Teams

The most important asset in your business is the solution you provide to your customers. The second most important is the team you have created to deliver that solution reliably and repeatedly.

The fastest way to serve 100 customers in 100 days is by expanding your thinking beyond “I do it myself.”

Let me give you just three steps. I’m known for breaking things into simple, easy to follow steps – as doable as can be. So here are the steps that are foundations for long-term success.

3 steps to build a team that serves 100 clients with ease:

1. Hire for expertise – Your clients don’t want you be the only person who can answer their needs (that’s just adding risk to their own business). They also don’t want to be the training ground for junior talent.

I recommend you hire ‘the most you can’ rather than ‘the least you can get away with’ when you build out your team. That way you’ll have competence on board to accelerate service delivery, problem solving and adding new lines of service for your customers as your business grows.

2. Design systems that leverage that expertise – A mistake many business owners make is hanging on to their own ‘know how’ instead of turning it into systems. With new folks on board you’ll want to incorporate your experience and theirs into fresh systems. Those systems guarantee your entire team can provide comparable excellent results to all those customers.

3. Sell your team to your customers – Have you caught yourself saying “I’m the only one who really understands my client’s challenges?” If you hire beginners you’ll be right.

On the other hand, hire people who have been ‘elsewhere’ and you gain the ability to sell that expanded ‘know how’ to your client’s business.

Bonus Tip – Productivity is created when you step out of the do-er role and into the leader role. The sooner you build your team, the faster you can fill your client roster. 100 clients can be merely the start of your vision for your business.

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Entrepreneurial business building can bring you endless waves of profit, freedom and fun, when you do it right. That is where the title of this article comes from – “build your business right… or else.”

Or else what?

One of the challenges of entrepreneurial business is that there are lots of ways to do it wrong. If you do not plan and execute your business strategy correctly, here are examples of what could happen instead:

Focus – All too often, people are starting their own business in order that “no one is going to tell me what to do.” That’s not the foundation for business success.

SO – be sure you’re in business to solve a customer’s needs, in a way you enjoy using your mind and your energy. That’s the way to get a business that can grow.

Customers
– The smartest business builders have learned it doesn’t matter what you’re interested in – what matters is what the buyer is interested in. And you won’t learn that unless you get into the mind of your prospect

SO – devote at least 10 hours every week to getting away from working ‘in’ your business. You need to talk to prospects, current customers and invite them to share their most pressing challenges, frustrations and dreams so you’ll know exactly what to offer them.

Productivity – If you’re doing it all yourself, you better be a sole practitioner accountant or attorney, or creating an internet business. That’s about the only way to create enough sales revenue from the 2,000-3,000 hours of energy you’ve got to put into a business each year.

SO – if you’ve got a product or service with growth plans bigger than that, get others onboard NOW to start handing off the repetitive work, so you can be driving sales and marketing activities, and designing your next product or service.

Profitability – Remember that “so no one will tell me what to do” attitude. I’ve seen business owners actually keep paying to keep their doors open, operating at a loss, for years. Profits come from providing what someone wants to buy for more than the cost of being in business

SO – use your time, intelligence and energy to deliver what people want to buy at a price that will add to your bank account.

Get these business building gems right and you’ll have all the freedom you want for the rest of your live.

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In entrepreneurial and small business, the greatest challenge is to grow the business while at the same time stop doing everything yourself. This is an enormously important part of building any business successfully.

Over the years of consulting and coaching business owners and entrepreneurs, I’ve uncovered quite a few ways to mess up your efforts. Below you’ll find the top 7 ways to mess up, and what to do about it.

Top 7 Ways To Screw Up Your Business

1. It’s all about you – most people believe they‘re in business to sell what they’re interested in putting out in the world. Do you think your buyer really cars about this?

What to do instead – Your business is all about your prospective customer and what is in it for them. Tell them.

2. Being a “Do It All” – I also see professionals and business owners try to do everything so they’ll know it was done right. Silly idea.

What to do instead – Leverage others. Hire others to hand off lower level work so you can focus on business building.

3. Being a “Know It All” – I’ve seen people assume they know how to do everything. Yep, even thought they have no way of knowing the new and improved technique that might be out there.

What to do instead – Hire for the experience and expertise people have gained in other companies. Now that’s leverage!

4. Meeting hell – Yep, I’ve seen 100s of companies waste 1000s of hours of people’s time, energy and intelligence in worthless meetings. C’mon, you have too.

What to do instead – Never start a meeting if you cannot describe the single result you want to create by the end.

5. Ad Hoc Hell – I’ve seen it. People letting themselves be interrupted constantly by others who have ‘just a quick question.’

What to do instead – Use time blocking and create uninterruptible slots at least 3 times every day.

6. Technology Interruptions – Just because someone invented email and cell phones doesn’t mean they should command your attention.

What to do instead – Turn off both for 2 hours. Then check and answer what needs your attention AND turn them off again to keep working.

7. Getting lost in To Do’s – All too often our personal list becomes a mile long and swamps our attention.

What to do instead – Pick 3 to 6 items that will be the focus or your day. Delegate the rest.

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Team Building for Small Businesses – Endless Waves of High Payoff Productivity

by Linda Feinholz April 11, 2009

High Payoff Teams are one of the best ways to bring endless waves of productivity to your business. Whether your team consists of a handful of folks, or you have 50 people in different functional areas, when you use these techniques, you won’t be able to stop the productivity if you wanted to. 1. Hire […]

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Business Productivity – How To Get The Most Leverage And Reach Out Of Every Hour

by Linda Feinholz April 3, 2009

Would you like to get the most leverage and greatest result out of every hour of your day? How about the time, intelligence and energy of everyone on your team? Here are 7 ways to get leverage working for you: 1. Leverage your time – Most of us have been trained to think in 60-minute […]

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3 Ways To Break Deadlocks on Your TeamThere are times when business leaders I’m working with settle in face to face with their peers, arms crossed and accusations flying. I’ve found it helps to view myself as a referee on the grammar school playground during lunch break. Holding the image in my mind certainly helps me calm the disputes and get everyone refocused on the elements that have broken down and led to the finger pointing. I put on my ref’s cap this week with one of a CEO client and her heads of HR and Finance. For over six months the Finance department has had two critical positions open. In that time, fewer than ten candidates have walked through the door to interview for the positions. The source of the deadlock and finger pointing? Well, the Finance Department head is aggravated at HR taking months to find appropriate candidates. They’re frustrated that each of the candidates they interviewed, liked and had staff interview didn’t pass the background checks. And they know their staff is wondering why the candidates they speak with keep disappearing rather than being hired. HR is offended that the department heads don’t appreciate that the positions are hard to fill. The organization has a unique mission and wants people who share the same values in the management ranks. That mission pre-screens out many candidates who have the skill and experience to do the work. Everyone knows all of this. So why the pent up frustration? The breakdowns are actually a result of very different factors. 1 – There’s no shared sense of urgency 2 – The scope of the issue isn’t understood 3 – There’s no formal process 4 – There’s no systematic communication With the seats still unfilled after 7 months, I expect you could understand that the Finance folks feel insulted. They sure don’t feel like they’re valued clients of the HR staff. HR has hired hundreds (well probably thousands) of staff members. Every year the organization’s technical staff has turn over that need to be replaced. And they post the positions and sort the resumes and in short order the position is filled. The person in charge of searches knows exactly what to do for those typical seats. However, this time the Finance department positions are more complex. The HR staff tried the traditional sites for posting the positions. And found no takers. Weeks stretched into months. Two, then three, then five. The Finance managers kept looking at their calendars, and their empty IN baskets. No resumes arrived. No interviews were set. No word at all from the HR department. So the Finance managers started calling HR once every couple of weeks to ask what was going on. The HR staff then reported that the Finance staff were harassing them. Were the Finance managers actually being rude? Probably not. The underlying element in all of this is that the HR staff were unfamiliar and inexperienced with filling these high level roles. The Finance managers had never had to recruit and fill such high level positions before. Everyone’s embarrassment over ‘not knowing quite what to do’ lead to lots of doing nothing. You can see how it all deteriorated. And for all of those months, the Finance managers have been working double over time because key positions are sitting empty. So clearly a solution needed to be found. One that got everyone working at the same pace, with clear communication, and shared expectations being met. The first step – Put a shared system in place Regular discussions on the open positions between the HR staff and Finance managers now take place weekly; recruitment strategy and actions, interview appointment deadlines. Now HR’s client knows that actual recruiting activity is being observed and tracked. Within two weeks there were resumes available to be sorted. Clearly the urgency was at last being matched by both sides. The second step – Formalize the process so that it can be used again With the second open position, face to face weekly meetings are now being held to report on the recruitment activity. The Finance staff no longer has to debate whether to call and ask – every Tuesday they are told specifically exactly what activity is taking place. The third step – Institute customer satisfaction surveys of the internal customers The information being obtained from the survey is reinforcing the processes, and reminding the HR staff that the entire organization is their customer, even if positions come up infrequently in many departments. Knowing they are being tracked has accelerated the HR staff’s follow through in the recruiting process. It’s a new start and a new relationship between the departments that will get the job done to everyone’s satisfaction.

by Linda Feinholz October 28, 2008

© 2008 Linda Feinholz. There are times when business leaders I’m working with settle in face to face with their peers, arms crossed and accusations flying. I’ve found it helps to view myself as a referee on the grammar school playground during lunch break. Holding the image in my mind certainly helps me calm the […]

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Business Lessons From The Lazy River

by Linda Feinholz September 4, 2008

© 2008 Linda Feinholz If you’re like most of my clients, you’ve been working to smooth out the kinks in your business. You’ve put your time into systems for streamlining activities and installed processes that make the work flow efficient. While I was on vacation, I was bobbing along on an inner tube on the […]

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SUCCESS QUOTES

by Linda Feinholz February 13, 2008

“Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi

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Change 1 Belief And You Can Change It All!

by Linda Feinholz February 11, 2008

Are you ready to dump some of your own programming and let yourself step up to your own next level? Let’s take a look at what might be keeping you from leveraging what teams could help you create. Turn off your email, put your phone line on hold, and grab a piece of paper and […]

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ARE YOU MISSING OUT ON THE TRUE POWER OF TEAMS?

by Linda Feinholz February 9, 2008

© 2008 Linda Feinholz. Here’s an interesting fact… According to one of today’s leading authorities on Attention Deficit Disorders, Tellman Knudsen, if you have ADD, you have been programmed since birth to actually NOT be able to do something you really need to do to succeed in life… The thing you have been programmed not […]

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