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Quit Fighting Fires: Four Steps to Conquer Overwhelm

Posted by johngies

I have quite a few clients these days who are feeling overwhelmed. It feels like they are all fighting fires. And while it is exciting to fight and extinguish fires, if this is how you are spending your days, you are not living life as an owner. It means you are not spending the appropriate time planning and executing on strategy. Instead, you are reacting to the crisis of the day.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can schedule an appointment with yourself EVERY week and KEEP IT. This appointment is to review your strategies, which one or two will you move forward this week? What specific action will you take that will be most effective? Now schedule that in your calendar.

Now let’s look to your team, why are they interrupting you? Are there questions you have not definitively answered? Can you schedule a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly 1-1 conversation with them and KEEP IT? This 1-1 will cover what they are working on, what’s working, and where can you help them gain access to resources to move forward.

Now ask yourself what systems are broken, such that that your work is not moving forward as expected? Have you even thought of your business systems because “everybody knows them”? Taking the time to document your systems, and then ensuring the appropriate members, have access to the documentation and understanding of expectations, will prevent a LOT of fires.

Quit Fighting Fires and Invest in Fire Prevention by taking the time to:

  1. Review your plans
  2. Choose your Priorities
  3. Schedule your team conversations
  4. Build and Monitor Your systems

If you would like to learn more about how you can stop fighting fires to enjoy your days and weeks, Let’s schedule a call, https://calendly.com/john-gies/15-minutes


Are You Struggling to Hire Staff? Whats Wrong With Your Process

Posted by johngies

There is a lot of conversation going on right now about how nobody can find and hire good employees.  I’m not sure that that is true. I wonder if it is the result of a change that employers have not adapted to.

Hands Shaking Agreement
Image via Pixabay

In working with many of my clients that experience turnover, they have not taken the time to clearly define what tasks they want new employees to accomplish, and what skills are required. Many employers are lazy and just want to hire someone that is already doing what they want them to do or that has all of the experience they think they need.  So, they look for someone that is looking for the same position they had at a previous employer.  (Ask yourself, if they were good at the job that they had – that you are now hiring for, why are they out looking?)

One of the first steps in hiring and keeping staff is recruiting. Getting the right people on the bus. Take the time to slow down and get clear on the following:

  • What tasks and responsibilities go with the job?
  • What skills are necessary and what can be taught?
  • What attitude is required (This might be one of the most important selection criteria).
  • How will you determine that they have those criteria that you need.
  • Create a job description that is clear and concise and then put it in the form of an agreement that the employee “agrees” to.  There is a clear distinction between expectations and agreements.

Ask yourself, why would someone want to work for you? Just like clients and customers, employees are searching for work that meets their needs. Yup employees’ expectations have changed and remember you are looking for agreement not expectations.

Look at what value you can provide. It’s not always money. Here are some ideas:

  • Flextime
  • Skills development
  • Benefits I know it can be expensive and with a little effort you would be surprised at the benefits you can offer your employees
  • Education Opportunities

Ask what part of the industry and their typical boss do people hate can you offer better? I know an accountant for example that has created a 32-hour work week.  Because of the way they onboard clients and the commitments she gets up front, she does not have the crush of business in tax season that others do. So here people don’t end up at 50 – 60 hours a week during tax season.

How Important is good staff to you and your business? What will you do to attract, on-board and retain the staff you want? What is your commitment this week? If you’d like to learn more bout how to become a more attractive employer, and retain your best employees’ lets schedule a call.  Reach out at john.gies@ras-squared.com


How Do I Get My Team to Do What I Want?

Posted by johngies

When you start your business, you and your team are often in the same room and that leads to a shared mindset on the work and culture. As you start to grow, almost every leader is frustrated with keeping all of the team on the same page. 

As the owner you have a vision, mission and purpose for your business (whether you have articulated it or not). And your team has come to you with all of their history and baggage. This affects how they interact with you and how they work.

Then there is the halo affect that comes with being a leader. Everything you say or do is amplified because YOU are the leader. It can be compared to the parent child dynamic. For more information on this, look up Transactional Analysis.

There are a lot of things you can control as a leader and a lot more that you can’t. But an understanding of the psychology, structure, and cadence of communication with your team can help.

Here are some things to consider as you bring your team into alignment.

  1. What are the values and behaviors that will be tolerated in your organization? This is your culture. And what you tolerate is what you will get. Is this written down and communicated on a regular basis?
  2. If you frequently have people that are not doing things the way you expect, ask yourself, “what am I not communicating or being clear about”?
  3. Creating systems, policies, and procedures will reinforce the culture, the expectations, and agreements you make with your team. Instead of laying out “expectations,” of your people, I would suggest creating “agreements” with them.
  4. In your hiring process ask yourself, how will you identify the characteristics and attitude you want in your team? The templates and assessments look for skills. Those are easy. Character and attitude, this is where you find the gems.

If you want to grow and scale your business, you will need people. And when you add people to the mix, you now need to practice leadership in addition to your craft that built your business. If you would like to learn how to grow, scale, and expand your business, check out the Video here.


Do you Want Massive Success? Then You Must be Consistent!

Posted by johngies
Via Pixabay

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, you may be like me, and you have searched high and low for the secret sauce to “Success”. The magic bullet that will attract customers. The one that will inspire your people and that will turn all the work you do into profit. I have come to the same conclusion (AGAIN).

It seems I need reminding.

That Success is about Consistency.

Do you want more customers? Be consistent in your lead generation activities. Whether it is cold calls, Instagram posts or SEO (Or any of the other 5,000 ways to market your business).

What I observe with so many of my clients is they start something and gain traction and then another shiny object comes along. Then they dump the activity that was generating results and start all over.

When I got out of college, I took up the Martial Arts for years. Tae Kwon Do, Chinese Kempo, Escrima, Tu Kong Mu Sool. And the secret to advancement in each of them was practice. Consistent Practice. Showing up for class, doing the work, and then practicing on my own. I used to go into the gym for 2 -3 hours every Saturday to practice my forms. And forms was where I won tournaments.  And it was only in two of these that I advanced very far.

George Leonard was a sportswriter who took up Aikido late in life. He ended up writing a book called Mastery. The premise is, “It’s all about the practice”. You will learn something and put it into practice. As time goes on, you will hit a plateau where it will seem like progress has stalled and you will look for the next shiny thing. Keep practicing. And, all of a sudden, you will break through to the next level.

In my first sales job, my success was dependent upon my success in setting appointments by phone (COLD CALLS). My goal was 25 appointments every other week. And there would be days where I made no appointments in my calling time. But if I stuck with the script and the habit of dialing and smiling, I would get five appointments the next day.

And here is the contrarian in me. So Many Gurus tell you to take MASSIVE action. Most of you won’t sustain that. But you have a better chance of achieving tiny habits. When you work tiny incremental habits consistently you will get to your goal. #Commit to your habits not the goals. Taking consistent action over time compounds, and you achieve massive results.

If you would like to learn more about the power of consistency in your business, check out the resources at https://ras-squared.com


You Can Maximize the Value of Your Dream Business for Your Exit!

Posted by johngies
Image courtesy of pixabay

Are you thinking about selling your business? If not, you might want to start. I mean, even if you are young and having fun, at some point you will want to exit. When you exit, you will want to maximize your returns.

Here are some things to consider:

It might seem obvious, but you want to improve your profitability. Whoever looks to purchase your business is going to want to see a history of profitability. As one of my mentors likes to say, “Revenue is an Ego number, Profitability is the Real number”. Can you show a trend of increasing profits? That adds a bit more value. This is why you need to understand your finances. There are three levers in your P &L for profit. They are Revenue, Cost of Goods, and Overhead.

One key to profit is driving revenue and to do that you must look, sound, and feel different than your competition. One mistake I see many owners make is they discount their services to “capture” the business. They see everyone else doing it so they assume… In reality, your potential client is looking for value and when you can differentiate based on the value that you offer, you can charge more for your services. There is a formula for this.

Your processes add tremendous value if they are well-defined and clear. A buyer wants to walk in and be able to follow a process for success. This is why so many owners go into a franchise. The franchisor has built a model that if you follow it, you will be successful. Document your systems to success. Your bank account will thank you.

The more of your revenue that is recurring, the larger the revenue stream your buyer can pay for. This is why you see more and more service firms moving to a subscription model. It evens out the peaks and valleys and it is recurring.

Develop a workforce that delivers. When you have a stable workforce that delivers high-quality results to your clients, that adds yet more value to the purchase price. Particularly today, we see the challenge employers are having trouble with recruiting and keeping good employees. This is culture, skills, and mindset development and opportunities. No longer are people an asset, they need to become partners.

Finally, spruce up the business. Make sure your records (financial, SOP’s, systems) are easy to access and easy to understand. If you have a showroom, make sure it is clean and presentable. I was recently in a garage where you literally did not want to touch the walls (even in in the waiting room,) because there was grease and grime on the walls.

In case you haven’t noticed, keeping these points in mind from the start of your business will help you grow your business as well. Check out the resources at https://ras-squared.com if you would like more information