8 Essentials to SCALE, Podcast

I’m a huge advocate for sharing the real essentials with other business owners to help and empower them achieve their Big Fat Hairy Audacious Goals!

One of the ways I do this is agree to be interviewed by podcasters, YouTubers, and others with a client base of business owners.  Here, I was interviewed by one of our existing Explorer Mastermind clients – Amanda Daniels from Koogar Integrated Marketing.

How to feed a superhero!

How to find, attract and feed a superhero!

 “Until you have an employee, you are one!”

It may sound harsh, but the reality is, until you have at least one employee, automatically it means you are the only one employed to do everything in the business, and doing everything is NOT good for business!  So attracting, recruiting and feeding your superhero is imperative to growing a successful business.

I’ll start by sharing with you the 7 simple recruitment steps, and then close with a statement you HAVE to read to ensure you have everything in context BEFORE you start any planning!  So read TO THE END before you even start your SUPERHERO recruitment campaign.

There are seven simple recruitment process steps that you should follow every time you hire.  The recruitment process seemed obvious – until you become the person responsible for it. Now it just feels daunting. The good news is that, give or take, nearly every recruitment drive can be broken down into seven steps – some of which you will be familiar with already.

Here’s a one-stop guide that you can use time and again. Perfect for staying in line with legislation, running a fool-proof recruitment process and hiring candidates that are a better fit than Cinderella’s shoes.

Yes, there’s a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. But the payoff is SO worth it.

Profile the position

The key to getting what you want? Knowing what you are looking for. That’s where good planning comes in. Now, we know you are stretched. Most likely you are already spinning a number of plates. But getting this first step right will make the rest of the recruitment process easier and faster – not to mention more geared towards finding the superhero your business actually needs.

Prepare the job description and person specification

These are written descriptions of: 1) the role you are recruiting for and; 2) the type of candidate needed to fill it. They will be one of the first things job seekers read when they find your job vacancy. Attracting the right applicants is largely about getting these two documents right, so it’s worth spending time on them.

Choose where to hunt for candidates

In the age of information, there are literally thousands of places to promote your job vacancy. If you are taking a DIY approach to your recruitment, you certainly won’t struggle to find job sites that will be happy to promote your vacancy to thousands of job seekers.

But perhaps the first thing to ask yourself is whether the best person for the job is already right under your nose? Internal hiring has some big benefits: it motivates staff, it can save a lot of money and the successful candidate will already be au fait with the company culture. (You won’t have to explain how the printer works either.)

A good recruitment agency can take care of everything, without forcing you to relinquish control of the important decisions. That’s why I’m happy to recommend Https://AdamButlerLtd.co.uk Adam knows and understands the language, feeding habits and hang outs of a whole bunch of superhero’s and he’s got a great reputation of working with business owners to source, introduce and enable super meetings to evolve.

Review your applications (you will have a lot)

Good candidates should quickly and clearly highlight how their experience aligns with the available role. So revisit your job description and person specification for a reminder of what you are looking for. Don’t feel bad about scan-reading applications. The onus is on your applicants to prove their suitability as quickly as possible. And, trust us, after reading 100 CV’s you’ll be able to spot the standout candidates a mile off. Take a deep breath and dive in.

Pro tip: expect curveballs. Some candidates will surprise you, lacking the experience you were looking for but clearly possessive of transferable skills that could see them succeed in the available position.

Conducting interviews

So you’ve reached the interview stage. The Marmite step of the recruitment process. But whether you love them or hate them, interviews cannot be sidestepped. They give you invaluable contact time with your candidates, allowing you to deep-dive into each applicant’s professional background to see how well they might be suited to your vacancy. Avoid the needlessly confusing curveball questions and look to find out as much about each interviewees’ experience as you can. Your time together will go fast. You don’t want to be left wondering.

Checking references, drawing up a contract and offering the job

Once you have shortlisted your top candidates it’s time to check their references. Many employers miss this recruitment step, but it’s essential to check your candidate’s background to help make sure they are everything they claim to be. (Hiring the wrong person can be eye-wateringly costly.)

If everything is in order you will need to draw up a contract of employment. You will most likely have a template that can be adapted to the salary, number of holiday days, working hours and responsibilities?  If not, a well written contract of employment is worth as much as their salary.  Get it right and everyone’s happy, get it wrong and it could cost you dearly again and again and again.  My good friend Samantha Quinn offers a FREE CONTRACT REVIEW service, which can be accessed here: http://laveerlegal.co.uk/free-contract-review/

Help your new hotshot settle in

Some things never change. Like the fact that being the new guy/girl often feels awkward and difficult and uncomfortable. You and your business can win some serious loyalty points by making a special effort to help your new candidate settle in, rather than just showing them to their desk and expecting them to knuckle down on your new account.

So, that’s the CONVENTIONAL stuff that you ought to bear in mind.  However, we are not just recruiting a new member of staff, we are on the look out for a superhero, and for that we also need to consider a few more essential things!  And for that, you ought to download our SUPER HERO Finders Guide!

There is LOADS more I could share on this topic, which can be sourced by booking a 1:1 coaching session by visiting www.MyTrueNORTHUK.youcanbook.me or by emailing En*******@My*********.Biz however I’m sure I’ve given you LOADS to be thinking about as to how YOU can stand out and attract the very top talent.

A few last tips:

  1. Don’t assume you have to pay TOP WACK for a GREAT person. Some of the top people in the industry are not driven by money but by opportunity.
  2. Don’t assume you always have to have a position available immediately to run a recruitment campaign. There are superhero’s out there right now who could generate thousands of pounds every month for your business, if they knew about you and the business!
  3. Don’t assume you have to have £10K, £15K, £20K sat in the bank to cover a salary! Recruiting a new person should be a 4-6 week decision.  If they are good, you’ll sense that quickly, as a small business owner its imperative you learn to hire slowly and fire fast!
  4. Don’t assume you can attract SUPERHERO’s to your standard, traditional mediocre business! (Harsh, but true) Superhero’s live on a special diet of fun, enjoyment, challenges, deadlines and rewards, make sure you have those available in order to attract, recruit, and feed a SUPERHERO!

Are you ready to SCALE?

New Versus Old, the 8 Fundamentals to sustainable scale!

Whilst the traditional model of forming and growing a business still exists, it has to be recognised that the birth of the internet, social media and electronic payment options has enabled a new form of business to emerge.

One that is faster, slicker, more profitable, less time consuming and requires far less resource to enable an extortionate amount of money to be made!

However, in BOTH models there are still far too many either going broke or GROWING broke!  and that’s simply because there are 8 fundamental lessons that have to be learned and considered in order to create a SUSTAINABLE business that can scale!

Here at My TrueNORTH we help business owners from both the old and new to ADD A ZERO to both their turnover and personal disposable income!

Vision, Values, Purpose, Mission

You need to have clarification on exactly what you want the business to achieve, what is SUCCESS?  You also need to have a clear clarity of the values you and your business wish to be known for.  It’s far more important these days than ever before to have a clear purpose, and then to write a mission statement which supports all of these, to which you run your business.

Mindset & Motivation

This is often the biggest hurdle to scaling any business!  The lack of clarity in the mindset of the owner, and sufficient motivation to implement and adhere to the plan in order to do what is required to achieve the goals you have set yourself.

Strategy & Structure

A business strategy should only be considered once the mission is clear, therefore it can be determined HOW you’re going to achieve it.  The structure of the business will support the strategy to achieve the mission.

Marketing

Clarity on WHO is your TARGET market is often overlooked in favour of selling to anyone, yet this is completely the wrong strategy if you wish to SCALE.

Money and Margins

It’s just as easy to GROW broke as it is to GO broke. Too many people fail to understand running ANY business is often based on one dashboard which carefully and in real time monitors the NUMBERS in the business. Get it right and you can fly, get it wrong and your heading for unemployment.

Sales and Negotiation

Being able to convert enquiries and how to negotiate the best deal for both you and the client is key to ensuring no money is left on the table.

Delivery and Customer Service

So many people concentrate on continually winning new clients, as opposed to spending more time and effort looking after their current clients, which is actually key to SCALE!

Team

Getting the right team in place early is another key to scale.  Yet to many business owners still get caught out with the ‘they can’t do it as well as me’ misconception!

Whilst there are a gzillion books out there regarding BUSINESS SUCCESS, we opted to adopt a slightly different viewpoint, and have studied businesses that FAIL!  You see, there is SO much more you can learn from a business that has previously been doing well and making good progress, that subsequently failed, than there is from one which continues to make great progress.  I love the quote:

EVERYONE should make MANY mistakes. However only a fool makes the same one twice!

As it clearly shows we have MUCH to learn from the mistakes people make, in order NOT to make the sames ones again!  We’ve therefore studies well over 100 businesses that had made a name for themselves, only for SOMETHING to happen, resulting in failure.  From this we have learnt the fundamental mistakes made by SO MANY businesses, and devised a method to help you avoid them!

Want some help to understand more about how you and your business stack up against this 8 segment scale process?  Email Iw*****@AD******.uk to ask about our FREE SCALE AUDIT

10 Things to outsource to a VA

“I’m only a small business why on earth do I need a VA?”

I hear the same quote all the time and I really don’t understand why people don’t understand the HUGE importance a VA has to you and the growth of both you and your business!

Using a virtual assistant can slice hours from your week, but knowing which tasks to delegate can be tricky, whether you’re starting or growing a business. Most virtual assistants are contract or freelance workers who focus on administrative tasks that are similar to those of an executive assistant or secretary. Websites that specialise in contract workers, such as odesk.com and elance.com, have thousands of listings for virtual assistants.

With the number of virtual assistants are growing by the day, it’s never been easier to find someone who fits your organisation. In 2016, oDesk had over 25,000 postings for virtual assistant jobs, compared to about 2,500 in 2011.

Entrepreneurs can use virtual assistants for everything from making vendor or customer service calls to sending out thank you cards to prospective clients. It’s important to build trust, just as you would with a permanent employee.

“They become a team member who just happens to work remotely”

Not sure where to start?

Here are 10 ways you can use a virtual assistant to improve your business:

  1. Bookkeeping: Keeping tabs on bills and other bookkeeping matters can be one of the easiest things to assign to a virtual assistant. Many small businesses choose to share their bookkeeping systems with their virtual assistants who can then follow up on tasks such as outstanding invoices or unpaid bills. “You will need to hand over some control [including] passwords and access to accounts,” so ensure you have sourced someone you trust and has proven experience in this area first.
  2. Online Research: You can easily farm out Internet research to virtual assistants. Common requests include finding information on corporate websites, exploring new products and vetting potential employees or business contacts. Be sure to send clear instructions, along with user names and passwords so assistants can get access to specialty search tools or paid websites.
  3. Database entries: Whether it’s a slew of new business cards picked up at a conference or updated information for existing contacts, keeping databases current is a suitable task for virtual assistants. Be specific about your needs and expectations, and make sure the virtual assistant has done this type of work before so there’s less room for errors. “Follow up is a huge thing for business owners. Sometimes clients will fax or scan business cards for the VA to then data input them into the database.”
  4. Data presentations: Turning raw data into a clear PowerPoint presentation or summarising research findings in a Word document can be a huge timesaver when prepping for meetings. I’ve done this numerous times and the data always comes back in a format of my preference and ready to use.
  5. Managing email: To keep you from wasting time in your email inbox, some virtual assistants will filter your most important emails and respond to the rest on your behalf. Such email management is easy to do remotely, but you need to provide guidance on how to pick out key emails and ask the assistant to copy you before sending out any responses to reduce the risk of errors.
  6. Social tasks: Virtual assistants can be a good bet to handle tasks such as writing holiday cards or sending thank you notes. Social chores have become a very common assignment. Such tasks can become “all consuming” for business executives, but a good virtual assistant can take care of all of it.
  7. Travel Research: Virtual assistants are a great resource for finding hotels, booking airfares and mapping out trip itineraries both for business and pleasure. The assistants can take advantage of the growing number of travel research tools and review sites on the Web. They can also deal with the hassle of navigating time zones when booking or researching international travel options by phone.
  8. Scheduling: Because many scheduling tools are available online, virtual assistants are managing the calendars of many clients. Tasks include dealing with meeting invitations from others, scheduling appointments with clients and helping to plan events.
    “It’s about being comfortable and letting go of that calendar” to a non-staff person working remotely.
  9. Chasing business: Prioritising potential business opportunities can be challenging, but virtual assistants can help with the process. “I give my VA an ongoing mission to surf social media sites seeking opportunities to engage with people potentially looking for solutions we can provide, and introduce them to us. Third party endorsements are invaluable, and this methods works particularly well when building trust.
  10. Industry knowledge prep: With limited time to keep up with industry news, some small businesses have turned to virtual assistants to keep tabs on the most important happenings. Many executives then use the industry information to update their Twitter feed or bring up interesting developments in conversation with customers and prospects. This helps “executives appear to have timely news” whilst keeping the Exec informed as to what REALLY matters whilst not having to scroll through endless documents to determine fact from fiction, interest from waffle.

Now that I’ve SAVED you at least 90mins a day! Perhaps that might help you find the time to work ON your business not IN it?

The job description of an Entrepreneur!

What makes an entrepreneur successful?

Many have tried to answer this question, but few have delved deeper into what distinguishes a good entrepreneur from a great one.

I’ve come to believe that great entrepreneurs approach their job with a different mind-set than those who are merely good. Good entrepreneurs apply intelligence, drive, and business best practices to building their companies. Great entrepreneurs do this too, but they also know that a company’s early stages sometimes require less traditional methods. They add to their tool kit approaches that handle the chaos of a start-up.

The Entrepreneur Job Description.

An entrepreneur is the CEO. However most (many CEOs included) don’t really know what this means on a day-to-day basis. With little oversight, CEOs must judge for themselves how well they’re using their time. Some spend time finding the perfect office space. Others obsess over spreadsheets, calculating to the penny how much their bartender is over-pouring. Still others delegate those financial details and spend hours making deals.

The essence of the entrepreneur CEO job is what can’t be delegated:

Setting strategy. The CEO has the final say over the company’s strategy. Strategy covers everything from creating the company’s vision to deciding which markets to enter. Even if others advise the CEO or the board has final approval, it’s still the entrepreneur CEO who sets the budget, forms partnerships, and hires the team to steer the company accordingly.

Team building. It’s nice to believe that small companies don’t need much team building. After all, we’re all in it together, David against Goliath, right? Wrong. Once there are two people in a room, team dynamics appear. Goals need aligning, agendas need fulfilling, and conflicts need resolving. Even “solopreneurs” who outsource everything must coordinate all their outsourcers. The CEO is also the only one who can hire, fire, and align the senior team.

Setting culture. Culture also appears as soon as you have two people in a room. Or sometimes, even just one person (though then, we call it “personality”). A bad culture can drive away high performers, while a great place to work can attract and retain the very best. Culture is set early, and everyone watches the CEO to know what’s acceptable. Do they throw tantrums? That signals that tantrums are fine.

Policies about advancement, recognition, and decision-making also define culture. The CEO can approve or nix any policy, and it’s up to her to stay on top of the cultural impact (or not, if she wants to set a culture of ignoring the impact of culture!).

Communicating. A young company’s future prospects are uncertain, and everyone looks to the CEO for reassurance that the company will deliver on its promises. Like it or not, that makes the CEO directly responsible to all stakeholders: employees, investors, suppliers, customers, and partners. If she doesn’t communicate, or communicates poorly, she can single-handedly derail the entire company.

Building the income machine. The entrepreneur CEO’s goal is a company that can sustain itself by generating income. That means finding income that will drive the business on an ongoing basis. In the process, she may have to raise cash to keep the business alive until it becomes self-sustaining. Most new entrepreneurs obsess about raising their initial cash. Yes, that’s important, but most important — and much less discussed — is finding the business model, distribution, and consumer engagement that create ongoing revenue.

Allocating resources. At the end of the day, the CEO decides how the money gets spent. They need to manage investments in the ways that most move the company forward.

These six areas comprise of what I believe to be the heart of an entrepreneur CEO’s job, however are by no means all inclusive, the role of entrepreneur stretches way beyond the physical day to day of business management, its about opportunity, vision, creativity, and more still.

Have you got what it takes?…

Have you got what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur?
Are you already a business owner striving to achieve success in your business? Do you want to get to a state of absolute financial freedom?

Think and Grow Rich was written in 1937 by Napoleon Hill, promoted as a personal development and self-improvement book. Hill writes that he was inspired by a suggestion from business magnate and (later) philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. While the book’s title and much of the text concerns increased income, the author insists that the philosophy taught in the book can help people succeed in any line of work, to do and be anything they can imagine.

The book was first published during the Great Depression and at the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold more than 20 million copies. But, by 2015 over 100 million copies had been sold worldwide. It remains the biggest seller of Napoleon Hill’s books. BusinessWeek magazine’s Best-Seller List ranked it the sixth best-selling paperback business book 70 years after it was published. Think and Grow Rich is listed in John C. Maxwell’s A Lifetime “Must Read” Books List.

But why is it SO popular?

Within the book Napoleon Hill challenges the old expression “A problem shared is a problem halved” by suggestion when a problem is shared with one other, through discussion and collaboration a 3rd mind is created between the two, whereby idea’s which each individual would never have otherwise thought of, had it not been for the interaction and collaboration between both individuals. He calls this as MASTERmind. However, then introduce a third PERSON to the equation and more MASTERmind’s also come to play enabling greater thinking as a result.

This now tried and tested method of working collaboratively with other like minded business owners, continues to see more growth, more development (both personal and professional) more opportunity and results in transformational change for all whom take part.

More millionaires have been created as a direct result of MasterMind collaborative than ever before, and the longer these groups operate together the greater the opportunity and capability they achieve!

Are you ready to Super Size your business?

However, Mastermind is not for everyone! Many business owners do not understand or adapt to this new collaborative way of working. Many business owners remain of the opinion “What’s in it for ME?” which prevents real sharing, and as a result the Mastermind doesn’t flourish. Only individuals that understand “Only once a persons puts aside personal gain can a team truly go on to set excellence as their standard” will the magic truly start to unfold.

Therefore, are you:

· A business owner, that’s dedicated to the significant and sustainable growth of both you and your business?

· Are you ready to work with others to collectively grow personally and professionally?

· Are you ready to help others ahead of yourself (in the knowledge they are too)?

· Are you ready to commit to the greatest opportunity of personal and professional development, and as a result implement the learning’s you receive?

· Are you willing to do whatever it takes to take your business to the next level and beyond?…..

If you are,…….let’s talk!

My kingdom for a Horse

War Horse Slider

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost
and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

It often amazes me to learn that another large business has collapsed, that something that has stood the ‘test of time’ been there forever, an institute within our community and all the other cliches, to describe what to all intents and purposes from the outside is considered a ‘successful company’.

Yet, with concerning regularity these days I’m seeing large businesses, with many staff, many clients, much in the way of future opportunity FAIL!

I’ve recently spent some time with two partners who in all intents and purposes have a good business.  Both have come from a corporate background, and have the necessary skills, background experience, education, understanding of both concept and niche to make this business a real success, but it’s not!  In fact quite the opposite, it’s actually struggling to survive and unlikely to see 2017 in its current format!

It has sufficient customers to keep going, it has sufficient resource to service those customers, and collectively they have the right experience and vision for this to be a GREAT business, but what they are lacking is a horseshoe nail!

I’ve previously worked within a business that was ON THE WAY UP.  It had the ‘magic sauce’ and was growing month on month, week by week, day by day we saw continual growth.  New members of staff appeared almost on a weekly basis to cope with the demand of new customers, and all the projections for the business were exceptionally favourable to both share holders and employee progression, things were good!……. or so we thought.

You see, in both examples I’ve given here, the management, the business owner(s) had put in place the A,B,C’s had tested and tested them and they knew they worked and worked well.  So, they had ‘gone off’ to create the D,E and F of the business; assuming that the A,B and C would simply happen, would miraculously continue working just as they had done, WHEN people, systems and processes were in place to ensure they happened!  I call it the FUNDAMENTALS in a business!

Darren Hardy, takes at length in his book The Compound Effect about how the simplest little things can have the most detrimental effects if left unmanaged, unconsidered, unimportant!  And that by ensuring we continually work on improving the little things EVERY day can have the most amazing compound results.

The poem above, may be a child’s nursery rhyme, but the sentiments and the message have never been more important to YOU and YOUR business, because whilst it’s good to have ‘blue sky thinking’ it’s also massively important to keep your ‘boots on the ground’ your ‘eye on the prize’ and a tight control and measure of EVERY aspect of your business and not just the big shiny things, but EVERY aspect of your goal.

I recently re-read Legacy by James Kerr, it’s one of my Entrepreneur’s Library top 30 reads, and makes several references to ‘sweeping the sheds’, and how despite being the captain of the all blacks, a world class and record breaking team, that every member was responsible after each game for collecting all the kit and sweeping the sheds.  No job was too great for any member, because collectively it still needed to be done, and only if EVERY member of the team is willing to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to be the best, can you truly emerge as the very best.

I thank you for your time in reading this post today, and ask you to consider what ONE thing are you going to do today to make tomorrow 1% better, quicker, slicker, more professional, more polished, more customer friendly, more customer focussed.  What 1 EXTRA thing are you going to do today not for yourself, but for your team, your colleagues, your department, your company, your community, your family? HOW are you going to put yourself out to do that, and by doing so MAKE THE DIFFERENCE.

NOBODY on a winning team gets to say “That’s not my job” because on a winning team by the time you’ve had chance to say it, someone else has already gone ahead and done it!

NOBODY is too good, to important, to busy to go back to basics and sweep the sheds, you may just find the horseshoe nail you’ve been looking for to conquer your kingdom!