Atlanta Business Coach and Growth Architect

Getting the Traction You Need to Grow Your Business

Key Components in a Business – Part 6

When you are running your business, “Traction” is what you want to achieve. Don’t worry; you will get here if you can work and execute on the other five components that we discussed in other blogs.

Most people never get here because they lack disciple and execution. Thomas Edison said, “Vision without execution is hallucination.” Because of the truth in that statement, it is vital to build the discipline it takes to execute on the component.

Have you been in that situation where you read a blog, such as this one, but then fail to execute anything that you read and get to see real tangible results from it?

Early in my career, I remember going to seminar after seminar, even paying high priced consultants to come into my business for full-day strategic planning sessions, only to leave that seminar or session more overwhelmed than before, trying to figure out how to do any of it.

The scary thing was after that full-day planning session or reading that book; I was able to tackle the world and get it done. That discipline was what I was lacking early in my career.

Fast forward years later, I never go to a seminar, listen to a speaker, or have a meeting with a consultant without putting a simple and executable plan on paper.

The way that our company gains Traction is two-fold.

1. We work 90 days at a time. Our companies set “Rocks,” which are 90-day priorities. When completed and executed, these Rocks help you arrive at your one-year goal. You will learn this as you continue to read our blog. The goal here is that everyone is clear on what they are to do and are accountable to achieve that goal.

2. Set meetings, yes meetings. Most meetings are a waste of time because businesses fail to set winning agendas, and most meetings are not prepared in a simple format. You will learn how to make meetings enjoyable, productive, and worthwhile.

Are you not familiar with ideas from Traction? Are you interested in learning more? Download the first chapter of the book for free! Then, you can learn how the ideas and systems presented in the book will put you on the right path for growth in your business. Plus, if you like what read, contact us for a copy of the book.

Business Coach in Atlanta

Forming the Right Process to Grow Your Business

Key Components in a Business – Part 5

This one is probably my most favorite section. It’s what I do best; it’s what comes naturally. After all, everyone likes doing things that they are good at.

Process is all about the way you do business. If you can document clear ways on how you do business, consistently refine it, and communicate it to your team to execute, you are off to a great start.

You won’t be able to get to the next level in your business if your process is in your head and not in your people’s head. You must get it down. Winging it as you go won’t work long term.

If you lack processes now, you can probably get by, but eventually, when it comes time to replace you in the business, the business won’t be able to stay above water. If your goal is to replace yourself in the business and hire others to do the work you are doing now so you can focus on growth or other fun things, you must document your process.

Putting It All Together

I was the sole owner of a $1,500,000 business and little did I know the business lived and died based on my results. A year into the business I took a couple of weeks off. When I returned, I found unsettling news.

I had a good scorecard, but I realized our sales numbers and metrics were off. After thinking about it, I discovered that I never documented my sales process the way it needed to be documented.

As a result, I was the best salesperson we had. I knew how to build relationships with clients, give them value, explain why we were the best, and figure out a way to show them how our product will get them what they want, typical sales 101. I was also the best at handling every single customer objection as well. The problem was when I was not answering that phone; we were missing opportunities.

Once I realized that truth, I went to work. First, I recorded every single sales call that I made. Next, I wrote down every customer objection I heard. After I had that step completed, I then took those sales calls and objections to form my process. To document it, I wrote our “Sales 101 Guide.” It literally documented everything in the book regarding sales. It even included audios of me in live sales situations so when I trained other salespeople, they had real-life examples of me doing it.

Atlanta Business Coach and Integrator

Overcoming Issues Holding Your Business Back

Key Components in a Business – Part 4

Issues – we all have them, some more than most. Like people, all businesses have them too. I love how people try to rename these and call them challenges or something softer, but at the end of the day, they are what they are – issues.

They are a pain in the butt. Correcting them isn’t always fun, but you can’t sweep them under the rug. If you down identify them, discuss them, and solve them, they will linger around. These issues are why your business doesn’t grow the way it needs to grow, causing the business to act in a way that is not efficient and holding you back.

Let’s solve them.

To tackle our issues, we have weekly meetings in each of our companies. They are held the same day, same time, and have the same agenda. Working together, we use these meetings to solve our issues.

The good news is that most issues are not all that complicated. Your ability to be willing to dig in and attempt to solve these issues in your team meeting will be the extent to which you can grow.

In our day-to-day business, taking time outside of operations to solve issues doesn’t really happen. That is why you need to have weekly meetings with a significant amount of time to solve your issues each week.

If you can create an open and honest culture where people are valued, and they feel safe to share, you will be surprised at the team’s ability to tackle and solve the issues at hand.

Question to Ask: What type of environment are you creating where your people can share issues freely?
Question to Ask: Do you have some sort of consistent meeting to solve these important issues?

How this Works

I have been a partner in a restaurant franchise, and we use our scorecard to track our average ticket price of each salesperson (some call them waiters/waitress), but they are salespeople no matter what you say. We tracked all thirty employees, and each week we noticed that about a third of the salespeople’s ticket sales were lower than the rest of the staff.

Once we went through our IDS (Identify, Discuss and Solve Process), we realized that it was not their fault. The management team did not follow the onboarding process and skipped the two-hour training on how to “upsell.”

We realized that the real issue was not the average ticket sale being low. It was that our manager was not following the onboarding checklist and was not training people by the book. Instead, she was training people on what she enjoyed training on, which was customer service and operations, leaving out sales. As a result, our sales staff looked bad, and business was down.

Thankfully, our manager was open to realizing that she dropped the ball on following the process and retrained the entire staff. Within two weeks, that group had their metrics back where they needed to be.

Without our weekly meeting to discuss and solve issues, this would have resulted in actions that could have made the situation worse, not better.

Find a Partner not Just a Consultant

Using Data Wisely to Grow Your Business

Key Components in a Business – Part 3

I am not sure who likes numbers, outside of accountants, but then again, they are the lifeblood of your business. All great business leaders rely on a handful of metrics to manage their business.

When I started my first company, I was flying blind. At the end of the month, I would look at the P & L, trying to figure out what we were going good vs. bad. (At the end of the day, I don’t even think I understand my P & L quite honestly.)

I got into business because I liked the product that I was selling. I believed it did good, and I was extremely passionate about it, doing whatever I could to sell more, grow, etc. However, I didn’t really understand my numbers. I would say that in the first two years of business, I was running around like a crazy man without full visibility.

Putting It All Together

It wasn’t until I bought a self-storage facility that I realized how important it was. I paid $2,400 a month for an online marketing resource. For two years, I paid that bill each and every month. Then, I started asking myself, “Am I getting value for what I am paying?”

Next, I asked the online marketing source to prove to me the number of leads we were getting. At the end of the day, it was not a great deal. I was not getting enough leads, none the less sales, to justify the cost. Therefore, I cut that cost completely and reinvested the $2,400 into another form of advertising.

This time I tracked those marketing dollars from day one. I knew who I wrote the check to, and I got insight on a monthly basis on how many leads I was getting. I was getting four times the leads for the same price.

Then, I put in a scorecard to track how many leads closed. That method is how I managed our manager. I knew that we should be closing about 75% of those qualified leads. I was able to use my scorecard weekly to verify how many leads I was getting and simply see how many were closing.

Do you have data that is helping you run your business, or are you running blind? Do you know which of your employees are your best performers? Do you know which products are your best sellers and which ones aren’t? Are you tracking your expenses and using data to tell you where you can cut or save money?

Hopefully, there is a data component guiding your decisions.

If not, you can utilize the scorecard as a weekly report that shows five to 15 of the high-level numbers for your organization. Once you find out what numbers matter in your business and track them each week, you won’t have to wait for the P & L to tell you how well you’re doing.

Business Integrator

Growing Your Business by Finding the Right People

Key Components in a Business – Part 2

If you’re the smartest guy in the room, you need to find another room. Successful entrepreneurs surround themselves with great people. You need great people who bring something different to the table along with others that challenge you and don’t simply agree with everything you say. If your team always agreed with everything you say, there really wouldn’t be a point for one of you to be there.

If your team has bought into your vision and shares similar core values, then people will be your strongest component. If your people are not on board with your values and vision, it will be an uphill battle.

Not only do you need the right people, but also you need to make sure that the right people are in the right role, or seat. You may have one of your brightest employees performing the wrong duties.

Our operational system talks about right people in the right seats. You might have the right people on your team, meaning they share the core values you are portraying, but they might be in the wrong seat. To make sure people are in the right seat, you must be real honest. Are your people the right people, and are they the right people for the seat they are sitting in?

One simple thing that you can create is called a People Analyzer. This EOS ToolTM will list at the top of the paper all the key traits that you want the person to have if they do the job that they are hired to do. It will also list your core values at the top as well.

So, let’s say your core values are like ours:

S. teward Well Time, Money & Resources
T. ransparent in Our Relationships
A. chieve Excellence in every aspect of business
N. urture all Legacies
D. iligent in Business Practices.

You want to have a check-box column for each of these to make sure they will carry out those values.

Now, let’s say they are hired to be a salesperson in the organization. I would have additional criteria that I would run people through prior to bringing them on in that role. So, if they were a sales person, a couple key criteria would be:

  1. Ability to simply be trained on sales
  2. Never met a stranger
  3. Able to handle failure
  4. Willing to overcome objections

Each of these becomes a column too. Now, you can check off the values the person exhibits and use this chart as an evaluation tool.

Putting It all Together

When I started hiring salespeople for baseball and softball academies, I needed to hire sales people. So, I went through a series of questions to see if they were good sales people. It simply didn’t work. I hired sales people that were not good, nor did they have the ability to be good

What I realized is that I failed in the interview process. If you noticed the four criteria that people need to have to be god sales people, I asked questions to see if they would be good, but I didn’t test them. After several failures, I started testing sales people in the interview process. I put them through a series of sales-based interview test (activities) to see if they

  1. Had the ability to simply be trained on sales (Could I make them a salesperson in an hour?)
  2. Never met a stranger
  3. Able to handle failure
  4. Willing to overcome objections

It wasn’t hard. I would put people in a sales situation and pretend I was a customer. I would give them ten minutes to memorize or practice a script and throw them into action. Over the next 30-45 minutes. I worked with them, saw them fail, but if they failed forward, meaning they learned each time and consistently improved, they started to pass the test.