good-time-management

Time Mastery: Time Management Process for Success

Ever heard the saying time is money? Well, it’s true. As a business owner, your time is truly valuable and the way you approach the 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year you have been given – which is the same time as everyone else, remember! – is vital to business success. In the end, your time is your only irreplaceable asset … it will definitely run out!

The fourth component (and it could be argued the most important) of the Business Mastery level is Time Mastery.

The way you manage your time sets the tone for your level of productivity and efficiency, but also your teams. How can a business owner who can’t manage his own time expect to manage a business effectively? Time management is a skill that is under-valued and vital to success.

Here are some time management processes you can put in place – long term to short term – so you can manage time instead of time managing you.

 

  1. Set long term goals

We talked about goal setting before.  Long term goals are your big vision. If your end point is clear, it becomes much easier to set interim milestones and to then allocate your time in the short term.  Managing time effectively in the absence of goals is almost impossible.

 

  1. The 90 day action plan

This is the first part of breaking the one year goal down into bite sized and achievable chunks. A 90 day action plan allows you to get specific with what needs to get done each week, all working towards the longer term goals. Each 90 day action plan is a rung of the ladder that gets you closer to achieving the one year goal.

 

  1. Weekly plans

Work with your team to set weekly plans that will deliver your 90-day plan. Can you see the waterfall effect being created by smart time management? The key is making sure all tasks, actions and strategies in the business and from your plan are allocated sufficient and specific time…that’s right, each activity to be completed in the next week must have actual time booked for it. Don’t just have a never-ending list!  Breaking it down step by step is the achievable way to get you there.

 

  1. Daily To Do’s

Let’s break it down even further. If you’re on track and know what you need to achieve every week, then you are putting yourself in the driver’s seat for a productive work day. Be strict with your time. Write a To Do list of absolute must do’s. Build it around meetings and appointments and put aside larger chunks of time to work on projects that need a bit more headspace.

 

Time Mastery and Destination Mastery work hand in hand together. If you get these two elements right, you are on a low-stress, enjoyable, pathway to success.

If time manages you instead of the other way around, then it’s time for you to learn more about the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business.  Find out more information here.

 

delivering-service-excellence

How to Master Service Excellence for Business Success

We’ve talked about the first two components of the Mastery Level for entrepreneurs already (Destination Mastery and Money Mastery). Now, let’s talk about the all important component of Delivery Mastery.

Delivery Mastery refers to the delivery of your products and service. It’s about:

  1. Supply
  2. Quality and;
  3. Ease of purchase

Before we go into a bit more detail about these elements, let’s look at some interesting statistics from American Express about customer service and service excellence to get you thinking.

  • Customers are willing to spend 9% more with companies who practice outstanding customer service
  • 61% of Respondents said customer service is more important to them now than during the economic slump
  • 21% of consumers believe that companies take their business for granted.

These statistics are very telling. The way your product and/or service is delivered into the hands and hearts of your customer can make or break your business.

A separate study found that two thirds of customers who stop buying from a business do so because they aren’t made to feel special.  Not because of price, not because of an amazing competitor; just because the company selling to them didn’t make them say “Wow”!  At the heart of all very successful businesses is repeat business….you need to “Wow” your customers.

Everyone is in the customer service business. Everyone! No matter what you sell, no matter what your business does, you are delivering a service.

So let’s look at the elements of Delivery Mastery in a bit more detail. As you read through them, be honest with yourself and consider whether you have some Delivery Mastery gaps:

  1. Supply

Does your customer have to wait to receive your product or service? If it’s a tangible product, can they get their hands on it quickly? If it’s a service, does your customer feel satisfied that their problem is being fixed and in a timely fashion? Is your customer receiving your product or service at the right time and in the right place?

 

Anyone will tell you that now more than ever, consumers are all about instantaneous gratification. If they have to wait for your product, they’ll go hunting for someone who can supply it to them – yesterday!

 

  1. Quality

Every business wants to build a database of raving fans. And providing quality products and service excellence that goes beyond expectations is a necessary step to doing that. Never skimp on quality whether it be in the production of a tangible item or the quality of interaction your customer has with your company. If a customer feels they’re not receiving bang for their buck, they’ll say goodbye and probably won’t even tell you why.

 

  1. Ease of purchase

The internet has flipped consumer buying behaviour on its head. And that’s a good thing! Now, more than ever before, businesses have the opportunity to enter a consumer’s psyche and influence their buying behaviour within their home (metaphorically!).

 

Businesses that practice user-friendly purchasing strategies and make it easy for consumers to complete a transaction will scoop the happy customer pool.

 

Delivery Mastery comes down to this. For business success, make your products and services easy to purchase and deliver what you say you will. A proactive, no-fuss and polite approach to customers will get them feeling appreciated and satisfied, and more importantly, telling ALL their friends and family about you.

If you would like to learn more about Delivery Mastery and the other 6 Steps to Building a Successful Business, please register for our Free workshop here.

cash-flow-for-business-tips

Four Ways to Master Cash Flow for Business Success

We know mastering cash flow can be a headache and many businesses fail because of it. In fact, 41% of Australian businesses that HAVE failed have cited inadequate cash flow as the reason (Source: ASIC 2013).

They have blamed the failure of the business to thrive on inadequate cash flow.

But I say it’s more likely an inadequate UNDERSTANDING of cash flow and the importance of forecasting is the cause. Inadequate cash flow is simply a symptom of a ‘head in the sand’ approach to business.

Let’s treat the cause and fast track our way to money mastery and business success with these tips on how to get cash flowing into your business instead of dripping like a leaky tap!

 

  1. Know what’s going on

Running your business without a monthly P&L, a weekly Cash flow Forecast and a clear picture of your breakeven point is like flying a plane without instruments – very dangerous!  You need to review these basic financial statements and you need to understand them.  There is a fantastic range of financial management and accounting software out there, allowing you to automate the financial side of your business so that real time fiscal information is at your fingertips. This allows you to make strategic and smart business decisions quickly and decisively.

 

  1. Get your cash gap under control

The cash gap is the amount of time between paying out money for the product you produce and receiving money for the sale of the product. The shorter the gap, the healthier your finances. Streamlining your invoicing process, following up outstanding debts and managing operational and distribution costs are ways to minimise the cash gap. Click here for more information on the cash gap.

 

  1. Smart and efficient forecasting

Many business owners sit within their business and don’t look far enough ahead.  You should be cash flow forecasting at least three months ahead, keeping an eye out for any bumps in the road ahead. Good cash flow forecasting can be done in Excel and will give you the information you need and the confidence to make decisions based on that forecasting. You’ll know when it’s time to tighten the belt before it’s too late.

 

  1. Outsource to an expert

It’s hard when you’re a one-man show to know when to outsource to an expert. How do you know when the time is right? When you’re doing something poorly or not doing it at all. Successful entrepreneurs recognise when they have gaps in their skill-base and out-source or delegate accordingly. Handing an element of your business over that you are not familiar or confident with, such as cash flow forecasting will save you time and money – guaranteed. Or if you do have staff and require strategic assistance around financial management and cash flow, a business coach will help you see the forest for trees!

The trick to not becoming another statistic washed up on the shore of Australian business failures is to get proactive. Always look forward at ways you can improve cash flow. Be proactive about record keeping, use smart accounting systems and put your hand up for help when you need it.

Before your business becomes another statistic. Book in for the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business workshop.

goal-setting

How to Make Business Success = Life Success

We talked about goal setting for business here before yet how many entrepreneurs and business owners set personal goals when they’re running a business?

I can tell you.

Not many.

So many of our clients, when they first come to us, have invested so much of their own time and energy into the business that they’ve divested from their life purpose. They’ve disassociated with the life they truly wanted to live.

When I ask these clients if they’re happy working 80 – 100 hour weeks, never seeing their family and under constant financial pressure, every single one of them shakes their head.

They’re too stressed to be happy. They may have set their business goals, but they didn’t set their personal life goals at the same time. Or they have set personal goals but business demands quickly swallowed them up. And when they reply with some version of “but I love the work I do so I’m happy to work all the time”, I’m afraid I just don’t believe them – did they really go through all the challenge and risk of starting and building their own business with the explicit goal to always work full time?  I doubt it!

When our business and life goals are out of alignment, that’s when stress, overwhelm and despair set in. And THAT is not a good place to be, as I’m sure a lot of you are already aware.

So, how do you set personal and life goals and stick to them? Here’s where to start:

  1. Engage those closest to you

Many business owners have families, partners and close friends who will be impacted by the way you approach your business. Get their input early on. For example, sit down with your family and decide together what the life goals will be. Is it a no-work Sunday? Or being able to get to all the kids’ soccer games? Or maybe it’s an annual family holiday that NEVER gets cancelled because of work. Maybe it’s spending 6 months in Tuscany?  Not only will they be engaged but they’ll make you accountable.

 

  1. Share and share alike

Share your personal goals – with anyone who will listen! Share them with your staff. Let them know that your goal is to be able to run the business from anywhere in the world so you can travel with your partner. They’ll understand where you’re coming from and will help you work towards that goal in their own way.

 

  1. Be SMART about it

Business goals need to be specific, measureable, achievable, results-oriented and time-scaled. Personal goals need to be the same. Attach the same strategy to your personal goals. Let’s look at a personal goal of keeping yourself healthy. That’s way too broad and not measureable at all. How does this sound instead? Take part in the 5 kilometre Park Run every Saturday morning for the next six months. Much more specific!

 

  1. Get help

Another pair of eyes and a fresh perspective is always a good thing. A coach can help you align your goals with your values, document and own them and then help with accountability as time progresses. You’re more likely to achieve a goal with someone cheering you on from the sidelines or steering you back on the track when you deviate.

All work and no play is the fastest way to burnout. Keep life goals aligned to your business goals. Balancing the two will give you a clear path to future business and personal success.

If you’re ready to set some personal goals but you’re not sure where to start? Register for our 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop here or book in for a Free Introductory Coaching Session here.

understanding-financial-statements-for-business-sucess

Money Mastery: How to use your Financial Statements for Success

When we talk about the six steps to build a better business, the foundation step of mastery is key. Successful entrepreneurs get the foundations right. They master their goal-setting and set the course for their business destination. They master their time and the way they deliver the product or service to the consumer. And they master the money side of things.

And that’s what we’ll talk about here.

Money Mastery.

This is not necessarily about just making lots of money. Money Mastery is about knowing and understanding where your money comes from and where it’s going.

Often, bad money habits are formed early on in business when there isn’t much money around. The habits stick as the business grows and the financial management side of the business is out of control.

I remember chatting to a client early on in our client-coach relationship. He had a turnover of $1 million dollars. The business was growing well but he was losing money. He had no idea where his money was going. This is what he said to me:

“When you make a million dollars you end up with a million problems.”

He thought the problem was the fact that he was turning over more money. That wasn’t the case at all.  It was the way he approached his finances that was causing the million problems. He hadn’t got his Money Mastery in place before the business took off.

As the business grows, if you don’t learn how to manage your cash flow and income, you won’t have any control over your finances. And the bigger the numbers, the bigger the headache.

So, to establish your level of Money Mastery and highlight any gaps you may have, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Do you review your monthly profit and loss statements? More importantly, do you understand it? If you don’t, call in an expert to help you unpack the statement line by line.
  2. Do you have a weekly cash flow forecast that looks at least three months ahead? Ever been stung by an unexpectedly high BAS payment? Or late payment? Cash flow forecasting helps you identify possible issues allowing you to set contingency plans in place. It also allows you to make the most of your cash balances….you don’t want a nasty shock but you also shouldn’t run a lazy balance sheet!
  3. Is your balance sheet up to date? A balance sheet gives you a good picture of the financial health of your business. Banks love an up to date balance sheet!
  4. Do you know what your breakeven point is each month, week or day? So many business owners get to the end of the financial year and only then realise that they haven’t broken even. What’s the point? That’s not what you started this business for. Understand breakeven points and the importance it plays in your financial future.
  5. Is your cash gap under control? The cash gap is the amount of time between paying out money for the product you produce and receiving money for the sale of the product. The shorter the gap, the healthier your finances. Click here for more information on the Cash Gap.
  6. Do you issue invoices quickly? And follow them up? This helps with your cash gap. The sooner that money is in your account the less interest you’re paying on debt or if you’re debt free, the more interest you’re receiving. Set robust payment terms and stick to them.

Many business owners are mistakenly under the belief that more money means more headaches, but they’re the business owners who haven’t set the right foundations in place or mastered their money activity early on.

If you feel your finances and your business is growing out of control – literally! – remember it’s never too late to learn Money Mastery techniques. Register for your Free 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop here.

 

goal setting

Business Goal Setting: Starting at the End

Let’s talk Destination Mastery and the importance that knowing where you’re going plays in regaining control of your business.

You can’t work out where you want your business to go next if you don’t know what you want the end result to be so start with the end in mind. Think about your goals for the business and where it’s headed. Those goals will set the compass direction and give you back control of the ship.

When most people start their businesses, they’re so caught up in the excitement or overwhelmed with the tasks involved that they only look a week or a month ahead (OK, let’s be honest….often a day ahead, at best). Savvy entrepreneurs are looking way beyond that!

And they know exactly what they want their business to look like and what they want to do with it.

So take a moment to think about what the end result is for you and the business:

  • Do you want to sell the business? When?  For how much?
  • Do you want to take on a business partner in two years?
  • Do you want to expand nationally or internationally?
  • Do you want to grow your business by X % or turnover X dollars by 2020?

Only 6% of businesses have a written goal. No wonder there are so many business owners ‘lost at sea’.

Interestingly, 90% of businesses achieve our definition of success which is having a business that produces the income that the owner wants and a business that runs smoothly without the owner. A strong correlation between those who have a written goal and those who succeed!

So what is effective goal-setting? Start here:

 

  1. Identify and commit

Take the time to sit down, think ahead and define what you want from your business and what you want it to look like in 5 years, then 3 years, then 1 year.  Yes, start with the end in mind and work back from there.  Engage a business coach who can give you an external perspective and guide you through the process.

 

  1. Clarity

Be really clear about your goal. “I want to run a successful business” is NOT an effective goal. There are too many variables that haven’t been addressed. Be specific about what success looks like for you.  Break a goal down so it is clear to anyone who reads it what the plan is. Something like “Open ten shopfronts in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland within 24 months” or “Achieve $750,000 per year in top line revenue by 2017” or “Achieve 30% gross profit and over 1 million dollars in top line revenue by start of 2018 with the aim to sell the business for 5 million dollars” is very specific. It’s easy to measure, result-oriented and has a time scale attached to it.

 

  1. Set yourself up for success

Make sure your goals are achievable. Setting yourself up for failure will do nothing for your morale and that of the company. While it would be nice to retire to a tropical island with millions in the bank and a cocktail in your hand a year after your business opens, it’s not very realistic. A business coach can help you set realistic goals but more importantly review and tweak them regularly so you stay on target and your goals grow in line with the growth of your business.

 

  1. Accountability

Writing a goal on a piece of paper and then filing it in your bottom desk drawer will not remind you of your goal. Creating a fabulous document all about your business goals then filing it electronically in a folder never to be seen again is also a thumbs down.

Your goals should become part of the business plan, the action plans, the life and soul of the company and the foundations for any strategic decisions that are made. If those goals are squashed down in a file somewhere….well, there’s a reason they say out of sight, out of mind…..get ready for choppy waters ahead.

Taking control of your future by practising Destination Mastery is one of the foundations to achieving business success sooner. It’s like getting in your car and setting the GPS to your destination before you put your foot on the pedal.

A much smoother ride that leaves you refreshed and ready when you arrive at your destination.

If you’re ready to take control and master the art of Destination Mastery check out our Free EBook Moving from Chaos to Control or register for our 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop here.

controls-in-business

How to Step back Into the Driver’s Seat of Your Business

Do you feel like life is a little out of control? You started this business because you wanted to take control. Instead the business seems to be controlling you.

You’re feeling trapped, burnt out, you’re not making the money you’d hoped you would make and you’re feeling as though the business is a little rudderless – there’s no direction.

What happened?

More than likely you threw everything at the business. Every single part of yourself. Your time, your expertise, your money, your beliefs – everything. In fact, you’ve thrown so much at it, you’ve ended up becoming consumed by it.

Don’t worry. There’s a way out. If you’ve lost direction both personally and professionally, it’s likely you need to follow the six steps to building a better business.

And where better to start than at Step 1: Mastery.

Mastery is about taking control of the chaos in your mind and your business. There are four elements to this foundational step. As business coaches, we uncover any mastery gaps when we do an initial analysis of a business.

Plugging these gaps based on these elements will lay the groundwork for moving your business forward.

Let’s explore each of these elements in detail and start the transition from chaos to control.

  1. Destination Mastery

You can’t work out where you want your business to go if you don’t know what you want the end result to be so start with the end in mind. Think about your goals for the business and where it’s headed. Those goals will set the compass direction and give you back control of the ship.

 

  1. Money Mastery

Money mastery isn’t just about making money. It’s about understanding where your money comes from and more importantly, where it’s going. Often, bad habits are formed early on in business when there isn’t much money. If you don’t master the money side of things when running a small business, your problems are only going to multiply as the numbers get bigger.

 

  1. Delivery Mastery

Without customers, you have no business. It’s not rocket science but we see many business owners forget that the delivery of their product or service – supply, quality, ease of purchase – is paramount to future growth. No matter what you sell, no matter what your business does, you are in the customer service business. And if you’re no good at it, word will spread like wildfire.

 

  1. Time Mastery

Effectively managing your time will ultimately underpin not only the growth of the business, but your own personal growth. Getting control of your time decreases stress levels and allows you to step back and OVERSEE the business from the helm. Analyse the tasks you need to complete that are essential to the growth of the business, plan how and who is going to complete those tasks, empower your staff by delegating and practice self-discipline in managing your own responsibilities and tasks.

 

If you’re looking for some clarity around moving from chaos to control, book in for a Free Coaching session and walk away with some action steps to implement immediately. Or download our free eBook here.