their life never having discovered their purpose. Some say it goes too slow, while others feel it races by faster each year. Some people waste it, and some savour it.

So how much time do we actually have?

In every week there are:

168 hours
10,080 minutes
604,800 seconds

On average we each have around 4,000 weeks to live.

How you use your time is the main determinant of your success (whatever success means to you).

So if we all have the same number of seconds, minutes, and hours in each day, why do we spend them differently?

Why do some people end up with accomplishments and wealth beyond measure, and others find themselves chasing every dollar?

Why do some write 60 books in their career, and others pass away with an unfinished manuscript?

There are certainly many things in life we can’t control. While we can do our best to maintain our health and safety, accidents and illness happen.

But when it comes to what we have influence and control over, we spend our time according to our values.

BusinessCoaching

If you value family above all else, a large part of your time may be devoted to family activities. You may choose to work fewer hours so you can spend more time with your children, or direct your finances into shared experiences rather than creating long-term wealth.

If you value health above all else, you may prioritise healthy home-cooked meals over dining out, and exercise over other activities.

If you value wealth, you may invest time in education, work, your business, and professional growth.

Simply put, we make time for what’s important to us. There is no right or wrong when it comes to values, just choices and consequences. There is nothing good or bad about prioritising wealth over family, or leisure over business. But each choice you make will get you a different result.

So what if you want a different result from what you’ve been getting? Perhaps your business isn’t performing as well as you want it to, or you are concerned you won’t have enough money in retirement. Perhaps your health is not allowing you to do the things you want.

With only so many hours in each day, you may need to forego one thing in order to spend time on another.

Want to increase your fitness? Do one hour of yoga at night instead of watching television. Want to increase your wealth? Attend investment seminars, and read books on wealth creation instead of novels. Want better family relationships? Dedicate one block of time each week to doing something fun together.

A large amount of time, effort and money is spent doing things we don’t want to do. Perhaps we think we ‘should’ do them, or that other people expect us to. Sometimes we might do things that we don’t truly value to impress others (and interestingly, sometimes we don’t even like the people we are trying to impress!)

It’s time we redefined what success means, in business and in life. Success is not about achievement in general, it’s about finding out what you truly care about and spending your most valuable resource – your time – on that.

When working with clients, one of the first and most important things we do is discover their values. Sometimes how they spend their time isn’t in alignment with what’s truly important to them. Sometimes what they think they value isn’t really that important to them after all. Either way, we make sure their time is spent on the right things – those things that will help them achieve what they really want out of life.

Business coaching is not just about tweaking a good business to make it great. It’s also about personal and professional development for the business owner and their team. We want your business to be the vehicle that helps you get all you want out of life.

Are you using your time in the most effective way for you?

Find out how working with Yellow Coaching can help you and your business.

How Should I Stay In Touch With My Customers?

As a business owner, you probably spend considerable time, effort and money getting new customers. If you want to grow your business, you are no doubt actively advertising, marketing and asking for referrals.

But are you investing enough time and energy in keeping your existing customers?

You’ve no doubt heard the saying that it’s six to seven times as costly to obtain a new customer than to retain an existing one. Despite this, it’s surprising how many businesses don’t regularly contact their customers to make them feel appreciated, offer additional products or services, or check on their satisfaction.

Some businesses don’t keep contact details for their past and existing customers at all, and some do purely to ‘have them in the system’.

Why Should I Keep Customer Details?

Having contact information allows you to build a relationship, familiarity and trust. If you are providing regular, interesting information to your customers you will keep top of mind in a world where competition is rife! This is called Recency and Frequency. To take action to use your business, customers need to have heard from you frequently and recently to have you top of mind.

pablo-5 copyHow Do I Get Customer Contact Details?

This depends on the type of work the customer uses you for. A professional services firm may obtain contact details on a signed agreement; an allied health provider may ask clients to fill in a form on their first visit; and a telecommunications company may need contact details to provide accurate services. Even if you regularly request customer contact details as part of providing your service, ask permission to contact your customers and their preferred method of contact.

If you use an enrolment or registration form it could include tick-boxes to be contacted via email with special deals, by SMS for appointments, or by mobile phone for customer service calls.

Of course, some businesses don’t need to get customer details to operate (for example, a retail outlet or restaurant). The obvious choice here is to create a ‘tribe’ of loyal customers by asking them if they’d like to join your VIP club for which they get special benefits. Examples may be a free meal on their birthday, regular recipes via email, or VIP-only sales.

Another option is to hold an in-store competition whereby customers must leave their details to enter. Please once again have a check-box asking them if they’d like to be contacted with deals, updates and offers, and how.

Which Details Should I Get? 

Quite simply, it depends on how you want to contact them and how they prefer to be contacted. If you’d like to contact them via phone, ask for mobile details. If you prefer sending information in the mail, get their postal address. If you want to send an e-newsletter, grab their email address.

As well as contact details, other information can be beneficial to record, depending on the type of business you have. Most customers appreciate receiving messages or gifts on their birthday, regardless of the type of product or service you provide. Anniversary dates may be applicable for hotels, restaurants, florists, beauty and hair salons. Children’s names and birth dates may come in handy for toy stores. Some hotel chains even record the pillow-loft preferences of their regular guests!

What Mistakes Should I Avoid? 

The most common mistake we see is businesses sending irrelevant information about their own business. Please remember that your customers don’t care about you, they care about what you can do for them. People like to be entertained, given interesting information, and shown how they can save time, save money, or make money.

Sending too many emails, texts, or letters is another pitfall to avoid. The quickest way to get an ‘unsubscribe’ is to bombard your contacts!

You could ask your clients how often they would appreciate being contacted, and what kind of information they would find valuable.

Of course, sending any communication without consent is a no-no (a link is provided below to find out how to avoid spamming). And make sure every marketing communication you send has an unsubscribe function, including SMS.

How Do I Record Customer Contact Details?

We suggest you create an electronic database. This could be a simple app such as “Contacts” in Mac, or a more sophisticated CRM system such as Infusionsoft. If you want to contact your customers via SMS, an easy place to start is with SMSBroadcast, which can cost as little as 4.7 cents per text message. E-newsletters can be created quickly through MailChimp, which is currently free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month.

Segmenting your customers into groups is the next step. Examples are Prospects (inquired but not yet bought), Customers (bought once or twice) or Regulars. You may even choose to create a list of inactive clients, to which you could transfer customers if they haven’t bought from you for 6 months or so. You could also create groups according to the service they use you for, or the product they buy.

Some Examples:

  • An insurance firm could email all customers who have bought business insurance through them, offering a special deal on car insurance
  • A lawyer could mail his clients (for whom he hasn’t done a recent Will) with an offer of a free Will review
  • A hairdresser could call clients the week after their appointment, asking how their style and colour is holding up
  • A cafe could SMS customers they haven’t seen for a month with an offer of free coffee with every piece of cake purchased for that day only, or perhaps free dessert with every main
  • An environmental consultancy could e-mail clients once a quarter with information on environmental policy changes and industry news that may affect them.

Please also remember that your customers may have a favourite product or service, but not be aware of everything you sell. When customers already trust you and buy one of your products or services, it’s a great time to introduce them to your full range. Perhaps you could include a “menu” of your range in your next newsletter or mailout, or feature the benefits of different products or services in each newsletter.

As you can see, the options are endless. The most important thing to remember is that your customers care about what you can do for them, so make the information you send to them relevant, important, and useful.

Are you making the most of the contact details you have for your existing client base? We help businesses improve their customer service and sales to current clients, as well as generate new leads. To see how your business can improve, call Andrew Masi or Julianne Schwenke on (02) 4933 6622.

For more information and to make sure you don’t spam, please visit: http://www.acma.gov.au/Industry/Marketers/Anti-Spam

The 5 Things You Need To Succeed In Business

Your current knowledge, goals, skills, experience and actions have created the business you have today. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of your business, you need to change something to get a different outcome.

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Author Marshall Goldsmith wrote an invaluable book, the title of which says it perfectly: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

Trial and error is one way to improve – and making mistakes certainly can be your best teacher (provided you actually learn from your mistakes, and don’t make the same ones time and time again!). But a far more effective and faster approach is to learn from the mistakes and success of others.

One option is to find a business leader who has achieved success in the area of business in which you want to excel, assess what it is that makes them so successful, and implement that yourself. We call this modelling – observing the way another person behaves to get a certain result, and reproducing those actions to achieve similar outcomes.

Another option is to find a professional business mentor, advisor or coach whose sole purpose is to help business leaders succeed. They have learned from the success and failure of others, and can pass on that knowledge so you can fast-track your business success.

Whichever you choose, here are the top 5 things that you need to succeed in business, and specifically how a business advisor can help you:

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1. New Knowledge and Education

Business coaches, advisors and educators package up the knowledge of countless authors, speakers, academics and business leaders with whom they have the privilege to work, to help their clients achieve greater success. Through their research, experience and training they teach proven methodologies that have worked successfully for other business leaders. They also know the pitfalls and can steer you clear of obstacles.

2. Clear Direction

Every business leader needs clear direction. A good business mentor will help you establish, reconnect with, or expand yours, and keep you on track. You could think of them as your GPS!

3. An Outsider’s Perspective

When you’re busy working day to day inside your business, it’s hard to take a broader, objective view. Your advisor can help you see the bigger picture and give you an outsider’s perspective. They can provide this viewpoint with honesty – not telling you what you want to hear, but what you need to hear to get better results.

4. Accountability

Knowledge without application is worthless, and part of your coach’s role is to push you to get things done, in the right way and at the right time, and for the right objectives. They’ll also remind you why you set your goals in the first place, and the benefits to you of doing the work.

5. Encouragement

There’s no doubt that business can be tough, which is also why it’s so rewarding. When things are challenging, your coach can reconnect you with your ‘why’ and remind you of your greater vision and purpose (while giving you the tools to continue on).

While there’s no short cut to success, partnering with a business mentor, coach or consultant can help you achieve better business results more quickly and effectively.

We coach business leaders and teams in established businesses to succeed in areas including their marketing, sales, team, systems, profit, and cashflow.

We are passionate about helping business leaders define what success means to them, and working with them to achieve their goals. Want to grow and improve your business? Call Andrew Masi and Julianne Schwenke on (02) 4933 6622.

The 3 Reasons Your Staff Don’t Do What You Ask (and what to do about it)

Do you find that your staff sometimes (or perhaps often) don’t do what you’ve asked them to do?

Does it seem like no matter how many times you’ve asked, things still aren’t being done?

Are you feeling frustrated and not sure what to do?

It’s a lament we hear often from frustrated business owners, executives, managers and supervisors. “But I’ve told them a thousand times already!” is something you’ve probably said more times than you care to remember.

The good news is that we have a solution. The first step is to understand the reason for their inaction.

We find that there are 3 basic reasons your staff don’t do what you ask:

  1. They don’t know how
  2. They don’t know why it’s important
  3. They just don’t want to!

leadership, communicationLet’s look at an example to illustrate.

Business owner Maria is frustrated that her new tradesman Jack is not filling out his timesheets.

Maria has shown Jack twice how to complete his timesheet online using their payroll software, and asked him to submit it for processing by 5pm each Wednesday. But after two weeks it’s still not getting done correctly or on time. The bookkeeper has had to call Jack each week to request it, and query Jack on his entries. Maria is starting to wonder whether Jack is the right tradesperson for the job.

There are three possibilities for Maria to consider before taking further action:

Possibility 1. Jack doesn’t know how to do it

The first thing Maria should consider is that Jack may not know how to fill out his time sheets correctly, or that he’s forgotten or misunderstood when they are due. Yes, Maria has shown Jack twice how to use the software, but just because Maria has communicated something to Jack doesn’t mean that Jack has fully understood. Jack may have been embarrassed to admit that he didn’t understand Maria, or may have forgotten some of the steps. After having it explained twice already, it was harder to admit it wasn’t making sense.

To see if this is the case, Maria could ask Jack something along the lines of: “Max, I hear from the bookkeeper that your time sheets haven’t been completed correctly the last two weeks, and haven’t been submitted on time. How are you finding the timesheeting process? Is there anything that you’d like me to go over with you? I’m happy to give you as much training as required to help you feel confident with the system.”

In this instance Jack admitted that he was having trouble, and Maria trained Jack once again. When finished, Maria asked Jack to fill out an example time sheet, and to repeat to her what time it needed to be submitted. Maria ended the training session by once again asking Jack if he had any questions, and he assured her that he didn’t.

Unfortunately despite this the following week Jack’s timesheet was incomplete and not submitted at the agreed time. The bookkeeper was also getting extremely frustrated with the situation, as chasing the information created extra work for him.

It’s now time for Maria to consider possibility #2:

Possibility #2: Jack doesn’t know why it’s important

People often aren’t aware of how their behaviour affects others. Maria calls Jack into a meeting with the bookkeeper, so he can explain how his inattention to detail and  his not meeting deadlines affects the bookkeeper, other staff, and the payroll system. Jack apologises and assures both the bookkeeper and Maria that the next week he’ll be accurate and on time.

Now Maria has communicated what is expected of Jack, and got him to repeat back to her what he understood, and why it’s important. Unfortunately the next week Jack’s timesheet is not submitted on time, and is once again full of errors.

Maria can only assume:

Possiblity #3: That Jack just doesn’t want to do it.

Maria sets up a meeting with Jack, at which she says: “Jack, you’ve been working here 3 weeks now. Three times we have sat down and done training on how to submit time sheets accurately. We also discussed the importance of submitting them by the company deadline, and you know how not submitting them correctly and on time affects the workflow of others. Despite this, for the third week in a row you have not done what you’ve been asked. Can you please tell me about that?”

This open-ended question allows Jack to explain anything that might be going on for him. He may make excuses, or he may apologise. Whatever the response, it’s an opportunity for Maria to ask Jack what he’ll do to rectify the situation, and explain the consequences if his behaviour doesn’t change. She could say: “Jack, you’ve told me you understand how to do this task, and that you understand how important it is. If it’s not done correctly next week, I will have no option but to give you a written warning.”

And of course it’s essential from that point on that Maria does issue a written warning if Jack’s behaviour doesn’t change.

If there’s something your staff are not doing despite your repeated requests, we suggest you follow the process above. Depending on the seriousness of the behaviour, you may enforce consequences sooner.

To improve workplace communication we suggest that from the outset every training always includes:

  • An explanation of what is required
  • An explanation of why it’s important, and
  • The opportunity for the employee to repeat back and confirm what is required and why.

We hope this helps you understand and deal with frustrating situations in your business.

We receive many phone calls from business leaders frustrated with their team’s performance, culture, and motivation. If you’d like to find more ways to deal with yours, call Andrew Masi or Julianne Schwenke on (02) 4933 6622. We’ll arrange a time for a complimentary chat with you to see how we can help.