Weekly Edge

Chunking and how it can help you

Heather Frame - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

It’s too easy to get overwhelmed with all the things you need to do.  You feel anxious, highly strung and you have a constant nagging feeling in your stomach, an ever present reminder of goals yet fulfilled.

Does this sound familiar?  If so, you’re not alone.  We ALL feel like this at some stage.  The trick is to conquer your anxiety and move forward with a calm mind, that’s focused on your objectives.  Easier said than done right?  Well, here’s a quote from Robert Greene that may help…

‘Crowd out feelings of panic by focusing on simple tasks.  Visualize things

that are easy and familiar to you to divert your attention from anxiety’

To us, this means chunking it down.  Chunking the big picture down into do-able, easily manageable tasks.

Lately, we’ve had things to deal with.  And yes, for a week or so it did affect our work.  But we took our own advice, worked out a plan, and now we are busy doing what needs to be done.

Look, when you get overwhelmed, most times, nothing gets done.  As the days drag on by it only gets worse.  You beat yourself up and this only adds to the problem.

So when you’re feeling like this, chunk it all down and do one thing at a time and then the next thing and so on.  The big picture isn’t so big when you do this.  Plus you’ll soon feel a sense of pride as you move forward ever closer to your goals.

 

Make Your Systems Easy

Heather Frame - Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Ever wish you had an "Easy" button?

Do you find that your business is so dependent on you that you just can’t get away from it?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just press a button and your business would take care of itself?

Well, then - here's the good news! It’s possible, but you need to understand one fundamental fact.  People should never run a business – systems should.  You need the people to run the systems.  Systemizing your business is vitally important for the survival of your business – not to mention you and your relationships.

All too often, business owners get caught in the trap of doing everything.  They feel that nobody can do anything, or at least the “important” things, as well as they can.  They obsess over the smallest details, and then wonder why their employees can’t seem to do anything without strict supervision.  They spend all of their extra time looking over the work of their staff, and correcting all of their mistakes.  They take all of the calls, good and mostly bad, from the customers because their relationship is with the owner.

If you feel any of these sad statements apply to you, then you’ve got to stop the crazy delusion that you are the only one who does what you do.  Start to realize the power of systems.  You see, about 80% of what’s done in your business can be systemized.  Take some time to figure out all of the routine things that are done in your business.  Now document the best way to accomplish these tasks.

However, creating systems is not enough.  You need to be sure that the systems are easy to follow, and easy to do.  If you don’t make it easy, it will not be done, or at least not consistently.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you create a sales system.  Besides the scripts for all of the human interactions (that’s right, scripts), you have an information pack to be sent to your good prospects.  Instead of putting this packet together each time, you have to mail one out, pre-pack them so all you have to do is print a letter, insert it into the packet, and send it out. Sure, this seems obvious, but you may be surprised at all of the obvious inefficiencies that exist in your business.

The more you look, the more you will find that there are creative ways to make your business easier.  The documentation also needs to be easy to understand.  Use short, bulleted instructions – no long paragraphs. Use pictures, diagrams, even videos to make the information easy to absorb. It should be so easy that a third-grader could follow it.

So remember, there is an easy button available for your business. And Easy is spelled S-Y-S-T-E-M-S.

Are Your Lead Generation Strategies a Powerful Parthenon or Leaning Tower of Pisa?

Heather Frame - Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Parthenon of ancient Greece was built over 2400 years ago with a total of 65 pillars in the design to provide the strength to endure unknown challenges.  The building was actually used in 1697 to store gunpowder during a war.  A direct hit in the battle exploded the gunpowder, but much of the building and many of the columns remained standing.  For our purposes, let’s consider the gunpowder explosion a recession or significant uncontrollable change in the business landscape.

What is there to say about the Leaning Tower of Pisa except that it is a single tower that looks like it could be on the ground with a good stiff breeze?  Seriously, which side do you think you would stand beside if you were getting your picture taken?

What does this have to do with lead generation anyway?  Many businesses are not sure exactly where their leads and clients come from.  A good starting point is to make sure a source is recorded for every new lead.  Often we will find that the vast majority of leads come from 1 or 2 sources such as referrals, the phone book, direct mail, etc.  If business is heavily dependent upon 1 or 2 sources of leads, you probably have a Leaning Tower of Pisa that is very vulnerable to a change in the business landscape.

Ideally we would build a Powerful Parthenon with 10 pillars (systematic strategies) each generating 10% of the leads.  We would call this a 10 x 10 plan.  This provides a strong structure that could withstand a loss of a pillar or two and still support the business.

A 10 x10 plan might include some of the following lead generation strategies or channels:

•         Direct mail
•         Chamber networking functions
•         Booth presence at a trade show
•         E-mail blasts
•         A systematic referral strategy. Not just waiting for them.
•         Radio advertising
•         Television advertising
•         Print advertising
•         Sponsorships
•         Referral groups like BNI (Business Network International)
•         Strategic alliances with other businesses
•         Web presence with strong SEO
•         Pay per click advertising
•         Seminars and special events
•         Telemarketing and cold calling
•         Billboards

The list of potential strategies goes on and on.

Here’s the question…. How many active strategies are in your plan now that regularly produce qualified leads? If you drew it as XYZ Co. Parthenon, how would it look? Would you be willing to stand under it?

The point is not that we need to spend more on lead generation since some of the best strategies cost next to nothing.  The key is to have as many systematic strategies in place as possible, and to track the origin and quality of leads coming from each pillar to ensure our marketing dollars are an investment and not an expense.

Until next week,

Heather & Marcus

The two equally important parts of all businesses

Heather Frame - Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This tip is a reminder that business has two major parts.  And both of them are equally as important as the other.

You’ve got to put half your time, efforts, and investment into distribution – getting your products and services to the marketplace.  The other half of your time should be spent on sales and marketing – getting the marketplace to come to your products and services.

The challenge is that most business owners, and therefore their entire business, put about 90 percent of their time into distribution and only about 10 percent into marketing. 

You’ve got to market if you’re ever going to make real money.  And by marketing we don’t just mean to new prospects, it’s what you do to keep your current customers buying from you time after time.  Typically it’s so much easier to sell again to an existing customer than it is to find a new customer.

So here’s a few questions to keep you focused on marketing to your existing customers this month

  1. Do your customers know about your full range of products/services?
  2. Do they know what the potential benefits of your products/services are to them? 
  3. When was the last time you graded your customers and made an offer back to your best customers?
  4. What do you do (or can you do) to make their experience with your business exceptional for all the right reasons?

 

Here’s to keeping a close eye on the marketing and sales side of your business…

Until next week,

Heather & Marcus

How to successfully manage your business and your life

Heather Frame - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

If you’re like most business owners, you have more to do than time to do it.

But too many entrepreneurs get so wrapped up in their business, they forget to take care of the other aspects of their lives.  And the results can be devastating!  Families are neglected, friends are lost, and physical and mental health of the business owner declines (just to name a few).

So here are some tips to successfully manage your business and your life:

  • Put systems in place – Mistakes are made when processes are not systematized.  When processes are consistent, fewer mistakes are made and there are fewer fires to put out.
  • Take the day off – Despite the temptation to work a 7-day week, take at least one day for yourself.  You will see  your productivity and your health improve (not to mention how happy your family will be to see you)
  • Go home – Set a time schedule for yourself.  Schedule the number of hours you will work and stick to that plan.
  • Set your priorities – There’s always another crisis to save.  So be sure to make special occasions with friends and family a top priority.  Don’t allow a business ‘disaster’ to hold you back.  After all, there’s bound to be another one tomorrow.

You’ve probably heard all these tips before, but unless you are willing to take these suggestions to heart and make a change, then you’ll never be able to effectively manage your life.

And remember, nobody ever lay on their deathbed wishing they had spent more time at the office!

Until next week,

Heather & Marcus

Make Your Systems Easy

Heather Frame - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ever wish you had an "Easy" button?

Do you find that your business is so dependent on you that you just can’t get away from it?

Wouldn’t it be great if you could just press a button and your business would take care of itself?

Well, then - here's the good news! It’s possible, but you need to understand one fundamental fact.  People should never run a business – systems should.  You need the people to run the systems.  Systemizing your business is vitally important for the survival of your business – not to mention you and your relationships.

All too often, business owners get caught in the trap of doing everything.  They feel that nobody can do anything, or at least the “important” things, as well as they can.  They obsess over the smallest details, and then wonder why their employees can’t seem to do anything without strict supervision.  They spend all of their extra time looking over the work of their staff, and correcting all of their mistakes.  They take all of the calls, good and mostly bad, from the customers because their relationship is with the owner.

If you feel any of these sad statements apply to you, then you’ve got to stop the crazy delusion that you are the only one who does what you do.  Start to realize the power of systems.  You see, about 80% of what’s done in your business can be systemized.  Take some time to figure out all of the routine things that are done in your business.  Now document the best way to accomplish these tasks.

However, creating systems is not enough.  You need to be sure that the systems are easy to follow, and easy to do.  If you don’t make it easy, it will not be done, or at least not consistently.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you create a sales system.  Besides the scripts for all of the human interactions (that’s right, scripts), you have an information pack to be sent to your good prospects.  Instead of putting this packet together each time, you have to mail one out, pre-pack them so all you have to do is print a letter, insert it into the packet, and send it out. Sure, this seems obvious, but you may be surprised at all of the obvious inefficiencies that exist in your business.

The more you look, the more you will find that there are creative ways to make your business easier.  The documentation also needs to be easy to understand.  Use short, bulleted instructions – no long paragraphs. Use pictures, diagrams, even videos to make the information easy to absorb. It should be so easy that a third-grader could follow it.

So remember, there is an easy button available for your business. And Easy is spelled S-Y-S-T-E-M-S.

Cheers

Heather & Marcus