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I Just Can’t Get Good People!

Do you find yourself saying this?

 

The US Department of Labor reports that 2 out of 3 new hires prove to be a mistake within the first year – at a cost of thousands of dollars for each departing employee. Hiring mistakes negatively impact productivity and erode your company’s profits. In Jim Collins’ landmark study and book “Good to Great” he states: “The good-to-great leaders understood three simple truths.”

  1. “If you begin with ‘who’, rather than ‘what’, you can more easily adapt to a changing world”
  2. “If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away”
  3. “If you have the wrong people, it doesn’t matter whether you discover the right direction; you still won’t have a great company.”

What would your business look like if your hiring system delivered the right person 75% of the time? Here are some tips to stack the odds in your favor.

 

Create thorough job descriptions
Most business owners use job descriptions to insure the candidate understands the positional duties and responsibilities; but here’s where many fall short. A good job description should also include a list of the skills and competencies required to perform the tasks and duties expected. Other information that should also be included:

  • Certifications, education, and experience required or preferred
  • Work environment and any special physical requirements, such as ability to lift 70 lbs, stand 8 hours per day, etc.
  • How we measure success; the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you will use to evaluate performance for this position.

Well-written job descriptions for all team members help keep you focused on what you want, facilitate quick hiring when the need arises, and communicate your expectations to candidates and current employees.

 

Market for employees, just like customers
Recruiting, like marketing, is most effective when it is targeted, planned and executed with consistency. Start with the basic question, “What makes your company a great choice for potential employees?” Having a written Culture Statement that is alive and well will help you to answer this question. Cross checking your Culture Statement with your employees’ experience should be a regular practice. Now is a good time to ask your current team – they’ll tell you.

 

Next, identify the best ways to reach potential employees for the position you are hiring. It will likely vary based on the position. Develop the ‘advertisement’ to attract them and be creative. The rules of good advertising apply – great heading, good content and a call to action. Include the aspects of your company that make it a great place for the type of person you wish to attract, as well as the “spirit” of the person you desire. Additionally, always be on the lookout for good people who can bring value to your organization. Make recruiting something that is ongoing, not crisis driven! Remember “Good to Great”.

 

Make hiring a De-Selection Process
Your time is valuable! Don’t waste it interviewing potential employees who don’t possess the character qualities you need or don’t fit into your culture. You can improve your results and save time by incorporating a de-selection process, using a phone screen and group pre-interview assessment to test for integrity, work ethic, and passion. If you design the group pre-interview assessment properly, those that have the “fire in the oven” will stand out and those who don’t will leave (de-select themselves), saving you time and hiring mistakes.

 

Your written Vision, Mission, and Culture statements are a valuable tool at this point to assist in the de-selection process. During the group pre-interview meeting use these tools with the position’s KPIs to communicate the high standards of behavior and performance expected by all within your company. If you effectively communicate these criteria, those that you would not want on your team will depart, leaving you with the “cream of the crop”.

 

What are you looking for at this stage? – Passion, confidence, and the desire to grow. These attributes are much more important than knowledge or experience, which can be taught. Stay disciplined and only interview candidates who make it through both the phone and group interview steps.

 

Once you decide to schedule someone for an interview, email them the job description so expectations are clear before they arrive. Have the candidate meet with multiple people, when possible, and employ behavioral interview techniques and tests to probe for the skills and competencies that are most critical. Be willing to turn down candidates who are not the right fit and don’t settle for less than the best!

 

Believe You Can and You Will
Sounds simple, but too often we defeat ourselves before we start. Telling yourself ‘I just can’t get good help’ becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Instead, start telling yourself “I have a great team committed to achieving our goals”. Even if it’s not yet true – YOU can make it so. Remember the objective when hiring is to be able to say 3 years later that, “Knowing what I know now, I’d hire this person again in a heartbeat!”

 

 

 

Is Your Business Working Harder Than You?

Are you working harder than your business, or is your business working harder than you? If you are working harder than your business, you are among the many self-employed who have succeeded in purchasing a job for themselves! Do you aspire to be an entrepreneur? Then you must figure a way to create a business that works harder than you, so that you can use your spare time to launch other business endeavors or to enjoy the lifestyle that typifies the successful entrepreneur – time with family and time for personal leisure pursuits. So how does one get their business to work harder? There are 6 steps to creating a profitable business that works without you having to be there every day:

1. Mastery: Of time, money, delivery, and destination.
2. Niche: Mitigating price-discounting pressure.
3. Leverage: Systemizing the business.
4. Team: Getting the right people on the bus.
5. Synergy: Able to grow a strong stable enterprise.
6. Massive Results: Multiple streams of income.

Each of the six steps builds upon the previous so let’s dig a little deeper.

Mastery: from chaos to order

Time is our most valuable asset. We can regain lost income, but can never regain lost time. There are four activity categories into which we can invest or waste our time:

1. Not urgent, not important (time wasters used for escape)
2. Urgent, not important (day stealers that scream for our attention)
3. Urgent, important (must be handled right away)
4. Not urgent, important (strategic issues that will determine our success)

1 and 2 are time wasters for the business owner. 3 and 4 are the difference between working in your business and working on your business. 4 is working in what I call the Zone and should represent 80% of your time. Working in the Zone will prevent many of the urgent/important from occurring.

Do you know where your business is financially? What is your breakeven? How about your cash flow – can you predict it? What is your profit position – how accurate and real-time is your information? Is your most valuable tangible asset (your business) increasing or decreasing in value? Is your business consistently delivering your value proposition to the marketplace in such a way as to not just satisfy your customers, but create many raving fans? This is called the WOW factor. And finally, are your business goals aligned with your personal goals so that when your business is working harder than you, you are living your desired lifestyle?

Niche: effectively marketing your USP equals predictable cash flow

Discounting your prices in the face of competition is devastating to your bottom line. Let’s, for example, assume that your gross profit margin is 40%. If you discount your prices by 10%, your sales must increase by 33% to maintain the same gross profit dollars! How does one avoid such damaging action? By creatively crafting your marketing around your USP (Unique Selling Proposition)! Done correctly, this will carve a niche in the marketplace that you alone occupy, thus insulating your business from the discounting frenzy produced by a market crowded with competitors.

Leverage: creating efficiency equals more time for the owner

If you are the typical business owner, you are the hub of a wheel. The spokes are the channels of decision making from all aspects of your business. Get the picture?

In our desire to control our business we have imprisoned ourselves, the owners. Additionally, because we have not implemented written systems to run our business we have become vulnerable to certain key individuals within our organization. These key players are very good at what they do and if they leave the company, the consequences will produce a significant setback for the business.

The answer is to systemize the routine and humanize the exception. Systems should run the business and people should run the systems. The Japanese taught us this hard lesson in the 80s. Systemize your business and you will leverage your capacity as the owner. Until systems run your business, you have a job. You will never be able to extract yourself to work on your business instead of in your business. Lifestyle improvement will remain an unreachable dream.

Team: having the A-Team run your business equals structuring for growth

Ask business owners what represents their greatest headache, most will tell you “employees.” You’ve heard it said:

“People are a company’s most valuable asset.” That is not true! The right people in the right positions are a company’s most valuable asset. In the book “Good to Great” Jim Collins writes, “Those who build great companies understand that the ultimate throttle on growth for any great company is not markets, or technology, or competition, or products. It is one thing above all others: the ability to get and keep enough of the right people.”

Synergy: a well-oiled business machine equals freedom!

This is when 2 + 2 = 5. Too many business owners after experiencing a little success try to expand through duplicating outlets or franchising before they have successfully completed the four previous steps. As they grow, because of insufficient systems and/or the wrong people on their executive team, cracks start to appear in the foundation. So they retreat and go back to when it was only one business location that they can control with their presence. In fact, if the owner carefully built a strong foundation on the four previous steps, the cumulative effect of this smart work will be significant income with time to enjoy it. Congratulations – you now no longer have a job! You are a successful entrepreneur!

Massive Results: diversification through multiplication or acquisition

As a result of what you have learned by taking your business through this process, coupled with the time and money to leverage, you can create multiple steams of income and wealth by multiplying your business concept or acquiring other businesses and taking them through the six steps. Or, you can retire with a lifestyle that is the envy of most.

Successful Business Owners Share Their Secrets

Owning a business can be a challenge. From day-to-day decisions to long-term solvency, your success or failure rests entirely on your shoulders. There is no one to hide behind or blame for mistakes. But if successful, it can also be incredibly rewarding. There are the obvious financial rewards, but less obvious are the relationships you build and the positive affect you can have on people and your community.

At Insight Business Coaching, we thrive on making businesses successful. It’s our passion. It’s something we work hard at every day; which is why we’ve decided to compile a list of some of the smartest secrets of successful business owners.

 

1.) Charley Polachi, CEO of Polachi Access Executive Search
"When I drive to work or walk around Boston, you'll often see me speaking aloud," Polachi said. "And while many may look at it as if I'm speaking to myself, I'm actually using a dictating machine to create my 'to-do' items. Once in the office, I'll transcribe the list into a spiral notebook and prioritize the list."

He breaks the list into groups:
A. Must do, top priority
B. Hope to do, medium priority
C. If not done, no big deal, low priority

"This is a weapon I've been using for years," he says. "With the prevalence of smartphones, it's as easy as ever for someone to dictate notes and thoughts whenever necessary, but is still often overlooked. Being able to organize and prioritize the day is a skill most successful entrepreneurs exhibit."
**Source: Business Insider - 17 Small Business Owners Share Their Secret Weapons**

 

2.) Sara Blakely, Billionaire Founder of Spanx
“The best thing you can do is hire to make up for your weaknesses as soon as you can afford to. Jump past barriers and countless years of indecision by hiring a business partner that gives you the kick you need to stay motivated or a sales representative to get your product out in stores. Whatever your weakness is, identify it and hire it out as soon as possible.”
**Source: Entrepreneur - The 7 Secrets to Entrepreneurial Success**

 

3.) Sam Spayd, Founder of Aero Legends
“Stick with what you know.” Sam is a retired Air Force and commercial airlines pilot. He purchased a beautifully restored World War II biplane and offers the magical experience of “Open Cockpit” flying over the cliffs, beaches, and lighthouses of the spectacular Oregon coast.
**Source: Forbes - Secrets Of Successful Small Business Owners**

 

4.) Nick Gray, Founder and CEO of Museum Hack
“I believe the CEO of a small-to-medium business has three major duties: to make sure there is money in the bank; to get the right people in the right roles; and to guide the long-term vision for the company. After that, I try to get out of the way and let our team do their best work.”
**Source: Entrepreneur - 3 Team-Building Secrets of Successful Small-Business Owners**

 

5.) Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs
"A huge part of our success — and a great secret weapon — is going virtual as a business," Fell said. "Being a virtual company enables us (a) to focus on hiring the best people, regardless of location, and (b) empower them to work where (through telecommuting) and when (with flexible schedules) they are most productive."
**Source: Business Insider - 17 Small Business Owners Share Their Secret Weapons**

 

6.) Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group
“Chance favors the prepared mind. The more you practice, the luckier you become.”
** Source: Bplans - 4 Secrets of Successful Business Owners**

 

7.) Alexandra Golaszewska, Owner of AlexandraGo
“Narrow your focus. There are a lot of people out there doing what you do, and if you’re a generalist it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. The more tightly you focus, the more perfect a fit you become for your category. This can be based on your services or on the type of client. For example, if you’re a writer, maybe you only write new business proposals or LinkedIn bios or online dating profiles. Or maybe you offer a wider range of services, but only to restaurants or lawyers or ski resorts."
**Source: American Express - Secrets to Success from Small Business Owners**

 

8.) Ali Peña, CEO of Forums Event Design and Production
"The kudos should not go to the owners of the company but to the team members. The most powerful tool for motivating employees is saying thank you."
**Source: Business Insider - 17 Small Business Owners Share Their Secret Weapons**

 

9.) Jen-Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia
“See the world without bias, like a child. Be curious. Keep learning. Think. But don’t over think. The only way to really know is to try. Make mistakes. Learn. Then try again.”
**Source: Fortune - Best advice from CEOs: 40 execs' secrets to success**

 

10.) Claudia Chan, Owner of S.H.E. Global Media
“Speak up when you need help. As humans, we are meant to ‘do’ in collaboration with others.”
**Source: Forbes - Advice from An Entrepreneur**

 

11.) Fran Tarkenton, Founder of smallbizclub.com
Focus on people. The person I learned the most about business from was, Sam Walton. We became great friends, and I ended up regularly riding in his pickup truck as he drove from store to store. I asked him question after question and just let him talk, absorbing his wisdom. When we were at the stores, I watched closely as he interacted with his employees — he called them associates. He asked them what was selling and what wasn’t selling. He asked them what they thought the company was doing well — and what they would change. And he listened carefully and kept track of everything they said. No matter how big the company got, it was important to him to genuinely engage with and listen to every single employee.”
**Source: Business Insider - 17 Small Business Owners Share Their Secret Weapons**

 

12.) Annette d. Giacomazzi, Owner of CastCoverz
"Train your employees (and children) that when there is a problem or a complaint, bring three suggestions to fix or remedy it. The focus will be on the solution, rather than the problem."
**Source: American Express - Secrets to Success from Small Business Owners**

 

13.) Andrés Gluski, President and CEO of The AES Corporation
“Never make an important decision while you are feeling emotional; either too happy, surprised, or angry. Similarly, never make a big decision until you have talked it over with people you trust who are knowledgeable about the matter. Then, be decisive once you have heard them out.”
**Source: Fortune - Best advice from CEOs: 40 execs' secrets to success**

 

14.) Chris Runyan, Owner of GameXChange
"I’m really into systemizing things. I have my time organized using my iPhone, the calendar, Google docs, Google drive. Ten years ago think of how much money you’d have paid a local IT company to set up a domain and server. Now, it’s so easy. As you grow, there’ll be a need to scale it. It’s been pretty incredible. It’s essentially free."
**Source: Business Insider - 17 Small Business Owners Share Their Secret Weapons**

Most Businesses are Selling the Wrong Thing

Whether you own a retail business or a service business, chances are you’re selling the wrong thing.
Let that sink in.
What comes to mind? Are you skeptical? Then let me ask you this…
Do you have double-digit conversion rates? If not, I can tell you why. You’re selling the wrong thing!

Most of us have grown up surrounded by companies that show off their products features. “Open 24 hours.” “This TV is high-def.” “This meal can go from frozen to the table in 3 minutes flat.” The problem with that line of thinking is that unless your customer is looking for that specific feature, at that specific time, they just don’t care. You can’t help them. And when they do need those features, they don’t remember you. You didn’t make an impact. That’s why feature selling is wrong.

 

Stop Selling Your Product and Start Selling the Problem it Solves

 

When you sell the solution instead of the feature, you disrupt people. They pay attention. They remember you.

Rather than telling your customers that you are, “Open 24 hours” you tell them, “We’ll be here for you when your child wakes up at 2am with poison ivy. “We’ll be open when your pregnant wife wants ice cream at midnight.” By selling them a solution you’ve connected with them on an emotional level. You’ve made every man with a pregnant wife pay attention. Every mother with an adventurous child will remember you.

 

We Teach You to Connect to Your Customers on an Emotional Level

 

One of the first things we do with our new clients is to define a list of emotional problems their customers face. We test and measure these emotional problems by asking their current customers to rate their concerns. Those survey responses are then compiled to produce the top concerns their customers want addressed. Only then can you develop a marketing strategy devoted to solving your customers’ problems.

 

What Makes You Better Than Your Competition?

 

Most of the time, this question can be easily answered by selling the solution while your competition continues to sell their features. But sometimes we have to dig deeper. We have to build an emotional profile.

An emotional profile defines the prospects that have an emotional reason to buy. These emotionally driven people are the most likely customers to purchase from you over and over again. These consumers are most likely to spend more money in your business. These are the customers that breathe brand loyalty. We call them your “A-list” customers. They are better described by saying they are the 20% of your customers giving you 80% of your profits.

When you put these customers first and focus your attention on solving their emotional needs, you turn them into customers who want to buy from you rather than your competition.

Can you persuade someone to buy you in 60 seconds or less?

One of the most often asked and poorly answered questions in business is, “what do you do?” As an entrepreneur, you should be ready to answer this question anywhere, to anyone at any time.

 

Most responses resemble a definition of what ones job title is. For example, ” I’m a hairdresser.” “I do drywall.” “I’m a singer.” But these answers represent who you are and NOT what you do. Which is why they begin with, “I’m a, and I do.” The correct answer to the question, “what do you do?” is a well-constructed, succinct, and persuasive sales pitch often referred to as an elevator pitch.

 

What’s an Elevator Pitch?

 

The name elevator pitch comes from the idea of being stuck in an elevator with someone important to your future like a potential client. Imagine you have a certain number of floors that the elevator must pass through and the time that it takes to do that is a perfect time to gain a customer. If you can shape your conversation in a way that seems natural and unobtrusive, you just might land a new account or client by the time your reach your floor.

 

What’s the Point?

 

A strong elevator pitch will allow you to extract the purest form of who you are and what you offer. But more importantly, a strong elevator pitch will identify a problem your customer faces, show them how you intend to fix it, and explain why you are more likely and better suited to fix their problem than anyone else is. This can only be achieved by exploiting the emotional tools and 4 key steps outlined in this article by Insight Business Coaching.

 

TOOL #1: Hot Button Issues

The most crucial part of any effective elevator pitch is your answer to your customers Hot Button Issues. Hot buttons are the needs, wants, fears, concerns, desires a potential buyer feels before deciding on someone or something in your industry.

 

TOOL #2: Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

A unique selling proposition is what separates your product or service from its competitors. A successful USP promises a clearly articulated benefit to consumers, defines why competitive products can’t or don’t offer it, and is compelling enough to attract new customers.

 

Now that we’ve told you what tools you’ll need to bring to the table, let’s discuss the steps that you need to take to write your elevator pitch.

 

STEP #1: Interrupt!

The first line of your elevator pitch must stop them in their tracks by using empathy to identify their emotional Hot Button Issue.

 

Step #2: Engage!

Provide them with vital information that explains how you will solve their concern.

 

Step #3: Educate!

Confirm and detail your solution using examples that explain why your solution better solves their problem than all the rest.

 

Step #4: Offer!

Offer them an irresistible opportunity to invest in you.

 

As we stated earlier, a successful elevator pitch will only be successful if it seems natural and unobtrusive. If you sound like you’re trying to sell, you’ll turn off your potential client before you finish your first sentence. So it’s important to know how to structure these tools and steps to be genuine and effortless. We can help you perfect your elevator pitch because we’ve developed a series of trigger questions and statement that make your pitch flow naturally. If you would like to learn more, give us a call at 248-449-5100 or email is at info@insightbusinesscoaching.com.