A 5 Point Checklist to Generating Leads Online

Business Marketing Training - MarketRICH

Small business experts will tell you that generating leads online is critical for success in today’s business world. People are doing more and more business online. If you are ignoring that potential source of leads, your business is not going to grow and thrive.

Checklist for generating leads online

You can use this five-point checklist to get started or to refine your current process.

  1. Give great value. Almost everyone on the planet loves to get value for their money. Value is getting something more than a low price. Value can come in the form of useful information and tips, additional features, faster delivery, reduced fees, free customization, etc. Your prospects must see that the value you are providing them that makes you superior to the competition.
  2. Focus on what your prospective customer wants. You may have a billion ideas for new products or services. But, if your ideal customer doesn’t want any of them, they are all useless. Know your ideal customer intimately. Get to know their pain points, their desires, their commitments. Use those for ideas on what products and services your leads want.
  3. Be the expert your prospects can rely on. People want to buy from people they can trust. Positioning yourself as an expert in your field helps build the trust of people looking for your product or service. You can gain the expert position by offering helpful tips, knowledgeable advice, and key industry information that would be of interest to your ideal customer.
  4. Provide multiple levels of involvement. Do you interact with the people in your life in only one way? You probably see them face-to-face, talk on the phone, exchange emails, and follow them on social media. Your customers want this multi-level form of involvement from you as a business. It helps build trust and makes it easier for them to become a customer.
  5. Interact with your prospects. Remember communication is a two-way street. Your potential customers want to interact with you, even online. This can take a ton of forms, including interacting on social media, personal email communication, personalized marketing material, and webinars. Interaction builds trust and gets people to become leads.

If you implement each item on this list, you will start seeing well-qualified leads coming from your online efforts. And small business experts will tell you that you have a great start on taking your company to the next level.

How do you go about generating leads online?


3 Creative Ways to Generate New Leads

Are you looking for new and creative ways to generate leads for your business? Sometimes you need to get creative to jumpstart your lead generation process. Adding just a bit of creativity can expand your audience and attract plenty of attention to what your company has to offer.

Let’s Get Creative

Here are three creative ways you can generate new leads:

  1. Host a special event. This can be as simple as an after work wine and cheese party. It can be as complicated as a full-blown formal black-tie event, complete with orchestral trio and a sit-down dinner. You invite your existing customers and ask them to bring a friend who might be interested in what your company has to offer. It is a nice way to reward your existing customers while introducing yourself to some new prospects.
  2. Develop strategic alliances. What products or services mesh well with your business? These are companies who are not in competition with you, and complement your offerings. Think about creating alliances where you cross-promote each other’s business. For example, bankers might refer business clients to the accounting firm down the street. An accountant might refer clients to a personal financial adviser. A real estate agent might refer a general contractor or home builder.
  3. Join (or create) a networking group. Local networking groups are great places to get your company known. You can meet people face-to-face and let them learn a bit about what your company does. You may not get direct business from those you meet in the networking group. However, if you educate the people you meet about what you do, they will start referring people to you. You should reciprocate and do the same for them.

Each of these will help you generate high-quality leads. It all begins with knowing what you do well and finding a creative way to showcase it to prospective clients and those who may refer you.

What is the most creative way you have for generating new leads?



What Is Strategic Planning?

What is strategic planning? I think you’ll agree that most people are confused about what strategic planning is, but what if I told you there’s no such thing as strategic planning?

In this video I’m going to share with you what Peter Drucker, the famous management consultant, and Sun Tzu, the author of Thirty-Six Stratagems, have to say about planning and strategy. Stay tuned.

Hi, my name is Jody Ann Johnson from ActionCOACH Team Sage, where we help small business owners grow their company, make more money, free up their time and to have choice of the opportunities they want to take advantage of.

Let me start off with uncollapsing strategic planning. From strategy, which is thinking, and planning, which is implementing and executing. I’m going to share with some of the research that I found as I was preparing for this video, from Peter Drucker on strategic planning. It says here: “it’s remarkable how the same lessons need to be rediscovered again and again.” Sun Tzu dealt with the confusion between a warrior’s adaptive strategy and dealing with competing people, and long term planning in dealing with objects; we’re still dealing with it today. In Peter Drucker’s Management Tasks and Responsibilities, he found the same problem and confusion around management, that they had for planning of objects and planning for people. He listed four misconceptions arising from this term strategic planning. Strategic planning is not a tool box of tactics or tricks. It’s not a bundle of techniques. Strategic planning is not forecasting. Strategic planning is not dealing with future decisions. And strategic planning is not an attempt to eliminate risk.

I think that last one is really important because as a society with things changing as fast as they are, people tend to get smaller, to constrain, to try to avoid risk, when what’s really being asked for today is an opening up, an expansion and a wider berth of awareness about our position and what’s going on around us. So we look to mitigate risk, and where we can, we probably want to do that, but not as an overall strategy for business growth.

Drucker describes strategy from a warrior’s perspective as the analytical thinking and commitment of resources to action. He describes attempts at predicting the future as foolish, because it’s of little use to people who seek to innovate and change the way people live and work. He sees strategy in terms of the decisions we make today about a future that is inherently uncertain. This is the realm of unpredictable people, not predictable objects. As I studied this, I was really fascinated because the way we were raised in school and in most of our environments was in a linear way, very much consistent with the Industrial Revolution, where there were assembly lines, and whatever happened over here was necessary for what happened here and what it was going to happen over there, but it was linear and predictable. So over here you knew what these people or this machine was doing on that side, and what to expect when it got to you. In today’s world we’re less dealing with objects, unless you’re involved in manufacturing where you’re going to take a material and turn it into something else, and more in the realm of people, and people are inherently unpredictable.

As a matter of fact we may think that we know our own selves and what motivates us, and how we’re going to react to the situation, and what that reaction is going to produce over there with others. And the truth of the matter is: not only do we not know how they’re going to respond, we don’t even know how we’re going to respond. So it’s going to take a different way of thinking about strategy and planning.

When you’re looking at strategy as it relates to people, we want to look for what are the natural inherent ways that people respond. You’ve heard of fight and flight; this is common. Yet, I can’t tell you how many times when somebody has come across aggressively with their employees or with a client or in the marketplace with a competitor and expecting them not to resist not to either shut down or run away. And of course that’s what people do. They shut down or they are gone even if they’re physically still there, they’re not mentally still there. And if it’s with a competitor, many times they’re going to come back and it’s going to launch a full on attack. So getting clear if we are dealing with people here, or are we dealing with an inanimate object, in which case planning for the production of something makes perfect sense.

The purpose of strategy is not to eliminate risk, but in Drucker’s words is to take the right risks. “Innovation at its core is an act of discovery, in which we embrace the uncertainty of the environment and explore it for opportunities.” I don’t think I can say this any better than he did, which is why I’m quoting it for you.

I’m listening to the audiobook of whiplash right now, and I’m on my second listen of it and bought the book, because it actually is challenging, the long held belief systems and what I think is possible and what is going on out in the world, on so many levels that it’s almost impossible to take in. So I’m on my second listen, because I have to turn it on, listen for a few moments, stop it and think – how does this apply to me? How does this apply to my business? How does this apply to my clients? And it’s staggering in its scope, so I highly recommend this book. And yet at the same time, Peter Drucker back in the 70s was quoting Sun Tzu in his Art of War in the Thirty-Six Stratagems, which are ancient; 2,000 and 3,000 year old stratagems about how to be competitive when it comes to the people side, and not necessarily the planning where we do productive planning, that linear logical process, which is important in its place, but less uncollapsed from planning necessarily when it comes to people, because people are inherently unpredictable, including us.

“The strategic planning is the continuous process of making present entrepreneurial (risk-taking) decisions systematically and with the greatest knowledge of their future, organizing systematically the efforts needed to carry out these decisions; and measuring the results of these decisions against the expectations through organized systematic feedback.” In other words, it’s the science of making good decisions about the future. Drucker was somebody who didn’t believe that we can plan for the future. He said: we have to plan our actions for the now, consistent with the direction that we’re heading. Which is why he always started off with: what is your businesses mission and vision? What’s the purpose of your business, where are you headed? Because that is the guiding navigating tool that you use. If it’s thinking and planning about a future decision, then it’s not really relevant, and it’s more like a dream. What we’re looking at is what are the actions that need to happen right here, right now, in order to take us in the direction in which we’re committed to going.

Sun Sir talked about knowing your position and awareness of your position in the marketplace. Competition is necessary in business because whenever you’re putting forth your products or your services, people have to compare you against somebody else, that is the nature of competition. Your ability to understand how to differentiate yourself in that way, from your competition, can be the strategy related to your marketing, or to your pricing, or to your product innovation and so on. That’s the world of strategy. The planning part is: this is what we want to get done. How are we going to do it? What are the feasible opportunities for making that happen? What are the resources that are going to be required? And then allocating those resources to the path that you’ve chosen. I think it’s very important that we’re aware that we’re going back and rediscovering again and again the foundational pieces of what works, rooted in ancient theory, about how we can be ever more effective with our strategic thinking and with our implementation and execution planning.

In your business and in your life you’re always adapting to dynamic situations. So I want to refrain from planning out, prescribe this and this, and actually looking at the direction that we’re headed, and making the planning process. It’s important to be organized and to coordinate efforts between people in shorter periods of time, like your quarterly planning, or even your monthly planning, so that it can be nimble and agile. And we should be able and free to adapt to opportunities that come our way, because many times we are in a conversation with somebody and all of a sudden a new opportunity arises that wasn’t in your plan at the beginning of the year, but that may be very consistent with his strategic direction you want to take your company, and that we’re able to respond to that rather than just prescribe: we’re going to do this and then we’re going to do this – sometimes that’s how people can get about their planning.

So the direction that you’re taking the business and where you’re headed, the fundamentals that must be in place, the clarity around who’s doing what by when, the clarity around what resources are available to us, and the nimbleness to be able to pivot when an opportunity comes our way, that we’re able and free to seize it.

To wrap up: the world is outside of our control. In our constantly changing environments, our most valuable resource is the ability to take quick and decisive action. The world is constantly creating unique situations, which require responses. Many of those situations are opportunities that look like problems because we didn’t plan for them. So in your planning, make sure that you have this world of the direction that you’re heading and the actions that are going to be consistent with that, and the flexibility of being able to take advantage of opportunities as they come your way.

Thank you for watching this video. If you got value from it, please like it and subscribe to my channel.


How To Develop A Business Continuity Plan

How to develop a business continuity plan? I think we’ll all agree that it’s better to have a plan when disaster strikes than not have a plan. Yet, what if I told you that the majority of business owners won’t take the time to do that kind of planning? In this video I’m going to share with you an easy way to integrate business continuity planning into your annual and semi annual business planning, so that in the event that some untoward thing happens, the company is able to weather that and survive.

Hi, my name is Jody Ann Johnson with ActionCOACH Team Sage, where we help small business owners to grow their business, free up their time, make more money and to have choice of the opportunities they want to seize. Before we start, please subscribe to my channel.

First, let’s talk about what constitutes an untoward or disastrous event in your business. Obviously, in South Florida hurricanes are something that we have to deal with every year and people will sometimes think about planning for hurricanes, although most businesses, in all honesty, really don’t. But there’s more than just the climate, the weather and hurricanes that can impact or be a disaster in your business. Let me give you some examples. You could lose a key team member in your business; that can be disastrous. You can lose a key client in your business; there’s a gentleman that I know who just lost a client that represented 60 percent of his business, and let me tell you, he’s scrambling. Disaster in his business untoward event. The death of someone in the owner’s family or in the business; a team member who dies unexpectedly or even expectedly, that was a key team player. It could be an infrastructure failure: a machine that broke down that’s a costly repair. Maybe it’s a twenty five thousand dollar repair on that machine and you hadn’t planned for it. Or maybe the equipment is old and that part is no longer available, and you’ve got to buy a new piece of equipment. It could be either an unintended or malicious data breach that caused a huge breakdown in your business, and it relates to your customer data and information. I have a client that thought that their computer was being backed up, and it was being backed up, but it was in a closet that wasn’t cold and none of that data was backed up – it actually was a disaster for them, all of their former information was gone and it took six months to put that back together. Talk about a disrupt to your business. It could be somebody who has a new competitor that’s come into the marketplace and has an innovation that you haven’t invested in yet. I have another client that owns machinery that’s available today and is purchased at a lower actual acquisition cost, and is better and faster than the machinery that he bought five or seven years ago, that he’s still using. But this guys come in with new equipment and can do it for less money, also a huge disruption in the business.

So as I go through this list of different ways that the business can be adversely affected, it either may have happened to you, as it’s happened to me, or it could be someone that you know that it’s happened to. Yet, have we taken the actions necessary to protect the business from the effects of these kinds of things? More than likely not. So what I’m suggesting is that we weave this kind of thinking into our annual and semiannual and quarterly planning. When you’re sitting down and looking at the business where it stands, what’s working, what’s not working, add an item to your agenda, about where is our business vulnerable. So that you can begin to take a step in each of those areas that you’ve identified toward shoring up the vulnerability of the business.

It could be that you need to be out there continually recruiting, particularly now with such a low unemployment, and looking for talent that may become available to you. It may be that you need to be socking away that profit rather than taking it as distribution, so in the event that equipment malfunctions, you have the ability to go out and purchase that. It may be that rather than having everything on your laptop or your employee’s laptop, that you actually have things stored up in the cloud so that you could have access to them in the event of a hurricane or in the event of that person leaving the business. So look for yourself where are the vulnerabilities in the business, and begin to put together a business continuity plan that’s going to make sense. Woven into your annual planning, your semiannual and your quarterly planning, this becomes a much easier task to delegate out to different team members and to also get resolved, so that when something does happen, the inevitable rare event that is uncommon yet commonly happens in businesses, you’re prepared for that.

While the thought of this may be formidable and you feel like: I don’t have the time, I don’t have the money, I don’t have the team members, I don’t see how in the world I can get this done… I leave you with this: if you don’t have time to implement this kind of planning, are you going to have time to clean up the mess when the inevitable happens?

Thank you for watching this video. If you got value from that, please like it and share it with anybody that you believe would also get value from watching it. Thank you.


How To Manage Business Growth: 6 Steps Strategy


People ask me all the time what are the steps to growing the business effectively. Well, what if I told you that here with our clients in ActionCOACH we have six clearly defined steps that when you implement them, will actually allow your business to grow and flourish all the way from that early beginning stages of chaos through to a business that you can sell, duplicate or have as a passive income. And it’s not hard to do. In this video, I’m going to take you through each of those six steps are and the advancement criteria to go from one level to the next. Stay tuned!

Hi, this is Jody Ann Johnson with ActionCOACH business coaching, where we help small business owners to grow their business, free up their time, make more money and have choice about what opportunities they want to pursue. First, I’m going to take you through an overview of the six steps: at the base level we call mastery. What gets covered is what is the direction you want to take your business. What is your five year objective or plan, your purpose and what is it that you want to achieve in your life. Then we go and we look at the money, because we need to know what is breakeven. What is your acquisition costs. What are the things that you need to know about the finances of your business. Then we look at your team, what are the basics of the team. Do they have job descriptions that are clearly spelled out, tasks that they’re accountable for. And how are you going to measure them in terms of their effectiveness at that role. And then we look at time – we look at what are the places where time in terms of productivity leak out of your company then we look at the distribution and delivery of your products and services. At that basic mastery level, those are the four areas that get covered.

Now here’s an interesting fact: it can take a business anywhere from six months to two years to cover that when you’re working with us, and most businesses will never make it out of that level of clarity or lack of clarity in their business to advance to the to the next level. As a matter of fact, the statistics are only about 8 percent of businesses will make it out of that level. To advance to the next level that we call niche, you must have an annual operating plan and budget forecast. The next step is niche. Niche in our world is that you have no price competition and that you can actually plan predictably what your cashflow is going to be. And you do that through what many of you have seen is the five ways: having clarity around, what are the number of leads that I need, what’s the conversion rate in order to get a new customer, how many transactions can I do with that customer or that referral source and what is my average dollar sale that gives me the revenues of my business. And from there looking at the margins, which ultimately leads to your bottom line net profit. When there’s clarity around that, then you can make predictable cash flow pattern for growth and scaling.

Now when I go into see prospects, many times they’ll say I want more customers or I want more sales. They almost never say I want more profits, and only once in 13 years have I heard somebody say I want more cash, which is really why we’re all in business: we can actually make the cash to be at choice, right? So the magic of the formula is not what happened. Because my background was in emergency nursing, I call that what happened the autopsy of your business. That’s what happened in the past. The magic of that formula is actually looking at if this is the cash I want, this is what my profit needs to be. This is what my margins need to be. This is what my sales need to be. This is what my average dollar sale needs to be. This is how many transactions I need to get. How many new customers at that conversion rate, how many people do I need to talk to every single week in order to reach my goals and objectives.

With that level of clarity, you can build scalability into your business. To advance from niche to the next level of leverage, requires having an annual marketing plan and budget. And at the leverage stage we’re looking at systems. Now, of course you’re going to put some systems in at the mastery level, you’re going to put in the systems of your financial reporting, and having job descriptions and such, but at the level of leverage what we’re looking at is that we’ve systemized this business, so that when you bring in new team members, they can come in as an asset.

When I was working in the emergency department and managing the night shift, we had policy and procedure manuals. Now, this might make you laugh, but what I would do is I would go in, particularly when I was brand new, and I would take every single one of those manuals – and they were big, there were like 7 of them – and I would lay them out on the counter at the nursing station desk, and I’d have them open to the things that we were typically dealing with in the E.R. And anytime something came up that I didn’t know exactly how to do, or my team didn’t know exactly what to do, I would go and I would flip through that manual of policies and procedures and follow that step by step pathway. And that allowed me to do ninety nine point ninety nine percent of what was needed in order to be able to have a successful outcome. If my team came to me rather than me going and doing it for them, I would say: hey, have you looked at the policy and procedure manual and worked through how to get it done for yourself? And if they had, then I would go help them if they were unclear. But if they hadn’t, I’d always send them to the policy and procedure manual, so that they learned how to be independent. People are only an asset when they can think independently, and that requires that you’ve systemized your business. To go from niche into leverage, only about 5 percent of business actually really have their company set up in such a way that they can have people come in and be an asset.

The next-level of the six steps is having the team. And this is making sure that you have the right people in the right seats, doing the right thing at the right time, for the right reason. Unfortunately, in business many times as the company grows we can outgrow our team members, particularly if they’re not learning the way we’re learning and the way that the industry and the marketplace is changing. So it could be that even though we have someone on the team that has been with us for a while, I often see people substitute loyalty for performance. So invest in your team if you want to keep those key team members, or you really have a lot of respect because they’re a good culture fit, but just make sure that they’re out there doing the learning they need to do, so they grow with you. Bill Gates is quoted as saying the most painful thing in business is outgrowing your team, because we want to reward the people that have been with us along the way, but only if they’re going to continue to be an asset in the business.

The next level up is synergy, and synergy is where we turn up the volume and we scale the business. Unfortunately, I often see people go and open a second location or expand their business before they put these pieces in place. And then the infrastructure falls, because they don’t have the systems or they don’t have clarity about how they’re going to scale the business, or the marketing hasn’t been worked out. Then they’re there when the volume goes up high, and it’s like, boom! The worst thing about it is that you lose your reputation in the process, so people don’t want to come and try you again because for whatever reason they weren’t taken care of the way that you would’ve been committed to taking care of them, if you had those infrastructure, people, resources in place. So when you turn up the volume, get to see where the cracks are, and we turn the volume up slowly, so that you can see where the cracks are and then go back and fix the base that you’re operating from.

And then the final sixth step is what we call results – and this is where you’re free to sell your business. Everybody is talking these days about I want to sell my business in three years, I want to sell my business in five years, and I want to sell it for a billion dollars. All fine and well and good, but what I’m really looking for is for people to be at choice – if you want to sell your business, that is set up and structured for you to get the best multiple, because you’re taking care of these steps along the way. Or duplicate the business or have a passive income stream. In our business what we’re looking to do is create an employee owned company that allows them to have a stake and a say in how things are going to go. That’s our plan for the future.

So here you have the six steps. If you would like a copy of our six steps, I know that most people will not be able to do that on their own, but if you’re one of the very few people who could take this checklist and go through them and make it happen, God bless you, you’re welcome to have it. And if you need help with it, then please reach out to us at actioncoachteamsage.com or call me on 305-984-2414 and I’ll be happy to talk with you.

Thank you for watching. If you got value from this video, please like it and share it with anybody that you believe would get benefit from watching it as well. Thank you.


What Is The Business Planning Cycle

What is the business planning cycle? I think we can all agree that people get very confused about where to start in their business planning. But what if I told you that there is an easy model to follow?

In this video I’m going to share with you the four areas of decision making and planning that will allow you to have a pathway for being able to do your planning and do it well. Stay tuned!

Hi, this is Jody Ann Johnson with ActionCOACH Business Coaching, where we help small business owners to grow their companies, free up their time, make more money and be at choice.

The four areas that I mentioned to you at the onset of this video actually come from Vern Harnish’s work, in his book Scaling Up. The first one, if you think of it as the 12 o’clock position, is people. At the 3 o’clock position on the clock, is strategy. At the six o’clock position is execution, and at the nine o’clock position is cash flow. All of these four are areas that every business has to make decisions in and plan around. And there’s no right place to start.

Actually, depending on the season of your business, the season of the economy, what’s going on in the macro and the micro in your community, can lead to where you should start. But wherever it is that you’re experiencing challenges in the business, you’ll probably want to start at the one just before that. So let me give you an example: strategy. People are often saying: well, my strategy: I don’t know why we’re not able to move forward. It can be one of two things. It can be that the strategy is either unclear or it hasn’t been communicated effectively to the team, so they can’t execute on it. The other reason the strategy might not be fulfilling in the company right now is: do you have the right people to fulfill on the strategy that you’ve designed? I had a client who had an air conditioning franchise and he was saying: we have a strategy, it’s very clear, it’s all laid out. I said: I’m a client of yours and I can tell you that it’s not the strategy itself, but the people who came to perform the work at my home. They were not capable of fulfilling on that strategy, they were not a match for the vision, mission, culture and strategy of your franchise. So it could be that it’s not clearly articulated or communicated, defined and given to your team, or it could be that the team is not the right team to fulfill on the strategy that you have. If we go down to execution, is it clearly articulated? And do they have the tools, the means, the resources to execute on that strategy? Sometimes it’s the resources of people. Right now (particularly right now) – do we have the right people to actually execute on this strategy, with challenges in unemployment being as low as it is? You may not have the right people or the right tools.

Sometimes it’s a matter of actually having a more efficient way of accessing data. Do you have a contact management system that allows people to go in, cloud based from anywhere, and execute on things or project, or do they need to be waiting for somebody to hand them that piece of paper in order to make it happen? I know it sounds like people don’t really work that way anymore, but I promise you – they do. I go into businesses all the time where very outdated processes for communicating in the organization are still in place. If they execute well, it should lead to cash flow and financial results. If they’re not executing well, you’re going to have challenges in cash flow. If we can’t get the right people, sometimes it’s a matter of we don’t have sufficient money to hire top talent. So we have to settle for less than what we would want to hire because we just don’t have the financial means of doing that.

So when you look at your planning, these are the four key areas to be considering: the people strategy, strategy of your business model and how you actually go about growing in the marketplace, how well you can implement and execute on the strategy that you have, and do you have the financial resources and results in order to be able to have it all work.

Look in your business and see: which one of these do I need to shore up in the next quarter, or in the next six months, or in the next year in order to get to my strategic objective, or my purpose, or my goals for this company and start working there. I know from my own self this year I said: in the next five years we’ll have an employee owned company. So what do I need to do first? Who do I need to bring in first? And for us, it was to bring in a financial person who could manage all of the spreadsheets, free up my time for marketing to collaborate with our marketing person, and then ultimately at the end of the year to bring in another coach. So the idea of what needs to happen first for us started with not just our own financial position, but making sure that we can get our clients to a financial position that was strong for them, so that they could get the right people, so that we could fill on the strategy and execute on it. And you see how that goes.

So those are the four key areas and they’re from Vern Harnish’s work in Scaling Up. I was certified as a Gazelles coach and this idea of a model of looking at the business is a very good way of approaching your business planning. So the four areas, one more time: people, strategy, execution and cash. As you go through the planning, keep in mind the next economic cycle that we’re in, those seven to 10 year periods of time (where are we?) when you’re looking at your own planning in that economic cycle. Also keeping in mind that we’re disrupting every industry across the board, that we’re going to be, as business owners and leaders, required to keep agile, nimble and learning. Successful people are always learning, and practicing, and paying attention to what’s going on around them. So what got you here won’t get you there, and definitely won’t get you there as we continue in this exponential growth of technology that’s transforming our world like second by second.

So the learning that you need to do and the attention that you need to pay: my recommendation is that you follow some of those futurists that are out there, like Peter d’un Monte’s, Verne Harnish and Roger Hamilton, that are sharing what’s ahead. So as you do your planning in those four areas, you can be focused on the one that’s going to make the biggest difference for you going forward.

Thank you for watching, and if you got value from this video, please like and subscribe to my channel.


How Important Is Business Planning?


People often ask me how important is business planning. I think we can all agree that it takes time away from the day in and day out of your business operations. However, what if I told you that when done properly it can make the difference in how well you can fulfill on your business and financial objectives for the year and that it’s worth that time investment?

In this video I’m going to share with you how to plan and prepare for your meeting, what to cover during the meeting, including some key questions to ask yourself and your team, and how to capture the promises and requests that are made with a by when, so that you can keep tracking your progress against your goals.

Hi, this is Jody Ann Johnson with ActionCOACH Team Sage, where we help small business owners to grow their companies, free up their time, make more money and get to a place of choice where they can take advantage of the opportunities that come their way.

In this first section I want to talk with you about preparing for your planning. It may seem like when you sit down that’s when you do the prep for the planning, but actually when you come into the planning meeting already prepared with the information and resources that are going to be needed to be effective, you actually allow for the planning to happen as opposed to devolving into conversations and going searching for this site and the other thing to get the information that’s needed to plan. So I’m going to share with you a couple of questions that I’d like for you to be considering and then we’ll go through items that you clearly would need, like your profit and loss compared to last year, last quarter or last month, whatever is relevant in your business. Here’s a couple of questions. What are the workplace challenges that you’re currently facing today? It might be a productivity issue, it might be a team issue. What are the challenges that you’re currently facing in the workplace today? The next one is: what are some of the objectives that you had either from the beginning of the year (if you’re in midcourse correction) or from last year, that actually didn’t get fulfilled? Why they didn’t get fulfilled? And then, what is your most successful initiative? How do you know that it’s the most successful initiative?

The next one is in the area of client acquisition business development. How many new accounts got brought in? What were the value of those accounts? How many additional transactions have you done with existing clients? Have you lost any clients? Are there any clients that you haven’t heard from or done business with in the last six months? And if so, what can be done about that? That might be a brainstorming session, but you want to bring the information about the number of clients, new clients, existing clients, the work that they’ve done with you and anybody who hasn’t interacted with you in the last six months. Who are your raving fans and how can you actually build on those raving fans and get additional referrals, which as everyone knows is the easiest way to build your business with the least amount of dollar investment? What’s made the greatest impact in your business? Either somebody who came in, like a who event, or what event that has had the greatest impact in your business, what can you do to build on that? What are some of the areas where you’ve looked at what’s working, not working or not working as well as you like, and seen something that’s actually failed? What criteria are you going to use to determine is this something that needs more time, or is this something that no matter how much time, is only going to have limited success? Or is this just a dismal failure and we need to stop it right now, and stop investing good time and money after bad? What are some of the aspects of the business that can be simplified? Where can you bring process improvement into the business, so that you can gain efficiencies in the business? Last but not least, what are some of the tired, worn out, old time strategies that you’ve been clinging to because they were right in the past, but may be totally and completely insufficient for the disruption that’s happening in every industry today that need to be retired? What are the things that we need to stop doing in our business so that we can reallocate resources to things that will actually move the business forward? Sometimes we just really hang onto what worked in the past. For instance, clinging to a program that was written 10 years ago that may not be relevant in the workplace today, or in your market today, or in the economy today. We keep trying to promote something that is actually outdated because we invested so much time in the development of that program. It’s a very good example. Or taking a look at where perhaps you put in, something like a relationship with your insurance broker, but you haven’t done an insurance audit in the last five or six years. Things have changed enormously in the industry of insurance and it’s probably time to go in and take a look at – is my insurance relevant for where my business is today? These are things that people tend to put in place and then totally forget. So there are strategies or programs that we’ve clung to because either they’re easy or we’ve invested a lot of time, but they may not be relevant anymore. Those are some of the questions that you can be asking yourself. Of course if you’re looking at your client list and what are new accounts and how much more business you’ve done with existing accounts and such, you’ll be looking at your contact management system, your database, your profit and loss, your balance sheet. And because we’re committed that people get to the place of choice in their business, meaning that within the next five to seven years they could sell their business or open another location, or be a passive income for them, we’ll want to know what is the value of this business at least on an annual basis and semi-annual basis. So we’re looking at that balance sheet, the statement of cash flows, our cash position and our profit and loss to see how well we’re doing, and all of that should be handy, so that when you sit down to do your planning you’re totally prepared for the kinds of questions that will come up.

The second area is actually in the planning meeting. It’s critical that you have an agenda that has been sent out to the people who are going to be involved in that planning in advance. That way, everybody knows what the agenda is, everybody has the resources they need to have intelligent conversations and you’ve got a way of tracking how much time is going to be invested in each one of these things. The recommendations, believe it or not, is that you save money for the end rather than the beginning of the conversation, unless you’re doing really well and you have a surplus of sales and cash – it can sometimes squash the strategic planning process. So having an agenda, making sure that everyone is clear and has all of the resources that they need. If you need certain people to be leading aspects of that conversation, then you’ll want to let them know in advance so that they can prepare. It’s my opinion that you involve people from every level of the organization in your planning process.

The latest research has shown that with the Internet and with connectivity, the things that want to emerge in your industry and emerge in your company come from the bottom up as opposed to the top down hierarchy way that we’ve seen in the past. So people that are actually doing the doing in your business can sometimes have the very best ideas of innovation. These are frontline with your clients and customers, with the products and services that you offer, and your best ideas could very well come from those people, through each level of the organization that they’re all involved in that. And that you bring people in that will not only agree with you and your position about the business, but will also challenge that from their perspective.

The last area is capturing requests, promises and by whens. By when is probably my favorite question. Well, maybe not my favorite, but close to one of my favorites, only because it moves things forward. When people have a by when, they know that this is the time that I have in order to be able to get this thing done. So what’s great about quarterly planning is that people know – ok, I’ve got 90 days, 13 weeks in which I have to produce X Y and Z. Or if there’s a timeline involved, they know that they’ve got to do this in order for things to move forward in somebody else’s department. So the requests, the who are there made by (because that person is responsible for managing the requests that they’ve made) and the promises that are made by people and by when those things can be expected. So all of that gets captured in a document that is shared with the rest of the company so that people know these were the discussions that happened, these were the outcomes that we’ve come up with, the promises requests and by when.

And once all of that is in place and the next planning session is established, then we can keep referencing the planning that we’ve done to make sure that we’re on track, stay focused and are able to allocate and reallocate resources of time, team and money as needed to reach your business and financial objectives, and ultimately have a happy thriving business.

Thank you for watching my video, and if you got value from it please like and subscribe to my channel.


Essential Financials

Welcome. In today’s episode of business success with Doug Barra, I am going to give you one of the keys to making sure that your business is successful.

This is understanding your finances and making sure that you know how to keep your business afloat.

So if you’d like to understand business finances in a way that will help you make sure that you get the most out of your business, this is the video for you!

On today’s video I am going to explain what it is that you really truly need to know about finances for your business. What are those things that make such a freakin difference that it could actually have you be completely underwater if you don’t understand them?

Well, one of those things that’s most important is that you understand the way you do your pricing. Because, so often I talk to business owners that just don’t understand their finances. They don’t understand how they have to make sure that they are making more from what they sell than what it cost them.

Now this may seem crazy to you! You might be going, “Of course I know that I must make more than what I’m paying for it. That just doesn’t make sense.”

But the truth of the matter is that very often business owners don’t understand properly how to calculate those figures and how to be able to actually know that their business is being profitable, all the time.

One of the things you have to do is, you have to know all of your products and services! Every single one of them! How is that working for me? How am I making money off of this product and what are all the costs associated with this product?

Now, OK, I know I said all the costs associated with the product and you may be thinking “well, every moment of time in my business is a cost”.

We have to look at those costs that are truly associated with it. And so, when I say a cost associated with the product, or service, or selling the product, or service, it’s something that, if you didn’t sell that product or service, then you wouldn’t be paying that cost. But, if you did sell it, then you would be paying it. All right?

So think about it like this: The easiest way, of course, is, if you sell a product and you have to purchase that product, before you sell it, like you’re buying wholesale and selling it retail, then, of course, the cost of that product is a cost of goods for you. That’s a cost of the sale.

However, what often people don’t think about there is, if you’re going to sell using credit cards, or you have a ACH set up with your bank, or something like that, the cost of that ACH, or processing through that credit card is actually a cost of doing business for you. You only pay that if you make a sale.

Also, if you have a salesperson, then that salesperson is going to be a cost of goods if they’re getting a commission. The commission for that sale is a cost of goods.

Now, this is not what your accountant is going to tell you. Because your accountant is going to tell you that the cost of goods are only the cost of the product themselves, and if you’re a consulting firm, or you have professional services, or personal services, your accountant will usually tell you “you don’t have costs of goods”. That’s not exactly true.

Anything for us, as an entrepreneur you have to understand, that anything you would pay, only if you make a sale, is a cost of goods, and especially if its related to the actual price. But, in any case, its a cost of goods if you have to pay it in order to sell that product.

I’ll give you a good example of why this sometimes gets in the way for people. Think about this for a moment. Let’s say that you’re a professional services person and you have a couple of people that work with you. So you are actually going out and getting people to come and purchase services from you and then you’re paying someone to provide those services. For that your accountant is going to say that the payroll for that person to do that service is not a cost of goods.

Now, I look at it this way if I’m going to pay that person, no matter what, then they’re not a cost of goods.

But, if I’m only going to pay that person, or I’m going to pay them a commission, based on that service, then they are a cost of goods and I need to actually think of them that way – as a cost of goods.

And, I have to take into account that cost when I’m talking about how much to charge for those services or, how much I can actually discount those services.

Because, if I’m going to do discounting – I don’t recommend it. Okay just so you know I don’t recommend discounting. That’s one of the ways we get into trouble – but, if you were going to, you have to understand all the costs.

Because, let’s say that I’m selling someone’s services right and I’m marking them up and I’m marking up their services by 20 percent. So, whatever they’re charging I’m going to add 20 percent to that. If we do the numbers here then let’s say they are charging 100 dollars, then I’m going to add 20 percent, that’s 20 dollars. So I am going to make it 120 dollars to sell their services, right?

Now, if somebody comes to me and says something like, “I think you should discount your services for customers that are a certain kind of customer – let’s say for mothers, I don’t know. So I’m going to discount services for mothers. OK.

And then you say well how much should I discount those services. Well I’m marking them up by 20 percent. So let’s discount them by 15 percent. At least I’m still making five percent.

OK, well, let’s think about that for a second. So 15 percent of a hundred and twenty dollars is what. OK so 10 percent would be 15 dollars. Another 5 percent would be seven and a half dollars. So now I am taking off wait a minute…

Let me think about that again. OK so it’s hundred and twenty twenty dollars. So I’m taking off 10 percent that’s 12 dollars and then 5 percent, that’s six dollars, so that’s 18 dollars.

I’m taking off eighteen dollars, but I only marked it up 20 dollars. Now I will be making two dollars. That didn’t quite work out the way I thought it should. That’s not a 5 percent increase, that would be five dollars!

The reason is because we’re using two different numbers that don’t quite work well together.

All right. You can’t do a discount based on my markup. I have to do my discount based on my margin and margin is different. Margin is, what percentage of what I’m selling it for am I keeping.

And, twenty dollars out of 120 is NOT 20 percent, therefore the problem exists.

All right. So thank you for listening.

Please make sure that you understand how to do your finances properly so that you can be successful.

This is Doug Barra – your business success is my business.


3 Rules For Getting Everyone On The Same Page Faster

Team Building - TeamRICH

Musician Peabo Bryson once said, “I like that sense of we’re all on the same page and trying to get the job done.” That is a feeling that most members of your teams, including yourself, desire.

Is your team on the same page? This is a question that every team leader should be asking themselves every day. When even one member of the team gets off track, it can slow down everyone else. Getting everyone on the same page, quickly, is an essential lesson on how to build a team that can get the job done.

Getting Everyone on the Same Page Faster

How can you bring your team together and get them moving forward in the quickest manner possible? Here are three rules to get you started:

  • Be transparent. Many companies tend to compartmentalize information. It is often not done consciously, but it tends to develop over time. This is counterproductive when it comes to building a team. People need to know how their role contributes to the larger picture. It is essential to keep communications open. Frank, open discussions contribute to making the best decisions. Transparency can improve employee morale and focus.
  • Involve the team. Ideally, planning should come from the bottom-up instead of top down. If you walk into a meeting with a pre-set plan, the team is already off page. Management should provide goals and define projects. Team members should have the freedom of designing their own path to completing an assigned task. A team leader should coordinate to make sure everything gets done, but not micro-manage the way it’s done.
  • Give the team what they need to succeed. This starts with providing everyone with the tools they need. A central planning tool will allow you and your team to track assignments and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. A central calendar will help everyone know about meetings and progress points. Everything that is assigned should be in writing for everyone to see. All documentation should be in one location so there is no delays or confusion. Social tools like chat or screen sharing can also help.

These rules will help you bring your team work together going forward. However, for long-term success, you need to know how to build a team culture that brings you


Employee Recruitment – 3 Effective Ideas For Recruiting Top Talent

I think we can all agree that the focus in the last few years has been on attracting, retaining and engaging top talent. All of which have been extraordinarily challenging. But what if I told you that there was a better way for you to be prepared for winning in those three areas, attracting, retaining and engaging top talent? In this video, I’m going to share with you three of my ideas on how you can win in each of those three areas.

Hi, this is Jody Ann Johnson from ActionCOACH Team Sage, where I help business owners to be more profitable and have more free time. Before I start, please subscribe to my channel and be sure to leave a comment, I’d love to interact with you on that.

During the recession, business owners were completely focused on how to be more efficient in their businesses, how to use technology so that they could create profitability, and they were very focused on their business models. In the last few years, all the sudden they’re going like, OK wait a second, we have a good business model, we have the technology, but where’s the talent? And the challenge has been in attracting talent and retaining that talent. We’re down here in Miami, where the average length of time that someone stays in a job is three years, and engaging that talent, where seven out of ten are either actively sabotaging your business, or are at best neutral. So what can you as a business owner do about this?

When I speak to you about this concept of people’s strategy, as a shared in one of the other videos, my business owners that I typically work with are thinking: well, this is how much I think I should pay for this job. But they haven’t actually gone out and looked to see what are the national averages, how much experience, what educational level this person should have, what’s the low, mid and high range for that role. Just doing that alone is going to be an asset because when we go to create the annual plan for the business, we have to account for these salary increases, if you’re going to retain talent or what it’s going to take for us to be able to afford talent we need to bring on.

I like to think of it as building the case for that role. If the salary has to be (I’ll make up something) $50,000, based on your gross margin, what is that person actually need to produce or take off the plate of someone else in order for them to give a return on that role? Sometimes you hear people talk about 2 percent, 2.5 percent, 3 percent return on salary. It’s a good benchmark, but actually I like to see it even higher.

The other thing to keep in mind is that with the advent of technology and changes in business model, we have to be very, very clear on our strategy for growth and what is the training that’s going to be required for the people that we have on our team and the intellectual capital that they have, which is enormously valuable, and then make sure that they get that training. Most people complain that they haven’t had an investment in their training in development, even when they’re asked to do more.

So on either side of this, salary side or strategy side, in the middle is looking at what can we do with our people to make sure that they’re paid well, that they’re crystal clear on what they have to produce in order to cover their salaries and then the training that they need in order to continue to be an asset. When people feel that they’ve been invested in, they’re more likely to be engaged. And I can’t say it enough. If you’ve got people actively sabotaging, if they’re a bad apple in your team, just letting a bad apple go could improve the morale on your team and engage people even more. So think of it from a recruitment place: that we’ve planned in advance for this person, that we’re crystal clear on what we need them to do, what training they’re going to need and then are they clear on our strategy, so that they actually are an asset.

That’s it for this episode of Coffee with Jody. Please leave a comment if you’ve had a good experience with either recruitment, with training with your team and how that’s going. What you’ve done and done well, so that others can learn from you, and if you’ve had a negative experience with that, then please also leave a comment . I’m happy to interact with you on how we can resolve those challenges for you and your business.

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