Browsing Category: "Virtual Team Building"

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?

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.

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!

Virtual Team Building for the Experienced Coach

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009 | Business Life, Uncategorized, Virtual Team Building with 3 Comments

As I continue on my business building journey, I’m reading and exploring what it is that experienced coaches need to keep growing their already successful businesses.  A couple weeks ago, I stumbled upon an amazing new take, written by Melanie Benson-Strick.  If you don’t know Melanie, she is the “Million Dollar Lifestyle Business Coach.”  Melanie has some awesome resources on how to build an effective team and she’s very experienced at working with coaches to help them build successful businesses.  Let’s face it, who DOESN’T want a million dollar coaching business?

Anyway, let me get back to the point.  Melanie has written a new “The CEO Factor Manifesto” that is extremely valuable for any coach who is looking to build a 6 or 7 figure business.  As I read through this manifesto, I noticed all the permissions it gave me to be creative, do what I want to do in business, and keep building my business “as if” I was already at that 6 or 7 figure mark.  Not only that, she gives some great ideas on how to build a team that is effective for you, where you can sit back and do what you want to do, instead of spending all your time managing.

My favorite part is that Melanie really gets to the heart of structuring a business to support your lifestyle and who you are.  It’s so important that we remember life comes first and business comes second when we are so passionate about our business and it’s so close to our hearts.  I really love the way Melanie takes the idea of outsourcing and helps you grasp the mindset needed to create an effective team.  I will probably read that pdf 100 times over.  Honestly, I think any virtual business owner needs to read this manifesto.  Go download it at http://www.theceofactormanifesto.com.

Let me know what you think!  I’d like to hear what you, as a coach, gleen from this incredibly helpful piece of information!

Virtual Team Building and Social Networks

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009 | Social Networking, Virtual Team Building with 1 Comment

My colleague (and project management resource queen), Kim Beasley, has inspired me to write about building a team using social networks. Kim (http://twitter.com/kimbeasley) asked her Twitter Network about their experience using social networks to build their virtual teams.  Of course, I jumped right in, as I’ve built my team MOSTLY through social networks.

As a virtual business owner it’s important to bring in team members that I can relate to, work with, and who ALSO have the required skills.  Social networks allow me to find out a lot of information before I even interview the candidate.  Here’s the deal!  Social networks are “social.”  So, I get to know who a potential team member is, as a person, before I approach them.  I listen carefully to what they say on social networks.  If I agree with their advice to others, I know that we have a lot in common.  I also learn about their skill sets.  You see how this is a valuable place?

There comes a point in every coaching business where you need some help with the backend work of your business.  As your business grows and changes, there’s a second level where you need more advanced help in your business.  It’s no longer just about the skill level of your team.  It’s also about how much responsibility your team is willing to own.  It’s about whether they can take initiative and do things without asking. Many will turn to fellow coaches for referrals, which is a great place to start.  Even if you have a referral, it’s good to do your own legwork, because what works for one coach may not work for another (I’ve seen that mistake all too often in the coaching industry…it’s killer on the pocket book).  So, I suggest you get on your social networks and start doing your research.

Relying on social networks to learn about your potential team member can answer your questions.  If this candidate is answering advanced questions about simple topics then you have a pretty good clue that they know the skills.  Then listen for the moments when they start talking about overall business concepts…do you agree?  Are you connecting with this person?  Ask some very pointed questions of this candidate through the networks.  USE your social networks to screen your team BEFORE you get them on the phone.  It’ll make that interview process a lot simpler and you’ll know by the end of the call whether you want to hire that person or not.

Kim asked her Twitter network 8 questions and has created a whole blog series around those answers, so I suggest you also read her blog posts to gather more information about building and managing your virtual team.  Start with the first one at http://www.projectmanagement411.com/using-social-media-to-build-your-virtual-project-management-team-part-1/.

What are your thoughts on social networks and team building?  Do you have any questions?  I’d love to hear form you.