Business Coaching articles for Human Resource Management including Onboarding, Employee Assessment, Team Building and team management.

4 Main ‘PAINS’ Experienced By A Business Owner

All Business Owners Have PAIN’s.   Which one’s do you have?

 For the past 27+ years I have worked for, with or coached business owners / leaders. I recognize that each and every business is different and unique.  The clients I have served range from the single real estate agent to the Executives of a 2000 FTE  manufacturing firm.  Often, our efforts surround finding ways to increase efficiency, reduce time investment on projects or provide new and timely information have been the focused solutions.   This is apparent that they have PAINs that they would like to have eliminated from their lives.
We have recently began a partnership with Lead Forensics, a new and innovative technology solution that can provide real time solutions to many of the challenges clients have experienced.  Lead Forensics is the software that reveals the identity of your anonymous website traffic, and turns them into actionable sales leads.   This tool, can in real-time help to address those 4 pains.
Those 4 PAIN’s are… TIME, TEAM, MONEY and EXIT
time tredmillTIME – the amount of time being invested in the business has taken the owner ‘out of balance’.  Some of the key indicators of business owners with this pain are…
  • The business owner / leader is working 60+ hours a week
  • They will say things like…”my customers come to my business because of me and what I do”; or “if I wasn’t here, my customers would go somewhere else”
  • the owner is having family relationship troubles with spouse and / or children.
  • Health issues are surfacing with the owner – lack of sleep, anxiety, head aches, etc.
  • So much time is being spent cold-calling for prospective clients, with so few results.
TEAM – as a business grows, the only way to scale and grow consistently is to add employees.  But, because you are a good (add any product/service provider here), doesn’t make the owner a good ‘leader’.  Some of things we will hear when this is the pain is…
  • No matter who they hire, no one seems willing to follow directions
  • The person interviewed seems to be different that the person hired after a few weeks
  • When the owner’s not there, nothing ever gets done
  • No one has the same work-ethic as the owner does
  • The owner struggles to find sales and marketing people that can open doors and build relationships with our prospects.
9881157_sMONEY – this can be looked at as revenue, gross profit, net profit, cash-flow or finding the money to buy equipment, expand your facility or to fund a growth plan.  The things you will hear from the owners/leaders with this pain sound like…
  • There is never enough money in the checking account at the end of the month
  • Although we’re busier than we’ve ever been, the check book doesn’t show it
  • By the time I pay all the bills and my employees, there is nothing left for me.
  • I have opportunities to grow the business, but need money to invest and cant get it from the bank.
  • Marketing and Advertising in today’s marketplace is constantly changing.  We don’t seem to be getting a ROI on our investment.
EXIT – this pain is most common for business owners that are in their 50’s+.  They are seeing the potential of retirement, but have just realized that their biggest asset is their business.  You will hear them say things like…
  • How much is my business worth?
  • Who would be interested in buying my business? and how will I make that happen?
  • I’d like to retire, but who will run the business if I’m not here?
  • How do I convert the business I’ve built into cash for my retirement?
  • Making sure that we have a proven system for generating qualified leads will increase the value of my company… now I just need to figure out how to do that.
Advanced Business Coaching offers the principals, practices, tools and techniques to our clients to address all these PAINs.  We recognize that each of our clients are unique and special.   We customize the potential solutions to meet their particular situation and  their prioritized goals.
Over the next few weeks, we will look into each of these ‘PAINs’ in depth and share some potential solutions that have worked for our clients that asked us to help them overcome and remove these “PAINs’ from their lives.
If you’d like to learn more about ways you can remove one, or all of these PAIN’s from your business, contact Michael Stelter @ Advanced Business Coaching at 262.293.3166.  or you can email Michael at Michael@ABCBizCoach.com

10 Things That Keep Small Business Owners Up At Night

Small Business Owner FEAR

FEAR leads to frustration for many business owners

The top challenge will surprise you … only if you haven’t bothered to ask what challenges small businesses really face.

If you ask any small business owner “How’s business?” invariably they will respond: “Well, I can always use more customers.” So, if someone asked you what’s the greatest concern of small business owners, you could be forgiven for being wrong if you said they need more sales, because that’s what most people think—especially politicians.

Small business owners are actually pretty good at buying and selling—every company has been built to do those things. But operating a small business in the 21st century has become more complicated than ever before, which is why people who know small business know the best way to find out what’s really going on is to ask the owner what keeps them up at night.

One organization that knows how to ask the right questions is the National Federation of Independent Business. As you may know, the NFIB’s monthly Small Business Optimism Index has been the gold standard for such research for 43 years. They also have a quadrennial report that speaks directly to the question, “What keeps you up at night?” It’s the NFIB’s Small Business Problems and Priorities survey, and you may be shocked to learn that “more sales” came in at No. 45 out of 75 possible concerns in the 2016 report.

The 2,831 small business owners who responded to the survey told the NFIB that their greatest challenge isn’t competition (No. 31), or social media (No. 64), or online retailers (No. 61). What about poor profits? Nope, that’s No. 16. Even the most experienced observers of small business would feel safe in presuming that cash flow would be No. 1, but this primordial Main Street challenge is actually No. 25 on the list of top concerns.

If you listen to politicians, you’d think needing a loan is what makes small business owners wake up at 2 a.m. Surely you know better than to listen to politicians when it comes to small business, because needing a loan is almost last, at No. 70. That monthly NFIB index has reported that since 2007, established small businesses have been adhering to what I call “The Great Deleveraging.” They don’t want no stinkin’ loans.

So what is the No. 1 greatest small business challenge? Drum roll, please: The cost of healthcare.

No. 2 is oppressive government regulations. No. 3 is federal income tax on businesses. No. 4 is uncertain economic conditions. No. 5 is tax compliance complexity. And numbers six through nine are also all government related. This next point is very instructive: The first operating challenge to rank on the list is No. 10—finding qualified employees.

Let’s review: Nine of the top 10 greatest small business challenges are directly associated with government.

Some might say healthcare costs are not the government’s fault, but that would be Rip Van Duffus who just woke up from a seven-year nap and never heard of Obamacare. To be fair, let me hasten to add the cost of healthcare was a small business challenge prior to Obamacare. And this law did “bend the price curve,” as promised. Unfortunately, for the small business sector, Obamacare bent the cost curve up, not down.

Thanks to the NFIB Survey, President Trump and the 115th Congress can’t say they don’t know where to start helping small business owners. Indeed, they’re neck deep in the Obamacare “repeal and replace” debate right now. But here’s some breaking news: We polled our online audience about that issue and 94% said “Yes” to repeal and replace, but half said, “Take the time to do it right this time.”

There’s no doubt that 26 million American small business owners—with healthcare costs on their minds—had a significant impact on the November election. So my advice to the political class of all three parties—Democrats, Republicans and Trumpicans—is to take the time to get healthcare right this time. And then quickly start reducing the other eight non-operating challenges government is imposing on the most important job creators in America: the heroes of the Main Street economy—small businesses.

Jim Blasingame, one of the world’s foremost thought leaders on small business and entrepreneurship, is the author of “The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance.” Jim helps small business owners have the maximum opportunity to be successful, and teaches big businesses how to speak small business as a second language.

When Is It Time To Fire A Client?

There are lots of reasons why a business relationship may not work out. Watch for these signs that you should cut a customer loose.

How would you describe your business?No one wants to lose business. We put our blood, sweat and tears into building a thriving company, and turning away customers seems to be antithetical to that effort. But it’s not.

The customer is not always right. That age-old golden rule of business has never been the true test of how well your run your company. Not all clients are a good fit for all companies. Personality conflicts, unrealistic expectations or just plain meanness are all very good reasons that a business relationship may not work out.

It’s not always easy to know when it’s time to sever ties with a client, but there are some telltale signs that you should consider cutting a customer loose.

  • When communication with them creates anxiety for you and your staff.You are responsible for maintaining a happy, healthy work environment. If you have a client who continuously wreaks havoc on your team, it may be time to direct them elsewhere.
  • When they are rude and disrespectful.This is a non-starter for me. If a customer can’t deal with me and my team in a way that is respectful, they have to go. Period. You have no obligation to be subjected to a toxic relationship.
  • Despite clear instructions to the contrary, they continue to operate outside the scope of work outlined at the onset of the project.Managing expectations is key to a smooth relationship. It’s one thing to make changes to the scope of work. It is another to make changes and not expect to pay for it.
  • When they continuously question rates and servicesWe charge what we’re worth. If they are looking for a cheap solution, they should look somewhere else. We only want to work with clients who value what we bring to the table.

We had a client that despite many, many, many conversations refused to understand the concept of “no.” She had champagne taste on a beer budget but refused to understand that changes cost money and the more complicated something is to create, the more it costs to produce. I pride myself on being able to work with even the most difficult personalities, but it became obvious that we weren’t the right firm for her.

For me, my piece of mind and that of my staff outweighed any potential profit. So, I politely suggested that she might be happier with a different company. There are ways to sever the relationship without it being contentious. Ultimately, that’s the goal.

A few tips for a smooth break up:

  • When it’s about working styles: Sometimes the breakdown in communication is less a function of conflicts in personality and more to do with working styles. In this case, referring and introducing another firm is the easiest way to transition the client away from your company without creating undo animosity.
  • When it’s about personality: In the case where the client is just generally unbearable, it is obviously a more difficult problem to traverse. But if you position yourself as a problem solver for their needs you can leave the relationship intact. By acknowledging that you are not a good fit for their project and that they might be better served with a different firm who could more effectively solve their problems, they are less likely to leave feeling rejected or angry.
  • When it’s about money: This is probably the easiest of the three situations to manage effectively. Never compromise on your worth. If the client is focused solely on the bottom line then the value that you provide as a company is lost. Suggest alternative options but be sure to emphasize the value you provide to your customers and leave the door open for them to return when that value is foremost in their minds.

When you follow your brand promise, a culture will emerge that aligns with your brand and tells not only your clients but your staff as well what they can expect.

Remember, you are on the front lines. Your staff relies on you to protect them. If you want them to stick around, make certain that you maintain a culture of mutual understanding and respect.

If you would like learn more about how you can make an evaluation of your current client to find the ones you should fire , call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.

PXT SELECT ™ : MAKING THE VERY HUMAN DECISIONS ABOUT HIRING

PXTSELECTtm-AWB A UNIQUE SELECTION ASSESSMENT THAT FILLS THE GAP BETWEEN THE RESUME AND THE INTERVIEW,

PXT SELECT ™ HELPS ORGANIZATIONS:

  • Get a clear picture of candidate’s thinking style, behaviors, and interests,  giving you a meaningful edge in making the right hiring decision.
  • Start the selection process on the right foot. Explore an expanding library of job functions to which you can compare candidates.
  • Interview with confidence! Ask tailored questions and keep an open ear  for “what to listen for” based on a candidate’s assessment results.
  • Identify ways to enhance performance and maximize an individual’s  contribution to an organization.
  • Match people with positions in which they’ll perform well and enjoy  what they do.
  • Reduce turnover and boost employee engagement, which results in  happier employees!

ONE ASSESSMENT. ACCESS TO A FULL SUITE OF REPORTS

Having the right people in the right jobs is truly powerful. PXT Select™ not only helps you find the right people,  but also helps you shape the overall employee experience. PXT Select’s suite of reports helps you select, on-board, coach, and develop employees to reach their full potential.

EMPOWER YOUR ORGANIZATION WITH PXT SELECT™ REPORTS

  • COMPREHENSIVE SELECTION REPORT – Is the candidate a good fit?   This powerful report helps you make smarter hiring decisions with confidence. Featuring tailored interview questions and tips on “what to listen for” with each candidate, this report gives you a meaningful edge in your hiring process.
  • MULTIPLE POSITIONS REPORT – Which positions might be best for a particular individual? Compare a candidate or employee to multiple jobs in your organization.
  • MULTIPLE CANDIDATES REPORT – Make hiring decisions with ease.  Compare multiple candidates for a single position
  • PERFORMANCE MODEL REPORT – Understand the range of scores and behaviors for the position you’re trying to fill. Learn about the ideal candidate for that role.
  • TEAM REPORT – See how a potential candidate fits an existing team, or address your current team’s dynamics and strengths.
  • MANAGER-EMPLOYEE REPORT – Help managers discover how they can work more effectively with their employees.
  • INDIVIDUAL’S FEEDBACK REPORT – Candidates can learn from PXT Select, too! This narrative report doesn’t reveal scores and is perfectly safe to share with applicants.
  • INDIVIDUAL’S GRAPH – Are you more of a visual person? The graph illustrates a candidate’s results that you can view at a glance.
  • COACHING REPORT – Wish you had coaching advice tailored to each employee? This report gives you exactly that and more!

APLinkedInTo learn more, contact me, your PXT Select™ Authorized Partner.

Michael Stelter
ADVANCED BUSINESS COACHING, INC
W159 N10177 COMANCHE CT.
GERMANTOWN, WI 53022
Michael@ABCBizCoach.com
262.293.3166

 

4 Ways to Motivate Small Business Employees and Boost Your Bottom Line

3D man TeamA team of motivated employees can be the difference between owning and operating a thriving, bustling business and one that’s floundering or has a high turnover rate.

The best ways to motivate employees really comes down to finding ways to keep them engaged and excited about the work they’re doing and the people they are doing it with. Here’s a look at four ways you can do just that.

1. Challenge employees.

People need excitement to stay motivated, says Aleania Orczewska, director of business development at Carte Blanche, a consulting firm that builds company culture, offers management consulting, marketing and business development strategies.

The adage “variety is the spice of life” rings true at the office, says Orczewska. “Many high quality employees leave the best companies because there’s no room for growth.”

Being shortsighted: Don’t assume that employees are only working during normal hours, when they’re at the office or while they’re near your watchful eye. It’s common for diligent, dedicated and driven individuals to read emails at home during their favorite TV show, on the train commuting into work or even at a family gathering. They’ll answer after hours phone calls or be the last one out the door, leaving long after you flicked off the light in your office. And not taking a moment to recognize and acknowledge that — or even worse, come to expect it — can be a sure fire way to stifle a person’s spirit, says Akuamoah.

“If you’re not acknowledging the ideas employees bring to the table or the effort they put in, they’ll stop doing it. That brings down the performance level for the team overall,” she says. “You’re as strong as your weakest link, so don’t let your actions create weakness on the team.”

Disrupt their work/life balance: Emailing at odd hours of the night and early morning on Saturdays can happen during crunch time, but you don’t want that to be the norm. “Everyone needs the opportunity to unplug and recharge without feeling that they’re always ‘on’,” says Akuamoah. Your employee will be much more productive Monday through Friday if they have time to themselves outside of work hours.

Cultivating a cutthroat environment: Creating a team of overtly competitive people who cannot collaborate takes healthy competition to a dangerous level. It almost completely eliminates the aspect of co-worker collaboration that can lead your company to produce the next innovation that changes it all, Orczewska says. Making employees feel insecure about their jobs by constantly referring to the fact that there are thousands of people out there who would want their position will almost always backfire. “Creativity and innovation are lost in the face of anxiety about having a job after their current project,” cautions Orczewska.

That growth isn’t always a higher rung on the corporate ladder. “It’s often the room to grow in their current position,” she says. The opportunity to be challenged, to explore, and to innovate through varied work assignments, projects and responsibilities can keep employees highly motivated.

2. Create a sense of significance.

Don’t forget a reward for a job or challenge well done. You don’t necessarily need a huge, formal reward and recognition program, but you do need to say “thanks.” Orczewska suggests incorporating spontaneous acts of appreciation in management practices to reinforce the cornerstone of your business success. It’s great to celebrate significant events like landing a new major client or meeting a huge deadline. But it’s important to celebrate the small victories, too.

Email a note of thanks, or leave a quick handwritten note on an employee’s desk. Treating a department to pizza or ring a bell if an employee meets a deadline. “The key is saying thank you, not the size of the gesture,” says Orczewska.

Most employees aren’t working hard to please their boss — they’re working hard to do a good job, says Julianna Akuamoah, director of talent and development at the advertising agency, Allen & Gerritsen in Boston. The bonus is when your boss notices and appreciates the effort. “It can provide an extra boost for the employee to keep up the great work.”

3. Ask for their opinion.

Keep employees engaged by asking for (and actually hearing) their opinion on challenging business problems. “That tells employees you trust them with business information and value the differences in your experience,” Akuamoah says. “They’ll feel you appreciate their unique perspective and like a valued member/partner on the team.”

4. Don’t demotivate.

Even the most motivated employees can lose their mojo, especially if a boss’s actions reflect a demoralizing tone. And keeping everyone on the same productive page can be a struggle when bosses and managers fall into some demotivating traps and patterns. Make sure that doesn’t happen at your business by avoiding these basic morale don’ts.

To your success,

Michael Stelter
P.S. To take a Test Drive on our system visit http://abcgrowthacademy.com/guidedtour  We created the ABC GrowthAcademy System™ with the perfect combination of online resources, tools and support to get you out of any financial distress you’re presently experiencing… help you get laser-focused on your highest income-producing activities… and help you develop and then apply the fundamentals that build multimillion dollar businesses. click here to see for yourself.
If you would like learn more about how you can motivate your employees so that they will help you grow your business, call Coach Michael Stelter at Advanced Business Coaching, Inc. (262) 293.3166.