business-goals-and-objectives

Planning with the end in mind – what’s left to do to achieve your end business goal?

This might be an unexpected start to our article, but what’s your end goal? Where do you personally want to end up?

When we start with the end goal, we very quickly get to the point of why you own your business. For example, if your end business goals and objectives are to work less, travel more or own a house, they are actually the driving force behind your business. Obviously they are not communicated on the front page of your website, but they are vital when planning and writing your business plan. If you cannot possibly achieve your end goals, why should you even turn up?

Once your end goals and objectives are determined, planning each step in between becomes easier. Look at the next quarter (90 days) and determine what you need to do with your business to be on track to reaching your end goal.

Tracking your results, achievements and successes as you go will let you see your progress and allow you to tweak your processes if necessary. Plus, if you see that you are getting closer to that holiday or house deposit, it will motivate you to continue with the process. ActionCOACH has some great tools to help you track your progress if you currently don’t have any.

You may find that once your end business goals and objectives are established, you need to brush up on a few leadership skills to help you stick to them. Don’t worry, it’s not just you – every entrepreneur needs to work on their personal leadership development.

Let’s look at a few key skills:

  1. Effective time management

Delegation, being organised, running effective meetings that get to the point and up-skilling staff are all simple strategies you can use to get back time in your day. In the end, you want to get your business to the point where it runs efficiently if you are there or not. ActionCOACH can help you learn and develop this skill in a few short sessions.

  1. Know your limits

Self-awareness of your own skills, knowledge and limitations helps you manage expectations of yourself. Many business owners think they can do it all, but that thinking often leads to failure, burnout and breakdown. If we look at how successful business people operate, they have a team of advisors and specialists around them. They’re clever enough to know where their knowledge stops and someone else’s starts.

  1. Be open to growth

When something goes wrong, are you quick to blame everybody else instead of looking at the situation as an opportunity to learn something? Being closed to criticism, opportunities for growth or new ways of working will stop you from achieving your end goals and objectives.

  1. Align beliefs with actions

The Be / Do / Have formula means that if you want to have certain outcomes then you’re going to have to do certain things. If you want to do those things effectively, then you’re going to have to become the right sort of person. Do you have the habits, beliefs and skills of someone who will achieve your specific business goal? If not, make it your business to attain them.

  1. Adopt a positive mind-set

A positive mind-set does wonders for your mental, emotional and physical health. It accelerates the speed at which your brain processes. It keeps you and your team motivated. Whether it’s a daily review of your dreams, goals and plans, a daily meditation, daily affirmations and visualisations or other techniques that ActionCOACH can share with you, there are simple steps you can take to ensure that your mind is positive and that you can enjoy the value that brings.

Ultimately, your end business goals and objectives are the driving force behind your business, and well worth spending time on as part of your business planning. For more help with this or other parts of your business contact ActionCOACH.

good-leadership-skills-for-business-growth

If the foundation is set, how do you plan to take your business for a spin?

In our recent blogs we’ve stepped through the process of writing a business plan, how to implement that plan and then getting the team on board with it. Click here to read these blogs.

These steps mean that the foundation for your business is now set. Cash flow is good and the business is ticking along. Great! Now what?

The next step is what we call ‘Synergy’ – the point at which you have a bit of time back, you can really let your good leadership skills shine, and take the business from organic growth to step growth. Examples of Synergy activities are; launching a new product or service range, expanding to new territory, diversifying your channels and franchising. Perhaps you even want to explore buying other businesses.

Before you can successfully drive exponential business growth, there are a few steps that, by now, you should have in place.

First up, you should have basic controls in place: control over your finances, clarity about your goals, control over your time and control over the delivery of your product and service.

Second, you should know what your point of difference is. What is it that you have or do that means you don’t have to compete on price alone? Ask ACTIONCoach to help you target the right markets, develop the right USP and put a sales and marketing plan into action. You can also check our blog on differentiating yourself from your competitors here.

Thirdly, systematising your business so the business can run without you is paramount to business success. Good leadership skills are really put to the test when the business can run smoothly without you. This is the foundation for you to start leveraging off successful business models such as franchising or expanding.

Finally, build a strong team and culture and hire the right talent, so everyone is working to achieve the same goal and is ready (and excited!) for growth.

Once these points are in place, the business should produce income for you and shouldn’t depend on you being there all the time. Now you’re ready to go from steady growth to exponential growth!

If you are like most business owners, you are probably now experiencing the most common constraints standing in the way of exponential growth; your time and money. Since you only have $X in the bank and 24 hours in a day, the solution to these constraints is leveraging other people’s time and money!

If you decide to launch a new product, use the processes and team structure you have already established and treat this as the blueprint for your new product. Initially your time and financial investment is substantial, but very soon (practicing your good leadership skills!) you should be able to step away from these new tasks just as you have done in other areas of your business.

If you decide to franchise, view it not as a business in itself, but a way of doing business. You will share some of your marketing strategies, plans, operational standards, systems and formats, training content, quality control and ongoing mentoring, but essentially someone else is investing their time and money into growing your business; allowing you to grow faster than relying on your own time and money would allow.

If you decide to license, another company is investing the time and money into your product or service, once again freeing up your time to focus on the growth and development.

Having good leadership skills is about breaking free of the constraints of owning a business, not replying on your own time and money and enjoying the synergy and growth that your solid business foundation allows.

If you would like to know more about these steps to building a better business register for our free 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Seminar here. 

setting-smart-goals-for-business

What smart goals do you and your team need to know in 2016

As a business owner, what comes to mind when you hear the word ‘team’? An expensive resource? A drain on your time? A hassle? Yes, we hear you. And we want to help you change this.

 

Once you can make the link between great employees and top line revenue for your business, it will change your definition of ‘team’ for the better. And how do you make this link? The first step is by setting SMART goals.

 

We’ve discussed previously that SMART goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled.  In order to get your team working as one and in the right direction, some of these goals also need to be ones that your team has helped create, are familiar with, are on board with and are actively helping to achieve on a daily basis. If we look at successful brands around the world (e.g. RedBull, Virgin or Apple) their teams all have a deep understanding of the goals and vision of the business. This is no coincidence. These companies all invest heavily in building teams, training them and communicating with them.

 

A good place to start when setting SMART goals is to vocalise your vision to one or more of your team, then ask them to describe the business in their own words. There is usually something surprising or valuable that results from this process.

 

Creating your vision together, with your team, can be the fastest and most effective way to breathe life and energy into your brand. It also gives employees a sense of purpose in their role and gives you assurance that everyone is on the same page. It’s a well-known business phrase to ‘surround yourself with the right people’ for success, and it applies to your businesses, whether big or small, starting out or established and growing.

 

So how do you build a great team that will help you create and build on your smart goals?

Here are 6 key ways:

 

  1. Show strong leadership – share and demonstrate your vision every day
  2. Have a common goal – business goals must be clearly understood by everyone
  3. Have an action plan – the team needs to know how to action the goals
  4. Establish the rules – ensure the team has clear guidelines about what’s permissible and what’s not
  5. Support Risk Taking – be willing to make mistakes and learn from them, the same goes for your team!
  6. Help everyone to feel included – a key feature of a good team is that everyone is and feels included.

 

If you would like to breathe new life into your business for 2016 and set some SMART goals.  Book into our next 6 Steps to Building a Better Business workshop here

free-business-plan-template

How to get the most out of your free Business Plan Template – Free downloadable!

Are you reading this article because you love free business resources, need help with your business plan or want to see greater success in your business in 2016? Good news – you’re in the right place.

In our earlier blogs, we walked you through the first steps of creating a business plan. But for those who are daunted by the words ‘business plan’ or the thought of starting with a blank page, we have created a Free business plan template that you can download here.

Created by the experts at ActionCOACH, this business plan template steps you through the ‘mastery’ (first) section of a business plan, including: deciding where you AND your business want to end up; setting financial goals; determining how to deliver your service or product and managing your and your team’s daily tasks.

Whether you are starting your business, selling your business or growing it, this template is a great way of planning for success in 2016, and ultimately helping you achieve your personal goals.

The business plan template will importantly help you track your results, achievements and successes as you go – something that businesses without a plan are unable to do.

We hope you enjoy the process of completing the business plan template, but if you are still unsure how to plan for 2016 or need a hand with setting the direction of your business, why not book in for a free ActionCOACH coaching session?

You will learn how to:

  • Plan your week in just 20-30 mins
  • Get the most out of every day in 5-10mins
  • Set team and business goals for the next quarter and year
  • Walk away with energy and focus on the next 90 days
  • Have a ready-to-implement plan of action for the next 90 days
  • Take home strategies to build your profits right away
  • The skills and tools to get more done in less time.

Call us TODAY to book in your session or click here to book your free one on one coaching session.

 

business-process-improvement-plan

What parts of your business will start to run themselves in 2016?

Imagine being able to step back or step away from your business a little. Is this something you can see yourself doing right now, or a goal for 2016? Would your business still function and grow if you weren’t there?

This goal of business systemisation is just like any other business goal – you can plan for it and achieve it. This doesn’t mean losing control over your business, rather, it’s about gaining control over your life! Call it a ‘get me to a tropical island’ plan, a ‘do the 10am gym class’ plan or a ‘finish by school pick up time’ plan. You, the business owner, can call it whatever you like. ActionCOACH calls it a ‘Business process improvement plan’.

The Business process improvement plan incorporates systems that let you achieve more by doing less and leverage what you are doing in your business. There are 9 key actions that will help you systemise your business, step back, and get to that tropical Island, gym class or after school pickup:

Vision – Does your business team have a clear understanding of the vision of the business? Are they motivated by it? If you don’t have a business vision, make one now.

Mission – Is it clear who the business is and what it does?  Does everyone understand it? Is everyone on board with the mission of the business? What could you be doing now to communicate your mission?

Culture – What is your company culture? Is it clearly defined using language that everyone can understand? Are all of your staff and yourself living up to the culture of the business? Look at this from a week to week activities basis and on an overarching culture basis.

SMART Goals – We blogged about setting business goals earlier this month. Here’s a link to this blog if you need to refresh. Make sure everyone in the business knows exactly where you’re going in the short, medium and long term.

Organisation Charts – Are they up to date and does everyone in your business know their reporting chain and their accountabilities? A short amount of time spent getting these up to date will mean less of your time stepping in and out of this chart yourself.

Position Commitments – What commitments does each position need to keep to fulfil their position? How regularly do you discuss these with individual team members?

KPI’s – How will you measure your staff’s performance and what objectives need to be met to obtain the business goals from each person?

Procedures Manual – What procedures do you need to document or update? Without procedures it will be impossible to remove yourself from the business.

Management Systems – How do you actually know that everything is working the way it was designed? Do you have an effective Dashboard? Is your business’ meeting schedule keeping everyone informed and keeping the rhythm right?

Some of the above business process improvements should be included in each Business Plan you write, to allow your business to work well – with and without you.

Want to make a start writing your Business Plan now? Check out our free eBook Plan for a Successful New Business Year here.  

sales-and-marketing-plan

Separate yourself from your competition and drive cash flow faster

Everyone in business wants a ‘piece of the pie’ – your slice of the market. But how big your slice is depends on your ability to stand out from your competitors and gain more customers. Essentially – to find a niche. Have you planned how you will separate yourself from the competition in 2016? Do you have a plan to promote your business to generate sales?

Having a sales and marketing plan heading into the New Year is proven to help grow your slice of the market pie and enable you to grow.

Once you have established what your niche will be in 2016 (and beyond), go through these 5 steps to form your sales and marketing plan, help you grow, and drive cash flow.

1 – Lead Generation Goals

Exactly how many leads do you need so that enough convert into sales, to enable you to reach your financial goals and improve your cash flow? Look back at 2015 and calculate the new leads that were generated and the cost of generating them; this will help you to set your budget for acquiring leads.  Once you know how many leads you need to generate, you then need to choose the different activities that will generate them.  Of the approximately 75 different ways to generate leads, you’ll probably need to have 8 to 10 different activities running in order to ensure that your lead flow is reliable.

2 – Conversion Rate Goals

Measuring each step of your sales process to find where the biggest leverage points could be might be the biggest contributing factor to success in 2016. Once you know where the biggest areas for improvement are, there are a number of tools available to improve your sales and conversion rates. There’s no point trying to ‘wing’ the sales process, because it will be immeasurable and difficult to reproduce. Better telesales script training, new selling tools and timely online response rates are just a few of the proven tools that coaches from ActionCOACH are armed with and ready to teach. Give us a call today to find out where you can best leverage your sales budget and achieve your conversion rate goals.

3 – Number of transaction goals

Your sales and marketing plan will need to specify what you will action in the first quarter (90 days) of 2016 to increase the frequency with which your customers buy from you. What will you increase this average frequency to? What needs adjusting, what needs removing, what should stay the same and what new strategies need implementing? Imagine if all your customers bought once more from you each quarter… that could mean much improved cash flow and bring you closer to your financial goals.

4 – Average Dollar Sale goals

What could you do to increase the average purchase value of each customer? What should you increase it to? What in your sales and marketing plan needs adjusting, what needs removing, what should stay the same and what new strategies need implementing? ActionCOACH can help you implement strategies to increase your average dollar sales.

5 – Margin

Is there an option to adjust your margin? How much could you increase it by, as a way of improving cash flow? What, specifically, can you do to reduce your expenses as a way to increase net margin?  Often, the activities that will drive increased margin will be the fastest and least costly to implement and will have the most immediate impact.

Once you’ve worked through those elements of your plan, you’ll be in a great position to achieve amazing results…you don’t need huge changes in any of the 5 metrics – a 15% improvement in each will be sufficient to double your profit!

So get planning to increase and enjoy your slice of the pie. Want to know more about planning for 2016? Download our free eBook Plan for a Successful New Business Year here.

help-writing-a-business-plan

Need help writing a business plan that actually adds value?

We can’t tell you how refreshing it is when a business owner puts their hand up and admits that they need help writing a business plan. We see business plans every day, so we know an effective business plan from one that probably won’t help the business succeed. A business owner or manager who is new to business plan writing might not be able to see where improvements could be made, and therefore might miss opportunities to succeed.

To help you make a start on your 2016 business plan, this article takes you through the foundation step of building any successful business, called ‘Mastery’, and the four components to it. There is every chance that the implementation of at least some elements of Mastery will need to be in your plan for 2016.

Component one is Destination Mastery. Let’s start by thinking about your ideal destination, i.e. where you want the business to go. Some examples of ‘destinations’ could be ‘expand interstate’ or ‘employ a part time salesperson’. If you start at the end; everything within your business plan will flow toward that end goal. Remember to keep your goals up to date throughout the year, so that each quarter you ensure your goals are still steering you toward your ‘destination’.

Component two is a big one… it’s Money Mastery. A let’s face it, a business without money wouldn’t be worth doing! A business owner without their financials under control is as bad as a pilot without instruments.  What are your financial goals? What do you need to do in the first 90 days of 2016 to sustain or grow your business in terms of profit or revenue? We can help you write this part of your business plan by looking at previous financial reports, to work out how to move your business to the next level. Reporting, KPI’s and Break Even are the other areas of Money Mastery that a business coach from ActionCOACH will be able to help you with.

Component three is Delivery Mastery. To help you with this part of your business plan, your coach will ask ‘How will you deliver your products or services to meet your financial goals?’ Identify any goals you need to achieve over the next quarter (90 days) regarding delivery of your products/services. Delivery includes quality, supply, ease of purchase and service. Can you recall any customer complaints that required you to fix something? As you will know, fixing customer complaints is costly, and a side-track from running your business.  To build a great business, you need your customers saying “WOW”!

Component four is Time Mastery. Let’s begin by looking at your own time. Are your daily tasks important or urgent? Important tasks are ones that will make a substantial difference to the value of your business in the long term. Whereas urgent tasks need to be done straight away and were not part of your original time plan. If you plan well, 60% of your time should be spent working on tasks that are important but not urgent – these are the tasks that build a great business! To help factor time into your business plan, you need to be able to analyse which tasks are essential for the success of your business and who (if not you) is best to action it. You also need to be skilled at planning how and when you will get your tasks done. ActionCOACH can advise you on the best tools to help you track and plan time for tasks. Your time plan will rely on you being disciplined in completing the tasks in your time schedule, just like they were appointments.

If you need more help writing your business plan, just put your hand up and ActionCOACH will gladly take you through every step, so you can reach your destination, make money, deliver to customers and manage your time the way you want.

You can download our free eBook Plan for a Successful New Business Year or book in a free Coaching session.

plan-for-a-successful-new-business-year

Ensure a Happy New Year with an Effective Business Plan

What? It’s December already? You mean it’s 2016 next month? Time flies when you’re running a business. And before you know it March and then October will be here, and 2016 will fly swiftly by, regardless of whether your business is ready or not!

If you haven’t even thought about a New Year’s resolution for yourself let alone one for your business, don’t wait until the fireworks go off on New Year’s Eve – write your 2016 business plan now!

No doubt when you started your business, you wrote a business plan including key areas of focus such as your business ideas, market analysis, market strategy and financial analysis. Like driving without headlights; it would have been almost impossible to start and then grow your business without this plan.

Likewise, if you have an effective annual business plan in place for 2016, you are statistically more likely to succeed in 2016 than businesses who do not. It’s hard to ignore this alarming reality.

But here’s some good news: Writing a business plan for 2016 won’t take long once you know what your objectives are. A good place to start is to look back at 2015 and decide what could have been better. Did you hit sales targets? Did you grow? Did you take a holiday? You can then flip these and turn them into objectives. For example ‘Improve sales by %’ or ‘Take a two week beach holiday’. Once that’s done you are well on your way to having a 2016 business plan. If you don’t write your business plan this month and start to implement it from January; these things are unlikely to show improvement by the end of 2016 (that means potentially another year without a holiday!).

Once you have some clear objectives, break the year down into quarters (90 days) and decide what activities you need to implement in the first quarter of next year so you can hit the ground running after a much deserved Christmas break. If you need some help, check out the business plan section in our eBook, or contact us so a business coach form Action Coach can help you write an effective business plan and get it done before you wind down and enjoy the festive season.

So this New Year’s Eve when you’re sitting on the grass watching the fireworks and pondering your personal new year’s resolutions… you can relax knowing you’ve at least written a 2016 plan for your business and that you are statistically more likely to succeed. Happy New Business Year!

Check out our new eBook called Plan for a Successful New Business Year.

time-managment-strategies

Time Mastery: Top 20 Time Management Tips and Techniques

If you’re overwhelmed with workload, it’s hard to know where to start to claw back the chaos and take back control of your business and your time. The secret is breaking things down into bite sized chunks and incorporating smart time management techniques into your daily practice.

Be disciplined. Be proactive. And follow these top 20 tips and techniques to gain clarity, time, money and control.

  1. Understand the difference between important tasks and urgent tasks. Important tasks will make a difference to the value of your business over time. Urgent tasks are related to an impending deadline.
  2. Spend 60% of your time working on tasks that are important not urgent. These are the tasks that build a great business.
  3. Analyse what needs to be done at the beginning of every day and week. Separate your list of tasks into one of the four D’s – Do it, Delegate it, Defer it or Dump it.
  4. Incorporate your tasks into your schedule or calendar
  5. Set yourself notifications within your phone or calendar that remind you a task is due to be commenced
  6. Smart business owners delegate right. Assign tasks to the right staff member to ensure they get done.
  7. When you are delegating, invest time in briefing the person you are delegating to thoroughly.
  8. Be disciplined. Practice self-management, schedule your tasks and treat them like an appointment that can’t be shifted. If you’re procrastinating, remind yourself that a delay in doing that task is a delay in having your long term goals. Do you really want to delay them?
  9. Set aside time blocks to work on larger projects that need more head space and focus.
  10. At the end of the day, prepare for your work day tomorrow by looking ahead at appointments, scheduling time blocks and creating a mental plan of attack.
  11. Clear your desk at the end of every day and keep it tidy. A clutter-free environment encourages a clutter-free mind.
  12. Break large tasks into smaller steps so you can monitor the progress you’re making.
  13. Use project management tools such as Basecamp, Trello, Smartsheet or even a simple excel spreadsheet to manage tasks and timelines.
  14. Allocate a time block once a day to unexpected things that come up. If you have already allowed for a contingency, it won’t impact on the rest of your day AND if you don’t use it, that’s bonus time for you to get ahead on other projects.
  15. Attack the toughest (or least liked) task first. If you feel yourself procrastinating, remember you just have to “win the 1 minute battle” – just start! Once you’re underway, you’re more likely to keep going.  If you stick with it for about 7 minutes, you’ll be in flow.
  16. Step away from social media. Do not get sucked into the Facebook or LinkedIn void of time. Wasting 15 minutes every working day of the year adds up to 60 hours – 1 ½ working weeks! If it’s that important to you, use social media as a reward. You get to spend time on it when you have completed a task.
  17. Be realistic. You can’t do everything and remain healthy and sane.
  18. Time management is about making decisions, so set up a clear and effective decision making process for the team.
  19. Extract your tasks and knowledge from your brain and put them into processes, procedures and project plans. This is vital for taking control of the chaos in your mind. And it helps other people know what’s happening.
  20. Just start. People who say “I don’t have time to manage my time” will self-combust – professionally, personally and physically. It’s not worth your health and your business to continue on without some key time management principles in place.

Remember, your time is the only asset you have that can’t be replaced.  Know what your time is worth, valuing it based on a good, productive hour spent building a great business.  For anyone owning a business, your time is likely to be worth at least a few tens of thousands of dollars per hour if invested wisely.

With more clarity over where your business is headed, how you’re going to get there and a business owner and team that oozes productivity and efficiency, there will be nothing holding you back from building the business and lifestyle that you want.

If you are looking for some clarity around moving from chaos to control, why not book into out 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Workshop, it’s free and it might just save you some time!