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Systemize Your Business – Communication

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By Beverlee Rasmussen, GroYourBiz Member Surrey/White Rock

Your greatest leadership asset is your ability to communicate. Do this well and everything else will fall into place.

Communications systems start with listening. Listen to employees, suppliers, shareholders and of highest value listen to your customers. Humans respond best when they feel seen, heard and understood and the only way to create that sense of trust is to actively listen.

A great listening strategy is to be curious and ask questions to fully understand what the other person is saying. A front line employee will provide you with amazing insight into your own business when you take the time to listen. It is ok when you don’t agree with or like what you hear, remember you are gathering information and making the other person feel valued.

One of the most powerful statements to remember when listening is “Acknowledgement is not Agreement”. You don’t have to agree with what you are hearing nor do you need to comment in the moment. Simple acknowledge what you hear with a nod and this will take the pressure off having to respond.

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When company processes are documented it significantly improves communication. Team members then don’t have to constantly be asking questions on how you want things done. Ensure that there is a system for feedback of systems that are missing, broken or need improvement. This will reduce frustrations at all levels giving your team the ability to communicate to you and others on the team. A systems communication tool can be as simple as a whiteboard or notebook where everyone is encouraged to share their suggestions.

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Getting things done through other people requires robust communication and the more that is documented the easier this is. Small business owners often become the bottle neck stopping or delaying projects due to their inability to fully communicate what they want and need.

As time consuming and annoying as the process of documentation can be, it has such a high return and will move a business forward so much faster it is worth every hour spend doing it.

Imagine not having to do everything yourself because you have clearly communicated the vision, values and goals of a project and together have documented the steps to achieving those goals. Powerful and profitable!

Consider scheduling communication meetings daily, weekly, and/or monthly with your team to ensure everyone is on the same page. Keep meetings positive, forward focused and make sure everyone has the opportunity to contribute to solutions.

Until next week, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!

By Beverlee Rasmussen, Systems Business Coach A passion for small business and an entrepreneurial nature combined with an astute ability to assess needs and provide solutions has led to success as both a business owner and champion for business owners Worldwide.

Systemize Your Business – Trust

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By Beverlee Rasmussen, GroYourBiz Member Surrey/White Rock

“If people like you they will listen to you, if people trust you they will do business with you”- Zig Ziglar

Trust is both a feeling and a virtue in an organization. It is both given and received in relationships with your team, customers and stakeholders. Trust is primarily experienced and it is used to make decisions, build strong collaborative teams, and create great companies.

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A lack of trust in a business can quickly turn to chaos, lost revenue, lost productivity and the ability to retain good people. Lack of trust shows up as competition, individuals just “doing their own thing” and poor communication.

Small business owners are especially vulnerable in relationships and need strong trust building skills. These skills include the ability to share a clear vision and strategy, the ability to articulate what they need and to listen carefully to understand the needs of others.

Trust is built or diminished by repeated behaviour. Documented procedures help build consistency which in turn builds trust with customers and teams. When employees know that they are doing their job in the way it was designed builds trust and confidence. It removes the fear of trying to figure it out on their own.

As trust builds, teams begin to better cooperate and coordinate efforts.

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How does trust show up in your organization? Do you feel like you have each others back? Are you able to openly share challenges and opportunities? Does the work get done even when you the owner is not there?

A small business owner can strengthen trust by being honest and following through on promises.Taking the time to ask questions and to carefully listen also builds trust as well as being transparent about your own challenges and opportunities.

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Transparency builds trust as does vulnerability. Admitting when you are wrong and making things right builds trust. Keeping commitments and being respectful of others also helps.

Consider that clients are counting on our companies to provide the product or service they are looking for; when we deliver that well we are building trust. In turn, trust leads to referrals and the positive cycle of new business relationships continues.

Trust begins with us. Our actions, inactions, words and intentions. If things are not going as planned, if your team is not getting along or doing what you expect of them consider reflecting on your own behaviour to see where trust may have been broken.

Strengthening trust can start happening immediately with small consistent actions led with good intentions.

Until next week, enjoy your Entrepreneurial Journey!

By Beverlee Rasmussen, Systems Business Coach A passion for small business and an entrepreneurial nature combined with an astute ability to assess needs and provide solutions has led to success as both a business owner and champion for business owners Worldwide.

Willy-Nilly or Will She Not!

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By Isabel Banerjee

That is the question . . .

I recently “re”-heard the term ‘Willy-Nilly’ and thought how appropriate the timing to be reminded of this amusing sounding expression and its more serious meaning.

Is it coincidental that this occurred at the time that purposeful and strategic thinking and planning were on my mind?

I think not! As others’ have said, there are no co-incidences just well-timed messages.

I’ve been facilitating GroYourBiz MyBoard workshops these past few months about how to create and leverage a Strategic Plan for business to get predictable results.

‘Willy-Nilly’ is defined by various dictionaries as ‘action without thought or in a haphazard or spontaneous manner’. Translation; leaving one without choice or control of the outcome.

Is that the way you run your business? Your profession? Your life?

‘Willy-Nilly’; leaving your fate to kismet; in the hands of others – good or ill intentioned. Really? Is that not like throwing your money, time and efforts into the middle of the street and waiting to see if the winds blow favorably?

‘Willy-Nilly’ is like stepping into a boat as the tide goes out, without oars or a compass and hoping that you get somewhere you’d like to be, on time and not eaten by sharks.

How could we leave our fate, our investment, our livelihood to chance like this?

Rather than ‘Willy-Nilly’. . .  I recommend “Will You Not!”

“Will You Not!”:

  • Allow others to control your journey
  • Be unclear of your chosen destination and arrival time
  • Have a Vision and Mission that are out of alignment with your core values
  • Leave to guess-work what resources you need to accomplish your goals
  • Be vague about the measurements and milestones that verify that you are ‘on target’ and ‘on schedule’
  • Have any uncertainty of the daily, weekly and monthly priorities and activities to focus on and which ones to delegate
  • Forget to celebrate progress along the way
  • Wait until it is too late to adjust course to avoid the icebergs

And

‘Will You Not!’ begin this year without a clearly articulated vision and strategy and check your progress regularly!

It is never too late to plan and to be accountable to yourself and to your advisory board!

Wishing you a Wonderful New Year, a Joyous Voyage and a Safe Arrival at the Destination of Your Choice!

 

ibIsabel Banerjee
Commander of My Destiny
Managing Director, GroYourBiz, Arizona
CEO, BIYA Global, Inc.
CEO, The Encore Catalyst
INT’L Leader, My Big Idea

Three Hours on a Couch – Part 2: Value for My Membership Dollar

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By Maureen McCabe

See HERE for Part 1!

Three-hours on a Couch

Each month I spend approximately 20-30 minutes while riding the subway to our meeting, completing my Monthly Check-in Report. It is optional and not turned in. The process helps me to recognize the progress and accomplishments of the previous month, to identify where I’m stuck and what’s keeping me back, and my personal commitment to action and accountability for next month’s meeting.

At the meeting each member provides an update. I have said it’s like lying down on a psychiatrist’s couch with my feet up for 5-8 minutes seeking help. But unlike the psych, who often doesn’t answer your questions, we have a chair and a dozen experts, fellow board members who genuinely want to help and support me.

Their insights into business processes and my ongoing monthly lessons are more than I could have imagined. Great guest speakers help to fill in gaps, ones that I didn’t realize that I had. Time set aside for “member challenges” is wonderful, not just for the member but all who support and share our lessons learned.

Each month, for three hours I focus exclusively on my business. Prior to joining GYB, I had not set aside time to plan for my business. Like many business owners, I was too busy with the day-to-day operations. I’ve now bought into planning and make time, but not as much as I should. I remind myself, patience grasshopper – a throwback to the Kung Fu, martial arts drama on TV. Change begins with one step.

Nightmares & Revenue Canada

After listening intently for eight months to a fellow Markham board member’s updates by Irene Ji, CA, I realized that I wasn’t getting the service or support from my own accountant that I needed. I literally started losing sleep imaging what could happen if I were audited. I hired Irene, and we have completed two year-ends. No more nightmares for yours truly.

Referrals. Revenue.

Many GYB members and prospective ones have heard me often say, and I was very sincere, “I don’t care if I ever get a client or referral, that’s not why I joined or what I value. It’s the couch that I love”.

I have used the services of many members and recommended others to clients and friends. An unexpected bonus – I got a client from our board which more than paid for one year’s membership. I’ve now amended the above statement:

“I am grateful for every client and referral, but that’s not why I joined. It’s a nice bonus.”

The GroYourBiz membership fee is equivalent to a monthly massage. It’s an investment in my business. Yep. That’s why I’ll be a GYB lifer too!

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web-lgMaureen McCabe (GroYourBiz, Toronto). The McCabe Marketing team works with established business owners to create and manage successful marketing projects that generate more sales leads. Request the free report: 8 Money-Burning Marketing Mistakes that Reduce Profits   Check out her humourous blog, 9 Tips for Media Interviews – How and Why I was Interviewed on CTV

 

 

 

Three-hours on a Couch, Why I Value My GYB Membership -Part 1

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After religiously attending GroYourBiz board meetings for over two years, a light bulb went off this past summer. Or, for those of you who are young enough to remember the 1977 popular commercial it was my-aha moment, I should’ve had a V8®

Carefully note the use of the registered trademark symbol. I worked in the IBM legal department and recall the odd law suit or two, or three. Perish the thought if the simple omission led to a letter from Campbell’s legal department to our fearless leader, Barbara Mowat and her imprisonment. She wouldn’t be able to host the EXCELerate 2017 conference – solely, because I neglected to submit the blog with the “R” symbol. Working in “legal” as we called it, was one of the 19 different jobs that I had during my 18 years at Big Blue. Yep. I was a lifer.  I learned many lessons that guide me today.

How and Why I Became a Member

In April 2014, I joined the Markham (Ontario) board as a founding member. To be honest, I only joined because Yang-Hai Wang whom I had worked with in the IBM small business division from 1998-2000 was the chair. I hadn’t seen her in 10 years; she reached out to me after reading my LinkedIn profile.

We spoke a few times, I kept telling her that I don’t join networking groups. She kept asking me to come to the meeting. I kept repeating, I don’t need to network because I’m on page one of Google for all of my keywords i.e. small business marketing Toronto.

Actually I said, “…the money would be better spent on a massage at the spa to relax after giving soooooo many free consultations(*) because I’m on page one.”

Any marketer with her grain of salt knows the value of an asterisk appropriately placed in the copy. Not the mice type, i.e. the legalize section that is too small to read, but keeps the lawyers happy.

She cajoled me to attend the meeting, finally I said yes. I had the wrong start time. HINT: subject lines with the date and time are helpful for everyone not just me as I sometimes misread the details in the email. I got lost, couldn’t find the elevator bank in BMO’s underground parking, arrived at the end of the launch meeting when the food was practically gone.

Yang-Hai tried to show me a few slides on her laptop, I displayed no interest, and kept saying no I was not interested. Yep. I intentionally used a double-negative to make an impact, perhaps influenced by the name of Barb’s Impact Communications firm. It was Yang-Hai’s personal mission trying to passionately convince me that GroYourBiz was not a networking group, but a peer advisory board.

I was introduced to Marg Hachey, Ontario and Eastern Region Chair. Her reputation as a successful women-owned business, a Canadian entrepreneur was well known. I was impressed that she was on the team. I asked Marg if there was a directory listing of members; a backlink to my website was a criterion for membership. Yes, there is a members’ roster. Link juice i.e. SEO is important to me. I want to keep my place on page one, of you know where.

In my quiet, demure way, I asked the cost of membership to Yang-Hai, and said if this organization was smart, they would offer a discount for a prepaid annual membership. (Yep. I was IBM’s #1 sales rep worldwide in 1996 in my division; incentives are important and drive sales.) She walked away, shaking her head, ready to speak with another prospective member.

As a small business owner, I missed the corporate, professionally run meetings which included an agenda, goals, and objectives. Taking advantage of the discount, I shocked the heck out of Yang-Hai when I wrote a cheque right on the spot. I was the first paid member. The truth be known, I had already decided to join as I had read every page on the GroYourBiz site and understood the value clearly.

Markham Board – April 2014

Although the members were great as were our two chairs firstly Yang-Hai and then Hilda Gan, I didn’t relish the challenge to arrive on-time for 6:00 p.m.  Anyone who knows me understands that I’m not just height but punctually challenged as well. At the best of times, I’m neither a great driver nor good parker – my eagle eyes can identify a drive through parking space up to 100 feet away, but on the highway, in the height of rush hour in sleet or snow? In regular traffic it was a quick 30-minute drive.

In May 2015, I chose to take “the better way”, a tagline used by the TTC, Toronto’s subway system, and moved downtown to board #4.

Good-bye Markham Board. Hello Toronto Board.

Marg Hachey is our chair; she generously shares her profound wisdom, on a level of depth and plethora of topics.  What’s great is that she always greets me and everyone with a hug at each meeting, but only if you arrive on time. As a marketer, I know that marketing is a drumbeat, it’s not a one of action; in this case, her acumen took a few meetings, okay almost 11 months to resonate, i.e. kick-in.

The following are four tips from the marketing gal (that’s me) on Board 4:

1. Red flags in the initial free marketing consultation should be embraced, not ignored.

2. Define your ideal client.

     (*) When you clearly know who they are, you won’t need to provide lengthy consultations.

3. Create a checklist of who is NOT your ideal client. Use it to evaluate prospective clients.

4. Trust your gut. This past summer, I decided to trust mine, now I tell clients if they are my ideal client during the consultation. It works, I’m closing more sales leads; my ideal client.

Wishy-washy women (if they were men, we’d call them slow decision makers) and alpha males are a couple of the flags on my checklist; but I’m not ready to open the kimono fully in this blog 🙂

See HERE for Part 2: The Ah-ha Moment!

 

web-lgMaureen McCabe (GroYourBiz, Toronto). The McCabe Marketing team works with established business owners to create and manage successful marketing projects that generate more sales leads. How do you attract more customers? With a marketing strategy and Marketing Action Roadmap™ that work.  Maureen invites you to signup for Profit Boosting Marketing Tips. Check out her Marketing Checkup video.