motivation

Change your goals from Success to Significance

mike saunders launch brent spilkin

This week I had the privilege of hosting the launch event for Mike Saunders book, The Five Year Mark. The book is about all the lessons learned in the first five years building Digitlab, a digital agency. You can read my review and my learnings here but those are not the most salient points for me. It was what Mike said when I asked him about the next 5 years and his level of pride in what he has built in the past year, that stuck.

What he said was [in much better English than this] when he started the business, his view of success was to take from the world as much as he could [money] and measure his success against this metric, but over time he has moved the needle of achievement from “Success to Significance.”

Mike wants to be significant. That can mean a legacy business. That can mean helping people grow in their own lives and businesses. That can mean helping someone who is desperate on the side of the road make it through another week. Significance is different from person to person and from interaction to interaction but if Mike is significant to you, then that is his new definition of success.

I like this outlook. A lot. I also believe that if he is significant in peoples’ lives and in business that the old metric [money] will come, in spades as the byproduct. Its not often you meet people who say things like this that you actually believe. Its often just a marketing message, but I believe Mike. You should too. Buy the book.

STOP re-inventing the wheel.

Growing pains Business coaching

Across all of my clients, all of whom are business owners, there are similar frustrations relating to their businesses and growth challenges. They have all adopted the “innovation “ hype and are desperately looking for new ways to re-invent their companies, products and systems.

 

There is nothing wrong with innovation but not a single company has checked all the basic boxes that every company, regardless of service or product, should have.

 

You see, every retailer, manufacturer, agency and professional needs to have accounts, measurement, sales and/or marketing, procedures and systems for themselves as well as legal compliance.

 

There is an unwritten law that states that 80% of every company is the same and the remaining 20% is made up of product, service and culture. 80% is the same. Eighty percent!

 

So why are you spending so much time on getting the 20% right when the 80% will keep you alive and thriving for longer? Getting your accounting in order, your sales in order and your internal communication sorted will allow you to sell an average product with B-class employees for a long time, freeing up cash to allow you to work on the 20% that matters in the long term.

 

Now I’m not saying you should employ B-team staff and sell second-class services but having an amazing product offering and the world’s greatest team won’t automatically mean you will have a successful business.

 

What you don’t know, you don’t know, but why are you spending so much time, energy and often money, trying to work out new systems which have been refined a million times over by a million other businesses? Stop trying to re-invent the wheel when all you should be doing is peddling faster and beating the opposition.

 

Your business has the following major functions in some respect regardless what you call the roles:

 

  • Finance and accounting

  • Reporting

  • Human resources and culture

  • Sales – New business and retention

  • Marketing

  • Public relations

  • Production

  • Procurement

  • Distribution

These make up the 80% I mentioned earlier. If you can get these running well for your business and best arrange the right people around this, you have a business that will make money often in spite of the product and related market. There are very few, truly unique businesses out there, yours included, and that is okay. I would rather back a “me-too” business that has great structure, concise reporting, a strategy that is implemented and staff that get things done than a business that has the smartest business model and service, that lacks the other 80%.

 

Take a look at your 80% and ask yourself:

“Why am I always trying to re-invent this wheel when I could ask someone to show me how to do it?”

8 Ways to Make Your New Staff Onboarding Process better.

Growing pains Business Coaching

Hiring is good–it means you’re growing. But when a company doubles or triples in size in a short timeframe, onboarding new hires can quickly derail the schedules of your managers and existing employees. How can you make sure you’re training hires to make the right decisions without slowing down the entire team?

 

1. Record your foundational materials and assign each employee a mentor.

The biggest thing is to record the foundational training that repeats for each new employee. There’s no reason to have your company’s trainer do live trainings one-on-one or even in small groups when a video can do just as well. Transcribe these video and audio recordings. Reading is still the fastest way to take in information, so organize your training library so that employees and contractors can go back through multiple times at their convenience. Repetition is the mother of all learning, but repetition has to be done right–otherwise, it’s a waste of your company’s resources.

Once the employee has gone through the foundational training material, assign them a mentor. They’ll address unique questions and give insights into the trainee’s specific role and how best to fill it.

2. Create a web-based one-stop shop for new hires.

A membership site is a great way to get new hires acclimated quickly. This should be a destination for new employees to find everything they need to know about working at your company, including standard operating procedures, what technology the company uses (e.g. performance tracking apps and communication tools), company values and even the most popular post-work hangouts among coworkers. You can also include quizzes for tracking progress.

The idea is to make the onboarding process as smooth as possible and set new employees up for success by giving them vital information before their start date. By the time they do get started, they should be able to hit the ground running.

3. Slow down and test before you hire.

Hiring is difficult. The best answer is to slow down. If you try to take on too many people too quickly, you will inevitably hire people who are not in sync with your organization’s mission and values. People are the life force of any organization, and if you make a mistake it can cost you far more than if you slow down the process to find the right people.

At my company, we rely on a best-in-class intern program that is operated in association with institutions such as the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The interns have access to the executive team, the board and our partners. The program allows us to field test potential employees by offering each intern a real-world problem to solve.

4. Clearly articulate your vision on day one.

Be very explicit about your company’s vision, values and culture. By doing this you’ll know that new team members align with your vision, and they’ll be able to contribute more quickly. You need to give new employees a good foundation based on your vision and then empower them to make decisions about how to achieve that vision.

5. Train your employees to train others.

Time is the most important asset we have in our lives, and especially in the business world. Highly skilled employees can transfer their knowledge to new hires, expediting the process that it would normally take a new employee to get up to speed if they are only trained by management. Allowing new hires to “pick the brain” of senior employees is beneficial to both the employees and the company as a whole.

6. Hire multiple people at a time.

As an entrepreneur, there is nothing more important than your time. So whenever my company hires, we hire in multiples of at least two. By training multiples of the same position, you maximize your time and provide an environment that promotes sharing and learning together. We have found that these employees make a much quicker impact than hiring/training one at a time.

7. Don’t skimp on having a leader do some training too.

Your other team members can help a new hire get up to speed, especially with company culture and day-to-day basics. However, you or a manager should spend some time in the first week or two orientating the employee and drafting up the first order of business for the new hire.

While you don’t need to hand hold, it’s imperative that you invest a little time upfront to help them fit in. You’ll waste much more time and money with a high turnover rate, so it’s worth a little extra time at the beginning. In fact, many HR and retention research validates this point. After they’ve got some orientation, make sure to draft up some work they can get started on so they’re busy and feel like their work is meaningful.

8. Develop a comprehensive training program now.

Give every new employee a ramp-up period to get up to speed with your product, the market and the nuts and bolts of their specific role. You should also have comprehensive training materials ready for every employee you bring on. These materials should include information about the competition, functional learning and Q&A sessions with other relevant members of the team. Having a great training program also helps attract the best employees, as these are the ones who want to learn and grow along with your company.

 

This article originally appeared on http://www.inc.com/

What Do Your Agency Staff REALLY Want?

When a digital agency head, asked his team what they wanted the most from him and the business, he was surprised to find out it wasn’t money.

This survey was sent out anonymously and the donut clearly shows that Training and Development is what millennial’s in the agency space really want.

Culture spillly growing pains business coaching

Are you brave enough to ask your staff? Are you paying your team well enough to get these results?

Maybe you need us to help with the hard stuff.

21 Signs You Should Invest In Business Coaching.

Growing pains Business Coaching

How many of these 21 points resonate with you?

  1. You cant determine what’s really important on a daily basis and aren’t even focusing on the ones you feel are. You are unsure what to do next and even what sequence to follow.

  2. You aren’t seeing the blind spots and feel you need someone to clue you into things you don’t know exist

  3. There is no one that you are accountable to and feel that having to answer to someone will keep you on track.

  4. You say yes to every opportunity and aren’t chasing the most fruitful ones.

  5. There is no focus on your weaknesses and you aren’t developing your strengths further.

  6. Your company lacks a differentiating factor that will advance your growth quicker and separate you from the pack.

  7. Your team are looking for a strong leader with powerful techniques to improve their own skills and keep them motivated.

  8. The business is treading water and just not growing fast enough and not reaching the potential you knew was there when you started the company.

  9. On a daily basis you are not happy at your workplace and are making excuses to not engage with clients and staff. You are looking for clarity, joy and increased success.

  10. There is no objective soundboard in your life that you can bounce ideas and frustrations off.

  11. Decisions are being made with no confidence and you are tired of making these choices alone. You know that what you are doing has been done before and just want someone to show you how.

  12. There is still passion in the business but you are finding it impossible to articulate this to potential clients and often find that people don’t really understand what it is you do. You lack a clear message and a juicy desirable brand.

  13. The constant “No’s” have bruised your ego and confidence. Getting new business is harder than you thought and you are too exhausted to keep trying.

  14. Your income is a roller coaster with great months and terrible month back to back, making it impossible to plan for stability and giving your team a feeling of insecurity.

  15. You really want to make more money and don’t know why its taken this long and aren’t sure if its meant to be this hard. Questioning yourself has become almost a daily occurrence.

  16. Marketing and cold hard sales are not your friend, but you would like them to be.

  17. You have heard of this myth called “work-life balance” and are desperately looking for a little of this.

  18. Comparing your business to other businesses has become a pastime and opposition are always quicker off the mark than you are.

  19. Your version of success has become muddy and your goal dates have come and gone more than a few times.

  20. There are no set processes in the daily operations and you keep repeating yourself to your team and making the same mistakes over and over.

  21. You’re serving everyone but yourself and you want better clients and don’t even know what your ideal client looks like.

If you don’t know how to build a business and are looking for the Ah-ha moments that will make your company a great company and getting a job is not an option, then you are ready for a business coach. Invest in your business and receive incredible value and freedom.

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