Featured Blog: Strategic Business Owner DOs and DON’Ts

At The Growth Coach, we work to help people improve their business, find more success and balance their lives, but most of it essentially comes down to one major thing: the strategic mindset. Embracing a strategic mindset can be a difficult task, especially for small business owners who are continuously wrapped-up in the technical elements of the business. But stepping back and working ON your business instead of IN your business is vital to your success now and to your ability value and sell your business, or pass it on to a family member, later.

So what does a strategic business owner or a strategic leader look like? Glenn Smith, the Growth Coach of Houston, posted a wonderful blog earlier this week giving a run-down about what strategic business owners do and, maybe more importantly, what they do NOT do. Some highlights from the to-do list include working smarter, leveraging the talents of your team and developing business plans and systems. Some of the not-to-do items are things like being a micromanager, working too much in the technical part of the business and having a jack-of-all-trades outlook.

Check out Glenn Smith’s blog for his full run-down – and to see what changes you can make for lasting improvements: http://www.thegrowthcoachhouston.com/becoming-a-strategic-business-owner-dos-and-donts/.

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Improve Your Business by Creating and Embracing Synergy

SynergySynergy. If you’re in business, it’s a word that has great meaning and huge potential positive impact. To have synergy means that two or more people are working together to the mutual benefit of both. Simply, it means you’re clicking with the people you’re working with. You’re in a groove together.

Everyone knows what it’s like to have synergy. You’re working on a project with someone or a group of people, you’re feeding off each other’s ideas and insights, you’re getting some serious work accomplished and – usually – it’s exciting and you have a great time. Here’s a good example: The Growth Coach just held the company’s annual national conference and, especially between the sessions when the coaches had a chance to chat, the synergy was amazing. We had coaches sharing ideas and best practices, veteran coaches working through issues with new coaches, newer coaches sharing some new ideas that have worked well… The synergy was outstanding.

Of course a meeting of the minds doesn’t have to happen just at a national conference. Sometimes it’s as simple as getting together with a few fellow chamber members for breakfast or having lunch with a mentor. Let’s face it, we’re all overwhelmed and over-worked and, if you’re a business owner, everything that goes on in that business is close to your heart. It can be difficult to make solid decisions, especially big decisions, without the insight of other people who understand your challenges.

Step back and take a look at the business people in your network. Who do you click with? Who do you enjoy meeting for lunch? Could two or three of you get together to talk about business development? Could their leadership experience help you make that big staff decision? Would your accounting background help them figure out which direction to take their bookkeeping?

No matter where you live or what community you serve, growth and development is vital to a healthy business. Rather than wait until your business feels stagnant and you’re low on inspiration, set up a standing lunch meeting with some of the people in that close network and see what you can accomplish by sharing and discussing ideas!

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Learning to Break the Chains and Love Your Business Again

HeartBizWhen you first open a new business, you’re passionate and excited. You have plans for what you’re going to sell, how you’re going to attract customers and how you’re going to grow the company for the first couple of years. But for all too many business owners, working six days a weeks and barely getting by quickly starts to feel like handcuffs. If you’ve fallen into that trap, it’s time to break the chains and learn to love your business again!

Here are a few tips to help you think – and act – like a CEO, which will help you take the first step toward OWNING a business instead of RUNNING a business.

Create Business Systems

Are you feeling out of control when you’re working in your business? Take a step back and consider whether or not you have adequate business systems in place. Business systems are an important part of creating a business that runs effectively. Many owners don’t know how to put together or re-create business systems. Operating a business without systems can easily make you feel trapped. Focus on ways to organize and delegate jobs within the business and get yourself out of the daily operations. Be a CEO instead of a Chief Everything Officer.

Be a Better Leader

Many business owners mistake leadership for doer-ship. Being a great leader does NOT mean being involved in every element of your business and micromanaging. You have to hire solid employees and trust them to do a great job. You can’t be a lone wolf and a great leader. Act like a business owner and use those newly created or retooled business systems to delegate and trusts others to help run your business.


Of course not all the jobs within your business can be delegated. There are certain things you want to do yourself. But remember that just because you’re busy doesn’t mean you’re actually accomplishing anything. You need to focus on working smarter rather than harder. Consider what you’re spending you’re time on and decide which tasks best deserve your energy.

Embrace Growing Complexities

As your business grows, so do the everyday demands. Things get more complex and complicated. Without strong leadership skills and business systems, these growing changes can be very stressful. Although this is part of any business’ general growing pains. The best solution for owners is to plan for growth and understand the evolving nature of your business.

Technical Tendencies

Even if you have all your business systems and leadership skills up and running in full force, you could still be setting yourself back by being too much of a technician. Most small business owners are former technicians and going from technician to entrepreneur can be tough. Break out of your comfort zone, leave the daily technical operations to your staff and spend your time being a CEO.

If these five tips don’t help you break the chains and feel less imprisoned by your business, then it’s time to consider working with one of our Growth Coaches. Set up a free consultation now: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/TalkwithaCoach/tabid/389/Default.aspx

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The Power of Referrals and Recommendations – and How to Ask for Them

thumbs upIn any business, a solid referral usually means additional customers and subsequent growth. It’s the snowball effect of a great service experience! Of course that’s only true if the customer who had the great experience does one or both of two things: refers someone who would benefit from your company and tells others about the great experience they had.

So where do you start? The answer: With a simple question. If someone has a great experience with your business, be willing to ask if they know someone who could benefit from your services. Or, with the continually growing popular of LinkedIn among business professionals, ask for an online recommendation!

Here’s how to get started…

Once your services have been provided to the customer or client, make a short follow-up call. Ask them if the service they received from you was what they expected and how satisfied the experience left them. If the answer is positive, it’s time to ask if they know someone else who might be interested in hiring your business. Explain the importance of referrals, but make sure the client doesn’t feel pressured or uncomfortable.

Another great way to grow your business through satisfied customers is to ask for an online recommendation. There are websites everywhere for reviews and comments, but if you want something a little more personal, ask your satisfied customer to recommend you on LinkedIn. Recommendations on LinkedIn are directly tied to a person’s profile and often seen by that person’s professional and personal connections. If the person you’ve done business with is satisfied and on LinkedIn, go ahead and ask to connect through the LinkedIn search. From there you can network with that client and send a request for a recommendation. Individuals, business and services can all be recommended on LinkedIn, so make sure your request is specific and personal. And remember – you have final approval about which recommendations go up. This is an especially great way to find new customers and build online credibility, especially with the business professional crowd.

Here are some additional ways you can ask for a referral or a recommendation:

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is entirely completed and then place your personal link on your business cards and website with a quick message such as: “If you were satisfied with our services, please recommend us on LinkedIn.”
  • Add a line to your invoices asking for referrals or recommendations.
  •  Include “PS: If you know someone who could benefit from our services, please let us know!” to your customer letters.
  • Update your signature line in your email to ask for referrals or recommendations.

Once you have a referral or recommendation, consider sending your client with a thank you card and maybe include a gift such as cash rewards, gift cards or free additional services. Your thank you doesn’t have to be of monetary value, but it’s important to show your appreciation!

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Resolution for 2014: Making Lasting Business Improvements

ResolutionAre you the resolution type? With 2014 freshly upon us, have you made commitments to make this year better than the last? And are you going to stick to those resolutions this year or will they be abandoned by spring?

All too often, making resolutions is easier said than done, but The Growth Coach would like to offer up a resolution challenge this year for those willing to step up: rather than focusing on something like losing weight or eating better, commit to making lasting improvements in your business. It’s a new year, which means it’s the perfect time to start writing a new chapter in your life.

Let’s get started:

- Looking back at 2013, what didn’t work? And just as importantly, what DID work and how can you capitalize on the success?

- If someone were to buy your business, what would their concerns be? Do you share those same concerns? How do you fix it?

- When something goes wrong with your business, do you take responsibility or do you make excuses and place blame elsewhere?

- Are there any decisions you’ve put off making that you can move forward in the first quarter of this year?

- If you want to improve your business, you have to improve yourself. When was the last time you invested in professional development for you or your staff?

Depending on how you answered each of those questions, you should have a great starting point for making improvements for 2014. But our resolution challenge is about more than finding success, it’s also about learning to balance business and life. As you move toward greater business stability, make sure you set aside quality time to spend with your family and friends and to do the things you love outside of work! Being a successful business owner is about more than having a profitable company – it’s also about having a balanced and happy life.

If you have any challenges keeping to this resolution – or finding a ways to meet the challenges – reach out to your local Growth Coach for a free consultation: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/TalkwithaCoach/tabid/389/Default.aspx.

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Balancing Life and Spending Time with Family

FindBalanceThe holidays are notoriously tough for everyone, but especially so for business owners. There are busy days, days when the business is closed, times when you need to be off work, times when your employees need off and more. It’s easy to get wrapped up when you’re busy working, planning and running the business, but you have to slow down!

The holidays, regardless of your religion, are a time to step back and take time to focus on family and friends. How will you be spending your holidays? Have you figured out how to take the time off that you need while still running a successful business? For many owners, it’s all about having the right systems.

Business systems are an important part of creating and effective, efficient and profitable business. Many owners aren’t sure how to design a good business system or how to re-design the one they already have and that means the policies and procedures that allow for a well-organized and smoothly running business are often not in place. This can easily cause an “out of control” feeling. Focus on examining your business systems and making gradual improvements over time. Make sure to also find ways to pass small tasks onto other members of your business team. If your business is too owner-dependent, it can hold you back, especially during busy times and times when you want time off!

You can also free yourself from your business by improving your leadership and delegation skills. Many business owners forgo leadership for doer-ship because they know how they want things to be done and, as a result, end up micromanaging their staff. Instead of delegating tasks, they act like employees instead of owners. You need to make sure you have a business – not just a hectic job! Make sure you take the time to delegate small and unimportant tasks and work on trusting others. If you can ensure those smaller tasks to your staff and managers, you can avoid headaches and find more freedom.

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Six Tips for 2014 Planning

TooBusyWith the New Year just a few weeks away and the holidays fast approaching, it’s time to sit down and think about what you can do to have a great 2014. Of course working with your local Growth Coach is a great way to create a strategic plan and dedicated business systems, but here are six tips you can start with right now.

De-Clutter: Take a look at your life AND your business. It’s important to clear your office and business of useless clutter, but it’s also important to de-clutter your schedule. Are you focusing on unimportant tasks? Is that holding your business back? Figure out what tasks you need to focus upon and which you need to delegate to someone else.

Implement Team Huddles: It’s crucial to take time to meet with your managers and employees throughout the week. Try having 15-minute team huddles two or three times a week to discuss the goals, challenges and accomplishments of the week. Having everyone on the same page will provide the whole team with clarity and empowerment.

Focus on Marketing and Selling: Even the very best technician can’t run a successful business without marketing and product/service selling. What are you doing to best market your business? Consider what affordable marketing strategies you can implement over the next year. Here are a few low cost ideas: http://growthcoachblog.com/2013/02/28/5-low-cost-marketing-strategies/.

Stop Worrying: They say you are what you think about, so if you’re worrying, you can’t be focusing on making your business the best it can be. Successful business leaders need to focus on what they want to happen, not what they DON’T want to happen. So stop worrying!

Become Less Important: If you can’t take a vacation from your business, you’re too important. You should own a business, not just a really demanding job!  The Growth Coach can help you figure out what changes you need to make to free you from your business, including implementing stronger business systems.

Say No: To become a more effective entrepreneur or business owner, you must learn to say “no” to people and tasks. You shouldn’t be a chief everything officer or someone who wears every hat in the business. You should OWN the business, not RUN it. Figure out which tasks are most important and delegate the ones that are not.

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Thanks for Thanksgiving

Thanks2013Every year when Thanksgiving rolls around, we’re inspired to look within and consider the things we should be thankful for in life and in business. But it’s also important to take the time this season as a way to consider all your hard work this year and celebrate the strides you’ve made, both large and small – to look back and recognize the achievements you’ve made, especially over the last year. This year, as you celebrate Thanksgiving with your family and friends, remember to celebrate yourself as well and take a few days off!

What’s that? You can’t leave your business unattended? You don’t have someone who can fill in and you don’t want to close up shop? If that’s the case, then dedicate 2014 to putting strategies and plans in place to become a chief executive officer that owns the business instead of a chief everything officer who handles every aspect of the business. Your local Growth Coach can help with that.

In the meantime, if you can’t take a full-fledged break from the business, at least give yourself some small reprieves. Take 15 minutes each day for a strategic time out. Use this time to reflect and re-energize. Commit to planning time to spend with family and friends. Understand what you need to be happy and take breaks when you need them!

Don’t forget to celebrate your business, your family, and all the blessings in your life this holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving!

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The Growth Coach Says Thank You to Veterans

It’s always important to thank the members of our military for the work they do every day, but it’s especially crucial on Veterans Day. So first let us take a moment to say THANK YOU to all of our veteran franchise owners and clients as well as all our veterans through the United States. Each and every one of you is a vital part of protecting freedom in America and around the world and we appreciate it!

Lisa Carr

Lisa Carr

In honor of Veterans Day, The Growth Coach would like to highlight a few of our franchise owners with military backgrounds and show why they think the company is a great option for veterans.

One of our newest owners, Lisa Carr, just retired from the military and learned about The Growth Coach during her exit process. In addition the leadership and training experience she brings to her franchise, she also provides a different perspective for her clients.

“Our office team offered educational opportunities through venues such as classroom and seminars. We delivered these offerings all across the United States and abroad. Working the relationships to set up and deliver these sessions successfully has provided me with insight that will be extremely beneficial to The Growth Coach of New Hampshire,” Carr said. “I’ll be able to help my clients see the broader picture – the global picture – of the struggles they’re facing and they improvements they can make moving forward.”

Tahera Lloyd

Tahera Lloyd

Another veteran, Tahera Lloyd, turned to The Growth Coach as a way to start an encore career, own a business and make a positive impact on her community of Pearland, Texas.

“When I left the military, I didn’t want to turn around and get a job working for someone else. In the military, we play hard, but we work even harder and we know business comes first. As a Growth Coach owner with my husband Phil, I know my work will make a difference and we’ll be the ones to reap the benefits,” she said.

Dan Gilbert, also a recent owner and veteran, helped expand the company to his territory of Gastonia, North Carolina.

“The accountability mindset of The Growth Coach is very familiar with what you learn in the military. It’s about stepping up and doing something – getting out of something what you put into it – and that’s perfectly suited for someone who has been in the military,” he said. “The Growth Coach is different because the coaching strategy is based in reality. There are no quick fixes. We meet the customers where they are and the success of both of us is driven by mutual hard work.”

Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert

Gilbert said veterans, especially those who recently left the service, also will find that the structure of the company includes a welcome support system reminiscent of a military base.

“At The Growth Coach, you have a strong network of people and systems intended to help you succeed. It’s certainly not the same as working or living on a base, but you can always pick up the phone and ask someone for help or for advice. The company is there for you. It’s not dog-eat-dog because it’s all about mutual success. My success as The Growth Coach of Gastonia doesn’t negatively affect another owner in another territory and that creates a great community among owners,” he said.

For more information or to learn about opening your own Growth Coach, visit www.TheGrowthCoach.com or call 855-300-COACH.

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How Understanding Personalities Can Make You a Better Leader, Team Member

DISC MapWhen you’re working with others – especially people who are leaders in their field – it’s important to know what kind of personality you’re facing. Even though you can’t just hand them a DISC assessment, you can still use those same principles to your advantage.

A DISC assessment is a behavior test that evaluates your personality traits including:  Dominance/Drive, Inducement/Influence, Submission/Steadiness and Compliance/Conscientiousness and gives you a percentage of each. Here’s what each of those identifiers means:

D: How you deal with problems, assert yourself and control situations.

I: The way you deal with people as well as how you communicate and relate to others.

S: Describes your temperament, including patience, persistence and thoughtfulness.

C: Looks at how you approach and manage activities, procedures and responsibilities.

Here are some suggestions on working with people of each DISC style…

High D-style – Outgoing and Task-Oriented

A person who is a “D” type is going to be outgoing, task-oriented and focused on accomplishing projects and assignments. They are people dedicated to making things happen. The key to developing positive relationships with “D” type people is respect and results. Try setting goals together, helping with the details, holding logical discussions, standing up for yourself and showing appreciation to work best with this person.

High I-Style – Outgoing and People-Oriented

A person who is an “I” type will be outgoing, people-oriented individuals who enjoy socialization and having fun. This type of person values what others think of him or her and the keys to developing a relationship involve admiration and recognition. Working best with this person may involve being sympathetic, offering support and socialization, talking about your emotions and helping with time management.

High S-Style – Reserved and People-Oriented

An “S” type individual will more of a reserved, people-oriented person who enjoys relationships, helping/supporting others and working in team environments. They value friendliness and sincere appreciation. Someone who is an “S” type will work best with you if you’re willing to spend time with them, keep to small changes, listen to them and show appreciation for a job well done.

High C-Style – Reserved and Task-Oriented

Someone who is a “C” individual seeks value, consistency and quality information. They’re focused on accuracy and they value trust and integrity. First things first, if you’re working with a “C” type person, keep your workspace neat and clean and provide a safe place for expression. You’ll also want to be specific with communications, create routines and be thoughtful with your conversations.

Of course truly understanding a DISC assessment starts with taking one! Find your local Growth Coach to take a test: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/LocateaCoach/tabid/210/Default.aspx.

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