Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Is Your Schedule Running YOU?



Get a grip on that schedule!

Being in business, especially sales, can be an exciting adventure! Every day, we hold our future in our own hands – we get to choose which direction we’ll go, where to invest our time, what products we’ll sell, which services we will offer to the world. We can plan our days, and schedule our life as we feel best.

But – have you ever found yourself feeling like something is just not working for you with how you are spending your time?

·         Does it feel like your schedule is running YOU?  Or do you run your schedule?

·         Does your calendar fill up with too many appointments, and no time to plan ahead, no time to review your current status, or make decisions to change things up?

·        Are you just keeping up with an endless list of tasks, and you’re no longer sure how they’re related to your business success? It’s so easy to get caught in responding to the Urgent, and not paying attention to the Important parts of our business life.

·        Do you find yourself frazzled, with “all work and no play” on your schedule, and no time to rest and refresh?

Good news for you:  It’s still only January! You’re just starting this year of 2017. You can block out some time to take charge of your schedule – for the whole year ahead. By planning out your calendar for the year, you get a chance to make sure there’s room in your life for the “big rocks” of your Priorities. What’s most important to you? Save time for it right now. Plan it right into your day’s calendar, on a one-time or a regular, consistent basis. Here’s how:

1)      Get a 2017 calendar with separate pages for each month (free printable calendar sheets available here). Or use an online system that works for you.

2)      Determine your list of priorities, both one-time events and regular events and the amount of time you will commit to them. Then decide when you’ll do these events, and block them out on your calendar page for that (or every) month.

a.       Personal and Family Commitments: Block out time for a family vacation, planned get-aways and holiday weekends, birthdays and other special events you know will occur. You’re choosing to make time for the important connections in your life. Does this include “turning off” your business mind at 5 or 6 each evening?

b.      Your known Business Commitments: Now schedule in that 3-day Business retreat that you’ve always wanted to do quarterly to review progress and make new plans; mark out time for that conference you want to attend; add in the Gold Star Referral Club meetings you attend weekly to help build your business with Referrals. Save time for cross-clubbing on whatever basis works for you. Decide when you’ll have Staff Meetings – and make sure it’s on that schedule. Plan it all in – write it on your calendar.

c.       Strategic Planning Commitments: Here’s where you work through your business plan for the year. What will be your business’ theme for each month? What will you build your 60-second Gold Star presentations around for each week? What would a good referral look like for you in July, given your climate, the holiday celebrations, etc.? Writing this out ahead of time means you won’t be making a split-second decision – you’ll have time to think it through and do it well.

What’s your company’s action focus in February – do you have a campaign you want to run that centers on heart designs, or on Presidents’ Day verbiage and images? And will you make March your Employee Appreciation month, scheduling in a special lunch and preparing greeting cards for each one? Should April be the month you review all your Marketing materials – checking out your website design, updating your flyers, refocusing your business cards? Etc., etc.

Once you make your strategic business decisions, mark them out in BOLD on your calendar for that month. Keep yourself accountable – “plan your work and then work your plan”.

d)  Follow this up with blocking out time for daily/weekly “housekeeping” functions that help your business run: Perhaps you need an hour a day to “Review Email” and respond. Maybe you must order raw materials on a regular basis. You might stay current with your Social Media program at 3 pm every day. Perhaps you post your blog every Monday at 9 or you contact your virtual assistant at noon on Tuesdays. Whatever these necessary time investments are, plan them in your calendar.

I promise that if you take time out to follow this foundational time strategy, you’re going to feel much more in charge of your own business, your own destiny. You’ll know you are running the show! And you will reap the rewards of this orderly process in renewed business success.

My best,
Beth





Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Follow the Leader

Be the Leader They Follow
 

This wonderful New Year, 2017, full of promise and opportunity, is here! Todd and I trust that you and yours had a good holiday, full of fun and good memories.

For me, a great leader energizes and inspires me... and yes, as Jack Nicholson said in the movie, As Good As it Gets"You make me want to be a better man." (or person) Good leaders make us want to be better.

Remember playing “Follow the Leader” in elementary school? I always loved that game, and – Surprise! – I always wanted to be the leader! I think there’s a principle there, one that matters in life. People DO follow leaders. And we can all choose to BE the leader they follow – we can lead people towards a better life when they choose us to provide excellent products or services they can trust.

All Gold Star Referral Clubs change leaders twice every year, on February 1 and on August 1. We instituted this policy as part of a strategy for personal and business development for all our members. That’s because we believe in the importance of each business owner growing in leadership skills – and what better way to help each one along the way than by giving each member the opportunity to step into or continue growing in a leadership role in their Gold Star Referral Club?

Choosing to lead can be a decision that makes a difference for you from today on. You will learn so much! You can work in collaboration with other leaders, carry out your specific leadership role, and begin to grow your leadership skills, conducting yourself with confidence, pride, and even innovation. Pretty soon, you’ll look around and notice that others begin to “follow your lead.” And your growing leadership skills will start showing up everywhere – not just in your Gold Star community, but also in your local community.

When you choose to be a leader, your contribution to the groups you’re a part of increases – and benefits you as well as others. Over the years, I’ve noticed that when good leaders take the reins in any group/community, these things happen:

  The community is relieved and even inspired as a whole by a good leader.

·         That leadership reproduces in the group; more good leaders start to come out of the woodwork, inspired by the leader’s good example.

·         Rank-and-file members enjoy following a good leader – so they increase their participation.

·         The whole group benefits, and a new level of collaboration and success become possible.

Let me challenge you this year: Consider Choosing to Become a leader!

Become that leader that others want to follow and learn from. You can make a bigger difference in your own life, in your Gold Star ReferralClub’s life, and in your community when you choose to step up, move forward, and LEAD.



My best,

Beth


Monday, November 28, 2016

Stop The Madness!

Many of us just love the holiday season – so many special events going on, so many memories from years past, so much good food and fun gifts!

The only problem is that all of these things are going on IN ADDITION 
to all the regular duties of your normal work weeks. And that can make it easy to get OVERWHELMED – which can lead to exhaustion, illness, costly mistakes or other business busters that leave you unable to carry on with your important business activities.

So here’s a word to the wise: When you start feeling overwhelmed, or too rushed, or desperate for a break – STOP.   

STOP THE HOLIDAY MADNESS!



  • Stop in your tracks, or as soon as you can.
  • Re-schedule! Go to your calendar, your scheduling book, and look for anything you can possibly re-schedule or cancel.
  • Plan! If you’re going to holiday parties to network, realize that you are “working” and you will be “on” during those events. So plan your networking times as work events.
  • Keep healthy! Keep your routines going, as much as possible. Eat well, exercise, and rest.
  • Don't do it! Decide what can wait until life slows down a bit.

It’s far better to move that important meeting to another day when you’re not so busy, when you can come in refreshed and make your best presentation.

A huge benefit of having our own businesses is that we CAN control our schedules, to a certain extent. We can choose to tackle our tasks without feeling frenzied or pressurized. We are our own boss. And we’re responsible to avoid getting overwhelmed. 

You’ll find yourself with a better attitude when you build in time between appointments for a quiet, healthy meal, or even a quick cup of tea or coffee and a few deep breaths, before you jump right into that next call.

Let’s keep control of our lives and schedules this holiday season! Let’s build in time for self-care during the hustle and bustle, and feel the peace and confidence that comes from being at our best for each event and appointment we choose to put on our schedules.

You AND your business will reap the rewards of this decision!


My best – Beth

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

HOLD STEADY - FOCUS

NOW SMILE..

Holiday Season is already here! You haven't even bought the turkey,  yet Thanksgiving items, Christmas trees, ribbons, and wrapping paper are filling the center aisles at our local stores.

Some business people are not big fans of this early parading of holiday products – and I wanted to chime in, early on, to make a suggestion for us all:

I recommend we use this seasonal landscape as an effective reminder to keep our Focus on our businesses. If we do, then we’ll be the ones smiling when the holidays are over!
 As a Gold Star Referral Club member, you’re working to build and manage your own successful business, and to help your peers grow and enjoy their own businesses by referring buyers or clients to them. 

For all of us, our businesses need to stay profitable these last two months of 2016. If you follow trends for small businesses during the holidays, you’ll see that often small businesses suffer during these times.

·         One reason is that the buying public, people who would normally be utilizing our services and products, begins directing their thoughts and dollars toward making the holidays dazzling and exciting for their friends and family.

o   They sometimes put off or cancel purchases or services that don’t directly relate to this annual extravaganza.

o   Sometimes their budgets get so stretched that even services and products they normally buy or ones that would relate to their holiday plans have to be crossed off the list. It just happens.

·         And business owners, too, can get sidetracked.

o   Bills still come due during this season, even though we’d like to focus more on the fun times. We can lose sight of the fact that business must keep rolling, every day, in order to bring in the money needed for regular expenses.

o   We can forget to refer a friend or acquaintance to that relevant Gold Star member because we get caught up with all the conversation about what we’re getting our grandchild for Christmas or Hanukkah.

o   As we enter the holiday hype, we might subconsciously “take a break” from the referral priorities we normally carry out. Perhaps, in our busyness, we just don’t take time to follow through even if it occurs to us that what our acquaintance needs could be supplied by that Gold Star member who sat next to us at the last meeting.


The Cost of Forgetting to Focus on Our Business – and on Referring to Others’ Businesses

In the hustle and bustle of planning gatherings, shopping for food and gifts and sending our cards, it’s easy to get distracted from the business of … our business. We can stray from the proven path of constant, intentional investing of our energy, time and money into building this important part of our financial security.  If this happens, lean and sad times can be ahead when the holidays are over and we look for that harvest from referrals ourselves, or watching other members face hard financial facts due to their lack of referrals from us.

KEEP THE FOCUS PEOPLE!

As busy business people, let’s be determined to keep that necessary Focus on our business, and on referring others to Gold Star members’ businesses this Holiday Season. Having that intentionality and purpose for our community means that we can produce sparks that will become blazing flames of success – and make us all smile in the New Year of 2017!


Best of Success, 
Beth

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Great People Don't Always Do A Great Job

Gold Star Referral Clubs meet weekly to give and receive referrals.




I recently heard Lee Cockerell speak and no one knows more about leadership than Lee Cockerell, the man who ran Walt Disney World® Resort operations for over a decade. After I heard him speak, I immediately ordered his book, Creating Magic, 10 common sense leadership strategies.

I listened when he said,  "Great people don't always do a great job unless they have great training, the training is enforced and they are proud to be a part of the culture."

When I think about the people that we've hired over the years as Gold Star Directors, some of them have turned out great and some... not so great. Some are great at doing the main things, the basics over and over again, and some never even figure out how to do the basics.

The more I read from Lee Cockerell's book Creating Magic, the more I learned about how to help Gold Star Directors become great leaders. 

You see, hiring the right people is good, but training the right people to do the right things is invaluable. At Disney, they train, train, enforce and re-train their employees. Each individual gets the right training for the right job. They get to know each person as an individual, not just a face in a flock of employees.

Gold Star Director are independent contractors, not employees, but each one is special and appreciated. Even though we have directors and clubs in about 16 states, we try to connect with them as much as possible with calls, training, emails and video conference sessions. Yet, we could do so much more. I want to do a better job. I am totally inspired by Lee.

If you get a chance, order Lee Cockerell's book today. I highly recommend it. He will make you want to become a better leader. 

Lee also said: "Leadership is more than a role, it's a responsibility."



Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Your Referral Partners

"Your clients, friends and neighbors can become your passive sales team, advocates and referral partners; always working on your behalf." 

DEFINITION of an advocate: “one who pleads the case of another.”  When a person becomes an advocate for your services, you have achieved a rewarding relationship of closeness and trust. They become a valuable referral partner, anxious to send you more business.


Why referrals are better:

1. You will spend half the time selling a referred prospect than non-referred.
2. When referred, people come ready to buy.
3. Referred prospects have greater loyalty.
4. Referred clients are more likely to refer you to others.

 Four ways to convert clients into Referral Partners:

1. Give them something to talk about with memorable stories about other clients that you have helped.
2. Spend some one-on-one time with key clients who can be a continual referral source for you.
3. Deliberately nurture key relationships with care and reciprocal referrals.
4. Be there for them. Commit to helping them grow their business.

 Your Referral Partners will GLADLY refer you when…
  • You make them look good.
  • You give them great success stories to re-tell.
  • Follow-up promptly on all referrals.
  • Say thank-you every time.
  • Return the favor and refer business to THEM.
  • You nurture the relationship and stay in touch, with visits, calls and emails. 
Develop and build a list of people that know, like and trust you; those people who will gladly and continually refer to you, as you do the same for them. They are your Referral Partners. Treat them right!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

No More Whack-a-Mole




The other day, Tony Cooke, a friend of mine and a great leader, reminded me about the old game Whack-a-Mole in his newsletter. Have you ever watched someone play Whack-a-Mole? They stand  in front of the game and hold a padded hammer. The challenge is to whack the head of the moles as they pop up before they go back into the holes.

The longer you play, the faster and more erratic the moles pop up. It can get a little crazy.

Now the real question is: Have you ever felt like your business is like a Whack-a-Mole game? There you stand, just waiting for the next crisis to pop up and you only hope you're fast enough to resolve it before another "mole" sticks it's head up... and the next and the next.

Living from crisis to crisis can affect your sales and many times is the reason behind what we call, "the roller coaster sales process." It's hard to prospect for new business when you're busy finding solutions for current business. Many business people tell me that it's like a roller coaster, one minute they have more business than they know what to with and the next they are without leads or prospects.

You know what I'm saying? 

That is why the having a referral system is important. 

What is a Referral System? It's the process of predictably giving and receiving referrals based on a logical and specific set of predetermined and measurable actions.

Michael Gerber, who wrote The E-Myth, said, 
“Systems permit ordinary people to achieve extraordinary results…predictably.”
Here are three suggestions on how to get your own Referral System started:

  1. Join a business networking group like Gold Star Referral Clubs and build referral relationships with other like-minded business people in your city.
  2. Communicate on a regular basis with your clients and connections, reminding them about your referral program and any incentives that you have. I suggest using ConstantContact. It's a great way to track your referral partners and to send emails.
  3. Seek out businesses that are natural referral sources for your industry and form referral alliances, like a fan club that recommends you on a regular basis to their clients and customers.
Finally, subscribe to this blog and let me help you develop your referral strategy. I can't promise to stop the Whack-a-Mole crazy times, but I can help you increase your business with referrals.