How To Measure Employee Engagement

Transcript:
A lot of people are worried about how am I going to measure employee engagement?

How am I going to know what I’m investing in, whether it’s my time or my money, that I’m going to get a return on this?

Well, in this video, I’m going to share with you how you can measure employee engagement.

Hi, my name is Jody, and welcome to another video.

One big reason why it’s so hard to measure employee engagement is because there’s no clear definition of employee engagement. Some people think it’s happiness. Some people think it’s satisfaction. Some people think if I give more money, everything’s gonna be fine. There’s no real clear definition of engagement.

And the reason that is, is because engagement isn’t a thing, it’s actually a feeling, it’s an emotion. So how do you measure emotion? It’s kind of hard to do.

Although I will tell you there are ways to do it.

As I was saying, engagement is a complex emotion. A lot of different things have to happen before an employee can be fully engaged.

For instance, you could be happy at work, but not get enough feedback. You could get enough feedback, but you don’t have any opportunities for growth. You could have opportunities for growth, but you don’t like your manager.

It’s pretty complex. It’s a balancing act. It’s a dance.

Employee engagement is a lot like a puzzle. It’s complex and it has many parts. And they all need to fit together in order for it to work.

When I was preparing for this video, I came across an organization called Office Vibe and their research showed that there are 10 attributes that help to define what is employee engagement and I want to share them with you and say a little bit about each one.

So first is feedback.

Feedback is a really important aspect of a safe environment in your organization and a very important component of what it is that millennials are looking for, that ongoing feedback. The days of the annual performance review, those are so last Tuesday, last year, last 100 years.

The feedback that they’re asking for is more immediate and relevant and in the moment. And, be sure that you’re finding what they’re doing right. When there’s an ongoing feedback, they’re less afraid that you’re going to come to make a criticism of what they’re doing wrong. Then they’re less likely to defend and protect themselves and to hide out and more likely to engage with you, particularly if you’re giving them the positive feedback of what they’re doing right.

The next one is recognition.

When it comes to recognition, it can be something as simple as, “Hey, well done.” “That’s great.” “Can you show me how you did that?” or “Why that’s important to you?”

Anything that acknowledges that you see them, that you actually recognize them, that they’re significant to you all the way up through how you recognize with Employee of the Month or some gift card to the movies or something.

Be sure that you do this across the board and you’re finding things to recognize even the shyest quietest person who’s not the superstar. Because when you only recognize and reward the superstars, other people begin to feel like they’re losers and that’s counterproductive to what we’re trying to do inside of engagement.

The next one is happiness.

It’s not enough to have cool perks around the office like ping pong tables or playing volleyball or happy hour. It’s really about people having work that’s meaningful to them.

The next one is their relationship with their peers.

In Gallup’s famous 12 questions, one of them is, do you have a best friend at work? Sometimes people go like, what do you mean do I have a best friend at work?

Well, when people do have a best friend at work, they’re more likely to want to be there, working with that person, side by side, to produce a good result and productivity in your company.

The relationship with the managers.

There’s so much said about why people leave an organization, they leave the manager or the supervisor of the organization.

So, the training that your managers get, in how to be a good manager, on emotional intelligence, even though it sounds messy, it’s probably the most important thing that they can do to keep great intellectual capital in your company.

So give your managers the training they need to be better leaders.

Personal growth.

Personal growth has to do with not just their personal growth, which is, obviously, very important, their training and development, their ability to grow in their profession, develop their skills, develop mastery, it’s also your personal growth as a leader.

Being willing to be on a constant and never ending kaizen type of personal development pathway, because as we create better employees, they have better lives. And then we have better members of society across the board.

Alignment.

Alignment has to do with having clear goals that everyone is aware of, that there’s a common goal that everyone can true up to. They know what’s expected of them and they’re onboard with that. They’re aligned with the values of the company. They’re aligned with the goals of the company. They’re aligned with one another. Very, very important.

Their satisfaction.

Satisfaction’s on that basic scale. The satisfaction has to do with are they being paid fairly? Are they being treated fairly? Are they being treated in a respectful way? Do they have what they need in order to be able to do their work? Basic satisfaction must be present.

Then there’s wellness.

Probably the biggest issue that people are dealing with in the workplace right now is not just stress. Although there’s plenty of that. Sometimes stress is a good thing because it actually moves people forward.

But when it switches from stress to burnout, our wellness suffers. We’re not sleeping. We’re eating too much. We’re drinking too much. We’re fighting. We’re irritable. A burnout has a very, very significant component in the workplace right now.

So promoting wellness and well-being is a very important thing to do in your business, whether you’re sharing, you know, weight loss game or you’re making sure that you have healthy snacks or that people are taking breaks.

Because, we’ve trained people to operate from, “Well, if I work late and I don’t get up from my desk and I eat at the desk, if I eat it all, then it looks like I’m engaged and I’m an important contribution to this company.”

Nananana No!

All of that leads to burnout and burnout obviously is not sustainable. Make sure that you as a leader are focused on your well-being and the well-being of your team. It used to be that we would measure engagement by how willing are they to stay late?

That’s not a measure of engagement. I’m going to give you some, but that’s not one of them.

And then ambassadorship.

Ambassadorship looks just like what it says. Are they people who would speak well of you and your company to your customers, to your vendors, to their friends and to their families?

Are they people who would say, “Hey, there’s a job opening, you should come here, I work for the best company?”

Being an ambassador and fostering an environment where people are ambassadors.

These are aspects of employee engagement. So before we go in to talking about how you measure this, there’s a few other things I want to share with you.

Employee engagement and looking at how to measure it is not something that you do once, so that you can check it off. It’s an ongoing business strategy. Let me repeat that. An ongoing business strategy.

Think of it like marketing your company. You would never stop marketing in your company.

Engagement is the same. You would never stop working on engagement if you understood the business case for why it matters.

With the focus on technology in the workplace, naturally, I wondered what software, what apps, are there that are out there that we could use to measure the return on investment in employee engagement.

So I did a Google search “Best software to measure employee engagement.” And guess what? It came up.

There is a site called Capterra.com – “Employee Engagement Software, The best employee engagement software in 2019.”

And, it has a list that has a graph with all the different things that it can actually measure. And it tells you which ones have this and what their ratings are. And there are plenty of them out there.

Now, the seduction is to go straight to technology and start to use an app.

Employee engagement is a big business. I mean, even Sir Richard Branson is in this game with Virgin Pulse and their software, and app.

So these tools, remember, are just tools and they’re not a substitute for actually going in and having the conversations and doing the hard work of actually engaging with the people on your team.

Now they’re good and they’re important and you should go investigate it. And there may be one that’s a good fit for your company. As I said, this Capterra site actually had a good graph with a number of different softwares. And you can see, yes, this is important to me. That’s important to me. Costs. It compares all of these.

And then there’s the somewhat old fashioned surveys. So let me talk a little bit about surveys and doing the quantitative and objective assessments and the qualitative and subjective assessments of employee engagement.

Here are some areas that you can measure.

Of course, you’re gonna have to create a benchmark from the onset as you go through and measure, but these are some of the metrics that you can measure in your company:

  • One is absenteeism.
  • Another is profitability.
  • Another is productivity. How much work is actually getting out in this period of time?
  • The retention of talent.
  • The customer survey scores.
  • Safety and the reduction of injuries.
  • The mistakes or errors that happen.

These are some areas where, once you’ve benchmarked them, you can start to track over time, or even go back in and pull some data from the past, because you probably have some of these metrics, like absenteeism, or you might have been tracking incident reports of safety.

Once you’ve benchmark that, then you’ll put in an employee engagement component and then start to track its growth. Perhaps you’re doing that on a monthly basis or quarterly basis. So this is, again, it’s not a one time check off, it’s more a part of your ongoing business strategy.

So you’ll keep these kinds of metrics and you can do that on your own, creating a simple dashboard.

Some of the more subjective pieces are a lot harder to measure. So if you have a survey, you know, how engaged are you and your workforce and you get a seven out of 10. What does that actually mean?

It doesn’t really mean anything.

And so, we have to be careful the way we ask a question, because there’s no direct answer.

As I’ve shared earlier, engagement is an emotion. It’s a feeling. So how do you measure a feeling?

But, you can feel, when you come into an environment, the energy in that environment. Every one of us has walked into a business where it was either flat, like half dead, no one said hello to us for the first 5, 10 minutes we’re in there in their facility, to a vibrant, alive energy.

And, I always say you can’t hide energy. So, you kind of feel it, but you may not be exactly able to measure it.

You have to ask yourself what measure is going to be useful to me and is going to help me to achieve my business outcomes?

In the end, I think it’s a mixture of both.

If you have an app that is actually measuring what’s going on with that employee, and they can send feedback to you on an ongoing basis, through an app, that could be very useful. Especially if you can take it and dissect it into actionable items that will improve employee engagement.

And, there’s no substitute for face to face.

So, if you’re going to create an interview, or a feedback, with employees, you want to craft the questions carefully, so that they actually point to that person’s engagement and level of engagement.

A lot of it is displayed in the body language. And many times as business leaders we’ll ignore body language that’s off, because we’ve got so many other pressing things that we need to take care of, but, really being with someone and their body language and then, checking it out is also important because, you know, the other day I was asking somebody like, “Are you upset? Are you mad?” Because he had his arms crossed like this, and he said, “No, I’m actually cold and my neck is bothering me.”

And because I know him and I know that he has neck issues, I could believe him when he said that. But if I hadn’t asked, I might have made the assumption, “Oh, he’s not engaged in this conversation and what I’m saying.”

So, notice the body language, and then also check it out.

When you create the survey, be sure that you actually are writing that survey to be what’s relevant to you.

If you ask questions that are passive, like “Are you engaged at work?”, you’re going to get answers that point to the environment, that point outside, if they’re not happy, if they’re not engaged.

A better set of questions would have to do with, “Did you do your best at…?”, which is inward focusing, where people would take responsibility.

So, the crafting of the questions is a very important aspect of your survey.

So in the end, measuring the ROI on employee engagement can be an app, can be face to face conversations where you’re actually engaging with people and they can be surveys. All of those combined will point to something.

And then the actual hard numbers come from, you know, growth in profitability, retention of talent, improvement in sales results. Those are hard things, but it’s not the only thing.

So to wrap up, employee engagement, emotional, soft skills, but it actually does have a very hard ROI, and if you’re committed to it, and it’s a part of your ongoing business strategy, you’re going to find the methods that will work best for you and your organization.

Thank you very much for watching this video.

And again, please subscribe and ring the bell so you’re sure not to miss a thing.

 

4 Key Strategies for Preparing Your Business for 2020

Do you want to set your small business up for success in 2020? If so, here are some important tips to keep in mind:

Utilize your data

Working with data can be overwhelming – there’s an overabundance of data at your disposal. It’s best to start by narrowing things down and determining which data is relevant to your business right now. For example, if you’re a B2B company, you will probably want to look specifically at your customer retention rate, the cost to acquire a customer and the average lifetime value of a customer. However, you probably won’t be as concerned about capturing data on the emotional appeal of your product since B2B companies make purchases based primarily on business impact. Once you determine which data is relevant, it’s time to figure out how you’re going to capture this data and then leverage it to your advantage. When properly leveraged, your data will help you make the necessary tweaks or course-corrections to your business operations throughout the year and set you up to achieve your business goals in 2020 and beyond.

 

Capture accurate financial information 

Instead of just relying on historical financial information, make sure you access real-time financial information as well.

Capturing both the historical and real-time financial information will help your business avoid common pitfalls such as overlooking growing expenses, cashflow challenges and mounting accounts receivables. Keeping a closer eye on your financials in 2020 will help you make smarter purchases, plan more effectively for the future and accomplish your objectives.

 

Have the right people in your corner

The most important aspect of a thriving business is the people on your team. This includes having your actual team members in the right seats, doing the right things, for the right reasons and at the right time. Other members of your team are your ancillary support team. This includes your vendors, your banker, your accountant, your attorney and your mentors. We find that great ideas come from the people who are “on the ground” at your business and from people who are committed to you outside your business. Sometimes this is best practices. Other times, it’s information from their expertise that you wouldn’t know. Evaluating these resources now sets you up for a powerful 2020. 

Observe trends 

There’s a lot that small business owners can learn from carefully observing industry trends both at home and abroad. They

say that “no man is an island” and your business isn’t one either. What’s happening outside the four walls of your business can greatly impact your bottom line. Rely on the experts in your corner to help you process how these trends might impact your business and how you can ride the wave of these trends to continue to grow. 

Preparing your business for 2020 through careful planning is one of the most important aspects of “Owner Work” you can do. If you need help, give us a call at 305.285-9264. We’re here to champion your success! 

 

5 Ways To Massive Business Success

Transcript:
Hello again. In this video I’m going to talk about the five ways that you can take your business to the stratosphere. Stay tuned.

Hi! Doug Barra with ActionCOACH business coaching and this is Business Success with Doug Barra.

In today’s video, we’re going to talk about the five ways to massive success in your business.

Now, the five ways starts with understanding that this is the chassis that your business runs on. Just like every kind of car has a chassis underneath it, every kind of business has a chassis underneath it and the same chassis can run many, many different businesses. I’ll tell you that for the chassis of business, it runs all businesses.

I don’t care whether you have a nice little family business that just takes care of your family or whether you’re trying to build a mega business that’s going to take over the world. They all run on the same chassis and this is what I’m going to talk to you about today.

The business success chassis looks like number of leads, conversion rate, number of customers, number of transactions, average sale, revenues, margins and profit.

Now, you might have just said to yourself, “Wait a minute, Doug. That wasn’t five things. That was eight things. I think your math is a little off.”

Well, five of those are the important ones. Not the three you think they are – not the number of customers, not the revenues and not the profits, because each one of them is actually a result of what comes before.

The number of customers is a result of the number of leads. The number of people who actually raise their hands – “I’m interested in finding out what you do” – times your conversion rate/ your effectiveness at creating a sale.

All right, now let’s just throw in some numbers…

So what if you had a theoretical business? OK, these numbers don’t mean anything other than they’re easy for me to remember.

And let’s say in that theoretical business you have 4000 leads so 4000 people have raised their hands and said, “I’m interested in finding out what you do.”

And of those 4000 people you’re an average salesperson. So you can convert 25 percent of them. So 25 percent of 4000 is 1000.

So we have 1000 customers.

Now let’s say those customers on average buy from us twice. So the number of transactions is two. All right. Now I understand that some of them might buy once and go away and some of them might buy hundreds of times. The average, I’m saying, is two.

And on average they pay one hundred dollars. That’s their average transaction.

So I have 1000 people buying from me twice for an average of one hundred dollars. Therefore, I have revenues of two hundred thousand dollars. OK. Makes sense right? A thousand customers times two: two thousand times one hundred. I now have two hundred thousand dollars in revenues.

Now let’s say my margins are 25 percent again because it’s very easy for me to work.

That means I have 50 thousand dollars in profit.

So I now understand what those numbers are. I’ve done the measuring.

So what does that do for me?

“OK. Great. You’ve got a nice autopsy of your business.”

No.

Here’s the value of that. There are two ways that this is super valuable for you.

One way: Let’s start at the bottom and say, “You know what? I actually don’t want fifty thousand dollars in profit. I want one hundred thousand dollars in profit.”

OK great. I take that hundred thousand dollars. I say my margins are 25 percent. Therefore my revenues need to be instead of two hundred thousand dollars, they need to be four hundred thousand dollars.

And I just keep working my way back up until I get to how many people do I have to talk to on a regular basis to make those numbers.

But again, that’s not the super value of this.

The super value of this is understanding leverage. Leverage is what we call “divide-to-multiply.”

Divide-to-multiply says if I divide something up then I multiply my results, I get better results when I do increases in each one of those areas.

So, if I’m focused on my number of leads and let’s say I focus on it and I really work on it and I get 10 percent more leads. 10 percent more of four thousand is four thousand four hundred. So now I have four thousand four hundred leads.

Then I focus on my conversion rate. I do all kinds of sales training. I do lots of things to make sure that I can get more people to buy. I do sales training, I do scripts, I do testing and measuring. I learn how to do better. I have better offers. And let’s say I take my 25 percent conversion rate and I raise it by 10 percent. Now I’m at 27.5 percent conversion rate. All right 10 percent. Two and a half percent higher. 25 goes to 27.5 percent.

So now I have 4400 leads. 27.5 percent conversion rate. I multiply those two together and I get another 10 percent increase in my….! Oh wait a minute. Hold on. My customers didn’t go up by 10 percent.

They went up by 21 percent.

I have one thousand two hundred and ten customers now because I multiplied two 10 percents together to get 21 percent. This is the value of understanding that leverage and that divide-to-multiply.

Keep going down. I take my two transactions and I increase them by 10 percent. I have 2.2 transactions.

I take my hundred dollar average dollar sale and I change it to one hundred and ten dollars.

I now have twelve hundred and ten customers. 2.2 transactions. One hundred and ten dollars average sale. I multiply that out and now I have a 46 percent increase in my revenues. 46 percent.

One of the things I want to talk about there is well, how do I do that? OK. So number of transactions. This is all about getting people to come back. It’s our database. It’s making sure that we’re reaching out to people, touching people, making sure that people know what we do that have already bought from us so they come back. It’s a lot cheaper to go get them to come back than it is to go find a new one.

Average dollar sale. Plenty of ways we can increase our average dollar sale. Think about what it’s like when you go into McDonald’s. Would you like fries with that? Would you like a shake with that? Would you like dessert with that. All things that help to increase the average dollar sale. Maybe you just raise your prices by 10 percent. So anyway, we can get those 10 percent increases.

Now we go to margins. There’s a lot of ways we can increase margins as well. One of the ways you can increase margins was everything you did up top. Because the more we sell, the more our margins are going to go up. Because we have fixed costs. That percentage of those fixed costs to our sales is going to go down as we go up. Now, the percentage of our costs that’s related to our sales is not. But there is going to be a portion of those costs that are not going to increase.

So just because we raised our revenues our margins are going to go up. Let’s say we get 10 percent. Again we go from 25 to 27.5 percent.

Now we have a 61 percent increase in profit. 61 percent.

That’s a massive increase just from doing 10 percent in each one of those areas.

If you’d like to find out more, reach out to me. If you got value from this video please subscribe. I look forward to seeing you again.

 

The Magic of a Well-Designed and Implemented Plan

As I set up for the Q4 planning session with my client and her team, there was something unusual in the air – a kind of buzz. Typically, when I work with them on their quarterly goals, the team meanders in. On this particular day, however, they were eager to get started. My client and her team had achieved EVERY SINGLE ONE of their quarterly goals for the first time in years. They’d knocked it out of the park and they couldn’t wait to share that with me!

You see, most times at these quarterly meetings, we’d go over what got accomplished (typically somewhere around 50%), what didn’t get accomplished, what didn’t work and what displaced their word. We’d clear the space and reset the energy. Then we’d discuss what to carry over into the next quarter and what else they wanted to achieve. You might be tempted to think that this is a slacker team but that couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a high-performing, world-class interior design firm of very talented people. 

At our last planning session, we did something very different. The team committed to taking on realistic goals in light of their workload and they self-selected teams using their Clifton’s StrengthsFinder results. They were intentional about forming teams with members that would complement one another’s natural talents and strengths. Then they went to work on the initial steps they needed to accomplish in the first week of the quarter and scheduled time to work together for 45 minutes each week on their goals. 

Teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity. (Gallup)

When I drilled down a bit deeper into what they believe had made them so successful, they said they operated above the line with ownership, accountability and responsibility and gave up blaming, excuses and denial. They had a display that showed the teams, the goals and where they were each week and at their weekly team meeting, they shared the status of each goal. In short, with the display and weekly communication, they kept the game alive over time. They had well-formed teams and they had realistic goals that they committed to and that were meaningful to them. The excitement in the room was palpable. Something had shifted for this team in a very positive direction! It was a proud moment for this owner and a proud moment for me as well. 

Employees whose managers involve them in goal setting are 3.6x more likely than other team members to be engaged at work. (Gallup)

There’s a lot we can all learn from the story of this interior design team! If you’re looking to transform your annual and quarterly planning process into one that really works and generate momentum in a more positive direction, schedule your complimentary business health check and be sure to check-out our team engagement services!

 

Taudrey and House of Lilac

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Transcript:
Welcome to another session of Made in Miami where we’re interviewing entrepreneurs who are making it here in Miami.

In this session of Made in Miami you’re in for a very special treat. I had the opportunity to moderate Melanie Fernandez, of House of Lilacs, with her very good friend, Tiffany Dominguez of Taudrey, at the Coral Gables Chamber luncheon for Women’s Business Networking.

Take a listen and see why these two female entrepreneurs are making it big in Miami, going from their passion, to a paycheck, into profits. I’ll be back with you in a little bit.

We’re going to start off with, tell us a little bit about your past, like your world before going into business. And, Tiffany, if you would start that would be great.
Tiffany Dominguez

Sure. So, Hi everyone again.

First off, I have to say I’m so, so grateful to be here. This is such a cool opportunity. I’m really loving speaking in front of people lately. So, this is awesome, So thank you guys so much.

To tell you a little background, I am an alumni from UM, got a marketing bachelors and also a minor in PR, and I have always worked.

I come from a family of entrepreneurs, luckily. So, I’m wired that way, and I knew I always wanted to do something on my own, not knowing exactly what it was.

Let’s just get a business degree and work.

And, so I did some styling and makeup for a while, worked with some talent from Univision, worked in a public relations firm and worked with a similar association in Florida.

So I’ve always been like on the business side of fashion for a while, and I started Taudrey in 2009. At this time, I had already been working for a couple of years and I had a decision to make. Right?

So, everyone knows everything in 2009. I had a shift in my position in the current company that I was at and I was like, I don’t want to do that. Like, it sounds great. Awesome to have a steady paycheck. Okay that’s cool. If I’m going to do something I’m going to do it now, while I can, right.

This is pre-marriage, pre-babies and everything. And, at that time, jewelry had always been a hobby. It was in front of my face and I never put the two together. Hello, let’s do this, this could be the business that you do.

It was always my creative outlet. So, at that time, I opened. This is when Shopify, and Etsy, and all of that was very user friendly and I started a very simple, rinky-dink Web site, what I thought was awesome at the time.

And that’s how Taudrey was born. So, fast forward 10 years, just to tell you a little bit, because I know we’ll get into the nitty gritty, we now sell internationally.

I started stamping, stringing beads from my parents garage. I now have a team of seven. We’ve been featured on The Today Show. We have a huge project in the works, have an all female team. And, yea, we’ve grown very organically throughout the years. So. that’s a quick summary.

Jody Johnson

Brilliant. Melanie, Tell us a little bit about you.

Melanie Fernandez

So, I have a funny story. I’m a lawyer. I was a real estate lawyer for about three years until…

To be honest, people always ask me this question, at what point did you know that you wanted to leave? And I just knew I wanted to leave, quite frankly. It wasn’t for me anymore.

I was also working in an environment, with people that were not the best. And, I think that very much made it easy for me, I would say. But, I left.

At the point when I did leave, I had started House of Lilac. I knew that I wanted to immerse myself in something creative.

My husband had a job that he loved. And I thought it bizarre that people loved their jobs, I was like, you love yours, I have to do something about mine.

We had just got married and I started House of Lilac as a blog. I love writing. I’m a lawyer. So, I would write things. I would write on this blog and I would write about anything.

I was writing about weddings. I was writing about getting married.

And then I started doing a lot of research while I was still working and I came across these beautiful gift boxes that they were selling out of California, it was a very good, creative industry. They were selling these beautiful gift boxes that have all these small batch food, like Popcorn, but not like tacky, like cellophane. It was very nice. It was wooden gift boxes. They had flowers in them.

And, I remember looking at this, and as a lawyer, we do a lot of gifting. And I thought, well why doesn’t anyone do this here?

And that’s where sort of the light went off in my head. And I just started doing it.

I left my job. I was selling at the time that I left, so there was money coming in. And, I started House of Lilac. That was about five years ago now.

Right after that I had both of my kids, back to back. So it’s been a really crazy journey.

But along this, this whole time, about two years ago, I was only doing gift boxes, and I had a client come to me and ask me if I sent flowers, because I was sending gift boxes, right.

So I guess in her mind she’s like she could send flowers. And I looked at her and I said, No, I don’t do that, but, you know, I have these gift boxes and then people kept asking me, it was so strange. Someone else came and asked if I would do something, and she was, you’re good at this stuff. And I went, OK.

So I went and I had a relationship with a flower distributor and then I went back and I did even more research on this topic, because I’m not a trained florist, so it was a little bit intimidating for me.

But I, at that point, found this company in Australia that was doing these hand-held bouquets for 35 Australian dollars which was 40 dollars US dollars.

And I said well this is amazing, this is a low price point and I’m a millenial, so I don’t want to spend a lot of money when I send to someone maybe I can make this a thing. So I said, OK, I can do this for you. I can do a bouquet.

And it wasn’t that intimidating because it was just a bouquet, I didn’t have to go and sell things.

Well, fast forward, we are now a flower company. I’m a self-taught florist. I love it.

People always ask me about it, you know, if I have have this elaborate story with flowers? I don’t, but I do love them.

And, I have done enough research, and I’ve worked with so many flowers over the past three years that I can tell you I probably know every single one out there. If I don’t, please tell me, because I’d love to find it.

And so we’re a flower company in Miami-Dade. So, we’re all across Miami. And, we style very organic, we style very whimsical.

We’re known for our high-end flowers, so I source from California, Oregon, Dutch, Japan sometimes. The more novelty I can get, the more I love it. I think that’s what sets us apart.

Right now we’re very much immersed. I’m very active on social media, so if you ever follow me, we talk a lot on social media. And then, throughout this process because people loved hearing us, we started doing workshops at the shop, so you can come in, you can take a flower workshop. You can host your own private workshop, which is huge. And we just opened up our storefront. So…

Jody Johnson

Let me ask you a quick question, for both of you, how important is it to have a supportive spouse?

Tiffany Dominguez

I can say Taudrey wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Javier. He’s definitely my behind and secret weapon. He’s not here today because he’s out on a project. But he’s as much as a Taudrey Girl, if you will, as I am, because he’s in it.

And I think that is so important to have to be in mind, I think, in any career, whether you’re an entrepreneur or whether you’re still going for senior careers they have to be involved in it too. You have to have that support and it goes both ways. Right? I think that’s for whatever career you’re in. I think it’s for raising your children whatever it may be, you have to be on the same page and support each other. Its about that.

Melanie Fernandez

Well, so my company’s four years old, almost five, and I have a four year old and a three year old, so that should tell you how involved my spouse is. And, my mom works. He is, like, I’m not there, he’s there. You know we do have help, but my House of Lilac is probably as much my husband’s as it is mine. He never sends me flowers, obviously. Trust Me.

Jody Johnson

Tell em, they could send you jewelry.

OK, so I heard a little bit about how each of you took the leap into the business.

Tell me what was the biggest challenge, and how you overcame it in business? Melanie, go ahead, go first.

Melanie Fernandez

For me, my biggest challenge was probably… It has to do with expanding and hiring people. Delegating. I’m a very natural control…

You know, I’m an entrepreneur.

So, I started this business myself and one of the hardest parts was finding people to give tasks to, and trusting that they were going to do it 80 percent of what I would do it.

And, that’s probably the most difficult part, right? Because I do everything and I’m in everything, but I do it 150 percent because it’s mine. But, finding people that could at least do it at a percentage of what I can do it and do it well, was really hard for me to let go of, personally.

Tiffany Dominguez

I would say for me the challenges don’t stop. But, in a good way, I felt like what could be…

If you’re not growing and expanding and challenging yourself there’s not…

It’s Going to be constant but, at one point, what I thought was going to be really difficult – let’s say finally moving it, you know, I was starting in my parents garage, to doing it in my second bedroom by my apartment, to finally getting my own spot – at that time, I thought that was a challenge to overcome.

But, I think they’re going to keep happening at different levels. I think, you can’t let fear stop you right, because when you think, oh, when I have… and I’m sure, I know Melanie feels this way too, like when I had a team of X or when I get an assistant or when this happens then it will be easier but it’s not because that means you’re growing and now new challenges come in.

So I think it’s all about continuing to face that challenge and you continue to overcome the obstacles. And I think it’s nice to think like oh it wasn’t one particular thing and that’s is and then you’re coasting. You feel like it’s ongoing. So, I don’t know if I answered it, but that’s how I interpret it in response.

Jody Johnson

So tell us a little bit, like what’s the future? What are you building?

Tiffany Dominguez

Just recently, as I’m trying to gather my thoughts here, we’re really honing down on not just making jewelry and accessories.

I love to say anyone can make accessories. Right?

You can buy accessories and things from anywhere. We’re all about jewelry with meaning. So our pieces are personalized.

I have, for example, my daughter and husband’s initials on my wrist. I have my daughter’s birth details which – side story on this, my team made this bracelet for me has all of Siena’s details like height, weight, exact time she was born and they brought it to me to the hospital and I’m like This is amazing, I’ve never been gifted Taudrey – now, I know what it feels like and the joy that it can bring when you receive it.

So, everything tells a story and we’re really about uplifting our customers, celebrating all the different milestones. So we do coordinates to celebrate a degree. We’ve done the words fighter and survivor. We do jewelry for all of different occasions and all different milestones.

So what we’re really focusing on is our customer and creating this brand for the Taudrey Girl.

We’re well known, I mean we have so much to do obviously in South Florida, but we’re really focusing on a national level and focusing on different markets. So I’ve done a couple of different speaking engagements in different key cities.

We’re rolling out with some big national retailers, although we do direct to consumer.

And we’re just really focusing on empowering women and focusing on our brand and having that relationship with the customer.

We don’t want to be transactional right. We want to tell your stories we want you to cherish these different and important times in your life through our affordable jewelry. Because, that’s something else that’s very important to us.

Everything’s under the $100 mark.

We make everything ourselves. Which I think is both something that’s really cool and unique. We make everything right here at our showroom called The Jewelry Box.

We’re an all female team, so I love to say that we’re women behind the brand and there’s actual hands, nothing is machine made. So we’re…

I have Grace here from my team. That’s Momma Duke. I’m going to get all…

I express myself through emotion and my passion. Yea, I get all worked up. I get so excited! I have to like express myself through like emotion and tears, because that’s the way that I love.

And I think you’ll really see the passion behind what we do every day.

So we’re all like women really hammering. I mean you’ll hear us down the hall. Hammering and crafting and creating all these beautiful accessories for our customers and for our Taudrey Girls. So yeah, we’re really focusing on taking things to a national level.

Jody Johnson

That’s awesome. Melanie, what are you building and what’s the future of House of Lilac.

Melanie Fernandez

So when I founded the company, I always tell people I don’t do weddings.

I don’t flower weddings.

And the reason behind that is because the everyday means so much to me and sending flowers to people on an everyday basis is something I think a lot of people don’t focus on.

On that topic, we’ve recently… As I started sharing on Instagram and as I started talking to people and thoughout the evolution of my journey, I left my job, I had my kids, I started this business and been on a personal journey, in terms of, not being hard on myself.

Starting this business, hiring these women, just empowering women through the process.

So we recently created this membership program called Flower Club and it is very much based on encouraging women on a monthly basis every single month. They get a monthly intention in the mail that is going to ask them to get out of their comfort zone somehow and really made them feel 100 percent amazing in whatever stage of life they are in.

I think, for me, in my experience, most women are so hard on themselves. You know you’re either working, or your a mom, and then you’re trying to be all these things. You’re trying to host. You’re trying to be a good wife. Trying to be everything and you can’t.

But, you can feel 100 percent at what you’re doing at that moment, whatever season of life you are in.

So, my goal with this with the membership program, and we’re taking it national, is to encourage women to feel just amazing where they’re at.

And, there’s so many other perks that come with the program, obviously there’s flower perks, but we have a ton of amazing content. I spoke about us having content, but we have an amazing portal on Vimeo, that includes…

Everything is quick, because no one has time to do anything that’s longer than 15 minutes, trust me. So, it’s quick tips on making a quick cheeseboard if you’re going to have people over your house. Making a quick cake.

You’re not going to spend 2 hours on this, you probably don’t have time, you have other things going on.

So, our goal is to really just empower women to feel like they’re doing what they can, you know, to their capacity at that moment in time. And not be hard on themselves.

Jody Johnson

Tell us why you chose the name House of Lilac.

Melanie Fernandez

I don’t think I have a cute story about it, but…

Jody Johnson

Sure you do, I remember it.

Melanie Fernandez

I love Lilac, and you can’t have it in Miami, by the way, because it dies the moment it goes outside it. But I love Lilac and I liked the idea of a House of Chanel.

Jody Johnson

That’s what I’m talking about.

Melanie Fernandez

So, House of Lilac, it sounds sophisticated.

And, let me tell you something. I hadn’t started as a flower company and the company had the flower in it, but I started it just like a pretty, it was pretty and then it became a flower company.

Jody Johnson

The power of words, right? The power of words. Tell us how come you started Taudrey.

Tiffany Dominguez

So I couldn’t use my name Tiffany for a jewelry company! Obviously…

I’ve always been very much inspired by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. So I fused the two together and that’s where the T comes from for Tiffany and audrey from Audrey Hepburn.

Funny enough it started as T.Audrey, that was how the original logo was and just over the years people just started pronouncing it Taudrey, Taudrey, instead of T Audrey. So we dropped the period and merged the two together.

Jody Johnson

Well you probably heard the quote from the Dalai Lama that the world will be saved by the Western woman. And that’s well represented with the two of you.

So, thank you so much for being here and sharing your wisdom. Is there last words that you have to share on turning your passion into profit?

Tiffany Dominguez

Sure. So I recently spoke for another company and they asked me to leave everyone with a challenge, and I thought that was really cool.

So, I would love to do that for you guys too.

So, with the theme of making your passion your paycheck, how can you guys in the audience do that too? Right.

And this is again, how I say I am not a motivational speaker, I’m not anything, I do this for myself. So how can you guys in the audience make your passion your paycheck?

Is it taking the lead and finally doing what you want to do?

Is it taking a passion project at work and getting involved in a charity?

Is it saying forget corporate America, I want to create a blog and write a blog about it?

Like, whatever it is, what can you do to make your passion your paycheck and eventually turn it into profit?

Melanie Fernandez

Tiffany assigned me this, right now.

I’m going to tell you what our monthly intention is for September for our Flower Club because it’s so applicable.

So this month we’re getting uncomfortable. Which means that you need to pick something that makes you… That you’ve always wanted to do, but makes you really uncomfortable.

I’m not asking you to jump off a building by any means.

But I’m asking you to do something like maybe you’ve always wanted to public speak or get in front of people. Maybe that means that you’re going to take a class.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to run a marathon. I mean you got to execute, you’re just going into the gym three times a week.

So. I mean, for me, I have found that when I get out of my comfort zone, that’s where I’ve seen a lot of change happen and a lot of different, amazing things will start to sort of like start brewing. So that’s our challenge.

Jody Johnson

What’s your challenge?

Melanie Fernandez

Mine is on my faith with God, it’s upping my faith. I realize it’s different for some, everyone is different. I have someone who, Carmen, that works for me, hers is making eye contact with people, because it makes her uncomfortable.

Jody Johnson

I don’t know if you all caught this, did you see the two of them and how they collaborated in the moment. That’s the power of being in community.

And so I just want to thank both of you for being here and for sharing your journey and your insights and the power that you’re bringing to women and to our world.

Thank you very much.

I believe you can see from this interview how powerful it is that these two women are following their passion and absolutely making it in Miami.

If you enjoyed this video please like us, follow us and share it.

We’ll see you again very soon for another episode of Made in Miami.

 

How to Recession Proof Your Business

Recessions are cyclical and many experts are saying that in 2020 – election year – we’re heading into a recession. Just as many people, including our president, say the economy is strong…and it’s not.

It’s hard to tune out all the noise and know what to think. Most people were caught off guard during the last recession and some of the smartest guys on the planet lost their businesses.

Duke professor and economist, John Graham said in a recent interview, “CFOs are growing more certain of a 2020 recession because of the paralyzing consequences of economic and political uncertainty — including trade wars — on business. Faced with uncertainty, companies may pause by holding off on spending and hiring. That can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Regardless of what’s being said on either side, what you can do is prepare your business through careful planning to minimize the effects of a recession and to build on the inherent opportunities that arise in challenging times.

Dwight Eisenhower famously said, plans are useless, but planning is essential.  Over the weekend I did some digging into our financials and realized some things I wasn’t aware of. Typically, we business owners are happy when there’s money in the bank and the company is in the black which can lull us into stopping short of further analysis. 

Engaging in business planning forces us to confront every aspect of the business, what’s ahead and how we’re going to make that happen. We have to evaluate our market strategy in light of technology advances and disruption in every industry. From there we must determine our people strategy, succession planning and future team needs. Discern how we’ll measure our results against clearly defined targets. How we’ll fund growth and what our financial milestones including profit and cash need to be. 

Since history tends to repeat itself our best defense is an offensive approach through thoughtful planning. We can help and now is the perfect time. Call us today at 305-285-9264 for a complimentary strategy session and get started on your Action Plan today!

 

How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur

Transcript:
Hello. In today’s video I’m going to talk to you about how to be successful as an entrepreneur.

I’m Doug Barra and this is business success with Doug Barra.

So one of the things about creating success as an entrepreneur is to understand the entrepreneurial ladder. So what am I talking about with an entrepreneurial ladder? Well the entrepreneurial entrepreneurial ladder starts with, basically, as a student. A student is below the first rung, it’s where we all start. And the first couple of steps on the entrepreneurial ladder are actually dictated by society. We all start as students. We all start in school. And what’s the job of being in school? The job of being in school is to learn how to learn, it’s to learn problem solving skills.

Once we’ve gone through that stage then we go to the first rung of the ladder, which is an employee. We all get that first job. It might be a job where we go out and do odd jobs for others. I remember, for myself, my first job really was doing odd jobs for other people. And I actually enjoyed doing that. I learned lots. I mean I learned things that I’ll never use, but I learned them. And, I learned how to do lots of different things that have served me over the time. I mean I learned how to do things like put in sprinkler systems, polish floors, re-tar a driveway. I mean all these things that I would never actually use, but it did teach me how to be an employee, how to get the job done and that’s a lot about what we’re doing as an employee.

Now, a lot of times people think well I’ve been in business doing the same thing for 30 years, therefore I should be really good to go out in business for myself. Well unfortunately that’s not actually the case in the world of being an entrepreneur. In the world of being an entrepreneur that would be like having one year’s worth of experience 30 times! In the world of entrepreneur, when we’re an employee, we want to actually have as many kinds of positions as you possibly can.

I was a dishwasher. I was a a line cook. I sold greeting cards door to door. I’ve done a lot of different things before I went into being an entrepreneur.

Now, once we learn all of that, then we move up to being self-employed. Now self-employed is where you are the business. It is all about you. You do most if not all of the work.

All right. Even if you have people that are working for you you’re doing most of the work. If you are not there, the business stops. This is what it’s like to be a self-employed person. Now self-employed is critical because we learn how to be in business. We learn how to have a business. We learn how to take care of our customers. Unfortunately, it’s also the biggest struggling point of being an entrepreneur and learning the entrepreneurial ladder, because this is the point where you’re totally overwhelmed. You’re trying to make it all happen. And a lot of times, people from this place go: “Ah! I just can’t do this. I’m just going to go out and get a job.” Now, for some people that might be OK, maybe they prefer to be an employee. But, if you’re committed to being an entrepreneur, then this is the point where you start to learn how to delegate. This is the point where you start to learn how to go from that step of being Self-employed, to being the manager. Now you might have thought well wait a minute, I would go from self-employed to being a business owner. Well not really. And I’m not necessarily talking about being a manager in a business. Although you might get there that way. Right. Working for somebody else. But as a manager this is where you start to learn how to delegate properly. How to have people actually take over stuff for you and do it effectively. You need to learn delegation. You need to learn measuring, accountability, how to actually make it happen that once someone takes a task that that task gets done properly. OK, a lot of times lately I think we’ve collapsed leadership and management because they are not the same thing.

Management requires that you actually get people to produce results. All right. You could be a great leader but not a good manager. And there’s where the the problem lies. Because a lot of people skip over that manager place and they try to go straight to being a great leader. And yes being a great leader as a manager is useful. But you absolutely have to be able to do the management. You have to understand how to manage people.

Once you understand how to manage people then you can move into the business owner rung of the ladder. This is where you’re actually starting to work on the business, not just in the business. You’re not just managing people you’re leading them, you’re seeing the vision, you’re looking for where you’re going. You may even higher managers at this point to start to take care of managing your people. And this is where you truly have to have your vision, your mission. You truly have to understand where you’re going and inspiring your people on getting their.

Once we have that managed then we can think about moving up the entrepreneurial ladder. A lot of people think well if I’m a business owner I’m an entrepreneur. Well no! An entrepreneur has other kinds of ways that they’re bringing in income. They might have additional businesses. So you have to go from business owner to investor and an investor is someone who’s now starting to go outside of their business and invest in other ways of bringing in money. As an investor you’re now looking out there as to where. You can have your money work for you and you can start to invest in other businesses, in real estate, in stocks whatever it is that works for you to invest in. This is how you can start to expand that and start to take yourself to that investor level.

Only once you start to really have it working that not only do you have a or several businesses that are bringing you cash flow but you have investments that are simply making you money from your money. Then you can start to move into the entrepreneur level of the ladder. Now entrepreneur is where you actually have other people’s money working for you.

Now, I know this is the place where you start to go: “Oh man, that’s awesome! I would love to have other people’s money working for me.” But, keep in mind, unless you understand how to manage your own money, no one else is going to let you manage their money. And I don’t mean manage their money from the place of oh I’m a stockbroker. I mean manage their money in the sense that they’re going to invest in you, in what you’re going to create, because they know that you can create it. You’ve done it. They’ve seen it. You have a track record for making that happen. That’s when you truly get to the place where you’re making money with other people’s money.

And that is being an entrepreneur.

Thank you so much for listening. This is Doug Barra with ActionCOACH business coaching and I look forward to seeing you in my next video.

 

The First Step In Project Management

Transcript:
Hello followers. I am Amanda Noboa, your business coach with ActionCOACH Team Sage.

It is great to be back with our next episode of Think Big Stay Focused. In my next video series I will discuss six basic principles of project management.

My goal is to show you that you don’t have to be a certified project manager or a project management guru to implement these principles when launching a new initiative.

These six basic principles will be your roadmap to the desired outcome.

Principle number one: you have to create the vision and mission.

In order to successfully execute projects or initiatives you should always begin with the end in mind.

This is effectively accomplished by designing the vision and mission of the project so it is crystal clear to everyone involved.

When designing your project vision and mission you have to make sure you are concise, clear, future-oriented, challenging, abstract and inspiring.

So let’s recap the first of the six basic principles of project management is to create a vision and a mission for your project that will help clarify the expected outcome.

I’ll say good bye today with a great quote by Steve Jobs: “If you’re working on something exciting, that you care about, you don’t have to be pushed, the vision pulls you.”

Till next time.

 

9 Strategies to Help You Retain Key Employees

It is frustrating to lose hardworking, high-performing employees. It can leave employers blindsided and wondering what went wrong. The best way to retain your key employees is by understanding what they’re looking for in their jobs and in their work environment and by prioritizing the things that are important to them. 

Countless interviews with HR professionals show consistent findings. Nine important measures your small business can take to nurture your top talent include: 

  • Work/life balance: Satisfy your employees by accommodating their personal needs. Many employees appreciate the option to telecommute when they have a sick child or other urgent family matter to attend to. Big city employees may benefit from flexible commute hours to avoid rush hour traffic. Offering a fitness center pass is another way to show employees that you care about their overall wellbeing – not just their time in the office. 

 

  • Consistent workload: High-performing employees are easily overworked. Because they can be counted on to produce quality work in an efficient manner, managers often send them more tasks than they can comfortably manage during the workday. This easily leads to frustration and burnout. On the flipside, these same employees may start looking elsewhere if they feel like their skills are underutilized at their current job. 

 

  • Promotional opportunities/career pathing: While employees may be content for awhile in their current positions at their current pay scales, eventually most employees expect a raise and an opportunity to advance their careers. While it can be challenging for small businesses to outline a clear path for advancement, employees stay engaged within companies where they can identify internal opportunities that match their skill sets. 

 

  • Effective management: A lack of training in their positions or a fear of giving honest feedback are two main reasons managers fail to earn the respect of their teams. Invest in your managers with proper training that teaches effective interpersonal skills and conflict management and encourage your leaders to get to know each of their team members and their personal motivators. When managers earn the respect of their team members, these employees are motivated and loyal to their team and their company. 

 

  • Raises and recognition: Keep employees engaged and motivated by recognizing outstanding employees for their achievements. This can be in the form of verbal praise, an email you send out to everyone in the company highlighting their achievements, lunch on the company, a pay raise…Be sure your employees know that you value their hard work.

 

  • Attractive benefits: Just as important as an attractive salary, benefits say a lot about how much you value your employees and an employee that feels valued is more likely to stick around. Offering fully funded professional development opportunities, plentiful sick days and vacation time, generous maternity and paternity leave…These benefits are just a few great ways to invest in your employees. 

 

  • Trust and autonomy: No one wants management looking over their shoulder but this is especially true of high-performing employees. They have worked hard to earn your trust. Give them the autonomy they deserve. If you do, they will continue to deliver quality work and reward you with their loyalty.

 

  • Retaining other key employes: Like it or not, employee resignations can be contagious. Oftentimes when one good employee leaves, particularly one in a managerial position, team members will follow suit, often following that manager to the next company. Working hard to implement these steps to retain your key employees will help curb this trend. 

 

  • Aligned values: Ultimately, people want to work for a company that aligns with their core values, goals and objectives. When this is the case, employees tend to be more like-minded and develop an emotional connection with each other and with their jobs. 

Want help attracting AND retaining your top talent? We can help! Give us a call at 305. 285.9264.

 

Case Study: Continental Global Services

The Background

Chinedu Okoro started Continental Global Services in 2014 as a compliment to his father’s commercial janitorial service business. Consequently, his father was his largest client. His business was growing slowly and organically. When we first met Okoro, he had just completed the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program and he’d learned a lot; however, implementing all the new information was a whole other matter. Okoro had two employees and was working days, nights and weekends trying to grow his client base and move away from dependency on his father’s business. He was working hard to fulfill orders, invoice, collect, purchase products and run the business, all the while seeking government contract certifications. Shortly after we met, his office admin assistant – pregnant in her third trimester with her first child – broke her foot. All the things she was responsible for then fell onto his plate as well. The way things were operating was simply not sustainable.

The Solution

We got clear on the processes for each of the different organizational functions and began systemizing the business. We set up financial tools to analyze the business and set profit margins and brought in professional help to get the books accurate, then outsourced the bookkeeping. We let go of a team member that wasn’t working out, or government contracting, we hired a new team member who was familiar with this type of business development and began training her to be an asset and free up Okoro’s time. We set sales targets and business goals and then we set up tools that allowed Okoro and his team to access company data remotely. Our coaching also provided a structure of accountability that helped move the business forward.

The Outcome

In December of 2018, Chinedu was called to Nigeria where his family was involved in a hotel development project. He remained in Nigeria until early June of this year. During his time in Nigeria, Chinedu ran his business remotely, growing revenue by 147.49% and gross profit by 107.42%! He attributes this success to the team and systems we put in place prior to his departure. Our actions granted him the freedom and flexibility to simultaneously pursue business endeavors in both countries and experience substantial growth.

Testimonial

Chinedu states, “Running a business is like having a child. If you let the child run wild, there’s chaos. Having a business coach is like the parent providing guidance – one who helps you by looking from the outside, one who is experienced at reducing the chaos. You stop running around doing this and that and formulate a clear vision and effective actions. Developing a clear vision and prioritizing what to do, when and how to do it, is the most valuable thing I’ve received from working with my ActionCOACH. Her guidance has been invaluable.”

 
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