Apr 302012
 

entrepreneur, manager, technician, leadership, what it means to be an entrepreneur, business coaching, build a better business,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, what does it mean to be an Entrepreneur? If you read my blog regularly you know that I love do discuss the topic of Entrepreneur. Everyone’s idea and definition of what an entrepreneur is different.

Part of me believes that there is a lot of glamour around the word “Entrepreneur.” For example if you are at party and  you engage in the typical small talk with someone you don’t know.  When they ask you the inevitable question “So, what do you do?” You might say that you are a business owner, a leader, or an entrepreneur. Personally my response to that question is ” I run a window cleaning business. ” I say it this way because I like to take the glamour and the ego out of it. Yes, I am very proud that I own a successful business and that I have been in business for 12 plus years, but that is not the first impression that I want to give to someone I just met.

I chose this picture above because I think there is some real truth to it. There is also some real humor to it. For example: the last slide on the bottom right with the fire fighter putting out the fire, is where some of the humor of this picture lies. “What I actually do,” at first glance in funny.

However, after I think about it, I completely disagree.

  • If you find that “What you actually do” is to put out fires all day, then you have a problem.
  • If you are the answer man for your employees than you have a problem.
  • If you are the problem solver for your business than you have a problem.
  • If your customers have to talk with you in order to get anything done, than you have a problem.

 

Choose your role as a business owner wisely. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on what we need to stop doing instead of focusing on what we should be doing. Stop doing the stuff that is non-essential to achieving your goals.

Stay tuned for next week’s Part 2. How to: stop doing the things that hurt your business. What does it mean to be an Entrepreneur?

 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 April 30, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »
Apr 252012
 
leadership, clear expectations, trust, communication, Vision, Mission, Culture, role model, leader, coach, delegation, systems,
Below you will see 4 leadership tips to remember. As me move through our busy days we often lose sight of  our primary role in our business. These tips will help you to remember what that role is. Leader, mentor, and coach.

  • Challenge the process– First, find a process that you believe needs to be improved the most. Constant never-ending improvement needs to be a point in your culture that you and your team live by.  There is always a better way of doing something. Challenging the process will help initiate the learning process. What your EARN is equal to what you LEARN, and no one can do the learning for you. Hint: No need to re-invent the wheel, there are plenty of business owners who have created and recreated systems for service businesses just like yours. Get in touch with them and leverage their knowledge today.
  • Enable others to act – Give them the tools, authority and methods to solve problems themselves. It’s not just delegation, enabling others to act is more than just delegation.  Successful delegation starts with clear expectations, an understanding of the end result desired, the tools and the training to successfully solve the problem or complete the task.
  • Model the way – When the process gets tough, get your hands dirty. A boss tells others what to do; a leader shows it can be done. Earn your team members respect and lead by example. Show them that you have a full understanding of the work or task that you are managing. This will go a long way in helping to get results through others. The best managers are the ones that have had direct experience completing the task they are managing.
  • Share the glory– Share the glory with your followers’ heart, keep the pains in your heart. Give credit where credit is due. Make sure to praise your team every time you have a chance. Amplify the results of the praise by giving the  praise in public and around their peers. This will create a positive and competitive culture that makes an environment that is fun to be in. Remember, a FUN culture equals a PROFITABLE culture.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 April 25, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: , , ,  No Responses »
Apr 232012
 

time management, most valuable resource, delegation, stop blaming time, lack of time is not an excuse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Part 1. 8 steps to controlling your most valuable resource, time.

So how do you take control of your time? Last week we discussed the following 8 steps.

1. Accept that there is no such thing as too much or too little time. There is enough time available for you to be successful-others have been successful and they had no more access to time than you do. Take ownership of your situation. Be accountable for your results and responsible for your actions.

2. Decide what you want to accomplish. What do you want to be “successful” at? To some it may mean making a million dollars, to others it may mean being healthier while others may be looking to have better relationships with their family and friends. This is your goal. You must also understand the benefits to you of achieving the goal -how will it make you feel when you achieve it. Both the goal and your “why” must be written down with a timeframe.

3. Once you have decided the goal and your “why”, you must now determine the activities that will be necessary for you to accomplish that goal. What do I have to do? What time commitment will I make? What will I need to adjust/sacrifice/reduce/delegate in order to have the time to do the activities identified? Remember if it was easy everyone, including you would have already done it. What separates the successful users of time from the unsuccessful ones is the discipline and determination to obtain their goals no matter what. Winners never give up and they never quit on themselves.

4. Understand that life and business are about choices. You choose how you will spend your time- on what activities and how much on each. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Being successful in many different areas takes effort and time. Success comes from laser-like focus on one or two goals. Once they are accomplished you move on to the next set of goals and focus on those.

5. Prepare your calendar each week by creating “appointments” to do the activities that you have identified. These are defaulted into your calendar before anything else. Treat these as if the appointment was with your most important customer. Would you easily change your Monday 2-3pm “meeting” just because someone asked for that time slot? No, you would negotiate- “I am booked at that time. I can see you at either 1pm or after 3pm, which would work for you?”

6. Be militant about your schedule. If you don’t care how your time is being spent, why should anyone else? Learn to say “No”. In Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” he breaks activities into 4 categories- Not Important/Not Urgent, Urgent/Not Important, Urgent/Important and Not Urgent/Important. The danger for most people is the Urgent/Not Important category. This is when we are responding to other people’s urgent requests. However the activity does not move us toward OUR goal- by definition it is Not Important. Beware of the time and effort devoted to those tasks. Conduct your own time usage study. Every minute that you can divert from not important categories to the important categories will move you closer to your goal.

7. Review your successes/challenges in meeting your schedule each week and adjust where necessary. Be honest with yourself and continually reinforce your “Why” – what are you trying to accomplish and how important is that to you.

8. Find an accountability partner or mentor to help keep you on track. We can all use help every now and then- it is a strength to admit this, not a weakness.

 

Part 2. Take action. Time management exercise.

The best way to ensure your goals are completed and your ideas become a reality is to have laser-like focus on the end result. Take action and complete the exercise below to help you organize and prioritize your more important tasks. This will help get you to your destination the fastest.

Write down all your tasks on a blank piece of paper that is divided into 4 categories. If you have an organizational chart or job descriptions with these tasks already documented, use these documents to help you recall all of your responsibilities as a business owner.

  • Category #1: High Value, High Enjoyment

Examples of these types of tasks for a small business owner might be: Sales, networking, or budgeting

  • Category #2:  High Value, Low Enjoyment

Examples of these types of tasks for a small business owner might be: Sales, networking, or budgeting. Yes, depending on your personality these task could be the same as the High Value Low Enjoyment.

  • Category #3: Low Value, High Enjoyment

Examples of these types of tasks for a small business owner might be: Administrative tasks, the technical part of your job, or  making the deposits.

  • Category #4: Low Value, Low Enjoyment

Examples of these types of tasks for a small business owner might be: Taking out the garbage, the technical part of your job,    or cleaning the office.

 

Now that you have all your tasks written down on one sheet of paper, you need to delegate the different categories. Starting with category #4: Low Value, Low Enjoyment. This category needs to be the first to go. You need to get this group of tasks off your plate asap. It doesn’t matter if you delegate them to an employee or hire an outside service to get them done for you. Just stop doing these task as soon as possible, they are preventing you from achieving your goals.

After you have eliminated Category #4, then you need to delegate the tasks in Category #3. You need to continue this process until all you have left to do are the tasks that are your MOST valuable and the tasks that you LOVE to do.  A word of caution, this process might take longer than you want it to. It may even take several years.

Having the right expectation is the key to your success. Once you understand the value in this process you will realize that performing it at least every 6 months is a good habit. This habit will help you to reevaluate your tasks and help prevent you from getting pulled in to many directions.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 

 April 23, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Time Tagged with: ,  2 Responses »
Apr 162012
 

time management, most valuable resource, delegation, stop blaming time, lack of time is not an excuse

Part 1. 8 steps to  controlling your most valuable resource, time.

So how do you take control of your time?

1. Accept that there is no such thing as too much or too little time. There is enough time available for you to be successful-others have been successful and they had no more access to time than you do. Take ownership of your situation. Be accountable for your results and responsible for your actions.

2. Decide what you want to accomplish. What do you want to be “successful” at? To some it may mean making a million dollars, to others it may mean being healthier while others may be looking to have better relationships with their family and friends. This is your goal. You must also understand the benefits to Continue reading »

 April 16, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Time Tagged with: ,  3 Responses »
Apr 092012
 

Personal goals, profit, purpose, be, do, have, dream builder, take action

 

Don’t get me wrong there is nothing wrong with setting goals. I am a firm believer in-goal setting, I also believe in applying your goals to the SMART acronym. This process helps you to think your goals through and which increases your chances of completing them. Setting a smart goal is the first step. It is not the end all be all.

We need to think a little deeper. We need to understand what is occurring or what needs to occur when we as leaders go through the process of envisioning the goal, setting the SMART goal, and working our little butts off to achieve it.

The concept that I am referring to is the BE, x DO, = HAVE concept. The best way to explain it using the example of weight loss. So, let’s say your SMART goal is to lose 20lbs in 3 months, because you want to look awesome for summer beach season.

  • Working backwards, the HAVE is the goal of loosing 20lbs.
  • The DO is: Exercise 3 times a week, avoid bad foods, watch your meal portions, ect…
  • The BE is: Who do you need to be in order for you to exercise 3 times a week, avoid bad foods, watch your meal portions, ect…?
Typically people who are good goal setters do well with the HAVE and the DO. They set the SMART goal, they put together a plan to achieve the goal, and they focus and get it done.  This is clear in the weight loss example. How many people do you know who have had a weight loss goal similar to the one I have described above? Sure, they probably have a good track record of achieving the 20lbs goal.  If they would ever ask themselves, why do I need to keep setting this weight loss goal? Their answers would fall into the DO (exercise 3 times a week, avoid bad foods, watch your meal portions, ect…) category.
So, why do these goal setters stop doing the DO? This is starting to sound like a Mtn. Dew commercial :). They stop doing the DO because they are missing the BE. The question they are NOT asking themselves is, who do they need to BE in order DO the things they need to do, so that they can HAVE this things they want to have?
In the case of the weight loss example they need to BE active people, they need to BE healthy eaters. Their identity must be to BE a healthy person in order for this change to be long-lasting and permanent.
So, who do you need to BE in order to achieve your personal and business goals?

 

Do you want to learn more about BE, DO, HAVE click here.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 

 

 April 9, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: ,  1 Response »
Apr 042012
 

 

 

consolidate business loans, cash gap, break-even point, financial, cash flow, conversion rate, gross profit margin, up sell, cross sell, increase prices,

 

Part 1:

So what does Bob Barker and the Price is Right have to do with your service business? The Price is Right in 2007 was named the greatest game show of all time by TV Guide. Bob Barker was the host of the show from 1972-2007, making it the longest-running daytime game show in North American television history.

If you are interested in building a great business you need to be in it for the long haul. You need to be willing to out-live your competition. You need to be interested in being the longest-running service business in your area. In order to successfully accomplish this, in order to become the “Price is Right” of your industry you need to be focused on the key factors that will get you there. The one factor that will help you accomplish this more than any other financial factor is Cash Flow.

Step 1. Understanding cash flow

Let’s begin with a definition: “Cash flow is the ebb and flow of cash in your business.”
Or, here is another one: “Cash flow is the flow of money (cash, checks, electronic debits and credits) in and out of your business.”

Cash flow is an overview of your check book, savings account, and investment account. However, knowledge of those accounts won’t:

Tell you where your cash is heading.
Help you to arrive at any meaningful decisions.
Cash is, “what you take home.” In the interest of emphasizing how important cash is (as opposed to profitability), let’s put that statement another way:

“If you don’t have any profitability you won’t have to pay your taxes. If you don’t have any cash, you can’t pay your taxes.”

“Profitability” is an accounting term of special interest to people who collect your taxes, while “cash” is the money that resides in your cash register and in your checking, savings and investment accounts. Cash flow measures the ebb and flow of that money, the successful measurement and forecasting of which allows the small business owner to make a myriad of important decisions.

Decisions such as:

Do I buy a new computer or software system?
Do I purchase or lease that delivery van?
Do I hire that new salesperson?
Do I bring in extra inventory?
Can I afford to give my special customer an extra 30 days to pay his bill?

3 Factors that affect your cash flow

  • Inventory:

The purchase of Inventory requires an outlay of cash, but that outlay does not appear on the P & L. This is because inventory is an asset, similar to cash, accounts receivable and FF&E, and only appears on your Balance Sheet. A build-up of inventory requires an expenditure of cash. If your inventory has increased in the past month (or whatever your financial statement cycle is), then your cash has decreased by a like amount. The opposite is also true: If your inventory decreases your cash will increase.

  • Accounts Receivable:

Accounts Receivable (AR) is basically cash you have loaned to your customers between the time they receive your products or services and the time they pay their bills. It takes cash to fund those receivables, which means that if the amount of your receivables has increased from one financial statement cycle to the next; your cash has decreased by a like amount.

  • Furniture, Fixtures and Equipment:

Cash spent on FF&E amounts to expenditures for capital goods. Because capital goods have an extended life (as opposed to supplies, for instance, which are generally consumed within a year) they cannot be 100% expensed on your P & L. The amount that can be expensed is called “depreciation” and that amount is determined by various taxing agency regulations.
This means that if you were to purchase a capital item for $20,000 on the first day of your accounting cycle, this would have a negative effect on your cash of $20,000. However, it would only have a $5,000 negative effect on your profitability, assuming that it can be depreciated over four years. This $5,000 shows up as “Depreciation Expense” on your P & L, while $20,000 is deducted from your check book. This is a classic example of the difference between profitability and cash flow.

Part 2:

 

Below you will see a list of strategies that you can do today to help you prepare a plan of action for improving your cash flow situation. If Cash flow is CRITICAL than ACT NOW.

Calculate breakeven points for business and all sales people
Reduce non-income generating expenses by 10%
Increase prices
Review wages as a percentage of sales. If appropriate move people from salaries to performance based pay
Increase conversion rate by training the team in sales
Set a target for increasing your average $ sale and then put in place 5 strategies to help increase it
Ask for help
From suppliers- would they accept a payment arrangement for next 6 months
From team- explain the situation to them and ask for them to rally around and put in 110% effort. Ask for commitment from them to increase productivity and reduce expenses.
Put your tax bills on a payment plan. Much better to be paying a little bit off than nothing and getting a “please explain letter”
From bank manager -consolidate loans including credit cards to reduce interest payment
Reduce all debtors starting with any over 60 days
Reduce owners drawings to minimum amount.
Organize a sale to move slow-moving or outdated stock
Upsell or Cross Sell
Sell like crazy
Set short-term (90 day) sales goals and get by in from the whole team
Sell unwanted assets
Understand Cash Gap concept
Calculate gross profit margin on everything you sell and then focus on the items which are bringing in the most total profit (volume x margin)
Categorise customers into “ABCD”. Focus on the profitable A’s and B’s with your advertising.
Just remember that you are not the first person to experience tight cashflow in business and you definitely won’t be the last.

 

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 April 4, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Money Tagged with: , ,  1 Response »
Apr 022012
 

entrepreneur, manager, technician, leadership, business coaching, build a better business,

Live life with purpose, don’t zombie through your 9-5 existence.

 

Below you will see a list of the top 5 Reasons to be an Entrepreneur.

If you enjoyed this post, I would be grateful if you helped spread the word by emailing it to a friend or sharing it on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. Thank you!

 April 2, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Leadership Tagged with: , ,  No Responses »