Tag Archives: time management

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.

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!

Can’t Commit to Yourself? How will You Commit to Us?

By Talmar Anderson

Let’s get serious for a minute. Why, oh why do you set yourself up for failure?  Do you know by not managing your own schedule realistically and committing to accurately plan for the time to prepare for, arrive at, conduct and return from a meeting you are not just stressing yourself out but telling others you have confused priorities and lack self-discipline?

Clients EXPECT that a valuable and worthy business will have obligations outside of their own immediate need.  It is Ok to say no to meetings, volunteer time or lunches that do not align with your priorities. Loving on Marissa Levin and her quoting “You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep others warm.’  This isn’t just about taking on others amplified or self-made urgencies.  I also read this as sacrificing your needs to facilitate a client / family/ significant other’s priorities.

Let’s stop the self sabotage and accept that we will not get more time out of our day. The best thing we can do for ourselves, for our clients/ family/ significant other is be clear on our priorities, truthful with the time it takes you to fulfill each task/ event/ product that is requested time on your calendar and decide if it can fit it on our calendar in the near future, or in your life at all.

I get that you WANT to do it all.  I know that you WANT to make everyone happy. I understand that you WISH there were more hours in the day. Tough luck!  You can’t do everything. Now, don’t take it personally.  No one can get more hours in their day.  Everybody, YES, even Oprah or Richard Branson wish they had more time in their day.  They don’t.  Time is the great equalizer.

So do what happy and successful people do…be ruthless! Only say yes to a few items.  Those items need to be what you really want your life to be about.  Do you want to spend more time with your family?…Put that Star Wars movie appointment on the calendar!  Is growing your business a priority?…Put strategy and operations on the calendar.  Is each meeting on your calendar important? Then ALSO put the time for driving there, arriving on time, follow up conversation and driving back to the office ON YOUR calendar.

As an example, realize that you CANNOT get through a 45 minute yoga class even in the 60 minute chunk you put on your calendar so stop sabotaging yourself! You must change clothes, drive there, warm up, take the class, say hello to others, shower, change, get to your car and drive to the next meeting. You are being unrealistic and creating your own stress. More importantly you are being rude and unreliable to the person expecting you at the 60 minute mark.

Just because others can be there before you, does not mean that you are not needed the first 15 minutes of the meeting. And more importantly if you are not needed for that meeting WHY did you say yes to attending?

Maybe it’s because you under value your worth and believe your contribution is unnecessary. Then don’t say yes.  Maybe it is because you believe that you only need to be present for the last half hour to get what you need. Then don’t attend.  Arrange to schedule a half hour with the answer person and save everyone time and effort. Because breezing in and out on YOUR overwhelmed, mismanaged schedule shows that YOU do not value your own time correctly.  That certainly puts the question into the minds of other people that you work with on whether they may be over valuing your contribution too.  Ouch…..

Prioritize what supports the results you want. Say No to the rest.  Be real and ruthless with setting your own schedule. You cannot do everything but you can be happy and successful. Honor the commitment you are making to yourself every time you use your calendar.

Want more Talmar?  Sign up HERE!

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!

Time Flying? Let’s Discuss “Who” IS the Boss of You.

Time flying by? Let’s Discuss “Who IS” the Boss of You.
By Talmar Anderson

When I ask clients and contacts how their companies are growing, I hear a familiar response.  “Phew…it’s been busy”. Yeah, I get it. Are you getting what you want done?   I can relate to wanting more hours in the day but today I am calling you out on your busy day. In fact, I call B**S**T. Yep.  I’m looking at you. Today we are talking about something that I consistently review with clients and yet it always elicits an “I know, I know.…”

No. It’s not about numbers but it will make your eyes roll.  Look, I get that your days are busy.  I even recognize that what you are spending your time on is valuable and purposeful. However, I will challenge that most of you are not being consistent. And that this lack of consistency is actually keeping your business stuck right where you are today.  Are you are talking about and obsessing over “getting ahead”, getting “further down the line”, or up to the “next level”? What are YOU DOING about it?  There is one thing that will actually ensure you get it done.

The best part is that it is easy to do. This act itself does not even take any real time from your day. It is also easily the most frequently seen self-limiting behavior across the boards for business owners trying to grow. You MUST put anything you value or truly intend to do ON YOUR CALENDAR!

Now, if you are putting these on your calendar but keeping pushing, moving or cancelling, well then you have found the hard part. Stop flat out lying to yourself.  You are not valuing the commitment to your company to effect change that likely can ONLY come from you. And this is no one else’s fault.

  • Not the 10 new clients.
  • Not the sick kid.
  • Not the assistant that quit.
  • Not the vendor that will only deliver on Monday.

You are in control.  You can move an appointment once but I challenge you to MOVE it, not cancel.  You must take time from somewhere else.  YOU are the decider. And while a week can go wonky, having this time calendared out for a full 12 months can get you back on schedule.

Last rule, you may not move these for client needs. If you are careful and considerate you will strategically pick operational and planning days and times that are less demanding.  That means that client work can be scheduled into an available calendar time. Whether customer service issues, invoicing and accounting or missed opportunities, your clients will work on the timeframes you teach them to expect.  In the end, your clients will likely suffer if you do not take care of what your business needs first and foremost.

Giving yourself set time on the calendar will allow you to feel truly in control of your company.  Remember; put your own oxygen mask on before you help others.  It is the only way to survive and thrive.

I’d love to know what tricks you use to keep your commitments to your own company.  Please share them in the comments or you can reach out to me at TAnderson@TalmarItUp.com.

Is ANYTHING getting done? Ideas and Your Implementation Method

By Talmar Anderson
Originally published Apr. 3, 2014

Are you so busy planning that action gets away from you?  There are three ways that people approach new ideas and the implementation.  The first are those that get an idea and step directly into it.  They will start painting the walls and handing out flyers about their new as- yet-undeveloped product.  They get so wound up at the idea that they have to get out there and start “doing”.  This is the predominant amount of people. Rather than think through the whole process and make a plan for how it will be handled they set themselves up for days reacting to the items that come across their desk to deliver on the intent of the idea.  This is where I usually start talking about process and planning in an effort to get ahead of the stress and allow for growth and success. However, today we are really talking about the opposite approach. The planning that goes on.  And on.  And on…until there is another idea upon which to focus. How much of your day are you planning and how much are you really creating???

You KNEW it was going to be about measuring and reviewing, right? Are you even considering this metric? This is a real personal productivity assessment.  You need to understand your role in the company and how much of your role is about planning.  Is it 20%? Is it 1 day a week?  2 days a month? Is research and development of the strategic planning really your core responsibility, then great!  Your company’s operations are able to be managed and produced by your staff.  Even if it is their jobs to implement your plans, then you will still HAVE TO LET GO at some point.  We must start taking action to allow for the exciting opportunity to come to fruition.

Certainly there is benefit to planning.  There is benefit to action.  Too much of either can severely impeded your growth. It is very easy to get sucked into the busy work that can distract from actually delivering.  This planning and researching allows us an excuse to avoid the work.  We can reward ourselves as “progressing” with each new fact we uncover or possible market segment we define. We tell everyone how the project is taking lots of time but the figures are projecting a SUPER load of cash once it is rolled out. Then when we get to the end of the week, or the month, or the quarter we wonder why we didn’t reach our goals.

Setting aside pre-determined planning time will ensure that you are still creating in your business.  If you preset the days and hours you will work on strategic planning you can be assured to notice when the actual deliverables of your company start to suffer.  Are you filling in your extra time with going to check out another possible venue for your next launch party?  Are able to spend 4 hours instead of the 2 hours calendared for researching competitors for your new product? PANIC!  Seriously, you originally expected to have the “extra” times filled with other functions for your business.   What is being neglected by you allowing yourself to keep going down the “planning” path?  Within this planning path there certainly is no risk of failure but neither is their risk of success.

For each new idea or product make the initial effort of giving it your scheduled time.  Progressing and growing new ideas is a major function in any business.  Don’t pretend it can magically be fit in around all of the other responsibilities currently filling your days. Now also plan for a roll out date and minimum required developed process to allow you to ACT! You can start earlier if your minimums are met and you have the momentum.  You can take the time to research more as your roll out date is still 3 weeks.  It depends upon on your comfort and your implementation method.  Setting this all in your calendar lets you notice when items are off course. Ideally this happens before your profits are affected.

You can act without planning. You can plan without acting.  But to grow your business you must make a plan AND take action. Then repeat. Then repeat again. And again….

Hiring for the New Year? You get what your write!

By Talmar Anderson

Originally published Dec. 31, 2012

If expansion is on the goals for 2013 then hiring will be a big part of the growth process.  Make sure that you set time to really decide what to delegate.  Think through what results the new position will be responsible for performing, the actions you want them to take to get the results, and how you will manage and communicate your expectations.  But it all starts with the employment ad and how you communicate the new position to the world.  Remember to be careful what you ask for….you may get it!

An employment ad needs to be composed off of the job description (which you have written out, right?).  You know the job description that you created when designing the position as mentioned earlier.  However, this is also the first opportunity to convey the tone and culture of the company and the personalities that will work best with your team.

Are you a small firm that wears jeans and takes personal responsibility for every detail?  Or do you value consistent process and collaboration to achieve your results?  Neither is wrong but they are VERY different.  So you need a sales person- do you need a self- starter that can get themselves motivated because you will not be requiring in office hours?  You want them out, selling and getting the job done.  Or do you have daily meetings where client contact lists are carefully organized and analyzed to create team presentations and proposals? These are two very different jobs with likely two different people obtaining success. Yet they both are sales.

A lot of employment ads are written (and re—written) with an owner’s experience providing the lead in – “Must be organized” (missed a lot of deadlines) “Must be punctual” (decided when to show up without consistency) “Prior experience a must” (did not understand industry lingo or business formats). If you invest the time to write an ad that both lays out the responsibilities as well as a general understanding of the culture you are far more likely to get the right person from the get go and not have to re-write and place another ad…which can be nearly as painful as starting over on the training…But that’s another post.