Posts Tagged ‘small business’
3 Ways The Best Execute For Their Clients Wednesday, July 20th, 2011
I recently shared with you my 5 rules for thrilled clients. The first rule is to do what you say you are going to do. This seems so simple yet many still struggle to deliver when they say they will. What I have found is that the best just a find a way to get it done.
Execution really comes down to the types of decisions that we make. There is not a lot that we can control within our businesses. Decisions however are one of those things that we do have control over. After spending some time with Brent Bradshaw, owner of the consulting firm 9 Decisions, I realized that the ability to make sound decisions is so critical to fulfilling on promises.
Starting with decisions, here are three ways to help you execute for your clients:
#1- Make Good Decisions- I recently talked about how bad graphic designers can be about over-promising and under-delivering. The biggest way they did this was in the estimated time frame that a project would be completed in. The reason for the estimation issues? Their estimations had no basis in reality. They never took the time to actually think about what was realistic. And that’s just one of the nine decision points.
#2- Have A Clear Set Of Values- When you know what you value, you know when to say “yes” and when to say “no”. If you lack a clear value set then you tend to say “yes” to everything thus ensuring that you are going to disappoint someone by working on a project that doesn’t match your skills. Values can be a great filter for decision making.
#3- No Excuses Allowed- If you give yourself permission to make excuses for underperforming, I promise you, from personal experience, that you will find a reason for why something doesn’t get done. You’ve probably heard the story of Spain’s landing in Mexico and Cortez ordering his men to “burn the ship”. Whether you believe that story to be true of not the point is that if you give yourself outs, you are more apt to take those outs. When it comes to excuses, burn the ship.
Creating value for your clients and setting yourself apart from the rest of the crowd can be as easy as executing on what you say you will deliver to the public. So many businesses struggle to do this. There’s no reason that your business needs to be one of them.
Understanding the nine decisions to performance
I just touched on a couple of the 9 Decision points to making effective decisions for your business and ultimately improving your performance.
Join us in Salt Lake City on September 15th-17th as we go through the 9 Decision process as well as share how to coach these into your business.
You and your business will be better for it. We guarantee it.
7 Components To Consider For The Next Contractor You Hire Friday, July 1st, 2011
For many businesses, mine included, third party vendors and contractors can be a huge asset. Also like many businesses, mine included, hiring the wrong independent contractor can have disastrous consequences for your business. Unfortunately, I have learned this the hard way more times than I would like to admit.
So now that you know about my failures, I am going to give you seven things to consider before you hire your next contractor.
Component #1: Only Hire People or Firms That You Absolutely Know Will Get The Job Done- This seems obvious right? Almost like a no brainer, until you get caught with your pants down and you need immediate help. Vetting a work relationship takes time but we had a situation at my consulting firm, The Business Blueprint, where we had more work than we could manage.
What did we do about this situation? We scrambled because we weren’t ready for it. We hired a couple of people that we thought would do a good job that we sort of knew but knew nothing about professionally. The end result? We got killed on those projects. Over-budget. Overdue. Client relationship ruined.
In hindsight, we should have turned the work down or set more realistic timelines for the project. Instead we went down the overly optimistic path to failure.
Component #2- Hire Locally. I know some people have great success with hiring overseas but it has never been that great for us. Our best vendor relationships are close to our area so that if we absolutely have to meet about something, we can do it quickly. The moral of this story is that it seems to be much harder to let someone down who you have looked in the eye and made a promise to.
Component #3- Do They Ask Good Questions?- What I have noticed in hiring vendors is that the great ones ask really good questions about the projects that they work on. Intuitive vendors and contractors see problems around the corner that maybe you don’t anticipate and this is because they are good at what they do. Be on the lookout for this as you screen possible vendors and contractors for your next project.
Component #4- Do They Have a Full Time Job?- There are a lot of contractors, especially in the creative realm, that moonlight on the side for others. There is nothing wrong with this but I have noticed that while some of these folks work great, a lot of them have difficulty managing time. Think about it this way. When a contractor who has a full time job has to decide between a project at work that pays the bills and your side project, what do you think they are going to choose?
Component #5- Set Firm Expectation- Set firm expectations for the relationship right up front. Don’t be loose with your agreements either. Make sure you have contracts with your contractors. Also make sure you have outlined all of the other expectations that range from fees to confidentiality.
Component #6- Remember that it’s a two-way street.- A great contractor/vendor relationship is dependent upon building a great relationship. That relationship is built upon solid communication. There have been a couple of times for us where a project got started on the wrong foot and it’s usually because we didn’t communicate need effectively. Don’t make the vendor/contractor have to figure everything out the hard way.
Component #7- Know when to walk away.- The country philosopher, Kenny Rogers, said this back in the early 80s about gambling. The same is true for relationships. My rule of thumb now is that if a vendor or contractor we hire is late on their first project, they are done working with us. There are a lot of contractors that don’t know how to get a project done on time. On the flip side, there are a lot of contractors who do. Don’t settle for mediocre people on your projects.
We have held on to people way too long in the past and we regretted it and at the same time learned a huge lesson about how to handle these situations in the future.
If you have been utilizing a lot of vendors and contractors for your business then you know that it can be a frustrating process to find great help. But great help is out there for you. You just have to know what you want and demand that you receive it.
What are some things that you have used to hire great contractors and vendors? I would love to add to this list.
The Only Path To Quick Results Monday, April 4th, 2011
You ever ran 100 miles an hour in a certain direction only to realize your were running the wrong way? I know I have. The best way to prevent this from happening and in the process realize quicker results is to have clarity behind what you are doing.
Some people may read the above message and think that trying to gain clarity will slow down their ability to produce not speed it up. I am not saying that you need to completely vet out every idea and move that you want to make because no plan is fool proof. What I am saying is that you should have a general idea of what you are doing and what you are trying to accomplish.
Don’t be afraid to breath. There is benefit in gaining clarity for these reasons:
Less Wasted Effort: This just come down to understanding the results you want. For too often we start something without even thinking about the finish line and what that might look like. This isn’t to say that you will be right but it does help at least point you in a more accurate direction. Time is precious in business. Use it wisely. Sometimes you only get one shot.
More Production: This is a no brainer. Having a focus allows you to work on the right things rather than being distracted by all of the wrong things that interfere with productivity. Things like phone calls, e-mails, useless meetings, etc.
Saves Money: When you are focused, your business doesn’t waste money. They tend to hire better people. They employ the right marketing strategies for their business. They also understand what activities are going to positively affect the bottom line.
Keeps Your Team Engaged: Nothing kills team morale more than not knowing where their efforts are taking them or their business. Consider this scenario: Your boss has you work on a report that takes the better part of your work time for 2 weeks. After handing in the report, your boss tells you that they aren’t moving in that direction anymore and sorry he forgot to mention it. That sucks. Unfocused businesses are morale killers.
Focus in your business seems like a no brainer yet I am surprised at how poor of a job that business owners do at taking the time to gain some additional clarity around why their business exists and formulating strategies for getting there. If you find that your business lacks focus, take some time and work on getting a clearer picture. Get other people involved if you need to.
How have you failed or succeeded because of focus?
A Great Example Of Win Then Play In Action Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
I introduced the concept of succeeding with your ideas a few a week ago without wasting a lot of money. We call the concept “Win Then Play“. It becomes difficult to get our mind around how we can use this concept to get our ideas moving without the right financial resources. I ran across a great example of how this can look in the marketplace with a product that needed to be manufactured.
The article is titled, How I Launched A Great Idea Without Any Money. Money is greatest reason or excuse given as to why we can’t move forward with an idea. Let’s take a closer look at financial capital vs. relationship capital.
Financial Capital: The first thing that Scott Wilson from Minimal (author of the article) did was take an idea he had for an iPod Nano watch to a big company to see if they would buy it. They didn’t. Scott, like many others, was perplexed about his next move because of the difficulty in manufacturing a physical product by bootstrapping. This is where most of stop. We can’t get funding and so assume that the idea is impossible.
Relationship Capital: There’s a reason why we say that this is the most powerful form of capital that you have at your disposal. Scott’s product example is a great lesson. You have probably heard of the term “Crowdsourcing“. In case you haven’t, Crowdsourcing is a way to outsource tasks for your business to a group of people through an open call. In the case of the iPod watch, Scott Wilson used Crowdfunding to raise money for his project launch. Anyone reading this ever think that social media is a total waste of time? I have but it’s examples like these that have turned me into not only a believer but an evangelist. This is the power of relationship capital and the best part is he did it with strangers.
One other quick point also about this idea is that, did you notice how Scott didn’t try and invent something out of thin air? He just took an existing product and made it better. This is innovation at it’s best.
Think about ideas that you have. What’s keeping you from putting them in place? What are the obstacles that you have run into? Who can help you overcome them? Win then play works in a lot of different situations as you can see. It’s up to us to look past the limitations to find the solutions that are waiting for us.
Is Small Business The Key Job Growth Tool? Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
What got me thinking about this topic this morning is an article I read on Market Watch on why we should stop worshiping small business as the savior to all of our job creation needs.
There has always been something humorous to me and many others about what is considered a small business. Business that generate 30+ million in annual revenue being considered small is nonsense. There is nothing small about that size of business. The argument has always been that small businesses create the most jobs when in reality this is not the case.
The Market Watch article talks about the fact that we need to focus on businesses of all sizes and make entrepreneurship the focus of where we need to create jobs.
This is where small business comes in as far as I’m concerned.
We are operating in an ever changing economy where unemployment is higher than it has been for some time and it’s not going to be improved through the use of past techniques that create temporary jobs. The way the economy is going to be changed and the way that people are going to be paid for the work that they do is going to center around entrepreneurship.
This New Work Revolution as I call it, will be centered around small business as many people will look and are already looking to starting a business to get themselves back into the work force. The concern will be around getting these new business owners the help they need to sustain a business and make it grow.
So is small business the key to job growth? The answer is no in that entrepreneurship is the real key regardless of business size. It’s also yes in that as people have been displaced from jobs many are looking towards small business to get going again.
If you are looking at starting a business or have a business that you need some help with a great resource for you in sustaining your idea is our coaching club. Check out our coaching club here: http://www.thebizblueprint.com/coaching-club/