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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4 Steps to Effective Sales Communication

SalesCommunication

Every entrepreneur has to be a good salesperson. From pitching to investors to selling your product or service, getting people to understand the value you provide is a never-ending task. Of course not every great technician or business manager is a great sales person – so what do you do?

First, let’s look at how you’re selling right now:

On a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being excellent, how would you rate your selling abilities? What about your confidence, effectiveness and success rate? If you have a sales team within your business, how well are they doing? Be honest with yourself on the number you decide – being honest about where you are will help you make the best improvements!

Now that you’ve decided where you are on the sales skills scale, take a step back. Anyone can improve in the sales arena, but if you are at a 7 or below, there’s a great opportunity for growth. And, of course, more sales means more success for you and your business.

The key to being an effective sales person always starts with communication. Consider this four-part process:

1. Establish trust between you and the person you’re selling to.

2. Ask meaningful questions to gain vital insight into what the other person needs and wants.

3. Share relevant information about the products, services and solutions you provide.

4. Reach an agreement on how to proceed.

This four-part process is often called READ: Relate, Establish needs, Advance solutions and Determine the next step. When selling is done right, both parties should come out better post-sale. The person receives a needed product or service and you make a sale. It should always be about helping people define or achieve a better future.

If you need a little help working on your communication skills or selling in general, look into The Growth Coach’s Sales Mastery program: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/BusinessCoachingServices/SalesMastery/tabid/19709/Default.aspx. This proven program is available through Growth Coaches across North America!

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What a Difference One Letter Can Make

This weeks blog comes to us from guest blogger Gary Hartman. Gary, who has more than 10 years experience as a business and sales coach, is the CEO and Head Coach at The Growth Coach in Boulder, Colorado. Gary works with business owners, managers and sales professionals to help them grow their businesses so they earn more and work less.

To learn more about Gary, visit his website at http://westernbusinesscoaching.com/

What a difference one letter can make

ghartman-hikingI was composing an email recently and came to the part at the end where I was asking the person to do something.  I was going to ask “Could you please…..”?  Instead, I decided to ask “Would you please…..”?  Now there’s a subtle difference, isn’t there?  If I asked Could, it leaves the decision entirely up to them…it’s about their choice.  If I asked Would, they can still choose but now I’ve made it a request – a little more about what I wanted.  In a polite way, it puts a bit more pressure on them to consider the request from my point of view as well as theirs.

Similar logic applies when you are thinking about doing something.  “I would…” dreams that maybe, at some point in the future, you might complete whatever it is.  No commitment, no deadline, and allows for a BUT… as a way to not do that.  “I could…” implies more desire, and also allows for a BUT, and that definition of the BUT obstacle allows for a plan of action to overcome it.  “I could…” subtly has the resolve to do it.

An example is about playing the piano (OK, so you’ve never dreamed of playing the piano, but work with me here).  “I would play the piano but I don’t have one”…end of story – let’s you off the hook.  “I could play the piano but I don’t have one”…begs the next question, “so what are you going to do about it”.  It leaves you with the demand for an action step to overcome that problem and get it accomplished.

What’s the point?  When you ask yourself if you would do something, think instead if you could do it.  Be like the little engine that Could!

For more about The Growth Coach, the #1 Business Coaching Franchise, visit http://www.TheGrowthCoach.com.

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Secrets to Success Part Three: Communication

CommunicationOver the course of our last two Growth Coach blog posts, we’ve been looking at the T.L.C.s of successful business management – Time, Leadership and Communication.

We’ve talked about how time is a truly limited resource and how successful business leaders delegate minor and de-prioritize minor tasks. We’ve also addressed that great leaders focus on ensuring that team members want to do what needs to be done to make a company more successful. The final element of TLC is Communication.

Being a great communicator is really like being an artist and the key  is speak with the purpose of expressing instead of impressing. We all know the individuals that just love to talk. They speak in terms which are often vague and sometimes meaningless. You can ask these people for the time of the day and suddenly you’re in the middle of a 30 minute lecture on how to build a watch. Speaking to impress builds gaps, speaking to express builds bridges.

Additionally, great communicators make sure they have earned the right to speak on any particular subject matter. It’s difficult to consul someone on a broken heart if you’ve never had one.

When communicating with your staff, subordinates, superiors, etc., remember that communication does not simply mean being understood, but also understanding others. Properly chosen words are a powerful tool and, if you can communicate those words with true passion, that’s more powerful still. Your audience may not remember everything you said, but they will remember how you made them feel.

It has been said that the real art of communication is not only to say the right thing in the right place, but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment. Always make sure the things you say are said the way you mean them to be heard.

If you’re having trouble being the communicator of your business, consider one of our group workshops: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/TalkwithaCoach/tabid/389/Default.aspx.

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Secrets to Success Part Two: Leadership

LeadershipEvery business owner has their own tricks of the trade, but the essential skills they all need to master fall under T.L.C. – Time, Leadership and Communication.

In our last blog post, we looked at the challenges and solutions involved with time management. We talked about the importance of identifying minor tasks and trusting others to help you manage small jobs. This week, we’re going to talk about what it means to be a leader.

Leadership is more than being able to effectively manage your staff and the growth of your business. A true leader’s fundamental role has been – and shall continue to remain – making people capable of joint performance through common goals and values. The key to being a great leader is not to get people to do what you want them to do. It’s about getting those people to WANT to do what you want them to do.

One of the best ways to inspire that personal growth in your team is to make them feel appreciated and let them know how they are contributing to the whole of the team. Learn to praise in public and, if necessary, reprimand only in private. Make a practice of including your staff in the decision making process. Develop, set and exemplify common goals, shared values and simple, clear and unifying objectives to which everyone in the organizations can commit.

When your employees and team members feel like they are part of the success of your business and that their decisions make a positive impact on the company, they are more likely to put their best into their work every day.

If you are a larger organization, it’s also important to inspire your managers to be great leaders. If that’s an area where your team could use a little help, check out The Growth Coach’s strategic manager program: http://www.thegrowthcoach.com/Programs/BusinessCoachingServices/StrategicManager/tabid/19708/Default.aspx.

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