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One Page Plan

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First you need a plan.
 
If you don’t set the direction you want to go in the business goes around in circles (each one feeling harder than the next). Even a one page plan is better than no plan at all.
 
Without a plan its like driving a car with a fully functioning engine but no steering wheel!
Download your plan here
This plan forms part of the Goals, Planning, Strategy workshop that is available for selected dates in 2016.
Contact me for more details.

Turning into Extra-Ordinary (just to stand out)

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exta ordinary

So, in a previous article I talked about why it is okay to be ordinary. And in this one I am going to tell you to be “extra”ordinary. So that’s ordinary and a little extra.

So a little technical definition for you:

From: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English
Extraordinary \Ex*traor”di*na*ry\, n.; pl.
{Extraordinaries}. That which is extraordinary; — used especially in the plural; as, extraordinaries excepted, there is nothing to prevent success.
[1913 Webster]

“There is nothing to prevent success”

As a small business there is a huge competitive market place out there. In New Zealand alone we number over 480000. Most of us very busy, very time poor and few of us standing out from the crowd.

As a small business, to be successful, you need to stand out from the crowd of your competitors. This is the key to your success. However, you don’t have to be amazing at everything you do. It’s too expensive. You do need to find one thing, one thing your business excels at, one thing it does better than others in your industry. When you have that one thing, you promote it, you live it, you breathe it and so do any employees you might have.

Perhaps you are a café and you have one signature dish, something no one else has, and you strive to make it “famous”.

Perhaps you are a hairdresser and supply something locally no one else does?

Perhaps your customer service, care and after service is so good your customers are compelled to use your business time and time again?

Whatever your business is, as you are unique so will the business you have created be so. You need to find your one thing, and you will have one. If you are finding it difficult to define, just ask your customers “what do you like about us” and they can define your one thing for you.

Showcasing what you do best will propel your business into the radar of more or your potential, future and current clients, increasing and growing your business.

All you need to know now is where are your customers and how can you reach them? But that’s another article! However if you want a one off session on hw to find and reach your market contact me now.

 

Rabbit in the Headlights of Social Media (And the secret you need to know)

By | Business, make money, profit, Time Management | No Comments

rabbit

 

Social media – you either understand it and embrace it, know you have to do it so do it anyway, or stick your head in the sand and wait for it to go away.

It’s not going away – unless you believe the plot of The World’s End (2013) which cumulates: “…the Network (Bill Nighy), reveals that the limited android invasion has been responsible for all of humanity’s advances in telecommunications in recent decades, bringing humanity closer together as a first step to joining the galaxy’s community of planets…The destruction of Newton Haven triggered a worldwide chain reaction that wiped out modern technology and set humanity back to the Dark Ages.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_World%27s_End_(film)

But I digress. So for the foreseeable future, social media is here to stay. But when I talk about social media we need to be clear, in business it starts with your own website. It progresses to your own blog, encompasses your newsletter, then takes you down the dark path that is facebook, twitter, instagram, pintrest, you tube, linked in and the more recent periscope; just to name a few. Yes these are only a few of the platforms that are yours to sign up to and explore!

So how do you sort it all out?

How do you know which ones you should be on?

What should you post?

How often?

AAAARRRRGGGHHHH

Yes, as a small business owner I got to that stage. A rabbit in headlights. Stock still, doing nothing. Doing nothing is not an option. Your customers are out there, they are on social media. If you are not and your competitors are (and they are) your customers will be buying from them not you.

So to the secret.

There is help out there. It wears a human face, she understands this social media thingy, she can explain it to you, clearly and easily. She can look at your business, your message and help you locate the best platforms for you. She takes the stress away and shows you HOW.

Who is this wonderful lady? She walks among us! Contact Angel (yes that really is her name) at Small Black Cat Media.  She really knows how to help us all, and for a half-day strategy session that clears your fears and gets you ready to plan and implement – what would you pay?

Remember this lady GETS YOU RESULTS. I know, I’ve done the session.

$3000? $1000? $5000? God no!

After all she really does understand small business owners. So for just $495+GST, you can access her and her skills, one on one, face to face or over skype, and get out of the headlights and into the social media space with confidence! Ready?

For your FREE guide to boosting your Communications go to our FREE STUFF (its at the bottom)!

Why we love to be Ordinary (and why thats okay)

By | Business, make money, profit, Time Management | No Comments

ordinary

How often in business do you need to look at your competitors? Be better than them to attract clients and business? How often do you look online and see the “success” of those travelling to exotic destinations, clients all over the world, big money workshops and speaking? How often do you hear about products being sold in China, America, and Europe? And, considering those, how often do you wonder are you good enough? Will your business be that “successful”?

Well STOP.

If you aren’t happy with what you have now, how will you be happy when you have more?

I work with lots of small successful businesses. They don’t trade globally, they don’t have big money workshops and few are on the speaking circle, international or national. Yet, they are successful. They know they are successful. Yet they are ordinary, nothing special or standout in the global population. Just ordinary people like you and me. They make money and profits. They have competitors, but they still make sales.

So what makes the ordinary successful? They are living the lifestyle THEY want. Not what someone else has, not what people tell them they SHOULD have, but the exact lifestyle they WANT.

Often, in business, you are asked about your goal, your end point, and the reason you are in business in the first place. There will be a big hairy audacious goal in there somewhere. However, when working with clients on goals, the first “end point” is usually the goal that they think they should have. It’s a goal based upon their perception of the businesses around them and their perception of success, based upon the media that they have seen/read/watched.

After six months in business I usually sit down with the client and ask about their dreams. This is where we get to revealing the true goals, the true wants, based upon the person and business in front of me not the perception they had. When the ordinary person is revealed, their journey towards their own success begins. It’s not a long process but it is an essential one.

Next time you are looking at your competitors “success” just ask yourself, if that was me, would I really want it? Sometimes, being ordinary and you is the best success you’ll ever have.

3 Tips For Breaking Business Blocks

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Three tips for breaking business block

As a full time writer and blogger I am on very close personal terms with Writer’s Block. The Dreaded Block (cue sinister music) is not confined to the business of writing and blogging. Most business owners fact it at some stage. You have to come up with new, fresh ideas – services, products, articles, posts – regularly, you have to create and implement those ideas (services, products, articles, post, and you have to promote those ideas (services, prod … oh you get the picture) and your business and yourself. There days of self-doubt. Monumental self-doubt. You sulk. You wail. You bury yourself in chocolate, coffee, and champagne until all anyone can see is the tip of your ears – well – okay that might only be me – but point remains: it’s not always easy. In an effort to keep my sanity – not to mention to keep my chocolate, coffee, and champagne consumption to a minimum – I’ve come up with three tips for breaking through the business block.

UNPLUG

Yes, you heard me. Almost without fail, the times I have really felt like giving up have been preceded by a long stretch in front of my computer screen. Researching, reading, writing, tweeting, liking, following, pinning – and that’s just blogging. Let’s throw in some study, some fiction writing, or pitching for clients. And all of that has to be fitted in around family, faith, felines, and Springsteen. It’s a wonder I can write my name some days – let alone a blog post – and usually it’s a sign I need to *cue thundery voice* TAKE A BREAK.

It’s no different in business, especially a small business. Chances are high you fill most, if not all, of the Chief Executive roles in your business – so you are constantly working. Even when you’re not. If you are suddenly staring at your computer screen or whiteboard (whiteboards by the way are probably even more important than your computer, but that’s a different post) and thinking “actually I’d just like to get on a plane, fly to Peru and never come home”, you need to unplug.

Stand up. Stretch. Go for a walk. No, don’t get on the next plane for Peru – call a friend and meet for coffee. In other words – do something different. Whatever your business is – whether it’s entirely online or face to face, sometimes you need to do something different for a while. More often than not, switching focus gives our brain the opportunity to unfreeze – and in my experience, it doesn’t take long. Which brings me to a word of warning: don’t drop everything and rush off immediately, or you’ll be back at square one. If you get an idea, note it down on your phone or in a notebook, but don’t race straight back to your office. Trust me, your family, your business, and yes, your sanity will thank you for the break.

Keep your eye on the prize

So, you’re probably muttering “didn’t she just say take a break?’ Yes I did and I promise it will make perfect sense in a moment. Sometimes when you think you’re going nowhere, it helps to look at how far you’ve come. Go back and look at where you were a month ago – better yet, a year ago. Even if you’re not entirely where you want to be yet – look at how far you’ve come and how much closer to your goals you are now. And if you’re not making progress – call Sarah now, she can help you with that. Just remember this is a marathon, not a sprint – for want of a better cliché – so hang in there. Don’t worry about everyone else, just keep going. Nobody knows better than me how hard this one is – remember my business is writing and everyone in this industry is watching everyone else. But no matter how far away the prize (whatever the prize is for you) may seem, you are so much closer than you were when you started. Hang in there.

You are not alone

I’ve come to the conclusion this is the most important thing of all. Even if your business is like mine and the only company you get day in and day out is five demented cats or if you are seeing new people every day, it is really easy to feel isolated and as if nobody else understands. Join a business group. It can be a formal business networking group or an informal Friday night drinks group for local business owners – or a Facebook community: but join. Talk to other business owners, ask them questions, listen to their struggles. You’ll soon realise – you are not alone. They are facing the same struggles you are. They have the same fears and the same challenges. Not sure what to do next? Ask someone. Nearly every good business person I have met has been more than willing to offer advice and lend a helping hand – so for the love of Pete: take it.

 

Part of a successful network is opening your business to partners that have the skills to help – I am proud to say Angelique is a trusted contact of mine and I LOVE her skills in writing and blogging

SARAH 

About Angelique Jurd

Angelique Jurd is a writer and blogger, consumer of champagne, coffee, and chocolate, social media junky, and lover of cats. In her former life as a print journalist and newspaper editor, she specialized in business journalism and interviewed many leading business people and was thrilled to discover they were really quite normal and not scary (well some of them were) after all. These days she can usually be found in cyber space either writing her story or helping entrepreneurs find their story.

www.angeliquejurd.com

www.smallblackcatmedia.com

Small Business Insanity

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stupidity

Just recently someone asked a question of me on Facebook “Why do I keep expecting a different result when I keep doing the same thing?” I thought she was having a laugh, in fact she may well have been, but I actually had an answer!

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

This is my expereince with many small business owners. They know their stuff, they’ve succeeeded before but then they become stuck. Why? Because they keep repeating what they had done before in order to try to repeat the previous successes.

Face it people, we are in business, we arent shampoo, so the lather, rinse, repeat cycle will work but not indefinitely.

Certainly when you get great results for your business there is a time period when repeating your actions will continue to deliver results. If you arent monitoring your results though, you will fail to notice the falling success and the lessening of the sales. One morning you wake up and realise that you are now in crisis mode and you cant figure out what went wrong.

So how do you combat business insanity?

Business success comes when you have an accountability partner. Someone who is looking at your business from the outside in! Its well documented that accountability can deliver you from the ordinary to the extrodinary. Don’t just take my word for it:

“accountability should be the guiding principle for entrepreneurs who seek to change the world, as well as for employees who want to stand out above the rest” Martin Zwilling – Forbes.com 

“In the weakest teams, there is no accountability; in mediocre teams, bosses are the source of accountability; in high performance teams, peers manage the vast majority of performance problems with one another” Joseph Grenny – Harvard Busines Review

“personal accountability is a critical step towards improving leadership. When people are accountable for their own decisions, work, and results, the effectiveness of an organization can greatly increase” Jeff Fenter – Spectrumbuilt.com

“An accountability partner is a business peer who helps you grow your company by offering guidance and by holding you to your commitments” Stephanie Vozza – Entreprenuer.com

However, you may not be in the position to afford some of the worlds top mentors. You can still get great results with a local mentor and coach.

They will help you:

  • Understand why results have changed
  • Show you how to adapt, quickly, to your changing market
  • Understand your passion for your business and engage in helping you succeed
  • Hold you accountable, its not about fault or blame but about solutions
  • Find out what you don’t know that you don’t know!

Business Turbo Booster has been offereing accountability coaching for over six years, getting great results for growing small businesses and start ups. If you’d like to stop the insanity contact me to apply for your accountability partner.

If you want to know more about Business Turbo Booster has done for clients ask to be referred to some of them, they all are happy to talk about their results! (Well wouldn’t you be if your business was giving you the life you wanted?)

10 Rules For Sales Calls

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10 Rules For Sales Calls

sign up

 

As a small business owner you are often the top sales person in your company. You need a result every time and need to maximise your sales approaches to prodcue the best results.

  1. Do your homework

Anything you can do to learn about the person or people that you are meeting, the company, their products, their competition, and their customers can make a huge difference. It will help you understand how your product or service can fit into what they are trying to do. Remember it’s always addressing the whats in it for me (WIFM) that gets the sales across the line. Try Linkedin or facebook or Google+, also don’t forget looking up their own website and how you may be connected to them for some real inside information.

  1. You and Your Offering

Do you know your stuff? Does your product and service do what you say it does? Its important tp have belief in yourself and your business. People can spot the fakers really quickly. Belief and knowing your stuff gives you the confidence to approach for sales.

Put your prospect at ease. You know what you do and you know how it helps – scripts DON’T work.

  1. Manage your time

Do you know how long your prospect has to discuss this call? Have you checked? It is comon courtesy to do this and they feel respected and will be totally present in your call.

Often I have said, if I may have 15 minutes of your time to explain what I do? If you’d like to know more then, as long as you have time, we can continue. Is that okay with you? This often opens the conversation with more reluctant buyers. If you know your stuff and the benefit to them them often the appointment/call lasts longer.

  1. Rapport

Building rapport quickly can make the meeting. If you found in your research that the person you’re meeting was featured in a recent article or has a hobby or interest that you can relate to, ask them about it. Or just look around for information that could start a conversation–think about family pictures, sports memorabilia, awards.

People love to talk about themselves and this puts them at ease and iopens them up to more of what you are going to say.

  1. WIFM

Why have you contacted them? Whats in it for them? How does what you are going to say align with their plans?

Have you set yourself a goal or outcome for the meeting? If not how will you know you have been successful? It could be the next step in the sales process, it could be an outright sale, it could simply be an agreement ot continue.

  1. 2 Ears and 1 mouth

You are given these bits of your body in this proportion to understand that to effectively sell you need to understand your clients needs and wants. The ONLY way to do this (besdies research) is to ask questions and LISTEN to the answers. The respond to the asnwers NOT to your pitch.

  1. Qualifying

Your questions should all the while qualify you rcustomer. How do they buy? What is their budget? What is their need? How are you adding value?

If you don’t find out this information, you may lose the deal or have to follow up multiple times.

  1. Presenting a Solution

While you were listening to the customer, you should have been thinking about how to adjust your presentation, so you have the best possible impact when presenting your solution.

When recapping on the sale refer back to their answers. Ensure they fit with what you are selling. Telling them what they told you will have them nodding in agreement. When they get down this “yes” path its difficult to then say no.

  1. Asking for the Sale

So you’ve followed all the steps so far. Often business owners wonder why people don’t buy. Simply put its because they didn’t ask for the sale!

If there are more stages to the sales process then clarify then next step and book the next stage.

  1. Follow Up, follow up again

One final thought: Be sure to follow up with your customer. It’s that follow-through that can make all the difference. That’s how a customer can really see your service in action.

Put the customer into your database, add them on Linkedin.

Make diary entries to remind yourself to do a follow up.

This is also a great strategy once they have bought to keep them engaged and sellmore product to them with ease.

 

Want to improve your sales? Contact ME

 

Stop Spending Money – Sales Management

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buynow

Get the Basics right before you throw money at a ‘Sales Solution’.

In business today we see any number of expert solutions to the selling process. These are sometimes a specific sales course or the introduction of a sales process. Over the years we have seen many of these under various guises.

There has been failures and partial successes. And of course some very successful implementations.

Regardless of who the supplier is, and their level of expertise, their offering cannot be successful if the basics are not in place. Why have there been failures? Why do Sales people resist these programmes?

All too often we have seen these sales programmes being introduced without the core business needs being addressed or understood. Many are formulae driven and replicate international (often US sales programmes). The supplier is bound by their process, often contained within a franchise arrangement.

Businesses should always look at their existing sales structure before engaging ‘experts’.

You may already have the Information you need for decision making

  • What is your lead generation producing?
  • How many, over what time, and what quality?
  • Are they being followed-up in a timely manner?
  • Conversion rate?
  • Effort required to convert?

Flogging a Dead Horse

  • Do your Sales people know how to disqualify a Lead as well as qualify?
  • How long have your leads bee in the system (CRM, Contact Manager or spreadsheet)?

Do Something Now at no Cost

  • Gather your information
  • Understand your leads and Prospecting
  • Direct your Sales effort where it will have immediate benefit
  • What can you do to assist the Sales person close a quality Prospect?
    • Visit a key Prospect with your Sales person
  • Review your results

 

Jim Niven is a Director of Initiatives CRM Limited and has extensive experience in sales processes, CRM Implementation, Solution Selling and Business Analysis.

image001

Do you need that MBA? Really???

By | Business, make money, profit, Time Management | No Comments

 

blog MBA2

Well actually all qualifications have value and some may help you secure a job, but what I’m talking about is that they aren’t always necessary to have to develop certain skills.

 

So here’s what I’m talking about. I was away, in my hotel, reading the standard hotel magazine thingys they leave out for you. Not because it looked interesting but Id dismally failed to pack anything to read. I though I’d have enough to do facilitating this course and perhaps re writing some of it as the participants gave feedback (they were the first to try the course).

I found an article on MBAs and specifically this page (see the photo).

So I read through the learning’s that you get from an MBA and my immediate reaction was one of incredulous laughter. Remember getting an MBA can cost upwards of $30,000!

I, as a humble business coach, who has lived in both hemispheres, haven’t gains an MBA. I have other degrees and qualifications but actually started and rejected my MBA course early on.

So the learnings:

There is never only one answer – now if you have children you don’t need a MBA to learn this fact. If you have siblings you’ll know. If you’ve been to school and argued with a teacher, you’ll know. So I’m wondering how sheltered does your life have to be if you have failed to register this fact until you spent a considerable sum of money and a considerable space of time to get your MBA? Bearing in mind the typical age range of an MBA student is 28-45.

Think multi-discipline – Maybe I’m oversimplifying but most problems have a source that requires resolving as well as the original problem. If your light bulb flickers, to resolve the problem you can turn it off, but unless you resolve the fluctuating power supply or replace the light bulb, chances are when you turn it on again it’s still flickering? Your business could be running short of cash, to resolve this you could inject money, borrow money and/or make more sales. But unless you tackle the budgeting issues, the seasonal fluctuations, the expenses and/or poor sales and marketing, chances are the initial problem will repeat.

Approach the problem from many angles – really? There’s more than one way to skin a cat you say? To illustrate this think medically – my back is sore, I can take a pill, see a chiropractor, go to a health shop. I may have faster success if I attempt all three.

Learn to ask the right questions (ah as an MBA still stuck on problems I see). Of course learn to ask the right questions. Firstly you need to understand what it is you need to know. Maybe you wonder whether this new product or service you are developing will sell? The right questions would be asking directly if someone would buy your new product/service; how will they use it? what would it be compatible with? Or do you really want to know how much to sell it for? If so you need to ask how much would you pay for this!

Attitude trumps ability. SO if you’ve studied and got your MBA but your attitude sucks……..just saying! I have seen many small businesses succeed because they have believed and persevered; two traits in your attitude. Abilities can mostly be taught and learnt – remember that

Business is still all about people. You needed a qualification to tell you that? Look at a BNI, a business networking group, a rotary, and a club. These things already tell you that. In school you had cliques and groups that all “bought into” the same things. Things and values in common. A famous bank had a saying “Customers (people) are our business, without customers (people) we have no business”. And without staff (people) you have no one to run it either.

EQ over IQ – this article

Watch out for business cliché traps. People use excuses to cover up poor decisions. They always will. This leads back to asking the right questions and then solving problems

One size does not fit all. Hey coaching firms with tick box lists – can you hear me? Every business is different; every owner of every business is different. They have different goals, dreams, personal agendas and beliefs. Coach the individual owner and business, not apply one brush to an industry segment.

 

I’m not belittling the MBA I’m just pointing out that there must be more “wow” learnings from such a course?

Never stop learning and challenging yourself.

Feel the Fear of CHALLENGE

By | Business, make money, profit, Time Management | 2 Comments

success is action

 

 

 

 

Sometimes you cant see the wood for the trees – meaning you cant see the obvious until someone else can take another look for you.

A while back (in a galaxy far far away……….nope doesn’t work) I created some simple courses designed to allow business owners to learn online. They were based around the basic foundations of business and created so that they were EASY. I thought they were perfect and ready for market.

However, better walk the talk! So before releasing them into the unsuspecting world I asked a few trusted contacts if they would test them and give me raw, honest feedback.

So they did.

On most of the courses:

  • I had forgotten page numbers on the workbook
  • I had forgotten to tell them the video needs to be played whilst using the workbook
  • Some content was completely irrelevant
  • Some content was muddled and in the wrong order
  • Spelling and grammar not my strongest points

But by doing this, by getting these people to test and challenge my thinking, I have now a much-improved product and I have shrunk the courses from 7 to 3.

It’s the same when picking your business mentor.

You have one because you cannot effectively challenge yourself. You often are so far into your business you have difficulty actually seeing what is going on and what can be changed. You need an unemotional perspective. You need someone you can’t make excuses to.

You pick a mentor that is committed to growing your business and achieving YOUR goals, committed as much as you are. You want a person that can give it to you straight and clearly and help you move onwards. Some one that makes you stop and think…..HARD.

Lastly your mentor should deliver.

They should add more value to your business in terms of improved processes, systems, sales and profits. More than they cost.

If you are looking for the challenge to get your business to the next level and need a straight talking, arse kicking mentor then purchase one of my business success programs now! I promise you ore value added than fees charged. Unsure, check out what my clients’ say.