Category Archives: Growth

Train? Yes. Teach? Not If You Are a Small Business In Growth!

Train? Yes. Teach? Not if you are a small business in growth!
Know the difference to hire for success.

By Talmar Anderson

When you know it is time for your business to hire, please ensure you are hiring the absolute best person to solve the issue that drives this need.  Do you need more people on phones? Find the best person with a track record for excellent customer service.  Need someone to help organize and coordinate the pieces of your clients’ deliverables?  Hire a project manager that has supervised people and deadlines in the past. DO NOT hire an intern that you can “train” to do it because “it is easy.” you say.

***sigh***

Let’s take this apart shall we.

“It’s easy.”

Consider that it is easy for YOU because you are experienced. Because you are driven to complete these tasks to get to the other needs of YOUR company.  Because you have been doing it for a while. And yes, because you are brilliant. You are a business owner and this requires a certain amount of smarts and initiative.  MOST employees will not possess both from day one. Easy is relative, my friend. And in this example, it is relative to experience. Many people consider skiing easy and you should probably know now…I am a professional bar stool ski-bunny.

“Hire an Intern’

When I hear this, I hear that you want to pay a low amount and do not feel you can pay the correct person for your company the value they deserve for their expertise or skillset. But, and I believe you know this deep in your heart of hearts, this costs your business money!  Interns are TEMPORARY help that are specifically there to LEARN! An intern is not about building, protecting or delivering for your clients and company.

An intern is there to gain experience for themselves.  They need to be consistently supervised, constantly redirected, given teaching moments to understand why or how to complete ALL tasks. If your company is in the space of allowing time to TEACH then you are probably not at a hiring trigger moment.  You are in a place where your company can design a “give back’ initiative program to cultivate future professionals and foster potential employment candidates for the future.  But they will want to be paid an accurate rate when they graduate! 

Oh ya, and now that they know how to do what you want them to do, it is time to start the entire hiring and teaching process all over because their internship ends.

“I can train them”.

This is the last piece to this heartbreaking comment that I hear far too frequently from small business that need to hire for growth.

Yes.  New employees need to be trained.  A new employee needs to learn the nuances of what makes your firm YOUR firm. They need to learn cultural norms like when lunch breaks occur and how an irate client is handled. They need to learn where the coffee is and how to answer the telephones.  Onboarding and training can create an instant bond, ease a fit into a new team and build employee confidence.

Please note, I did not write how to answer A phone. If you are explaining why, what, where and when to someone then you likely are TEACHING them. If your company is in a true need for a hire then teaching is not a benefit to your firm.  Hiring a person that you must teach most or all of the process and systems defeats the purpose of HIRING! New hires are to allow a business to become more efficient and lessen workloads of current staff / self.

Don’t get me wrong, an experienced project manager may not know the project management system your company uses but they MUST understand what a project management system is for and have experience using one successfully somewhere else.

Your marketing coordinator may not have used your exact email automation software but they must have experience in email campaigns and AN email automation system of some kind.

Otherwise your inexpensive new hire is costing their hourly rate AND yours!  That is not growth.  That is not looking out for the best interests of your company.

When the decision to hire finally comes to a head, most business owners go straight to consideration of the budget. I recommend considering first what we need, how that will benefit our company, how will it fit (who supervises) and what is the industry paying for these needs. In small business, bringing on those entry level (and thus lower dollar) hires create more chaos than in large corporations.

Large corporations have human resources departments. They have video tutorials for getting new staff up to speed on systems.  They have onboarding training programs that move employees from department to department and therefore only demands a little bit of a lot of people’s time…as opposed to the small business reality of defaulting responsibilities! (Who has time?  Could you show…..?)

Hiring requires a training period.  I swear by this for creating your dream team. However, to really find the team that will be with you on the path to success, they should bring the education and experience that enhances your company. You have decided to hire because your company has a need. Is that need really to spend time outside of the company’s current demands?

Hire to enhance and build your team. Teach after you have established your firm’s success. Recognize that these are not interchangeable processes.

Now GO! Grow!

If you are looking to set up Hiring Triggers, a new business or join The Influence Circle Mastermind, Talmar It Up would love to work with you! Reach out NOW to TAnderson@TalmarItUp.com.

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Strategic Growth Starts with the Action of Hiring

Strategic Growth Starts with the Action of Hiring
By Talmar Anderson

Why DO you run off incessantly about hiring Talmar when we know you are a strategic business co-creator? Hiring is just a piece, right?” I talk about, write about and promote hiring strategies, process and best practices non-stop.

I do this because I watch you struggle. I watch you create your own chaos. I watch as you settle for good enough. Worse…I watch as you set yourself up for frustration, heartache and continued financial expense! 100% of successful business strategies include finding the right team. Please, let’s find a way to build a process and system that you can get behind and commit to spending time upon because it IS the singular piece that will ensure you love your business for a long, long time.

But first, we need to set reasonable hiring expectations with YOU by way of some Talmar’s Truths…

  • ​No. We will not find you a number 2 that will stay with you for the next 15 years.
  • ​No. We will not combine 3 part time needs into one full time underachiever with little to no chance of success in all, much less 2 different skill sets.
  • ​No. People do not leave a company for more money but they will choose to start with your company over money!
  • ​Yes! You must call all of those reference checks. (More on that in the next blog!)

“What if “they” do it wrong? What if they leave after I spend 3 months and money training “them”? What if “they” can’t do it as well as me? What if “they” take too much of my time asking questions and interrupting my work?”

I get that the human resource side represents all that we business owners fear…lack of control!

One more Talmar’s Truth. It is gonna happen. Staff and employees demonstrate a myriad of human complications. Planning to build and grow a sustaining and scaling business? Your company is sure to experience these situations. There are ways to manage each possibility but we ARE working with humans and these are the realities.

So let’s plan for people.

  • Let’s hire the best for each specific role within our company. We need to take the time and follow our internal hiring process. Not missing a step will help us weed out the good enough for the “Wow. What did we do before them?’ team.
  • Let’s plan to clearly lay out expectations for peak performance through documentation and communication. Draft operations manuals, employment advertisements, job descriptions, and 1-1 management schedules that build and protect our teams.
    • Ohhhh….You thought all those documents were to protect the company? Silly rabbits, those documents are to define how a staff member can be successful in your organization!
  • Let’s start recruiting as a part of a proactive plan based on your strategy. You need to know what HIRING TRIGGERSto watch for and take the stress out of the “when” question.

Make time to find the person before your company is drowning! Too often we put off this piece. It is the piece that we try to create short cuts around. The piece that gets pushed so far to the bottom of our to do pile that by the time we have a “MUST” driving our actions we take what we can get …***Sad trombone***. You deserve better and so does your company!

When you dream about your ideal company…did you really hire the first person that lived close enough and showered that day?

The right team gets “it”. They find satisfaction delivering on their responsibilities that rivals your satisfaction. They get excited for a new client because they are enjoying their work and feel supported by the company. They come to work knowing what needs to be done and offering possible improvements. Being surrounded by THESE kinds of people are what make rapid growth, impactful innovation and financial success a reality. Why would you hurry through or try to “fit in” the discovery and on boarding of the people with whom you will be spending your best days? This IS your dream team!

Now GO! Grow!

Talmar

P.S. Ready to create a change for you AND your company?  Check out this Free 5 part video series because it is time to Get Your SH*FT Together!

Structure IS Success.

Structure IS Success.
By Talmar Anderson

I know your eyes cross when I talk about developing processes with your own company.  When I say “Structure” your organization, you say “it is on my list”.  People! (Imagine me with a bullhorn standing on a desk like a small biz Norma Rae) Please understand, and I want you to lean in to get this, right her and right now, you need to know that building the structure of your organization is REQUIRED for success. You are shooting yourself, your clients, your reputation AND your staff in the foot by NOT prioritizing the time required to create an organizational structure for your business. It does not matter how small or how big your business is at this moment.

Do not get me wrong, if you have read my articles or know anything about Talmar it Up, you know that I 100% believe we can build a business model that is specific to you and your vision. You want less bureaucracy and that is why you started your company. IT CAN BE DONE and your business does not have to look exactly like everyone else’s business model. You will get to have the business life that you want once you have built an organization that is supported and functioning around that dream role.

Have you laid out the foundation for building to success? There are tools that successful companies use within a system specific to their industry that creates a repeatable process. Organizational Structure.

You don’t have time?

Well, then, I am glad you and Richard Branson have competing bank account balances. NOT THAT RICHARD BRANSON would do anything other than invest time, money and energy to ensure that his company has what it needs for success.  In fact, your company and his companies need the same thing…people.

  • You need people that want to work for your company.
  • You need people that understand what their role and responsibilities are within the company.
  • You need people to be able to deliver for clients consistently and in line with brand expectations.
  • You need people to feel that they receive the product or service they expected.
  • You need people to feel valued for their continued patronage and feedback for improvements.

And that is not all of it but it is a great starter list.  People will need to be engaged, valued, instructed, managed, communicated on how to perform successfully- employees and clients. Those people will be your star employees, your most loyal clients and your most avid supporter OR they will go somewhere else and your company will suffer and your business will become more demanding of your time, energy and money!

How do you build an organizational structure? One process at a time. Here are examples of some operational processes that could be used as tools for a profitable and growing company.

  • You need people that want to work for your company.
    • Tools Include:
      • Accessibility and empowerment programs
      • 1-1 meetings with Supervisors
      • A conflict resolution process
  • You need people that understand what their role and responsibilities are within the company.
    • Tools Include:
      • Job Descriptions
      • Project Accountability assignment
      • Staff management
  • You need people to be able to deliver for clients consistently and in line with brand expectations.
    • Tools Include:
      • Quality assurance process for the branding
      • Onboarding and job training
      • Documented repeatable process
      • Performance reviews
  • You need people to feel that they receive the product or service they expected.
    • Tools Include:
      • Sales communications setting the correct expectation
      • Contracts to engage and fulfill successfully
  • You need people to feel valued for their continued patronage and feedback for improvements.
    • Tools Include:
      • Customer engagement
      • Pre- and Post- deliverable feedback requests

You are already on the way to that growth. You have clients, staff coming on board and money coming in. The decision to look at your organization and regularly prioritize what YOUR business needs is the REAL shift to success. Now GO! Grow!

More questions? Are you on the Talmar It Up mailing list yet? Join now to be sure to directly receive insights, clarity and business operation answers. Or check it out in the latest blog post HERE.

Scalability. Nothing More but Nothing Less.

Scalability: Nothing More but Nothing Less.

By Talmar Anderson

Scaling a business.  Have you heard this phrase before?  Did you know that the process of scaling a business does NOT have to do with just growing your sales? Certainly, growing sales are a sign of a company that is scaling up, however, the process of a successfully growing company is one that planned for successI know, crazy, right?  We spend so much time worrying and figuring out how we will make it.  We project minimums needed to break even. We start from a place of trying to at least not lose our investments in our company. And sure enough, one of the things that can sink a company is when it all goes right!

This is one of my favorite pieces of planning and strategy. I LOVE it!  This is when we get to plan for everything working out as we intended. We start from imagining that our new marketing push and sales process are all hitting YES! Will we have enough people/ product/ time / resources to deliver on our dream goal of $1,000,000.00 in revenue? Our full strategic plan will seek to understanding what is working and how it is working throughout the whole company and each of its departments so that we can replicate the good. There are a lot of moving pieces to this growth plan for scaling but I want us to focus on one piece.

Today we are going to talk about the easiest piece to effect profitability in a positive way when scaling growth and creating strategic plans. Create an organizational structure that will profitably allow hiring to execute on delivering and maintaining your quality of deliverables. Huh? In other words, we need to make sure we hire the correct skill level for each task that is required to deliver for your customers. Nothing more but nothing less.

Here is the secret.  Assign work flows to the level of expert required for high quality of results. Moving away from client based staff assignments or project based workflows can seriously take your profitability to a new level. We need to look at “how” the sausage is made!

While reviewing your services and products, understand that strategy, highly technical work or out of the ordinary troubleshooting requires an experienced or specialized staff member.  These areas can be tracked to usually show a limited need.

Regular workflow and customer service can then be assigned to the 3 junior team members.  The decision to have a focused specialist dealing specifically with the troubleshooting may require a company to hire only 1 senior team member.  While more expensive for this piece, we can focus their workflow on the limited need of difficult and experience requiring work. Now we are paying high wages to one employee instead of high wages to four of them “in case” the project or client has a sophisticated need.

Consider this perspective to further convince you that your workflows need to be defined and measured. The expert level required for filing papers is not nothing.  They need to know how to alphabetize, how to stay engaged and pay attention with focus, as well as the patience to take the time to get pages in the folders neatly to allow for ease of accessibility.

Let this junior level position be handled efficiently and professionally by a person that can value these skill sets. This junior level position will cost the company less because the experience and education to gain this skill set is less intensive.  You are no longer paying expert level wages to have your client files organized, accessible and current.

Giving this filing work to a senior level person with advanced or specialized experience can often create a scenario that can cause further complications beyond overpaying for filing services. An expert can be unfocused when not applying their most current expertise and education.  Specialists will be looking over their shoulder toward the next challenge and, distracted, they likely are unable to alphabetize correctly on a consistent and reliable basis.  It is NOT their priority.

In fact, if you look at their job description, I am sure you will not even see “filing” on the list.  It falls under the “and other responsibilities as assigned”.  Meaning it was NOT enough of a priority for you to list it for this position and therefore not enough of a priority for the employee to value the time and focus to file correctly.

File correctly you say?  Yes. Front to back. Ease of reading (no backward pages). Chronological for each section. What about proper file tags? Are the folders large enough?  I highly doubt your senior level expert who has a juicy case on their desk is willing to stop and give the proper focus.

And THAT is where the snow ball starts.  Not assigning the right details correctly allows for the little things to pile up or be mistreated.  This creates stress and potential for mistakes (missing a client communication document that was filed under the wrong year) and can start headaches for you, your clients and your company’s reputation!

It is in the details that great customer service and rock star deliverables are created.  If you are in a growth period and have yet to sit down and organize your company into the roles required for growth AND the skill sets required to complete the different pieces, I’d love to chat with you. I want it all to go right AND I want your company to have smooth sailing into successful growth!

Story of a WORKING strategic plan!

Story of a WORKING strategic plan!
(it has a surprise ending…)

By Talmar Anderson

Today we will look at a part of the Talmar It Up strategic plan in an effort to share possible outcomes in your own strategic plan! Having spoken as a part of many business retreats and conferences, Talmar It Up had created The Takeoff Series in 2016. A limited number of clients learn a focused agenda on specific, yet varied, business topics over 2 days in a small group setting. I had been approached about growing this segment of my firm. Retreats/conferences specifically. Part of the current TIU strategic plan was to research and develop the Takeoff series on a larger scale. Scaling, right? That is my thing!

Many concepts were considered and structures evaluated of how to build a consistent and appealing business education based vacation that delivered all that clients would expect. As part of my plan, several months ago, I scheduled to attend a 3 day conference out of town in an industry adjacent to mine that was being offered by a peer and woman I admire. The benefit of attending for the results offered was doubled because I was going with an eye to observe and consider, from the operational stand point, all the moving parts.

Phew! Hats off to the event planners of the world. Those conferences are, well, a lot! The conference I attended was amazing. Well-staffed with top notch and accessible people at every level throughout the entire event. The site chosen worked to allow for community building and attendee privacy. The speakers and presenters truly came from a place of education and were open to interact with the attendees consistently. The company that offered the conference was prepared and professional. There were no lines or long waits for any of the transitional moments of the entire group. This was a beautiful orchestra in motion.

And in that experience I saw that it could be done. Scaling this was a real opportunity for my company. I could surround myself with the right people to get this done for my clients and business.

And then in THAT moment I did the secret to success and happiness check. Do you know what I am talking about? A huge part of strategic planning is considering what could be, planning out what it would take to deliver…truly deliver the plan to your audience, and then ask yourself “Do I really want to do this?”

Do you want to commit your company’s time to offer this regularly? Do you want to commit X% of your company’s money and resources to making this happen? When you think of the work involved…do you get excited for the challenge or tired from the energy it will require? Heck, will it be any fun delivering for your clients in this way?

As I participated and enjoyed the benefits of the wonderful event, I looked at the host and thought, she is brilliant at this. I also knew that I was not interested in growing the Takeoff series into the bigger offering. I apply for myself the same insight I use for others. Because I could, doesn’t me I have to do it.

I will, of course, still speak at conferences and retreats, however Talmar It Up will continue to only offer the limited retreats series.The scaling of the event would require several days of general help to the clients. Beneficial yes but I know that my one on one connection of delivering specifically for each client’s business model needs is my true happy dance inciting work. Both for me and for them.

Strategically, that is not me playing small. My podcast allows me to influence more and more people throughout the globe. Conferences I attend as a speaker allow me to reach hundreds. However, the time and energy to plan, organize and manage those kind of events will take me too far from how I like to deliver in my work.

And so the strategic plan worked! By working the steps of my own strategic plan I can confidently let go of the time, money and resources I was allocating for that expansion. I will review my strategy to see if this leaves a hole or where Talmar It Up can further diversify and grow. It was not a failure or wasted resources to spend money, time and research efforts on something Talmar It Up will not move forward upon at this time. I know where I don’t want to take Talmar It Up and that in itself creates focus. Can’t wait to see what the future is bringing now that I let go of that goal to create new space! Now GO! Grow!

Are you on the Talmar It Up mailing list yet? Join now to be sure to directly receive insights, clarity and business operation answers. Check it out in the latest blog post HERE.

Surveys and Polls. Yes but the Proof is in the Bottom Line!

Surveys and Polls. Yes but the Proof is in the Bottom Line!
By Talmar Anderson

Understanding what needs and results your market will be moved to purchase can be a changing target.  Specific review and checking in with your customers and prospects is always a great step as a focused effort ( at LEAST annually). Technology changes accessibility to solutions, economic swings can inspire more or less spending and innovation can change an entire industry.  (VHS anyone? I still say “tape” to digitally record anything!) If you have been following the Talmar It Up blog or worked with me in any way, I hope you have heard me say, “Sell what your audience wants to buy instead of what YOU want to sell”.  The idea is that some business owners will be convinced that a product or service is what their target market really wants or needs. “Really. They need this.”  During these conversations, I love to get it straight from the “horse’s” mouth.  There are a few ways to do this…let’s check it out.

Surveys and polls are a great a way to reach out and create a separate conversation opportunity outside of the in the moment service or purchase. Maybe you have a system that delivers the survey to the clients at the end of the engagement or perhaps you just want to do a focused assessment of a general concept.  How is one solution working for the market?

Even if you regularly collect this data, a big picture overview with an eye to the next 12 months can be hugely beneficial.  These efforts can start internally but may need to include research for a larger market not just your clients. However, don’t let this stop you. At least start with your current contacts, prospects and clients to gather data.

During these surveys pick 3-5 questions that are targeted at a certain product or service satisfaction level.  If you try to capture too much at once, your few willing participants will get interrupted, frustrated or lose interest and you will receive far fewer responses. Look at interaction on the value or benefits your company’s solutions offer to current client pain points.  If your company offers more than one solution, you can ask them to rank their preferred product or solution. Regardless of how you structure your surveys remember this is just a sampling of the views of a few within your market. Certainly, there is value here but it is a limited perspective.

A poll is a quick and focused way to lead your market to respond to one specific question. This single question with multiple choice answers allow you to lead and limit choices.  As we know, there is usually one person who will choose ‘None of the Above” because they feel the choices do not perfectly fit their way of thinking.  You can consider allowing “Other” as a choice with a write in field.  Some innovative and clever ideas can come in this way but it can dilute the focus if you are trying to understand how your offering fits with your thought out alternatives in the pol question.

If you are choosing this time to understand what your market wants from you…I would also consider talking to their wallets! Let’s do a 3-6 month review of YOUR company.

If you are trying to decide where to focus your next marketing effort or which product service to be promoting, make sure to go back to your numbers.  What has ACTUALLY resulted in revenue for your company? Is anything trending up?  This can be enlightening and get you ahead of either a growing need.  Take the time to understand why these customers purchased because you have readily available access. What you have sold over the last few months IS what your market wanted.

Asking you clients, prospects and target market what they need and want to buy is a regular part of any business looking to have longevity.  Very few companies sell exactly the same item, exactly the same way 5, 10 or 20 years down the line.  Certainly, more than a few companies that have kept the nose to the grind stone and just kept pounding out the products have been run out of business.

By asking we can gain insight, inspiration and validation for our company and its services. This can also uncover a new opportunity or segment of your target market to access. Growth, my friends, is often on the other side of an ask. The most successful entrepreneurs and business owners LOVE a good question! Now GO! Grow.

Are you on the Talmar It Up mailing list yet? Join now to be sure to directly receive insights, clarity and business operation answers. Or reach out to chat with Talmar for structure and process to grow your business HERE

Time for a Big Push!

Time for a Big Push!
By Talmar Anderson

How is business?  Are you looking at your goals? If you are like most business owners, end of the year is when you start to consider how you will finish your fiscal year.  While you can start planning for the new year, don’t be so quick to call this year done! Have you broken down each specific goal item to see where you can create a push?   Not just the big money goal.  Let’s look at your history. Here are three areas you can look at to find some cash flow and prospect opportunities to smash your goals!

  • Is one service or product more popular with your market at this time of year?
    • If you have been in business for a few years you can look back to understand what specific product or service is in demand this time of year. Spend focused energy there with the prospects that need/want your offering. Consider a new marketing outreach to educate others of the reason for the current demand and how they could benefit too.
  • Is one service / product trending up in your business right now?
    • Let’s look at the last 3-6 months and consider blowing up that trend even more! Look to see what piece initiated that upward tick.  Was it one specific product / service benefit that you newly highlighted?  Was it new pricing?  Maybe a new referral source? You could create a promotion to ramp that trend even higher.  Maybe some educational marketing on the benefits of buying your service or product?
  • Have a piece of your offerings that needs a shot in the arm?
    • If you are missing your goals in one specific area, now is the time to refocus resources. Can you pull a small bite out of the product /service and offer it at a special price for a limited time?  It could be a “try this” offering that can easily lead into the full engagement.  Setting limits on time is especially critical if this is structured as a loss leader to a larger sale. SPECIAL NOTE: Develop a strong and consistent follow up process for the upsell into the full product.

This is where all that work you have been doing all year can quickly pay off.  All the tracking, measuring and data recording you have built into your company.  This structure allows for agile actions and specific decisions that can save your company from “throwing money after bad”.

Last thought. If you are going to put these specific pushes for more business in place, don’t forget to plan for success! Make sure you consider how you will fulfill each new order and track what “Sold out” could be very specifically. This will protect your reputation, quality of deliverables and sanity!…It is NOT too late to effect change.  This is a great moment to look at your goals and metrics to take action.  Now GO! Grow!

 

Are you on the Talmar It Up mailing list yet? Join now to be sure to directly receive insights, clarity and business operation answers. Or reach out to chat with Talmar for structure and process to grow your business HERE