Eight biggest mistakes of business owners
The following eight mistakes of business owners are not meant to be a comprehensive list because as all of who are business owners know the list is a lot longer than 8 points. However, I believe that if you address the following 8 points, those actions will have a massive impact on the profitability and success of your business.
These points are more about mindset changes as opposed to specific activities.
1. Being driven by money and not a passion for delivering value
Sure we have to make a good profit to remain in business. It’s no good having a wonderful business which you love if you do not make enough profit to live your desired lifestyle and help your teams of people do the same.
In the end, the money your business makes is a direct reflection of the value it offers and the number of people it delivers that value to
However, if your focus is ONLY on the profit, you will not build a strong growing business. A business is only as strong as the idea behind it and the value it delivers to its customers. Bear profit in mind but swing your mindset more to offering as much value as you can to your customers. The more you can grow and differentiate the value your business offers to your customers, the more “Raving Fans” you will build. Therefore, the word of mouth recommendations you get will significantly improve, and the more your business will grow.
Look at every one of your products and services. Focus ONLY on the ones that you believe you can offer extraordinary value to your customers and either ditch the rest or find a way of outsourcing that to someone else. This focus will make your systems and teams increasingly better, which will keep adding value and keep growing profits.
2. Not thinking long term sustainability
A business is not or at least should not be in the game of beating its competitors (unless it’s a sports team) It’s not about the competition – it’s about sustainability.
Business owners that focus on beating the competition simply do not understand the game they are playing. In sports, the game has a defined time limit, a defined set of rules and a referee. Your business has continually changing competition across the world; there is no time limit; there are no clearly defined rules and certainly no referee.
A business is in an infinite game where the game is really – To Stay in Business. You lose the game only if you go out of business.
If you want a long-term sustainable business, you have to start with the intention of growing a long term sustainable business not simply beating the competition.
Think long term. Build the best you can now and apply the Kaizen principle – Continuous and never-ending improvement.
- Keep your best people long term and keep helping them to improve.
- Build your systems for the long term and keep improving them
- Improve your products and services continually
- Build your financial reserves against a rainy day
- Protect your intellectual property – the way you do what you do
3. Not working on your personal development
Every business is a reflection of its leader or leaders. The way you think determines the culture and actions of your teams and ultimately what your business does and how it does it.
Working on your business is like adding extra apps to your phone. Very useful and certainly adds value if the apps are good.
Working on yourself as Leader is like changing the operating system from a mobile phone which simply makes calls to the supercomputer you probably have in your pocket right now.
Working hard and getting coached on your personal development will change how you think, your life and business strategies and how you interact with the world. Growing personally will inevitably change your life for the better.
4. Not working on your business culture
Your business has a culture irrelevant of what you do. Your culture is how you, your teams and your business behaves. The question is – How effective is your culture in winning your business game.
In the 1960s Douglas McGregor wrote a seminal business book called the “Human Side of Enterprise” about Theory X and Theory Y companies. – Google it to learn more
Basically, theory X companies work on command and control – They believe people need to be controlled, told what to do and how to do it.
Theory Y companies believe people are generally good, self-motivated and self-directed and want to produce a good job. They prefer the autonomy of being allowed to work to the best of their abilities.
Both methods can produce excellent results. It’s just one is much more fun to work in, less stress for the business owners and potentially is more sustainable in the long term.
Today in a fast moving and ever more complex world, the most talented people are increasingly mobile and well connected. They know their own worth and are only attracted to companies where they feel valued and can work with purpose-driven highly capable teams. It’s not just the money. In the first five years of Google, nearly everyone who worked for them took a salary CUT to join them because they were excited to work in a high performing autonomous culture.
You cannot hope to run a great business by yourself.
Building a great culture to attract extraordinary people who will help you grow your business with more fun and less stress is essential in today’s world.
5. Not measuring team members performance properly
You can make every effort to employ the right people and build a great culture, but still, some people will underperform. You or their team leader may feel that underperformance in their guts but its really hard and time-consuming to pin down. If you or a team leader gives a person a bad appraisal, that person can simply dismiss that appraisal as the “Boss is just a ********! – He /she doesn’t know what she is talking about. They then carry on regardless, doing the same as before or worse still simply paying lip service to the feedback.
So what’s the answer?
360 Degree anonymous reviews for every person in the company and especially team leaders and the boss from at least five other people who work closely with them. The results should produce average scores against a whole range of criteria.
It’s easy to dismiss parts of your appraisal because the boss is a ******** but practically impossible to do so if it’s all the people you work with giving you an average low score in a particular area of your performance. It does not matter what you think. Whether you think the score is fair or not is irrelevant – the fact is that other people who work closely with you believe this is a correct indication of your performance – so nearly everyone will take more notice of the results.
It’s essential that a 360 review system is put into place to help people develop because hopefully most of your people want to do a good job. Most of us are simply blind to our weaknesses. People should want to know how to improve otherwise, why are they working with you?
Following that 360 appraisals, a personal development plan should be agreed with every employee and regularly discussed and progress tracked by team leaders.
A team leaders MAIN job should be to get the best from his/her team
This regular feedback and tracking to help low performance in certain areas are essential for everyone. Across your company, this will produce extraordinary results. Across the board, low performers can be moved to other roles to give them a chance. Ultimately, low performers are likely to deselect themselves as it is very difficult to continue work in a team when you know everyone thinks you are underperforming. You will either strive to improve, or you will leave or the company.
Sometimes the company will have to “ask” some people to leave.
If you have to go through the correct disciplinary procedure with a few people who underperform you are protected. Its very difficult for them to claim unfair dismissal when a whole team of their peers are stating in their records that they are underperforming in key areas.
For your good people – they know they are doing a good job. As such they really want to know their lower scores (which they may well be blind to) and how they can up their game.
Measuring performance fairly across a range of key criteria and following it up properly will produce high performing and happier teams
What gets measured gets managed.
6. Not enough focus on attracting, identifying and engaging great people
Many companies boast about how great their training programs are. If you spend more time energy and resources on attracting, identifying and engaging great people you can spend a lot less on training. Great people are self-motivated. They will identify their weak areas and self-train without the need for much help from you. Smart, engaged people can learn how to do most things well provided there is someone to teach them.
In my opinion, there is NOTHING more important than doing everything you can to employ the best people.
Until you are certain you have a fantastic team of HR people with a highly systemised and proven record of employing great people do not leave it to them.
How can you be certain?
Develop scorecards and questions to determine the attributes you want for every prospective employee. Your performance management system should be checked back against the scorecards produced when that person was engaged. Were the scores in line with the actual performance the employee produces?
If not adjust the employment process and questions asked to improve your engagement process to only hire world-class people.
It’s currently x10 harder to get a job with Google than it is to get into Harvard business school. That’s not because they are a highly successful company now. They are a highly successful company because they work extremely hard to get the right people and build a culture for those people to perform well.
7. Not building systems for everything
Great people are essential, and they can even get around bad systems, but why should they have to?
Everything in the business should be part of a system with strong checklists.
You should have the attitude of: To err once is human to err twice on the same thing is stupidity.
If something goes wrong and you have a system – the first thing you should do is blame is the system – most bosses blame the person when in fact the error is probably the fault of the boss for not having a proper system. If the system is at fault talk to your people on how to improve the system, so the fault does not happen again.
Does this mean all your people become robots? Absolutely not – their role is to identify exceptions to the system, faults in the systems and have the authority to act accordingly without fear. They should also be architects of improving the systems and therefore will be engaged in making it work.
With great highly engaged people constantly looking to make 1% improvements to the company systems, the company continually improves to win its game.
8. Not having a coach
All of the above points take a lot of time, energy and resources.
All great performers have great coaches, and I believe it’s almost impossible to perform well without one.
A great coach will question your beliefs and thinking from which all your actions and results are driven. They will hold you accountable to drive forward when things get difficult, and you wonder if you will ever fix big problems. They will remind you that all big problems can be resolved with a good strategy and hard work even if it takes years.
A good coach keeps you in your business game and helps you win.
Enjoy the journey
WHAT IS BOTHERING YOU?
When you start to list the things that bother you and begin to wonder how best to resolve these issues, it can be very debilitating. Procrastination sets in, and the problem continues.
How do you break this circle?
First, you need to identify the problem. The first rule of dealing with any big issue is to admit it exists. Alcoholics are first asked to admit that they are an alcoholic because they can’t move on unless they do.
The same applies here.
A good friend of mine was always moaning about cask flow in his business, and I asked him to explain why he thought it was the case. He eventually admitted that he does a lot of work before being paid for it and relied on the good nature of his customers to always pay.
Once we analysed his outstanding invoices, he saw the patterns and the folly of awaiting payment. It was uncomfortable to decide to tell all his customers, money up front please, but once he bit that bullet, he solved the issue. Yes, he lost customers, but in his post-event analysis, he admitted, ‘ I lost the right ones to lose’.
Secondly, you are best to realise that you can’t solve all your own problems. You will need others to help you or even do it for you.
‘Who’ gets things done for you, is a better tactic to employ than ‘How’.
Most of the time there are quicker, more accurate and even enthusiastic people out there that will eat your problem and solve it, fast, better and to a conclusion. This is delegation and wisdom combined.
Stop holding on to the negative issues and get those that love this work to do it for you. You’ll be freer to do what you do best and less stressed too. You’ll have more energy and be more excited about the future knowing that when you hit a wall again, you’ll know what to do about it.
Surround yourself with those that love to do what you hate. Surround yourself with people smarter than you at the things that slow you down.
So, this all begins with asking yourself and being very honest about it
- What is bothering me,
- What is slowing me down
- What is taking my energy away?
A Coach for all. Your purpose identified. Live a great life benefiting others. Get Happy.
I have a purpose to help as many people as possible engage in the process of being coached.
There are many types of coaches — Fitness, Financial, Business, Motivational and even spiritual.
Overall though a coach should be about helping you find a path that works for you, heals your failings, builds you up and engages you to find your passions. It doesn’t need to be a specific type. We are all very capable of achieving so much once we find out what it is we truly want and discover how to use that passion for a greater good or purpose.
If coaching can be boiled down to its basic elements, it would include being an encourager, a guide to a better you and a lifter of spirits.
Not all will see it this way yet in essence, if you find a new desire you hadn’t explored before, and that desire is helpful to others and makes a difference, this is something that can be infinitely rewarding and beneficial.
I remember helping a young man follow his dream to be a teacher, and the hurdles were big, the subject complicated, and, as is often the case, seemed impossible or too hard to achieve at the time. He later went on the fulfil that dream, and the catalyst for his drive was the vision of what difference it would make to others rather than to himself. The fear of failure was high. The probability was against him, yet once he’d grasped the idea of the impact it could make, coupled with even if he didn’t fully achieve his dream, he would have made a big difference. He was so determined, he did, in fact, achieve his desire.
A good coach brings out the possibilities, the motivation and the ideas that may not have been obvious on the initial analysis. This can be achieved in any field and for any person.
Schools should have life coaches. Universities, homeless centres, addict charities, the health service. ALL could benefit. ALL should have access.
My passion is helping others be the best they can be. This doesn’t need to be limited to a business, it can be for anyone. The YOU, that sits inside, that is awaiting the spark and has incredible potential for positive change, is there. It may need coaxing out or releasing, but it is there.
Some have already found it and love their lives and live according to their skills, desires, passions and purpose. Do you want to join them? A good coach will help you find that power and bring it out into the open. The how to achieve will take care of itself, once you find the true desire and drive you have for the things you wish to do. Once you find your uniqueness.
Inspire, save, unlock potential, create a big impact, enrich and many other types of descriptions come to mind. A coach is for all types of people for all reasons. A coach is a coach no matter what the subject.
What businesses are going to be the best in the future?
I was asked this at a business meeting last week, and although I thought I knew an answer, the number of different answers around the table made me question if I had even really considered it at all.
I work in a paper-heavy business and we are going through scanning 30,000 large files, to walk towards being paperless. Nothing new I hear you say. The obvious conclusion from that is programmers and scanners that relate to the many businesses that are paper and file dependent will have work for the foreseeable.
Looking through the costs and set up fees for the right scanner, software, training and servicing, it is easy to think that being in one of those is going to produce work for many years to come.
Yet the salesperson still had to contribute an understanding and interpretation, enough to help me get to grips with what I was signing this new lease contract for.
Would I be setting myself up to be trapped by the software provider, what about the scanner, after I have scanned the bulk of my files?
This thought led me to realise that the information we can find online is infinite, but the interpretation of how it works with each business is another.
One Will drafter was concerned that Wills would become digital in the years ahead. I do believe that to be so. However, the content of the electronic Will, video, signature, placement, style and even exclusions, will all need to be interpreted and structured or it can’t work.
The real work in the future is guiding. Helping people make decisions, reflection of goals, interpretation of facts, extrapolation of outcomes and even moral conjecture. These are difficult to digitise. I’d even say impossible.
The emotive foreplay before a decision is best seen through the eyes of others. Sharing ideas and weighing up the outcomes are often referred to as facilitating. This is something a coach does best.
The businesses of the future that will unlikely be replaced are creativity, coaching, teaching and motivating. Sooner or later we will find much of what we do replaced by computers. I know though that I shall be struggling to work big ideas or projects without the consultancy of wisdom from others.
I know that I rely on others motivating me and that I can get motivated by encouraging others. I’m amazed that 1+1 ideas often equals three ideas. That sharing problems halves them.
We all concluded that talking, listening, extrapolation, guiding, being a moral compass and even just asking the right questions, will all be currency of the future.
How does your business stack up to this? Is it congruent with your purpose and ethical stance? Does it fit your lifetime goals as being necessary or just wanted?
Just ask yourself, does your future look brighter knowing this?
Begin with the end in mind
‘The servers down’!!!!!
It seems like it’s the perfect excuse for not working or to take stock of the jobs that can be done when its down, that you may otherwise have decided was best not started.
Begin with the end in mind may not seem an obvious Stephen Covey quote to refer to when the server goes down, yet a recent event in my office led to the discussion about, what should we do when the satellites decide to play up.
One hour or five without the internet seem rarer these days. Our conclusion on the last event though helped us realise that we were distracted enough by our computers to have many of the ‘other jobs’ start to get behind.
One major benefit of this thinking is that it allows you to think of all that is needed for a job or project to be finished. Some of us are not good at following a job all the way through to the end, but some are.
Some of us use computers well and enjoy them. Some of us don’t.
It is helpful to think of a division of jobs that need tenacious computer types and jobs that need a tenacious other type.
A recent storage issue in one of my businesses helped me define a newer approach. Heavily paper based for over 20 years, made a big scanning project a necessity. To be frank the scanning should have been done years ago, but not being as tech based as the modern world requires, I kept putting it off.
Now I’m looking at selling this business, I am forced to face the challenge, that could have been easier had I been brave enough and thought end game more.
I ran the project by my team, and after a few ‘Luddite’ comments, I agreed I should not be the one running this. So, with the end in mind, I set the goal, I gave it to my tenacious computer-based people, and they are now charging through the job faster than I’d thought they would. With more enthusiasm than I could have mustered and with a better insight into how to get the job done than I could have. The end I have in mind seems so much closer.
I love the concept of sharing goals, getting the right people doing the right jobs, getting a deadline agreed and overall, delegating things that are just not my forte.
Waiting until the server is down, to discover what you can do without these amazing things called computers is not the best strategy. The jobs that are needed to be completed to get a project finished are best split between those that can be best at doing them.
Remember the differing versions of style of skills and mindsets you have at your disposal and if “begin with the end in mind” becomes an ingrained habit, you will get there so much quicker.
I look forward to next satellite wobble and its effects.
Letting go of the past and moving on
It is never easy to let go of a secure hand or foothold but to be blunt, how can you possibly climb the wall unless you do?
It takes faith in the new foothold and belief that it will take you to a better position. Until you let go, you’ll never know.
Imagine looking at a climbing wall and seeing climbers stuck in the middle. You shout and encourage them to move on, but they stubbornly say ‘I can’t’ or ‘I won’t because I’m afraid’.
You can see the goal ahead of them, but their face is pressed against the wall, and they can’t see what you see. They will stay there until they fall off or die.
Sometimes people around them are saying the same thing, and they are stuck too! They keep each other stuck by saying, be careful, don’t let go, you may fall off! It might be worse on the next foothold. So, they feel reassured that it best to stay where they are.
Occasionally, people come from below, and pass them and ask as they pass, ‘why are you staying there?’ They can’t understand why people would play it so safe they would sacrifice the rest of their lives in order not to take a risk. Some do fall off, and it scares the ones rigidly hanging on. Some of those who fell, get back on and still climb past them. Some are never heard of again. From the perspective of the hanger on it is frightening.
The coach has climbed that wall already. The coach is at the bottom or in the middle or at the top, offering advice, encouragement, and being the positive ‘, you can do it’
Some coaches are watching from a distance so that they can see the goal, the hurdles, the best strategies and the dangers. They are like your Sat Nav in life. My Sat Nav in the car sometimes says’ Your route has been altered due to the current traffic situation’. Being stuck on the climbing wall of life is like saying to your sat nav, well I don’t care, I’m just going to carry on doing what I have always done.
It’s strange, but that is how some people live their lives. Whether that’s based on fear, laziness, apathy, contentment or even just plain stupidity, at some point, in order to move on, or climb, you need to let go. Deciding what to let go of is part of the solution. Listening to those that have been there and done it is another.
The story of the spider monkey comes to mind when I think of the amount that we give up, by just not letting go of what is holding us back.
The poor spider monkey is a beautiful creature, that is traded as a pet all over the world. They are hard to catch in the wild, without hurting them. So, us ever ingenious humans came up with a way to catch them that is based on their greed and physique.
Their hands are like clubs on the end of a very skinny arm. They love nuts as a natural part of their diet, and this is their unfortunate demise. To capture one, all you need to do is put a thin-necked sturdy bottle in a strong box and put a few nuts in it. The spider monkey can smell them and reaches in to grab some. He loves them so much, he will not let go of them, and his big hand is now too big to pull out of the bottle. He is trapped. His captor then puts a chain on him and he is no longer free. The captor breaks the bottle, because he knows the spider money will not let go.
The monkey has not only given up his freedom for the rest of his life, but it was for only a few nuts which he could have let go and still be free.
What are you holding on to? What do you need to let go of?
Who could help you identify what it is and has the wisdom to reason with you, to ally your fears?
A coach offers this and more.
Should I put a hammer through my TV? – The life-changing power of rituals
Ok, I admit this is a rhetorical question as my significant other would go mad if I actually did it. However, spending what I consider to be too much time watching TV has been a bad habit I have unsuccessfully tried to crack for a long time. The failure to date does, however, teach me something about building good habits and using the power of rituals to help embed them.
Therefore this post is a live example of how I intend to crack this particular nut.
I have just returned from 18 days on my honeymoon in the Greek Islands which both Heather and I love visiting. Heather and I finally got married after living together for 22 years. – Don’t ask.
As I had just got married, I thought would be a good time for a life review. I started by reviewing my life goals in all the different areas using the wheel of life system. I then wrote down habits that would help me achieve the desired outcomes.
During the time on flights and ferries between islands, I decided to set up some rituals to embed all of those excellent habits into my life. Ok, so I get many coaches would tell you to concentrate on one habit at a time which is good advice. However, I thought I would try a different approach and try and instil a whole range of habits at the same time by using the “don’t break the chain” method. This is simply recording on an app or spreadsheet whether you took action on an intended habit or not on any given day. You then review at the end of every week and month which ones were not getting done and then exploring what was stopping you.
So, for instance, I want to be fit, healthy and highly energetic and be able to ski and kitesurf well until I am at least 90. So that’s the broad goal. This type of goal is different to a SMART goal as it has no specific timeline but is ongoing for as long as I live. The question I asked myself is – What habits must I embed to achieve that goal and how do I ensure that I follow through 95% of the time. This is where the power of rituals come in.
Rituals are a set of habits which fit together and are implemented together in the same order on a daily basis. The idea is that the habits you may already have in place help you jump start into a new one you are trying to build. The power arises from the fact that as you do one habit directly followed by another in the same order and for the same length of time. The series of habits become a habit in itself.
There is a comfort in rituals, and rituals provide a framework for stability when you are trying to find answers. -Deborah Norville
Before setting any goals, the first question is to have clarity in my mind of a strong enough reason why I want to achieve the goal. If you have enough motivation, it should be easier to take the required action.
So WHY stop watching most TV habitually?
Ok, I do watch some interesting documentaries from which I learn some useful information. However, the majority of TV is not at all beneficial except as possible relaxation.
The vast majority of the time I spend doing it is not aligned with my life purpose which should be reason enough. However, it has other knock-on effects. The problem is once I settle in I don’t stop until bedtime and sometimes past my set bedtime which stops me from getting enough sleep. Worse still this longer stretch of TV time is also a trigger to eat unhealthy snacks.
So as I have decided (and it’s a proper MUST DO decision) to only watch prerecorded programs for say 1 hour a night at most – How do I implement?
So I bought a “don’t break the chain” app for my phone called Habit Bull. It’s simple and effective. I then set up all these rituals on it.
As an example – The following are my current morning rituals – “Fit body and Mind” rituals
Fit body ritual – 2 hour
- The alarm goes off at 6 am every day so get up immediately
- Plug in my phone to charge it to the max for the day
- Go to the bathroom, take out my overnight contact lenses and clean them stringently
- Put on my training clothes and have a glass of filtered water
- 5 minutes – Go outside and skip as a warm-up
- 15 mins – Go to my Home Gym and do my mobility/ flexibility routine
- 30 minutes train hard 4 days/3 days stretch instead – See My training routine
- 5 minutes stretch after training days
- 20 minutes of meditation for breath recovery
- 10 minutes Win Hof Breathing
- Make the wife a cup of tea
- Drink a glass of water with a half teaspoon of Pink Himalaya salt to wash down my supplements – on my strict real food diet I get little other salt
- A warm shower followed by 4 minutes of a fully cold shower
- Shave, brush my teeth, tidy my bedroom and get dressed for work or weekend
- 8 am ready to rock and roll my day.
Fit Mind ritual (already started with Meditation, Win Hof and Cold shower) – 1 hour +
- 10 mins Gratefullenss diary
- 15 minutes Journal
- 30 minutes blog or book writing
- 5 minutes check this month personal and professional goals
- 15 mins – plan the day on Trello
- My team start work at 9.30 – so 15 mins leeway built in.
So what all the above to do with giving up TV?
So besides just being a waste of my life, I mentioned staying up too late and or eating unhealthy snacks. They both have a negative impact as I don’t have the energy for my morning Fit Body and Mind rituals. If I don’t get up at 6 am, there is simply not enough time to get all my scheduled activities in, and it throws out my day.
I do have some afternoon rituals like writing which I try and keep to, but they get disrupted for various reasons. In my opinion, it is more effective that important habits and rituals are set to be implemented before the working day and after the working day. Like many people, my working day has to be highly flexible. I have to fit in seminars, training for myself and my team and seeing clients in and out of the office. This all serves to make my schedules for each week different making it difficult to stick to regular habits.
So my challenge is to set up and stick to an evening ritual for the evenings when I am not out on a social event. This is currently more difficult as after dinner at 7 pm I feel I have less energy than at the start of the day. However, this may also just be a limiting belief I need to work on
The following is a proposed 2-hour “Skills” ritual for the evening to substitute for watching TV. This will still leave around an hour to catch up on anything worthwhile
- 15 minutes Win Hof breathing – to generate more energy
- 30 minutes of ukulele practice
- 30 minutes of book or blog research
- 30 minutes of language learning practice
- 15 minutes meditation
Hopefully all of the above gives you an idea on how to set up and use the power of rituals as a strategy for integrating excellent habits into your life.
Enjoy the Journey
Muhammad Ali – Inspirational thoughts
Muhammad Ali – I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
I must admit to being very surprised when I first came across this quote. “Hated every minute of training?” and yet he still went on to become what many would regard as the greatest boxer who ever lived? He was certainly an icon who transcended his sport.
Muhammad Ali must have spent thousands of hours training to become the best at what he did. This training is a testament to his basic beliefs. If you want outstanding results in your field of endeavour you have to train long and hard.
Many business owners wonder why their business is not progressing. They believe it should be performing better. And yet they have spent very little time training as opposed to “fighting in their ring.” They seem to believe their business is completely different to all other businesses. They ignore the benefits of a great training and coaching program.
This is a misplaced point of view. Every business may indeed be different. Indeed, every athlete is different. If those athletes want to become great, the same principles of coaching apply to all athletes. In business, the same applies. Coaching will help you to develop as a person and a business owner.
How much time do you spend in the training zone?
How much time do you spend in the performance zone?
The training zone gives you help and feedback to improve your skills. In the performance zone, you have to achieve excellent results.
Nobody wants to have an operation done by a surgeon who is in training.
You want him to have trained to an excellent standard beforehand and then produce outstanding performance in your operation.
Allow yourself time to train to be the best you can be. This investment in yourself is the best investment you can make.
The results of such a change will have a huge positive impact on your life and business profitability.
If every great athlete like Muhammad Ali in the world has a coach why don’t you?
Do you know your clients? Yes, but do you really know?
We often think we know our businesses, and its true most us have a handle on the numbers and the history. However, Sir Clive Woodward, at a recent conference talked about ‘The Data’, and the story behind the data is not often a true explanation of the facts.
Get the Facts. Truly, deep down can’t get any more data Facts.
You can look at your ROFE, yet behind that could be just a handful of great profitable customers that are masking the truth behind the vacuum of profit customer. Averages help get an overview but break them down and the character of the good bad and the ugly, start to show.
Ask your team, who is a pain to deal with, and why is that so. A client may serve you better by being referred to a nearby competitor. That client may have come from them in the first place.
I remember letting a client go once, and he was horrified. He got quite angry too. So, I explained to him that my average customer spent 20 hours a month of my time and gave me £300,000 turnover a year. I explained that my profit from my average customer was £100,000. On the other hand, he gave me 30 hours work a month and only contributed to £80,000 to my turnover.
Once I had explained the ‘Facts’ to him he calmed down and realised why I was making the decision and that had he known more, he would have looked at what I offered differently.
The result with this client was that I offered to charge him an hourly rate. He declined as he knew he could go and take advantage of a competitor, without paying the fees for his time. So, we agreed to no longer work together.
Unless I had got to the bottom of his way of dealing with us and backed it up with enough comparable facts, I may have continued to be bossed around by this client. It turns out the staff loved that I had ‘let him go’ because he was the proverbial heart sinker. A double win.
Working with clients you like is always a bonus. Ones that are profitable as well make a great business.
The sweet spot of what you offer is one number crunching exercise. Looking at clients who could be ten times more profitable than your average is another.
Which of your clients have the capacity to do so much more? Fewer clients to deal with could be a new option. The numbers will reveal them.
It could be that your top clients are not top clients. It could be that your low turnover/profit clients are capable of so much more, or, would refer you to others that can. Getting to know your clients in depth is important.
By getting ALL the numbers, the decisions are so much easier.
Yes, it felt good to remove Mr Pain. It was easier than I thought because I had got the facts. Numbers never lie if you dig deep enough.
So do you know your clients well enough?
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