Why Do I Want to Be Accountable? To Succeed!

Posted by johngies

“I’m not sure I want to be accountable.” I hear that a lot. People seem to be afraid of accountability. Why?

image courtesy of Pixabay

My observation is it comes from the way many leaders use the word accountability. It is typically used to cast blame as in, “who was accountable for” …

Merriam Webster defines Accountability as

            An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.

You are ultimately responsible for your actions or lack thereof. By now 80% of you have broken your New Year’s Resolutions . Having an accountability partner or group can increase your likelihood of success by up to 95%. So if you are a business owner and you want to transform your business or if you are a producer that wants to produce more, why would you not want to be accountable? Some common answers I hear are:

  • “I don’t want to admit that I am not perfect.”
  • “I don’t want to have to admit I really don’t want what to achieve what I say I do.”
  • “As it stands, there are no immediate consequences to not doing what I say I will do.”
  • “It is uncomfortable.”
  • “It requires you do the work or admit that you didn’t do the work.”

Let’s see, they can almost double their chance or success, or failure based on willingness to be accountable or they can choose not to be accountable and increase likelihood of failure.

In every organization I have worked with, the teams that were willing to be accountable performed better. Owen and his team had not hit their quota in months. Changes were needed, so Owen got clear. He identified the leading and lagging indicators that would show him that his team was on track for making a sale.

  • Samples
  • New contacts
  • New accounts RFI (requests for Information)
  • Call Activity
  • Proposals
  • Etc.

He then had a regular cadence of three meetings. Same three meetings for the team and for the individuals. They were Accountability, Alignment, and Development. Within 12 weeks his team had surpassed quota three months in a row, and they made up $5.0 million in the sales deficit. In part, because of a regular accountability cadence.

Here are four steps to Accountability:

  1. Be very clear in your expectations. What are you measuring and what will demonstrate accountability?
  2. Ownership or, who owns the outcome?  Who is responsible (response able)? This is where fuzziness can lead things astray. I have seen teams agree on an outcome but not name anyone to be accountable for the outcome. And it doesn’t get done because everybody thought somebody else was accountable.
  3. Execute on what you said you were accountable for. It might be number of calls. It could be number of items produced.
  4. Have a regular cadence of accountability. Meet with your team about accountability on a regular basis. I meet with my team weekly.

Accountability will demonstrably enhance you and your team’s success. It is not about blame. It doesn’t have to be hard. Here are four steps.

Be Indomitable,

PS if you would like to learn more about the accountability conversation and how you can bring this to your organization, lets talk.

Stop Discounting and Start Creating Value for More Profits

Posted by johngies
image courtesy of Pixabay and geralt

Product bundling is a great strategy to use when you want to create additional value for your business. Product bundling is simply the process of grouping together certain products to create ‘packages’ which you then sell to your clients. If you’re in a service-based industry then “discount books” do the exact same thing. At the heart of all value-added propositions lies the need to help make your clients’ decision-making process easier.

Many people are very indecisive by nature and will often prefer not to make a decision at all rather than make the wrong one. Product bundling can help people make easier decisions. Consider these examples of product bundling to stimulate your own thought processes.

A dentist could offer 30% off a teeth-whitening program after each visit by a patient. A person is more motivated to buy this product having just gone through the physical and financial pain to have their teeth look great, and naturally they’ll want to keep them looking that way?

A landscape gardener could offer a do-it-yourself garden maintenance kit after each job… including gloves, a spade, a rake, a broom, clippers, a compost bin and so on. This enables the client of the new garden to keep it in the same pristine condition. When added to the cost of the new garden, this bundled offer can be positioned to sound like an excellent investment.

What about a photographer? They could bundle enlargements, a photo album and a DVD of all the session photos taken. Customers are thrilled to receive this complete service and it gives them a permanent record on DVD for future generations.

A locksmith could provide an alarm system, roller shutters, a fire protection system, a car alarm, a personal attack alarm, exterior alarm warning signs and stickers and possibly an ozone detection system where appropriate. People often need a locksmith due to a break-in or fear of one, so why not offer them a ‘complete home-protection package’. Some people will definitely say yes.

By the way, most locksmiths aren’t qualified to install some of these types of high-tech systems. No problem… just joint venture with businesses that are qualified and work out a referral fee for driving qualified clients to them in droves. The locksmith can go ahead and sell the service as well as collect the revenue… then pay their JV provider the reduced fee.

Consider a home builder or remodeling contractor. If they build or remodel multiple homes every year (some builders construct more than 50 homes annually), they typically contract with suppliers and receive huge volume discounts. This is especially true for electronics.

Consider a builder or remodeler who agrees to buy multiple packages of a whole home entertainment and security system including a 42 inch HDTV, a complete high quality surround sound system, a complete home security system including surveillance cameras at all entry points to the home as well as a complete fire protection and monitoring system.

The retail price of this package would easily exceed $25,000 but the builder or remodeler could acquire them in volume for around $6500 since installation would not be part of their costs. Since the builder or remodeler will already have the home stripped to the studs, installation can be handled by their crew for pennies on the dollar.

Now imagine a builder competing with other builders in a moderately priced neighborhood. All the builders offer homes in the $250,000 price range. Our builder offers their home for $256,500 (includes the additional $6500 out of pocket expense to the builder) and it comes standard with a $25,000 home entertainment and full security system for FREE! Which builder would you buy from?

In fact, what if this builder offered that new home for $260,000? Do you really believe that additional $3500 would prevent anyone from buying this home? I seriously doubt it. And if it did, the builder always has the option of reducing the price. They could even maintain their original price of $250,000 and lower their profit margin on each home they sell. This would allow them to possibly double their normal sales volume and practically doubling their overall new profit every year.

The remodeler could use this same type of positioning for every remodeling job they bid on.

What kind of value Bundle can you Create? If you would like help looking to add value versus the discounting madness, let’s chat.

Want to command your Market? Do This.

Posted by johngies

There are three keys to business development. How well you can put the right keys in place can determine the strength of your business foundation.

These areas of business Development are:

  • Innovation
  • Quantification
  • Orchestration

Execute on these areas well and you build a solid foundation for your business. Let’s talk about each one of these for just a minute.

Innovation

Innovation is not creativity. Creativity is the expression of ideas. Innovation is taking these creative ideas and putting them into action. Without action they are just ideas. You want to spend a large amount of your focus on how you can innovate your business. You want it to be different, to stand out, to draw in customers. Think about Domino’s Pizza. Before Domino’s, almost all pizza was either take out or eat in. They looked at the market and said who is hungry for pizza? (College Kids). Domino’s built pizza kitchens near the campus and delivered fast. They got creative ideas and they innovated. 

Where can you innovate in your business?

Quantification

What we measure tends to grow. When you can track the numbers related to your business and to your innovations, you can track success. The best way to gauge this is by your customer response.

  • Did leads increase or decrease?
  • Did sales increase or not?

Look to positive responses for what you are doing right-and keep doing it. Look to your negative responses to find out what you’re doing wrong-and fix it. This will enable you to keep growing and progressing with the needs of your customers and business climate.

Orchestration

When you find what areas are working, you can narrow down those areas and concentrate on making them the standout ideas. You shift your focus here to get the most out of your business and to meet the needs of your customers.

I can help you work through these three areas during your FREE test drive.

In the next few lessons we are going to transition to the 7 specific areas you need to consider in building your business for survival beyond you. That is building a business you can sell for more money and or one that you can franchise or license. These are:

  • Primary Aim
  • Strategic Objectives
  • Organizational Strategy
  • Management Strategy
  • People Strategy
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Systems Strategy

These 7 areas will fine turn your plan for the ultimate level of success.

Image courtesy of https://es.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archivo:Business_idea_diagram_graph.jpg

 CCO 1.0

Do You Want to Sell Your Business? Is it Ready to Sell? Part 2

Posted by johngies

In the last post, we talked about the first three of the 7 areas you need to consider in your scaling to sell process. Here are all seven again:

· Primary Aim

· Strategic Objectives

· Organizational Strategy

· Management Strategy

· People Strategy

· Marketing Strategy

· Systems Strategy

These strategies will fine tune your plan for the ultimate level of success by providing the buyer of your business with a business that they can walk into. Today, we are going to cover the last four.

You might think of your initial business model like planting a tree. At first, it’s so small and weak you wonder if it will even make it through the night. As you grow and add revenue and staff, it is like you are watering, fertilizing, and nurturing it. Your ideas will grow the trunk and each of your strategies will extend out like the branches of your now strong tree. Finding your support staff, employees, vendors/suppliers and other relationships, will make your tree flourish with leaves and flowers.

Management Strategy

The way you hire and structure your management team is not only essential to your growth, but also the happiness of your employees, and ultimately, your customers/clients. This process means that your business is not reliant upon any one person. Rather it is creating a system that is repeatable and that makes it easy for someone to buy your business or, to open a new location.

A management strategy a set of standards for your business that includes goals, rules, a mission statement and other concrete things like job descriptions and policies that tell your employees how to act. They also inform your management team on how to grow your business and to deliver upon your vision and primary aim.

These should all be in perfect alignment with your business goals which in turn, support your primary aim.

Employee Appreciation

You want to put together a people strategy that demonstrates to your employees how you feel about their job performance and dedication to your business. They also need to understand “why” they are doing specific tasks. This helps them to personally connect to their job which in turn leads to better production and a happier workplace. 

There are several strategies you can use:

· Feedback

· Development opportunities

· Contests that reward high performance

· Employee of the Month

· Performance/Holiday Bonuses

These are just a few of the ideas you can use. One of the best ways to appreciate your employees is by calling a meeting and asking them how they would like to be rewarded. I can remember a call center where people valued the ability to wear jeans to work over a $25 gift card. Go figure. Keep it fresh and change up the strategy you use from time to time to keep your employees guessing. Once they get used to the prize, it’s time for a whole new approach. Sometimes it is recognition. I know one company gives their people the opportunity to recognize their peers. They do this by nominating them for a high five recognition for helping a customer or someone else. The person that won the award would get a reward.

You want to build a community within your organization. You want support, appreciation, and respect. The more an employee feels they “belong”, the better they will perform and the higher their level of loyalty.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing is, of course, essential to the success of any business but it also must work with the other strategies you’re using. There are two major pillars of a successful marketing strategy – the demographic and psychographic profiles of your customers.

The psychographic tells you what your customers are the most likely to buy based on their emotions, their desires, and their concerns. The demographic tells you who they are, their income, age and other physical characteristics, which can help you learn why they buy specific items,. You must know your market.

Systems Strategy

There are three types of systems in every business:

· Hard Systems

· Soft Systems

· Information Systems

Hard systems refer to an inanimate system or systems that have no “life”. These could be processes, manufacturing spec’s, or programming steps. Soft systems are those that could be living. These typically involve people and they are called soft because people are not binary. They can be a little messy. Information systems which are, of course, everything else including customer data, product information, financial…anything with data and numbers.

All three systems are essential to the success of your business and while they all have their own very specific roles, they all must work together to get the job done. This also goes for your entire business development program.

Let’s take a moment to recap these ideas.

7 specific areas you need to consider in your franchise prototype process. Here are all seven again:

· Primary Aim

· Strategic Objectives

· Organizational Strategy

· Management Strategy

· People Strategy

· Marketing Strategy

· Systems Strategy

Use our FREE Test Drive to learn how you can apply these and other ideas to grow your business without spending any more money on marketing or advertising.

Do You Want to Sell Your Business? Is it Ready to Sell? Part 1

Posted by johngies
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Too often small business owners create a business and then want to sell it. But they have not taken the time to think through what is valuable in selling a business. When you consider scaling your business and eventually selling your business, it is helpful to think about how you will make it easy to step into. One way to think about this is the franchise model. There are 7 steps to consider as you scale. They are:

· Your Primary Aim

· Strategic Objectives                                                     

· Organizational Strategy

· Management Strategy

· People Strategy

· Marketing Strategy

· Systems Strategy

Today we will explore the first three.

Your Primary Aim

It’s essential in business development to set goals and see a vision for the future. This needs to go beyond the business. You also want to think about what you desire out of life. If you are just thinking about the business, you might as well be in a job. What do you dream about? How do you see your success unfolding? Who is with you to celebrate your success? What is the impact of success on you, your customers, your employees your family? Understanding these things will give you the momentum to get started and the stamina to see it through. Now take a minute to write them down and tape this to your desk for a constant reminder of what you’re aiming for.

My primary aim is to create a business that helps the business’ on Main street thrive so that regardless of what happens on Wall Street our community thrives. To do that I help a number of small business owners create millions of dollars in new revenue without spending more money on marketing or advertising. 

The Strategic Objectives

These are essential in taking your business from surviving to thriving. These objectives should offer a path to get to your primary aim. There are many things you can use to set strategic objectives, but here are a some of the most popular:

  1. Money: Setting income goals is a simple way to see how you are doing at any point in the game. It’s easy to measure and easy to find adjustments to help meet this goal.
  2. Worthy Opportunities: When considering partnerships and other business opportunities such as new product or service development, you want to think about whether they will help you reach your primary aim. Those that will are the best opportunities to seriously consider. All too often I see small business owners distracted by the next shiny thing.
  3. Customers served: Tracking the number of people your business has served. I have a colleague that wants to reach 10,000 women through her work. And in the process of serving, you create a business.

The key to setting standards and goals is not to limit you or stress yourself out. You need to find some quantifiable things you can use to measure your progress toward your primary aim. I know one business owner that uses bananas as a measurement. You’ll have to ask me for more details. 😉 These are just a few suggestions, but make sure no matter what standards you set you are paying attention to the details, as these are one of the biggest keys to your success.

Organizational Strategy

The strength of your organizational structure can make or break your business, so it’s important to take the time to put together a solid structure for your business to grow from. Generally, a company is organized around the roles and responsibilities that need to be taken care of daily and the personalities that need to fulfill those roles. These might be:

– Finance

– Operations

– Sales & Marketing

It might even be helpful to create an organizational chart and slot people in these roles. Even if it is a business of one right now. Understanding the roles and responsibilities of the roles will move your business forward. No matter what roles and responsibilities you’ve defined for your employees, you must always keep your own personal primary aim separate from your company’s primary aim or mission statement. Once you’ve identified the primary aim for your company, it will be easy to set up a position structure that will work.

Don’t forget to put together position contracts. Your employees should sign a statement of their roles and responsibilities. This leads to a key distinction that often causes strife. Expectations versus agreement. All too often people have expectations for their partners and employees. But they have not reached an agreement with those parties. Having a contract helps make this an agreement and it makes it easier to hold each other and ourselves accountable.

By now you can see how these areas all work together to build a solid structure on which to build your business. If you need help defining any of these areas, you can check out the resources and  tools and then check out our  FREE test drive.