Tag: small business

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.

Designing the future ownership of your business

Been having a lot of discussion lately about what the next generation of the business will look like. Who will run it, who will work in it, what kind of work we’ll be doing, and how we’re going to adapt to stay current. Wondering if you have any recommendations on what to consider, and how to go about planning for the future.

Thoughts of the Day: Thinking about the future is critical to ensuring success. Do a critical needs analysis. Make a plan that describes where the business goes next, and how it gets there. What problems are people trying to solve and how can you make things easier? Deal with the reality of limited workforce availability. Consider ESOP as a model for future ownership, if your company is strong enough.

Reaching your audience with marketing

People don’t know us. They don’t know who we are, what we stand for. It’s not so easy to reach people. Sometimes I feel like I’m just taking at people, but don’t really have their attention. What should we think about doing differently for marketing?

Thoughts of the Day: The good news is, you don’t have to reach everyone. But you do need to have something useful for the people you want to reach. Consider storytelling as a way to be memorable.

Ready to Sell Your Small Business

Getting my small business ready for sale. Makes me feel on edge and unsure. After 23 years of running this business I have to stop following my long practiced habits and focus on what’s next – how do I do that?

Thoughts of the Day: Transitioning from small business owner to something else is a process that many people find challenging to get through. Design your future. Make sure you’ve secured the finances you’ll need. Learn about all the ways that business owners sell their businesses when they’re ready to let go. Decide what you want your legacy to be and set yourself on the right path to sell your business.

Imagining the Future – build a plan

The good news is we’ve been growing. But we’re operating a company of 50 employees the same way as we worked when we were 20 employees. What should we be doing to make things better as we continue to grow?

Thoughts of the Day: Growing the company is a good thing, keeping up with growth can be a challenge. Think ahead about your future plan, build systems that will benefit a company twice the size. Figure out your leadership team of the future. Imagine your customers of the future. Build controls that serve the increased volume of activity. Learn about technology advances that can help you stay ahead of productivity and innovation curves.

Building a Sales Plan

We’ve never had a sales plan – a planned out way to get leads and work the leads. What should we use as a template? How can we make sure the plan works?

Thoughts of the Day: Most small businesses are light on written plans, and that can get in the way of producing consistent results. Mapping out your sales strategy and tactics gives you and your employees a roadmap to follow. Consistency in approach allows you to measure what’s working and identify what needs tweaking. Knowing how one stage relates to another helps you forecast what it will take to get the results you want.

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.