Tag Archives: productivity

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!

Do THIS before you start to hire! Part 1

By Talmar Anderson

If you speak to business owners that have had a rough time of finding, hiring, and training the first few hires for their own business….well, then you know business owners that are in the majority! I am excited to be focusing on a short series for small business owners discussing what can be done BEFORE you even place that employment ad to get the most out of your time with new hires. Let’s start with an easy step.

Start a Project List

Seeing a calendar consistently filing up and a “to do” list getting longer, business owners begin to get serious about the idea of hiring.  The stress of trying to find a candidate much less manage an employee can keep business owners stuck in the “consideration” space far too long. However one of the most limiting issues revolves around what to do if the new hire is not busy enough right away?

“I don’t want to pay someone to play on Facebook.”

“I can’t sit with them 100% of the day for the first two weeks.”

“The last person I tried drove me crazy with the “Now what? Now what? Now what”s!”

Hearing these excuses reminds me that most people will decide to hire on an impulse.  It may be an overwhelmed or stressed-induced impulse but the point is that there is VERY little consideration in their decision.  It is usually a decision that stems from the idea “I am tapped OUT”.  Either short on time or energy, a decision to hire leads directly to shopping Craigslist or Indeed for ideas for employment ads.

I would like to challenge you to start a different way!  Take note of that very first time you get an inkling that you will need help.  When you are noticing that you can’t get it all done by yourself, start a portioned off piece of your “to do” list.  You know those items on your list that you really would like to get to but keep getting pushed further down under immediate client needs and sleep?

I’d like you to start a project list.  These are the items that are not currently on your calendar to be completed in the next 30 days. This can include ideas for new markets, researching potential business tools or cleaning up a database. Capture all these great ideas and PARK them.  You know, the items that would 100% help YOUR company grow and get organized?  If it is not on your calendar now then it will be waiting until your calendar has available time. There is only one of you so these great ideas are put on hold until…well, either you can get to them or you have an extra pair of hands around….which leads to the point.

Take note that this is NOT their job description.  These are items that can be slowly addressed as time fillers but are NOT a priority. Most of these projects can be allocated (or at least the digging) as time fillers for any level or skill scope that may be required as a next hire for your company.

Hiring for a new business development person?

  • Hand them a list of adjacent markets you have been meaning to reach out and get to know.
  • Have them research new ways to be visable in your community.
  • Have them start on reconnecting with past clients.

Hiring a social media person?

  • Have them research and propose new avenues for messaging.
  • Have them investigate content statistics.
  • Have them learn the technology behind the up and coming social channels.

Hiring an Assistant?

  • Have them research a customer relationship management (CRM) software
  • Have them FULLY learn the CRM you are already using!
  • Have them research new ways to thank your clients

That list of overwhelming stuff on your never-ending “to do” list is a GREAT place to start planning projects for the in-between time with a new hire.  Either to fill the space waiting for clients to understand that they can use the new hire or to fill the space when the new hire is waiting for assignments from you!

Likely you are hiring so that YOU will have time to get to all those things listed out.  Over the first few months, you can move the deliverables or assigned workload to them as they get proficient at the role you hired them to perform. You will be able to lessen their assigned projects as you have more time from the growth of a newly trained and fully engaged employee!

THAT is what a strategic plan for your hiring can do for you and your company! Next time we will discuss what to consider before hiring by addressing the new employee’s work environment!

Now GO! Grow!

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Prosperous or Stressful? Look into Your Future…..

Prosperous or Stressful?  Look into Your Future…..
By Talmar Anderson
Founder, Talmar it Up

I can prove whether or not your company has real growth in its near future. No psychic abilities needed.  Double Dog dare me to show you?!?  Ok.  First things first, answer this question…Where do you (the business owner) spend your time?

Are you spending your days unsure what to focus on from one moment to the next?  You probably aren’t about to break through that monster goal in the next 6 months. Overwhelm a common occurrence?  Letting the “fires” burn up the hours in your day? Then I KNOW that you are not consistently and regularly scheduling your own projects and workload onto your calendar. I KNOW that odds are highly against growing your company in any significant way!

Ok, I will bring it down a little now. If you can identify with the above concerns, there are 3 areas that you can consistently place on your calendar that will positively affect your company’s growth… IF you can keep a consistent commitment to honor the appointments.

Business owners that want to impact their company’s growth in a focused and immediate way MUST regularly (means more than once! Monthly maybe..or, dare we say it out loud…weekly?) have scheduled on your calendar the following separate areas.

  • Management time
    • This is time committed to your administration and operations. If you are a solo-preneur than this may include your invoicing, your accounts payable, meeting with and vetting a new vendor.  If you have staff, this includes the weekly or monthly meetings to motivate, encourage and evaluate.
      • Because this is something that does not bring direct profit this is usually the first item to be bumped off your calendar. The price you are paying is HIGH stress, being out of touch with your own company, and relationships in your business built on the assumption that everyone knows what you are thinking. YIKES!
  • Marketing & Sales pipeline time
    • This is time committed to specific steps and action items to ensure your company is known and growing! This is not usually as quick to get bumped as management time UNLESS business is booming.  This time can include dedicated social media time. (NOTE dedicated…scheduled…set a timer to pull you back out!) If you generate content for your blog or need to develop a presentation, this calendared time is useful. Been meaning to write a white paper? Find a new tchotchke vendor?  Work on it here. This should also be time to reach out to prospects for follow up or personal touches.  Meeting with your website developer and business development teams should be here and consistent!
      • If you are waiting until you “have time” or plan to fit it in at the end of the day, you will be able to self identify here. Look at your profits.  If they are not where you want them to be, you are likely NOT setting and keeping appointments with yourself on these efforts.
  • Development and research time
    • This is time where you get to focus on the shiny idea that keeps poking you in the brain. You can look at possible new products or services and how they would fit in your model.  You can do some market research to see what your clients and prospects really want from your company.  You can learn about how partnerships work so that you can consider the offer that is being subtly pushed on you by an In Law.
      • If this is the kind of stuff you only get to on vacation then you can be assured you are slowing the growth opportunities and potential of your business. This is something that absolutely WILL NOT GET DONE if not for you making time.

If I can look at the last 3months of the your past scheduled appointments kept and your future 3 months calendar schedule, I can tell whether or not your next 6 months are likely to be prosperous or stressful for your company. And now, so can you!

Are you better at keeping 1or 2 of these on your calendar? Which is the most challenging for you? I would love to know which vexes you!  Leave me a comment and let me know!

The POWER is in the Numbers…so they say!

By Talmar Anderson

I frequently work with my clients on establishing what to measure.  Not just talking about profitability and revenues but the “specific-to-your-industry-and-your-business practice” metrics.  Whether inventory controls or scheduling hours to ensure we have enough employees to deliver on our contracts, measuring and then analyzing that collection of data is critical for success. But I don’t want to talk to you about how to do your math today (I can hear you letting out a breath saying “thank goodness”!)  I want to talk about WHY we measure. It is in these measurements that we take control of our companies.  It is in these numbers that we can find the power to lead destiny down our path.

So why do we have to spend so much time marking and collecting the details?  We document when, how or who does what in your company.  We document the dollars but also the time, the expense, and the frequency of items.  We sometimes even try to document the stress or energy exuded to complete certain task.  We measure to take control.  We measure to better understand.  We measure to allow for success.  How would we know we succeeded without a goal?

We measure so that we can compare forecast to outcomes.  Once we have outcomes we can assign value.  Again, values of not just profitability (though it is my favorite to really get control of and understand) but also of time lost (or fruitfully spent).  Opportunities lost or won.

What if…

  • We can decide how efficient we are at delivering on our clients’ needs?
  • We can understand that we ARE receiving enough prospects but we are NOT closing enough clients?
  • We can measure how much profitability suffers when an owner uses their time on deliverables?
  • We can find success when we measure a strong marketing investment compared to newly tracked revenues?

What could you do for your company if you knew the SPECIFIC answers to just these questions for your own company?  Where would you spend money? Where would you STOP spending money? With these results, you could move your company to where you originally envisioned when you went into business for yourself.

It is amazing what keys for decisions we can find when we look at our data.  Let’s use me as an example. I noticed the most unexpected detail my client information vs. profitability. It showed me a crazy coincidence…maybe?

I was sorting my top clients based on gross revenues over the last 12 months.  I was considering a new advertising campaign. I was looking for commonalities that could be helpful to target this specific market. I was motivated to effect change in my marketing efforts and future revenue totals.

At first look, it seemed as if the top of the list fell into my usual target market definitions.  Yes, they were all growing.  Most were hiring whether for the first time or as part of a full organizational structure strategy. It was split 50 / 50 down gender. But then I found the piece that surprised me.  The top 4 clients have offices less than 1 mile from each other.  1 mile!! It is not an exaggeration to say I have clients all over the MD/DC/VA region. They are spread out alllllll over the three states! I have a few throughout the US but have not had even 3 in such close proximity.

You may be thinking, well, they share information when they meet at a local coffee shop.  Maybe they all attended an event in their region?  Maybe they all were referred by another vendor they work with locally?  Nope, nope and nope.

Each of them came to me from different referral avenues or marketing.  All are in different industries.  To the best of my knowledge, none of them even know each other!

This allowed me to focus my advertising and marketing efforts and monies to a very specific geographical area – which incidentally further targeted research has found is rich with my target market. The ideal growth in this specific area allows me to plan to work with clients in a strategic manner saving time and energy.  Additionally, it can help build profitability by minimizing expenses.

Metrics allow us to define success and strategically change course.  Measuring the key elements of your business will relieve a HUGE amount of stress because you will KNOW where to spend your money to grow your company. Do you feel it? Do you feel the pooooowwwwwwer???!!!??

What have you measured in your business that was surprising? I’d love to know what you did with the information!

Who’s driving this thing????

By Talmar Anderson

Originally published Feb. 28, 2013

There needs to be a driver for this journey you are on building your business.  Believe it or not, it does not necessarily need to be you.  Some owners are more like the fuel…they come up with exciting options and opportunities to grow the business and get the engine revving.  Some owners are like the map, forward looking and pointing to all the places they can see the company reaching.  Some owners are like the gunk in your oil, slowing down progress by focusing on the minutiae.

A driver will focus people in a meeting to the agenda but also track new ideas for future follow up.  A driver will detail how exactly a company will deliver the new product by drafting procedures and assigning responsibility to action items.  A driver will continue searching for new tools and possible contacts to further the company’s agenda when stuck.

If you are an owner that is not a driver, recognize it and start looking for the driver for you.  If you are smaller and not ready for an operations type ( COO, Director or Office Manager) consider working with consultants.  Maybe it is topic specific (I stall on my marketing efforts without my marketing team driving me to keep it up!). Maybe you need a staff person that will keep you focused.  Maybe they need to sort out the details.  But the key to a good driver is not just paying attention to all the details but keeping the foot to the gas.

We must keep progressing to grow and succeed.

Say “No”…the ultimate in Empowerment and Leadership

ByTalmar Anderson
Originally published Feb. 5, 2014

I talk about taking action as a requirement for success. Really, at the root of action is decision-making.  Indecision is a killer…but that is a different topic.  Today I want to talk about the decision to decline.  Saying “No” really will allow you to lead your business to the success that YOU have foreseen.  If you know when to say “No” (and learn the graceful ways to deliver this little word) you really can be the master of your business.  Saying “No” lets others understand that you know exactly where your business is going and exactly what it will take to get there.

The first “No” that really empowers an owner is the first time you turn down a potential client that is waiving dollar bills under your nose.  That shift from just wanting money coming in the door to deciding what type of client and what type of project or products will be offered through your company is a huge step towards success and growth.  Clear focus on what you deliver and how you will best meet a client’s needs lets you confidently turn down prospects with needs that are not the correct match.  These miss-matches usually lead to disappointment or frustration on everyone’s part! This clarity can also allow for ease of referrals.  When you are able to specifically describe why one client or project is wrong for your business others will more easily refer what is best for your business.

The next “No’ that can build the power of a business and business owner is “No” to the wrong press.  And really, “No” to the wrong marketing opportunity is what this is about.  Too often, I hear about business owners that are excited to be asked to speak at an event or to have a media piece written about their company.  Certainly, the adage that “There is no bad press” holds some truth.  However, your time is limited. How much time will it take out of a day to travel to a lunch engagement?  You will need to get there, meet & greet with everyone, speak as a keynote, stay for the follow-up meet & greet at the end of the event and travel back to the office. YIKES! It can be a real drain and that is not even considering the prep time.

Stop and find out if the audience will contain a convertible number of your target market. What is your cost if you spend 4 – 7 hours of a day with a client?  Are there likely to be 3 of your target market in attendance or 100? Speaking to the Interior Design Association luncheon if you are a Chiropractic Doctor may not be in your best interest unless you have noticed an uptick of Interior Design clients due to trending heavy and difficult to move home designs.  If you are a photographer…maybe this would work better for you.  Interior designers rely heavily on documenting their work through photographs. Understanding who hires you and why allows you to decide where best to use your marketing resources and, most specifically, access to you as the business owner.

Another opportunity to build your brand, business and power as a business owner is the ability to say “No” to prospective partners.  With the growth and success of a company, partnership and affiliation possibilities will come into play.  We will acknowledge that we can’t, or do not need to, do it all alone.  Finding like-minded companies and business partners can be a real path to expansion and larger markets. It does need to be strategic.  There should be benefit for each company.  But deciding to say yes should include ensuring that the partnerships will build your visibility, reputation and market reach into the correct directions.  “No” can be a real answer if it is not a good match for your business.  Trusting your instincts can be a big part of this “No”.  You will need to enjoy being associated with the company or people and their reputations. While clear vision is important to using the power of “No”; having the confidence to listen to your gut is a defining moment for a lot of successful business owners.

The decision to say “No” is still an action even if it is only because you have made a choice. Moving from the fear based “Yes” to everything for your company is shockingly liberating if not a little nerve wrecking at first. Building a clear vision of what your business does offer, who benefits from your value and who your company works with will easily let you decide what does NOT fit into that vision. That clarity is motivating, comforting and encouraging.  That clarity is growth! It is progressing with purpose at its finest.

Profitability is spelled C O N S I S T E N C Y

By Talmar Anderson
Originally published Aug. 22, 2013

When looking at your company from the higher macro level – there is a simple step that can bring profitability and help build that path to success.  Have you ever worked with someone who had an “Open Door” policy? Some can do it and some cannot.   Have you worked with the person that touted that little gem but truthfully was neither in their office often enough or shut down ideas as quickly as you could ask “got a minute?”?  Maybe you have been fortunate enough to work with the person who actually had an open door to go along with the “Open Door” policy.  THAT manager was open to new ideas.  They were quick to address concerns and even followed up on any unanswered questions.  By applying consistency throughout your company you will be taking control of a major requirement for that success – trust.  What your company actually does is just the beginning.

Start just by consistently communicating your vision! Understanding not just what your company does but where your company is going allows you to take advantage of opportunities that are correct for your company.  Making sure that your business partners, staff and clients know what you offer and what you are planning for the future allows for them to become part of your expanded team.  They will better be able to send you information or people who can help progress you towards that vision. Clarity of your vision for the business helps allow you to be consistent about what you need.

Consistency in management equals a successful team.  When hiring, training and managing employees it is imperative to build realistic expectations.  Consistency in communicating to staff their responsibilities for delivering, interacting with co-workers and clients, or communicating their own progress and needs will help to build loyal employees. And it lies squarely on you and the management team. If you say you have an open door policy, you have to actually make yourself available to your staff on a consistent basis! If you are requiring time sheets by noon on Friday then do not follow-up on Wednesday the following week.  Upholding your policies and procedures allows staff to trust that those rules really do apply all of the time and can create a strong working environment.

If you have any clients at all and you plan for retention of those clients, delivering on your product or service is a must!  You need to have a process, ideally documented, that is adhered to for each contract. Another expectation can be set, and therefore further promote trust, by also communicating the general process to the client. Setting and meeting expectations allows for success to be recognized.  Your engagement communication needs to discuss how changes to pricing and deadline or any other possible influencers would be addressed.  Consistent process and communication on these points will create another opportunity to build the company’s reputation.

The saying, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck well….you certainly aren’t going to be looking for a fuzzy bear at the end of that sentence. By reacting, delivering, communicating and attending events in a consistent manner you allow for employees, vendors, clients and the public to understand and develop expectations.  Consistently delivering on those expectations allows for trust to grow and your business to thrive.