Many companies, who cannot employee full time salesman to cover a market segment or demographic region, utilize sales agents. Webster defines a sales agent as: one who is authorized or appointed by a manufacturer to sell or distribute his products within a given territory but who is self-employed, may or may not take title to the goods, and does not act as an agent for a principal. These agents can be a very valuable part of the sales effort but are often drastically underutilized. Let’s consider some of the misconceptions about agents and how to optimize their value in your sales effort.… Read the rest
Trying to succeed at anything without first having a clear vision of what it is you want to accomplish will only lead to you going around in circles and eventually giving up in frustration.
To develop your vision, you must look inside yourself. Vision comes from within, from the spirit or subconscious, whatever you choose to call it. Everyone has a vision that is uniquely their own, and you are no different. The hard part comes in understanding your personal vision and how it applies to your personal motivation plan.… Read the rest
When the almighty created each of us he threw away the mold. No two us have the same personalities, think in the same way, or are motivated by the same things. This is one of the great wonders of the world, but it provides us as leaders with some difficult challenges. Why do people react differently to what we say? Who is best suited to handle a role in our group? How do I best motivate an individual? Let’s consider a better way to answer these questions.
Physiologists tell us that there are four general dimensions of behavioral styles; decisiveness, interactive, stabilizing and cautiousness. Part of what makes each person an individual is their unique combination of these four dimensions of behavior.… Read the rest
For those who have spent a portion of their careers in a large organization, they had expert assistance when it came to hiring new employees. That assistance may have come from a Human Resources staff who helped to locate prospective employees and then assisted with the initial screening. For many of us, our careers transitioned to either smaller businesses or nonprofits, where that assistance does not exist. That being said, we need some basic principles to guide us through the hiring process.… Read the rest
In his book, Traction-Getting a Grip on Your Business, Gino Wickman tells a story which needs to be consider by both businesses and nonprofits. Picture a small plane flying across the Atlantic Ocean. Halfway across the captain announces.” I’ve got bad news and I’ve got good news. The bad news is that the gauges aren’t working. We are hopelessly lost. I have no idea how fast we are flying or in what direction and I don’t know how much fuel we have left. The good news is that we’re making great time. Management meetings often center on solving the crisis of the day or celebrating the lasts success, but metrics, the airplane’s gauges, are not often reviewed.… Read the rest
Over the last 13 years we have had the opportunity to work with a number of small businesses, all owned by an individual, with some degree of family involvement. It has been truly a unique learning experience because the majority of my business background was either with larger corporations or in the academic community. In that environment, great importance was placed on growing revenue and profit. While most of these smaller businesses are motivated to grow and be more profitable, several are more interested in sustainability. Maintaining a family-centered life style can often be a chief motivator.
Our focus has not been on brand new businesses that might be classified as start-up. Our clients tend to be already well established businesses who may be in need of making changes required achieve higher levels of success.… Read the rest
Surveys have indicated that most workers have had a bad boss. I have, haven’t you? They are slow to praise, but quick to point out errors. They spend most of their time in their office and leadership meeting. They are seldom seen wandering through the office and talking with the staff. A survey conducted by the Chicago based LaSalle network discovered that most people have had a bad boss.… Read the rest
We recently conducted a workshop at the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives in Savannah GA. There were approximately 120 chamber leaders, from across the nation, and the question was asked, how many have a formal strategic planning process? There was an overwhelmingly positive show of hands. The response from these participants reflects our experience with all nonprofits, that most have a strategic planning process. It may vary in timing or method, but it is essential to the success of the group. Without it, there can be a loss of faith from those who invest their time, trust and resources to an organization.… Read the rest
Warren Buffet is quoted as saying, “Risk comes from not knowing what you are doing.” Mr. Buffet is considered one of the smartest investors in the modern era. One might say that he is a very knowledgeable investor. What makes him a knowledgeable investor? I would suggest that he works hard to become knowledgeable in the companies in which he invests. He learns to know their management, their product/services, their people, their plans, their competitors, their markets, their technologies and their people. He never assumes anything or works on a tip. He is in a constant search for knowledge.… Read the rest
We often find ourselves in a position where we have to hire a sales person. We might also find ourselves needing to evaluate the worth of one who is already on-board. The question is, therefore, what traits we want to see in evaluating this person, especially if the task involves finding a new client or a new job. Let’s consider these five points.
David Allen is quoted as saying, “You can do anything, but not everything.” In the process of building growth plans for various size businesses, there comes a point where the team begins to put together ideas for the future. Those plans are expressed in terms of goals and action plans to support those goals. Members of the team tend to be optimistic about their future or they would not be invoked in such a planning process. The result is a list of plans and ideas which are far beyond the capacity of the organization to accomplish. At that point, priorities have to be established.… Read the rest
I am reminded of a moment in Pride and Prejudice when Mr. Darcy tells Elizabeth Bennet, “I cannot forget the follies and vices of others so as I ought, nor their offences against myself.” She then admits, “My good opinion once lost is lost forever.” In our consideration of leadership we must understand that trust is a quality developed over time but easily lost. It is an essential part of the leadership attributes of anyone who leads a business or organization.
Warren Buffet is quoted as saying, “Look for 3 things in a person, intelligence, energy, and integrity. If they don’t have the first one, don’t even bother with the first two.”
We are often in a social situation where we meet people, who will eventually ask us, what we do. When we reply that part of our practice is business coaching they often reply, “OH that’s nice.” They say that in a way which indicates that they are unsure of what that means and are fearful of finding out more about the subject. They assume that they are well equipped to handle their business issues or that this is a “touchy feely” subject that makes them uncomfortable.… Read the rest
Leadership is a key element in the development or rebirth of any organization, whether it is a for-profit business or non-profit community organization. It is important to large corporations, such as General Electric; small local businesses, such as a town dry cleaner; city, county and state government; churches, and service organizations such as Rotary.… Read the rest
Every entrepreneur I have ever talked to has had to come face to face with his/her fears. I have had to as well. I want to share with you some of the techniques I have used to face them.
The first step is not to be in denial. You have fears even if you don’t readily acknowledge them. They sometimes take the form of chatter in the back of your head that says you can’t do it.… Read the rest
As any business or organization begins to grow, there comes a point where the leadership begins to realize that they cannot do or control everything themselves. They must begin to delegate tasks and responsibilities to others; but of equal importance, is to empower those individual. Empowerment in the simplest terms means to treat people not as employees, but as partners.… Read the rest
Most organizations have at least one individual who might be considered troublesome. They may be tolerated because the group feels that they carry their load. They may not be tactful and could often be abrasive, leaving you with a very tricky situation. How you handle these individuals, who some might classify as characters may have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the group. Some might consider them loners in that they often fail to greet coworkers and fail to say hello in the morning. They might fail to have eye contact or make unusual statements at inappropriate moments. Others often say “well that’s the way he is.” As a manager you must tread lightly with these personalities; but to maintain communications and productivity there are some suggested actions and things to avoid.… Read the rest
One of the skills necessary for success in any business or nonprofit organization is the ability to chart a course. To properly chart a course, it is important to understand first where you are, than where you want to go, and finally the plan on how to get there. If you have ever been in a new town and wanted to go out to dinner, you might have first looked for a restaurant in a magazine. You then call to find out where they were located. The first question you were asked by the person in the restaurant is where are you now? In fact, you have just taken the first step in charting a course to dinner.… Read the rest
Are you looking to be more successful? Here are ten ways to grow your small business.
Know yourself. Do a SLOT analysis. What are your strengths, your limitations, opportunities, and threats? Examine and understand each. In every strength, there is a limitation and in every limitation there is a strength (e.g. you are small so lack financial clout; the advantage is by necessity you will be more creative). The better you know yourself the more successful you will be. By knowing yourself you not only know your areas of opportunity, you know what areas to avoid.