Teamwork Matters – Here’s Why

action-2277292_960_720No matter what kind of business you own or manage, business success leans heavily on the quality of your team – not just what each individual can do on his or her own, but also what they can do together. Every person you hire brings a different skill set, a different experience and a different perspective to your company and, when they can work together effectively, it’s powerful. From a leadership standpoint, there are a few things that teamwork promotes most obviously – synergy, efficiency and productivity, which all go together.

If you go out and hire the best people in your region, but they can’t work together, it’s going to be hard to get anything accomplished. Even though every individual has an awesome skill set and understands the projects and the goals in front of them, they’ll all be operating in silos. Not having that synergy will hurt your efficiency and your productivity, which impacts your bottom line.

Think about it like this – if you have four individuals who are all tasked with building one fourth of the same robot, but none of them talk to each other about what that robot needs to be able to do or how it should work, how will the robot even come together? Either you’ll have four mismatched pieces that you hope will work together or you’ll have four individual robots that each person spent four times as much time building by themselves. Neither of those examples will work for your business. You need a robot that works perfectly, looks great and makes the most of the skill set of each individual on the team without costing extra time and money. That requires teamwork.

In addition to the most visible benefits of having teams that can work together, people who work well together also build comradery. Just like how having one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, having a staff full of team players who respect each other and value what each employee brings to the table will change the entire dynamic of your business for the better. A great team also provides cross-training learning opportunities. For example, if you have a marketing person, a social media person and a graphics person who all work extremely well together, they will be able to share knowledge, catch each other’s mistakes, bring new ideas to each other’s projects and more – all to the benefit of your business.

So how do to make sure you build a team that can work together? This article from Berkeley Human Resources has some great tips. We also recommend working with your local Growth Coach to implement our GC Insights program. By better understanding each member of your team, you can help them be more efficient and work better together.

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Be Awesome at Networking by Talking Less

handshake-2056021_960_720.jpgNetworking takes time and, even for extroverts, it can be uncomfortable to talk about yourself and your business or career. But we have good news! Making a great first impression at a networking event actually requires a lot less talking and a lot more listening.

When You Meet Someone New

If you’re new to a networking group or you meet someone new, making a good impression starts like any good first impression – a smile, eye contact, a good handshake and a clear introduction. Tell your new connection who you are, what you do and what company you work for (or own). They’ll likely do the same. At that point you have a few choices – you can talk about yourself and your work, you can prompt them to talk, you can hover awkwardly or you can walk away. If you can encourage the other person to talk first – and if you genuinely listen and ask intelligent questions – chances are good that, when you get a chance to talk about yourself and your work, they’ll listen to you too.

When You Bump Into Someone You’ve Met

This one is tricky. If you remember the person’s name (or, thank goodness, they are wearing a name tag), greet them with a nice handshake a smile. If you’re able to recall anything about your last meeting, it’s nice to be able to ask a follow-up question, especially if they could be a valuable connection. Showing them that you remember your conversation and that the information was important enough to commit to memory can make a lasting impact. If you don’t remember anything about the last time you’ve met, that’s OK. It’s better to not say anything specific than to get it wrong.

When You Join an Ongoing Conversation  

If a conversation is happening between people you know or don’t know and you walk into the group, the important thing to do is listen. Take in anything you can about the conversation and then ask intelligent questions that show you were listening. When there’s a break in the conversation, you’ll have a chance to introduce yourself.

If you know you’ll freeze up, see if you can bring a +1. You can bring someone from your own company, but bringing a friend from another company can help break the ice and give you an opportunity to talk about each other in a casual way. Also, don’t overdress (it makes people uncomfortable) and don’t forget your business cards in case there’s an opportunity to hand one out.

Networking can be fun, but it can also be an important part of your business growth. You never know who people know, so value every connection you make!

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Three Ways to Improve Company Culture

application-3426397_960_720.jpgCompany culture – and the importance of having great culture – has been making the news for a few years now. Great company culture can help you attract and retain top-notch employees and, as you look for the next batch of leaders, it’s important to note that the Association for Talent Development recently found that millennials desire a strong company culture more than anything else when deciding where to work.

So how do you know if you have a good company culture or not? Whether or not your culture has actually been defined, it’s important to talk to your employees at all levels. What do they think of your company’s values and expectations? What do they know about your company’s culture? Is everyone throughout your business operating within that culture or are there issues?

Once you have a good handle on your company culture, you can decide if you need to make changes or not. If you do need to make changes, here are three places to start:


Transparency doesn’t just mean sending accounting reports to your employees – it means regularly updating your entire team about the current state of the business, the future of the business and how you plan on closing the gap between those two places. You have to trust your employees with this knowledge and believe that, because they want your business to be successful, they’ll help your company to reach that next benchmark. In your goal to be transparent, it will also be empowering to encourage your employees to share their ideas on how to improve the company or your products or services with you.


Communication is two-part, the way you communicate with your employees and the way your employees communicate with each other. Employees wants to feel like individuals – not cogs in a machine – so making time to learn about your employees and giving them opportunities to succeed is vital. Although the individual day-to-day discussion about their goals might be a conversation with their manager, depending on the size of your business, you need to set aside time to touch base with your employees. It’s also important that your employees can work together efficiently, especially as working remotely becomes more common. Tools like Slack, Yammer, Trello and Zoom are awesome, but it’s important that using them becomes part of your company culture. You can’t have only half of your team using the communication tools you put into place.


You don’t have to pat every employee on the back every time they do something well, but if they do something exceptional, recognizing them can go a long way. Forbes recently researched the importance of recognition and found that companies with a recognition culture have a 31-percent lower turnover rate. The trick here is that, if you’re only listening to and recognizing the employees who boast about their performance throughout the office, you’ll breed resentment among the rest of your team. Consider setting up a program where people can nominate a coworker for a special recognition or rely on your manager to help you see standout performance.

Need help making changes? Find your local Growth Coach online at

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Are You Undervaluing Yourself? Stop Being a Technician.

holly-stratton-576521-unsplashAt The Growth Coach, our coaches have worked with thousands of small business owners over the years. One of the most common challenges those business owners face is that, in addition to being the business owner, they are the lead technician. For example, if they own a cookies and cake shop, they are the one in the back icing cupcakes (sometimes in addition to everything else). They might have hired someone to run the counter or even help make the cupcakes, but they haven’t trained and entrusted anyone to control the technical side of the business.

They are working IN the business instead of ON the business.

Now that we’re in the New Year, we want to challenge the small business owners out there to value their time, train staff members they can trust and start focusing on improving the business – not just making cupcakes. If the business hinges on you being there, then how can you ever take a vacation without closing up shop? What do you do if there’s a family emergency? How about when it comes time to retire – do you just shut down and walk away? Is your business worth anything if the whole thing hinges on you?

So take a minute and consider this: if you were to place a value on your own time, what would it cost? $50 an hour? $100 an hour? $200 an hour? Whatever the answer is, would you pay someone that much to do the technical aspect of your job? Is it worth it financially to have someone who should be making $200 an hour icing cakes or making cookies? And, if you did hire and train someone else, what could you be spending time doing? Marketing? Networking? Selling? Working on systems? Improving your products? And how could those efforts help you grow the business?

The first steps in this direction are to build systems, hire and train staff, delegate and expand your thinking. It’s hard to hand over that icing bag, but there are only so many hours in the day and, if you’re making those cupcakes, you are costing the company money.

Check out this blog we posted in June of 2018 for details on those steps:

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No Business is Perfect – Celebrate Your Accomplishments

shutterstock_708636280At the beginning of the year, you set goals, you built strategic plans and you worked with your team to put those plans into place. Your team worked extremely hard, your business grew and you found ways to work ON the business instead of IN the business – but you didn’t meet all of your goals. As the end of the year approaches, it’s easy to be bummed about the progress that fell short of your mark, but as a business leader, you can’t take time to wallow in what might have been. Your team needs you and, if you’re going to motivate them to meet the goals you set for next year, you have to start with recognizing your progress this year and celebrating your successes.

The end of the year is often a time for business owners, company leaders and managers to evaluate progress for the year, compare goals with outcomes, do staff reviews, think about raises, etc. If your company or department didn’t quite meet the mark for the year, it’s important to talk about why and make adjustments for the New Year. That said, be careful not to weigh your team down with disappointment. If they know what your goals were (and they should) then they know whether those goals were met or not. Chances are that they are already worried about the end of the year.

If you are having staff meetings, board meetings or even just sending an all-staff email about the year, take the time to talk to your team about the things that went well and put together a list of the great things you want to celebrate. A reminder of those specific examples, especially if they happened in the first half of the year and might not be top of mind, will help get your team pumped for January.

Also, don’t fall prey to putting those successes into a compliment sandwich – a success bogged down with failure doesn’t feel like a success at all. Instead, try an approach that says, “We all know there are goals we didn’t make this year, even though we all worked really hard, and we’ll make adjustments for next year, but for now, here are all the things we did really well…” If you take that approach, then your successes can stand on their own and you have the opportunity to discuss the shortcomings your leadership team or your staff as you plan strategically for the New Year.

The heart of this issue is mindset. Remember that your staff members need to feel supported and encouraged if they are going to start the New Year with their best foot forward and that starts with recognizing their work and celebrating your collective successes.

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Don’t Let Your Business Scare You

shutterstock_754234693Have you ever gone into a haunted house and then spent the whole time with your eyes half-covered, pretending you weren’t seeing everything around you? You paid money to be there, you waited in line, you knew there would be frights, and yet you walked through the whole place half-blind, just looking for the exit.

That might be one way to get through a haunted house, but it’s no way to walk through your business.

Ignoring the problems in your business won’t get you to the exit – unless that exit means freshening up your resume – but it will let those problems snowball into bigger and more challenging issues. If you want to improve your business (and your life), you have to address those problems head on.

Open Your Eyes: The first rule of enjoying a haunted house is to open your eyes. Whether or not you like what you see and no matter how scary it might be, if you have your eyes closed, you can’t see what’s happening around you. While you might not be avoiding ghosts and witches in your life as a business owner, things like broken systems, managers who need training or customer service issues can be just as frightening. Open your eyes, look into every corner and take stock of the current status of your business so you can address issues create a plan for improvement.

Walk Forward: Once your eyes are open, if things are pretty scary, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by what you are seeing. Don’t freeze! If you stand still, you’ll be stuck in that haunted house forever. Once you’ve had a chance to truly examine the ins and outs of your business – and perhaps pull down a few cobwebs – it’s time to figure out how to move forward. Whether your work with a business coach, consult with a mentor or sit down with your management team, it’s time to put on your CEO hat and start planning strategically. What can be done immediately to improve your business, inside and out? What do you need to look at six months out? Where do you want to be next year? How about in five years? What do you need to do to get there? Ask yourself these questions and start taking steps, even if they are small.

Go Back Next Year: Once you’ve made your way out of that haunted house, take a deep breath of the cool October air, smile and think back about what you just experienced, no matter how scary. Take time to celebrate your success and think about what you might do differently next time. Then – and this is important – mark your calendar to go back to that haunted house next year. Sure, you’ve already been through it once, but the attractions change every year and, although you’ll be better prepared, it’s important to take that deep look at your business every once and a while so you can plan strategically and continuously improve.

And, if you need a friend to hold your hand, you can always call your local Growth Coach: Happy Halloween!

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GC Insights Add Behavioral Analysis to Growth Coach’s Already Powerful Coaching Programs

The Growth Coach has launched a new behavior analysis program called GC Insights to help business owners, company leaders and human resource professionals hire, retain and develop top talent. GC Insights goes well beyond DISC analysis – the program also gives franchisees access to multi-faced assessments, reports, tools and support materials designed to help business leaders understand the behavior analysis and use the information from the profile to help individuals, teams and companies grow.

Growth Coach President Ray Fabik said coaches were noticing that most companies have the similar issues; hiring, training and retaining top talent; and trying to recognize why two employees with the same skill set, same background, and same education get dramatically different results. The Growth Coach developed GC Insights to dig into this and use behavioral analysis to unlock the answers while giving us the ability to provide services that meet client’s specific needs.

The Growth Coach made the strategic decision to go beyond the surface of coaching and with the help of data analysis, get to the root issues of performance and reveal human potential to build a strong foundation for a company to be successful. It’s all about helping each client reach the goal of Better Business, Better Results, Better Life. The program was developed with PeopleKeys.

The Growth Coach is the largest provider of affordable group coaching workshops in the nation, but coaches also offer group and one-on-one coaching for sales professionals, managers, management teams, self-employed professionals and more through a wide variety of programs. These programs are based on three tiers – the Foundational Series, the Fundamental Series and the Fast-Forward Series. GC Insights adds to those services and allows local Growth Coach franchisees to serve their clients in a new, powerful way. There are more than 10 custom solutions depending on clients’ needs and GC Insights can offered as a stand-alone program or in conjunction with other Growth Coach services.

To find a Growth Coach near you, call 1-855-300-2622 or visit If you’re interested in The Growth Coach franchise opportunities, call (866)407-8390 or visit

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Finding Balance as a Small Business Owner or a Company President

work-life-balanceSmall business owners and company presidents have a lot in common – starting with how busy they can be. Being in charge of everything has benefits, but it also has major drawbacks, especially when it comes to work life balance. You should be able to work to live, not live to work, no matter how much you love your business or your career. If you’ve spent your whole summer at the office, it’s time for a change.

At The Growth Coach, we work with a lot of clients who are stuck working 7 days a week, who are constantly on call and who have the last word on every business decision. Those clients are often not only struggling to keep both their businesses and their personal lives afloat, but also completely burned out. The business or career they’ve been passionately building for years has taken over their entire lives and, all too often, they can’t even take a vacation without being on call or closing up the shop.

Take on a CEO Mindset: Small business owners and company presidents often have a hard time delegating, which means they are constantly swamped with low-level tasks. A CEO is an ultimate leader – not someone you call with every small problem or question. Having a hard time with that mindset? Try this… what should your hourly wage be as a CEO? $50 an hour? $75 an hour? $150 an hour? If you are doing tasks that someone making $10 to $20 an hour could do, you are costing your business money! Learn to let go a little so you can delegate those tasks.

Train and Trust Your Managers: If you are going to step back from the day-to-day management of the business, you have to have someone who can fill that role. That means either training a manager to take over or building a management team. Either way, you have to make sure you find the right people, invest the time into training and onboarding, and then trust them to do their jobs. Will there be hiccups along the way? Of course. But if you don’t back off and trust your team, you’ll never be able to let go.

Schedule Time Away: Life moves quickly and, when you are busy, it’s easy to skip vacations, miss soccer games or back out of going to happy hour with your friends. Although work things will always come up, you have to be able to step away from the business and live your life. As the owner or president of a business, you might always need to have your cell phone, but you need to look at your calendar and schedule time for yourself and your family. If you’re not making a more concerted effort to focus on your work life balance, you’ll always find tasks to fill in the cracks.

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Could You or Your Team Benefit from Social Learning

social learningIn late 2017, when Forbes outlined the Top 10 growing business trends that will drive success in 2018, there was one we weren’t surprised to see – Social Learning. In a way, The Growth Coach has been doing that for more than 20 years. With our Strategic Business Owner group workshops and Strategic Manager Coaching specifically, we’ve put a lot of energy into making sure our clients across the country are learning together and from each other. Now that we are half way through 2018 and Social Learning hasn’t lost any of its luster, we thought now was a good time to talk about it.

According to Forbes, “Social Learning is the process of learning through peer social interaction. The most common example of traditional social learning is the chance encounter at the workplace water cooler. Two or more people run into each other, share ideas, and walk away knowing a little more in the process; this is social learning.”

Take a moment to think about a time when Social Learning inadvertently got you excited about a new project or helped morph something you were working on at that time. Maybe it was when you went to lunch with a coworker and, while talking through a challenge, found a unique solution. Or maybe it was when a coworker was talking about their work over coffee and it opened your eyes to another angle of the company. Social Learning is subtle, but it can be powerful too.

When we get people together at our group coaching workshops, it’s most importantly because we understand the value of not only learning in a group, but also working together, keeping each other accountable and sharing experiences together. It’s lonely at the top, so it can be refreshing for business owners and company leaders to have a chance to share experiences together and learn from each other’s mistakes and failures. You can take 100 webinars about strategic planning, but it won’t compare to spending time with another business leader who has been in your shoes and experienced similar challenges.

Although our workshops are designed around The Growth Coach program so we can help you build a more successful business and a more balanced life, we also often because facilitators of people sharing their own challenges, failures and successes.

Whether or not you’re ever planning to attend a Growth Coach workshop or work with a business coach, taking the time to learn socially is important. It can be hassle to make time for lunch with coworkers you might not see every day or to pick someone’s brain over coffee, but that kind of idea sharing is valuable both to your current job and to your future success.

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Celebrate Your Own Freedom This Independence Day

FreedomAs a small business owner or company leader, it’s easy to let work consume your life. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to check emails after dinner or take a call between the gym and your office, but, before you know it, you’re working 70 hours a week and you can’t “clock out” for a family vacation. As work starts to carve more and more time out of your life, it starts to impact your personal life and, eventually, it’s a big cause of burn out.

This Independence Day, celebrate your own freedom by making a commitment to break free from your business by July 4th next year!

Not sure how to break the chains? You don’t need a revolution! Here are three tips on where to start:

Business Systems

If you want to build a profitable business that you can take a vacation from, you have to have business systems. Strong systems enable you to have processes and procedures that allow you to train great managers who don’t have to call you every time there’s a hiccup. Having business systems in place will also help you decide where to expand in the future and to isolate processes that might be holding your business back. Once these systems are in writing, make sure you also have ways to communicate them to your team so you can step back. If your business is too owner-dependent, it will hold you back!

Train and Delegate

Once you have those business systems created and implemented, it’s important to take the time to properly train your managers and team members on those systems. They should understand how to run your business, especially when you’re not there. Many small business owners also need to then learn how to step back and delegate. When you’ve grown a business from the ground up, it’s easy to be attached and to micromanage. But if you’re involved in every operation of your business, you don’t really have a business you can love – you have a busy job that will drag you down. Figure out how you can step back from your business in a way that allows you to focus on growth and take time to enjoy being a business owner!

Think Bigger
Once you’ve figured out how to step back, turn off that little micromanager in the back of your mind and start focusing on the future. Once your business can run itself, take a vacation and then come back with a fresh outlook. Rather than showing up at the office all day, every day, find ways to use that time to grow the business instead. Get involved in community events and networking groups. Consider ways to diversity the existing operation. Talk to your team about procedures and practices that could make the operations more smooth. Consider your goals for the business then build the plans and lead the efforts to get from Point A to Point B.

If you need help with any of these ways to earn your freedom, your local Growth Coach can help! Find your coach online at


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