Browsing Category: "Small Business Management"

Why you don’t want a yes man(or woman)

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011 | Virtual Team Building with No Comments »

noAs a coach you want to get your message out into the world and make a living doing it, right?  Great!  If you want the most effective marketing money can buy, you are going to have to stop hiring people who will do whatever you say.   It’s only going to get you as far as you could go on your own.  Wait!  Isn’t the purpose of hiring people to help you go farther than you would on your own?  Don’t you want your team members to move you forward?  Well, a yes man (or woman) is not going to do it for you.

Here are two big drawbacks to just hiring yes people:

1) Yes people don’t share - Most people in this category keep to them selves.  They have their nose in their computers and are doing what they are told.  They don’t ask questions and they don’t speak up when they have an idea or even when they know something of value.  This keeps you where you are.  There is information at your finger tips inside your yes persons brain, but they aren’t sharing.  So, you have no new information to help you make an educated decision.

2)  Yes people are focused on the small picture - “Yes, I can take care of that for you.”  How often have you heard that?  You probably loved it!  You relax and think…”Whew, now I don’t have to worry about that.”  Ah, but you do have to worry about that.  You’re going to see it when it’s finished.  Your yes person is going to send their piece back to you and oops…somethings missing.  Or oops we forgot to mention….  Or oops …..  Now how much time are you spending on fixing, adding, changing etc…?  How much time are you spending on communication?  How much money are you spending on getting the fix done?  Wouldn’t you have rather had everything thought out in advance so that when it comes back, it’s done?  Hmmm….yes people are focused on the task at hand.  They aren’t looking at where that small task fits into the larger marketing picture.  So, of course there are going to be things they don’t know or don’t realize needed to be included.  They just did what you asked them to, without thinking about where that piece of marketing was going.

I know, you love your yes people!  They DO have a place in your business.  They are the grease in your wheels and keep the systems running smoothly.  Just remember that someone needs to keep their eye on the big picture of your marketing, question your philosophies and provide you with valuable information, thoughts and ideas that will move your business forward.

How much more productive and successful would you be if you had a partner instead of a yes person?

A partner will own their half of the relationship.  Someone who is willing to stand for you and what you want to accomplish in your business is going to push you and help you grow in your marketing.    A “no” in service of making your marketing better is going to increase your results.  A partner who honors their own time and says “no” to give themselves room to do things RIGHT, is going to prevent a majority of mistakes.

I say “no” a lot to my clients.  It’s always in service of improving their marketing.  I’m not one to shut up and do what I’m told…just ask my Mom.  There’s a much bigger part of this though that’s way closer to my heart.  I can’t sit idly by when I know there’s something a coach could do differently to increase their reach and change more lives.

Do you have partners or yes people working with you in your business?

Planning to leave your biz for a trip or vacation?

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009 | Implementation planning, Small Business Management with No Comments »

As you know I’ve been taking quite a bit of time away from my business office this month.  I was on vacation the first week of the month and today, I leave to attend Marketing to Millionaires.

It is kind of uncomfortable to take that much time away.  Just like so many solopreneurs, I wonder what my team will do if something they’ve never tackled before comes up.  I worry that I forgot to give them something.  This is all par for the course before I leave, but I DO leave and I DO forget about what’s going on while I’m away.  I have to trust that my team can handle whatever comes in while I’m away.  Otherwise, I’d never enjoy it!

That doesn’t mean that I just throw my hands up in the air and say “I’m outta here!”.  In order to ease my mind as much as I can, I have a lot to do in preparation for leaving.  I spent the majority of last month preparing to be out of the office all but 6 business days in October.  So, I know what it takes to get there.  I’m hoping it will help you as well.  So, I thought I’d share with you my vacation preparation strategies.

1)  Do your writing and marketing in advance - Okay, I’m going to admit that I wrote this newsletter in the middle of September (but I did reread it before it went out and edited just a little bit).  This keeps my marketing going even though I have no time to do it this month.  I always tell my clients that consistency is the key to successful marketing.  So, writing out your marketing in advance and scheduling it to go out while you’re gone can keep that consistency for you.

If you have someone helping you with your marketing, make sure you get it to them early and let them know it’s coming early.  That way they know it’s supposed to wait until the time you are away and it’s not in addition to your usual marketing.

If you don’t write it out in advance, at least let peopel know what’s up. As you see, my previous post  on this blog tells you that I may or may not be posting for the month.  It’s kind of a heads up.  That lets people know where you are, so they don’t wonder and leave really quick.

2) Have a team member in place - My Project Manager, Carrie, works very closely with me on a regular basis.  She knows what needs to get done when it comes to helping my clients with their work.  My clients are already familiar with her and have had communication with her fairly regularly.  This  makes Carrie the obvious choice to take over in my absence.

Now, as a coach, I understand you may not have someone like this in place.  I think it’s important to have someone who can handle your administrative duties though.  Someone who schedules appointments, handles follow-up with potential clients when they need more information and can handle the intake process for you once a client decides to work with you.  This team member will have already had a connection with your clients.  So when you are away, they can easily answer e-mails or phone calls as they come in for you.

3)  Schedule a meeting with your helper - Whoever you decide to have help you, make sure you speak to them before you leave.  Cover all the reasons someone would contact you and give them a process for responding.  Give them all the resources they would need to get someone started working with you, in case someone wants to move forward.  Give them any numbers for people that help you with your business in case they need it.  Give them permission to use their best judgment and allow them to make decisions if necessary.  This way you don’t come back to a line of people waiting to hear from you.  Some of them can be taken care of and on their way.

4)  Technology and e-mail - Give your helper access to the back side of your e-mail.  Either through the cpanel or a login to webmail.  Allow your helper to delete junk mail in that back end.  Give them permission to delete newsletters, advertisements, and announcements from online communities etc….  That way it never touches your inbox.  That way you come back ONLY to e-mails that are important.  This will keep you from inbox overload. You will quickly be able to jump back in and respond to people in the first day.

5)  Plan some time to get back in the groove - When you go away, you need to give yourself some time to catch up once you return.  I’m going to be away for most of October, so I’m taking the week after I return to catch up.  I have no calls scheduled.  I made sure I didn’t promise anyone I’d get them something that week.  I have absolutely nothing going on that week by design.  This will not only allow me to get caught up, but it also gives me time to start implementing all that I learn from the event I’m attending.  So, think about what you will want and need to do once you return and schedule accordingly.  Don’t get back and jump right in or you’ll be in overload so fast your head will spin.

I do these 5 things every time I step away from my business.  I have saved myself a lot of headaches by doing so.  When I come back, I know that I will be able to handle catching up.  While I’m away, I know my business is in good hands and that things are getting done.  This helps me get over any doubts I have about whether I can take time away from my business.  I hope it will also help you.

Are there other preparations you make?  What helps you know you can safely step away from your business?  What challenges do you have?

Manager or Admin? 7 tips for knowing the difference that will save time and money.

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009 | Virtual Team Building with No Comments »

I am constantly having to explain to potential clients that there is a different between what we do as a marketing implementation management team and what an assistant does.  So, I decided to ask Melanie Benson Strick to explain it for me.  Especially since Melanie is the team building queen for 6 and 7 figure businesses!  Here is her insightful explanation.

Have you ever outsourced a job or delegated a task only to find that it didn’t go the way you wanted? Maybe you realized half-way through the job that you were spending a lot more time involved than you wanted to be.

Been accused of being a micro-manager when you’ve tried to delegate? Having fear of the task not being done properly you probably checked in three times a day and told the person exactly what step to take, giving them no room to use their best skills on the job.

Rest assured that it may not be you. These could be signs that you have the wrong type of support for the job. And I’m not talking skills or competency as much as the level of ownership the person can or will take to complete the task at hand.

Knowing whether a “manager” or an “administrator” is the right resource for you can have a significant impact on your bottom line, sanity and the level of time freedom you actually experience in your delegation strategy.

A manager tends to be more experienced and has ownership. The manager will take an entire project or role from start to finish with little to no guidance. Managers tend to charge a higher rate but also free you up entirely to focus on other tasks.

An administrator is typically responsible for a set of tasks. Most need a lot of direction because they are only exposed to part of the entire sequence of events. Administrators tend to charge a lower rate, are technically competent but because they aren’t “big picture thinkers” need very specific guidelines and details.

If you have your eyes set on six figures and beyond, you need BOTH on your team to grow quickly and be able to keep your focus on your most valuable activities.

Here are some guidelines to follow when you want each type of resource:

You need a manager when you:

  • Are launching a new event, program or product so someone else can oversee all the details and get things done on time
  • Have many administrators you delegate to who need day-to-day guidance
  • Need someone else to focus on taking the vision and goals and assigning them to others
  • Aren’t good at taking the idea and turn it into an actionable step-by-step plan

You need an administrator when you:

  • Have a lot of little tasks that need attended to (like filing, answering phones, handling emails, etc.)
  • Need tasks completed that can be delegated via a procedure, checklist or specific plan of action steps
  • Notice that your manager has too much on their plate to be effective

WARNING:

Because most small business owners or solopreneurs don’t think they need or can afford a manager, THEY become the manager – which isn’t a role they are very good at to begin with. And it certainly isn’t a passion for most entrepreneurs to plan and follow up on deadlines.

As you continue to grow, use these guidelines to help you select the right kind of support for the jobs you will be delegating. It can make the difference between getting to your desired goals quickly and feeling like your team is moving at a snails pace.

Melanie Benson Strick, CEO of Success Connections

Melanie Benson Strick, CEO of Success Connections

Melanie helps entrepreneurs implement proven leverage strategies to their business so they can create more money, freedom and prestige. If you are still doing everything yourself, it’s time to Discover 101 Ways to Double Your Revenue and Time Off by Doing What You Do Best (and Delegating the Rest). Claim your FREE report now at http://www.successconnections.com/101ways.

Invest in your business and yourself!

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 | Business Life, Small Business Management with No Comments »

Okay, so I’m NOT one of these people who runs out and attends every seminar I can get to in a year.  I don’t enroll in programs.  I RARELY even purchase e-books or home study courses.  I’m a one-on-one kinda gal and I’ve invested in a coach to keep me moving in my business, help me find what I need to work on, and support me in gaining the information that’s necessary along the way.  HOWEVER….

I have been known to occasionally invest in my education to further my business.  A couple years ago I felt a deep desire to attend coaching school at CTI and I went through the 5 weekends of core training.  This was a HUGE investment of time and money that paid off tremendously!  I expanded my skills and integrated coaching into my consulting, which has allowed me to advance the services we offer.  Not only that, I gained some major confidence in my relationship with my husband and in my business.  So, it was personally a very big growth moment for me.

Just last month, I decided to invest in my education and learn more about marketing to my clientelle by attending Kelly O’Neil’s Marketing to Millionaires Retreat.  I am NOT someone who typically makes purchases without having the money in the bank to be able to pay it off.  HOWEVER…I’ve decided the investment is worth it!!  Here’s the deal.  I know what it takes to market a business.  I know how to attract the clients that I worked with when I first started my business.  Over the last couple years I’ve been moving towards this higher earning target market.  I’ve been getting a straggling client here and there, but I’ve not been NEARLY as successful as I have in the past.  So, I know there are a couple things at work here.

First, is my LACK mentality.  Yes, even positive people have lack mentality, at times.  I’ve been unwilling to invest in the resources that are necessary to attract this market.  So, I know I need to start investing or I’ll just keep convincing myself that I can’t afford anything and I’ll stay where I am.

Second is my level of understanding.  I don’t earn (on a yearly NET basis) what my clients earn, so I have no idea what it’s like to be them.  I can’t get into their heads and look at what they are thinking about their purchases.  I also don’t understand what their struggles are as much as I did my previous target market.  I most certainly know my work and what I can do for them, but I don’t know how to help them understand that.  In order to be able to produce effective marketing materials, I know this retreat is needed.

I know I will learn what I need to learn and that this investment is about so much more than education.  It’s also going to help me grow and get out of lack mentality.  There is a time to invest in your business and, I believe, it coincides with when we need to grow as business owners.  I don’t believe in going out and spending tons of money on credit just to learn everything I can learn, regardless of whether I know I need it or not.  I DO believe in investing in my business when I have a sneaky suspicion it will get me out of the mental lull when I feel myself moving towards getting stuck there.

Invest wisely, but make sure it’s an investment that will not only move your business, but move YOU as well.

What are your thoughts on investing for self as well as business?  Leave a comment and let me know.  I’d love to hear from you.

Coaches. Don’t hire marketing help!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 | Virtual Team Building with No Comments »

Pardon the rant, but I really feel this needs to be said.

There is a serious problem in the coaching industry! Coaches are spending their money on marketing help before they are ready.

When a coach starts their business, they typically have no money or just enough money to sustain their business while it gets off the ground. All too often, a new coach hears more experienced coaches talk about how a Virtual Assistant (VA) was helpful. So, the new coach sets out to hire a VA to start helping with the marketing technology. BIG mistake!!! Most new coaches don’t even know HOW to market their business, let alone tell someone else what they need done! This is a huge COSTLY mistake. New coaches end up running in circles with their marketing, because they are spending all their money on assistance that supports running in circles. If you want to free up time, start with an Administrative VA and a bookkeeping VA. Then customer service.  Hire a marketing coach or consultant to help you learn what strategies are going to work for your business and for YOU, as the business owner.

Once you’ve learned how to market your business and your administrative needs are met, you can look at investing in marketing help. Now, let me clarify, I’m not saying skip the web designer or the copywriter! Those people can seriously boost a new business and they are worth the investment from the beginning! When I say Marketing Help, I’m referring to someone (or a team) who manages your marketing systems, puts your copy into technology, and spreads your marketing around to all those places where potential clients will see it.

Marketing help should come in at the point where you are saying “no” to incoming clients, or ignoring opportunities to create more programs, because you are spending your time on marketing. Hire marketing help when doing your own marketing is getting in the way of earning a higher income.

Plan to invest! When you hire marketing help, you will be investing in results that you may not see for 6 months to a year. At this point your income level should be in or near the 6-figure range. Expect to invest 10% of your income on marketing help.  If you don’t have the income to support this kind of investment for a year, then you have no business hiring marketing help.  Raise your rates or put together some group coaching.  Whatever you need to do to increase your income, before you go adding marketing help to your business.

Now, the next biggest mistake I see is coaches who get to this point, then they use their newly found free time to focus on more areas of marketing. No! Please don’t do that!!! Obviously, at this point the marketing you’ve been doing has brought in clients. Keep bringing in clients with the same consistent marketing for the first year you work with marketing help. USE that free time to create new higher earning programs, take on more one-on-one clients, etc… The Coaches’ job at this point is to participate in income-generating activities only!!! This will boost your business that first year and provide the income to sustain your marketing investment.

THEN, after that first year, you can start adding new modes of marketing, but the marketing team should be executing it! You see, once marketing help comes on board, you should only be creating the initial concept for the marketing, and writing 1st drafts of copy. The marketing team should be handling the rest, so you can continue focusing on income-generating activities.  Do you see how important that first period of doing it yourself is?  By the time you get here, you have to KNOW what it takes to market your business.  You have to KNOW your systems well enough to be able to make decisions that work for your business before you can tell someone else what to do with your marketing!

In order for your marketing team to take over, you can’t just hire anyone. You must scrutinize over who will provide marketing help. Cheapest isn’t always best! You must make sure your marketing helper(s) have experience, a personality you want to work closely with, and the ability to do the work that will come in the future. Hire for tomorrow, NOT today!  You’ll save time and money if you go this route.  In hiring for what is affordable right now, you are setting yourself up to have to hire other people later.  Why not get that professional team in place now, so they can learn your business and move it forward faster?

At the point you are ready to hire marketing help, you MUST be great at marketing your business, and have a vision for what you want your business to look like in 1, 3, 5, 10 years or more. Otherwise your marketing help is just going to support a stagnant business and a coach who runs around in circles with their marketing.

For more resources and support to help you build a team that saves you time while increasing your income, check out Melanie Benson Strick’s amazing resources at Success Connections.

Comments? Questions? Leave your comment on this post!