Tag Archives: Planning

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!

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

Follow UP! Yes. You Need to Plan for This Too!

By Talmar Anderson

Does this happen to you all the time?  You are at networking event.  You meet a new person.  While talking briefly they ask what you do.

You: I am a website developer.

Them: OH! Do you do redesign?

You: Of course.  Our clients are usually well established and looking to communicate through easy to use and engaging websites so we love those projects.

Them: Great.  Let me grab my checkbook.  Who do I write this out to?

Ohhhhh…this ISN’T how you find your clients? Of course not.  You find them through consistent follow up! Business converts new contacts by being in front of them and making it easy to hire your company. Business owners need to use opportunities to further understand prospects needs and ensure they have the education to know how your company can help resolve or fill a need. You need to be easily accessible and easy to engage.

In honor of making it easy for your prospects, I will make it easy today….3 pieces that need to be a regular part of your sales follow up process. You know networking is one of the tippy top points of sales…right? We network to meet new contacts and grow qualified leads. Not to CLOSE clients but to meet new people that can start down the path of your sales funnel.

3 Sales Follow Up Steps that WILL give you more clients

  1. Calendar follow up time directly after EVERY networking event! – This simple step is the distinguisher for successful sales within a company. Every time you accept and place a seminar, conference, speaking engagement onto your calendar you MUST also place on the calendar follow up time. If not your calendar, your assistant’s or your business development teams. Make sure your first follow up is personal, timely AND asks for permission to add the new contact to your mailing list.
  2. ADD them as a contact NOW – this should be part of the scheduled follow up time. Don’t start an always growing shoe box of contacts to be added in when you “have some time”. New clients are what it is about my friend! Get them correctly categorized and all their details up to date in your contact management system. Regularly using your automated and specific marketing efforts is an easy way to be continually educating your prospects and front of mind when that new contact has a need.
  3. Follow up ….again. – As a regular part of your process you need to keep working through contacting your prospects. Reach out by telephone to say hello. Or you could choose a topical discussion relevant to your industry to share.  This does not have to be a long call.  You will be shocked at how often you will hear “I have been meaning to call you…” which launches the opportunity to land that client.

BONUS Tip!  While on the phone do one more thing for me….ASK for what you want!  “Is there any way I can help your business right now?” “Do you know anyone that may enjoy my products?” …find something that you can ask.  People do need to hear the words!

Too often, my clients will hear feedback that they do not tell prospects enough of the “obvious” details to convert a client. Tell them how to start the process. Tell them how to get a hold of you if they want to start working with you.  Tell them why a prospect should work with YOUR company. Tell them different stories about successes you have had for other clients. Tell them you want their business.

If you have any questions on sales or other operational & management topics, email me at TAnderson@TalmarItUp.com. I would love to work with you and your business! (see what I did there???….teehee)

Now GO! Grow!

Strategic Planning?
Are You Making it Hard on Yourself?

By Talmar Anderson

Have you been working on your strategic plans? So you’ve got your long term and short term goals laid out.  Maybe your deadlines are based on quarterly milestones.  You are excited.  This IS going to be epic.  You have big dreams and new products to launch. You are investing in industry specific education and growing your team.  As you are spinning in your chair from the inspiration coursing through you, you notice the inbox and receipts pile.  “It’s ok” you tell yourself.  I’ll get to the last three months of paperwork later.  Let’s get back to the shiny new stuff.

Hear that?  It’s the sound of another year of making business hard for yourself running to slap you upside the head!

Before you go forward with new ideas (especially if it truly may be the “one” that puts your company over the top) you must KNOW your company.  And I mean, know it inside and out.  Not just “have a pretty good idea”…this saying is almost as bad as “it depends” for pricing models.  (You can read about that stinker HERE).

So, do you know your company? Do you know which product or service brought in the most cash over the last 12 months?  Do you know which product or service was most profitable over the last 12 months?

Do you understand that those two questions are different?  Understanding the answers to even just these 2 questions can help determine;

  • How to budget marketing for future campaigns
  • Which new products or services should be launched first
  • What position to hire for next

And yes, the list can go on.  I think you get this point.  But the real point of this blog post is that if you are not staying current with the “paperwork” in your business, you are creating your own chaos!  That’s right, I’m calling you out.

Bookkeeping must be current to allow for real time profitability analysis and performance reporting. This leads into the metrics that the rest of your data and reporting can be measured against for true understanding of what does or does not work in your company.  Once anything is 3 months behind, that is a WHOLE quarter of metrics, you cannot even consider it in your strategic plans.  If it has been longer….well, you are throwing darts in the dark.  Instead of poking an eye out, you are wasting company money and efforts basing plans on outdated numbers.

That example is not the only metric you need. Do you understand your current clients? (What do they have in common? What exactly are they buying? Why do they buy?).

You need to understand who is buying and who is not to buying to be able to effectively steer and grow your company.  You need to know how your clients are finding you – exactly how they are getting to you!

Strategic planning focuses so much on the possibilities. It creates excitement, hope and motivation.  However, if it is not coming from a place of insight and historical consideration then these plans are not really the strong decisions of a business owner.  Without the understanding of how YOUR business has worked and currently is working, your plans are similar to buying a lottery ticket.  Sure you made plans and took the step to purchase the ticket but you cannot significantly affect your chance of winning beyond there.  Are you effecting change in your business?  Because, you need to KNOW to GROW!

P.S. If you are interested in “Knowing” your business, working with Talmar It Up will help.
Talmar It Up’s Know to Grow program is launching in January.  Send me a quick email if you want to find out more!