In an all-too-familiar scenario, a well-known family business in our area recently suffered a significant breakdown in family dynamics and consequently, business operations. I often say and have lived it myself, “When the family dynamics are strained, it puts the lid on a business’s ability to grow,” not to mention the negative impact on family relationships.
Sometimes children come straight into the family business from high school. Other times, they go off and pursue their own careers and dreams and come into the family business later in life. Owning and operating a family business requires a special kind of attention to detail. It also requires an immense amount of planning and strategizing to successfully integrate new family members into an existing set of family members within the business framework. While this can be an exciting time, it can also be unsettling and leave you scrambling for solutions. How does one find a role for and integrate a banker, a manager or a therapist into the business? What about those who have outgrown their roles? Worse yet, what about when the role has outgrown the adult child? Roles and functions can get confusing and seeds of discord can be sown.
In this two-part series, I’ll be sharing ideas to support you in discovering ways to proceed both in your business and with your family.
Part One – Key Strategies for Business Success
One of the tools we use extensively with our clients in order to identify a person’s natural wiring is a profile assessment. This is distinct, although natural wiring is often confused with skills. Skills are defined and developed as things we learn through our experience. Natural wiring is the propensity to natural ways of thinking and being. These profile assessments point to certain roles in which a person will naturally do well. People still require training to develop in their role. However, they will easily grasp the concepts.
Clearly defined, accurate positional agreements, or job descriptions, are critical. When presented properly, the responsibilities and duties along with the key performance indicators of effectiveness in those tasks create clarity and the ability to objectively review one’s performance.
A current and future organizational chart outlines who reports to who and where the company is headed in terms of the human resource requirements and opportunities.
The “onboarding” process of integrating new team members into the business is best thought of as unfolding over weeks and months rather than over the course of days. This is part of well-structured human resource practices, policies and procedures.
Sometimes family business owners feel torn between the business and the family when issues arise. Understanding that challenges are to be expected, it’s best to think through criteria to manage them before they arise. This can lead to even greater workability and maturity within the family and can serve to develop a successful multi-generational family business.
In Part Two, I’ll go over the concept of the family business house and moving from a one-room house to a four-room house in order to operate a thriving family business.
A Family-Owned, Generational Business Challenge – Part Two
As your business grows in size and scope there are some unique roles that, when filled thoughtfully, will make a world of difference to the workability of your business, your family and your team.
Shortly after I met Leslie Marenco, she decided to dissolve her law firm and start Trust Counsel. Leslie, a Miami estate and trust attorney, knew she needed a total realignment of every aspect of her new firm, Trust Counsel, and asked ActionCOACH Business Coaching Team Sage to help facilitate this process. She expressed frustration over problems on every front – the workflow, the people on her team and the systems she had in place. Things weren’t working as well as she needed them to in order to operate a successful firm and Leslie knew the firm couldn’t continue on as it was.
Getting Back on Track
We knew what we had to address to help Leslie’s firm get back on track. We cleaned house, got the right people on board, put specific systems and procedures in place and got the workflow straightened out. We nailed down precise job descriptions so Leslie could focus on her job and not feel obligated to take on her teammates’ responsibilities. Through all of our efforts, we built a strong foundation and made Trust Counsel viable.
When we asked Leslie what she would say to someone who is considering business coaching, she responded:
I’m a huge believer in business coaching. As a business owner, you only know your limited experience. You need someone to show you other ways to see your business and to help you succeed beyond what you know. Otherwise, you’ll create the same things over and over again. I believe in business coaching because it worked for me.
After working with Leslie at Trust Counsel, she shared with us that our coaching helped her gain more focus. She’s no longer staying at the office until midnight and, with the big picture in mind, she’s keeping on track:
You need someone to help you get out of the weeds and that’s what the coach does.
Are you finding yourself stuck in the office till all hours of the night? If you’re ready to get out of the weeds and start enjoying life and the business you created, we can help. Call us today to schedule an exploratory call, 305-285-9264 x302!
Eric & Kelly’s Story
Here at our ActionCOACH Business Coaching Firm, Team Sage, we firmly believe that having the right systems in place can move your business from a place of surviving to a place of thriving. Our work with Eric’s Outboard, a certified Yamaha engines, parts and service company here in Miami, demonstrates this belief quite well. When I met Kelly and Eric of Eric’s Outboard, their part sales had plummeted from the year before, when their sales manager took their client database and opened up a location nearby. Sales were down by almost a million in parts sales. To make matters worse, they didn’t have a firm grasp on their inventory.
First Step: Assessing Their Sales
When Team Sage came onto the scene, obviously we had to stop the bleeding and started by assessing the “part sales” side of their business. First, we profiled the sales team members with a sales skills index. Then we helped the team set monthly sales goals and began tracking their progress towards their goals. We coupled this with a redesigned sales compensation package and helped each member of the team determine how to reverse engineer what sales they needed in order to reach the compensation level they wanted to reach. We nailed down the profit margin on their products and determined how much in discounts the sales team was extending to their customers. Our approach led to quite a successful outcome. Eric’s Outboard recovered those lost sales within 15 months and have grown overall sales by 54% in 3 years!
Second Step: Tackling Inventory Issues
Once the sales side was gaining momentum, we started tackling the inventory issues. We hired an experienced inventory manager who helped determine inventory par levels based on sales history. This allowed the company to make wiser purchases and take advantage of manufacturer incentives. The barcode system we installed removed the need to manually count inventory every year – a process that previously required closing the business for a week and resulted in lost sales. This was a time-consuming and costly process for a single inventory count that was used one time by the accounting department to adjust inventory levels on the balance sheet. Today, there is a dynamic, real-time inventory count at Eric’s Outboard where they maintain up-to-date inventory numbers for increased accuracy and consequently, profitability.
Third Step: Success
There are countless more stories where this one came from! If you see yourself and your business in this story we would love to connect with you to explore how we can work with you to increase the efficiency and profitability of your business. Visit our website today and sign up for a complimentary strategic coaching session. We’d love to hear from you! We succeed when we help your business succeed.
Did you like this story? If so, you might also enjoy this recent blog on managing business growth! Check it out here!
You’ve probably heard the line from a famous Chinese proverb, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” If you’re overwhelmed by the idea of creating a strategic plan for your business, take heart – and take that first step – by answering some important questions. Begin your journey to creating a comprehensive strategic plan that will set you up for a successful 2019. Rather than labor over your answers, I invite you instead to focus on answering the questions honestly. Remember, this is just a launching point. You can explore these questions more in-depth down the road!
Where is my business currently at?
This isn’t the same as “Where do I wish my business was at?” Optimism aside, what does your bottom line tell you? Are you getting the ROI you want? How do outsiders view your business? What kind of feedback do you receive from your clients? Give an accurate assessment.
What are my goals for the coming year? For the future?
There are no right or wrong answers here. Just make sure these are goals that you’re excited about working towards. Consider both short-term and long-term goals.
Who are my key players?
These are the people who can help you achieve the goals you stated above. They might be your investors, management team, employees or clients.
Or perhaps bringing a few new employees on board is the best next step towards achieving these goals.
What worked well for my business this past year?
This includes clients that were great to work with, products or services that were a hit, successful marketing strategies and anything else that helped propel the success of your business.
What efforts this past year didn’t pan out the way I hoped?
Face it. Some ideas sound great initially and you dedicate a substantial amount of your resources to nurturing these ideas only for them to fall flat. Often disastrously so. It happens. Start by acknowledging your business failures and get back on the horse!
How am I going to do things differently this next year?
Make lemonade out of lemons by taking the lessons you learned this past year and applying them to your business practices this coming year. This may mean implementing new policies, firing unreasonable clients, exploring new marketing channels or shifting your target market altogether.
How committed am I to making necessary changes to propel my business forward?
You might have the best strategic plan in the world. However, if you’re not excited about it or motivated by it, you won’t have the moxie to see it through. Start small – even a few little changes can shift the trajectory of your business and create the momentum you need.
Need help with your business plan for 2019? Schedule a call with us to find out how we can help you get ready to rock 2019 and have your best year yet!
Small business experts will tell you that generating leads online is critical for success in today’s business world. People are doing more and more business online. If you are ignoring that potential source of leads, your business is not going to grow and thrive.
Checklist for generating leads online
You can use this five-point checklist to get started or to refine your current process.
- Give great value. Almost everyone on the planet loves to get value for their money. Value is getting something more than a low price. Value can come in the form of useful information and tips, additional features, faster delivery, reduced fees, free customization, etc. Your prospects must see that the value you are providing them that makes you superior to the competition.
- Focus on what your prospective customer wants. You may have a billion ideas for new products or services. But, if your ideal customer doesn’t want any of them, they are all useless. Know your ideal customer intimately. Get to know their pain points, their desires, their commitments. Use those for ideas on what products and services your leads want.
- Be the expert your prospects can rely on. People want to buy from people they can trust. Positioning yourself as an expert in your field helps build the trust of people looking for your product or service. You can gain the expert position by offering helpful tips, knowledgeable advice, and key industry information that would be of interest to your ideal customer.
- Provide multiple levels of involvement. Do you interact with the people in your life in only one way? You probably see them face-to-face, talk on the phone, exchange emails, and follow them on social media. Your customers want this multi-level form of involvement from you as a business. It helps build trust and makes it easier for them to become a customer.
- Interact with your prospects. Remember communication is a two-way street. Your potential customers want to interact with you, even online. This can take a ton of forms, including interacting on social media, personal email communication, personalized marketing material, and webinars. Interaction builds trust and gets people to become leads.
If you implement each item on this list, you will start seeing well-qualified leads coming from your online efforts. And small business experts will tell you that you have a great start on taking your company to the next level.
How do you go about generating leads online?