Business coaching articles geared towards effective leadership training to build and maintain the leadership development program in your business.

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.

How Will You Value the Sale of Your Business

9881157_sWhen deciding whether to sell your business you probably have one question: How much will I get?

There are different ways to find the answer.

The value of your business is constantly changing. Some industries have standard valuing practices, such as selling for three times estimated book value or a multiple of cash flow, but transaction specialists use several standard ways to value your business.

1. Income Approach

This is a standard valuation. The buyer of a business looks at the transaction as an investment, so they focus on cash generating and growth metrics.

Pro Tip: Ask your analyst to focus on the Discounted Cash Flow Analysis approach. This approach factors in the future value of the cash-generating potential of your business and not the standard five- to 10-year outlook.

2. Market Approach

Under this approach analysts will compare your business to other businesses. They make comparisons to public companies or, similar to residential real estate, they will look at recent transactions in your area.

Pro Tip: Obtaining a valuation on a routine basis will help you take immediate advantage of market opportunities.

3. Asset Approach

Use this approach as a last measure. Analysts will use this method to determine the value of your company’s assets. No potential value-adds or growth will be reflected in the sales price using this method.

Pro Tip: Know your definition of financial independence. When the sale of your business meets your definition of financial independence, don’t hesitate to sell!

Knowing how transaction specialists calculate the value of your business allows you to focus on the key metrics that will ultimately impact the sales price of your business. 

I found this tool while looking to find ways to measure the growth of some of my clients business.  We found it really helpful and I would like to invite you to get your Value Builder Score.  There is no cost or obligation.  It will only take 13 minutes to complete.
Our research shows that companies achieving a score of 80+ out of a possible 100 get offers that are 71% higher than the average company. Whether you want to sell soon or run your business for decades, getting and growing your score makes economic sense.

Get your copy of the FREE REPORT… “12 Fatal Mistakes You Can Make When Transitioning Your Business”

I wish you all the insight and wisdom need to set your plans in place.  Until next week.

Health, Happiness and Abundance

Michael Stelter   Advanced Business Coaching, Inc.

“We help entrepreneurs leave their businesses with health, sanity and fair compensation for what they’ve created”

Watch the video and download your Free Report to learn how we can help!

6 Habits Business Owners DON’T Want

Learn how to avoid these common small business pitfalls so you can work smarter and truly enjoy being your own boss.

Advanced Business Coaching Vision Mission and CultureAs a small business owner, you’re building a company from the ground up, and there are a lot of competing priorities and pressures. When you’re caught up in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of running your business, it can be easy to fall into some bad habits along the way.

Below we’ll explore six of the biggest bad business habits and reveal how to break them.

1. The Habit: Wearing Too Many Hats

In a recent survey, 35% of small business owners said they wished they could take on fewer roles and responsibilities.

Numerous studies show that multitasking is harmful for a variety of reasons—it increases stress, decreases productivity, and you’re far more likely to make mistakes in your work—but many entrepreneurs find themselves trapped wearing too many hats.

How to Break It: Delegation is key, but having someone to delegate to is the first step. Building a strong team that you trust allows you to feel more comfortable placing responsibilities in their capable hands. So, take your time during the hiring process. Reach out to reliable contacts in your industry to widen your net, and consider not only work history, but also disposition and personality when interviewing.

2. The Habit: Getting Hung Up on Old Ideas

You probably dreamed about your company for a long time before you actually opened for business, and that means you have a strong vision for what you want it to be. While it’s important to have vision, trying to stick to a plan for achieving that vision—even when the plan has proven itself outdated or flawed—can cause big issues.

How to Break It: In order to change course, you have to be willing to let go of what was once a brilliant idea. As Dr. Alex Lickerman notes in Psychology Today, we tend to form biases towards our own ideas and opinions. Releasing those biases allows you the latitude to regroup and re-strategize as your company changes and grows.

3. The Habit: Over-Promising

Many small business owners have the urge to say yes to every request. However, agreeing to something that your company’s infrastructure or team can’t support ends up creating more ill will than just saying no in the first place.

How to Break It: Know your limits and stick to them. Take time to consider the request, but if it’s really something you can’t do, then offer a firm and simple “no.” Don’t go into details, as that invites the requestor to push the issue, and try to decline in-person or over the phone, since the tone of an email can sometimes be misconstrued.

4. The Habit: Not Taking Risks

The flip side of over-promising is not taking enough risks. Whether it’s fear of rejection, embarrassment, or financial failure, some small business owners lose their nerve just as their company is on the brink of a big breakthrough, thereby becoming their own worst enemies.

How to Break It: The first step to overcoming fear of failure is acknowledging that it exists; speak to trusted colleagues, friends, or family about your fears. The next step is focusing on things that are within your control. Turn your attention to tangibles, like redesigning your website or creating a new organizational tool for your merchandise.

5. The Habit: Micromanaging

Your business is your baby, and you want to do everything possible to make sure it succeeds. But micromanaging your employees is a guaranteed way to breed disengagement and resentment amongst your staff.

How to Break It: The urge to micromanage frequently springs from your own fear of failure or feelings of powerlessness. Facing those fears (see habit No. 4 above) will allow you to let go of those control-freak tendencies. Also strive to create a workplace culture of open communication; if your employees feel comfortable speaking to you when an issue arises, you’ll be at ease granting them more freedom.

6. The Habit: Not Taking Care of Yourself

With only 24 hours in the day, many small business owners aim to dedicate as many of those hours as possible to their business. Sleep, healthy eating, exercise and vacation time are de-prioritized or forsaken altogether. Not only is this dangerous for your physical and mental health, it can also take a toll on the health of your company.

How to Break It: The normative social influence, a force defined in social psychology, drives us to conform to a societal standard or preconceived notion of our role. Since the entrepreneurial role is seen as someone who works day and night, that’s what entrepreneurs feel pressured to do. Letting go of this pressure frees you up to achieve a healthy work-life balance, and to work with more focus and efficiency during the hours you do dedicate to your business.

Running your own business can be challenging, but it can also be one of the most rewarding endeavors you ever pursue. When you know how to avoid these common pitfalls, you’re able to work smarter and truly enjoy being your own boss.