The world has become a disaster zone and everywhere you look, things appear to be coming apart at the seams. Or are they?
“Things can be both bad and better.”
This is a concept that Hans Rosling espoused as a way to mitigate against the overdramatic reporting that saturates our media outlets.
We’re constantly at war. There is consistent violence. There are natural disasters happening everywhere. Corruption is festering in every corner. It makes sense that these are the things journalists focus on – they’re dramatic and make for a juicer news story to attract attention.
But it’s not an accurate view, or more, not a complete one. In 1966, around 50% of the world was living in abject poverty. In 2017, that number fell to 9%. Rosling gives more examples of ways the world has “gotten better” in his article in The Guardian.
The point is not to say that things are all rainbows and butterflies – there are still problems to be fixed. But we have also achieved a lot. Things being ‘bad’ does not necessarily exclude the fact that they are ‘better’.
This is an important mindset for successful entrepreneurs to adopt when they are considering their business ‘health’ as well.
There will inevitably be tough times in your business. There will be moments when you look around and it feels like things are falling apart. A key team member has quit. A metric on your dashboard is on the decline. A big deal didn’t go through.
Our natural biological instincts are to focus on the things that are going wrong as that encourages us to fix them. Unfortunately, business owners can sometimes take this to an extreme such that they cannot see anything else. And that leads to demotivation and disengagement. The feeling that “maybe I’m not good enough at this.”
It’s important to take the time – especially towards the end of a quarter or a year – to reflect on what you have achieved and how far you have come. When you start to panic, practice saying to yourself, “Am I actually doing better than I was doing last year? Have I made positive improvements?”
You can then start to really single out the areas that actually need your attention, without feeling overwhelmed by unnecessary stress.
I reinforce this idea at consulting sessions by asking clients an important question, which you should ask yourself each week too:
What was your top achievement this week?
So, what was your top achievement this week?
Sometimes you need someone outside your sphere to help show you the sun that’s hiding behind the clouds. It’s one of the functions that business consultants serve – besides helping identify strategies for growth.
Mood is important. Let us know how you’re feeling and let’s see if there’s a way we can get you over the hurdles to take your business to the next level.
If you would like to hear more about this please feel free to get in touch below.
One of my clients asked a very prudent question recently: how do you adjust goals at each quarterly review?
If you’re smashing targets, is the answer to reach higher? If you’re not meeting targets, do you push harder, or do you revise them down?
There’s no single answer, but there is an important concept that needs to be kept in mind in your decision making.
Inspired from The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg – when thinking about your goals remember that “small wins over time achieve big success.”
If you engage in any kind of business consultant or business consultancy, goal planning will almost certainly be central to developing a clear strategy. It is a consistent module at the quarterly Strategic Growth Intensives we do with our clients and guest business owners.
Steering that boat usually involves setting KPIs for each of your team members that contribute to your business’s overall performance.
So, we come to that initial question – how do you adjust your goals at each quarterly review?
If you’re smashing your goals, it doesn’t actually make sense to move the goal posts. That isn’t motivating for your team. Look at the quote above. You aren’t looking to constantly raise the bar – you’re looking to set realistic goals that can be achieved over time to achieve the big success you are ultimately looking for.
And if you are not meeting your goals, then it is wise to review and revise them down. Set achievable, realistic goals and as your team achieves each small win, they will be more motivated to achieve the next and the next. It is ok to recognise the initial goals were unrealistic after assessing some real, well-measured data.
Whatever your situation, when setting goals, make sure you keep in mind that it is those small, realistic wins that will keep your business moving steadily forward and upward.
Download your Personal Goals template for free
Business goals should be informed by your personal goals. Why are you running a business if it is not contributing to what you want in life?
Your sales process should be unique. And it should have a certain number of steps that is optimal for your business and your audience.
But no matter which step you are looking at in your process, there is one critically important tool you should be using every time…
“Your best tool in sales is the Question.” – Shweta Jhajharia
Your sales process may run for whatever time period you think is suitable – could be a week, a few weeks, a month. Whatever it is, you should have a clear set of steps, and you should be in control of carrying your prospect from one touch point to the next.
A way to do that is to use powerful questions at every step in your process. You need to use questions to highlight the pains that your prospects have and illuminate how your product or service solves those problems.
When you master the art of asking the right questions, you will almost certainly find your conversions happening at a greater speed, and with far less stress and anxiety.
Get Help With Your Sales Process
You don’t have to struggle with your sales process alone. Request a free session with us, and let us know that sales is your main issue.
We can then tailor a completely free session that’s all about your sales process, so you can get a taste of whether our business consulting strategies are suitable for you or not.
Business growth is often thought to come hand-in-hand with new, novel and exciting ideas.
However, in my experience, most business owners need a reminder of an important strategy when it comes to creating business growth…
“Repetition is a form of change.”
This was a reminder that I mentioned during one of our group consultant calls with our clients. I was reminding them that at the start of every quarter, you need to sit down with your team and have a quarterly planning meeting. You need to communicate to them how the business is progressing, where you are heading in the coming quarter, and what their ongoing goals and KPIs are.
Many business owners think they need something new and exciting to talk about, to entertain their team. However, I believe in this: you need to repeat the fundamentals, the values, the goals, the activities, the incentives. Because it is only when you repeat things a certain number of times that people start to get the hang of what you are trying to say.
And while that especially applies to your communication standard with your team, you can apply this to every aspect of your business. Your own repetition of learning the fundamentals of business will give you the mastery you need to take your business to the next level.
To change your business, perhaps it is not new ideas you need, but systems of repetition to reinforce the foundations that will support the growth you seek.
Need a check that you’ve got the fundamentals?
Businessconsultants are there to help remind you of the foundations that you need to make sure are set up in your business to facilitate growth.
During the first, complimentary session with us, we will help highlight any areas where you are immediately able to strengthen and enhance your foundations.
A client recently asked me about what they should do when their team members are consistently not meeting deadlines.
My answer probably wasn’t quite what they were expecting.
“Communication is the response that you get.”
You can focus on what your team members are not doing, and what they should be doing. You can try to think about ‘motivation’ strategies and improving productivity, to get them to see the value in their work, to help them understand what their contribution means to the business.
However, everything has to start from you – as the leader, business owner or key team member.
If you are getting a certain response from your team, such as them not meeting deadlines, then the first thing I would like you to do is reflect on your communication.
This may sound harsh to some leaders, but this is where taking ownership and accountability comes in. How effectively are you communicating what you would like your team members to do?
When you start with your ‘being’ – assessing your own behaviour, actions and understanding first – you will have done 80% of the work in ‘motivating’ your team members to do what they are supposed to do.
Want to be the best leader you can be?
Take a look at what a complimentary business strategy session could offer you. The idea is to find out which growth strategies could work best in your business.
We review your business and highlight any areas where we could help you do even better. You choose to either take the information and improve your business yourself or commit to ongoing consulting. Your choice: no obligation, no pressure.
Most business owners I speak to want to see themselves as winners.
But is winning your only option or is it a ‘nice to have’?.
“Everyone wants to win. Some people refuse to lose.”
This is something I’ve often reminded clients of in my business consulting sessions. Wanting to win is often a great way to move forward in business. However, time and again, the game changes to one of persistence and resilience and this subtle shift of thinking becomes crucial to continue to move forward.
Remember that 50% of businesses cease to exist after just five years. And only one third ever make it to ten.
What makes the difference between those who continue to succeed and those who burn out is a focus on getting the next result, taking the next step on the ladder, reaching the next milestone!
When failure is not acceptable, you set yourself milestones which are stretched but achievable and do ‘whatever it takes’ to build a winning streak.
In keeping space in your mind for losing and for failure, you often allow it in – and ‘by refusing to lose’ – you shift completely away from all the reasons for poor results.
And in the end, you build yourself and your business as a consistent winner.
Want More Business Anecdotes?
I put together some of the best stories, advice, and frameworks that I use in my business cconsulting sessions into a book called SPARKS: Ideas to Ignite Business Growth.
Using the button below you can grab your copy for free (you just pay for the shipping costs!) [While stock continues to last.]
During a consulting session the other week, one of my clients was happily telling me about all the marketing activities they had executed recently. As they rattled off a whole list of things they were doing, I stopped them for a second and asked, “But do you know which of these activities are working?” “Hmm. I guess I’m not sure,” was their answer.
And they knew immediately that they were making a big mistake…
This is what I said to them, “Whatever you can measure, you can manage and improve.”
This is a critical part of ensuring that your business continues to grow rather than stagnating at a plateau. You should be building some sort of dashboard in your business, where you can carefully measure the most important metrics.
This is not just in your sales and marketing, but you should also be ensuring you have at least a mid-year review of your financials (here’s three key metrics you should look at) and, well, almost every part of your business, really.
In fact, even areas where you cannot have a specific number should still be measured using some form of Key Performance Indicators – such as the 3 KPIs for Managing Directors that I have talked about before.
If you are simply doing things without any kind of measurement, not only will you be uncertain about whether you are growing or not, you will also find it difficult to motivate yourself and your team to stay excited about what you are doing. In the end, the small wins and everyday progress are what motivates people – so there is a double benefit of stimulating growth and encouraging your team to perform better and better.
What are you measuring? And what have you not started measuring that you will start measuring now?
What Are You Measuring?
When you gain a business consultant or business mentor, you acquire not only an outside perspective on your business, but also someone who keeps you accountable and helps you identify what you need to focus on in order to grow your business.
When you book a complimentary strategic review of your business, we’ll help you see just how valuable this can be.
Not too long ago, during a consulting session with Paul Hastings, one of the business owners I work with, we discussed team management. He articulated a learning he had gained from that session about managing the progression of team members that was so compelling, I thought it was worth sharing here:
“Management is not a status, it is an activity. A lot of team members aspire to the status but not the activities of management. During recruitment and promotion exercises, this needs to be explicit.” – Paul Hastings, Director, Reflections.
This is an important reminder for all business owners – when you move your team members up into the higher echelons of your business, what kind of guidance and training are you giving them?
We often talk about when to make new hires, and how to onboard new recruits effectively. However, it’s important that when you are managing your team, and you are upgrading your team, that you are ensuring they are aware of their new responsibilities.
The job description is one of the critical parts of your recruitment process, and if you are hiring for a management position, ensure you make it really clear that this is a job that requires serious work and may be difficult, especially if you were a superstar as an individual performer.
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Recruitment of good managers, and even executives can be a nightmarish process that wastes loads of time – and results in hiring someone not right for the job. We, therefore, developed a process that helps to find the best candidates, and only uses 4 hours of your time.
On a consulting call recently, one of my clients seemed a bit puzzled about how to move forward with analysing the numbers in her business.
The source of her confusion was not that she was looking at the wrong figures or had a confusing dashboard or anything like that. It wasn’t even that she was looking at dwindling numbers and wondering how to boost her team’s performance.
In fact, it was that she had started some marketing activities, and all the numbers were in the green. “Everything is going fine, what do I do now?”
It’s a pretty good problem to have, isn’t it? The following was something I said to her, which I think is a great reminder for all the business owners who are running successful businesses:
“We overanalyse failure, but often forget to analyse our success – the things we want more of.” – Shweta Jhajharia
Many leaders are exceptionally hard on themselves as a way of driving themselves forward. Through the analysis of what went wrong, they seek to ensure past failures do not happen again.
While that is very valid, the best leaders know how to not just assess what went wrong, but also review what went right, and how to replicate their successes over and over again.
It is important to remember this. Give importance to, celebrate, and learn from your successes as much as your failures.
Want to boost your own successes?
Even leaders sometimes need to be reminded to celebrate their wins. Business consultants and business mentors are there to do that and to help analyse those wins in the most useful way.
With a free strategic review, you can find out if your business is one that we can work with to push the boundaries of success.
“Marketing is not about being prolific. It’s about being precise.”
In today’s world of advanced technology and the long, rich history that marketing now has, it gets confusing. You’re assaulted with marketing advice. This technique, that strategy, this system.
It’s tempting to try it all. Everything is important. Anything might get you results.
But when you stretch yourself too thin and attempt to be everywhere at once, the likely result is that you will end up reaching a lot of people, not the right people, and you’ll reach them with a muddled message.
Most likely, you will also end up being unable to measure what you are doing, and then how will you know which technique is actually working?
You should choose a highly targeted niche, focus on finding out everything about your Avatar, and then craft the perfect lead magnets to really speak to the people who are actually going to buy from you.
And then with careful testing and measuring in place, you can refine your marketing approach and choose the channels that actually bring you sales, and not just visitors.
When you focus like this, you can create a marketing strategy that brings you a true flow of inbound leads, which will massively boost your growth without increasing your working hours.
One of my clients at his first business consulting session was resisting when I tried to convince him that he needed a weekly dashboard.
“It’s such a hassle to try and make sure I do that every week – it seems like a waste of my time.”
This was the answer that I gave him:
“Choose the pain of discipline over the pain of non-performance.”
Sometimes it can seem like a real struggle to wade through the numbers of your business or do some of those tasks that you know you should do but you don’t really want to do.
It is at those moments that you should remind yourself that these are the tasks that will take your business to that next level. They may not be the most exciting parts of running your business, but they are essential for systemised growth.
Just like training for a sport, it usually requires discipline to truly perform in the big leagues. So get ‘in the zone’ and get disciplined about your business so you can take it to the next grade.
Business owners often get very excited when the prospect of growth is within reach. That grasp at growth before they have the right systems and team in place, however, can often result in more problems than they were expecting.
It’s important to consider your processes, and today instead of sharing a long article, I want to share with you a thought that we shared on our Instagram account recently:
Managing a superstar team starts from the very first job ad that you put out. Make sure you have an effective recruitment process in place so that when you do hire someone, they’re the right someone. Because your business is only as good as your team.
And your team is only as good as your leadership skills.
If you would like to discuss any of the points covered here, please feel free to request a free call below.