Sustained survival mode can shift anyone’s creativity and drive into neutral. To flip off fatigue and move forward when others are stagnant, tune into purpose and realistic goal setting. Here's how to make the S.W.I.T.C.H out of survival mode:
S - See what is working. Moving from a day-to-day approach to our next normal is daunting. Instead of allowing the enormity of tasks paralyze you, observe what is working right now. Write down some small tweaks that can be made to expand and improve those processes, products, and services that are moving in a positive direction.
W – Wonder about the greatest possible outcome of each task. Juliet Funt calls this approach laddering up. When confronted with something you aren’t wild about doing, ask yourself, “What is the best possible outcome of that?”
I – Insert Incremental goals. For those small tweaks to the processes, products, and services that are working – set one or two small goals to put incremental changes into action. How can you gain one more customer? What is one step you can take to deliver a service just a little better? Consider what new markets or customer options have developed while we have been in our "survival setting." What is one way to build on those markets or options for future benefit?
T – Take stock. Take the time to write down what has been accomplished and overcome in the last several months. The list will be long and is guaranteed to switch your team from stagnation to inspiration.
C - Connect with others. When possible, find your way out of zoom rooms and make a connection with a colleague or trusted mentor - in person. You'll find strength and energy in strategizing with others who understand our challenges and view things from a different perspective.
H - Hurry. When setting realistic, incremental goals, set a quick timeline so you can experience immediate results. Then set more short goals and claim your victory by achieving sustained success.
Switching out of survival mode may be easier than you think.
"Start by doing what is necessary; then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
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Here is a quote from Jeffrey Gitomer:
In your business:
Video is the new brochure.
Video is the new testimonial letter.
Video is the new proposal.
Video is the new training manual.
Video is the new instructional manual.
Video is the new letter and email.
Mr. Gitomer is right. Cable television is coming on strong. Businesses are creating their own networks on YouTube. Websites that sell effectively are using video to increase viewership and cement sales. We’re becoming more sophisticated viewers and are expecting more. We want to be informed and not sold to in the traditional way.
Video is growing in our business. We used to mainly create 30-second commercials and now we are asked to put video on the web, in emails and create YouTube stations for clients that are using technology to the fullest. Even radio and newspapers are using video. Video is a critical part of your business when you need to show how something works or want to educate a customer.
Because of this schools are using video more frequently in the classroom and as an online learning source.
Right now most of the quality you see isn’t that great. As time goes by, you’ll see more need for better quality video production.
You might want to start thinking about how your business can use video to help your customers (not necessarily sell them). High definition video cameras have dropped dramatically in price. Folks are even producing decent video from their iPhones. Grab a camera and start producing. You might as well get started now so your video looks great – and you have a leg up on the competition.
Traction - Get a Grip on Your Business
In ten chapters our author pulls together a masterful process to super-charge your business plan with real world tools for accomplishing your goals. It is a collection of step by step instructions to help you master the challenges which have been making you pull your hair out as you struggle over and over again to resolve troublesome issues once and for all.
This method is based on the “EOS” or Entrepreneurial Operating System. It begins with “Letting Go of the Vine” which is to say, you need to be prepared to do things new ways to get new results.
The next step establishes a base point with a review of your company using eight key questions. The questions ask you to rate your company on a scale of 1 to 5 on topics ranging from whether you have a clear vision in writing which is shared by everyone to whether your leadership team is open and honest and demonstrates a high degree of trust. Some of the questions are straightforward such as whether you have an organizational chart or whether you have a method of monitoring your budget regularly. The goal is to be able to rate your company very high after implementation of the EOS processes.
Our author then moves through the different essential parts which make up any business including people, data, issues (or problems), core processes and action items which all result in traction. The experience gained from many years of working with hundreds of different companies who have received excellent results using this system is encouragement enough that these are universal concepts. The author speaks of working with companies as small as a dozen employees and as large as thousands of employees.
Some of the key concepts of EOS include:
1) Downloadable forms and templates for developing a visual representation of where you stand now and where you want to go.
2) Simple processes for determining if you have the right people in the right seats and a method to make sure you maintain the best fits.
3) Methods for establishing an organizational chart which also includes essential responsibilities.
4) Rocks or personal responsibility goals which help everyone in the company know exactly what they need to do to make sure they are doing their part to keep the company on track to reach its goals.
5) A scorecard for each employee to set reasonable but critical goals and track progress to move the company forward.
6) A Level 10 Meeting Agenda which all but guarantees that meetings are productive and results driven.
Poole Communications has implemented many of the concepts presented in “Traction” and are encouraged by the results the process is yielding. Typically it takes a year or so to become fully comfortable with the system and master it, but positive results can be seen as quickly as the first quarter of implementation.
Some of the processes were already in place for us but Gino Wickman has shed some light on ways to improve our results as well as our bottom line as we move toward a more profitable and efficient company able to serve many more clients while keeping our quality high.
-Rose Anne Huck.
“Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours.” -John Locke
Today we're starting a series of book reviews from our owner Sally Poole, and Poplar Bluff Office Manager Rose Anne Huck. We're reviewing books we've found helpful and want to share with you! We're hoping you find this information valuable and that it inspires you in your business. We'll posting one review a month, so keep checking back!
The E-Myth Revisited
Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What To Do About It.
By Michael Gerber
Review by Rose Anne Huck
I was fascinated by the title of this book and further interested by the premise. A business consultant has a conversation with a bakery owner who loves to bake but is burned out and wondering if she has made a big mistake starting this business. The author walks us through a conversation where different aspects of the business are examined. He makes recommendations using a systems approach to the business. There is also a directive to establish your business as it will be when you are fully achieved.
Our author also makes a compelling case for a franchise approach to business development where everyday tasks are dissected for their best practices then duplicated across the whole business.
An examination of the core values of the business owner and the mission of the business yield some exciting options for giving back to the community.
Cleverly, there are references to the author’s website, where business consulting services are a click away, sprinkled throughout the book.
One concept I found particularly interesting was the description of having a job versus owning a business. Gerber tells us there are three personality types necessary to build a business: The Entrepreneur, the Manager and the Technician. The Entrepreneur is the innovator, the person with vision who lives in the future and thrives on change. The Manager sees problems where the Entrepreneur sees opportunity. The Manager builds a house and lives in it forever. The Entrepreneur builds a house and is ready to start planning the next one. The Technician is the doer. As long as the Technician is working, he is happy, but only with one thing at a time. The Technician isn’t interested in ideas; he’s interested in “how to do it”. The Entrepreneur is always creating new and interesting things for the Technician to do.
All three of these profiles are part of each of us. If they were equally balanced, we’d be described as incredibly competent. But that balance is rare. Usually these points of view battle it out in our minds.
Businesses go through three stages of development: Infancy, Adolescence and Maturity. In Infancy, the Technician is in charge getting the work done, reveling in the freedom of owning a business. When you are successful and new customers come and the orders grow, eventually, you must move to the next stage of development where you must hire help. When that happens, often the owner is frantically trying to keep up with orders and business management. They may delegate by abdication meaning they neglect to give proper instruction and establish standards. Quality can suffer and so does the business.
This is the point where many businesses fail. What must happen is that the owner must build the business so that they can create jobs for others, not so much for themselves. If what you want to do is actually work, by all means get a job. Don’t start a business.
To move to Maturity, a business must be more than the person who owns it. It must operate well regardless of whether the owner is there. Quality must remain high. The loyalty of customers must depend not on one person but on the quality of services and products. And the owner must be free to dream, to wonder, to envision a bigger future for the company.
All in all, this book is a really good examination of some business principles and concepts which have helped me see the big picture in new ways. Some of the descriptions hit me between the eyes as errors in my own understanding of the “how” of business growth and management.
Find out more about the book here: http://www.michaelegerbercompanies.com/resources/products/the-e-myth-revisited/
Marketing can greatly enhance your business and help improve your company’s profitability – as long as you plan carefully.
Today we're sharing with you part one of a list of guidelines you can follow to make your marketing dollars work harder for you. Check in tomorrow for part 2! (more…)
Today we’re talking about budgets, specifically marketing budgets. Not many people get excited when talking about numbers and money, but it’s a very important aspect of business. Successful businesses have budgets that include marketing.
Let’s keep this simple. Look at what you spent on marketing last year and set aside a dollar figure for the amount you’re going to spend this year. Look critically at what worked last year and stop any advertising that didn’t work. Check your budget numbers monthly and stick to your plan. Having a budget will help you spend you’re advertising dollars wisely and prevent impulse buys. Take a good look at your marketing numbers this week and fine tune them to do even better!
For a more in depth take on creating a solid marketing budget, check out this article written by Dave Lavinsky for Forbes magazine.
We have talked about various forms of social media for your business, but are you using one that was created specifically for the business world? Linkedin is a beneficial tool for professional networking. You can build up a valuable contact base of people with similar business pursuits. You can also joing groups of like-minded, business-related people. Linkedin is great when used for employment purposes - both hiring and when looking for a job. Resumes can be posted and employers can list job opportunities. You can even hunt for possible employees that match your job opening. Consider making the most of your professional network. Signing up for Linkedin.com is simple and free. You can get started today.