Are You a Good Candidate for Business Coaching?

Are You a Good Candidate for Business Coaching

As I have worked with hundreds of business owners over the years, many ask the question; “Am I a good candidate for business coaching?” How coachable are you? Most business owners get good results from coaching. However, I have found a few characteristics in business owners that turn good results into great results!

Here are a few characteristics that will make you a good candidate for business coaching:

Are You a Candidate for Business Coaching?

Being Action-Oriented.

Above all other characteristics, being action-oriented is the biggest success factor in coaching. I have had many clients who during every session have completed the assignments that they agreed to complete. Their business results improve like a rocket!

Having Humility. 

Being coachable means that you don’t have all the answers to improve your business. You humble yourself by admitting that. Although my best clients are some of the sharpest business people on the planet, they have some humility when they come to our coaching sessions.

Practicing Truthfulness.

One of the cornerstones to effective coaching is where the client and coach are truthful with one another. This builds trust and moves the coaching relationship to a deeper level. Being armed with the truth helps you and your coach ensure that effective decisions and actions are implemented.

Being Accountable.

The top thing my clients like about coaching is being held accountable. It’s lonely at the top. You may not have someone to bounce ideas off. Being held accountable to your plan increases your results exponentially.

Willingness to Learn.

Most business owners have a lot of knowledge. Some have learned to the point that they think they know it all. When I try to move forward with them, they have some reasons that something won’t work. This can become an obstacle to a business moving forward. Learners are earners. My best clients are eager to learn.

Conclusion

If you have the above characteristics, you are a great candidate for business coaching! Here’s a survey you can take to determine how coachable you are. Now to learn what characteristics are important in a business coach, here’s an article; What to look for in hiring a small business coach. 

What do you think? Are you a good candidate?  Let us know your thoughts below.

 

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10 Ways to Grow Yourself So You Can Grow Your Business

10 ways to grow yourself

Has your business growth leveled off? Are you feeling stuck and burned out? Grow yourself! This is a very common position that business owners find themselves. Sometimes their business grows beyond their ability to effectively move forward to the next level. This was where I was in a previous business. Here are 10 ways to grow yourself.

My Personal Growth Story

One of the businesses I started had grown to about $1 million in sales, and it was growing beyond my ability to effectively lead it. I felt like I needed to grow personally in order to lead the business to more growth. Over the next few years I took action on my personal growth in a number of ways and my business grew to $8.5 million in annual sales prior to selling it to a publicly held company. Personal growth helped to pull me out of burnout and prepared me for rapid business growth.

Jim Rohn, one of my favorite motivational speakers said this, “A formal education will get you a job, but personal development will get you a fortune.” There is something powerful about choosing areas that you want to see personal growth!

10 Ways You Can Grow Yourself

Over the years I have coached hundreds of business owners in the area of leadership. Here are some ways I share with my clients to begin to grow yourself. Following these 10 ways you can grow yourself to change your life and business:

  1. Make a List of Your Personal Growth Goals.

Decide where you want to improve. Some areas could include leadership, sales, marketing, reading financial statements, time management, process management, public speaking, etc. It has been said that “variety is the spice of life.” As you begin learning about new areas in business and learn more about areas that you have some knowledge, you become energized!  Use some of the following tools to begin growing. Write down at least one new task each day as you use the tools below:

  1. Become a Reader.

You have likely heard the saying “Leaders are readers.” There are many successful business owners who don’t have a degree, but few leaders who don’t read. You can read eBooks, traditional books or even articles.

  1. Listen to Books on Audible.

Zig Ziglar, the famous motivational speaker taught business owners to attend “Automobile University”. He recommended that while driving down to road you can listen to audio recordings of motivational speakers and other business training speakers to get an education. You can also listen while at the gym or waiting in lines, etc. Doing so will inject ideas and enthusiasm into your life.

  1. Listen to Podcasts.

There are countless podcasts available on every topic imaginable for you to watch or listen to. Take advantage of these free resources.

  1. Hire a Business Coach.

Without a doubt the biggest impact on myself and my business came from my decision to hire a business coach. Within just a few months of working with a coach my salary doubled and my work hours were cut in half! Since that time, I have always had a business coach.

A good business coach will teach you about many aspects of business (we have 36 coaching areas of business and will have 30 in by the 1st Quarter of 2020. A good business coach will hold you accountable to the areas you want to improve. Finally, a good business coach will give you an amazing return on investment. It is not unusual to see 1000% ROI.

  1. Watch Business Related TV Shows.

There are many TV shows that teach in the area of business. You can watch Shark Tank, The Profit, The Apprentice, Restaurant Impossible, etc.

  1. Attend Industry Association Conferences.

Attend your industry association meetings and go to the workshop offerings. You will learn about elements of success in your industry.

  1. Attend Webinars.

You can get education from the comfort of your home by attending webinars. With a free webinar you usually have to sit through a sales pitch. But you also can attend a paid seminar and get training on most any topic.

  1. Attend Local Workshops/Seminars.

You can find all kinds of workshops on Facebook, Event Brite, and Meetup groups. Or search your community calendar for upcoming events

  1. Get a Degree Online.

Do you regret not getting your degree? It’s never too late! You can get a fully-accredited degree by studying from anywhere you wish. There are many e-learning companies that offer online degrees and courses so you can learn almost any skill from home.  Through the CLEP and Dantes programs you can earn courses that apply to virtually all colleges and universities. And you can prepare for the exams by using tools such as instantcert.com . Many students have earned their bachelors degree in as little as 6 months.

Ray Kroc, creator of the franchising model for McDonalds said, “If you’re green you’re growing, if you’re ripe you rot.” Begin to grow yourself and your business will grow. It will change your life!

Summary

Has your business growth leveled off? Are you feeling stuck and burned out? Grow yourself! This is a very common position that business owners find themselves. Sometimes their business grows beyond their ability to effectively move forward to the next level. Follow these 10 ways to grow yourself and it will surely help you grow your business too.

 

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6 Tips To Apply a Lean Program In Your Small Business

Lean Program

As a small business owner, you probably have already heard about a lean program. In manufacturing businesses, this is called a lean manufacturing program. If you are like most small business owners, you think that this type of program can only be implemented in large companies. But this isn’t true.

Simply put, a lean program is a process of identifying all the aspects that don’t add any value to the operation and remove them. This is known as waste.

Lean Will Work in Your Business

One of the reasons why most small business owners believe this strategy is only meant for big corporations is that they don’t have high production. Nevertheless, no matter your business size, eliminating waste is always important. After all, this allows you not only to decrease your costs as well as improve productivity at the same time.

6 Tips To Apply a Lean Program

So if you are considering the implementation of a lean program in your small business, here are 6 tips that can help you get started:

#1: Identify and Take Care of Waste:

One of the main goals of a lean program is to remove waste as we already mentioned. But how can you identify it?

Waste can have many different aspects of your business. Included are time wasted in waiting, customer order to service time, defects in manufacturing, overstocking, and when your processes aren’t efficient enough.

Lean Program Analogy

Think about the process of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Get the bread from the breadbox, jelly from the fridge, a plate from the cabinet, a knife from the drawer, and peanut butter from the pantry. What would you do if you wanted to make 100 sandwiches? You would become aware that your process to make one sandwich is not very efficient and you have a lot of wasted time. To save time and effort you would set up an assembly line of  the tools and ingredients. You would eliminate wasted time and effort. The same is true with every business. You design the steps in your work to eliminate waste.

One of the best ways that you have to identify it and take care of it is to talk with the ones responsible for that specific process. Usually, they have a better idea of what is happening, what can be improved and what steps need to be changed or removed.

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#2: Make Continuous Improvement a Goal for Your Business:

One of the things that you need to have in mind all the time is your business and your industry keeps changing. You need to be quick in adapting your business to these changes. And this is where continuous improvement plays an important role. As you adapt to the changing environment, you should take what you already learned and change things for the better.

The reality is that there are always areas to be improved when you have a small business. From production to customer service, accounting or operations.

#3: Outsourcing:

Most business owners don’t like to outsource. They believe that it is a waste of money to outsource a task or a department when they have in-house employees who can do the same. However, some of these in-house employees don’t have enough skills to do certain tasks. And even when they do, they already have so many things to do that they won’t be able to dedicate to this new task.

While outsourcing isn’t a must in a lean program, it should be considered as a viable option.

#4: Document All Your Processes:

Many small business owners tend to rely on specific employees who know how everything works inside the business. They are the ones who know how all the processes work. However, what happens when they are sick and need to take the day off? What will you do when a problem with a process appears at this time?

The reality is that you cannot be dependent on just one or a couple of employees. You need to ensure that you have all your processes well-documented. So, whenever there is a problem, everyone will know what to do and what to do.

#5: Collect Data and Use It:

One of the best ways to start implementing a lean program in your small business is to collect data. But what data, you may ask? All data that you can gather. After all, when you have data related to each one of the processes within your small business, you’ll be able to easily identify what needs to be improved.

In case you want to proceed with this idea, my advice is to outsource this task. While you can do this on your own, fresh eyes are usually better to serve as judges and to clearly point out what is being done right and what needs improvement.

#6: Commitment and Perseverance:

This is probably the best piece of advice I can give you when you are implementing a lean program in your small business. All employees need to be committed to the changes and to the elimination of waste. This is the only way that you have to continue to improve your business standards.

Conclusion

Implementing a lean program in your business can add major profits and productivity to your business. No matter whether you have a service business, retail or manufacturing company, applying a lean program will be a giant leap for you toward business freedom!

 

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Winning the Business: Focus on Your Prospect’s Needs

Prospect's Needs

The reason business owners and salespeople exist is to solve problems for their customers.  The better you are at understanding and articulating the needs of your prospect and crafting a solution to meet prospect’s needs, the more effective you will be at winning clients.

Focus on Your Prospect’s Needs First

Before you start “spouting off” your vast array of business features and services, you must deeply understand your prospect’s needs. Think of how foolish a doctor would be to prescribe a medication to a patient before making an examination. Serve your prospect like a doctor serves a patient: ask good questions, diagnose the condition and only then prescribe the best remedies to treat the business “illness.”

Prospect's Needs
People hangout together at a coffee shop

Ask Good Questions.

In the same way that a doctor makes a thorough examination prior to writing a prescription, you must take your prospect deep into his “pain points” or business problems.  Ideally, you want to identify and quantify three to five pain points to help you demonstrate your value in solving a prospect’s needs.

Set Your Client at Ease

Remember, the reason your prospect is meeting with you is that he has a need. However, like a patient who is asked to disrobe, your prospect may be uncomfortable or embarrassed to talk about his business condition. It is your job to set your client at ease. Be quick to admit a fault or mistake you have made recently or in the past; that will help your client to realize that you are human just like them.

Pay Sincere Compliments

It is also helpful to first find things to praise about your client’s business: the size of the business, the length of time in business, their facility, their employees, etc. Congratulating them for their successes makes it easier for them to discuss their problems later. Ask them what they like most about their business, why they started their business, what advice would they give to a new business owner. These are “feel-good questions” that will help set them at ease knowing that you see their value.

Then move into the broad pain questions:

  • What are the top three frustrations in business that you deal with?
  • We find that many business owners have problems with cash flow, working too many hours and not spending enough time with family or friends. Do you?
  • Do you find it hard to find good employees? customers?
  • We had a client who was stung by a large bad debt. Has that happened to you?

Move Into Specific Pain Questions

Once you have developed your list of three to five pain points, get a deeper understanding of the issues. Do not gloss over these! These are important to help the prospect to understand the issues and how much the problems are costing them. Ask the following questions about each pain point:

  • Tell me more about______________________.
  • How long have you been experiencing this problem?
  • What attempts have you made to solve the problem?
  • Have you given up?
  • How much would you ballpark this problem is costing you per year?

Repeat back or rephrase the answers to your questions to demonstrate that you understand and empathize with your prospect. If you sense that your prospect becomes a bit emotional during this exercise, you have done a good job of helping them grasp the reality of their problems that you will solve.

Recap Your Prospect’s Pain Points

Recap each problem and the estimated costs for each problem. Add the costs up to determine the total costs that your coaching solutions could save.

*As a possible interim step, you can ask about the prospect’s budget for your services or product. However, many small business owners do not have budgets. As long as you can demonstrate that your remedy is going to save them a lot more than the cost of your service/product, you can win their business.

Prescribe the Remedy

Now you should be ready to craft your proposal to the prospect’s needs. A few more questions will help you to focus on your prospect’s needs and refine your proposal:

  • What are the top three things you want out of a service provider?
  • What would you want to change?
  • Are you working toward a deadline?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how important is solving these problems to you?
  • How often would you like to see me or talk on the phone each month?
  • Simply list each pain point in your proposal with the coaching solution for each one and the dollar savings goal for each point. If you have done a good job with this, the cost for your service/product will be insignificant to the benefits you will bring your client.

Conclusion

When you focus on your prospect’s needs, they will understand that you care about them. Doing the above will take some practice, but once you are proficient at this, you will win many customers!

Questions about our small business coaching services?

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Prospect's Needs

 

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How To Get The Best Employees For Your Small Business

how to get the best employees

Attracting only the best employees is every business owner’s dream. After all, you know that you need the right people to help you implement and grow your business. However, you are also aware that the best staff can cost a lot of money. And your budget is limited. How can ensure the best applicant choose your company over a big corporation?

The Best Employees Give You a Strong Return on Investment

The reality is that even though the best employees can be more expensive, they are generally worth every cent since they have the right skills, knowledge, and attitude to help you grow your business. In addition, the best employees like to be challenged. Working in a big corporation may not allow them to make a big impact and they may not be as motivated or accomplished.

How To Get The Best Employees

So how can you ensure that you only hire the best employees for your small business?

#1: Develop an Employee Hiring Plan:

Before you decide to place an employment ad, think about the job position itself. The best staff for one position may not be ideal for a different position. Additionally, you want to ensure that you can keep these staff members working with you for as long as you can. So take a step back and look at your organization and your current employees.

Determine the tasks that will need to be accomplished to reach your business goals. Then, based on these tasks, you can list certain conditions and requirements such as specific skills that the person needs to qualify for your team. A good hiring plan goes a long way.

#2: Build Your Brand As A Good Employer:

Finding great staffs is all about marketing. If customers decide if a brand is good or bad based on their experience, your employees can also determine if your business is good or bad according to their experience.

The reality is that more and more job seekers are looking to work only for companies they respect and that act transparently. So when your employees think that you are too demanding, or not fair, they won’t recommend your business to their friends. On the other hand, if you appreciate the work of your employees and you have a business environment of growth and opportunities, you will attract the best employees.

One good (and free!) way to start branding your business is by using social media.

#3: Source And Recruit The Best Employees:

Regarding sourcing and recruiting the best employees, you’ll be glad to know that you have plenty of options. While some tend to work better than others, you shouldn’t use only one. In reality, you should use multiple methods since this way you will be sure that the best employees will find out that you are seeking a new team member.

Some of the best methods to source and recruit the best employees are:

  • Employee referrals

  • Social media

  • Media advertising

  • Job fairs

  • College recruiting

  • Your careers web page

  • Online recruiting

  • Former employees

  • Networking sites

  • Search firms

  • Job postings

  • Job boards

#4: Use Technology In Your Favor:

The reality is that more and more small businesses use technology to engage with the best employees. So, why can’t you do the same?

In the last couple of years, we have been seeing companies improve their careers web pages. Additionally, they are making more appealing job postings. Some have also started optimizing their application processes for mobile users.

#5: Define An Effective Onboarding Program in Your Hiring Plan:

I cannot stress enough the importance of having a well-defined and implemented onboarding program.

Even though you may have hired the best employee in the world, you need to show them the ropes of your business. You need to provide them with all the information and tools they need to be productive and to show their skills and knowledge.

Conclusion

Implementing a good employee hiring plan is crucial to attracting the best employees. However, you don’t want to simply attract them; you want to retain them. So you need to ensure that you have different recruitment strategies in place. You also need to have a good onboarding program so that the new employee can be easily integrated with the culture of your business.

 

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Using a Time Management Plan in a Social Media Company

Time Management Plan

Time Management Plan in a Social Media Company

This week I’m writing about using a Time Management Plan in a Social Media Company. This is an intentional plan for investing your time wisely by blocking high-value activities into a default calendar as appointments and holding yourself accountable for executing them on time.

I have been writing about some of my hero clients and how we are achieving significant results. We have 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business that fall under the broad categories of growth, profits, and freedom. So, when we improve your performance, your business will run better.

Starr’s Social Media Company

I met Starr, owner of a social media company when I was coaching another business that she was associated with. Starr is a very outgoing person who has a large network of small business owners that she interacts with. But she was not able to monetize her work with them to any significant degree. She was also having a difficult time collecting some of her fees. She was “wearing all the hats” in her business, and this was preventing growth in her business. Starr and her husband plan to retire in the Caribbean Islands in the next few years after growing their nest egg.

Strategic Plan, Cash Gap Plan, Employee Acquisition Plan, Billing Process, Pricing, Time Management

Starr filled out our Business Coaching Scorecard and we identified several areas to work on. These included the Strategic Plan, Time Management, Cash Gap Plan, Employee Acquisition Plan, her billing process, and her pricing.

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Time Management Focus For Starr’s Social Media Company

With her Time Management Plan, we first identified where she was spending her time. I believe in the Pareto Principle that states that we get 80% of our results from 20% of our efforts. We conducted a time study and realized that she was spending way too much time on some tasks. These included collections, administrative tasks, and posting on social media on behalf of her clients. So, we decided that she needed to focus more on clients and sales. This way, she would need to delegate much of the posting work and automate her billing process. We also hired some team members to handle her postings.

Results For Starr’s Social Media Business

Her results with our Time Management Plan were rapid and significant. Here’s what Starr said:

“I am more focused, my office is organized, and my business has more than tripled. My business hours have decreased.”

Congratulations Starr on your remarkable results in using a Time Management Plan in a Social Media Company! You are one of my business heroes and an inspiration to other business owners. You can view another case study using a team building system here.

 

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The Keys To Small Business Success – Planning And Prioritizing

Planning And Prioritizing

As a small business owner, you know that you have to wear a lot of hats. Of course, time is limited as well as your own skills. So, when you want to grow your business, the only way to be successful is to start planning and prioritizing.

The Keys To Small Business Success

 

Get Your Strategic Plan in Writing

Even though it may be hard to find the time for planning and prioritization, you need to understand that it is crucial. After all, when you decided to launch your small business, you did it with a purpose. So, you need to ensure that you put this purpose and your business goals in writing. Large corporations and companies do this on a regular basis. Most of them do their planning on a quarterly basis as well as on a yearly basis. This gives them the control to achieve each and every goal they define.

Set Your Priorities For Your Business

In addition to planning, it is also important to prioritize. Just like you do on a daily basis with your tasks, you need to know what is more important to meet the goals that you define for your business.

While it may seem a bit confusing and you don’t know where to start with your planning and prioritizing tasks, here are the main 4 elements that you need to focus your attention on:

#1: Write Down Your Goals In A Clear Way:

This is the time to think about what you want for your business. Where do you see yourself and your business in a year from now? Five years from now?

Since you will also need to prioritize in a later step, it is important that you classify each one of the goals that you define in this step as short-term (quarterly), medium-term (1 year), and long-term (two to five years).

#2: Create A Detailed List Of Tasks For Your Team:

Each one of the goals that you defined in the previous step involves a wide range of tasks. The truth is that if you only write down your goals but skip this step, you won’t ever reach them. Unless you think about everything that you need to do to accomplish the goal and then do it, you’ll never reach it. So, be as detailed as you can. You want to involve your employees in this process.

In this tasks list, you will also need to include the resources that you need. While you can have some of the resources you need already, you may need to acquire or allocate others.

#3: Prioritize Your Tasks in Your Business:

Up until now, you defined your goals in a clear way and you determined everything you need to reach them. Now, it’s time to decide what is more important.

When you are prioritizing your tasks, you should make sure that you place the tasks that have a higher impact on your goals on top of the list.

#4: Be Flexible With Your Business Plan:

One of the things that you need to always keep in mind is that planning and prioritizing are on-going tasks. They are never completed, they are never done. In addition, sometimes, an urgent task comes along and you may not meet a deadline or two. However, it is not the end of the world. Just keep it calm and re-adjust the next tasks that you have to do.

While planning and prioritizing may seem intimidating and time-consuming, having everything on paper makes it a lot easier. The truth is that when you fail to plan and to prioritize, you will never reach the goals you have, you will never see your business grow in a consistent way. So, make sure that you take some time and truly dedicate yourself to this task.

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Summary

As we mentioned earlier, you should definitely involve your employees to help you define the tasks for every goal that you set. However, you need to have a proactive attitude, and you need to stand out and commit to your short-, mid, and long-term goals.

 

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How To Have The Best Training For Your Employees

Training For Your Employees

Training your employees is crucial. You can only have your business running smoothly when your employees have all the knowledge, skills and training they need. This is the only way you have to ensure that they have the best competency to do their jobs. And this in turn frees you up to develop strategies to grow your business.

Why Training Matters

When many small business owners think about training for employees, they immediately think about quick workshops from time to time. Others need to have a major problem to consider training for employees. While training for employees is important, it should follow a plan that flows from your Strategic Plan.

Memorialize Your Training in a Manual

Most businesses tend to have the same routines and the same line productions for years. So training for employees, in this case, should be fairly easy. However as a business owner, you know that things are changing all the time. And you need to adapt to changes quickly in order to succeed. This is why you need to have a training manual that you should follow. However, your training manual shouldn’t be the same forever. Just like things change, training changes as well. You need to ensure that you update it at least on a quarterly basis.

 Benefits of Ongoing Training

One of the things that you need to understand about training for employees is that this is directly related to operations. Operations should be efficient within your business. This is true whether you provide services, resell products or manufacture them.

When you have a small business, it is important to have both managers and employees understand how your business works and how each one of the tasks performed on a daily basis impacts the overall business results.

With this in mind, you can easily understand that the training for employees that you will promote needs to be adapted to the operations. So, when operations change, the training for employees needs to change as well.

So, how can you implement the best training for employees in your small business?

How To Have The Best Training For Your Employees

Here are the steps that you should follow:

#1: Create A General Plan:

Before you even start writing a training manual for employees, you need to know what is important for them to learn, what skills they need most. When you skip this step, you may be simply wasting time and money. Begin with the Values, Vision and Mission of your business and include it in your training manual. Then decide upon each important process in your business: for example the customer service process, the employee intake process, etc.

You can approach your process documentation in one of two ways. You can assign a manager who is responsible for the process to handle this and then approve/revise the process. Or you can do it yourself, one process at a time.

Then write down the skills and knowledge that your employees need to ensure they are able to do all their tasks successfully. Then write down step by step, each action that needs to be performed to complete the task. Make sure that you order them in a logical way, starting with the simplest information and then moving to the more advanced training.

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#2: Establish Regular Training For Employees:

Training for employees isn’t one thing that you complete and that you don’t need to do ever again. As we already mentioned above, it is important to be on top of what is changing and keep adapting the training for employees at the same time. Besides, when you establish regular training sessions, it will be easier for your employees to be on top of what they are learning and they can start executing at the same time.

#3: Use Employees As Trainers:

When most business owners consider training their employees, they either assume they will be the ones leading the training or they will hire someone external to the company. However, there are many occasions where the business owner doesn’t have enough knowledge to train employees. Regarding hiring someone external to the company, while they can have great skills and good knowledge, there is no one who knows better your business than the people who work there. So, why not have employees as trainers?

Use Highly-Skilled and Good Communicators

While not all employees can be used as trainers, the truth is that you can use the ones who are highly-skilled and good communicators. They can be your managers or the employees you know always do their job well and on time.

So, all you need to do is to tell these specific employees to pass their knowledge and skills to the other employees.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many different ways of getting the best training for your staffs. The main point is to provide them with the skills and tools they need to make a good job. For more information on training, check out this article: Finding and Training Great Employees.

What has worked for you? What hasn’t worked? Leave your comments below.

 

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Developing An Apprenticeship Culture In Your Small Business

Apprenticeship Culture In Your Small Business

Apprenticeship in the Past

Back in the day, apprenticeship was a commonly used concept in businesses. At the time, every restaurant kitchen or the merchant’s back office had their own apprentices. The apprenticeship culture in your small business involves a lot more than just finding the responsible person for something that went wrong. This was the way that business owners educated and taught new skills to young people.

Apprenticeship in the Present- Not Sink or Swim!

Now we have universities, colleges, and many different training and workshops that allow young people to gain new skills. So when they arrive at the workplace for the first time, they will already have some knowledge. Maybe this is how the all too common “sink or swim” business practice evolved. However, more and more often, we see young people leaving college unprepared for real life.

Apprenticeship is for New and Existing Employees

Even the ones who have taken the time to do some internships need a close mentorship. This is how apprenticeship culture is integrated into today’s businesses. However, there is a key point that many small businesses tend to forget about: the apprenticeship culture should not only target new employees. It should also target the existing employees.

Why Is Apprenticeship Important?

When you want to have a successful small business, the business owner/manager, of course, has a key role. The idea that the business owner who only orders what needs to be done is no longer accepted. Instead, the role of the business owner is a lot more complex than it used to be. Today the business owner needs to coach each one of the team members. After all, this is the only way that every employee knows exactly his responsibilities and he knows how to execute them properly.

When business owners don’t take an active role within the apprenticeship culture, the small business won’t thrive. At the end of the day, whenever a deadline isn’t met, when there is a problem in the production line or in the distribution, no one knows who is responsible. So how can you improve your business if no one knows exactly what they need to do and how? This isn’t possible.

Motivating Your Employees Through Apprenticeship

The apprenticeship culture involves a lot more than just finding the responsible person for something that went wrong. In fact, the apprenticeship culture has another main goal, probably even more important than the first one.

Let’s say that you decide to hire someone for a position in your small business. Just imagine that this person will be the one responsible for defining new proposals to attract your biggest clients. You, as the small business owner, know that you did a good job hiring this person because he showed you that he was up to the job. So, you just hand him the task.

Killing Employee Motivation

The new employee, ready to show his appreciation for being hired and to be a part of such an important task, works as many hours as he can and he delivers what you asked before the deadline. So you meet with these big customers but you never tell the employee anything else about the meeting. You just keep asking him to do other tasks. You have just killed your employee’s motivation.

The fact is that this new employee, who is eager to show his value and skills, also wants to learn. In order to improve, he needs to have feedback. Your feedback! He needs to understand what he did well, what he could have done better, how to do it better, and what tools or skills he needs to improve. Without this feedback, the employee can’t know if he is doing a good job a poor job, or anything.

Building a Loyal Team Through Apprenticeship

As you can see, an apprenticeship culture should be a part of every small business. And the one responsible for it should be the business owner. The business owner should see himself as a part of the team, the link between the different team members who are always there to help each one of them as well as to explain to them what they need to do and how.

While the apprenticeship culture, or the way it is used now, has changed a bit, there are still many small businesses who continue to adopt an old-fashioned apprenticeship culture. Why? The reason is simple. Many small businesses don’t have the resources to attract the best-trained employees.

Hiring Employees With No Bad Habits

So, what they do instead is that they hire apprentices. They are usually young, extremely motivated and skilled. In other cases, when a small business is growing, it is time for the business owner to decide on the best approach when they need to hire. While for some companies hiring someone with experience in the area is crucial, other businesses prefer to employ someone who can simply dive-in into the business without any bad habits or preconceived ideas.

Conclusion

No matter what you prefer or how you do it, developing an apprenticeship culture is a must in every small business. An Employee Delegation Plan is one of our 36 Coaching Modules Bullets that we focus on with our clients. Here’s an article on the Top Ten Strategies to Retain Your Employees.

 

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Using a Team Meeting System for an Electrical Distributor

Team Meeting System

This week I will be writing about using a Team Meeting System. This is a disciplined rhythm of recurring team meetings focused on goal-setting, alignment, reporting, and accountability that occur on an annual, quarterly, monthly, weekly, and daily basis.

I have been writing about some of my hero clients and how we are achieving significant results. We have 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business under the categories of growth, profits and freedom. So, when we improve your performance, your business will run better.

Randy’s Electrical Distribution Company

Randy is our business hero of the week. He was referred to me by another client. When he got in touch, he had experienced a theft in his business that cost him more than $100,000. Randy is near retirement and we are working to prepare his business for new leadership.

Coaching Modules For Randy’s Electrical Distribution Company

As we began working on his business, we recognized the need for several of our Coaching Modules. These included a Strategic Plan, Key Performance Indicators, a Break-Even Plan, a Comprehensive Exit Strategy and a Team Meeting System. We focused on the need to improve Randy’s gross margin which was below industry norms.

There are two ways to increase your gross margins: 1. Increase your profit on your products or services and/or 2. Decrease the cost of your products and services.

The Implementation Of The Team Meeting Rhythm

In Randy’s business, there were some employees who had great ideas about how to buy inventory low and sell it for a higher profit. So, we wanted to increase teamwork and information share within the team. After developing Randy’s Strategic Plan we met with the team to share the direction of the business and to get team buy-in. Then we decided to put in place a Team Meeting Rhythm with his team.

Results For Randy’s Electrical Distribution Company

As Randy met with his team they began to brainstorm on ways to improve profits. This new focus improved morale and they were able to celebrate a number of successes. The result was almost immediate; his margins began to increase month over month. At this point, their gross profits have increased more than $100,000 per year.

“Alan Melton as helped me see and discuss things that I wouldn’t see otherwise. We have set goals to improve profitability and productivity. Alan helped us with our team concept including communications and regular meetings. The areas that you have helped us implement have improved our Gross Margins by more than 2.5%.”

Congratulations Randy for implementing a Team Meeting System and for seeing your business and employees prosper! You are a true business hero and an inspiration to us. You can view a bus company using a break-even plan here.

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