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Monthly Archives: February 2017

Simple Way to Grow your Business

1- Solid Plan with a Clear Simple Vision- Think of the impact you would like your business to have in the world. Think big! You may never reach your ideal vision, but the vision itself is so grand that your team can get excited about it and it sets you up to be unlimited. Then back up. Look at what needs to happen to get there. Create a solid plan with realistic short and long term goals that are achievable.

2- Focus on Profitability vs. Revenue- While revenue is important, high revenue does not add value if your expenses are just as high. What can you do to create more profit? Begin developing various streams of income. What expenses can be reduced or eliminated? How can you operate more efficiently? Think profit.

3- Work “in” and “on” your business- We get so caught up in daily tasks “in” our business we forget to step back to take a wider view from the outside. See it through the customer’s eyes. Look at how it fits into the community. Prepare the future of the company. On the other hand, we can get so comfortable working “on” our business from a planning or management stand point that we forget to step in to talk with customers, handle details, and experience what the employees face daily.

4- Automate and Create Systems- What do you need to automate? What system can you put in place that would free up your time or make you more money? What tasks need to be eliminated, systematized, or delegated. What system would help your employees be more effective and provide the best service? Is there a system that needs to be upgraded? Automation and systems help your business be consistent and efficient.

5- Consistent Marketing Plan- Marketing expert Jay Conrad Levinson of Guerilla Marketing has said that “I hate to admit this, but mediocre marketing with commitment works better than brilliant marketing without commitment.” It is important to have a marketing plan in place that is consistently and persistently being carried out on a daily basis….not just when you need more customers.

6- Increase Value to Your Customers- Give more than customers ask for and more than they expect. There are 3 convenience stores by my neighborhood. The first one built I visited regularly and was satisfied. The second I visited a few times and had to wait every time to get checked out so haven’t returned. Every time I got gas at the third store I was greeted over the intercom with a friendly “Hi, how are you today?”. Inside they were friendly and provided kids with a free lollipop. They even added a Post Office. Who do you think got my business on a regular basis with just a little extra effort? The one that gives more than expected. What value can you provide that will increase your “Wow” factor?

7- Innovate- React to the customer’s needs before they know they need it. Sell what the customer wants, then give them what they need. How do you know what they need? Take time to talk to them. At a minimum talk to your best customers and learn from each one you’ve lost. Find out what they would like and what their challenges are. Stay current on market trends in your industry.

8- Leadership vs. Management- Empower your staff to manage themselves. Do you really want to spend your time problem solving? Train them well. Make sure they know the vision of the company and they are on board because there is a personal win in place for them. The personal win gives the employee motivation to cooperate as part of the team.

9- Well Oiled Machine vs. Chaos- Is each section of your business operating efficiently while working together towards a common goal? Or is your team expending time and energy putting out daily fires. What shift would move your business out of crisis/ problem-solving to operating with ease?

10- Develop YOU! – Take one minute to hold your breathe. As you are holding think about what you really want. See what happens. You may have had trouble thinking about what you want because your needs were not being met. When you take care of yourself and feel strong, healthy, happy, and have time and space in your life, then you can focus on what you want and attract more to your business.

 

What are Your Priorities?

We read stories in Oprah’s magazine and see on TV all these women who start multi-million dollar businesses while raising their 4 kids and their sister’s 3 kids and all while volunteering at the school. Don’t be fooled! You do not have the same life nor the same opportunities.

Here is what we don’t see – her mom helps take care of the kids and cooks and cleans, her husband fronted the money, she didn’t get more than 3 hours of sleep a night for 6 years, or her kids are completely out of control. Her priorities are not the same as yours and mine. Avoid comparing yourself to others – it is a dangerous trap, and you never know all the facts!

What are your priorities?

For me, raising my two girls as a single/only parent to be responsible, caring, contributing adults is my top priority. A distant second, is growing my business to a place where I work less and make more, and have lots of money for my retirement. Without raising my kids the way I want, it wouldn’t matter how much money I had, I would be miserable. Besides, they will grow up and I will have a shift in my priorities then.

Setting your priorities is a very personal process. The big things are fairly easy; it’s the every day stuff that becomes challenging. For example, I see many people who get asked to volunteer and say yes again and again, even though they know it delays the achievement of their goals. The little voice in their heads says, “Don’t do it this time!”, but they find themselves saying yes.

One of the hidden reasons behind this sometimes is that she wants to have a good excuse for not achieving her goals. “I’ve been so busy at the school/the networking group/the chamber of commerce, that I just couldn’t build my business the way I wanted!”

Setting priorities is the first step. Put them on paper, then flesh out an action plan to accomplish your goals. For example, if it is your goal to exceed $50,000 in revenues this year, you will need to detail how you plan to do this, and get to work. The money will not fall in your lap, and you’re not getting any younger! Once you have put your plan on paper, put it where you can see it and review it regularly.

When a new opportunity presents itself (that will absorb your time), delay your decision for an hour or a day – whatever time you have. Really think strategically – will this get me closer to my success as I have defined it? What will the benefit be and what will it cost in time and money if I say yes?

If you aren’t making money right now, that needs to be your priority over long-term gains. You do need to keep longer term goals in mind, but don’t find yourself spending all your resources on future gains – future gains won’t pay the electric bill! Analyze opportunities as they present themselves:
1. How will this benefit me and my family in the short term?
2. Long term?
3. What will this cost me in the short and long terms?
4. What is that little voice in my head telling me?

Sometimes, you have to do the ‘right thing’. If you are in debt and not taking care of yourself and your family properly, buck up and get a job. Pay off the debt and save your money so you can try starting your business later without being desperate.

Trust your inner wisdom, but at the same time, ask your ‘trusted advisors’. Keep in mind that some of your advisors have their own agendas, and have a vested interest in the result.

Bottom Line: Having specific, written priorities keeps you focused on your plan, and helps you say NO when you need to!

 

Successful Family Janitorial Business Tips

For any small business owner it can be tough to keep “work at work” and “family matters” at home. This is even tougher if you work with family members. If you are not careful, your cleaning business can easily slide over from work hours into your private family time. As the lines between family and business become blurred you will find your attention diluted and this may prevent your business from reaching its full potential.

What are some common problems that family run businesses are likely to run up against?

– Giving family members jobs they are not qualified for

– Giving family members too much responsibility and not enough authority

– Allowing parents to evaluate children’s work performance

– Paying family members more than non-family members for the same job

– Treating family members as “family” on the job and not as colleagues

– Constantly discussing business at family gatherings Ignoring mistakes because they are caused by a family member

– Giving family members special perks because of who they are instead of how well they perform their job duties

How can you keep your cleaning business running efficiently when you have family members as employees?

First and most importantly, separate your family life and business life as much as possible. Once the time clock is running employees should not address family members as “dad”, “mom”, “uncle” or “son”. Second, although it can be difficult it is important to separate the family part of your life from the business. Some family businesses have found it helpful to have three separate areas:

1. The home, where only family issues are addressed

2. The business location, where only business issues are addressed

3. A neutral area – where a mix of family and business issues are addressed.

It helps if your business has a clear chain of command that both family and non-family members, have to follow. An employee manual can be helpful here as it can spell out not only the “chain of command” but other important guidelines that apply to all employees.

Your business should also have a written plan of how to accomplish your goals and what happens when key players of the organization decide to retire leave the company. It’s also important to keep good communication between family members and non-family employees.

Having loyal and dedicated family members as a part of your cleaning business can give you the support and encouragement to take your cleaning business from a part-time endeavor to a successful company. Keeping family and business separate is difficult but necessary if you want your cleaning business to grow and succeed. Following a few simple guidelines can help you keep your family life intact and keep your cleaning business on a professional level.

 

Tips to Setting Your Business Goals

Some of the goals you may set for yourself and your business may involve how much money you’ll earn as the owner and how much money your company will make every year. You’ll also want to set the number of hours you will work each week and how many hours should be spent uninterrupted with your family. You’ll also want to forecast how many employees you’ll have, the number of customers you’ll do business with in your first years and the speed at which your company can comfortably grow. It will also be nice to set your age when you will retire to your very own island.

Writing your goals on paper actually helps you reach these goals. Once they are written down, you can always refer to them on a regular basis to help you keep track of your own program or change them as the situation calls for it. It also helps your staff stay focused on the truly important things for your company. As you begin your life as a businessman, writing down your goals becomes a top priority.

As you start setting goals, you will have to be as specific as possible. A lot of people simply want “a decent living”, but this is too vague. Instead, write down the exact amount you want to take in profits from your first and second years in business. The more specific you are, the easier it will become to design a plan that reaches these goals. For example, you can plan several ways to earn $50,000. You can now calculate the number of customers you will need to buy from you as well is how many employees you’ll need to hire to make the number of products you need to sell.

But what does it mean if you don’t meet the goal? That will depend on how much you’re off. If you exceed your goals, congratulate yourself. If you are a little behind profits before tax, then at least you still took home some money and you are doing something on the right path. Check your goals, set the next ones and move on. However, if after a year you’re in more debt than when you started out, it may be time to reassess your goals or even consider going back to your day job.

Many people start with a goal that is realistic and then they work backwards. They develop smaller goals along the way that helps them reach their target. It always helps to keep your feet on the ground. Be as realistic as possible when you set your business goals – write down the exact amounts in terms of profits, taxes, salaries and perks to get a near-accurate picture of what you’re dealing with. Be as optimistic as you can or you might get discouraged if you don’t reach most of your goals. It is always safer to set goals that you can win.