Managing, Leading or Doing?

by Tina on August 22, 2014

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My 3 Strikes Rule

by Tina on August 15, 2014

How do you know when to fix something vs. fire the person? Problems will always arise from time to time in our working relationships, the key is to make sure that you don’t let them drag on too long. There is a strategy that I like to use when it comes to knowing if something is fixable or if it’s time to let someone go…

(Is it just me or am I talking really fast in this video? LOL) Would love to hear your thoughts – be sure to post them here, k?

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Originally published March 28, 2013

After my video last week I was asked a great question:

“Tina, I get that having a relationship is ideal when it comes to this stuff, but what if you are newer to your biz or don’t have any relationships with potential affiliates yet?”

Here’s my top 3 tips to approach a potential new affiliate or JV partner:

  1. Get to know the person first – if you send a generic request to someone asking them to “help promote your stuff and earn some money” I can pretty much guarantee it will be deleted.

    You need to do some work upfront and get to know the person and their business BEFORE you approach them. Do your research, learn what they offer already and who their clients are and see where your stuff can help compliment what they are doing already. Look to see how you can solve a problem for THEM as well as their clients. ie: If someone is a marketing coach but they don’t teach team building and yet their clients all struggle here, you could approach them to offer a team building program that could fill a need for their clients that they can’t (or don’t want to) fill themselves.

  2. Give them a sample of your program – how does the person know if your stuff is any good? If you don’t have a relationship already the next best thing to establish credibility and trust is to give them a copy or sample of your stuff. This way they can see *exactly* what it is that you are offering and determine if it’s something they can confidently recommend.

    Now some people resist this because they don’t want to give something away for free or fear that someone might steal their stuff and use it themselves. If you give away one sample of your product to someone who could potentially get you lots of sales then that’s a great ROI in my opinion. Likewise, you can ask someone to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) that prevents them from using your stuff outside of review purposes.

  3. Leverage a Relationship – do you know anyone who knows the person you want to reach out to? If yes, ask that person if they would be willing to introduce you or if they have any suggestions on the best way to reach out to that person. A connection via a mutual contact is a great way to establish credibility and make a connection.
  4. BONUS TIP: Make it BEYOND easy for them to promote – the worst thing you can do to a new affiliate is have them say yes and then you drop the ball. It is *essential* that you have your team and marketing resources 100% in place so that they can just “plug and play” on their end.

    I’m amazed at how often people drop the ball here – and at the same time I get it because it takes work to setup your promotion materials, affilaite links and continue to communicate with all the parties. Make sure you have a person on your team who is dedicated to this and can make you look like the rockstar that you are.

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Originally published on July 11, 2013

First, I want to acknowledge that creating an SOP (Standard Operating & Procedures) guide is not the most exciting thing in the world, which is exactly why many businesses don’t have one (or only have part of one). It isn’t my ideal way to spend a day either, but it definitely needs to be done.

It’s like exercise – at first it’s not fun. You have to drag yourself out of bed early to make it to the gym when you really don’t want to. But you do it anyway because you know the payoff is worth it. Although you may never love working out, you get to the point at which it becomes part of your day and it’s no longer such a drag.

Documenting your processes to create your SOP guide are part of a healthy workout for your business. So here are 3 simple steps to get you on your way:

  1. Decide who needs to document the process. Whoever is doing the work is the best person to document the process. If you have been doing most of the work yourself to date, then it’s you. If you have a VA (or two) who has been doing the work, get them to help (and yes, you pay them for this time). This requires a measure of discipline on both sides – you need to demand that they do it as part of their role, and they need to set aside the time to actually do it.
  2. When should you start? Now! The best way to create your SOP guide is “as you go.” You and/or your team can start documenting things as they come up. Don’t try to do it all at once and make it a big project. That’s too stressful and it’s not necessary. Aim for each person to complete at least a few each week.
  3. Decide on the best format. Your SOP guide needs to live online in a place that is accessible to everyone on the team so it’s easy to update. We use the “wiki” feature in Central Desktop to manage our SOP guide. It can be written, audio, video, or a combination thereof. If you do choose audio or video, I do recommend having someone create a written checklist for easy referral (vs. always having to rewatch the video).

If you start today, in a few short weeks you will be well on your way to having an effective SOP guide in place and living happily in your virtual office for all to see.

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 Originally published July 18, 2013

Whether it is just you and a VA or you have a team of many – it is a good biz management practice to do a check-in with the team at least once a week.

Here is a list of the 4 questions that each person on the team needs to answer (including you!). I recommend having everyone post their answers to a team discussion board (like the one in Central Desktop) at the end of each week.

  1. What did I accomplish this week? – easy peasy, just share what you got done this week.
  2. What did I not accomplish and why? - if there was something on your plate that didn’t get done, let the team know why (shifting priorities, didn’t get what you needed from someone else, etc.).
  3. What do I want to accomplish next week? - share what is on your plate for the coming week.
  4. What I need to do so is… – you may have a question, or perhaps you need something from someone else before you can do your part.

Bam! Just that easy – and so very important for 3 reasons:

  • You and the team get to celebrate! – it is easy to get so caught up in the craziness of our day and everything that we still have to do that sometimes we forget to celebrate what was accomplished. Doing this exercise allows you and the team to see how much was actually done each week.
  • Keeping each other accountable - having each person on the team make a public declaration as to what they want to accomplish each week can really lend the extra “ooomph” that is needed to get stuff done. This goes for you too as the leader of your biz. ;)
  • Peace of mind for YOU – this is a biggie, and is especially important as your business grows. You need to be able to keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on each week in the business, and this weekly check-in provides a consistent update in that regard without your having to chase people down.

And it’s worth noting that this can be used as a daily check-in as well if you run a super busy crew and/or if you are in the middle of a busy launch.

Enjoy!

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How I Talk Myself Out of Clients

by Tina on July 11, 2014

There are times when people want to work with me but I talk them out of it – say what?!! There are 3 reasons why I do this.

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team appreciationIn my role I constantly receive feedback from folks on all sorts of things, but perhaps one of the most disheartening things I hear is when I’m approached by a support professional who says they feel unappreciated in their role.

I know that in the throes of a growing business and the two-stepping, double-time pace that that growth can require, the simple “thank you” can get lost in the shuffle.  But those two words hold great power, and when that power is untapped and unused, the wealth behind them lays in waste.

I like to use the example of a new dating relationship to illustrate my point a little.  In that beginning “courtship” phase, we’re so quick to lavish our partner with compliments and praise on everything they do, but then over time we settle into routines and those once praise-worthy traits become the expected norm and we take each other for granted.

The same is true in our business relationships.  When we first bring on a new team member and they’re just rocking out everything they touch, we’re quick to throw out lines like “I couldn’t do this without your help” or “your contribution is vital to our success,” etc., but then, just like in dating, over time we take our team members and their hard work for granted.

People want to know that they’re doing good work for you.  They need to hear those words of gratitude and appreciation.  For some people, a word of thanks can mean more than any dollar amount they receive in their paychecks.  I find this especially to be true with support professionals.  The need to be told that the work they do is of value.

So stop right now in the midst of reading this blog and take a mental inventory of the last time you said thank you to your team… If you can’t remember when that was, IT’S BEEN TOO LONG!

Pick up the phone, send an email, but get those “thank yous” out to your team, stat! Set yourself a reminder if need be.  If you’re pleased with what they’re doing, make sure they know, and if money and circumstances permit, throw in something extra for them! It doesn’t have to be grandiose, maybe a gift certificate to a spa day or maybe a restaurant certificate for them and their spouse, but tokens of appreciation are invaluable.

Of all the things that could get lost in the hustle and bustle of this business world we live in, don’t let your gratitude for the team that serves and supports you be one of them!

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

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80/20 ruleHow do you take your expertise, your services and the skills you provide and offer them in bigger and better ways?  How can you continue to serve your clients and make more money without necessarily taking up more of YOUR time and energy?

To get the juices flowing in the right direction, I want to start with a simple exercise here. (Although, truth be told, sometimes the seemingly simplest exercises can prove to be the hardest ones for some of us.)

I want you to take a mental look at your business and I want you to kill off one of your revenue streams.

GASP?!!

Yes, you read that right, I want you to kill off, pull the plug and discontinue at least 1 of the things you’re currently offering right now.

Now before you hyperventilate, quit reading the remainder of the blog and go into panic mode at the thought of tampering with your revenue, let me explain why I want you to do this.

In order to grow and expand, sometimes we have to sever some things that aren’t thriving as well as others.

Consider a gardener –  in order for a rose bush to bloom and flourish, the dead and weaker branches must be pruned and removed.  If this doesn’t happen, the weak branches choke the life out of the healthy ones.

The same goes for your business.  You need to prune off the services, programs, etc. that no longer serve you and no longer serve your clients.

You’re likely familiar with the 80/20 Rule that says that 80% of your results are determined by 20% of your efforts. Or maybe 80% of your income is determined by 20% of your clients…and the principle can appear over and over in various business scenarios.  I want you to write out a very specific list of all the services you offer within your business right now and how much money they have brought in over the past 12 months.  We’re working on creating your own 80/20 list

Now brace yourself for a surprise or two when you really look at what’s generating what.  Sometimes the things you thought were your big money makers may not be and vice versa.  I know I’ve personally had a good enlightenment or two when I’ve made this list in my own business.  With everything all written out, I want you to focus in on the 1-3 things at the bottom of your money-making list.

Nitty gritty decision time.  You need to take an earnest look at those bottom revenue items and decide if it’s really worth the time, effort and energy to continue offering them in the next year.  Now you may have the scenario where one of your bottom items is a new launch and there hasn’t really been time to get it off the ground, but you know in the next year it will be operating at maximum potential and the numbers will be there the next time you make this list.  So leave that one alone for now.  But on the whole, those low revenue items are going to warrant an “Eh…not really cutting it” response.

It’s time to let go of the money-losing, and often headache-inducing revenue streams and make the space and energy you’re going to want for the new stuff on your business’ horizon.

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

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In today’s video I share my 4 part check-in process to assess the year to date and prepare for the next 6 months. Put on your CEO hat and join me!

 

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Don’t Be Cheap With Your Team

by Tina on June 25, 2014

investment in hiring peopleIn a business, particularly in a service-based business, be it virtual or brick and mortar, the lifeblood of that business is your people.  The team that supports the business literally becomes the legs that you, as the business owner, stand on.

When I say “team”, I’m talking about the implementers, the doers, the copywriters, etc., If you’re not willing to pay for the level of support you need in your business, you may run into some problems with long-term ramifications.

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage “you get what you pay for.”   There’s a reason that saying has maintained its relevance through the years, it is simple truth! If you’re in the space in your business where you’re ready to kick it up another notch, branch out and grow, then you need to be willing to pay for the people who can keep up with your growth spurt.  You need to foot the bill for the higher level of skill and expertise of a team that can support you in expansion, because you will pay for the support you choose in one of 3 ways.

#1 Time

You can pay for your support team with time.  What I mean here is that if you don’t have the right caliber of support lined up for your business, things that could have been passed along to someone else for resolution, will land back on your plate.  You could lose your time, an invaluable asset, training, correcting and re-doing things that, had you pursued the next level of support professional, could have been taken care of for you, which would allow you more time to focus on the new things coming up in your business.

#2 Lost Opportunities

When you skimp on the cost of your team members, you miss out on those upper level players and that can cost you potential growth opportunities.  For example; you decide not to hire that top-notch marketing manager who could have developed a mind-blowing website to generate higher traffic and leads for your business.  Instead you’re functioning in the realm of DIY (do-it-yourself) and you’re missing opportunities because you’re stuck doing things your hired marketing manager would have done for you and possibly done even better than what you’re doing on your own

#3 Cost of Payroll

This is where I want you to focus.  If you start here and recognize that the cost of the right support team is not a loss, but an investment in your business, then you are miles ahead in the race.

Take a step back and look at your game plan and know who you need on your team in order to reach your end goals.  If you need that copywriter to give life to your thoughts, then spend the extra money to ensure you get the quality copywriter that you want.  If you need the highest level systems manager in order to help you take that next step of business growth, then be willing to invest in the cost of that team member.

At the end of the day, the work has to be done.  Either you do it and lose time that could’ve been spent focusing on growth, the work doesn’t get done at all and you miss opportunities, or you can hire someone that is the perfect fit and they get the work done for you.

Consider the gauntlet thrown and the challenge issued here – Don’t be cheap with your team!  By pinching pennies in the area of the right support team, you risk pinching off the air supply to the growth potential in your business.

(Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)

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