Business value

Are you sitting on a goldmine? What is your business value?

So you’ve decided to sell your business. You may have all sorts of ideas about how easy it’s going to be, after all it’s your “baby”, right? Well, one of the first things you need to work out is are you sitting on a goldmine? What is your business value?

The reality is that selling your business is a complex process. If you’re looking to sell your business right away, you probably won’t get the highest value you deserve.

It typically takes a good year of preparation to sell before you should actually put your company on the market; selling requires planning, patience and panache. And as for sitting on a goldmine, you will achieve the highest value if all the right prep work has been put in place.

Working out your business value depends firstly on determining what kind of sale you ought to proceed with. It is a financial, emotional or synergy sale?

A financial sale is common, yet it generally offers the least amount of value to the seller. This type of sale is often undertaken with little or no planning. No plan means no high return.

An emotional sale involves a nostalgic connection such as someone who loves the brand, the product you sell and so wants to buy it.  It can be good for you, but you won’t be able to plan too much for that type of buyer, so it is very unpredictable.

A synergy sale typically produces higher valuations than a purely financial sale. The reason this type of sale gets a higher value is that it involves selling to another business who can make more out of your business than you can and, as a result, values your business at a higher value.  Best of all, it can be planned for by the vendor.

Now that we’ve established the different types of sales, you need to put several steps in place. They include:

  1. Mastery – moving from chaos to control with an in-depth examination of your goals for the business and understanding where your money’s going. Strong delivery systems and time management are crucial here too.
  2. Niche – ensuring a growing and predictable cash flow by asking some big questions such as Is your data in good shape? Do you have a solid marketing plan? Do you have a system that converts leads into customers? And so forth.
  3. Leverage – creating systems for efficiency, thereby knowing what you have to work with, and what you need to focus on to create the right sales package for prospective buyers. Systemising your business to the point that it doesn’t depend on you is also a necessary pre-requisite to getting a good price when you sell it!

The above are basic steps to start planning the sale of your business.

We have worked with many business owners who are planning to sell their business. If you would like some coaching assistance through this process, speak with one of our business coaches today. You can also check out this eBook called Selling your Business.

recruitment-strategies

Recruitment Strategies to attract the right team in just 5 hours

How was your last recruiting experience? Did it take up your entire week (or month), distract you from running your business, and result in a few less-than-ideal candidates to choose from? We have a solution! Before you next hire someone for your business, consider that the recruitment process can be unsuccessful OR successful, depending which recruitment strategies you use.

Business owners come to ActionCOACH to help guide them through their first big hires, so they can continue to run their business and still have time to find the best possible person for the job. Our recruitment strategy is called the ‘Five Hour Recruitment Process’, and it’s founded on two core principles:

  1. Recruit for Attitude, Train for Skill. This trusted saying still works – it’s far easier to fix a skill gap than an attitude gap.
  2. Be efficient with your time. There are several automated parts to this process, so that the whole process takes a maximum of 5 hours of the manager’s time!

Here’s how the Five Hour Recruitment Process works:

1.Preparation:
●Establish and define a compelling Employer Value Proposition. Make yourself attractive!
●Make the decision to employ someone – based on need and affordability.
●Write a Job Description / Position Commitment.
●Include clear responsibilities, accountabilities and KPI’s.
●List key requirements/attributes/skills/qualifications that will be required.
●Be clear now on what the job is worth and will be paid.

2.Write the Advertisement:
●The headline must grab attention and attract the right candidates.
●The Ad must sell the job and the company. You are trying to attract the best people! Typically, we like to see at least two thirds of the Ad selling the job and company, with only one third explaining the requirements of the job.
●Candidates can be sourced from online job sites, local papers, LinkedIn or personal recommendations. Under no circumstances should any candidate bypass the remainder of the process.
●The advertisement should request that candidates apply by calling you. Email applications should not be accepted.
●An online advertisement should be open for one week, including one full weekend.

3.Receive applications:
●This is by phone, by you or, better still, by Office Administrator. Reading CV’s at this point is a waste of time.
●If someone still submits an application by email and does not call, respond with an automatic email explaining that they must apply by calling.
●This initial call must take a maximum of TWO minutes and will end one of two ways:
●The candidate will clearly disqualify themselves – communication, tone of voice, attitude, energy, etc. – in which case, advise them “no”; or if they don’t disqualify themselves, invite them to attend a face-to-face (group) interview. Don’t promote the fact that it will be a group interview, unless they ask.

4.Group interview:
●Only one time is available so they will need to come in then if they wish to pursue this opportunity. NB. You don’t mind how many people are in the Group Interview so, if they haven’t disqualified themselves in the first minute or so, invite them to attend.
●Examples questions that may assist in disqualifying (NB. At this stage, voice, energy, communication, etc. is more important than the content of the answer): Why are you so excited by this opportunity? Why would you be great at this role? What is your greatest strength? What is your most relevant experience to this role?
●If they are invited to interview, then request that they now send a CV, although don’t yet waste time reading it!

Now sure how to run a group interview? Read our eBook: Building a Winning Team by recruiting great people quickly and effectively.

5.Individual interview:
●Call ALL candidates the day after the group interview; advising that they have not been chosen to proceed or that you would like to invite them to return to 1-on-1 interview, and book it in.
●Ask them to talk through their CV from beginning to most recent; you observe trends, patterns and reasons for changes.
●Have them perform a skills test relevant to the job. NB. Don’t just believe it. Test it.
●Have them complete a DISC profile (created by American psychologist Dr William Marsden in the 1920s, assessing individuals and assigning one behavioural styles; i.e. Outgoing, Task Oriented, Reserved or People Oriented. Please contact ActionCOACH for help with the DISC profile).
●If you have an area of concern, ask: “When I call your last manager [insert last manager’s name], what score will he give you out of 10 for [insert skill or attribute about which you’re concerned]? Any answer below 8 should be a red flag.

6.Make an offer:
●Next day or two, call to make offer, subject to reference check.
●Undertake reference checks, asking specific questions to validate facts and to explore any key areas or possible gaps in skill or other required attribute.

For more information about our Five Hour Recruitment Process, or help with any other recruitment strategies, please contact ActionCOACH today, so we can ‘recruit’ the best coach for your business!

Alternatively you can download “The 6 Keys to Creating a Winning Team” eBook here.

time-management-tools

4 Time Management Tools to help you work 10 fewer hours each week

Want to get some time back for yourself, but afraid that your business’ productivity or profits will suffer?
We hear this from so many business owners who don’t have the strategies or time management tools to confidently step away and enjoy some free time to recharge or think about their next business idea.

Ironically and unfortunately, most business owners are so busy making a living that they do not have time to really make a significant amount of money. But surely you didn’t leave your old job, take risks and devote your time to building a business only to earn yourself a monthly wage by working harder than you ever have before? So let’s find you some free time.

ActionCOACH is highly experienced in assisting business owners to work less and make more. Here are four time management tools anyone can use to make more money in less time.

Tool One: Fire Extraneous Customers

Customers who are a waste of time are like shoplifters who specialize in stealing our valuable time. We need to get rid of them or transform them into paying customers. You know who they are. The ones who don’t pay their invoices on time, never stop complaining or can’t be satisfied, those who tie up sales reps, customer service personnel, supervisors, and managers.

How do you get rid of them? You can either delete dead-end leads from the client database or send selected clients to a more appropriate business that matches their price demands.

Also consider whether you need to eliminate the magnets that are attracting those unwanted customers in the first place. Freebies for signing up might be a great plan for attracting new business, but might not be attracting your ideal customer. Remember, profit is the goal and the most important barometer of success.

Tool Two: Double the Conversion Rates of Transactions

The key to increasing profits is to convert unprofitable interactions into profitable ones. While most people crawl toward retirement on the same income, increasing profits in a business can be done in a matter of days or weeks. To prepare for a profit-boosting initiative, gather accounting data and metrics to get a clear picture of where profits come from, how many contacts are made with customers each month, and how many customers make actual purchases. Next, launch a marketing and advertising push in order to generate new customer leads, encourage existing customers to buy more, and to promote the most profitable products or services in the inventory. Let’s look at an example of this business tool in action: Assume that the business is open 40 hours per week, or approximately 160 hours per month.

To gain 10 hours per week (or take 10 hours off without losing money) it is necessary to reap 40 hours’ worth of extra profits per month (10 hours a week times 4 weeks = 40 hours). One week is 25 percent of a 4-week month. So to gain 10 hours per week it is therefore necessary to increase conversion rates – in other words, sales and profits – by a mere 25 percent. Do this by attracting more customers; by making an extra quarter of profit margin on each dollar in sales, or by lowering overhead by 25 percent.

Apply enough effort and energy to the task and it is possible to double profits in a single month. Then an entrepreneur can afford to take an entire week off every month.

Step Three: Run Businesses on Autopilot

Now the business owner has enviable options. One possibility is to close down the business for 10 hours each week, take time off, and settle for making the same amount of money per month that was generated before boosting profits by 25 percent. Another alternative, however, is for the clever entrepreneur to leverage that newfound success for progressive changes and forward momentum. They will maintain the same hours of operation, capture the extra 25 percent in profits, and then wisely reinvest those profits in greater time saving initiatives.

By working smarter, not harder, through organized systems, cutting-edge technology, innovative advertising, and dynamic employee training, the entrepreneur can prepare to put the business into the hands of capable others – which is the next step toward personal freedom. Bill Gates became the richest man in America not by making computer software, but by inventing a system for selling software around the world without having to be physically involved in each of the transactions.

Those who keep enhancing that approach and applying that kind of formula are soon retired from the business completely with a steady stream of monthly income to live on, invest in new ventures, spend on hobbies and vacations, and fulfil lifelong dreams.

Tool Four: Activate the Passive Mode of Making Money

Most people work an entire lifetime to accumulate enough assets and savings to let them enjoy passive income. Many work a lifetime and still don’t achieve it, so they are never truly free to retire or do whatever they please. Real success and wealth is only realized by those whose money works overtime for them to generate passive income. When investments and businesses are generating positive cash flow and net profits, they add to one’s bank account constantly and continually.

But you need free time (start with the extra 10 hours per week) to expand profit centres, open new businesses, sell them for a profit, and launch into other investments. The key to early retirement or rapid wealth is to build passive income throughout life, rather than trying to simply accumulate a portfolio of assets. If passive income is there, then the potential to acquire assets is made possible.

Putting it All Together: Time and Money with More of Both to Spare

Enjoying one’s ideal lifestyle becomes a fulltime occupation, thanks to the fact that it is possible to easily work 10 hours less each week without giving up productivity or income. Repeat the formula and reap 20 free hours a week. Double that and soon the nine-to-five schedule of most workers becomes transformed into 40 liberated hours of free time each week. Using the four tools outlined above will allow you to quickly reach full time retirement with plenty of money for a pleasurable and rewarding lifestyle spent with family and friends.

More information on time management tools can be found in our eBook called The Real Guide to Productive and Effective Time Management Skills here.

For advice unique to your business circumstances, call ActionCOACH today, on 02 9146 4439.

Build your dream team: the secret to attracting and retaining talent.

Brilliant people don’t just appear in your office one morning and start working perfectly in your business. It takes some skill and a proven process for attracting and retaining talent (great talent!). Rest assured, you don’t need an HR degree or a great deal of recruiting experience to attract a winning team. ActionCOACH has a five-hour recruitment process that will bring in the talent but first you need to ensure that your business is one that will appeal to great talent – they have to be attracted to work there and to stay there!

Why must a business be attractive to talent?

Good or bad, the people you get and retain are the people you deserve! And, if you want a great business, that doesn’t depend on you being there all the time, then you need a winning team.  The more work you put into becoming really good at recruiting and retaining talent, the better the result will be for you and your business. Never underestimate the potential of a team that works well together towards your company vision… especially if they can do it while you’re on a beach somewhere with no internet access.

Six keys to a winning team that will attract and retain talent:

Key Element One – Strong Leadership. Your Team will look to you for guidance, growth, decisions and development. No matter which leadership style you have; strive to hand out praise, champion the team’s new ideas, teach people, make timely decisions, listen to your team and be enthusiastic about the business. These are the actions common to history’s successful business leaders.

Key Element Two – Common Goals. The company Vision, Mission and Goals should be shared with everyone in your team (new and existing). Before anyone signs up to a job, they want to know what they are getting involved with, what you and the business stands for and how you are all going to reach the said objectives. When recruiting team members – whether from inside the business or from outside – the vision statement is emphasized, explained, and delved into at great length.

Key Element Three – Rules of the Game. When it comes to business operations, employees and teams are often left in the dark about what they are actually required to do! Just like a professional football team has a playbook which defines the boundaries and areas of measurable responsibility for each team member – your business also needs a rule book so they know their unique and specialised roles, and the team keeps winning.

Key Element Four – Action Plan. Everyone in your team needs an action plan for success. Give each person a title, a job description, KPI’s and a clear plan for their success. Explain how others will support them in their role. Supporting the team with tools, training, technology, and systems ensures that the talent stays motivated, and means the owner or entrepreneur can run the business without being run by the business.

Key Element Five – Support Risk Taking. If you are not open to some degree of healthy risk-taking within your business, it is almost impossible for your team to succeed. Every new product, new way of marketing, new niche or internal business process seems too risky… until it works. To build effective teams in your business, led by example, and be open to change, calculated risk and new ideas.

Key Element Six – 100% Involvement and Inclusion.  The best teams have everyone in the team doing their job and doing it well.  Sometimes, team members even need to go ‘above and beyond’ their exact role.  It’s a wonderful experience to work in a team where everyone really does deliver to their responsibilities and just a little more beyond.  Make sure, as the leader, that you’re inclusive in your management style and also make sure that individual team members actively involve themselves – this is a two-way street!

How will I know when I have a great team?

The end result of a successful team is synergy. This means that the sum of teamwork is greater than the separate parts of the team. In business terms, this means that the return on an investment is greater than the contributions made to that investment. People have innate chemistry. If we combine that natural chemistry one way we get an explosive, disastrous outcome from opposite polarity. Combine it in another way and we get increased energy, vitality, and success from magical magnetism.

Register to Attend our Free Workshop

6 Steps to Building a Better Business

The five steps to ensuring your business plan is an effective one

When you’re starting a new business, there are probably many things that you are really good at. After all, passion and talent are what spark most business ideas. You might be really good at selling, really creative, or can spot the latest trends a mile off. Conversely, one of the things most new business owners are not great at is creating a business plan. But there is no getting around it – a business plan is a necessary tool for success. MOST businesses fail without a plan, and some will still fail if they have written a plan that’s not effective. Its ok, writing a business plan is something anyone can get better at, with a little help.

We’ve made it somewhat easier to get familiar with how to create the most effective business plan that will set you up for success and give you the confidence to handle anything that comes along during setup or operation.

 

Here are our top five steps to ensure your business plan is effective:

  1. Start with the end in mind, and outline your end goals first. This might be the early retirement or the house deposit. Think big! Then following from that end goal, decide your goal(s) for the financial year. They must be SMART (Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled).
  2. Make sure your SMART goals are exciting to you and don’t conflict with one another nor with where you’re heading longer term or in other parts of life. The last thing you want to do is work hard all year, achieve all of your goals and then realize you don’t really care about them or that they were not aligned with your longer term goals.
  3. Outline the smaller steps needed to reach your goals. These should be steps that are small enough to achieve (which gives you confidence) but big enough to make a positive leap forward toward the overall plan. For example, ‘complete marketing plan’ is very broad, and not specific enough to know the time or steps needed to get it done. With large tasks like this, break them down into smaller bite sized chunks!
  4. Ensure the plan is realistic. Have you considered holidays, conferences and other things that might “get in the way” of doing the actions in your plan? Have you listed too many tasks for one time, which means you’re unlikely to be able to complete them all? You need to be able to look at the steps in the plan, as well as their timing, and feel a reasonable level of confidence that they can all be completed. Your business plan should make you feel excited, not overwhelmed!
  5. Ensure that you can track and monitor the progress of every goal within your plan. To do this, ensure that each and every step in the plan is SMAT (different to SMART). That is, Specific, Measurable (so you can see when each step is completed), Achievable and have Time allocated to them. In an annual plan, this will typically be monthly.  In a 90-Day Plan, weekly.

Our clients who have used these recommended five steps when creating a business plan, have grown in confidence, reduced their ‘entrepreneurial anxiety’, set goals and planned for success. You can too.

If you are starting out or trying to grow a relatively new business, here are some of the components of business that ActionCOACH can help you with:

Business planning, goal setting, time management, sales and marketing, increasing leads, improving conversion, implementing systems, building a great team, effective leadership, financial control, cash flow techniques and preparing your business for sale.

ActionCOACH is here ready to help! Please get in touch with our coaches on 02 9146 4439 or download a copy of the new eBook Planning for a successful new financial year here.

time-management-and-planning

How Time Management and Planning go Hand in Hand

We all know that time management is an essential part of running a successful business, and without a doubt, one of the keys to successful time management is planning. Planning your time is crucial if you want to be more productive, get more done in less time and achieve your goals, no matter how large or small. This is true for all areas of your life, not just in business.

Why is planning your time so vital?

Making a plan and sticking to it has many benefits; important tasks won’t be forgotten, you’ll use your time more efficiently and you’ll be less frazzled with everything you need to do in a day. Of course it’s only possible if you know what you should spend your time on and that means that a good plan is a necessary pre-requisite to being able to manage your time properly.

Planning also includes a couple of psychological benefits. Two of these are that having a clear plan and managing it:

  1. Gives you a sense of being in control – this gives you confidence and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed. It reduces your stress levels and lets you think more clearly.
  2. Highlights the progress you’re making – you can tick off the steps to move towards your goals.

Being in control and making progress towards a goal are strong human motivators. You’ll be more organised, will achieve more in the same amount of time and you’ll be far less likely to procrastinate (a major productivity killer!).

How to ensure your plan works for you

When you’re putting your plan together, be sure to:

  1. Start with the end first

The goals you set need to be SMART ones – that is, Specific, Measureable, Achievable, a Result and Time-scaled. You won’t know where you’re headed unless you look at the finish line and work backwards.

  1. Make sure your goals are exciting to you

Do your goals excite you, and are they aligned with your long term goals? If not, you’ll find it hard to stick to a plan.

  1. Use as many steps as necessary

Outline the steps needed to achieve your goal. This makes the overall goal more manageable and structured.

  1. Make sure the steps are realistic

Including too many things to work on at once, or not leaving yourself enough time is going to be a goal killer. Look at the steps in your plan and determine whether they can realistically all be achieved in the time you’ve allowed.

  1. Monitor your progress

Make sure each step is SMAT – specific, measurable, achievable and has time allocated. It’s similar to SMART goals, yet because they are just steps in a plan, they are not each a result.

“Failing to plan is planning to fail” so with this in mind, start planning today! For more information about time management and planning, download your free eBook “The Real Guide to Effective Time Management” here.

How-to-increase-productivity

How to increase productivity with these 4 techniques

Ever wondered how to increase productivity so you can reach your business goals sooner, and possibly enjoy more breaks from the business? ActionCOACH has 4 techniques that have helped our clients increase their productivity straight away.

 

Technique 1. Plan your time.

This technique involves you sitting down at the end of each week and planning out what you will do in the coming week. It’s really easy, won’t take you long and is a great way to get clear on what you need to get done. It will make optimal use of your time throughout the week, because you won’t have those moments of “Hmm, what was I meant to do today?” Avoid using this weekly time plan to simply schedule meetings – instead, dedicate time to completing the most important activities for your business. This technique really only works properly if you already have a clear 90-day plan in place for your business, as this will guide you on what are the genuinely important things to achieve in the next week to ensure that you’re actually developing a great business and not just doing the urgent things or the things that someone else asks you to do!  If you don’t have a 90-day business plan, contact us here and we can help you create one.

 

Technique 2. Stick to the plan

So you’ve planned to do something at a particular time… this is for good reason! So it’s important to minimise distractions, stick to the plan and get it done. This is a crucial time management skill, and one that will become second nature after some practice. If you skip a part of your plan you are in fact sabotaging a small part of your bigger business plan. Another great reason to stick to the plan is because interruptions and distractions cause your brain to stop one thing and refocus on another, then refocus again on the first activity at the end of the interruption. Distractions cause a 50% reduction in your productivity, so wherever you can, don’t switch between tasks!

 

Technique 3. Have an accountability coach

Don’t worry, this doesn’t have to cost you a cent. Think of someone who cares about what you do and is willing to help you. Simply communicate your plan to this person, and schedule an accountability catch-up with them on an agreed day each week. Just like a child will work fastidiously towards a goal if they know you have a treat waiting for them at the end – you are more likely to be more productive when someone else knows about your plan and is holding you accountable for completing the steps in it.

 

Technique 4. Avoid Productivity Killers.

Looking to increase productivity? Increase your focus on health and fitness. Keeping fit might sound more like a distraction that a productivity technique, but in fact fatigue, stress, illness, poor diet and an unhealthy lifestyle have a direct impact on your time management and productivity. How? Being fit and healthy not only gives you more energy but also improves your productivity and performance at work, which in turn makes you happier and a better spouse/parent/friend, which in turn motivates you to further build your health and fitness and so on. So it’s a great idea to look holistically at your business, personal life and health.

 

For more strategies on how to increase productivity and achieve your business goals faster download your free eBook on The Real Guide for Effective Time Management here or register for the 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Seminar here.

synergy-in-business

Synergy in Business – How to run your business like a well-oiled machine

Synergy, by definition, means two or more things interacting to produce an even greater effect. And by synergy in business, we mean the combined effect of the several parts of your business that you’ve been working on, that come together to create greater business success.

Let’s recap our 6 steps to building a better business:

  1. Mastery – moving from chaos to control
  2. Niche – reaching a predictable cash flow
  3. Leverage – creating systems for efficiency
  4. Team – structuring your business for growth
  5. Synergy – multiplying your business
  6. Results – exiting your business

We’ve shared our insights on the first four steps in our previous blogs. To get up to speed, click here.

Step five, synergy, is specifically for business owners who want to take their business to the next level, but still want to keep the business.

How do you know if you’re ready for business synergy?

If you are at a stage in your business where you don’t have to be involved in the day-to-day running of it, you are perfectly positioned to focus on synergy in business, and move yourself from being owner, to investor and ultimately entrepreneur.

What are some of the methods to achieve business synergy:

  • Mergers and acquisitions – buying or teaming up with a complementary business and joining forces to grow faster.
  • Adding substantial new products and/or service lines. These will usually complement the products and services you already have, but they can be a completely new range.
  • Geographical expansion – selling interstate or internationally and having offices located in these areas. Expansion allows you to reach a larger base of target customers and therefore increases your revenue.
  • Franchising – creating a business model that can be replicated and sold to franchisees. You retain control of the core business elements but do not need to be involved in the everyday running of the franchised stores.
  • Starting a new complementary or related business that fits in with what you currently do. You have an advantage of already knowing the market and what does and doesn’t work, and knowing the needs and wants of your customer base.

Your first challenge as you move from business manager to owner and investor, is to try to maintain your new role, rather than working in the business day to day. To help you achieve this, use your systems that keep the business running without you, and keep your long-term goals top of mind.

To achieve synergy in business, you’ll need skills such as a broad understanding of various business models, investment strategies, higher-level financial management and a wider range of businesses and industries. You will also need to focus on measures such as return on capital, enterprise value and portfolio mix. Most of your time will be spent working outside your existing business as you start to explore the many and varied options for multiplying it – i.e. creating synergy!

The two unavoidable constraints on all business owners and managers are capital and time. However once you become a true business owner and your existing business operates without you on a day-to-day basis, you’ll have more time available, and your income is no longer limited by your time. As you move toward becoming an investor (i.e. making money from your money), the former limitation can be virtually removed. As you become an entrepreneur (i.e. someone who makes money from other people’s money), you can largely escape the second limitation as well.

At this point of business synergy, your scope for success and what you can achieve is almost unlimited!

If you’re looking for some advice about how to multiply your business…

Click here for a free one-on-one initial consultation 

Or

Register here for our free 6 Steps to Building a Better Business Seminar.

building-a-winning-team

Building a Winning Team by recruiting great people quickly and effectively

How much more could you achieve, if you had the right people in your business to manage certain tasks or roles? And what if you could assemble a dream team to allow you to work on your business AND have a life outside it?

As coaches, we often hear that one of the hardest things in business is finding competent, reliable help. Typically, employees are hired based on a piece of paper and fifteen minutes together 1-on-1. If this process is not working for you, stop using it today and continue reading…

What many business owners don’t realise is; if you want to employ an excellent team, you need to be ‘qualified’ to employ an excellent team. It’s a harsh reality for most business owners, but you really do get what you deserve when it comes to the people working in your business.

So how do you get qualified in building a winning team? Before starting the recruitment process, give attention to your organisation’s structure and the business basics. As yourself, “is my business ready to add more staff?” and “is it clear why great people would want to come and work here?”.  Once you can answer “YES!” to both of these questions, your business is more likely to ‘organically’ attract the right talent, and the recruitment process will become an easier one for you. Read our recent blogs to get up to speed with business organisation and developing leadership skills to build your dream team.

Let’s start by gaining an appreciation of the TEAM itself. Business author and entrepreneur Brad Sugars uses an acronym to sum up the value of TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. Remember why you started your business. Was it to control and be responsible for every minutia of detail and daily task – or was it to manage or oversee a talented and cohesive bunch of people from a sunny verandah somewhere? Ok, glad we got that one straightened out! Now let’s build your team.

Building a winning team is an easy (and enjoyable) process, when you follow ActionCOACH’s ‘Five Hour Recruitment Process’. It’s founded on two core principles:

  1. Recruit for Attitude; Train for Skill. It is easier to fix a skill gap than an attitude gap!
  2. Time Efficiency. Non value-adding activities are removed so as to ensure that the process requires minimum time. The entire process should utilize only 5 hours of the manager’s time.

The Five Hour Recruitment Process

  1. Establish and define a compelling Employer Value Proposition. Make yourself attractive!
  2. Make the decision to employ someone – based on need & affordability.
  3. Write a Job Description / Position Commitment
  4. Include clear responsibilities, accountabilities and KPI’s.
  5. List key requirements/attributes/skills/qualifications that will be required.
  6. Be clear now on what the job is worth and will be paid.
  7. Write an Advertisement.
  8. Headline must grab attention and attract the right candidates. In places like Seek, it is hard to stand out!
  9. The Ad must sell the job and the company. You are trying to attract the best people! Typically, we like to see at least two thirds of the Ad selling the job and company, with only one third explaining the requirements of the job.
  10. Candidates can be sourced from online job sites, local papers, LinkedIn or personal recommendations. Under no circumstances should any candidate bypass the remainder of the process.
  11. The advertisement should request that candidates apply by calling you. Email applications should not be accepted.
  12. An online advertisement should be open for one week, including one full weekend.
  13. Receive Applications.
  14. This is by phone, by you or, better still, by Office Administrator. Reading CV’s at this point is a waste of time.
  15. If someone still submits an application by email and does not call, respond with an automatic email explaining that they must apply by calling.
  16. This initial call must take a maximum of TWO minutes and will end one of two ways:
  17. The candidate will clearly disqualify themselves – communication, tone of voice, attitude, energy, etc. – in which case, advise them “no”; or
  18. If they don’t disqualify themselves, invite them to attend a face-to-face interview. Unless asked by the candidate, do not promote the fact that it is a group interview. Only one time is available so they will need to come in then if they wish to pursue this opportunity. NB. You don’t mind how many people are in the Group Interview so, if they haven’t disqualified themselves in the first minute or so, invite them to attend.
  19. Examples questions that may assist in disqualifying (NB. At this stage, voice, energy, communication, etc. is more important than the content of the answer. However, if the content is sufficiently ridiculous, irrelevant, or stupid, it can disqualify them!):
  20. Why are you so excited by this opportunity?
  21. Why would you be great at this role?
  22. What is your greatest strength?
  23. What is your most relevant experience to this role?
  24. If they are invited to interview, then request that they now send a CV, although don’t yet waste time reading it!
  25. Group Interview. Order of events:
  26. First 20-30 minutes – you present the business and opportunity. You are trying to attract the best candidate to join you so this is a sales pitch you’re making to them!
  27. Explain that, after a quick comfort stop, they will each stand up in front of the group and explain why they’re excited about the role and why they’d be great at it.
  28. They each present – max. 3 minutes each. Ask for volunteers – test enthusiasm!
  29. Provide a final opportunity to ask questions, then close the interview.
  30. Your team should attend (and clients can too) and should be interacting with and assessing candidates throughout. NB. Candidates are still not being assessed on their skills. They are being assessed on attitude and cultural fit. Each of your team should have a 1-page score sheet which will list on the left the candidates and across the top the 6-8 personal attributes you’re looking for (e.g. Communication, first impression, energy, attentiveness). Marks/10 should be awarded for good things noticed in those categories (8/10 or above) or bad things (3/10 or below). I.e. not every candidate will receive a score for every attribute – just the things that stand out.
  31. After the interview, your team can meet to discuss their scores and observations, from which you will choose the 1-3 candidates to invite to 1:1 short-list interview.
  32. Call ALL candidates the next day; advising that they have not been chosen to proceed or that you would like to invite them to return to 1:1 interview – book it.
  33. 1:1 Interview. Order of events:
  34. They talk through their CV from beginning to most recent; you observe trends, patterns and reasons for changes.
  35. Have them perform a skills test relevant to the job. NB. Don’t just believe it. Test it.
  36. Have them complete a DISC profile (created by American psychologist Dr William Marsden in the 1920s, assessing individuals and assigning one behavioural styles; i.e. Outgoing, Task Oriented, Reserved or People Oriented).
  37. If you have an area of concern, ask: “When I call your last manager [insert last manager’s name], what score will he give you out of 10 for [insert skill or attribute about which you’re concerned]? Any answer below 8 should be a red flag.
  38. Next day or two, call to make offer, subject to reference check.
  39. Undertake reference checks, asking specific questions to validate facts and to explore any key areas or possible gaps in skill or other required attribute.

Example Rejection Statement (applicable to rejection at any stage in process):

Thank you very much, but I’m sorry to advise that we won’t be proceeding further with your application.  I appreciate your time and effort but, although we do not provide detailed feedback to all candidates, I do feel that we have candidates who are a closer match to our specific requirements. I wish you all the best in your search and for the future.

This Five Hour Recruitment Process, along with establishing your company values, organising your business structure and gaining an appreciation for the value of TEAM – qualifies you to employ and build a winning team for your business.

If you need some more skills or practice in building winning teams or recruiting, jump online and book a quick session with one of our expert coaches. Or download your free copy of The 6 Keys to creating a winning team here.

team-development

Team Development – Know the Rules of the Game for your business

You probably started your business so you DIDN’T have to follow the rules anymore… but when it comes to developing a winning team and culture within your business, there are some rules that are fundamental to business success. ActionCOACH defines ‘team development’ as the process of recruiting, teaching and motivating the right people and teams so that your business can operate with or WITHOUT you!

Three of the most important elements to consider when developing your team are Common Goal, Rules of the Game and Action Plan.

The first element is ‘Common Goal’. If you’ve defined and written down your business’ vision and goals – great work. But having GOALS and having COMMON GOALS are two very different things! Does everyone in your business know what the goals of the business are? Do they have the goals top-of-mind when performing their role or making business decisions? Do they personally fit in with your business goals? Sharing your business goals is critical for keeping your team motivated, perpetuating a great culture within the business and of course, for business success!

To create common goals, involve each team member (to some extent) when developing them, and then share these goals with EVERYONE. Here are a few ideas on how to share your goals: print them up in a staff area; make them accessible on the company network; make them the theme of training days and conferences; make them part of your team development and KPI’s.

When the team is working towards the same common goals, team development happens naturally and business success is much more likely.

The second element is ‘Rules of the Game’. Once you have developed your team, they need to know the rules of the game (just like a winning sports team). So, which ‘rules’ are important specifically for team development? Rules for business processes are extremely useful, so your team knows how things work in the business on a daily level. Rules for how orders are taken, how complaints are handled or how staff are paid can all be included in processes. Once your team have defined processes, it actually becomes easier for them to exercise their own creativity and make decisions, based within the boundaries you have set.

Once the rules for processes are defined, you will need rules that state who is responsible for each process. Remember to be clear on which rules are tight (must never deviate) and which are loose guides (to allow the team some flexibility and space to use their own initiative).

The third set of “rules” for your team is actually your culture.  Having a clearly defined set of values, that the entire team will adhere to, is a vital part of ensuring consistency in how your team behave, how they make decisions and how they deal with each other, with customers and suppliers and with all stakeholders in the business.

The final element to help with your team development is called ‘Action Plan’. You’ve recruited team members based on attitude and have started or will start training them for skill. They are working toward a common goal. They know the rules of the game. Now it’s time for action!

For most of our clients at ActionCOACH, the ultimate desire (and a great measure of business success) is having a business that can operate without them. In order to achieve this, every team member must know what they are supposed to do. As you can guess, if the team doesn’t know what to do, it’s likely that YOU will be doing every function of the business, unable to step away at all.

To develop an action plan, ensure that  each person has an appropriate title, a job description and an explanation of how others will support them in their role. You will need to track that all of the above is being fulfilled, by identifying a handful of KPI’s (4 – 6 things you can objectively monitor to know that a role is being done properly). To support this, a step-by-step plan that leads to the achievement of your goals is really a “must-have”.  Make your action plans available for individual and team reference, to act as a kind of ‘playbook’ for the team and to continue positive team development within your business.

ActionCOACH has helped thousands of Australian businesses with their team development. For advice or coaching in this area contact ActionCOACH on 02 9146 4439. You can also download your eBook called “The 6 Key Elements to a Winning Team” here.