Tag Archives | small business

How to make 2018 your best year yet!

Whether you’re a manager, business owner, or employee, one thing we’re sure of: You want 2018 to be a great year!

Your wish-list might include work-life balance, a profitable business, a happy and productive team, and achievement of your personal goals.

So how do you ensure you get what you want in 2018, and what happens is by design and not default?

This week with clients we are creating 2018 business plans. If you’d like to ensure your year is everything you want it to be, in both your business and personal life, read on and follow our 4 simple steps below …

2018 business plan, business plans1. Review 2017’s Highlights

Before making a 2018 business plan, it’s essential to see where you are now and how far you’ve come.

Start by thinking back to January this year. How different was life and business then? What have you accomplished in the last 12 months? How has your business grown and changed? What’s happened in your career? What personal goals did you achieve?

Write down your achievements in all areas of your life and work – business growth and mastery, career, learning, family, fun, health and wellbeing.

Take a moment to appreciate how your life has changed and what you’ve done to create that. Congratulate yourself on your achievements so far.

2. Picture Your Future In Review

Now imagine yourself this time next year, December 2018, doing the same exercise. If you were looking back on 2018, what would your achievements be?

Take at least 10 minutes to really think this through. List all you’ve gained in terms of business turnover and profit, the types of clients you’ve attracted, career moves, office relocation or upgrades, success you’ve helped your clients to achieve, fitness or family wins, what you’ve learned… any result you’d like to see by the end of the year.

business planning, 2018 business plan, business success, business goals

3. Create Your 2018 Business Plan

Bring your mind back to the present day. The list you’ve just made is now your goal list for 2018. Make sure each goal passes the test of being measurable, realistic, and time-framed. Get specific. Instead of grow business you might write increase turnover by 30% and profit by 15% by 31 December 2018.

Put a date next to each goal. If you can’t be specific, narrow it down to be something you’ll accomplish by end of Q1, Q2, Q3 or Q4.

And make sure what you want to achieve is within your sphere of influence or control. There’s no point stating what you want someone else to do if you have no power over their actions! Instead of Get supervisors to perform to standard you could write Learn skills to more effectively manage supervisors and enforce their KPIs by 31 March. You can choose to be a better manager and hold them accountable, but their response and actions will ultimately be up to them.

4. Get A Coach To Help You And Your Team

As our clients know, setting goals and having a 2018 Business Plan is just the start. Finding someone to support you, guide you, and keep you accountable will ensure your success. A great business coach will work with the business owners, managers and team to ensure the business reaches its goals. A great business coach will also support you to achieve your personal and lifestyle goals.

Are you a business owner? Do you need a 2018 business plan?  Book your complimentary discussion with our business coaches today.

If you’re a business manager or employee, suggest Yellow Coaching’s services to the decision makers in your business. We’ll arrange a complimentary meeting with them to discuss the needs of the business and team.

Business improvement helps owners, employees, their families, and the community. When shown what’s possible and given the right tools, strategies and support, businesses and the people in them can achieve their full potential.

Yellow’s coaches work with the owners, managers and teams of established businesses of any size within the private sector; and with executives, managers and team members at all levels within Government and not-for-profit organisations.

Whomever they are working with, their goal is to assist business leaders to maximise the potential of themselves, their team, and their business. Yellow’s coaches achieve this through business coaching, executive mentoring, leadership and management training, strategic planning, conference and workshop facilitation, keynote speaking, and team member coaching. They also provide team training on numerous topics including effective sales techniques, business marketing, outstanding customer service, time and priority management, improving team culture and morale, efficient systems and processes, resilience, and change management.

If you’d like to reach peak performance in 2018, contact Yellow Coaching today.

Difficult Customers: How to deal with them effectively

Dealing with difficult customers is a common part of most businesses.

You’ve no doubt heard the adage The Customer Is Always Right. But if you’ve ever dealt with a difficult customer, you’ll know for a fact that’s not true!

Difficult customers are often simply disappointed because their expectations haven’t been met. If they complain and don’t feel heard, they can become angry, disrespectful, or even continue to argue their point when they’re clearly in the wrong!

So how do you deal with a difficult customer while maintaining your professionalism?

Difficult Customer, Customer Service, Small Business

Apologise

The first thing to do for difficult customers is to apologise to them. You don’t necessarily need to take responsibility for what’s been done or not done, but you can apologise that they feel the way they do.

Difficult customers are usually feeling frustrated because they didn’t get the product or service they expected. So here’s something you can always say:

“I apologise that your expectations haven’t been met.”

This applies whether or not your customer’s expecations are fair or downright ludicrous!

Your customer may have realistic expecations, for example that their coffee is hot, that their goods will be delivered intact, or that their tradesman will turn up on time. If you establish that their expectations were reasonable and should have been met, offer to fix things straight away. For example:

“Do you have time to wait while I make you a fresh hot coffee? I’ll throw in a pastry of your choice to make it up to you.”

In this instance all your customer wants is fair exchange for the product or service they purchased.

Be Effective Rather Than Right

If your customer’s expectations aren’t reasonable, it’s important to be effective rather than right.

Just say you’d arranged your tradesman to be at your customer’s premises between 10am and 12pm. The tradesman turned up at 11am, but your customer has called to complain that they were an hour late.

You remember your discussion with the customer that the tradesman would arrive sometime in that two hour window. Clearly you are in the right, but arguing with your customer will not help at all. In this instance you could say:

“I apologise that you were expecting the tradesman at 10am. I take full responsibility for our miscommunication about his arrival time. Has the work been completed to your satisfaction?”

Apologising for the miscommunication might seem unfair, as you remember what you said. But true communication isn’t what you say, it’s what’s been understood. You may be tempted to remind them of your conversation about the arrival time window, or that it clearly states on your website that job start times can’t be guaranteed. All this will do is frustrate your customer further!

Make them feel valued

What your customer really wants is to feel valued and important. If you can choose to be effective rather than right you can win the customer over rather than driving them away.

Please note that you don’t always need to offer compensation when your customer is dissatisfied. If it’s easy to do, go ahead – such as the free pastry, or free coffee next visit. If the customer demands unrealistic compensation you may need to see what your legal obligations are before discussing it with them. You could say:

“I agree that you deserve to receive quality products and service. Please allow me to look into this matter further. May I call you back at 5pm to discuss a solution?”

(And for goodness sake, make sure you call back at the time you agreed, even if you don’t have a solution yet! If you don’t you’ll be adding fuel to the fire).

What to do if your difficult customers complain online …

If you read online reviews, the sub-text behind every customer complaint is clear: “I just didn’t feel valued”. Whether the complaint is about phone calls not being returned, having to wait for service, or problems not being well-handled, the customer didn’t feel that their issue was resolved.

Often they feel upset enough to take their complaint to a larger online audience in the hope of receiving some empathy. Getting sympathy from friends and even complete strangers over the web justifies their frustration and makes them feel that someone cares about them and their experience.

If you need to respond to a negative online review, refer to our guide to dealing with customer complaints here.

When you give your customer the understanding and care they need at the initial moment of frustration, this escalation can be avoided.

If you’d like to improve customer service in your business, talk to us about our business coaching services and customer service training.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Don’t roll the dice with your marketing!

As a business owner, are you spending time and money on advertising and marketing but seeing little result?

Are you advertising in the same publication month after month, wondering if anyone sees it?

Attending networking functions but not getting bookings or sales?

Distributing flyers but not hearing the phone ring?

 

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It’s time to ask yourself what marketing is really all about. Many people define it as ‘getting your name out there’, because people need to know about you to buy from you, right? While that’s definitely true, we believe marketing has a far more important purpose. Marketing is ultimately about getting money in your bank account.

A question we were often asked several years ago is “Should I renew my Yellow Pages advertisement? It’s a lot of money and I’m not sure whether it’s worth it.” These days it’s more like, “I’m spending $1,000 a month on SEO and I’m not sure if it’s working.” Our answer is always a simple question: “How much money have you spent, and how much money has it brought to your business?” Surprisingly, many business owners don’t know the answer.

If you don’t plan your marketing and measure its results, you may as well be rolling the dice. Sometimes it’ll pay off and sometimes it won’t, but why leave it to chance?

Marketing expenditure needs to be assessed against the results it gets. Here’s an example:

A service business spends one hour a week meeting with potential clients for free. This hour could otherwise be billed to an existing client at a rate of $250. One in two of these complimentary meetings results in business worth $1,000. That means for every $500 opportunity cost, $1,000 is gained.

As another example, the owner of a trade business spends two hours per week at a networking function, time which he could otherwise charge out at $300. From this activity, the business gets an average of one new enquiry each week, with a conversion rate of 50% (ie. from two enquiries, on average one person books a service). The average service is $1,000. That means for every $600 spent (two weeks of $300) he earns $1,000.

Now of course we understand that overheads need to be factored in, but this is a good place to start. When doing your calculations, also remember the potential long term business each client can bring (their initial $1,000 service may turn into returning purchases and referrals).

Of course, there are times when you want to try a new marketing tactic, and are not sure how effective it will be. It’s a good idea to start small and low-cost, measuring the success of the campaign as you go. Ensure you maintain a long-term focus (membership of a networking group may take some time to pay off, for instance) but have a date in mind to try a new tactic if you don’t see results. Occasionally you may make no money from your marketing investment, and the only benefit will be that you learned what doesn’t work for your business! For this reason, always ask yourself “am I willing to risk this money if it doesn’t work?”. If the answer is yes, by all means give it a go.

Want to find out the best marketing strategy for your business? We offer eligible businesses a complimentary 90 minute consultation to discuss their marketing needs. Call Julianne Schwenke on (02) 4933 6622 to see if you qualify.