Cost-Effective Workstyles: SMB Office & Remote Dynamics

workstyles

Small Business owners are forever on the lookout to reduce costs and maximize ROI. The corporate space in particular is ever-evolving, with workstyles taking on diverse and exciting dimensions. The right work approach can be the difference between surging forward or being left behind. Integral to this discussion are the nuances of office space and the growing influence of remote work dynamics.

Cost-Effective Workstyles: SMB Office & Remote Dynamics

 

The Changing Landscape of Work

Historically, work was tied to physical spaces, from tradesmen’s workshops to expansive corporate offices. However, several shifts over the decades, particularly advancements in technology and the influence of globalization, have redefined this landscape. These factors allow employees to connect with global markets and talents seamlessly, breaking down geographical barriers. With these changes, adaptability and flexibility aren’t just buzzwords but essential components for SMBs to remain competitive. Embracing new workstyles, therefore, is less a luxury and more a necessity in today’s milieu. Today, you can even hire, manage, and pay employees through a service for hiring a remote team.

workstyles

The Role of Office Space

Despite the digital revolution, business owners see the value in utilizing physical office spaces. There is more of a sense of ownership and brand recognition when you can put your name on the side of a building. The office fosters direct communication, and team cohesion, and can even embody a company’s culture and values. However, maintaining traditional offices isn’t without challenges. High rental costs, utilities, and maintenance can strain finances. To turn this around, SMB owners are rethinking their spaces – adopting open floor plans, shared workspaces, or even downsizing to align with actual needs.

Remote Work Dynamics

The concept of remote work, once a novel idea, has surged to mainstream prominence, especially post the COVID-19 pandemic. For SMB owners, it’s an opportunity to tap into a broader talent pool without geographical constraints. Employees gain flexibility, which often translates to higher job satisfaction and productivity. However, there are challenges: potential feelings of isolation, collaboration hurdles, and cybersecurity concerns, to name a few.

Hybrid Work Models

Enter the hybrid work model, a blend of traditional office setups and remote work. This model offers SMB owners the best of both worlds. On one hand, team members can collaborate in person, building strong interpersonal relationships, at the same time as bringing down rental costs but using a smaller office space for the physical location. Allowing staff to rotate on when they work from home and the office means owners can initiate a hotdesking program, where staff take turns in sharing desks, which ultimately means business owners spend less on maintenance, less office space and less spend on office equipment.

workstyles

Cost-Effective Strategies

Cost-effectiveness doesn’t mean compromising on productivity or employee satisfaction. SMBs can implement several strategies:

Opting for coworking spaces to reduce rental overheads.

Investing in efficient remote work tools that boost collaboration.

Encouraging flex-hours, and reducing office utility costs during off-peak times.

Invest in recruitment talent further afield that can work remotely.

Conclusion and Future Outlook

In navigating the intricate dance between office spaces and remote work, SMB owners stand at a crossroads of opportunity. As we look ahead, the future seems ripe with innovations in workstyles.

small business coach

 

Easy Step-by-Step Building Your Business Systems

business systems

Do you have plenty of extra time? If you are a business owner, I doubt it.

The majority of small business owners are all too familiar with the daily struggle of having a shortage of time to complete their tasks. You have an array of matters that need attention, but not enough hours in the day.

John Gunther, American journalist said, “I have so much to do! And there’s so little time! Does this line resonate with you?

The answer is a resounding yes if you’re like many small business owners. We live in a busy world and often find ourselves running out of time before we can accomplish everything we need. Everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes, and it’s okay to admit it. The important thing is to take a step back and assess the situation. 

Determine the most effective action for finding a solution to analyze your situation. You might need to take some time to prioritize tasks, break down complex projects into manageable chunks, or delegate work if possible.

So, how do you accomplish this? The answer is simple: systems. 

Systems are simply a series of processes and procedures that help you accomplish your business goals. These systems are designed to streamline workflows, allowing for more efficient use of time, money, and resources. By developing these systems, you can ensure that all business areas will be working in harmony to create desired outcomes.

Today, I want to share a step-by-step guide on building your systems. At the same time, after reading these easy steps, you will understand more about your business needs. Like what things best work for your business and opportunities that you can leverage to make your business profitable.

business systems

Why Should You Build Your Business Systems?

Business systems are essential for any business, regardless of size or industry. They enable businesses to streamline operations, optimize efficiency, increase productivity, and improve customer service. By providing the infrastructure needed to manage data and process transactions quickly and accurately, business systems help ensure your company’s success in today’s competitive market.

Business systems also enable businesses to analyze data. This helps you to better understand customer needs and preferences. This allows your company to develop targeted marketing campaigns or identify potential opportunities for improvement. By automating tasks that would otherwise be time-consuming and laborious, business systems can save your company money in the long run.

Business systems also help companies set goals, track progress towards those goals, and ensure they meet their objectives. This helps you create a more organized and efficient organization. This can better allocate your resources and prioritize tasks to achieve your desired outcomes. Additionally, business systems allow for easy scalability. This can help companies expand operations as needed without investing heavily in additional hardware or manual labor costs.

Here are a few of the many reasons why businesses need to build business systems. These include:

– Systems allow business owners to plan, manage resources, and free up time for more strategic activities. It helps them to go to the freedom stage. 

business systems

– Streamlining operations and creating more efficiency: Having an effective business system in place can help streamline processes and reduce duplication of effort, saving time and money.

– Increasing scalability: Business systems can help businesses expand and grow by offering more services or products with fewer resources.

– Boosting collaboration: A good business system encourages employee collaboration by providing a centralized communication and document-sharing platform.

– Enhancing productivity: By taking mundane tasks out of the equation, business systems enable employees to focus on more important and value-added activities.

– Improving decision-making: With access to accurate and up-to-date data, business systems can help managers make informed decisions quickly.

– Enhancing security: A sound business system helps protect the company’s valuable information from unauthorized access or malicious attacks.

What Can You Systematize in Your Business?

You can systematize everything you perform in your business that requires steps.

Once you’ve identified the areas of your business that need improvement, you can begin to systematize them. This means creating processes and procedures that will make it easier for everyone involved in the operation of your business to carry out their tasks quickly and efficiently. The most effective way to systematize a business is to create detailed systems and procedures that are easy to follow. For example:

  • Creating standard customer service protocols like visitor management systems
  • Developing product or service development processes 
  • Automating accounting processes such as invoicing, payroll, billing, and bookkeeping
  • Organizing customer data, such as contact information, orders, payments, and preferences
  • Developing procedures for the hiring and onboarding of new employees
  • Setting up team communication protocols
  • Establishing quality assurance processes to ensure that products or services meet customer expectations. 
  • Creating a standard process for project management, from development to delivery
  • Developing a system for tracking and analyzing customer feedback and surveys
  • Automating routine tasks such as data entry and document processing
  • Creating repeating tasks, reminders, or checklists to help streamline daily operations
  • Developing templates and processes for document sharing, editing, and storage

All of these activities can be systematized to create a more efficient, organized business that can better achieve its goals. 

Examples of Systems In Your Business

Here’s an example of an employee related process as part of your business system:business systems

business systems

Another example of a system in your business could be an inventory tracking system. This type of system can help monitor the stock levels and ensure enough inventory to meet customer demand. It can also alert you when there is a shortage, so you can quickly remedy the situation. 

For customers you can have a system in your business that could be a customer relationship management (CRM) system. This type of system can help you to track your customers, their purchases, and preferences, as well as help you to improve your marketing strategies and run targeted campaigns. 

Finally, a third example of a system in your business could be an integrated accounting system. This type of system can help you streamline your financial processes and ensure you are always on top of your finances. It can also help automate some more tedious tasks, such as invoicing and payments. Ultimately, these systems can make running a business easier and more efficient. 

Many other types of systems could be used in the many aspects of running a business, such as applicant tracking system, employee management, e-commerce, project tracking, and more.. Whatever type of system you decide to use in your business, it is important to make sure that it is properly implemented and monitored. This will help to ensure that your business runs smoothly and efficiently.

You Need To Be Consistent in Using Your Business System

Consistency is essential for small business owners to ensure that their processes are well-defined, understood, and followed. Having a consistent system helps streamline operations, maximize efficiency, and make it easier to train new employees. It also allows you to monitor progress toward goals and track customer feedback without requiring additional effort or confusion. 

Having a consistent system makes it easier and faster to onboard new employees so they can start contributing quickly. Consistent systems provide a structure that helps small business owners keep their operations running smoothly and efficiently. 

business systems

On the other hand, inconsistently used protocols or processes can lead to confusion among team members, which can negatively affect the quality of your products and services. Additionally, without a consistent system in place, it can be difficult to measure progress toward goals and compare the performance of different teams and departments. 

A consistent system ensures that everyone understands their roles and responsibilities, uses the same processes for completing tasks, and handles customer inquiries in an organized manner. 

In short, with a consistent system in place, you can easily monitor progress, compare performance among teams and departments, and keep track of customer feedback.

Here’s an example of a reminder to your team to maintain consistency in your systems:

business systems

SOPs For Your Business Systems

Developing your systems requires creating a tailored System Operating Procedure (SOP) to meet your business goals and objectives. Your SOP should be explicitly designed around your organization’s needs, as well as its processes and operations.

When creating your SOP, consider the following:

Purpose

Make sure that you clearly communicate to your team the purpose of your SOP. This includes the tasks that need to be done, when they must be completed, and how they should be executed.

Process

Include specific instructions on completing each step, such as describing any tools or resources necessary for achieving the step.

Tools

Determine the tools that you need for a specific procedure. This could include software, hardware, or other materials. We used Loom in our training system to record the step-by-step execution of tasks. When we hire new employees, we will provide them with a link to each video.

business systems

People

Determine who is responsible for performing each step in the process and who will be accountable for its completion. 

Documentation

Include documentation on how to follow the SOPs and when they should be updated. This will help ensure that your team complies with any changes or updates made to the SOPs. Create a mechanism for monitoring the effectiveness of your SOPs, and establish whether any adjustments or improvements.

You can establish a catalog with all your SOP that your team can access. Therefore they can get the solution to their question when they wish to recall or understand the stages of specified activities.

business systems

 

Creating Business System: 9 Approachesbusiness systems

Step 1: Analyze Your Business (Mission, Vision, and Goals)

Analyzing your business is the first step to creating a successful business system. To do this, you will need to define your mission, vision, and goals. These are important elements that should be included in any business plan. By using these goals as a foundation, you can create a strategy for taking your business to the next level.

When analyzing your business, some sample questions you should ask yourself include:

– What sets my business apart from competitors in my industry?

-What processes and procedures should be in place for customers, employees, and suppliers?

– What technologies can I use to increase efficiency and reduce costs?

– What are the potential risks to my business and how can they be minimized?

– What steps can I take to ensure future growth and profitability?

By asking yourself these questions, you can better understand the strengths and weaknesses of your business. This will help you create a business system that meets the needs of both your customers and your bottom line.

Step 2: Define Groups of Possible Systems

Define Groups of Possible Business Systems like sales, marketing, accounting, inventory management, or Payroll.

Once you have identified the potential systems you can use in your business, it is essential to create groups of them according to their purpose. For example, Sales and Marketing are two distinct disciplines that should be separated into different groups. Accounting and Inventory Management can be grouped together as “Finance,” while Payroll can be grouped independently. Grouping these systems into different categories creates a more organized workflow when integrating and managing them within the business. This helps to ensure that operations are running more efficiently and all data is properly accounted for across the various departments.

By grouping the business systems in this way, you can better organize and manage them to ensure that all areas of your business operate as efficiently and effectively as possible. From automating processes to providing greater insight into customer data, having well-defined groups of related business systems can help a business stay competitive.

business systems

Step 3: Map the Steps And Clearly State The Objective

When mapping steps and clearly stating the objective, you need to take time to identify the necessary steps to reach your goal and outline what the goal is. This helps to keep everyone on track and makes the process of evaluating progress since all know exactly the desired outcome. It will also help your team identify issues or areas that need improvement.

Create a flowchart or diagram to map out the steps of the process and label them with a distinct title so that everyone involved can understand what they are responsible for. Flowcharts and diagrams can provide a visual aid to comprehend the process better to make the workflow more efficient.

Step 4: Identify Your Most Important Processes For Your Business

Processes are the backbone of any successful business. They create efficiencies that make operations run smoothly, reduce costs, and ensure customer satisfaction. 

Identify the common process that is necessary for your business since they require more resources and attention than other processes. It could be your customer service, human resources, marketing, etc. After identifying, it’s time to focus on that. 

For example, if you are a retail business, customer service is likely to be an important process as it directly affects customers’ experience, so investing in customer service tools would be wise. 

Step 5: Identify The Necessary Resources You Need

Once you have identified the components of your system, it’s time to determine what resources are required. Depending on the type of system, different resources may be needed. 

This could involve human resources, such as employees or freelancers, or physical resources and materials needed to get the job done. You should also consider any digital infrastructure needed to run the system efficiently, such as a website, database systems, software, or cloud storage. 

When devising your small business system, consider the cost of each resource and how it will affect the overall success of the system. If one specific element is too costly or difficult to implement, you may need to revise your plans or find a different way to achieve the same goal. 

Here are resources that you may want to check out:

-Accounting Software: This software lets you track all your financial transactions, invoices, and taxes. Examples include QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Wave, and Sage. 

-Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software: CRM software helps you track customer data and interactions with your business. Popular options include Salesforce, Zoho, and HubSpot. 

-Project Management Software: Project management software helps you organize tasks, set deadlines, manage resources, track progress, and streamline communication with your team. Examples include Monday.com and Trello

– Cloud Storage: Store documents in a secure online location using cloud storage solutions like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive, and Google Drive.

– Payment Processing: Make it easy for customers to pay you with payment processing services such as PayPal or Stripe.

Step 6: Assign Accountabilities For Your Business Systems

It is essential to ensure that all systems are running smoothly and efficiently. It is important to assign accountabilities for each system within your business. This can include assigning specific responsibilities such as monitoring progress on individual tasks or projects, troubleshooting issues, and providing guidance and support when necessary. 

When assigning accountabilities within your systems, it is best to be clear and specific about the roles and responsibilities of each person or team involved. This will help ensure that everyone is on the same page regarding the expectations, responsibilities, and tasks assigned to them. It will also help ensure everyone is held accountable for their actions and performance within their respective roles.

business systems

Step 7: Implement Your Business Systems

After developing your systems, then it is time to implement them. This is a critical part of the process that requires attention and dedication. Train your employees on using the new systems to ensure they understand how to use them effectively. 

Finally, you should implement monitoring and tracking measures to get feedback regarding system performance so you can make adjustments as necessary. By following these steps, you can ensure that your systems are correctly installed and running optimally. Once the systems are properly implemented, you can reap their many benefits.

Step 8: Document The Systems Metrics

As part of the system management process, it is important to document all system metrics for monitoring and tracking purposes. Gathering performance data from each subsystem to understand how they work together and identify potential issues or bottlenecks. This data can then be used to generate reports and inform decisions about system upgrades or changes.

By documenting and monitoring system metrics, system administrators can confidently make decisions about the future direction of their systems. System metrics can also serve as a way to measure the success of any changes or upgrades that have been made to the system, providing evidence for improvements in performance. 

Create measures for each process and track the results – With a well-designed process and the correct data, you can create meaningful actions to track your progress. For example, you could measure how quickly customer inquiries are handled or the number of orders shipped in a given period of time.

Set goals for improvement – Once you have identified areas for improvement, it’s important to set goals so that you can measure your progress. Set realistic, achievable deadlines and develop a plan of action for achieving them.

Owners of the tasks will review and collaborate for improvement – The owners of each task must take ownership and collaborate to improve. This means that everyone involved in the process should be able to provide input on how it can be improved.

Step 9: Review and Finalize The Systems

After you have identified your business needs and created detailed plans for each system, it’s time to review them. Do they meet the needs of your business? Are there any gaps in what they offer? Consider if any systems need to be modified or if new ones should be added.

Once you are sure your systems are sound and comprehensive, it’s time to finalize them. Make sure each system is documented so that everyone involved in the business understands how they work and can use them effectively. Be sure to include training materials and detailed instructions on how employees should interact with the system. Once everything has been reviewed and finalized, you can implement and test your systems.

How to Impact/Improve Processes

One of the best ways to impact and improve processes is to evaluate them regularly. The most successful organizations are those that take a proactive approach to assess their systems, looking for areas of improvement, and creating new strategies for optimization. 

Here are some tips for improving your processes:

  1. Identify any bottlenecks or inefficiencies and create solutions – If you find any bottlenecks or inefficiencies, come up with creative solutions to solve them as best you can.
  2. Make sure the process is documented and communicated – It’s important that everyone involved in the process understands what’s expected of them and how it should be done.
  3. Utilize technology – If you find areas where technology could help improve the process, consider implementing it in order to make changes that will have lasting results.
  4. Simulate the process – Before implementing changes, consider simulating the process to anticipate any challenges or unintended consequences. Process simulation allows you to refine your strategies before fully implementing them.
  5. Involve Your Team In The Process – Make sure everyone involved in the process is aware of the changes and has a chance to provide input.
  6. Monitor results – Make sure any improvements are having the desired effect and take note of any areas that still need attention.
Conclusion

Building your systems is an important step in the growth and development of any organization. With careful planning and effective implementation, these systems can help you streamline processes, improve efficiency, and increase your bottom line. 

By taking the time to identify gaps in current processes and documenting them thoroughly, businesses can create detailed improvement plans that will enable them to achieve their goals. By monitoring results, you and your team can ensure that any changes have the desired effect and continue to improve where necessary. With dedication and hard work, businesses can create strong systems that will help ensure success in the long term. 

You Try It

What experience is it like to have strong business systems?

These step-by-step guides will help you build one and make your business more profitable.

It helps all of my clients increase their sales and profits, but most importantly, it allows them to do so with less stress and more confidence.

To get started, let’s talk about your system’s obstacles:

small business coach

Using a Sales Management System in 2024: Manufacturing Company

effective sales

A Sales Management System

This week I’m writing about using a Sales Management System in a Manufacturing Company. This is a practical system for building a top-performing sales force by scripting their approach, managing their activity, measuring their performance, and tying their paychecks to results.

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

John’s Manufacturing Company

John is the owner of a foundry (metal castings manufacturer). At this point, he wanted to transition his business into composites manufacturing. Over the previous two years, John had seen a decline in sales and profits. As a result, he had accumulated some debt; John wanted to become debt-free and grow his retirement savings. He has two daughters that are soon to enter college. Besides, John wanted plenty of time to pursue his hobbies of cycling and bowhunting.

Tactical Marketing, Time Management, Key Performance Indicators, Strategic Planning, and Team Deployment for John’s Company

We decided to implement a Tactical Marketing Plan, Time Management Plan and Key Performance Indicators. We then developed a Strategic Plan for his business. When it was ready, we met with his team to share his vision, values, and mission. This was the team’s opportunity to give their input and buy-in to the direction of the company.

The Sales Management System Implementation in a Manufacturing Company

We decided to focus on several of our Coaching Modules. We started with the Sales Management System. With our Sales Management System, we focus on three areas: Attitude, Activity, and Acumen. Based on this, we started by setting up an internal customer relationship management system. Then John and his team began to spend time daily on marketing and contacting prospects. We did a press release about John’s new focus in the composites industry and saw a big response. Additionally, John attended some of the Composites Industry Association meetings and developed relationships with contacts there.

Results For John’s Manufacturing Company In Using A Sales Management System

John’s results with our Sales Management System were dramatic in his company. Here’s what he said:

small business coach“Alan has kept me focused on marketing, sales and profits and has held my feet to the fire. The results of this focus are that my sales have grown 30% and profits are up 228% over last year.”

 

Congratulations John on using a sales management system to grow your sales and profits. You are one of our business heroes and an inspiration to every business owner. You can view a pest control company using a revenue and profit budget here.small business coach

Using a Cash Gap Plan in a Service Company in 2024

A Cash Gap Plan In A Service Company

This week I’m writing about using a Cash Gap Plan in an service company. A Cash Gap plan will help you to quickly collect your outstanding receivables, get your customers to pay faster, and negotiate better terms with your vendors to improve your cash. I have been writing about some of my hero clients and how we are able to achieve significant results from our work together. We have 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business that when we improve your performance in these areas, your business will run better.

Robert’s Service Company Challenges

Robert is this week’s small business hero. He owns an service business that has been in business for over 50 years. When I met Robert he was interested in selling his business. Although he had been successful in growing his business, it was having financial problems. To make things worse a very large customer had defaulted on a payment of nearly $200,000. This event had him thinking about filing bankruptcy. He was working very long hours and was constantly interrupted by customers and employees. This was affecting his health and personal relationships with his family, in particular, his wife. He was spending very little time with them.

Solutions for Service Company: Strategic Plan, Team Deployment, Tactical Marketing, Lean Program

We decided to implement several of our Coaching Modules to address his situation. These included a Strategic Plan, Team deployment meetings, Tactical Marketing Plan, but most importantly a Cash Gap Plan, Time Management Plan, and a Lean Program.

A Cash Gap Plan for Robert’s Business

A Cash Gap Plan is all about carefully monitoring your plan to improve collections, lengthening your payments with vendors, increasing your prices aggressively as possible, and eliminating operational efficiencies. In all things in life, we tend to get what we focus on. During our coaching sessions, we focused on his cash flow.

Time Management for Robbie’s HVAC Company

We developed his Strategic Plan and held team deployment meetings. Additionally, we discovered a serious time management problem. Employees and managers were constantly interrupting one another during the day. This wasn’t causing chaos and stress in the business. We began to track interruptions and developed policies and strategies to reduce distractions. We also implemented team meetings in the business.

Results for Robert’s service Company

As a result of these strategies, his results were immediate and dramatic. Here’s what Robert said:

Alan first worked with me one-on-one, then met with me and my managers, and finally with all of the employees. Our cash flow has started to improve and continues to improve daily. After six months our profits had increased over $152,000, which annualized is over $300,000 per year! We have started paying off our accounts payable to our vendors. We have reorganized our office and improved our staff with Mr. Melton’s help. We are starting to achieve many of the actions in our action plan. I have a clearer vision of where we are going and what it takes to get us to the next level. With this clearer vision comes renewed hope. Most importantly, I am working less and have started taking my wife out on dates. I would like to thank Alan for seeing hope in me and my company, and helping us through this difficult time.

Congratulations Robert for your remarkable success in using a Cash Gap Plan and other strategies to improve your 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 in a landscaping company here.

small business coach

5 Ways to Be a Better Leader

Leader

Being a leader is not easy. Leaders have to rise up, push through waves of inadequacy, and guide their people to success.

While anyone may sit in a corner office and assign responsibilities, effective leadership requires more. You should have a significant impact not only on the people you supervise but also on the business as a whole.

If you’d like to be a better leader that has a positive impact on everyone, keep reading.

Send gifts as a leader

People love to do business with those they like and trust. This isn’t only true for business partners but also for employees and colleagues.

It’s more crucial than ever to build and maintain genuine relationships with the people who help your company succeed. Corporate gift baskets are a great way to show your appreciation for your employees and SnackNation lists some great ideas for gift baskets.

Sending a thoughtfully chosen gourmet gift basket is a great way to show how much you care. You can emphasize their accomplishments in one tasteful bundle and demonstrate that you not only notice but more importantly, that you actually care.

Making your employees aware of their importance to the company fosters a healthier, happier culture and helps you become a better leader. A gesture of this kind will only strengthen the bond between your colleagues and you.

Empathy

Empathy is probably one of the most important leadership traits. But unfortunately, many leaders are elevated to their roles based on previous performance or industry credentials, and they have little or no leadership experience.

As a result, a heavy-handed order-giver with ambiguous expectations and little empathy for their team leads to low productivity and morale.

Being truthful with your team doesn’t imply that you should become great friends with them. However, you should share some personal experiences, tearing down defensive barriers and demonstrating that you are a human being. It helps you get respect by making you appear more approachable.

small business coach

Stay positive to become a better leader

Even if leaders want their team’s day-to-day operations to run smoothly all of the time, they’re sure to hit a snag from time to time. Whether it’s a slight misunderstanding or a massive blunder, how you manage a difficult circumstance reveals a lot about your leadership abilities.

In such situations, Robert Mann, author of The Measure of a Leader (iUniverse, 2013), advised managers to remain focused on the positive.

Basically, before you find what caused this difficult situation, you should consider some positive aspects of it. When you focus on these positive aspects of an issue, you tend to react more positively to other people involved.

Mann discovered in his studies that when people bring out positive aspects of a crisis scenario, they feel less strongly about the problem and are better equipped to think rationally and fix it.

When a leader needs to strengthen their strategy, the same is true. If you or a member of your team finds that a specific course of action you’ve taken isn’t working, think about what you’ve done in the past that has led you to success.

Clearly demonstrate respect for the greater vision

When the battle cry is shouted, an experienced general doesn’t have to worry about the warriors following him into battle since he has made it crystal clear what they are fighting for and what the stakes are.

A foresighted corporate leader will follow suit. Every employee should be aware of the significance of their work. Employees who have a say in the decision-making process understand the motivation behind the organization’s vision and are more willing to support its objectives.

Set clear goals

It is critical to set clear goals and expectations for your employees if you want them to succeed. Encourage employee inquiries and feedback while setting these goals. Including them in the process can help them feel more involved.

Good leaders, according to Amish Shah, president of ALTR Created Diamonds, will also explain the company vision and how team member goals fit into that equation.

As a leader, you should keep your staff informed about their vision if you want to inspire and excite them. This way, you help employees understand the end goal of the whole team. When goals are clearly defined, all team members can identify accomplishments and track progress.

Leader

Moreover, it is extremely important to clarify how these objectives affect the entire business. Each employee, regardless of their level of seniority, should be able to articulate how their work contributes to the company’s success.

Don’t allow team members’ ambitions to become stagnant. Regularly review your goals and make any necessary changes or rearrangements. This will show your team members that you are there and paying attention to what they are doing.

Final words on Being a Leader

There is no such thing as a perfect leader. And because change is constant, it is critical that leaders continue to improve their abilities and stay current with industry advancements.

That’s what you need to do too and that is why it’s important to follow every guideline that could help you become a better leader.small business coach

How to Increase Walk-Ins in Your Retail Store

retail-store

It’s a big challenge to own a retail store nowadays. The business success depends on sales, and you need customers to enter to sell something. It’s why you could benefit from reading about the best ways to increase walk-ins in your retail store. Check out these ideas that could drive more visitors to your business premises!

Use Eye-Catching Signage

retail-store

Your retail shop could be in a mall or busy street. The window might not be big compared to neighboring stores, so it’s not easy to make it attractive. The solution is to design event signages that improve the attendee experience. Signage offers excellent value for money, especially if you get creative with it. The idea is to grab people’s attention even if they are passing by the store in a rush.

Here are some ways to use signage to enhance the attendee’s experience:

  • Entrance signage. You can put a sign on the mall’s or the store’s entrance. It helps to put a promotion or product in the spotlight, but even welcoming visitors can be successful.
  • Sandwich boards outside the store. You need to check whether you aren’t violating any regulations first. And if you aren’t, using a sandwich board outside the shop makes your business more noticeable. More people will notice it as they are approaching, and if they like what’s written there, they won’t hesitate to enter.
  • Directional signs. These should go at least several feet from your store. Let’s say your shop is at the corner farthest from the mall’s entrance. You can put directional signage in a nearby location with heavy foot traffic.

Personalize Your Goods

Can you engrave the customer’s name on your product? We love hearing and seeing our names everywhere, and you can use this to your advantage. Personalizing an item will make it more attractive for a shopper. Other ways to personalize things include putting a specific band or sports motives on clothing and other items.

If you have a loyalty program, you have valuable information about the shoppers. Use that to personalize communication (using their names once again) and offers and products. Even making a discount referring to a specific person could be a successful strategy to make them come to the store!

Trends and Seasons at Your Retail Store

The market is constantly changing, and adaptation is necessary to survive. Following the current trends is an excellent way to boost walk-ins in your retail store.

For example, Money Heist was a huge pop culture trend in autumn 2021 because the show’s last season aired then. Many stores have jumped on board and started offering hoodies and other merchandise inspired by the series. From unique clothing designs to jewelry pieces, you could see Money Heist items in stores everywhere.

Your goal is to consider how the current trends fit your store niche. Apart from designing products, consider promoting them in your shop’s window. The more people notice you have a trendy product, the more visitors you’ll have. And avoid overdoing it – it’s enough to focus on a single trend. Otherwise, it might seem too much and create confusion for the customers.

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The Importance of Following Seasons

If you own a bookstore, the time when kids are coming back to school is crucial. Apart from promoting fitting books, you can offer backpacks, and other relevant items pupils might need. If Halloween is around the corner and you own a jewelry store, why not offer a necklace with a pumpkin pendant? If it seems fitting, Halloween decorations could attract users to your shop.

It might be enough to decorate shop windows to be in line with the current season. During the summer, use plenty of green and other light colors. Leaves and other autumn decorations can also make your window beautiful. It’s the visual attractiveness that will make a potential visitor look into the window and later enter your shop.

Encourage Social Shares and Location Tagging

Here is another trick how the technology can serve to your advantage. Social networks have become an integral part of our lives, so how about encouraging customers to mention your store online? You could organize a competition where participants need to tag themselves in your store to have a chance to win a prize. You can create a special social media wall where customers can take photos of the items they tried or bought.

And don’t forget about the importance of inviting visitors to follow you on social media. You might have a retail store, but internet presence is still crucial to attracting shoppers.

Partner with Influencers or Experts

retail-store

Online stores might be your competition, but there’s no reason why you wouldn’t leverage the power of the internet to attract customers. The old-fashioned way is to pay for an advertisement on an influencer’s profile on social networks. But how about taking it a step further and inviting that influencer to your store?

You want to find someone famous enough, especially in your area. Also, they should be relevant to your niche. If you get the right influence, you can attract massive foot traffic in hours. The celebrity could photograph with the visitors or sign the products they buy. You can even contact an industry expert to hold a short speech or class in your store. It’s all about finding people that fit your shop and niche.

Host Events in Your Retail Store

Calling an influencer isn’t the only event your store can host. Can your shop sponsor an activity or event by being its host? Clothing stores seem to have the most options. You can invite a particular designer or brand to hold a fashion show in your shop. And if you sell sports supplements, how about asking some loyal customers to gather and show off their success? They could talk first-hand about their experience with your products.

Don’t Forget Your Existing Customers At Your Retail Store

Once you get the shoppers to your store, you need to establish and maintain a relationship. For example, asking them to sign to your SMS or mailing list to get a 10% discount is an excellent marketing trick for a first-time visit.

You can follow up by giving an additional but time-limited discount if they return in the next seven days. And if you don’t have a record of them buying anything for a month, send an SMS reminder. However, make sure to include something enticing, like a new product mention, complimentary items, etc.

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7 Ways For Small Business Owners To Avoid Burnout

avoid burnout

How do small business owners avoid burnout? For many small business owners, their businesses are an all-encompassing and time-consuming activity which requires their full dedication. Yet, burnout and the inability to switch off, particularly from technology, is a very real problem for many entrepreneurs. From depression to coronary heart disease and fatigue, burnout can have serious consequences for you and your business.

Here are seven ways to help you learn how to avoid burnout

  1. Be Organized And Use Time Efficiently

Entrepreneurs tend to be extremely busy. In order to avoid burnout, effective time management is one of the most important skills that you need to develop. In order to stay productive and focused, make sure that you take some time to organize your working day.

burnout in canva

Ensure that you have an organized filing system so that you can easily store and retrieve files and data whenever you need it. In particular, administrative and financial tasks can cause some of the most stress. If there are particular tasks that you find especially stressful or tend to avoid doing, make sure that you create a plan in order to get these done in plenty of time.

Similarly, make sure that you use a comprehensive bookkeeping system in order to stay on top of your finances. Not only will this enable you to stay up-to-date with your business, but it can also be used to automate tasks, thereby saving you time. This will also make it easier and less stressful when it comes to completing your tax return.

  1. Prioritize Tasks

It can be easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of things that you have to get done. Instead of trying to do everything at once, make a list and prioritize the tasks. Consider using a digital list-making app, which enables you to set reminders and share your lists.

“There may be tasks that need to be prioritized first due to set deadlines. Alternatively, consider prioritizing tasks based on goals. You can further categorize tasks into those which are ‘important’ or ‘urgent’. Not only will this make things more manageable, but you’ll also be able to dedicate your time and energy to the most pressing tasks first. Most importantly, be realistic about how much you can get done each day,” says Hollie Wymore, a writer at Lia Help and State Of Writing.

  1. Avoid Multitaskingsmall business coach

Multitasking is an important and valuable skill. However, there are times when multitasking can actually be counterproductive, leading to divided attention and errors, as well as increased stress and burnout. Instead of trying to do multiple tasks all at once, schedule individual time for each task. In this way, you’ll be able to fully focus on each task, improving your productivity and reducing the potential for mistakes.

  1. Delegate Wherever Possible

Entrepreneurs are known for trying to do it all themselves. However, it can actually be more efficient to delegate tasks to employees or vendors, freeing you up to do other important tasks. Be aware of tasks which can be suitably delegated to others within your business, as well as any areas in which you require additional support. As a result, you’ll be able to make better use of your time and skills, as well as those of your employees.

Similarly, learn when to turn down work. Assess incoming work against your ideal client, project or business goals. Avoid taking on work which doesn’t meet these lists to prevent unnecessary stress.

  1. Stay Healthy

Very often, burnout can be traced back to other aspects of lifestyle, including poor sleep, diet and exercise. Many entrepreneurs put their businesses, particularly in the early days, ahead of their own sleep and wellbeing. However, staying healthy is essential if your business is to thrive.

“Start by assessing your sleep,” suggests Joseph Gray, a small business blogger at Boomessays and Essayroo. “Getting sufficient sleep every night is extremely important. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Similarly, make sure that you’re eating a healthy diet and try to introduce some exercise into your weekly routine. Try to schedule a lunch break every day, where you can sit down and take the time to eat properly or even do a short workout. This will give your body the chance to recharge and feel more energized and better prepared for work.”

  1. Schedule Regular Breaks

Incorporate regular breaks throughout your day, as these will enable you to refresh your creativity and refocus. Similarly, if you’re struggling with a particular task, consider taking a short break or returning to it at a different time of day.

A change of location can also help break up the day and inspire more productivity. Many entrepreneurs have the fortune of being able to work remotely, so consider trying to work in a flexible work space or a coffee shop to aid creativity.

  1. Set Work Hours And Stick To Them

To improve productivity, set work hours and stick to them. At the end of your work day, whatever time that may be, be strict with yourself and avoid answering emails and unplug from your devices. Having a regular schedule can help you to be better organized and make the most of your time. It will also help you to develop a more positive work-life balance, leading to reduced stress and burnout.

Similarly, schedule down time into your day. In the same way you’d schedule a meeting, schedule in some time for exercise, to read, or simply step away from your work. If possible, try to book a holiday too, whether it’s a full week off, a long weekend or even just one day to yourself.

Conclusion

Burnout is a very real problem for many small business owners. Running your own business can be overwhelming and all encompassing, leaving you with little time for yourself or your personal commitments and interests. However, in order to run a successful business, it’s essential that you find a balance between your work and home life. By following the steps above, you’ll not only avoid burnout and reduce stress, but you’ll also become more productive and successful.

Lauren Groff is a successful small business writer at Academic Writing Services and Essay Services, where she regularly writes about ways to improve productivity in the workplace, as well as sharing tips on how to run a successful small business. She is also an experienced editor at OX Essays. When not writing, Lauren enjoys spending time reading and attending business conferencessmall business coach

Using a Break Even Plan For a School Bus Company

break even plan

 Break Even Plan For a School Bus Company

This week I’m writing about using a Break-Even Plan. A Break-Even Plan will stop the bleeding of your cash by temporarily cutting all non-critical expenses while driving sales above break-even by selling existing inventory. I have been writing about some of my hero clients and how we are able to achieve significant results from our work together. We have 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business that when we improve your performance, your business will run better.

The Situation in Charlie’s Bus Company

Our business hero this week is Charlie, owner of a bus sales and service company. I began working with Charlie and his parents when their sales were stagnant. At that point, their business had been losing an average of $40,000 per year for several years.

Coaching Modules for Charlie’s Bus Company

We implemented several of our Coaching Modules. These included a Strategic Plan, Team Meeting Rhythm, Sales Management System, Key Performance Indicators and most importantly in the near term, a Break-Even Plan.

A Break-Even Plan for Charlie’s Bus Company

After reviewing their financials, we determined that we needed to reduce their fixed costs and grow their revenues. Their billable hours compared to their shop employee hours was too low. So, we reduced the number of shop employees. We also eliminated some extra outsourced services such as vehicle detailing. We set a goal of selling one bus a week. Billable hours and bus sales per week became two of our Key Performance Indicators. We began meeting weekly to review performance and remove obstacles.

Charlie’s Bus Company Results

The sales and profit growth were dramatic with our Break-Even Plan. Here’s what Charlie said:

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“You have really taken the blinders off our eyes to see the potential of our business and now you are taking us there. We are thrilled that you achieved growth from $651,000 to $1,100,000 and a profit increase in excess of $181,000 since we started working with you in January.”

Congratulations Charlie on your impressive growth of your sales and profits using a break-even plan. You are a true business hero and an inspiration to us! You can view another case study about using an Employee Acquisition Plan in an auto repair business here.

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Developing and Deploying a Strategic Plan: an Entertainment Company

strategic plan

This week I am writing about Developing and Deploying a Strategic Plan. A Strategic Plan is an evolving, written plan that sets forth the vision, mission, and values of your company, long and short-range goals, and KPI’s to measure progress.

I have been writing a few posts about some of my hero clients and how we are able to achieve significant results from our work together. We use 36 Coaching Modules, which are areas within your business under the categories of Growth, Profits, and Freedom. When we improve your performance in these areas your business will run better.

Brian’s Entertainment Business

I have been working with Brian, this week’s business hero, the owner of an Entertainment Company (and several other of his businesses) for a few years now. When I met Brian he was relatively new in his business and he was considering the possibility of selling it due to low performance. Brian filled out our Coaching Module Scorecard which measures businesses in 36 areas under the categories of Growth, Profits, and Freedom. We determined that we should immediately develop and deploy a Strategic Plan. This is a tool that we develop for nearly every client that we work with.

The Strategic Planning Process for an Entertainment Business

Brian filled out a personal and business questionnaire and returned it to me prior to our planning session. Then we met for 2 hours to work on his personal vision and values and life goals for him and his family. Then we developed his business vision, values and mission, one year and five-year goals, and action plan for reaching his goals. Finally, we met with his team so that we could deploy Brian’s vision, values, and mission to them and get their buy-in and involvement.

Tactical Marketing For Brian’s Entertainment Company

We decided to target large corporations that do events; Brian began doing pro-bono work for large charities. We also focused on working in hospitality industry associations and with city officials to develop relationships and joint venture partnerships.

Employee Acquisition for Brian’s Entertainment Company

Finally, we worked on developing an employee hiring plan to allow his business to grow without overworking Brian. Since Brian’s business was very small at that point, and Brian had some relatives who had available time and skills to help his business, we recruited them. We also added some independent contractors to help with Brian’s events.

Results for Brian’s Entertainment Company

The result was dramatic growth and more time off for Brian. Here’s what Brian said;

testimonial14“I’ve tripled my revenues and my infrastructure allows me to travel out of town without worrying about the business.”

Conclusion

Congratulations to business hero Brian for his rapid success! He is enjoying more time for his passion of traveling while his business generates a good income for him. Developing and Deploying a Strategic Plan was a crucial key in reaching his personal and business goals.

 

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Creating a Strategic Plan For Your Small Business?

Creating Strategic Plan

As you know, running a small business is not an easy task. So many changes, so few resources, and the result may be chaotic. With so many things happening at the same time, it is easy for small business owners to get stuck in the daily operations and just forget about creating a strategic plan.

Take Your Business to the Next Level through Strategic Planning

However, when you want to take your small business to the next level, you need to make sure that you have a well-detailed strategic plan. This is where you create your business’ vision, mission, and values of the team. In addition, you need to make sure that you also include your financial targets (quarterly, annually and five years into the future). Ultimately, your strategic plan will serve as a guide for everyone in the business to know the direction and goals of the company as well as its culture.

Do You Have a Strategic Plan?

Most small businesses do not have a strategic plan, and even fewer business owners deploy their plan. They lack the essential steps of fleshing out the details of the plan, taking action, monitoring and updating the plan on a regular basis.

In case you still don’t have a strategic plan for your small business, it is time to create one. So, how can you start?

Since a strategic plan needs to combine a lot of different information, I will share with you the main topics that need to be included.

Ready to start?

#1: Articulate Your Vision, Mission, And Core Values:

The first thing you need to do to start creating your strategic plan is to define the vision, mission, and the core values of your small business. Note that it is important to make your vision clear. After all, this strategic plan is meant to be used by everyone. And it is extremely important that everyone who works within your company is aware of your vision and main goals.

With this in mind, start by defining the purpose of your business. Why do you exist? How is your business going to make the world better? Then you can proceed to your mission. This should be the way you see your business in 2 to 5 years from now. Make sure that you make your mission inspiring and bold.

Last but not least, focus on the core values or how you expect the work to be done. Be sure to be very explicit about what you value in your employees, customers, and vendors as well as about what you want your customers to experience.

#2: Define The Strategy:

As soon as you complete the previous step, you already know more about your company and your goals. So, it will be a lot easier to think about the different strategies that you can adopt to take you there.

In order to decide on the best strategies that should be a part of the strategic plan, you should also take a closer look at the strengths of your business. You should then focus on these strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in your business. Then define the strategies from your findings.

#3: Defining Priorities:

When you are creating your strategic plan, it is important to define priorities. So, how can you do this?

One of the best things you can do is to use your vision of your business and link it to your quarterly and annual priorities. Please notice that it is also important to ensure that your quarterly priorities will take you closer to your quarterly results. Besides, both quarterly and annual priorities need to be in the same line.

#4: Target Customers And Industry Analysis:

When you are creating your strategic plan, it is important to make a special note regarding your customers as well as your industry. After all, when you define your goals you need customers in order to reach your goals. So, take a closer look at your competitors and discover their strengths as well as their weaknesses. This way you can think about how to reach new customers that you have been missing so far.

In terms of the industry itself, it is important that you know if it is a growing or a shrinking industry. This will help you define the most likely scenarios for the demand for your services or products, for example.

Summary

While it may take you some time to create a strategic plan for your small business, you can be sure that it is worth every cent. If you do a good job of creating and deploying your strategic plan, both you and your employees will have a better perspective about your business, where it stands now, and where it should stand in 2 to 5 years from now. Here’s an article about developing and deploying a strategic plan in an entertainment company.

 

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