Ideal Client Part 1 - Know Thyself

Find Your  Ideal Clients Part 1- Know Thyself First.

There is a great article by . It starts with:
"How many times have you said, “My business could get really big if I could just find the right clients”? If you have, you’re not alone: There’s not an entrepreneur that I know who hasn’t had that thought, at least once. Read the full article here.  Entreprenuer Magazine 

The first point in this article is "Know Who You Are."   I love this because it's so true.  Part of understanding what your business is REALLY good (not always linked to what you really do)  at is understanding your own personal strengths and weaknesses. I'm not a big believer in working on weaknesses because we have so many of them as humans. We'd never get anything done if we constantly worked on weaknesses. I focus on my strengths. I exploit them in a way that makes me and my business highly valuable.

I used to try to be everything to everyone, but that didn't work very well and I ended up with a bunch of clients who accepted quotes then sucked the life out of me in "can you do this too?"

I'm a natural people pleaser. I have a hard time saying no, that's definitely a weakness, but on the other side is a strength which is my willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done for the client. My customer service skills are second to none! Strength!

I really wasn't aware of this until I began to study myself.  Here's a couple of links to the most commonly used personality assessments. DISC  and Meyer's Briggs. These are used by thousands of HR professionals to vet prospective new hires.

Your results may or may not surprise you, but it will give you a good starting point for understanding your strengths which you can exploit to your benefit and your business.

Once you really understand what you're good at,  you need to get a handle on what your business is really good at and map them together.

Ok, ok, I know you're probably asking well "how do I find my ideal client?"    I'll throw the questions back at you-
1. What are you good at?
2. What problem do you solve?
3. WHO DO YOU SOLVE THEM FOR?

Have the answer to #3? Great! That's is probably a big pool of folks. It's now time to narrow it down to the clients who you want to work with, who have budgets, who understand your value and who will pay you for what you're worth.

There's a process and a formula for that.  Want to learn how to do this? Get your free Ideal Client worksheet here.

If you're brave, send me your personality assessment results to lisa@workbea.com and I'll send you some pointers on how to exploit your strengths.

Be Awesome Today!
Lisa
CEO and Founder
Workbea.com


Cold Calling Is Dead

Traditional prospecting and selling is a thing of the past.

When's the last time you answered a cold call from a sales rep?

Probably not in a long time.

People don’t want to be sold.

As a matter of fact, being “sold” is uncomfortable for many.   People don’t like getting sales calls. They don’t need a sales rep to tell them how to solve their problem. This is a far cry from years past when your slick salesperson comes in with the magic bullet to your problem. Those days are long gone.

Today the consumer has the world at their fingertips.

Think about this. When’s the last time you had a problem at home or at work? What did you do? Chances are you didn’t sit by the phone waiting for a sales rep to solve your problem. You went to the internet.  Do you need a plumber? Search the internet, ask your Facebook friends or private message that guy you see on Instagram.  Do you need a new vehicle? While some take an entire Saturday and go to every dealership in the community, however, most are doing the homework online before heading out. They arrive at the dealership already knowing the make, model, and price of the car they are looking for.  Do you need accounting software at work? You Google the words “accounting software.”  Consumers are more proactive than ever.  They know where to find stuff, how to solve their own problems and before the sales rep gets on the phone with them, they already know what they want.

Pull vs. Push

Pull is when people come to you already interested. You’re creating pull when your marketing makes your phone ring. Traditional selling is a “push.”  You are pushing the information to your most anyone and only a few are really interested. In today’s competitive business environment where every most industry is saturated, small businesses aren’t big enough to be seen in traditional areas like print and TV.   This is why small businesses usually stay small and only a fraction of them grow into large companies.  Larger companies have budgets to create pull through traditional methods.  The internet has evened the playing field a bit.  With the right internet marketing, people are making thousands of dollars a day from their basements.

Welcome to Sales v3.0.

The information age has dramatically changed the sales process forever. Now even the smallest of business can grow significantly with the right prospecting.  You have to first know who your customer is, figure out which platforms they are on and pay to play.   Stop cold calling and start getting in front of your prospect where they are looking for a solution to their problem–online.  If you’re not there when they are looking, the chances are slim to none that you will get the business.  Unless of course, you’re in the phone book and they still have one.

So what’s the answer to this dilemma?

As the marketplace changed and consumer buying processes morphed, more companies are using Evergreen funnels for leads, demand generation, and sales.  What’s an Evergreen Funnel? Glad you asked!  This is an online platform mapping out your customer journey, and moving them to a transaction. The best part of an Evergreen Funnel, you don’t do anything except deliver the service/product. The system is constantly selling on your behalf and populating ads/content to your prospects, generating interest, leads and eventually sales.

The funnel takes the prospect from general interest to discovery and eventually leads them to a transaction- but  only if your product/service solves their problem. After all, there’s a lot of companies solving the same problems but like traditional sales, it’s timing, message, and price.  Those are the elements that facilitate a transaction.

Ok, ok, some of you might be old school and say “I like talking to people!”

You don’t have to stop talking to your customers or your prospects! As a matter of fact, we say you should talk to people…but…..talk to people who are actually interested in what you have to offer. Evergreen Funnels will weed out people who aren’t really interested and you won’t waste your time.

Evergreen Funnels are equivalent to the cost of a part-time sales rep, but working 24/7 on your behalf.  So what’s a funnel? This explains it pretty good. These online evergreen funnels use landing pages and email automation to continually communicate value and educate the prospect. If the prospect is truly interested, they will either contact you or better yet, buy something.  You give your prospect the freedom to decide based on the value THEY see in you.  It’s not forceful or pushy, it’s a natural progression from “I have a problem to solve.” to “I found a solution.”

Pretty simple.


Network Niagara

Registration is required. You can pre-pay or pay at the door.

Cost of this event is $15.00

WHEN: April 11th 2018   530pm

WHERE: New York Beer Project  Transit Rd. Lockport NY

Presented by the Niagara Region Construction Alliance

Registration Is Required

Pre- Pay Here

WNY's Largest Networking Event

On April 11th 2018, the Niagara County business community will come together for the second annual Network Niagara. Over 10  other Business and Professional Associations will gather their members for a night of networking, collaboration, and fun.  The mission of this event is to engage with neighboring business associations within our county and find new opportunities for us to work together and exploit opportunities for our business communities that we serve

Kristin Savard, past Board President of the Niagara County Builders and business owner, had the idea several years ago and last year we were finally able to execute the first one. Her passion for this event comes from a belief that a united business community is a strong business community.

We’re expecting a huge turnout with the collaboration of the following associations. Register early! Workbea is the proud sponsor of digital services for Network Niagara.

Presented by the Niagara Region Construction Alliance and co-hosted by these prestigious organizations. 
 
Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce
 
Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce
 
Small Business Development Center at NCCC
 
Downtown NT Merchants Association
Oliver Street Merchants Association
 
Town of Niagara Business and Professional Association
 
Leadership Niagara
 
Lockport Business Association
 
Lockport Main Street
 
Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas
 
Women’s Business Center at Canisius
 
BBB


The Bitter Truth About Facebook For Business

Have you ever sucked on a lemon and felt your face pucker up? That's how we felt when we heard Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook say "We're making a major change to how we build Facebook.." The news feed is changing again, in a big way. For the casual consumer of FB, this is great news, for the business owner, it's really bad news.

This move came as a result of recent research that showed people aren't actually feeling happy and joyful on social media these days.  Not so great news for FB.  So Zuckerberg has decided to take action and deliver more meaningful interactions into the news feed.

What does this mean? Pages and videos will see their reach decline.  It also means the cost of entry into a news feed (ads) will sky rocket.

But, hey, this isn't news. We've been seeing this happen over the course of the last 18 months!  We've attributed this to the fact that FB is just becoming saturated with ads and public content.  Our gut was  right. Zuckerberg confirmed the saturation of paid content but he also confirmed Facebook will intentionally deliver less of it now.

After the pucker wore off, we are adapting to Facebook's change and revisiting content strategy.

There's upside to everything! These changes will force folks to think through their messages and content. It will also facilitate deeper relationships on Facebook with your audience.  You'll have to understand and communicate that you understand in a way that moves people to interact.  This is especially true in order to catch the eye of a potential new customer, a prospect. Just as you would get to know your prospect in person, you need to get to know them with similar intimacy on social media.  After all, social media is like cold calling, it's where your prospects get to know you, look at your product, and decide if they want to take the next step. Online and offline interactions are very similar in this way.

Really all Zuckerberg is saying is, stop the billboard type posts and start connecting with people again in a way that builds better relationships, more meaningful interactions,  and as a result a better platform. Yes, we're optimistic, because we have to be and because frustration won't help our clients adapt. When Facebook makes a change, we have to navigate it with great velocity so the impact is minimized.

Consequently, if you're a plumber or a manufacturer managing your own social accounts, and may struggle with writing, this can be catastrophic.

If writing isn't your thing, you can always skip the keyboard and go for the camera to tell the story.  Video reigns king of social media right now. 76% of users will opt to watch a video than read words.  So if you get creative with your message through a video, your chances to show up in a feed improve significantly.  The caveat is that Video has only shown to increase engagement, but packing it with  value and a highly relevant message for a specific audience can help you win the conversion. Workbea has partnered with Nickel City Graphics, expert video marketers to offer packages to our clients.  Together we're hosting some local workshops on how to be successful with video and social media.

Most business owners and marketing coordinators lack the technical skill to produce quality video. This isn't an insult, it's just fact. These folks are amazing at what they do, but they aren't savvy in editing software, frame rates, or story boards.  We highly recommend you outsource this, otherwise, you'll spend hours putting a 30 second video together that may miss the mark in "meaningful."

What's the meaning of meaningful. I guess it depends on who you ask.  You have to know your audience before you can make assumptions on what's meaningful to them. Audiences vary across social media platforms. People use them for different reasons.

They key to success is understanding the platform's audience. These Facebook changes are geared to a more pleasant experience for the audience they serve. Let's take a look at the FB user base.  Most FB users want to see family and friend updates, they want to be entertained, and some even use it as a news source. Many aren't in business mode or purchasing mode when they are reading the news feed. They will shift into those modes if what they see compels them to, but in general,  people are on FB when they are on a break, off work, or killing time.  That type of understanding of all your social platforms will help you deliver resonating content.

With any audience, you'll need to build trust and rapport. Building rapport and trust takes thought and consistency.  Thought and consistency takes effort, time, and planning.  (I'm hearing the small business owner laughing right now)  Small businesses are especially challenged here because they just don't have the budget to dedicate man hours to social media.

So for those of you facing the change with limited resources, here's some tips to help you hold your own for as long as you can.

  1.  If you're a service professional working inside people's homes, ask the homeowner to share their story. Everyone has a story. The post might read something like..."Linda moved here last year so she could take care of her aging parents. For her, there wasn't another option. She wanted to come and do this. She sacrificed a lot to be here and she has a lot on her plate. Although, we came to fix the hot water tank, we left inspired by her strength and love for her parents. It was an honor to be of service to her today."
  2. If you're manufacturing product, you have to understand how that product impacts the lives of the end user and be able to demonstrate it in words, pictures, and video.
  3. The ever debatable hashtag. They do serve a purpose, yet they should be purposeful.
  4. Not the mushy type? Go the comedic route.   Everyone loves a good laugh. Find humor in your day that is relevant to your audience and reflect on it. You might make light of your spouse's well intended, botched dinner. Or show someone in the office with that sauce stain from lunch. As long as you can reflect without embarrassing, this is a great way to connect with people. Make light of not so great situations.
  5. Share your story.  Unicorns are rare.  People buy from people. Your customers can chose your competition over you and that's why it's important to tell YOUR story. For example, we have a client who uses us because she loves the fact we all left the corporate world to be more present with our families. She did the same thing 10 years ago. When we spoke to her, we told her our WHY and it resonated.
  6. For God's sake be authentic.  This advice just isn't for social media, it's for everything.  No one is perfect, no business is perfect, and people love seeing other people's imperfections. We all want to know we're not alone in imperfection. That resonates with everyone.   If you appear too put together, too amazing, you'll build skepticism and trust goes right out the window.
  7. This one's old, but new again....ask questions, but the right ones.  Challenge paradigms and assumptions on topics related to your work.  Press buttons, but be careful not to close doors. It's a fine balancing act with this one. You can play it safe by asking people "What's the strangest thing your Elf On The Shelf did this year?"
  8. Inspire people to live and interact in responsible ways.  Lots of great motivational quotes out there, but go deeper than those.  Share something relatable  to the quote and relevant to your work.  Inspire your audience to serve their communities by volunteering, donating,  or just taking a meal to a lonely neighbor.
  9. Take advantage of those "National "whatever" Days.  Be creative with the "Wednesday Wisdom" or "Man Crush Monday."  These days are perfect for connecting the dots to what you do in a meaningful or comedic way.
  10. Test things out with post boosts and target people who already like your page. If they like your page, chances are Facebook will oblige. More importantly if they like your page, they are more likely to share your post and interact with it. If and when they do, their friends might see that and interact as well.

There's a lot of noise out there, so choose to whisper intelligent bytes rather than yell louder or pay more.  We'd be happy to manage your accounts, help you with content strategy, or just give some guidance.  Contact us at info@workbea.com

 

 


Facebook Tips Part 1

There's been much discussion and frustration about Facebook's algorithm (FBA) changes in 2017. We're sharing some tips to help you stay connected as well as make sure your business page gets noticed.
Below are three changes that really got attention and how to adapt.

  • In 2017 FB started prioritizing posts that get lots of engagement. Also, the FBA will upgrade posts on subjects that are timely or trending. So that friend who rarely posts and doesn't get much engagement; you may not see. Here's what you can do. Click HOME at the top of the screen. Find "Newsfeed" on the left. There should be three little dots. Click on the dots and chose "Most Recent" This will help you see things important to you that were just posted rather than what's popular. OR visa versa.
  • FB also changed what ads you see. Good in some aspects because spammy ads are no longer allowed. Any ads with profanity or stereotyping won't be approved. Ads with questions such as "Do you have diabetes?" or "Are you tired of the same old....?" will likely get held up or flat-out denied.
  • Asking for likes is a big no-no. So sharing your business page and asking for likes, won't get much exposure. FB wants to make sure the content being shared is authentic in nature and not just for the sake of getting more likes. The philosophy is good. "If your content is authentic and interesting, likes will come naturally." In 2018 you'll need to up your game and create posts that draw in the reader.....authentically.

The Social Media landscape is changing daily.  We can help. Learn more..


Social media for wedding vendors

Wedding Vendors Need To Read This!

Brides are using Social Media to plan their wedding activities and find wedding vendors.  You may be using Social Media today to promote your business, but there's a science behind the process. In 2017 we saw lots of changes in the algorithm on Facebook and Instagram that puts businesses at a disadvantage. You're going to need to inform yourself.
In the meantime, here's the justification for spending the time to learn how to be effective.

Social media is the number-one way brides-to-be are connecting with wedding brands and products during planning, with 82% doing so versus 75% in 2014.

* 33% of brides are connecting with brands and products through Instagram.

* Pinterest remains the most popular social media platform for brides-to-be, with 72% using it to find inspiration and/or help planning their wedding, up from 67% in 2014.

* After telling close friends and family, 62% of brides-to-be changed their social-media status to "engaged."

*After receiving an engagement ring, 62% posted a picture of it to social networks

* Friends and family of the bride and groom are more frequently seeing the couples' engagement news on social media - up to 54% from 46% in 2014.

* 39% posted photos and/or video of the proposal to social media.

* 51% create a custom hashtag for their wedding/wedding-related events, 34% for wedding-related events, 46% for the wedding itself.

* To keep their guests informed throughout the planning process, 39% of brides-to-be post photos and updates from cake tastings and vendor visits.

* 70% used social media to find wedding inspiration and their wedding style.

* 53% show wedding vendors their ideas on social media (e.g., Pinterest) to use at their wedding.

Find the full study here.
http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/brides-american-wedding-study-2016-unveils-latest-wedding-trends-spending-habits-engaged-2149673.htm


G-suite business tools

What Every Leader Needs To Get Right

What Every Leader Needs To Get Right

According to the U.S Department of Labor, multi-factor productivity in 2016 was negative for the first time since the global financial crisis. While the economy has had a stellar performance in 2017, it could be short-lived if we don’t address the productivity challenges. We can’t do this until leaders get one thing right; creating focus.

With the attention span of a human at an all-time high, competing priorities, and too much information coming in, leaders are faced with corporate attention deficit. This lack of focus is a disease and until leaders can manage company time, they won’t be able to create company focus. Without focus, productivity plummets and performance at every level will suck.

So what does all this mean? It means leaders need a paradigm shift. They must look at company time the same way they look at company capital. Time allocation must be part of the planning process and allocated properly. Leaders can create focus with fewer, more impactful priorities and ensure the bulk of company time is spent on the functions/activity that drives the business forward.

What drives a business forward? There are only two functions that move a business forward; innovation and sales. Period. Yet, we’re still compelled by our corporate ego to do it all in-house. We build marketing, accounting, IT, and ultimately bigger HR departments to manage the internal fight over resources. This model, in most cases, produces incremental growth because it creates big processes. more meetings, more reports, and ultimately, more distractions from innovating stuff and selling it.

Marketing, HR, IT and Accounting have a very important role and I’m in no way trying to dimish this. There are advantages to these in-house engines. However, these teams should be intellectual, not tactical. They are the idea factories, the planners, not the executioners. Leaders should consider outsourcing things like social media management, help desk, or delinquent account receivables and let these teams focus on activity that brings the company vision to life.

Furthermore, the traditional business model dilutes the most two important roles in the organization; Sales Managers and Product Developers. These folks are spending a big portion of their time on other department’s stuff. Getting employee surveys done for HR, filling out reports for accounting, providing content for marketing, and regurgitating the P&L in the infamous “status” meeting.

If the ideas presented here are a bit radical for you, then stop reading now. For those who need major disruption and change this year, here are some suggestions to begin your cultural shift and business model transformation.

  • Remove the obvious absurdity of any given self-serving process. We all know what they are, we’ve all had to deal with some ridiculous step in a process for some control freak on the other side of the building. Acknowledge the elephant in the room and get rid of self-serving, CYA, reports and processes.
  • Automate redundant tasks and perform time studies. At first glance, time studies could be seen as micromanagement and people tend to shy away from them. On the other side of this exercise, the insight gained is priceless. Time studies not only identify useless activity, they also help managers understand what can be accomplished with the time they have in a day. I’ve used a good old fashion stopwatch and a little cost accounting to determine ROI on activities, functions, and entire departments.
  • Restructuring the organization into smaller teams and teaching managers communication skills can eliminate meetings, employee surveys, budget overruns, and turnover. Smaller teams tend to be more nimble, more focused, and less bureaucratic. Managers of smaller teams are more likely to forecast better and less likely to become burned out.
  • Give your sales managers the tools they need to close deals. Big CRMs, ERPs, and other enterprise tools are anchors to the sales team. No CRM, intranet, or internal chat tool will help them sell more. The only activity that generates sales is selling! Sales managers want correct and recent customer information, but their department should not be the producers of this, they are the end users of it. Downsize another department and build a sales enablement entity that will manage and update data, send proposals, secure POs, and be a liaison to other departments. Let sales SELL.
  • Identify and stick to core competencies, then outsource the rest. We tend to want to invent the wheel in-house instead of sticking to what’s in our wheelhouse. I’ve been guilty of this myself. “Let’s save money by creating this thing ourselves.” While we may have saved a few bucks, we spent thousands on lost opportunity and worse yet, created a lack of focus.
  • Allow product people to develop product and meet their deadlines by eliminating projects that suck the life out of innovating. Need examples? Just go ask these folks what projects are albatrosses. Give this team a direct line to customer feedback and then unshackle them to meet customer needs.
  • Infuse time management and time awareness into strategic planning, new hire onboarding, and training. After a while, your managers will come to you with all sorts of time sucks to kick out the door.
  • Look at every cost center in the business and quantify its value in dollars. Anything that can’t be quantified should be tabled until it can or replace the manager with one who deeply understands the value of the function. Don’t waste precious time on activities that don’t produce value to the customer and the business.

In the current business environment, velocity is king. Getting high quality and competitive product to market quickly will solidify the future and sustain the business. If leaders can treat time as a resource, a liability, and ultimately, an asset, they will be able to create focus which will propel productivity and significantly improve performance at every level.


Time Management

5 Whys for Meetings

Before we teach leaders how to run productive meetings, think about this....

The business environment is time poor and we have to question everything we do that doesn't directly move us closer to the goal.

All meetings should be questioned first.   "WHY/WHEN" one should call a meeting. Have a checklist of inflection points that should prompt a meeting.  If there aren't major decisions to be made, complex ideas to be explained, or red flags aren't being raised: "update" me in an email because I trust you.

I suggest doing a ROOT CAUSE ANALYSIS for meetings! 5 WHYS.... a majority of them would be eliminated if we addressed root cause first.  Think of the time savings there! Shaving just a few minutes off a day can add up to thousands of hours each year. What can you do with an extra few hundred hours this year?

We can help you do that and understand what that time savings translates to in dollars and opportunities.   If we can't bring you impactful results, we won't take your money.

 


Are You Smoking Hopeium?

Are you smoking Hope-ium?

That was a question one of my bosses asked me early on in my career. After my ego took a back seat, I was able to utter the words “I’m sorry, what do you mean by that.”
“I looked over your plan for next year, at a high level, it looks great.  While I love the numbers you have, you didn’t explain how you were going to achieve them.”  Back then I wasn’t very strategic, I was like the rest of the business world- opportunistic and reactionary.  To be honest, there was, in fact, a lot of hope in my plan. I’ve since exchanged my hopeium pipe for conversations and excel.

Over the next two months, he had me build out the numbers by product/service/ customer. then instructed me to clearly define the resources I needed, and accompany everything with monthly goals and a month by month plan of action to reach them. At times, I have to admit, I wanted to stick a pencil in my eye.  It was a lot of work and I worked a lot of overtime. Afterall, we have to keep the wheels on the bus while we’re planning to fly!

Ah! The Pain!

The most painful task in this whole process was “backing into the number.”  What is that?! Basically, I had to document what my department looked like 5 years from now- in other words, create the “vision.”  I had to provide in detail what were we selling, who were we selling it too, how many people were on the team, what the processes looked like, what company resources I would need.  A bit of hopeium here, but not for long.

Once I had the vision, I was asked to put the “Vision” financials on paper. In Excel, with formulas, ugh!  Then the fun began,  I had to run the numbers backwards to the current year.  This was painful, but wow, it ended up being one of the skills I used in all my planning over the years.  This part of the process provides your long-term roadmap and shows you where your sales and expenses need to be next year, the following year, and the year after that.  Now don’t be scared. This is an extreme exercise and my boss was a Software Engineer with an MBA.

Stick to the basics at first.  

If you’re not used to business planning every year, start off small.  Use your current year numbers to forecast and add a percentage for how much you want to grow.   For some,  just the thought of writing a business plan is daunting. I recommend starting small with just the sales/expenses and growth.  You have to plan to grow. This means looking at what it takes to maintain what you have and where you can cut cost to fund growth.  Sometimes funding growth takes financing. Before heading to the bank find ways to cut cost.  A word of caution; in cost-cutting mode, make sure you aren’t sacrificing customer value. Don’t be penny wise and dollar foolish.

Talk to your customers and vendors.

Talk to your customers to make sure they will continue to purchase from you and find out if they see any disruption coming in their industries or changes in their lifestyles.  For instance, if you service Mrs. Smith’s lawn every week but she plans on moving out of state next year; it would be a good thing to know. If your largest client plans on closing that division or is talking about doing so; you would want to know. Right? These are some of the many pitfalls we can avoid through good planning.

Once you work through the sales numbers, look at the expense side. Talk to your vendors.  If your insurance premiums are jumping 10% next year, you should know. If one of the core products you use is being discontinued, you should definitely know.  Moreover, most businesses increase their prices every year, you’ll want to have this information to properly forecast your expenses.  Take forecasting with a grain of salt. It’s an educated guess, but it puts the parameters in that you can work off of. Anything can happen anytime in the year;. being a bit more proactive can help mitigate some of it.  Being proactive is being strategic.

Be strategic, not opportunistic

In a small business or department,  it’s pretty critical we operate strategically.  When we react to everything that’s in front of us every day, we tend to lose sight of the big picture, waste time on things that aren’t aligned with our goals and spend money on things we shouldn’t. When we know what we should be doing and clearly know where we’re going, it’s easier to stay focused and strategic.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve approved an expense on a whim that in 20/20 hindsight didn’t make sense or didn’t generate a return of any kind.  Time suck, and a waste of money- nothing more than that.  I have a rule now- if there is an expense I want to incur for growth, I wait 7 days before committing. This gives me time to step back, revisit my plan, and clearly understand how this will get me closer to my goals. 9 times out of 10; I don’t commit.  Hey, I’m human! I can get caught up in a sales pitch too once in awhile.

Having a thought out plan helps us stay centered and focused. Plans are living, breathing documents. They are outlines of what needs to be accomplished. You should be flexible and ready to pivot when something isn’t working and also ready to capitalize on things that are, even if it means foregoing something else.

Chunk it out. 

How many of us write these beautiful, well thought out plans and then never look at them? I’ve done it myself and have seen it happen.  The way to keep the goals and the plan top of mind is by using a month by month action plan.  Chunking out tasks that map into your revenue goals.  You can call it a “To Do” list, but we like to call it “The Action Plan.”  This is where the rubber meets the road in the day to day grind of operating. Keeping yourself or your team focused on reaching milestones every month will help you stick to your plan.  We use one at Workbea.  Click the link below to see the planner we use. It has proven to be a huge help keeping us focused and has helped us reach our goals this year.

Happy planning!


Meet Your Business Goals Next Year

Time To Begin Again

It’s never too late to begin a business plan.  Ideally, August is the time to begin the process for a January fiscal year, however, late is better than never.  The process forces us to take the time to look back, reflect on what went well and what didn’t. It’s also a time to look at your goals and see if you are on track to accomplish them or decide if they were a bit too enthusiastic.   Goals is a small but important part of your plan.  When setting your goals for next year, here’s some things to keep in mind. 

Get Clear

While it’s business as usual in the day to day grind, it’s so critical to take a step back, understand where you are, where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. An important part of this process is getting clear on the what. Without the what, the how is irrelevant. Here is a list of you’ll need to think about.
1. Get clear on where you want to go.
Start gaining clarity by seeing the end.  Create a vision of what the business will look like in five years. Who is on the team?  What types of clients are you serving? How is the business structured? What are the sales and the margins? From there, in your mind’s eye,  work backward in 1-year increments until you get to this year.  While you won’t be able to see a granular view, you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be accomplished over the next 1-3 years.

Set Goals

2. Get specific and time-bound goals.
Once you have a clear picture, you can begin the process of developing your goals. Using the example of financial goals, you might say I want to increase sales x% by the end of 2018. Then divide that number into quarters and you have a real goal to meet every three months. 
Without time-bound goals, we become activity focused.  Our activity only becomes productive when it can be associated with something we’re trying to accomplish.  We only have 24 hours in a day, how much of that 24 will you spend on the activities that directly moves you closer to your goals?  

Decide How

3. Come up with the how. 
Once you understand where you want to be, think about how you will get there.  This is called “strategy.”  A strategy can be fluid.  If you develop a strategy and find it isn’t working, you can change it.  I’ve seen strategy change weekly in some organizations, especially companies in disruptive industries.  Having a strategy helps us develop a path to the end.  For example, if you were planning a trip to Europe, you might decide you will use a combination of train, plane, and automobile to get there.  
 

Chunk It Out

4. Chunk it out.
 If you need $5k every three months to hit your goal at the end of the year, you’ll have to decide the how. Is it new customers, raising prices, cutting costs? If it’s raising prices, you will have a list of tasks that go along with that plan. Maybe you call every customer to get feedback, do some research in the market to see where competitors are at, writing a letter to your customer, setting a date, having a plan if customers move away from you because of this…and the list can go on and on.
 

Track Progress

 
5. Track your progress.
Wherever you write or type this all out- be certain to also track progress. Set smaller goals every week and set an hour a week aside to review your progress, pivot if you need to, and rewrite goals if you have to in order for them to stay relevant to what you’re experiencing in real day to day.
 
You can really be, have, or do anything- just get clear about what it is, set some goals, make a plan; then stick to it. Easy.
Need some help with this? Contact us at info@workbea.com to book some time with a business consultant or take one of our Workshops on planning.