You see it everywhere, on plumbing trucks, heating and cooling vans, in shop windows, and posted to every social media platform under the sun…it’s the phrase, “We’re Hiring!” Through April of 2019 the national unemployment rate was at 3.6%, which indicates individuals looking for work are finding work (source: ncsl.org). That’s great news, right? Not for most business owners I speak with…they’re having trouble finding good people to hire. They dangle their help wanted signs out there like fishing hooks waiting to see who bites. The challenge with this approach is, while you might catch that prized employee, you also might land someone you didn’t want, and be afraid to throw them back for fear you won’t find anyone else.
Many business owners find themselves in the trap of trying to do too much and not allowing their employees (team) to help them. This is probably the single biggest inhibitor to growth that I have witnessed over the last eight years of coaching businesses – the failure of the owner to get out of the way, and to empower their team. Too many owners feel that it is their responsibility to personally take care of everything, because “I can do it better” than anyone else. All that this approach provides is the guarantee that you will be the busiest and least paid (on a per-hour basis) employee in your business, the only one who comes in early and stays late. If you enjoy being a slave to your business and your customers, stop here. If you need to get past that, read on.
No matter what business or industry you are in, the fundamentals of business growth remain the same. The only things that change between industries are the specific strategies or “How-tos” that are used to achieve growth in each area. Mastering these secrets (which really aren’t secrets) is the difference between staying right where you are and taking your business and your life to entirely new levels of success and fulfillment.
Secret #1 – Mastery
Success in business requires you to have Mastery of your Money, Time (Self), Destination (Goals), and Delivery.
Have you ever been watching a sporting event or your favorite episode of This is Us and an ad comes on that you have no clue what they were trying to sell you? What’s the deal with that, right? Companies invest millions of dollars a year in advertising to get you and me to open our wallets and buy their product or service. For companies that have larger advertising budgets a miss may not cripple them financially, but for smaller businesses a poor marketing campaign that doesn’t produce results can spell disaster. So what can you do to ensure your marketing message hits the mark?
Leading and managing - I often see and hear business owners and their staffs use these two words interchangeably, yet they are very different in extremely important ways. While being a “manager” is quite often a formal job title with specific responsibilities and accountability, being a “leader” is not. Here are some of the key differences between Leading and Managing.
As we grow our businesses, we need to grow our teams, and with that growth comes both excitement and fear. One of the most common growth challenges I hear about is that owners/leaders struggle with delegation, and if they can’t get their team to do what they ask, they might as well do it themselves, right? Wrong!
Delegation is just one more skill to learn, and it really isn’t all that complicated to learn…
Decisions, decisions, decisions….life is all about making decisions, right?
Early on things are a little easier because your parents make decisions for you, but as you get older and take on more responsibilities things get complicated. You go from being a carefree kid, to an awkward teenager, to an adult charged with making a number of decisions each day…decisions that can either positively or negatively impact you. Run your own business and the impact of your actions and decisions multiply. So, how exactly is life like a mirror?
Many business owners find themselves in a similar place after a while – their business is doing pretty well and they are making a decent living, but there is something missing. They don’t feel as fulfilled at the office as they thought they would, and they feel like something is missing from the team. Everyone comes in, does their job, and takes pretty good care of the customers, yet the little things that would make it great never seem to get done unless you do them yourselves. When you begin to feel this, it most likely means you, your team, and your business have come down with a case of “Good Enough-itis”, where everyone performs just “good enough” to get by, but nobody excels.
One of the most common issues I find in the marketing strategies of high-end (higher quality, higher price) businesses is the tendency to talk about the features of their products and services. While this issue is particularly common in technology, I see it in construction, medical, HVAC, and just about every other industry as well. The problem with this approach is that Features are all about you, your company, and your product, while your customers are far more interested in the Benefits they receive when they buy your product.
Around this time every year, we start to forget our annual goals, we break our New Year’s Resolutions, and we regret that gym membership. So what is it we can do to break out of our bad old habits and actually take the steps to have our Best Year Ever? Well, I’ve found 7 simple steps that can help – here they are in no particular order…
As an intelligent, high performing business owner, you already know that “Cash is King” when it comes to running your business, right? Well, in my experience, too many business owners focus too much energy on Profit and Loss (P&L), and not enough on Cash. It should never come as a surprise that you are low on cash, and you should always be able to predict (within reason) your near term cash position, and have strategies to improve it if the plan puts you too short.
Many business owners get to the point in their business and their life where things just stop improving. They reach a comfortable level that many call a plateau, where things are good but not great, and the majority of their previous level of dissatisfaction is now eliminated. While this may sound like a nice place to be, it is also a dangerous place to be. Staying at this plateau can led to complacency, and when you least expect it, it slowly takes you right back where you were without you ever realizing it.