Category Archives: Management

Tough Love

-You just aren't any good at this, Bob.- (3)

As a biz owner, you have to (or should) make tough choices. Like not assigning work to team members who have no business doing that work. Which doesn’t mean they aren’t a good fit for your team, or that they should be fired. It means you recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each team member and you work accordingly. That conversation may require tough love. “I’m sorry, Bob, but this just isn’t your strength.”

The easy choice is to just keep assigning work to team members that shouldn’t be doing that work and then beating your head against the wall when that work stinks.

An ineffective team member may be more of an indication of ineffective team leadership.

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The One Thing Starbucks Never Does

The one things Starbucks never does is ask me to leave if I am there just to enjoy the free wifi. I can set up shop for twenty minutes or three hours and never order a coffee, Frappucino or Chicken Artichoke Panini on Ancient Grain Flatbread.

The One Thing Starbucks Never Does

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Don’t say sorry, apologize… then ask for forgiveness

There’s a difference between saying you’re sorry and asking someone to forgive you.

Years ago, my wife and I did the Growing Kids God’s Way curriculum. In it, the Ezzos talk about having your kids apologize when they get in trouble. Not only that, but the Ezzos recommend having your kids ask for forgiveness. According to the Ezzos, and later confirmed by me in practice, this repairs any damage done by the mistake.

Back when I selling advertising, I had an issue with a client. An agency. In fact, one of the largest agencies in town. I could’ve easily blamed the client, or found some other way to blameshift, but the responsibility was clearly mine. Instead of take the easy way out, I took the Ezzos’ advice and apologized to the client. I then asked for forgiveness. The client began trusting me more, despite my mistake.

Today’s world – with cell phones, social media, instant messaging, etc. – it’s easier than ever to be a flake. Don’t flake. You’re better than that.

Don't just say sorry

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Pinch vs. Punch

The difference between a pinch and a punch is as simple as preparedness. Being prepared for obstacles and setbacks means that your business will feel a pinch, rather than a punch.

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Do you have a client(s) that makes up more than 25% of your revenue? If so, losing one would be a gut punch to your bottom line. If each client took up no more than 15%, that punch would be a pinch. Uncomfortable, but not impossible to overcome.

In the personal finances realm, this is called rainy day funds or emergency fund. In the business realm, it’s called being smart.

Action Steps:

  • Know your business and where you make your money.

  • You’ve heard the saying “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” I prefer to plan for the best, be ready for the worst.

  • Make a plan to avoid being – or move away from being – beholden to single or limited sources of revenue (clients). A golden goose is great, for a season, but being ready for the day the goose flies, is greater.

  • Be flexible and nimble.

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Why Do Organizations Move So Slowly?

Organizations move slowly because they choose to move slowly.

In most cases, moving slowly is a bad thing. Slow moving organizations are rarely proactive, and when they’re reactive, it’s typically too little too late. Additionally, they are usually unable to make adaptations or course corrections in a manner that allows for meaningful change or full implementation.

Maybe it’s the leadership that sets the example of moving slowly. Maybe it’s a long standing culture of moving slowly. Whatever the reason, it’s a choice.

What I mean by an organization “moving” is an organization’s ability to change, adapt, innovate or correct mistakes. I wrote a blog “Two Essential Components to Running a Business” and talked about being nimble and flexible:

“Nimbleness means your business is able to quickly and effectively make decisions that affect the bottom line. An employee needs to be hired (or fired); a piece of equipment needs to be ordered; a system or process needs to be changed.

Flexibility means you’re able to carry out those decisions, because making decisions and carrying them out are two different things.”

Organizations and businesses can move quickly if they want. But that’s the problem, many have made a choice to move slowly.

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Save Time and Do Less

The folks over at WeWork have put together a great blog post that features seven tricks and tips to save time by doing less. It’s a great article on productivity, especially as it concerns being efficient.

My favorite tip – although they are all excellent – concerns the delegation of certain tasks. From the blog post:

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Love and Respect

You can’t expect your customers to love and respect you, your business, your company, your employees, etc. if you don’t love and respect your customers and employees. Love and respect = value.

When you take advantage of your employees, your customers will inevitably find out. Think Abercrombie & Fitch. If you take advantage of your customers, your employees will have low morale.

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Take Care…

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So, I didn’t come up with this diagram. I’ve borrowed the idea. Unfortunately, I don’t remember who originally came up with the concept. However, the idea is sound. And true.

Starting at the top, if the owner takes care of the employees, the employees will take care of the customers. In turn, the customers will take care of the company, and the company will take care of the owner.

Occasionally, what happens is that the owner will just take care of the customers or the company, effectively turning his back on the employees. Often, this happens because the owner doesn’t (or most likely won’t) trust his team. There is no quicker way to disenfranchise your employees than to turn your back on them.

If you don’t trust your team, and if you’re being honest, that means you really don’t trust yourself. Otherwise you would trust your ability to put a great team together. You would be able to delegate responsibilities knowing they’d be managed effectively. Your focus would stay on managing, mentoring, building, growing and, more importantly, leading your team.

Focus on building a company that follows this cycle and you’ll create a happier team, a happier company, and happier customers.

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Shopping When You’re Hungry

Out of all the advice I’ve ever given, or will ever give, this principle seems to be the most important. Why? Because I see the same mistake made over and over and over again.

Do not make important decisions regarding your business when you’re strapped for cash or when you’re emotional. You won’t be thinking clearly, therefore you’ll make poor decisions. Just like going shopping when you’re hungry.

My advice? Take a deep breath. Consult a third party, preferably one you trust. Or, at least wait until you’re no longer hungry.

dont-make-money-choices

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Having your cake and eating it too

make-your-renovation-worth-it

When it comes to marketing expenses, you can’t expect to spend zero dollars on marketing your business and still expect to set sales records.

Restaurants are a perfect example of this at play in the real world. Understandably, it costs a ridiculous amount of money to start a restaurant. From renovation fees to obtaining licenses, opening a restaurant can be a huge investment. In fact, RestaurantOwner.com did a survey and found the average cost to start a restaurant was $451,966.  It’s no surprise that once an owner is finished spending nearly half a million dollars they’re reluctant to invest anymore into the business.

But that’s just it. You don’t drop half a million into a venture without expecting an eventual return on that investment. Marketing is just a way to protect the investment.

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