All posts by Business Coach James Hooper

So tell me again the main reasons you went into business in the first place?

What are the main reasons you went into business in the first place?

Welcome to the last 100 days of 2009.

You may have just completed a delightfully refreshing break on your holdidays – and have just returned to work feeling ferociously motivated to get the rest this year right!

You may have resolved to do all sorts of things – from dropping a few kilos and rediscovering your sexy washboard abs to getting your business “sorted out”.

Some of you may have invested some of your break in giving your environment a good “tidy-up” – and knocked off a few of the things you have meant to do for “ages”.

Annoying Business Coach in your ear?

Yet another group of you will be thinking – why is this irritating business coach talking about holidays, when I have not had a proper holiday since we started our “business”?

The answer would obviously be that this is exactly what business coaches  (especially the better ones) do.   I have been thinking a great deal about roles – because that is what I do a lot of.   Let me share a little about roles in business.

What is your main role as business owner?

This is not a trick question.  The answer I like best “to set and achieve business goals”.

There are lots of others relating to making profits, leading the team, meeting people’s needs and wants, and so on.

It is easy to see this in businesses listed on the Stock Exchange.  The management team of the corporation sets a target of x% ROI, or x cents dividend, or a % of capital growth.  Depending on the targets for capital growth or returns the team then determines the strategies that need to be followed to beat these targets.  They may be steady and safe, or they may be super aggressive.  Shareholders [owners] study the targets and strategies of these companies and determine if it is a match for their own circumstances – if it is they buy the shares.  If it isn’t –they sell them.

Here is your money question

Here is the money question for you.  If your business was listed on the stock exchange – then after considering your needs for your life – would you be buying or selling?

Is Your Business Giving You What You Were Looking For When You Went Into It?

Think about the reasons you did it.  It may have been about values like freedom, or doing it better, or building a great lifestyle, or building an asset or wealth to serve you later or some other reasons.

Whatever it was – just for a moment take off your manager hat – and put on your shareholder or business owner hat.  Now look again at your business.  Is it giving you what you want from your shareholding?

Big Fat Juicy Bonus

If yes – well done.  Congratulate the management team [you] and give them a big, fat juicy bonus.

If no – you have some choices.  The first choice to have a general meeting with the management team [which is probably you], and kick their butts.  Get them aligned with what the goals of the business [from above], make them determine strategies that will improve their performance – and be looking for a major improvement before the next shareholder meeting.

Give Yourself a Written Warning

Another choice is to sack the management team.  [ie you].  This is pretty severe – and best done when there is someone there to replace you.  Ask yourself, as the business owner employing yourself as the manager – on the basis of your success in reaching the goals [see above] – should you be putting yourself on notice?

Some Basic Coaching Questions

So, now that you remember what made you go into business in the first place, what has to change for your business to be able to give that to you?

What will happen if those things happen?

 

What will happen if they don’t?

 

What won’t happen if those things happen?

 

What won’t happen if those things don’t happen?

[This is called a “cartesian” pattern after a famous mathematician – and you can apply it to any decision process – including discussing chores with teenagers.]

When you have answered these questions about the changes that need to happen for your business to reach its goals – only then are you ready to decide HOW and WHEN to make them happen – ie the strategies and shedule.  Or you may decide not to do it and continue on as before.

There is no right or wrong or good or bad – there is only if you are getting what you want – or not.

Yada yada yada…

OK.  Your role as business owner is to set and achieve business goals.  Right now every guru under the sun is hammering at us – set your goals, failing to plan is planning to fail, you get what you ask for, aim for the stars and at least you will hit the moon, you must have goals, must have a plan … yada yada yada.

People say this, experts say that, this book, that book, and so on.  The pressure to get the goal setting done can be vast – and can push you around.

Me – I hate being pushed around.   I resist.  I am getting better at not resisting – and the better I get – the easier everything gets.

Try this:  Think about having to set business goals and bring up all the resistance you can.  As you think about that resistance focus on this dot     •     and aim all of your resistance into it.  Keep putting more and more resistance into that dot.  Now – let it go.  Think about having to set goals again.  You will feel a little different – a little lighter.

Do it twice.  Notice your resistance to setting business goals has reduced?

You will be assimilated –Resistance is futile!

In Star Trek – there is a race of “the Borg” [robotic creatures that are focused solely on expansion and “assimilating” all life forms into their collective] – oops sorry – I slipped into nerdism for a moment – anyway – their motto is “Resistance is futile.”

Everyone who knows that setting goals would make their lives better in some way – and who has not done it – is resisting.  Again – this is not good or bad.

What would make us resist? Great question James.  It may be something very logical at a subconscious level.  Eg in the past I set a goal, and then I failed to reach it.  This gave me feelings like – lack of approval, lack of control or lack of security.  Then I bravely had another go – set some powerful goals.

And failed again – giving me those awful lack feelings again.

So then I decided not to consciously set any more goals – perfectly logical, low risk and very easy.  The only trouble is that if we take this strategy into business – it becomes impossible to make good [or any] decisions.  [A good decision is one that takes us toward our goals.]

Here is a secret…..

Listen closely.  Are you ready?  OK.  “Setting and achieving goals is like learning to play the piano – it takes practice for most people – and at first it will sound awful.”  Got it?  If you have had a “not great” experience with goal setting in the past – remember it is a learned skill and have fun having another go.

This means that you have permission to set goals and not achieve them perfectly at first.  It does not mean that we can just “give up” after setting a goal.  It may mean that we have to change strategies or schedules.

The Worst Thing You Can Do

One of the worst things we can do for our personal power of intent is to make a commitment to do something – and then not do it.  By this I mean that it is important to take this process very seriously.  If you do not fully intend to complete the action – do not agree to it or make it a goal.  The more we make ourselves do what we commit to – the more potent is our power of intention [or “will”].

The Power Of Will

This is a little hocus-pocussy, but take it as a rule not to commit or agree to something unless you WILL do it.  Similarly once committed, let nothing stop you.

The better you get at setting and achieving goals in your business – the more your business will give you exactly what you want.

When is it time to get a coach

Another valuable tip in getting what you want from your business – is to get someone to coach you.  It might be family, a friend – or a business coach.  There a more and more of us out there – perhaps not all as fabulous as me – but they are there.  Various bodies also have “mentoring” programs available.

Townsville Business Womens Association has a program – and Dept of State Development also offers different service periodically.

What if you knew there was no option but to succeed?

If you were visited by an powerful wizard who told you to be a professional golfer within 12 months or be turned into a cane toad – what would be first thing you would do [after seeing a psychiatrist]?  Um…  Get the best golf coach I could find?

What if your doctor told you to get your body fat to 12% within a year or  die a nasty and painful certain death – what would I do?  Yep – Personal trainer/coach [plus any other advisors you could find.]

What if the business owner [you] where you work gave you a written warning saying you must achieve the starting goals of the business within a year or you’d have to get a “real” job?

Is it time to get serious about getting your business right?  You may as well – it does not take any more work.  And you might even get a few more “real holidays”?

Get your world rocking now!

James

Random Motivational Quote

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbour.  Catch the trade winds in your sales.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  Mark Twain

Townsville Business Builder Coach’s Tip of the Week – Systems

Short Tip Of The Week – Systems

Systems are your way of empowering your team to do large parts of your job just as if you were doing it personally.  They can reduce your hours and stress by getting all the team to do a great job…sounds fantastic?  Well it is easy once you know a couple of tricks…

• Only write systems that make money (or reduce a big risk)

We are not in the business of creating manuals so only create asystem if it simplifies a task, improves quality or speeds up a service. This will keep you focused.

Forget your big company or corporate experience of many volumes that mainly gather dust. The trick is to start small and let it grow with time.

• Work until it becomes simple

If the system is complex then keep working!  When you really understand something and present it well, it will become simple and therefore effective. Written procedures can often be best presented as checklists or tables.

• Make sure your precious systems are being used!

As you create systems, build into them monitoring processes so that at a glance you can see if they are being used. Changing the culture of your company takes time and there will be failures. Even when the culture has changed it needs to

be maintained. Your monitoring systems will do a lot of this for you.

• Make sure your team members know the positions they play

Unfortunately, it is normal for most team members to disagree on what needs to be done while at the same time believing everyone knows their roles.

Clear written and agreed roles will remove the need for 75% of systems.  So start there.

By now you truly understand the best systems look very unimpressive… the genius is getting them to look that way.

Oh – and get some help when you are building systems – the wheel has well and truly been re-invented enough!

Go sell something!

James

What are the top 12 reasons for small to medium sized businesses failing?

You already will have heard the statistics on business failure.  The statistics vary, depending which source you are reading from.  For simplicity, let’s just trust the data provided by Dunn & Bradstreet – who are business credit providers and who do “research” to keep their PR machines churning along.

According to D&B “Businesses with fewer than 20 employees have only a 37% chance of surviving 4 years (of business)

and only a 9% chance of surviving 10 years.”

 

“Of these failed businesses, only 10% of them close involuntarily due to bankruptcy and the remaining 90% close because the business was not successful, did not provide the level of income desired or was too much work for their efforts.”

Other general statistics that get thrown around include this gem [also from Dunn&B]:

“Nine out of ten business failures in the United States are caused by a lack of general business management skills and planning.”

D&B divide the failing groups in to two sets, labelled “catastrophic failure and general lack of success. Catastrophic failures are the primary result of economic factors. According to D&B, over 75% of those businesses that cite economic factors as a reason for failure, indicate that a lack of profits is the primary reason. Catastrophic failures also result from the death of a partner, fire, fraud, burglary and “acts of God”.

D&B say that statistically 88.7% of all business failures are due to management mistakes.

Here is a summary list of the 12 leading management mistakes that lead to business failures:

TOP 12 REASONS [From D&B]

1. Going into business for the wrong reasons

2.  Advice from family and friends

3.  Being in the wrong place at the wrong time

4.  Entrepreneur gets worn-out and/or underestimated the time requirements

5.  Family pressure on time and money commitments

6.  Pride

7.  Lack of market awareness

8.  The entrepreneur falls in love with the product/business

9.  Lack of financial responsibility and awareness

10.  Lack of a clear focus

11.  Too much money

12.  Optimistic/Realistic/Pessimistic

A Summary Table – Causes of Business Failure

1)   Incompetence.  46% of failures.  [Includes emotional pricing, living too high for the business, nonpayment of taxes, no knowledge of pricing, lack of planning, no knowledge of financing, no experience in

record-keeping or lack of understanding.]

2) Unbalanced Experience. 30% of failures.  [Includes poor credit granting

or lack of managerial practices, experience excessive bad debts, expansion too rapid,  inadequate borrowing practices.]

4) Lack of Experience. 11% of failures.  [Includes carry inadequate inventory, line of goods or services, no knowledge of suppliers, wasted advertising budget.]

5) Neglect, fraud, disaster. 1% of failures.

[Source: “Business Failures Rise in Nearly Every Industry Sector in First Half of 1997,” Dun & Bradstreet – News, Views and Trends.]

Business Success Is Not

Rocket Science…

You have just read the appalling stats on what happens in the majority of businesses.

There is another – more hopeful – statistic from D&B – a study showed that:

“over 90% of small businesses were still in business after five years IF they had the help of a Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or other expert assistance.”  [The SBDC is the US version of bodies like Dept of State Development here in QLD.]

Or Just Read One Decent Book!

There are other stats that say that if business owners attend even one business education seminar, or course – or even read some decent business books – that chance of survival massively improve.

Lack of Skills & Planning Equals Lack of Profits

Another clear point is of all the business failures – 75% were put down to lack of profits as the primary reason by the business owners.

The researchers then said that 90% of failures were due to lack of management skills and planning.

So which comes first?  Lack of  skills and planning or lack of profits?   Does this remind you of the saying that “failing to plan is really planning to fail.”

Welcome to James Hooper’s New Business Growth Tools & Systems

If you have come to this site – you are certainly looking for something.  I hope I can help you find it.

This site now will be home to tools and processes to help coach small and medium sized business owners get to where they want to go.

Seminar.com.au is owned and run by me – James Hooper from my base in Townsville.  In a nutshell I have a very wide spread of interests from accelerated learning to respiratory health to business coaching.

This site is related specifically to business coaching, so the most relevant info is that I have been a top business coach with one of the world’s most successful business coaching franchises for 8 years.  I recently moved away from that Business Coach organization to further pursue what I believe are the most efficient and rewarding parts of business.

Lots more information and tools will be placed here shortly – and I invite you to subscribe to my Townsville Business Builder Letter which is in the box below the video on the right of this page.  This will keep informed of changes on the site plus notify you as we offer specific trainings and courses here in Townsville.

These will include Preparing for Yellow Pages, Sales Training Programs, Retail & other service training, Advanced Sales Programs for Commission or Incentivized Salespeople, Basic Operations Systems for Business, Advanced Systems, Marketing Systems [which is different to Operations], Marketing Plan Development Workshops, and more!

So join our Letter list – I promise no fluff.  Probably first off the rank here in Townsville will be Yellow Pages Reviews.  The YP reps are buzzing and the closing date is approaching.  95% of YP ads in the Townsville Yellow Pages are awful, and if they work at all – are under-optimized.  Give me a call to arrange a review of your current and proposed Yellow adverts.  07 4721 0525.  An hour invested with me could save you thousands wasted, and give you thousands more profit from the investment – and YP is still one of the best sources of business.  I absolutely promise not to psss in your pocket.  Investment is $295 inc GST, and a bit more if you have lots of ads.  For most businesses it does not take many extra calls to cover that cost.

Thanks for visiting – remember to sign up for the Townsville Business Builder Letter, and also watch the video in the box on the right from the CEO of Google talking about Business Coaching and who needs it.

cheers

James Hooper

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