FUN is a MUST!

Amped 11One non-negotiable rule that I stress with my clients, as their coach, is FUN.  I require that whatever we do together must be fun.  If it is not fun, then we stop and figure out why, and then we make it fun. Why do I require “fun” you ask?  This is probably now a question raised in your mind.  Fun is a reaction to a circumstance…a feeling…a sense…a result…an experience.  How can I require a feeling or emotion?  It sounds kind of weird, doesn’t it? Well, fun is a paradigm.  It is a choice to find business (and life) amusing and entertaining.  When someone chooses to have fun, they seem to fully participate.  Other people will enjoy being around you when you have fun.  You will be more energetic.  You will be healthier.  You will have a better frame of mind to solve problems.  You will be more creative.  You will also most likely be more gracious, forgiving, and not so serious.  You will come from a place of GAME vs SHAME. What a great choice!!  What a fantastic place to come from!!  There are definitely serious problems in the business (and in life), but they are better solved when you decide to smile and take pleasure in working through them.  Have fun today!!  Remember to have fun every day!!  It could change the way you do business…for the better!! PJ's Pic  ActionCoach-logo  
  YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK:   Pick a certain task and have FUN with it.  Does it change the result?  Do you see a difference? If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
For your complimentary business coaching session visit, www.bestchicagobusinesscoach.com.   Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.workingonthebusiness.com. Let’s work together to help your business grow. 

Being Understood Starts with Understanding

Being Understood (2) “I just don’t understand why they don’t listen to me!”  Have you ever had that thought? Do you have employees?  Do you network?  Do you go to meetings?  Do you feel as though nobody listens to you? The fact is that people do not listen and understand you because you are not listening to them.  You talk, explain, analyze, preach, propose, and offer advice and instruction.  The reason that they do not listen and understand is because you have not listened and understood them.  You will understand them only when you listen to them. Understanding them leads to you being understood.   First, ask an open-ended question (Who, What, When, Where, and Why).  Then, be present.  Be engaged.  Quietly listen.  Then ask another question.  Feel where they are.  See how they see you.  Then ask another question.  Listen for a long time, without offering your wisdom or giving solutions.  Just listen and UNDERSTAND.  After truly understand them will you be truly understood yourself. When you truly respect and listen, and understand another human being, it opens the possibility for a real conversation.  What they understand is that you care and that you truly understand and respect them.  They might even ask you a question, and seek to understand you.  Now wouldn’t that be an interesting response, that they want to listen to you? If you are ready to be heard.  If you have something valuable to share.  If YOU want to be understood, you have you start with understanding! PJ's Pic  ActionCoach-logo
YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK:  Listen to somebody this week.  Don’t just listen, but fully understand them.  Do they ask you questions in return?  Do you end up being fully understood yourself? If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
For your complimentary business coaching session visit, www.bestchicagobusinesscoach.com.   Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.workingonthebusiness.com. Let’s work together to help your business grow. 

Leadership Mirror

TEamwork To build a great team (the HAVE) in a business, there are two essentials that you, as the leader, must define and communicate. One is your core values (the BE). The other is accountability structure (the DO). Core values are absolute non-negotiables.  I recommend three to seven clearly defined core values.  The fewer the better.  If you want to discover your core values, list and describe the attributes and attitudes of your top three employees.  Narrow that list down to the 3 to 7 values that must be core for each member of your team. Use these absolutes to hire and fire.  These core values must be non-negotiable.  If a person does not fully embrace your core values, they cannot be on your team.  Jim Collins in his classic, Good to Great, says this is “getting the right people on the bus.” Once you have a team of people that fully embrace and practice your core values, then you must determine the right “seat on the bus” for each one.  To do this, you must define the seats in your business based on function.  Each seat must have a specific set of accountabilities defined.  For a person to be in a seat, they must get it, want it, and have the capacity to fulfill those accountabilities. I frequently hear frustration and complaints from business owners concerning their employees.  I hear comments like“They just don’t care” or “They seem so unhappy” or “They never seem content and always want more.”  Or the owners are experiencing: Workplace drama.  Lack of focus.  Apathy. Mediocrity. Immaturity.  Blame. Absenteeism. Gossip. Gently, I remind the business owner that your team is a mirror of your leadership.  You have the team you build.  The team you deserve. Ouch!  “That’s not fair!” You protest.  “I can’t force people to change and do the right thing, and I certainly can’t change their personality!!”  I would agree that you fundamentally cannot change other people.  However, there are a couple of things you can do that will assure you have the right people doing the right things. Take a look at your core values and how you are living them in the business.  Then take a look at the accountability structure you have in place and how effective it truly is. Here’s the bottom line.  Your team reflects your leadership and business management.  Clarifying and communicating your core values and accountabilities will provide the foundation for you to build a great team.  There is much more to creating a great team, but these two foundational components are essential. PJ's PicActionCoach-logo
YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK:  Clarify and communicate your core values to your team?  Do you see a profound affect on them? If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079.
For your complimentary business coaching session visit, www.bestchicagobusinesscoach.com. Build a Business image 3 (small title) To register for our complimentary workshop, How to Build a Business you can Sell, visit www.workingonthebusiness.com. Let’s work together to help your business grow. 
 

Dangerous Discounting

Motivation-Picture-Quote-Failure-and-Success It seems that everyone is focused on price. It seems that everyone wants a deal. The larger retailers spend a ton of money promoting in the media and it would seem that because of this we are all required to do the same. You’ll hear them say, “Don’t worry, we’ll make it up on volume.” Don’t be fooled by this. The fact of the matter is that most businesses on average return about 10 percent on sales before tax. This means that after deducting the cost of the goods or services sold and all expenses incurred in running the business, there is 10 percent of the original sale price left as your profit. So if you discount say by 10 percent then the 10 percent you are giving away is the same 10 percent you would have made in profit. So typically, a 10 percent discount will leave you with no profit. Here is another example to demonstrate the dangers of discounting. If your present gross margin is 30 percent and you give a 10 percent discount, you need to increase your turnover by 50 percent to make the same amount of profit. Discounting is not always bad.  If you have obsolete or seasonal stock or specific cash flow requirements this can be used as a specific strategy, however, there should be specific cut-off points when using these strategies.  When planning the profit for a particular product be sure to calculate how much you plan to sell at full price and how much you plan to sell at a discounted price for the lifetime for the particular product. Many smaller retailers will discount because their competitors are and not really consider what it might be costing them.  One of the main reasons small businesses discount is to acquire customers.  It is far more profitable to work out some clever marketing strategies than to discount for this reason. In reality, experience shows that most customers attracted to a business through discounting, rarely if ever comes back again. Discounting in business should be dealt with very carefully.  Because it is so prevalant, business owners get trapped into thinking that it is a legitimate and profitable strategy and are often the worst offenders within an organization. Clearly there is more to it than meets the eye and it should be used with eyes wide open. PJ's Pic  ActionCoach-logo
  YOUR CHALLENGE: The next time you are inclined to discount, stop and review the profit margin and look for other marketing strategies that will create the same effect without impacting your bottom line. If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. For your complimentary business coaching session visit www.bestchicagobusinesscoach.com. To register for our complimentary workshop, 6 Steps to a Great Business, visit www.workingonthebusiness.com.  Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Referrals Can Work for Your Business

5 In an effort to jump start small businesses – and remind them of the power of a single referral – John Jantsch (author of Duct Tape Marketing) launched Make a Referral Week in March of 2009. The goal of the event was simple: To provide 1,000 referrals to 1,000 deserving small businesses across the country. Referral based businesses can either take a passive role or an active role in generating referrals. Those that take a passive role, create satisfied customers and spend their marketing time and dollars trying to get their message in front of as many potential customers as possible, then they are relegated to waiting and hoping that the phone rings. Those that take an active role, do things a little differently. 1. Give awesome service that creates ‘raving fans’ instead of just satisfied customers. The only reason people talk about a service or product is because it was extremely good or extremely bad – make yours exceptional. 2. Make sure you thank your customers and ask them to tell your friends about you. Think back to the last time you were personally thanked for your business. It doesn’t happen often, so when it does we remember it. 3. Let your customers know up front that you will be asking for referrals later on. Don’t hit them cold – let them know that you are a referral based business and give them the chance to think about whom they want to refer. 4. Making giving a few referrals a condition of doing business with you. If you really want a business that runs on referrals than make it a rule that for people to do business with you, they have to give you referrals. 5. Ask for a referral when people buy from you (or even when they don’t). During the sale customers’ emotions are running high and they are happiest to give them. When customers don’t buy they usually feel a little awkward, and may feel obliged to help you out in a situation like this because they have just said ‘no’ to making a purchase from you. PJ's PicActionCoach-logo
  YOUR CHALLENGE THIS WEEK:  Consider your business approach to referrals and make the commitment to take an active strategy. And remember givers gain. If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. For your complimentary business coaching session visit www.bestchicagobusinesscoach.com. To register for our complimentary workshop, 6 Steps to a Great Business, visit www.workingonthebusiness.com.  Let’s work together to help your business grow.

Top Technology Picks for Small Business

If you are like most business owners I work with – you are always looking for how to do more with less.  One of the easiest ways to create leverage in your business is through technology.  There are many tools available to the small businesses – it can be difficult to navigate all the choices and how to prioritize. As a business coach and a fellow business owner here are my top picks: FOR ONLINE ANALYTICS.  Google Analytics This go to tool – is FREE, easy to setup and a MUST have for every business with a website and plans for growth.  The information collected is priceless in evaluating your marketing efforts. FOR CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT:  ZohoThere are many choices when it comes to CRM’s, this is my favorite for businesses new to managing a customer database.  It is popular among business owners because of Zoho’s simplicity to get started and its opportunity to add functionality as a business grows. FOR EMAIL MARKETING:  Constant Contact.  This is an effective tool for communicating with your connections, prospects and customers.  It allows you to segment your database to email just the right people, with a meaningful message just for them and schedule for just the right time.  The support team is top notch and the reporting of open rates, click through rates, etc. is both meaningful and easy to understand.  Monthly pricing is based on the size of your database with additional features as add-ons. FOR FINANCE:  QuickBooks.  This tool is a must for every business to help track, budget, and plan their success.  The desktop version is worth the moderate investment or an online version is available for shared and remote access for a monthly charge. FOR MANAGING SOCIAL MEDIAHootsuite.   A platform that schedules post to multiple social media sites at the same time.  This is a real time saver as well as a way to stay disciplined in posting at appropriate times and with regular frequency.  The free version offers a good starting point for most small business owners. And the list of tools just keeps going….
  • Dropbox – Securely share, sync, and collaborate files with team members or customers.
  • Evernote – Remember everything.  Manage it all.  Simplify it with Evernote.
  • Google Mail – Get branded email.  Work from anywhere. Includes calendar, docs, & video meetings.
  • LinkedIn – Communicate with a variety of business owners and engage them professionally.
  • Twitter – Find community, conversation, and inspiration about the things you love.
  • Facebook – Drive online sales, increase local sales, promote your app, & raise brand awareness.
Technology is so important for a small business to run smoothly, efficiently, and productively.  The ability to save them time, energy and ultimately money while adding value to the company and the overall professionalism offering peace of mind because tasks get done professionally and consistently.
YOUR CHALLENGE:  What small business tools are you currently using?  Review your list and ask yourself if there’s something that could work better.  Then look for those tools. If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. For your complimentary business coaching session visit www.bestchicagobusinesscoach.com. To register for our complimentary workshop, 6 Steps to a Great Business, visit www.workingonthebusiness.com.  Let’s work together to help your business grow.  

The Price is Right

The fastest way to improve your margins is to increase your prices. That’s right – increase price. There are a lot of reasons and excuses I hear from business owners why this may work in OTHER business but this will not work in THEIR business. All of the businesses that I work with evaluate their prices.  The reason this works is because we build a Unique Selling Proposition that communicates the unique value thus compelling the prospect to shift their focus away from price and towards value in the buying decision. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Look at your pricing model and evaluate how you are selling. If you are competing on price – start changing the conversation with your prospects.   If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for our complimentary workshop, 6 Steps to a Great Business, and let’s work together to help your business grow.

Attention in Advertising

There is tremendous pressure on today’s business owner to participate in email marketing.  Imagine knowing how to make it a successful lead generation tool for your business! I use a marketing technique known as A-I-D-A.  Using the right subject line to grab their attention, we double and triple their open rates.  Then we use copy that specifically increases interest and drives the behavior of the prospect to take action.  Remember A-I-D-A, Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. YOUR CHALLENGE:  Take a critical review of your marketing material to see if you are effective in using the A-I-D-A technique.  Be sure to find ways to measure the impact of any marketing program.   If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for our complimentary workshop, 6 Steps to a Great Business, and let’s work together to help your business grow.

Referrals Rock

If you ask a room full of business owners if they’re a referral based business the majority will declare a resounding YES! The truth is that very few have a defined Referral Program that’s run and managed with predictable results.  If referrals are a key element of your marketing plan, then start by answering:
  • What are the triggers to ask your clients for referrals?
  • What is the defined script used to get solid referrals?
  • And how are you incenting and thanking your referral sources.
YOUR CHALLENGE:  Take a second look at your current and potential referral sources, then begin to help each one of them learn more about how to best recommend you. If you would like further information or you have any questions about this blog, you can email me at pjweiland@actioncoach.com or call 847-739-3079. Please visit www.workingonthebusiness.com to register for our complimentary workshop, 6 Steps to a Great Business, and let’s work together to help your business grow.

Great Connections

Throughout our networking we are often focused on referrals, giving them and getting them.  Lets not forget about making great connections, for yourself and connecting others. When we focus on connections referrals and business will follow.
Here are some tips on making great connections.
  • When making great connections, look for the quality of the person, less about the industry or line of business.  If they are of quality then they will be a natural at connecting and expanding your sphere of influence.
  • Have great conversations, a high quality conversation can open doors, deepen the connection, or create natural alignments based on common interests.
  • Because people do business with people they like and trust, be yourself.  Be sincere, be real, and let your personality show, use your sense of humor and enjoy the moment.
  • Ask others who they have found to be great connectors, and then ask for an introduction.
  • Spend quality getting to know those people who seem to know everyone and are well connected.
As you look to make great connections, remember, compliments, courtesy, compassion and common ground – and get busy.
YOUR CHALLENGE:  Look to make one great connection with someone you have been putting off.