Tuesday, January 26, 2016

You Need To Update Your Own Personal Processor: From Being A Spectator to Taking A Main Role In Your Play

From Spectator To Main Character.
Probably from this post’s title you might think this is one of those articles in which I'll be talking about positive energy, optimism, "developing your max potential" and stuff like that, but I won’t. The issue is not going along that way. At least, not this time.

Today I’d like to share with you my thoughts on a perfectly real and objective subject: I want to talk about entrepreneur’s responsibilities.

And more specifically, about "your" responsibilities as an entrepreneur, or better yet your “most important” responsibility, which is your role as the one responsible for developing and growing your own business, but as an actor rather than a spectator.

The ever so toxic mania we have to point out who is guilty instead of solving the problem.

Can you imagine firefighters arriving at a fire scene, then stopping to find out who was responsible for firing it up instead of immediately putting out the flames so that they don’t spread out to neighboring homes, causing more damage?

Or in a much simpler case, can you imagine that in the middle of a soccer game, the goalkeeper starts to feel cramped and allows the opposite team to score several times and his team’s manager doesn’t do anything about it?

If you can anticipate the results won’t be as expected, you better get to act upon the problem as soon as possible.

In the first situation, it is obvious: There is an emergency situation which needs to be resolved, so the solution is right there. First shut off the fire and then start looking for anything else. No discussion. It is common sense and is what generates the most immediate results.

In the second situation, it's a little more complicated, because a different set of elements come to play an important role, many of which are quite subjective: that the goalkeeper might be going through a rough patch on his life, that he deserves a second chance, that everything will get better after halftime, that he is the team’s captain and other players might lose motivation if he’s replaced on the game... in brief, surely important arguments, with good foundation most of them, but rather subjective in the end.

But what’s the problem here?

At the end of the game, if you don’t make the right decisions on time, the team you’re leading loses.

And if we were referring to your business, it would all be much clearer then: at the end, your business will be the only loser if you don´t make the right decision on time. That is why you should not act as an spectator, the person simply watching as problems occur and then just looks for who is responsible of such a situation to punish it, yell at it and then fire it.

Situations like these cannot be considered, or shouldn’t be considered, as an opportunity to showcase your force as the boss, but instead as one to demonstrate your leadership skills, your abilities to analyze the problems your project faces and give them adequate and timely solutions, steering your team to follow the right direction.

We all understand subjectivity often overlaps our ability to remain objective on specific situations and keeps us from seeing things clearly, especially when there are strong emotional ties or personal relationships involved with the project.

However, above all, you must remember it is your business we’re talking about, therefore, it’s your direct responsibility.

And when I say "your direct responsibility" I mean it is not only about hiring people professionally prepared to do the job they are supposed to do and the one you need to have done, that is a key element on it.

I am also referring  to you assuming a more important, proactive role in how your project grows and moves forward, making sure at all times that every person involved with it, including yourself, is on the right track, properly engaged and oriented towards achieving goals previously set.

Sitting at your desk expecting people to bring to you their proposals and ideas, showing you the results of their work, is a very typical attitude of old fashioned bosses, but makes no sense anymore and specially when you’ve realized that, after all, what is at stake is your own business project.

Yes, it’s totally clear that, in the end, you will develop a natural ability to find out who is responsible for every situation and will fire that person without blinking, but... what's with that ? what’s the point? does it help your business grow and get better? does it make you a better leader?

You need to update your own personal processor: Going from being a spectator to becoming the main character on your story, from being the boss to becoming the leader. It sounds easy, but it is not.

However, the difference in the results you'll get, makes it well worth the effort.

Credit: gpointstudio | See portfolio

I recommend you reading the following posts on this blog:
How can you motivate your sales team so they can reach their best performance?
The Oranges Bag Management Model.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

If You Don’t know Where To Start From, Put In Writing How Much You Want To Sell.

Write Down Your Sales Goal.
Happy New Year everybody!

I hope you've been phenomenally well with all your friends and loved ones. May God permit this New Year be for achieving all your most desired projects, plenty of health, prosperity, happiness and many good things.

I might have started the New Year writing a post sharing with you a series of recommendations on how to make things in your business work more efficiently. Perhaps some productivity tips, best business practices, testimonials, and so forth.

But, during one of my last bicycle rides, I remembered the goal I have set for myself this year was to ride at least three times a week and do 120 kilometers total, per week. And as long as my body and health permit, this will be what I’m going after.

And it was then that I realized that, regardless of all the many things I can recommend you for your business, the easiest one of all is to put down in writing how much you want to sell this year.

Yes, it is that simple: Put on paper the sales goal you want to achieve this year for your business.

Why having a sales goal is so critical to managing your business?

It works the same way as knowing where you want to go before getting into your car: you’ll be able to choose the most appropriate route for your trip and make a real estimate on how long it will take you to get to your destination. Having a sales goal for your business will enable you to the following, among some other things too:

  • It will reinforce the fact that your business is on the market to make sales and grow, even if it’s at a slow pace. It’s not simply about just going with the flow and selling whatever you end up selling, but about making all necessary efforts to achieve your sales goal. Yes, only there you’ll find real growth.
  • It will give you a benchmark to measure the performance of all your sales and marketing activities, ie, all those things you do to selling more. You’ll be able to monitor, month by month, even day by day if you wish, how things are going and where you should make any required corrections.
  • It will create a commitment on your part, both with yourself and with the rest of your team, to do everything it takes to achieve it, and that's truly encouraging.
  • It will help you make other sales and business growth related decisions, such as hiring a new salesperson, more advertising, doing social networks, and so on.

As you know, every business needs to have a destination, a map or plan, but if your case is that concepts such as having a map, planning, having a destination become a little difficult to handle, or just want something easier to implement so you can activate it in less time, then set a sales goal for your business.

Having a sales goal will force you to implement all necessary actions to achieve it.

Not having a sales goal is like a ship adrift. Surely you will make some sales, as usual, but you’ll never know if you could have sold more or, in the worst case, you’ll never know which are the things that work better to increase your sales.

You may be wondering now how to set a sales goal for your business?

And before you come up with numbers and figures pulled out from anywhere, or from your mere aspirations or dreams, let me talk to you about how sales goals must be.

How should sales goals for your business be?

SMART is an acronym that fits really well when you need to define how your business sales goals should be. But not because your sales goals must be "smart" as your "smartphone", but because sales goals should always be: "Specific", "Measurable", "Attainable", "Relevant" and "Time-bound".

But what does it all mean?

Well, it means that, when you set a sales goal for your business, you must make sure they are:

  • Specific: It’s no longer about simply saying "I want to sell more". No. You must be more specific. It should be something like "I want to sell 500,000 euros total" or "I want to get 10 new projects", "I want to sell 1,500 product units". Can you see where we're going to?
  • Measurable: And it goes along with the previous one. If you simply say "I want to sell more" you won’t know when you reach your goal, because you won’t know when it is you have to stop. Selling just one euro more than last year will fit your “I want to sell more” criteria, but is it what you really want? Therefore, your goal should be specific and measurable. These two characteristics always go together.
  • Achievable: Or put in another way, realistic. An unattainable sales goal becomes unreal, therefore generates frustration and discontent. A realistic and achievable sales goal, becomes a motivational factor, and when it is reached, is an opportunity to celebrate.
  • Relevant: All sales goal are relevant for business, or at least they should be. Who wants to have a business to selling less than last year, or simply selling the same?
  • And finally, time-bound: All sales goals must have a deadline. That is, "if you want to sell 1,500 product units", you must also be a bit more specific and say, by when do you want (or expect) to have this goal achieved. It’s not the same selling those 1,500 units throughout five years, than selling them within the next six months. Both goals involve completely different situations and actions.

In short, when you set a sales goal for your business, remember these goals should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound.

A realistic, achievable sales goal, is a strong motivational element as well as an opportunity to celebrate.

If you ask me which of these five characteristics I believe is more important, I’d have to say that your sales goals must always be realistic and achievable. I have seen many projects fail because they had unrealistic sales goals, therefore it was impossible to reach them, business owners got frustrated and drop their projects.

But there is one last step you must take for all of this to make real sense, because not only by having a sales goal, it means you will reach it. What is that last step?

Do whatever it takes and whatever is in your power to fulfill your sales goal.

In the same way that nothing would happen if I just set as my goal to ride 120 kilometers per week, but don’t take the bike by any chance, nothing will happen if behind the sales goal you have set for your business there is no real commitment on your side to do whatever it takes, and whatever is in your power, to fulfill it.

It’s easy to think that it’s only responsibility of your sales team to reach the sales goal, and this is a mistake.

And it is a mistake for one simple reason: It is your business, not your salespeople’s, so what are you doing, as business owner, so that your sales goal is achievable?, will you be investing some money in planned advertising?, will you be participating in trade shows or similar events?

What kind of support will you be giving your sales team to make their life easier and help them reach their goal, for everybody’s benefit?

Achieving the sales goal set is an issue relevant enough to your business, so that you should active and proactively get involved with it.

Support your sales team with all the actions that are at your fingertips and within your means, so that the sales goal is truly achievable, and you’ll see how everything works great.

Photo credit: Goir | See portfolio

Other related posts you can refer to on this blog:
How can you motivate your sales team so they can reach their best performance?
How To Create A Sales Plan For Your Business?