Archive

Archive for the ‘Business Strategy’ Category

How to Exponentially Grow Your Revenue in Less Than 30 Minutes a Day

June 10, 2016 Leave a comment

20 Under 40 20_3My June column for the Kitsap Sun’s Business Journal…

Let’s be very clear about one thing…

The most important function you perform in your company is acquisition of business. Period.

That ends my prepared comments. Questions?

Okay, allow me to elaborate. Without sales to your company (or a company you’re employed with) there can be no employee benefits, no impact to clients and customers, or no charitable donations or good works in the community. Without constant and sustainable revenue growth, your family will suffer, your anxiety level climbs, no one feels satisfaction or reward, and ultimately everyone loses the chance to benefit from what you offer.

You can’t name a business that is successful, philanthropic, or significant that doesn’t count on revenue being generated. That includes every non-profit because without fundraising, they can’t provide much needed help to those who need it.

Are we in agreement? Good. That was the easy part. Let’s discuss how you assure that your business can exponentially grow its revenue with the minimal investment of 30 minutes a day, so that you can exceed your expectations and accomplish much more for your family, employees, and the world around you.

I’m going to provide you a 5-step blueprint to either execute yourself or train your sales team to. While it seems simple enough, I will help you to also overcome critical obstacles to its success.

Step 1: Make a list of every single client you have. Divide them into current and past. Find the name of the decision maker. It doesn’t matter if they are still with the company. Include their phone number and email, as best as possible.

Step 2: Call every one of them systematically. This will be a daily function, so you don’t have to “hurry.” Call the current ones first because they know you best. Your objective is to get a testimonial and ask for a referral. Plan on 10 minutes a call.

Step 3: Once you’ve reached them, ask two main questions. First, what are some of the favorite things of doing business with you? Second, how have they been most impacted by your work together? Ask clarifying questions in return. Quantify their answers. Take copious notes and ask them if you can use their words in your marketing and website. Once you’ve gained permission, take one more step…

Step 4: Ask for a referral. Simply ask whom they know that can also benefit from the same value and experience they did.

Step 5: Add testimonials to all your marketing. Call on every referral.

That’s it. Allocate 30 minutes a day to this function. If you have a sales force, each person should do this.

Sound too simple? While I’ve omitted a lot of key language and other methodology because this is a column and not a book, the process is that simple. The biggest problem is that actually implementing this and sticking to it. Let’s consider the three key obstacles:

  1. Fear. Fear of rejection, of not being liked, of the uncertainty of responses all lead to not picking up the phone and calling (note I said call, not email). Your fear has no basis because these people already like you and want to help you. Stop getting in your own way.
  2. Ignorance. Not knowing how to respond and being unprepared lead to many trying, failing, and then giving up. This is all in the language and influencing skill. While the process is simple, training on the “how” needs to be invested in for the sake of success.
  3. Lack of accountability. Often, everyone is excited at the outset, but “gravitational pull” can easily take hold if someone isn’t holding people (or themselves) accountable.

Let’s fix this. The 5-step process to exponentially growing your sales works if

  1. You seek out help. Find experts through a variety of channels to help you train your sales people (including you) in influential language. This will increase confidence and effectiveness. The better they get, the more fun they will have and the better results you will achieve.
  2. You set accountability. This isn’t a dictatorship with dire consequences for not meeting quotas. Rather, it’s a professional approach to empowering and teaching. It requires a high level of trust and collaboration with the right people at the leadership position.
  3. You make it a priority. That means committing to investing time, finances, and resources.
  4. You make it fun. Whether it’s you or your sales people, the acquisition of business should be fun. You’re providing a great value of service or product to help improve someone else. Which leads to the last one…
  5. You provide genuine value. Sales will never be sustainable if they are manipulative. You must believe that you are providing valuable products and services and helping others. You’re just receiving equitable compensation for the tremendous value you give.

Everyone in the organization must contribute to sales, not for greed or malice, but for the opportunity to benefit others and provide for every employee and their family. Without revenue growth, stagnation sets in and the slippery slope turns into a landslide and takes out everyone that’s counting on your business.

By making the commitment to invest 30 minutes a day to my 5-step plan, you’ll be serving clients, employees, families, and the community.

Now that’s what I call an exponential return on investment!

 

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Be Good To Yourself

May 20, 2016 Leave a comment

20 Under 40 20_3Jordan Spieth was arguably the best golfer in the world in 2015. He won two major championships – the Masters and United States Open – and culminated the year with the FedEx Championship. All the golf pundits were not taking a giant leap of faith when proclaiming he was going to have another terrific year in 2016.

Spite has gotten off to a very slow, and in some cases, a rocky start. He’s been uncharacteristically poor in his shots and noticeably more agitated on the golf course. Now let’s be fair; Spieth is only 22 years old and has had a ton of early success. People have been amazed at his poise and savvy at such a young age. Regardless, it’s been a surprising start to the new year.

Last week, Spieth finally admitted in a press conference that he was being too hard on himself on the course. His self-talk was bad; he was intolerant of his own mistakes; and he found himself trying too hard to make up for poor shots. Basically, Spieth has fallen victim to what many of us do more regularly. That is not being good to yourself.

Many entrepreneurs and business owners left one boss to start their own business, and ended up working for a tyrant. Themselves. Is that you? Just like Jordan Spieth is susceptible to being too hard on himself on the golf course, business owners can do the same thing. For that matter, business professionals and all people can do the same thing. We are willing to cut somebody else some slack, but incapable of doing to ourselves. Sound familiar?

I’m pretty sure Spieth will adjust. His track record already indicates that. What about you? Are you willing to improve your self-talk and cut yourself slack when you aren’t perfect, make mistakes, and fail? In order to maximize your talent and unleash your potential, you must. In order to take your business or company to greater heights, you need to have positive self-talk and be able to forgive yourself for failures and try again.

Are you willing to be good to yourself?

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Being Memorable

May 19, 2016 2 comments

20 Under 40 20_3I was recently interviewed for an article on being “memorable.” This is a quality that is important for any business professional. I thought I’d share my answer to the interview here with all of you…

To be “memorable,” a business professional (or anyone for that matter) must:

  1. Be willing to be contrarian. Agreeing with everything and everyone becomes white noise. Even if one agrees with the concept, they must find a different way of framing it to create interest.
  2. Be a compelling storyteller. If we think about those people that we consider memorable, I bet everyone of them was a great storyteller. Stories stick – you’ll find these in both your professional and personal life – and those people that can match a story with a message are even more notable.
  3. Have a broad vocabulary. In an age where perspicacity around vocabulary seems to be on the decline, those with a strong one stand out. It should never be meant to be snobbish, rather a component of creating a better understanding with the right words.
  4. Have a 35,000 foot view of life. I’m always amazed when people say they don’t like to travel. Travel is the quickest way to broaden your perspective around other cultures and peoples. Those that are able to broaden their own view through things like travel, reading, education, and accomplishments, will transfer that characteristic to to their personality, and lend themselves to being memorable.
  5. Leave something lasting. It might be a book, a speech, a movie, a song, etc. People that leave something as a legacy that comes out of their talent and skills leave a lasting memory.

Read the entire Fast Company article HERE

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Oops. Now What?

58842030-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-30Yesterday was the day that my county (as well as many other communities nationally) hold their “Great Give.” It’s a unique way to ask donors to support all their favorite charities with one payment. It’s a pretty slick process, until…

I went on yesterday afternoon armed with my credit card to make my donation. When I arrived at the website, I was stunned to see that it didn’t want my money. Well, not really. The website was down due to technical difficulties. This would be the disaster that all the charities (and the organization ) would most fear. The event only runs for 24 hours, and at the very least was looking to lose over half that day.

Fortunately, somebody thought of that obstacle to success. The website indicated that because of the gaffe, the Great Give was going to be extended until into the evening the next day.  I simply moved my calendar reminder to today.

Calamity and “obstacles” happen every day to us in business. Some of them are minor (a key employee is out sick for the day), or major (see above). The business owners and entrepreneurs that are best prepared to deal with these obstacles more effectively overcome and even thrive out of crisis. Take the Great Give for example. Now, the event may actually add time to the giving, all the charities get to keep sending additional reminders to their lists, and the chance that someone might have forgotten and not donate is lessened. In all, the charities may end up being better off than if nothing happened!

Things that go “oops” will happen to you and your business. The best thing you can do is to in advance, identify your obstacles to success, create a contingency plan to rebound and thrive, tell everyone in your company about what to do, and then hope it doesn’t happen. The good news is that if it does, you’re ready and that is a great security blanket and peace of mind.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Low Fuel

April 21, 2016 Leave a comment

58842033-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-21I was driving back from a meeting today when my car yelled at me.

You see, on the way in to the meeting, my car gently reminded me that I needed to get gas. A little  gas can shaped yellow light came on indicating that it was time to fuel up and that I only had 41 miles left in the tank. Of course, I forgot and started heading home post-meeting when the light became more aggressive. I decided it was best to eliminate any chance of running out of gas and turn around and head back to the gas station I’d passed a few blocks back.

I wasn’t paying attention to the gas gauge. Normally, I try to fuel up when I get just below a quarter of a tank. That means I rarely run into the situation I just had. Sometimes I admit I get lazy and say, “I’ll get to it later.” If I repeat that enough times, then my car yells at me. The consequences are turning around and spending time I had allotted to other things.

How often are you actively engaged in the metrics and dynamics of your business?

You have your own fuel gauges in play for your business whether you realize it or not. You can see both quantitative and qualitative signs daily, but only if you’re paying attention.

The metrics of your business include your revenue stream, company expenses, professional development investment, sales activity, customer service engagements, safety record, and anything else that is unique to your industry that measures numbers.

The dynamics of your business are more qualitative and normally deal with culture. How’s morale these days around the water cooler? Are you experiencing any drama or conflict among your employees? Are you and your employees all having fun or dreading the day? Are employees maximizing their work day for the betterment of your customers and clients, or actively searching for their next job online at their desk on your time?

Metrics need benchmarks and constant updates to watch the fuel gauge. These are actually pretty easy to track, but you must commit that you r someone else is accountable and tracks them consistently. Dynamics requires being observant. It demands asking questions and being prepared to hear answers you don’t like. It mean being engaged and active in the work of your employees, not some mythical figure hidden being a curtain like The Great Oz.

Small business runs on fuel, just like your car does. You’ll get gentle reminders like I did that you’re running low on both metrics and dynamics fuel, and then you’ll started getting yelled at. Ultimately if you get to this point, you’ll either have to retrace your steps and lose momentum, or run out of gas. One is worse than the other. The best option is constant fueling. I recommend you fill up regularly for maximum performance.

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Want to fuel your leadership and maximize its performance for your company. Check out my new book, Unleashed Leadership. You’ll be going 0-60 in no time! Purchase here

The Need for Speed

April 14, 2016 Leave a comment

Speed is critical to success in business. Weedin Place image

Period.

While this seems like an overly simplistic statement, I’m constantly amazed at how many entrepreneurs and small business owners don’t follow this mantra. Do you ever catch yourself saying something like:

“I just need to wait until I have the money to….”

“I am going to wait for the perfect time to…”

“I need to think about…”

Here’s the deal. Smart and savvy business people don’t need to take a lot of time to make a decision. Here’s the formula: Assess the situation. Quickly determine upside and downside. Create metrics to measure return on investment. Make a decision and commit to it.

Fear is the primary cause keeping entrepreneurs from pulling the trigger with velocity. The consequences of lack of speed – especially in today’s fast-paced, digital world – are severe. They include loss of opportunity, loss of valuable time that can never be reclaimed, and regret and anxiety for not having had the courage of commitment and missing out. The primary fear is manifested in the thinking that a risk will fail. Welcome to being in business. Risks fail all the time. Rarely are failures fatal. Taking risks is the hallmark of an entrepreneur. If you follow my decision-making model above, I surmise you’ll win significantly more than you lose. And even in those losses, there is opportunity.

I’m not suggesting that you take every risk that comes your way. I am suggesting you make speedier decisions. Here’s one important example:

Entrepreneurs often put themselves last when it comes to investing in themselves. They are eager to invest in better equipment and technology, the professional development of their employees, and marketing. While all these are terrific investments, the most important is the growth and development of the owner. It’s the first place that should be considered because without continually improving one’s own self, the rest of the organization will never reach it’s potential. I’ve heard entrepreneurs say, “I can wait on me until we can afford it.” The reality is that they can’t afford to be without it. The faster they grow their skills, the faster the company develops and accomplishes greater things.

Speed to market, speed to being smarter, speed to produce, and speed to reaching your ideal condition as a company are common denominators of successful and significant companies and business professionals. You don’t have to drive 55 on this highway; instead get your engines revved up and speed toward greater success!

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Fearlessly Stepping on the Scale

April 7, 2016 Leave a comment

58842030-Dan+Weedin+%22Unleashed%22-30This is my April column for the Kitsap Sun/Kitsap Business Journal.

How do you track the success of your business?

Unfortunately, a high percentage of small to middle market enterprises (SMEs) -employers of less than 500 people – track their business success like a hopeful exerciser frightened to step on the scale for fear of what it might reveal.

My daughter is getting married in July. Shortly after hearing the exciting news, I realized that wedding pictures are forever. That thought jabbed me in the pit of my stomach. That same stomach was of late getting slightly bigger than I wanted. It was at that point in mid-November, that I resolved to lose the unwanted baggage. If I was to walk my beautiful daughter down the aisle, I needed to take up less room!

I was a regular every morning at 5:30 at the gym. I couldn’t understand why this was happening. It seemed counter-intuitive, except the empirical evidence proved otherwise. It was time to step on the scale. It read 199 pounds. I think I audibly gasped; I’d never weighed that much before. I realized that just hitting the health club daily and working hard didn’t assure results.

One problem was that after an Achilles injury, I had essentially stopped running. In addition, my penchant for cooking and eating like I was still running was damaging my bottom line, or in this case, my belt-line.

I quickly created a plan to start running again, increase my stretching to avoid injury, and do something I really hated; step on the scale every other day to track my progress.

While the initial results netted a slight decrease of about 2 pounds, for some reason it never really broke below that. Checking dutifully every other day, I became increasingly agitated that my new routine wasn’t working. Even though I felt better and more energetic, the scale was still telling me an unkind truth. I was basically treading water.

That’s when I made one more change; this time to my diet. I cut out almost all bread and went gluten-free. I reduced my portions to only one serving instead of going back for “seconds.” And I eschewed all desserts except for the weekends. This new initiative did the trick. In just a few weeks, I dropped down to my current weight of 193 and on track to hit my goal of 189. I’m still weighing in every other day to make sure I don’t increase (and if I do I take corrective action).

Here’s the comparison of your bottom line to my belt line:

  • Small business owners use the “feel” method for charting success. Instead of reading their own scales (metrics) regularly, they consider that by working hard every day, the results will follow. I was working out hard daily, but that was only masking my lack of improvement.
  • Initiatives for improvement are put into place, but are done without strong metrics to track results. Everyone gets so busy that they assume things are better. Much like I felt better after initiating my running and stretching regime, however the scale told a different story.
  • If I didn’t step on the scale 4 times a week, I’d still be 6 pounds heavier. If you don’t track and monitor your measures for success, you may find that over time, you’ve only kept pace or fallen behind.

It’s time to fearlessly step on the scale. Just like I was hesitant to see the “truth,” you might be hesitant to face the actual reality of your lack of reaching your own goals. Here’s my 5-step plan to accelerate your weight loss – or in your case – path to consistent growth and success.

  1. Create metrics that will chart what you want to measure. Examples include: Profit per employee; Productivity per employee; Rate of absenteeism; Customer compliments given; Rate of turnover; Revenue growth; Cash flow; and days that you are able to get away to take vacation.
  2. Seek expert help. There are a number of resources to find information on how to measure these categories. You can access consultants, trade associations, articles and videos, and even internal “smarts.” Create your own to match your industry.
  3. Gain employee buy-in. They need to understand this isn’t micro managing; rather a system to help them be more productive and happier.
  4. The first sale is to you. You must be willing to persevere and lead through these changes.
  5. Get on the scale daily. Check each of your categories on a dally basis. How do you know how you’re doing if you don’t know the score? A football coach makes in-game decisions based on the score, not on how things “feel.” You make important decisions all the time. You need to know your score.

The biggest hurdle for SMEs is the perception that they are too busy. They are working in their business, not on it. The reality for most of you is that at some point in the future, your business is going to fund your “golden years.” To maximize your business wealth and equity, you must ardently keep track of your success, so that you’re in a position to be nimble and change when needed. The consequences of not doing this are as detrimental to your business health as an expanding waist is to your personal health.

The surest way to protect and grow your business wealth is to step on that scale every day. Why not start today?

© 2016 Toro Consulting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,404 other followers