Tag: business advice

Using Shop Downtime to Your Advantage

At certain times of the year people in our shop aren’t working as much as we would like them to be. We want them to be busy. We have plenty of work year around. And it’s nice to have some downtime, but we don’t want people to get “soft” when things slow down. How can we best use the quite times?

Thoughts of the Day: Quiet times in the business are a great opportunity for reflection on what works well and what could be done better. Imagining the future is essential for any production that intends to stay profitable. Make time for training in order to upgrade skills and boost efficiency. Use the time to celebrate and prepare for what’s next.

Help Your Sales People Deliver Better Results

We’re getting business in, but I wonder how much more are we leaving on the table. We could be out in the field more to drive training with sales reps and managers. We’re struggling to put together sales rep training manual into a form that we can actually use to train people with. Once that’s built then I have to figure out who should be doing the training, and how to get it done efficiently and cost effectively. I’m not sure what the best way is to increase sales efforts by our sales team, and training for our sales people.

Thoughts of the Day: Training sales people to maximize their results is a smart place to start when looking at how to maximize your sales team. Creating a set of sales materials to conduct and reinforce training will help you be consistent when you’re training existing and new sales reps. A good place to start would be assess the needs of various people in the field, as they’re probably not all at the same stage of development. Work smarter, not harder – look for tools that already exist on the market and build on them. Be sure to measure before and after results to see what produces the best results.

Gain Control by Giving Up Control – trust your people, delegate

We have a lack of organization structure. Not everyone can be a manager. We might not recognize the candidate who can be a lead – and I’m not sure what a lead is, anyway. On the other hand, I can’t leave unless I give a list of things to do to people. They don’t take initiative to look around at what needs to be done. And when I come back half of stuff isn’t done and gets pushed back to me, and I get bombarded. What should I do?

Thoughts of the Day: Building organizational structure is one of the hallmarks of a stage 2 company. Figure out what you have to work with, and how best to organize that group of employees into more efficient units. Learn to delegate tasks and projects to teams. It’s important to make sure employees know where the company is headed, and the role they play in helping the business get there. Conduct regular meetings, and work with the teams to build a Next Action Steps List and review and discuss progress and hold ups.

Finding talent – rethinking how we hire

My state is under 3% unemployment. It seems like few in that remaining 3% are trying to work. Hiring has been an obstacle. Without additional qualified employees who are committed to working hard and getting ahead, as a business we’re going to get stalled. We don’t need a lot of employees, but we need good ones. Where should we go to find them?

Thoughts of the Day: Low unemployment is one of today’s big challenges for most business owners. Make sure your company is offering competitive wages and other opportunities that make it an attractive option. Widely publicize the fact that the company is looking for talented personnel. Learn about applying for visas to bring in talent from other countries. Build training programs to grow talent internally. Consider doing acquisitions to pick up the talent you need.

Employee Empowerment

Letting Others Step Up

It’s hard to teach others how to do an exact act that you want preformed. I struggle with handing things over to others because I know how its done, how I want it done, and it often seems that…

It’s All On My Shoulders

I try to take on everything, fix everything, and I can’t keep doing that. I don’t see my family enough. I’ve become the roadblock to so many things at work. But if I don’t check in or step in…

Turning leads into closes

“Lots of activities but not enough closes. Lots of leads, just have to light a fire to get going faster to turn leads into work. How do we do that?”

Thoughts of the Day: Good news is you have opportunities coming in the door. Should you be closing the leads you have in front of you? Do you understand your clients’ needs, and how well are you doing at conveying that understanding? Is this the right time for your client to buy, and what can you do about adjusting the timing?

Interviewing done right

“We don’t have an interview process. We’re haphazard and I think that leads to some of the hiring problems we’ve had. Would like to get a lot better at interviewing and hiring the right people for my company. Can you help?”

Thoughts of the Day: Lay out a process that you can use every time. Consider testing to gain some insight. Decide who should be involved in the interviews, and in what order. Keep evaluating your process to compare results and see how to improve.

Combining brands after an acquisition

“Just bought a product line from another company. It’s going to be a great growth opportunity for us, as we expose our clients to another solution that they can use every day. However, the brand transition is going to be work – lot of heavy lifting – just has to get done. Figuring out the integration of all the brands is not something I’m expert at. Any suggestions?”

Thoughts of the Day: Merging in acquisitions can be a great time to look at your overall brand identity. Do an asset and liabilities assessment of the existing and incoming brands. Consider the long term plans of the company. Think through what is the story behind the acquisition and how that story helps to improve what customers receive in the future.