Setting Up Employees for Success

January is always a big time for hiring and onboarding new employees, even in a world where everyone is looking for help. But finding and hiring the right people is only a part of the battle. If you don’t set them up for success, foster them as members of your team and help them grow, you’ll be posting that job again in just a few months.

At the Growth Coach, we have programs designed to help you train your managers, build your staff, use personality insights strengthen your teams and much more. But if you’re hiring someone next week and you haven’t started working with a coach yet, you’ll need some tips out the gate. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, it’s a great place to start.

Assuming you’ve gone through the hiring and negotiation process and you’re preparing for your employee’s first day, it’s important to be clear about your expectations for things that might seem simple – what should he or she wear, what kind of paperwork do they need to bring on the first day, when should they expect to arrive and leave for the day, etc. Depending on the kind of business you run, you might also want to schedule meet-and-greet meetings with other members of your staff to start things off on a welcoming foot.

Once that first day is under your belt, set your new employee up for some early wins. Give them meaningful tasks that can make a big impact, both to help them feel like part of the team quickly and to build their confidence as a new staff member. This will also give you a sense of their workflow, how quickly they work, the kinds of management they require and so forth.

It’s also important to take time to understand your new employee’s preferred communication and management style. No one wants to be called a micromanager, but perhaps your new employee enjoys that kind of constant feedback that comes with their manager having a hand in their day-to-day work. Maybe your new staff member is quiet in meetings, but does a great job summarizing their thoughts in an email.

Next, make time to help your employee continue to learn and acquire new skills. Employees – especially younger ones – are hungry for continuous improvement and professional development. Giving them the opportunity to grow and stretch their legs, while continuing to do the work you hired them to do, can pay dividends for your company and your employee retention. New employees can bring tremendous value to your organization – let them show you what you could be missing.  

Last, and certainly not least, coach your new employee and offer feedback whenever there’s an opportunity. Most people like to know what’s going well – and what could be improved upon – well before a formal review. Don’t wait and waste the investment you’ve made into this new employee by simply being out of touch.

If your company’s onboarding process could use a revamp – or your managers need help making these suggestions a reality – your local Growth Coach can help. Learn more at https://www.thegrowthcoach.com/find-a-coach.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Setting Up Employees for Success

Find Your Focus Before the New Year

If you look at previous December blog posts, even going back 10 years, you’ll see we often talk about a lot of the same topics at this time of the year – evaluating the your goals, setting new goals, thinking about 90-day goals, celebrating your successes over the last year, etc. This year, we’re going to lead with something a little different: ending the year by renewing your focus.

We’re talking about Focus this year because it’s important to realize that, without focus, evaluating, setting goals or trying to start the new year on the right foot is an uphill battle.

Before we get started, we want to clarify that we’re talking about your overall focus on your business, your personal life and the balance between the two. We’re not talking about turning off your email so you can tackle a big project or getting up for a glass of water when you get stuck. In this post, we’re talking about the big picture.

Basics: As our businesses grow and evolve, they often get more complex. Sometimes that complexity is good because it allows you to have a variety of revenue streams and to adapt, but sometimes it makes it too hard to wrap our arms around the challenges we’re facing. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and your business is struggling, even if it’s not financially, it’s time to get back to the basics. Where did you start, what are your key products and services, and what do you need to do to build a successful future? We’re not saying make a slew of tough decisions all at once, but start peeling back the layers until you find your bedrock. Having your feet firmly on that bedrock is the first step to finding your focus.

Step Back: Once you’re back to that bedrock, it should be pretty easy to see which parts of the business are struggling and, perhaps more important, which ones stand entirely on your shoulders. As a business owner or leader, you can’t be the go-to person for every project, product or service. You have to build out a team to support your company so you can focus on sustainable, responsible growth. You can’t refocus your business if you’re pulled in too many directions. Where are your challenges and opportunities and where can you push to keep your feet on solid ground?

Rebuild Your Vision: Stepping back and finding that bedrock is a huge part of what we do with our clients at The Growth Coach, but once you find that clarity, what do you do next? That’s where you start thinking about what you actually want out of your business so you can start setting goals and creating plans to reach and exceed those goals. We won’t spend too much time on goals here – we’ll get to that in January – but now is a good time to check in with yourself and think about what your vision should be moving forward.

Make Time: This is the most important part of finding your focus. You’re busy – we’re all busy – but you have make time to find evaluate, find focus and set goals. You have to make time for your business, yourself and your family. You have to set boundaries and create business systems to keep those boundaries intact. For some, that comes down to creating schedules, setting out of office reminders and taking real vacations. For others, it’s just taking yourself out to lunch or meeting a friend for coffee. Owning a business isn’t just about the bottom line – it’s about building a future and you need focus to get there.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Find Your Focus Before the New Year

Combat Turnover with Mission-Based Leadership

The job market is tough right now. Everyone is hiring, pay is competitive and many employers are offering bonuses to get the right employees in the door. But once you’ve hired someone and invested in their onboarding and training, how can you convince them to stay when there are so many other opportunities?

At The Growth Coach, many of our clients are facing the same kinds of staffing challenges. While some businesses focus specifically on pay-driven success – like restaurants – many companies and organizations can leverage something more than pay: mission.

When employees are considering whether or not to stay at a current company or in a current job, they weigh a variety of factors: How happy are they at work? Are they making a competitive wage for the job? Does the wage allow them to live the life they want to live? Does the flexibility of the job match their priorities? Do they feel good about the work they’re doing? Does the mission of the company or organization speak to their professional and personal goals?

It’s this last one that we want to talk about. We all spend a lot of time at work and, for many of us, it’s important that we feel like the work we’re doing is making an impact on others and the world. Of course everyone wants to be rewarded for their work and have flexibility in their jobs, but if your mission is strong enough, it often becomes a guiding light and a priority for employees too.

Now ask yourself this: Do your employees understand your mission? Are you and your leadership team regularly reminding your team how the work they do every day helps the company strive toward that mission? Most importantly… do you understand your mission?

A mission isn’t just your goal as the owner of a company – it’s OK if you just want financial success – but the problem your company is trying to solve. What is the end goal of the service or product you’re selling? For example, if you own a nail salon, is your goal to see as many clients as possible or to help as many people relax and love their nails as possible? It’s all about the approach you’re taking and how that approach aligns with your leadership, your staff and the decisions you make about your company.

If you’ve lost sight of the mission of your company, there’s a good chance you’re as burned out as your employees. It’s time step back and find your why again. Reach out to your local Growth Coach, not just for yourself and your employees, but for the employees you’re hoping to hire too.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Combat Turnover with Mission-Based Leadership

It’s the Fourth Quarter: What’s the Score?

In football, if you’re behind in the fourth quarter, you have to rally your team, buckle down and, sometimes, go for the Hail Mary. That’s because, when that countdown clock hits zero, the final score is the final score. Win or lose.

The fourth quarter in business isn’t the same game at all. Sure, of course you want to finish the year strong and you can pull out all the stops for an amazing holiday season, but you aren’t looking for a winning score on December 31. You are looking for a pattern of continuous improvement and growth that will carry you into the next year, the next five years and beyond.

So today, rather than look at the fourth quarter of the year as the “end,” we want you to check in with yourself, evaluate your goals, consider what you can do with the time that’s left in 2021 and really start building that foundation for 2022. If you are setting 90-day goals, you have plenty of time to hit some awesome milestones in January to start the year strong.

Where do you start? First of all, head into that proverbial locker room to clear your head. Take yourself out to breakfast, silence your phone and take the time to evaluate the big picture of your business. Schedule a time to meet with yourself. Lock the office door. Leave early and sit at the park. Whatever works for you, you need that time away from your day-to-day and, yes, your email, to find honesty and perspective.

Ask yourself the big, important questions, even if you inherently know the answers. What goals did you set for 2021? How are those goals coming? What were your strengths? What went really well? Where did you fall short? What challenges is your business facing right now? How has that impacted your progress? What can you change moving forward?

Once you have those answers in front of you, think about the last 90 days and the next 90 days. What have you done that has really worked in the last three months? Could you build off of that success for the next three months? What goals can you reimagine for today’s challenges and opportunities?  

The importance of asking yourself these questions is not just to plan out the next 90 days and get ready to jump into 2022, but also to practice building a more strategic mindset. You have to get off the dance floor. You have to get out of the weeds. You have to see the forest. Whatever idiom you want to use – it’s important. Taking a step back to see your progress and make honest, data-driven decisions is how you’ll build a successful future. If you need help reaching that point, The Growth Coach is here: https://www.thegrowthcoach.com/find-a-coach.

Posted in Business Coaching | Comments Off on It’s the Fourth Quarter: What’s the Score?

Your Business’ Health Depends on Your Mental Health

There’s no denying that it has been a whirlwind 18 months and, for business owners, the demands have been non-stop. From closures to staffing to supplies to mandates, just keeping the doors open is an 80-hour-a-week job. But no one can keep that up forever.

As Growth Coaches, we see burnout all the time, but the crises surrounding COVID-19 have brought it to a fever pitch in a way we haven’t seen since 2008. It’s time to take a stand for your own mental health and the health of your business. Just like with your regular health, you can’t wait until you’re dying to ask for help. Don’t wait until it’s too late.

First of all, a public service announcement: if you are truly struggling in a way that’s impacting more than your business, please reach out to mental health professional. While we are passionate about business and the way your mindset impacts your company, we want you to get the right help. With that out in the open, here’s where we start with our clients and with our own businesses…

Step back. Before you can even assess your current situation, both mentally and with your business, you have to be able to see the forest. You have to get out of the trees. We know it’s hard – you’re short staffed, your supplies are running low, you’ve lost your best manager – but it’s critical that you find a way to step away from your business and take an objective look at your successes, your challenges, your goals and your shortcomings.

The next step comes down to mindset. Are you swimming in the challenges? Are you forgetting to celebrate your successes? It’s easy to pity yourself and use something like COVID as an excuse, but businesses have always had to focus on change, growth and challenges to be successful. It’s time to retool your mindset and, at The Growth Coach, we suggest creating 90-Day Goals. Don’t waste your time worrying about how close we are to the end of the year or what you’re going to do in 2022. Just think about the next three months.

Now that you’ve taken a step back, gotten your mindset in order and created goals, it’s time to trust your team and empower them to help you reach those goals. And, if you can’t trust them to run the company in a way that helps you meet those goals, it’s time to take a look at your staffing, your systems and your leadership.

And that brings us to balance. We know starting a business is crazy. We know the last year and a half has been unprecedented. We know you are killing yourself to keep this dream alive. But we have to ask you something… What’s your why? And what’s the point of all of this if you lose everything else in the process? We understand what it’s like to have a dream and to sometimes feel like it’s slipping through your fingers, but we’ve seen too many business owners find themselves burned out and miserable because they didn’t focus on creating balance.

If you’re having trouble with keeping your business healthy by focusing on your own mental health, your local Growth Coach can help. Find them online at https://www.thegrowthcoach.com/find-a-coach.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Your Business’ Health Depends on Your Mental Health

Dear Business Owner: You Need a Vacation

You need a vacation. Not a checking-my-phone-all-the-time-because-I’m-home-anyway vacation. A real vacation. A get-the-heck-out-of-dodge vacation. A night-time-at-a-campfire-in-the-wood vacation. A day-drink-on-the-beach vacation. Whatever strikes your fancy – and you feel like you can do safely – go.

Getting business owners and entrepreneurs to take time off to recharge has always been difficult, but when you tack on 2020 and the way we’ve all learned to work from anywhere, people are having more trouble than ever unplugging. What makes this even more interested is that the COVID-19 pandemic gave us a fresh perspective on spending time with family, traveling and truly appreciating every day… so what’s the problem? Why can’t we just take our own advice and go?

Sure, finances might not be what they were in 2019 and maybe you’re not as well staffed as you were 18 months ago, but at The Growth Coach, we think the real issue is the same as it’s always been… Business owners are so entrenched in the day-to-day operations of their business that they don’t feel like they can get away to relax and recharge. Sound familiar? If this strikes a chord with you, we have some suggestions to help you get to the beach, or the woods, or wherever you want to be on your next vacation.

First of all, you need to hire and train great team members. It’s important to be able to delegate your work to someone on your staff, but if you don’t trust your team to run the business without you, you’re not going to relax anyway. So start at the bottom, find the right people to run and staff your business and onboard them with the right training and systems. Make sure they feel like they can operate the company without asking you 1,000 questions every day.

Secondly, delegate the work and trust your staff to run the business without you. We know it’s hard, but half the battle here is making them feel like you are confident in their abilities. Create systems they can use and trust them to use those systems in the best way possible. The bonus here is, once those systems and leaders are in place, you’ll find that you’re able to take more time out of the office to build your company rather than run the operations in the future.

Thirdly, practice. This is more for you than for your team. If you’re having a hard time imagining how the business can operate without you for a week or two, try taking the afternoon off. Try taking a long weekend. Try calling in sick and seeing how it goes. This isn’t a test for your team – don’t make them nervous. This is a low-risk way for you to reprogram your brain into realizing you aren’t always the lynchpin.

So why is taking a vacation so important anyway? When you are deep in the everyday operations of your business, you aren’t able to step back to see the big picture, you can’t take time to imagine and innovate and you aren’t your most creative self. You’re going to burn yourself out. Vacation is as important for you as it is for your business and your employees. If you don’t feel like you can take a trip – or even a long weekend – this year, it’s time to connect with your local Growth Coach.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dear Business Owner: You Need a Vacation

Four Ways to Engage Your Employees and Improve Your Business

While the last year has impacted businesses and individuals in a million ways, there’s something in the undercurrent we’re all starting to realize – the pandemic has helped us get back to seeing people as people. They’re not numbers. They’re not cogs. They’re individuals with their own motivations, successes, challenges, strengths, weaknesses and needs. As we get to whatever our new normal is going to be, treating those people as individuals is more important to employee engagement, retention and the bottom line than ever. So how do you help everyone be their best? Here are four ways to get started:

The Thank You: In the fast-paced world of business, we sometimes forget to say thank you to our managers, teams, employees and partners. Sure, they are doing the work you’re paying them to do, but if you show your appreciation, chances are that they’ll do that job even better. When was the last time you took someone to a (safe) lunch not for a business meeting, but just as a genuine thank you? When was the last time you thanked someone openly in a meeting for something great they did? Taking the time to say thank you makes a big difference.

The Note: While a verbal thank you is awesome, taking the time to create a handwritten thank you note can go even further. Write it yourself – don’t have your assistant do it – and call out the specific things you are thankful for. A simple “thank you for all you do” is great, but it gets old quickly. Sometime like, “thank you for the work you did to make our campaign a success” is much stronger and, if you can call out specific tasks that your team member did, that’s even better.

The Team Gathering: Depending on your individual company, you might not be ready to have a company party – and your team members could be spread around the world – but what can you do to get them together for something more than a meeting? Could you or your managers host small group parties or get everyone together for a happy hour, even on Zoom? Many companies have been doing this throughout the pandemic, but as we return to a more regular working environment, it’s important not to lose out on the togetherness our teams have built while we were apart.

The Conversations: This often goes unnoticed, but as we see more of each other, take time to truly talk to people. How are they doing? How is their work going? How is their family? How are they doing with coming back to work? Is there anything the company can do to make the new normal feel, well, normal? The conversation between leadership and employees is a three-way success story – you’ll get to know your team members better, they might give you some great ideas for improving the workplace and they’ll appreciate that you took the time to have a real conversation that’s not just about the next project.

If you need more ways to connect with your team or your culture is struggling post pandemic, we can help. Find your local Growth Coach at https://www.thegrowthcoach.com/find-a-coach.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Four Ways to Engage Your Employees and Improve Your Business

The Growth Coach Partners with RevLocal to Offer Digital Marketing Solutions

For more than 20 years, The Growth Coach has been helping the owners and leaders of small- and medium-sized businesses to build stronger businesses and find balance. Now the business and sales coaching company is excited to announce that, through a new partnership with RevLocal, local coaches will also be able to provide clients with trusted, robust digital marketing solutions.

RevLocal is a digital marketing agency that was founded in 2010. Their focus is on building success through strong relationships and positive experiences. This allows business owners to focus on the other areas while RevLocal works on their online/digital marketing presence, which can sometimes be the most overwhelming part of developing a business in the digital age.

As a major coaching franchise, what made The Growth Coach choose to work with RevLocal? Because RevLocal is flexible, honest, transparent, dedicated and data-driven – all elements that are directly in line with the priorities of The Growth Coach.

First, RevLocal doesn’t expect clients to sign long-term contracts. They understand that clients want control over how long you work with an agency based on how they are hitting goals and expectations. Without a long-term contract, RevLocal is constantly working to earn – and keep – their clients. This speaks to one of The Growth Coach’s key tenants: accountability. RevLocal also has dedicated account managers, meaning clients have the opportunity to develop relationships based on their business needs.

Secondly, RevLocal’s dedicated account managers don’t set clients on a pre-set plan. Sure, there are some best practices for every business, but no two businesses are the same. Much like Growth Coaches use the tools in their toolbox to coach business owners and leaders to greater success, RevLocal uses their vast knowledge of digital marketing and accompanying tools to build an online presence.

Finally, they are honest. They provide clients with hard data about how initiatives are performing, what’s working and what’s not, what they can adjust and what’s making a big difference. Because of this honestly, they also aren’t going to make false promises – like getting businesses to the top of Google with SEO alone.

The Growth Coach is looking forward to working with RevLocal and providing clients with digital marketing solutions that work.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Growth Coach Partners with RevLocal to Offer Digital Marketing Solutions

Developing Innovative, Collaborative Teams

While small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and our culture across America, no entrepreneur can do it successfully alone – at least not for long. We all need a corps of team members who are able to work together, innovate together, thrive together and take our companies to the next level. You can’t work on your business if you’re constantly working in your business.

So how do you build “the right” team? And how to do you keep their momentum moving forward in a world where you might not be doing the same teambuilding activities and department lunches you were doing before? And did those activities even truly make a difference? The good news is that we’ve all found ways to work through the location barriers in a variety of ways and the better news is that, if you build the right team, it doesn’t matter where they are located or whether you can take them to lunch.

It all starts with understanding your team members. What drives them? What motivates them? How do they prefer to work? What are their strengths? What are their weaknesses? How can you build out company teams that help everyone and your company to succeed? And, perhaps most importantly, how can you do all of this as a small business without the human resources team of a large company?

Building the right team is about so much more than behavioral analysis and personality tests. You have to have someone on your side who understands the data and someone who can help you put that data to good use as part of your teambuilding process. That’s why we built our GC Insights program. Sometimes it’s a matter of hiring the right person, but if you’ve already hired and trained a few standout individual employees, it means giving them the right jobs, offering them the right training, putting them on the right team and giving them an opportunity to grow. We can help you get there.

More importantly, building the right teams, training managers and delegating is how you get out of the day-to-day of your business so you can grow your company and enjoy your life.

Let’s explore an example: Kellie owns a marketing company with 12 employees. It’s a small business, but they are doing good work, their clients are coming back and they are on a strong growth trajectory. However, Kellie has a hard time letting go over creating every marketing plan. Is it because she’s passionate about marketing plans? Or has she not built a team she can trust to do that work on their own? And if she micromanages every part of the process, her strongest employees are going to quit and – possibly – start their own firms. If she can create and train a team she trusts to work on their own, she can be out working on getting clients, focusing on branding and recruiting new talent. She can also take a vacation without checking her email every day. It’s not just about building a great team – it’s about building a great team that works seamlessly toward the growth of your business.

If you’re ready to get started, check out The Growth Coach’s GC Insights program or contact your local coach today to learn more: http://thegrowthcoach.com/find-coach/.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Developing Innovative, Collaborative Teams

Growing Your Business Through Partnerships

Owning a business can be a lonely career path – you don’t have traditional colleagues or coworkers, you aren’t going to happy hours with your team and you don’t always have someone you can lean on for support. Mentors can make a big difference in that journey, but in this post we want to talk about another approach – developing partnerships.

Strong partnerships – from referral partnerships to promotional partnerships to actual supply and service partnerships – can truly mean the difference between succeeding alongside another entrepreneur and struggling in your own corner. Before we get started, we want to take a minute to mention that, as Growth Coaches, partnerships are an integral part of our own business journey. Our clients trust us to help them along the path of business growth and personal development. Partnerships are vital to the work we do in communities around the world.

So, when it comes to industry partners, take a look around your community, both locally and within your industry. Who you can develop relationships with to help you both grow your businesses together? For example, if you own a restaurant and you meet another entrepreneur who runs a farmer’s market, is there a way you can work together so that both of your businesses can benefit? Of course you can buy your produce from the farmer’s market, but how can you work together to make sure all boats rise together?  

To get started, consider the best ways to develop partnerships in your community and industry. In most situations, it doesn’t make sense to show up on someone’s doorstep with a proposal you created in a vacuum. Does meeting up at networking events make the most sense? Can you approach the potential partners directly in a email? Do you have a shared colleague or friend? Does it start with a LinkedIn connection? Whatever the best way to approach a potential partner might be, it’s important to be clear about your intentions and to outline the potential overall benefits for your business and for their business. Like in any relationship, trust has to be earned and built. It will take time and effort.

Once you have someone’s interest in a partnership, the next step is to create a strategic plan that benefits both parties equally. Sometimes it makes sense to do a brainstorming session over lunch or coffee. Making sure that both partners are getting the full benefit of the partnership is key to keeping everyone satisfied and moving forward. Perhaps your partnership is promotional? Maybe you buy your produce at the local shop and put their logo in your menu and, in return, they include your logo in their advertising and sell gift cards to your restaurant at their store. Maybe it’s a product trade at a reduced rate? Perhaps it could be a direct referral agreement?

If you’re unable to get something started, that’s OK. Not every approach works out and there are typically other options in the marketplace. Our advice is to look for potential partners who are at your level. If you own a small restaurant, it will be significantly harder to break into Whole Foods than the local grocer. The key is that, by working together, you can grow together.

If you could use help creating these kinds of partnerships and developing strategic plans that align your goals, your local Growth Coach can help: https://www.thegrowthcoach.com/find-a-coach.

Posted in Business Coaching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Growing Your Business Through Partnerships