Is Management For You?

10 Reasons Why You May Not Really Want to Be the Boss

Think you want that top management job?  Before you leap have a look at this article and make sure you’ve thought through what it really means to be a manager.  Here are 10 of the toughest parts about being the boss.  If you’re not ready to take on each and every one of these downsides, then I’m sorry, but management jobs aren’t for you.

1.         You’ll have to make decisions that other people won’t like: 

Whether it’s ending a favourite promotion, not hiring an employee’s friend, or scheduling people to work over a bank holiday weekend (Or worse a hurling match weekend in Kilkenny), you’ll have to make decisions that may not be popular with your team.

2.         You’ll need to tell people they’re not performing well:

Sometimes these will be people you like and who are trying hard.  Either way, it’s going to be a hard conversation that rarely gets easier, and you won’t be able to shy away from it because addressing problems head-on is a key part of a manager’s job.

3.         You’ll need to fire or lay off people: 

Can you picture yourself telling someone that today will be her last day of work?  If not, think twice before becoming a manager.  I’ve had to do it in the past and it never gets easier.  In fact, if you find it is easy, you’re probably not fit to be a manager.

4.         You’ll need to tell people no:

You’re going to the person who has to say no sometimes—to a request for a raise, or for time off, or for a promotion, or a plea for a new computer. (Of course, you also get to say yes too, which is one of the upsides.)

5.         When things go wrong, you’ll be the person blamed:

When things go right, you’ll give your team the credit. But when they go wrong, you’re the one who shoulders the blame. Even if the problem was due to an employee’s mistake, you’re ultimately the person accountable.  Even worse when you consider point 3 and see that when things go wrong, it may result in lay-offs and that my friend, is happening on your watch.

6.         Your decisions are high stakes:

If you hire the wrong person, release the wrong product / promotion, or make the wrong budget trade-offs, your decisions could cause the company’s ruin.  Even an offhanded comment could land you in court.  Every decision you make, even the smallest ones, could have unforeseen price tags.

7.         You may have to enforce rules you don’t agree with:

Disagree with your employer’s policy on promotions? Well, mention that to your employees and you’ve just undermined your own boss. If your company has a policy you don’t agree with, hard luck but it’s still going to be your job to enforce it.

8.         Friendships with lots of people in your office will be off-limits:

As the boss, you need to have professional boundaries between you and the people you manage. You can’t have the same types of office friendships that you might have had before you became a manager.

9.         You’ll be scrutinised:

Everything the boss says or does carries more weight. If you express particular enthusiasm for one person’s idea, people will assume that’s the idea they should back. If you’re out sick on the day everyone else is stocktaking or performing some other mind numbing task, people will talk about it for weeks.  If you’re in a grumpy mood, people will spend days wondering what they did wrong and parsing their relationship with you.  Also, they’ll think it’s okay to come to work in a bad mood because if it’s good enough for you….

10.     Some people won’t like you: 

If you’re a good manager, you’re going to make decisions that anger and upset some people.  You are going to tell some people their work isn’t good enough.  You are going to hold accountable people who may not want to be held accountable.  You are going to institute and enforce policies that may exist for a good reason but still irritate the bejesus out of some people.  You are going to have to fire people at some point.  You’ll need to make peace with the fact that there will be people complaining about that horrible person they worked for, and that horrible person will be you. So if you’re deeply invested in trying to be liked by everyone, don’t go into management.

These are some of the reasons to stop and think, but you know what?  If you are the type of person who looks at how something is done and thinks “I know a better way” or “Management have it easy” I direct your thoughts to an expression often used (Mostly in jest) “You are not entering the manager’s office, it’s hell, with fluorescent lighting.”

Lead or Follow – Which Requires Most Courage

I enjoy working as a hospitality consultant with business owners who take a role in their business on a daily basis.  They tend to be businesses where traditions [Perhaps down through generations] are plain to see.  There’s a connection, a closeness between the business and the local community.  The owner generally has a real feel for how their customers like to be treated.

That said, although those long-standing traditions are being observed, there is also a potential failure to move with the times.  Perhaps right now, that’s okay because your regular trade will continue to come in and thus the business ticks along.  What happens if that regular trade comes under threat – a new rival, a shift in the marketplace.  What happens if your regular clients just get tired of the same thing every time they come and are looking for new experiences?

In this case it is okay for the business owner to take a step back and to trust that following good people around them could lead to amazing positive results for their business.  Taking a restuarant as an example, how often do you change your menus – is it too often?  Where do you capture really positive meal experiences that your team have had when dining elsewhere and have you considered if those experiences would sit well in context with the style of restaurant you operate?

A common misconception is that leaders are the ones who dictate the strategy and systems and that they set clear direction based on their own beliefs and in the above case, traditions.  We can all name the examples for those iconic individuals.  Why?  Because they are also unique in their own rights.

As an operator of a family business, we need to be sure that we are taking time to see what’s happening around us and keep pace with the market.  There are countless ways that this can happen but what I always encourage teams I support is to start with a simple exercise that requires just a few things – two flipcharts, two markers, your team and open minds.  On one page, you list all the things that you enjoy as a customer when you go out yourself to a restaurant (If that’s what your business is).  You then ask for all the things that drive you nuts when you go out, because let’s face it, those of us who work in the industry are the ones most likely to pick up on service that could be better.  Then we invite the team to identify if they are doing everything that is great, or if it’s possible that on occasion, the items that drive you nuts exist in their business too.  Try it for yourself and you’ll be surprised by the results.

Having opened up everyone, particularly the business owner, to the concept that the business might not be perfect, a couple of clear actions can be discussed and agreed and let me tell you this; if you involve your team in coming up with the solutions you are bringing them into the loop and they will be invested in helping see through your new actions.

This makes many of my clients uncomfortable.  They feel it is relinquishing control and that their role is to be the leader and their fear is that initiatives like this could make them a follower.  A true leader is a person who can create a sense of collective responsibility, a common cause and something that everybody supports fully.  It’s not easy, and like any process of change management requires careful planning, control while it’s happening and measurement so the successes or shortfalls of expectations are picked up right away allowing real-time change.

When was the last time you stepped back to measure just how great your team are?  After all, you assembled them.  At some point you saw them as the next person who would join your organisation and bring great things in their role.  How proud of them are you now that you have seen them grow and develop in your team?  Will you trust them to help you and “Follow” their ideas to help build your business together?

Focus or Fire Your Staff for a Winning Sales Strategy

Okay, as I said in the last post “Why you need to be all about the PROFITS in 2012?” the section on Focus or Fire Your Staff sounds a bit dramatic and based on the number of emails from people looking for a view on this, I thought I’d expand on my statement a little further.

You’ll note that I begin with the intention of FOCUS rather than fire. There’s a good reason for this, most people fail to do it. They have a valuable (And costly) resource sitting within their business that will never be unlocked because of a lack of direction and motivation. To illustrate, I’ll fall back on my role within hospitality businesses where the logic is easy, but the practice can be slightly more complex.

I go back again to my previous article (Linked above) and remind you that we have to review our costs. You have to decide if there is sufficient staff resourcing to cope with the business volumes and in hotels this is an easy one to understand. You know how many rooms need to be cleaned from last night, how many breakfasts to serve to the people who stayed and how many people are staying with you tonight? They’ll need receptionists to check them in / out and people to take care of their lunch / dinner / rom service. It’s Groundhog Day – but the numbers change slightly daily.

The question shouldn’t be “How many staff do I need to cover the bookings for tonight?” – that’s reactive, not proactive. The real question will be “How many staff do I need to win MORE business today?” If the staff that you employ realise their importance to your sales effort, then the link between business and FOCUS becomes clear.

Set targets so that each person within each department knows exactly what is required from their performance on that day. Your team should know this and be working with you to help ensure that their performance matches your targets for them but it is your responsibility to empower them to do what it takes to deliver that result.

You MUST give them the necessary training and the benefit of your experience and guidance, but you have to trust them to come up with ways that they believe they can achieve better results. If they are not focussed on the Target, they will simply walk through the steps of their role – do simply what is required on a task basis, clock-out and go home. A focussed team work towards a target and know that their performance will influence whether or not the overall team will be successful – preferably for THAT DAY.

Setting targets as part of an overall sales strategy is a skill and I want to stay on point in this post – there are a number of givens now to be considered:
1. Your team are trained
2. They have the tools required to be successful in their role
3. Their performance has had a measure applied to it
4. Their performance has been linked to the overall business targets
5. The elements of points 3 & 4 above have been communicated clearly to your team

In this context, your team now have the skills and targets. You have to motivate them and each manager will have his / her own style for doing so. Now you can objectively assess individual performance to see if your team are giving you 100% effort. So it’s not completely down to the members of your team – you have your part to play in setting the stage for them and then you have to monitor their performance and communicate with them effectively.

If you have invested this effort into your team and still you have an employee who consistently underperforms, then you implement your own disciplinary procedures and either manage the employee back into effective performance or regrettably, you manage them out the door.

Keep in mind my original point on this. An employee who gives you 8 out of ten for effort is STEALING 20% of the productivity you require from their role. If we thought about lazy attitudes towards work in this context it would have a dramatic change in the way we approach it with our staff surely. If you pay a bar tender €90.00 for six hours work and he stole €20.00 from the till, you would fire him / her. If they take an extra 30 minute break or don’t bother going to greet guests who are stood at the door reading your food menu, why should this be treated differently. These things happen just as much because of a lack of FOCUS on YOUR part as they do when your staff are not focussed on the results that your business needs for success.

Keep your comments coming, I’d love to hear the feedback now that you understand a little bit more about my thoughts on this subject.

Are you driving your business, or are you a passenger?

Since the start of this year I’ve heard a lot of the usual chatter.  In 2012 we seem to have turned up the dial on negativity about the volatile or shrinking markets in which we do business.  Let me give you one piece of advice – STOP THAT NOW.  It might make you feel better for a few minutes but it drags everyone around you down.

If you look ahead and see doom and gloom, then that’s what you’ll focus on.  It comes back to something that Henry Ford once said “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t – you’re right”.

The way 2012 pans out for your business is far more likely to be influenced by things that you CAN control than things you cannot.  Think about the service you deliver each day to your customers – currency exchange rates won’t dictate the level of connection you make with them, unless of course you open dialogue with them by whining about currency exchange rates!  Don’t bring people down, cheer them up!

When economies slump, as has been the cycle for the last hundred years, it clears out the deadwood.  Those businesses too slow to adapt, too worried to take risks and those that were built on sandy foundations to begin with, crumble and fall.

If your business is going to survive, thrive and grow you’ve got to stop worrying about the things you cannot change and start to look closely at what happens between your ears and inside your business.

If you break things down it comes back to the basic building blocks of getting your product and service to be outstanding no matter what your business is.  Remember the days of “Customer is King” – when exactly did that change?  In my opinion, it never has but it has never been so important to earn the loyalty of the people who are putting money in your pocket.  Get your staff focussed on that same simple lesson and you’re already on the road to securing the future for your business.

All of this creates a positive approach, a clear focus and direction and it sets you apart as a market leader.  Now isn’t that much nicer than being down in the dumps?  Do something with your business this year to be proud of.  Get focussed, stay positive.

That’s why I think we all should simply focus on P.R.O.F.I.T.S.  Let me explain a little more about that in my next post – WATCH THIS SPACE 🙂


Some things to do AND to avoid at networking events

I’ve had a few emails following on from my last blog post about BNI.  That’s great.  Some of the questions were a little surprising however, so I felt that I should offer some advice to those who attend different networking events.  Here are five golden rules.

First tip – be a good scout and arrive prepared!

Find out what the culture is within the group you are going to visit.  By knowing what’s expected, you will make a great impression.  See if you can identify any of the attendees and if any of them would be on your introductions wish list, perhaps you know a person who could introduce you to that potential contact while you are all in the room together.  Bring your business cards and a small notebook so you can write things down as you go.  Don’t use those moments after a new introduction to scour the room for your next prospect – write down as much as you can about that chat you’ve just enjoyed and make sure to write down what had been agreed as a follow up.

Second tip – know what you’re going to say

You know that people will ask you to tell them what you do, so have something interesting to say.  You’ll have about 30 seconds to impress or they’ll mentally check-out of the conversation so don’t start telling people what you are – it’s much more interesting to tell them what you do.  So in my case I could say:

A)     I’m an internet marketing and sales consultant who focuses on systems and service       OR

B)      I help people make more money in their business and have more fun doing it

Which answer above leaves the door open for more conversation?

Third tip – respect other people’s time

DON’T BE A BORE OR A STALKER!  If you know people in the room that’s great, but avoid them.  The point of networking is to make new connections with people.  Look out for new faces, read name badges and do not stick like glue to the first person who’s nice to you and follow them around for the night.  Remember that everyone is there to make new connections.  Establish if you can help the person you’ve met or if they could help you.  If they would like to meet, exchange contact details and agree to make contact and arrange a conversation over coffee sometime in the next five working days (Don’t let the grass grow under your feet).  This allows you to meet others but also allows them the same opportunity.  Like I said, respect their time.

Fourth tip – ask about others first

Everybody loves to be asked about themselves and to feel as though you are genuinely interested in them (Which of course you will always be) – nobody likes to hear a person rattle on for ages about who they are or what they do.  As a rule of thumb, if you are trying to develop a relationship with a person it starts with you showing them lots of attention and listening rather than talking – think about having two ears and one mouth, use proportionately please.

Fifth tip – follow up

If you have met a great contact and think that you could help them and they could help you, please follow up on the items you had agreed to.  Your great start could come crashing to a bitter end if you fail to call them when you said you would or by failing to carry out an action that you had promised.  That’s why it is really important to take notes and have a system in place.  Great things rarely happen accidentally.

Within BNI our members can avail of training and development in all of these areas.  This learning can be applied to other networking groups, your own business or even dating (But I wouldn’t recommend the latter).  People who get nervous about going into open rooms for networking events are normally suffering from the same type of anxiety that’s brought on by not being prepared.  Networking can be great fun and a massive source of dream clients.  Before your next event, have a plan, set a target for the people you would like to meet – even if that’s just a number and NO STALKING.  Keep moving around the room and be alert for new connections.

As a closing thought, networking should be treated in exactly the same way and any other marketing strategy.  You need to have a plan, know the desired results and measure your investment of time, energy or money.  It has never been so important to reach out to other local businesses and pull together so plan to visit networking groups and have a plan for what to do once you get there too.

Business Success – Taking a great idea & turning it into a successful business

Working as a business consultant I find that most of the business owners I work with are “Ideas people”.  They have a vision for something they would like to do that will fulfil a need that they perceive in the market.  It might be providing services, facilities or products.

Those businesses got successful by focussing on those original goals and in most cases the business owner was responsible for doing all the work themselves, at least in the early days.  You could say that they were their own brand.

Entrepreneurs excel at identifying and meeting those gaps in the market.   Once the business is off and running they move on to new ideas which may be to expand or diversify in their existing business or to explore opportunities with a different business altogether.  At that point they need to rely on the people who they bring in to the business to keep the core activities on track and they need them to be able to operate to the same high standard that they performed at themselves when carrying out those roles.

I spend a lot of time with my clients developing systems and structures to replicate the actions that they carried out instinctively as they got their business off the ground.  We don’t just document them, but also train all team members and measure performance.  A good idea will get a business live and transacting, but consistently high quality service delivery, customer interaction and product quality are essential to ensuring that the business survives if a local competitor decides to replicate your idea – and possibly does a better job at it.

Empowerment is also vital.  Working with business owners to address problems in their business I often hear them say things like “I wouldn’t have done it that way”.  I have news for you, if you took the time to explain to your team how you would do each task or approach particular stumbling blocks, they will have a better understanding of WHY it’s important to follow those standards.

The solution is simple:

  1. Plan every task required in your business
  2. Prepare a method and rationale for each task
  3. Provide your team with great training and feedback
  4. Produce measurement criteria to keep everyone on track

Things work better when everyone involved is really focussed on their core activities and feel that the work they do is really important to the organisational goals for the business.  By getting your team performing more in the way you would if you were carrying out the task personally, it will help you find the time to come up with more ideas and possibly starting a new business if you don’t have to be involved on a day to date basis in your current enterprise.

If you would like assistance in turning your great business idea into a commercial success, please contact me about business consultancy services.


Goals, Actions and Results

A goal is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “The object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”.  We hear it all the time, we must identify goals or we will lack direction.

A strategy is defined as “A plan of action/s designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim / goal”.  This makes sense and we can all relate to the need for planned actions in achieving our goals.

A system is “A set of principles or procedures according to which something is done; an organised scheme or method”.  For me, the only thing I would add to this would be to ensure that all other people involved in helping you to achieve your goals needs to fully understand the system you have chosen that will strategically help you to achieve those goals.

In businesses I work with in my role as a hospitality consultant, I find that we often focus on the long term goals.  Goals are important, but what impact will you see by trying to ensure that TODAY every person in your team that is helping you to achieve that goal is sticking to the plan (Strategy) and carrying out every task or process (System) in accordance with your standards?  Will it improve performance, results, consistency?

A widely over-used phrase would be that running a business is not a sprint, but a marathon and I understand why that holds water.  I can relate immediately to the stamina requirements.  However, we all know the importance of getting a good start, right?  Your goal should have milestones along the way.  In the early stages you need to be able to display to your team that you are meeting those milestones.  That builds confidence in the systems and strategy that have been chosen by you (Either independently or collectively with your team) to achieve that goal.  It builds credibility but more importantly, it creates a winning attitude and winning is a habit.

If you are not measuring the results of your planned systems / procedures, if you are not measuring results at milestones then there is a risk that you will miss opportunities to adapt and change for the better.  What I mean is, if your system and strategy are being executed perfectly but you find that you are slipping further away from your goal – who is going to take responsibility for changing the systems, evaluating the strategy or indeed re-assessing the realistic likelihood of achieving the goal?

Equally important:  Without measurement, how do you intend to track progress towards achieving your business goals?

In a Five Minute Friday it’s impossible to unwind this any further but hopefully it is a timely mind check as we start a new calendar year.

Is Control Bad

As a business consultant I find it is vital to immediately establish standards with any business I support.  Since when did it become wrong to want to be in control of what’s happening throughout your business?  Is micro-managing really that bad a thing?  Before the weekend, have a think about this:

Sometimes the reason my clients were not seeing the results they wanted from their business was because they had not taken control of daily tasks and actions.  They had allowed other people in the business to find their own way of doing things (READ: The easy way) and then allowed it to become the norm because they were afraid of being labelled a control freak.

As with everything in life, balance is vital in running any business.  The way in which we put across the importance of carrying out tasks in an efficient and consistent manner will often do nothing more than let the team member who was previously left to their own devices know that you genuinely care about how your business is running.  Better yet, they will see you taking time to help them develop and you’re stright away into winning loyalty through those actions once you handle it correctly. The manner in which you put your message across will determine whether you get stuck with the label of being a “Control Freak” or not.  Besides, it’s okay to be a control freak if you’re doing it in the right way.

When you see a member of your team doing something incorrectly with a customer order for example, SUPPORT them.  We all make mistakes, so this isn’t about embarrassing your employee, that solves nothing.  Instead, wait until the interaction with your customer is over and then speak to your team member about WHY they should carry out that same task differently next time.  Help them to understand how it’s better for the customer and also how it makes them more professional too.  Make them part of the solution and brush past the fact that there could have been a problem, then work with them to see if the interaction with the guest can be put back to your consistently high standards before the transaction is over.

This comes back to your credibility.  Will you do what you say you will do?  We’ve all heard every business owner in the early days talking about how they want to be better than their competitors, they want to develop a winning team around them and want to create an environment that’s fun to be involved in.  I promise you, that without being a “Control Freak” when it comes to standards you will fail.  By demanding attention to detail and consistency and that all tasks are carried out to an agreed best practice, you will have happy customers, happy staff and normally a healthy business too.  The best way to make this the culture in your business is to lead by example and always do what’s right, not what’s easy.

When people form a negative impression it’s often more about the body language or your tone of voice used.  The message can get lost in a sea of negative non-verbal communication.  Worse again, you risk being labelled a hypocrite if your team know that you don’t hold yourself to those same high standards or believe that the same rules don’t apply to you as you are the boss.

Deliver your message in a positive way, help answer “Why” it should be done differently and always listen to what your employees have to say as feedback.  That’s not a bad thing, is it?  Think about ways in which you could improve your business by establishing more specific operating standards and then taking time to coach them into your team.  If you need some help, or just some ideas, give me a call and I can share some successful strategies.

Successful Business Networking

Getting together with other business people can make all the difference when trying to generate new business for your company. Why? Well, here’s a simple explanation of my point of view on this:

Take out your mobile phone and check how many contacts there are contained within your contacts folder. My guess is that it’s more than 250 people with the average being slightly higher than that.

Now imagine that I invited you to join me at a meeting with 20 other business people (All with their mobile phones / contacts in their pockets) where you will have an opportunity to request an introduction to a target client from a person in the room who your target client knows, likes and trusts.  If you call that target client after being introduced and your target client has heard how you add value for your clients, how likely is it that you will have their full attention?  That’s the difference between a qualified referral or introduction versus a “Cold call”.  I’m sure you love cold calling, right?

In a snapshot, that’s what BNI is all about, giving more business to it’s members and ensuring that qualified introductions are made When a BNI member calls a person to whom an introduction has already been made, they will have a genuine opportunity to do business.

BNI Galway | Networking group Galway | Find More Business

When we examine the way in which we do business today, it has never been more important to build great relationships with your clients and within the local business community.  Word of mouth marketing is the most cost effective manner of promoting your business and typically produces either most of, or the most profitable type of, business conducted in any organisation.

BNI is the most successful organisation of its type in the world.  There are currently thousands of chapters in operation with tens of thousands of members.  Members of BNI have passed millions of referrals and this translates into billions of euros worth of NEW business being done between the members.  Of the worldwide totals, over half a million referrals were passed in the UK and Ireland, resulting in over €270 million worth of business for our members IN THE LAST YEAR ALONE!

In GALWAY, BNI has generated over €4.2 million for it’s members between our four Chapters and we continue to increase this figure weekly.

We follow a structured agenda that is proven to maximise the business that is passed in any BNI Chapter that has been developed by BNI and refined over the past 25 years, all around the globe.  A part of the process is that members have the opportunity every week to educate their fellow members on the type of business that they would like introductions for and how to introduce them successfully to meet a requirement from other members contact spheres.  If I told you that a good introduction for me was an business person who sells their products online, how many people within your contact sphere do you think you could introduce me to?

At BNI we use the philosophy that “Givers Gain”.  If you give me a referral, then I will want to give you a referral in return and thus we work in partnership to win new business for our respective companies.  Being a member in a BNI Chapter gives you the power of a twenty plus member sales team who all know what type of business you are looking for, how you would like to be introduced, how you add value for your clients and who will actively listen out for opportunities for you to do business within their contact spheres.

If you could handle some more business and would like to join us for a meeting, or if you would like to find out a little more about BNI, please give me a call, my number is listed below, and I can show you first-hand why we say that “Missing breakfast can be seriously bad for your WEALTH” 🙂

Information that slips through your fingers like sand – unless….

I find myself getting into this type of conversation a lot.  I ask a businesses owner or manager “What is the main source of your business right now?”

I get a shifty flick of their eyes followed by very similar responses:

  • “I guess, it’s repeat customers….”
  • “Well, I run ads in local papers sometimes….”
  • “Hmm, the brand name above the door does it in most cases….”
  • “I think, it’s probably the Golden Pages….”

They are fooling nobody – except maybe themselves 🙂

Straight away, I’m trying to work out what process is in place to measure sources of business because any business owner or manager that is focussed on those metrics can quote them off the top of their head.

I love to hear “30% of my business is repeat trade, 50% is walk-in business because I have a great location and the rest comes from different marketing and promotion campaigns that I run at different times of the year”.  There’s no sand slipping through those fingers.  Having spent a little time with them, that’s the level of focus that clients of EzSales develop throughout their teams.

Before we can establish the likelihood of your success in new promotional activities, we have to understand where your current business is coming from.  I do not want to start pushing your promotions away from a successful source.  In fact, the main reason I’m asking the question is to work out where you are spending your money and to see if we can take some of your current marketing spend and make it work more productively for you through other channels.

Sales ends up being a numbers game, so you have to be on top of your numbers.  You need a system that tracks every enquiry and qualifies the source of that enquiry.  This will drive your actions too.  If you see that most people are coming to you for goods or services because they were recommended by a friend, then the likelihood is that they have received a little bit of pre-selling.  They are already disposed to like you and your products or services because a trusted friend has recommended them to you.  If you’re not measuring the volume of business that you get through this channel, you could become complacent when it comes to customer service.

Equally, it has become expensive for businesses to continue to pay for premium listings with the golden pages.  If you were to stop doing that and spend the money in a different area it could be a risk.  If you assume that all calls you are getting for new business enquiries are coming from your Golden Pages listing, perhaps asking the question from a caller about where they heard about you could go a long way to establishing whether that it truly the case or not.

When building a cohesive sales strategy it comes down to a simple approach:

A)    Know where your sales come from (Measure and report)

B)     Identify if your competition are winning sales from you through other channels and if it is possible for you to compete in that space (I see no reason why not)

C)    Work out what business will churn of it’s own accord once your product or service quality remains consistently high – take that as a baseline of business in the bank (My guess is that any figure you list as business in the bank will be a fairly low one in current market conditions)

D)    Look at what costs will go behind driving business through other channels and break out your sales and marketing plan accordingly (This will make you focus on the return you get from the money you spend behind every activity)

E)      We’re back to Point (A) – Measure sales and report

F)      Rinse and repeat (Don’t lock your strategy in stone, but don’t change too often either.  Review the success of your activities and identify the impact in positive revenue growth)

I suspect that if you haven’t run this simple exercise recently in your business, then there’s a good chance that you are spending money from your sales and marketing budget without knowing what return it’s delivering to your business.  It’s money you’ve spent in the past and each year you pay it again.  Don’t get upset, get focussed.

By stepping back and looking at your sources of our success, we can learn what activities are fruitless.  Cut them out and increase effort and focus on the areas of your sales and marketing plan that give you the highest return and you’re well on the way to a successful strategy.

At EzSales we have simple, cost effective solutions.  We make it a priority to get the necessary systems and structures in place throughout your business to deliver measured results.  These bring focussed strategies that WILL increase your sales and will increase your PROFITS.