Insights Blog

Useful tools, tips and strategies to help your business learn, develop and expand.

What Future Are You Building?

When was the last time you thought about your legacy? For a lot of business owners, their business and what happens to it when they stop being part of it is a large part of the legacy they leave behind.

At the global ActionCOACH conference in Vancouver this year, one of the speakers gave a very interesting insight – to develop your businesses in the right direction while at the same time creating a legacy.

The idea here is that you should be really clear about exactly what you are spending your time on.

Sometimes, you may need to spend time on increasing your income in order to give you the room to take the next step.

But the ultimate goal should always be to build assets rather than maximising your income.

When it comes to your business – you need to be clear about whether your actions are turning your business into an asset – by developing systems for managing a growing team or cultivating smart inbound marketing channels – or whether you are simply increasing your personal income (by creating a job for yourself).

The asset is what is actually valuable to you – whether you want to sell it on to a buyer, or whether you want build a legacy and leave something for your children. So if you are not moving towards developing your business into an asset then… well, what are you building?

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi, this is Shweta from London Coaching Group. I’ve just come back from Vancouver and we had a global conference of Action Coach there and it was absolutely brilliant.

We had some great speakers and the whole team of the conference was wealth creation. Now, yes as business women and as a business coach, I tell my clients that actually a successful business is one which is profitable. It can work without you and it can give you that profitable income in a sustainable way, right? And they are familiar with it but, you know, I’m sure you’ve had some occasions in your life when someone said something and it just makes so much sense. It made you see something in a completely different perspective altogether.

Now, one of the speakers during this conference said something very fascinating and in fact I want you to write this down, okay? What he said was that “Transition of assets is always much much easier than transition of income” and that statement of transition of asset being easier than transition of income, made sense to me as a mother. And what I thought was, when I want to leave a legacy for my son, I don’t want to leave income behind.

I want to leave assets because that’s so much easier to pass on to him versus asking him to be in my seat so he can generate the income. Similarly, if you think about it as a, you know, whether as a parent or as a businessperson, I mean 1 out of 5 from stats which are available out there, 1 out of 5 business owners are able to sell their business successfully and that’s staggering, 2 out of 10, 1 out of 5. So what happens with the remaining?

And they’re not able to sell because they’re trying to sell the income, they are trying to make that transition happen, but the buyer is not interested in that. The buyer is interested in asset which is always easier to pass on.

So my question to you really is, where is your energy being focused right now? And it’s possible that yes you need to focus on generating more profits and more income for yourself. But the question really is, who’s keeping you accountable? Who’s keeping you on track to make sure that you are building the asset value? You’re maximizing this asset because at the end of the day, whether as a parent or as a businessperson, when you decide to transition, this asset will be much easier to transition than the income.

Need More Wealth Creation Strategies?

Brad Sugars is the founder and CEO of ActionCOACH and has not only built many businesses and written many books – but has built himself a full portfolio of assets.

He’s now sharing the strategies he uses to build businesses into assets, and how business owners can build their wealth to enjoy their own legacies.


Three Flawed Ideas About Business Plans

london-coaching-group-flawed-business-plan-ideas

Business plans are generally useless.

When I tell my clients this, I am usually met with bewilderment and confusion (though sometimes with vocal agreement too). I mean – aren’t plans what are at the core of business coaching? Isn’t that what we do at the strategic planning day?

You see coaching businesses in London over the last nine years has really brought home to me the truth of business planning. It is the process of creating the plan – not the plan itself – that is of real importance for business owners trying to achieve growth.

That is just one of the subtle shifts of thinking that business owners need to continually work on to take their businesses to the next level.

Coaching business owners across a range of sectors, I found three flawed ideas about business plans that come up time and again, which, when corrected, can improve a business owner’s effectiveness dramatically.

Flawed Idea 1: A business plan is just for Christmas

One of the biggest misconceptions organisations have about their business plan is that it is there just to tell shareholders, investors and lenders that the company is headed in a good direction and that business owners have everything under control.

People think a plan can be written at the start of the year and, once it has been seen by everyone who needs to see it, it can be filed away, where it will gather dust until the next stakeholder asks for an update.

This is not actually where the power of the business plan lies. Sure, it is part of their remit, but, as the name suggests, business plans are there to help you plan your future. They offer a key opportunity to explore your business’s objectives, strategies and forecasts in detail, so that you can achieve and stoke growth.

A business plan is not about the finished product – it is about the process of creating it, as this is what enables you to measure and assess your business. In fact, a business plan is never really finished: it should be constantly updated in line with changes in the market, industry or business landscape.

Flawed Idea 2: Keeping it in your head

While it may feel that way on those late nights you’re working at the moment, no successful business owner is an island. Keeping your business plan in your head and not seeing the need to write it down is typical of the kind of business owner who has no stakeholders (or up until recently hasn’t had stakeholders).

However, even if you don’t have stakeholders, most businesses eventually get to a point where they need to have a team. Without a written business plan, your team members cannot have any kind of input on the plan. While it might seem to save yourself time and boost your own efficiency, keeping a business plan in your head can be detrimental to the growth and revenue of the overall business.

According to a survey by the Kauffman Centre of Entrepreneurial Leadership, companies with written business plans achieve 50 per cent more sales growth and 12 per cent higher gross profit margins than companies without them. The reason? Because the written plan gives you, and your team, clarity on where you are headed – which automatically aligns everyone in that direction.

Flawed Idea 3: The blame is all on you

When business owners realise that they have not achieved their growth goals, they often blame themselves. They think that the reason growth has slowed is that their approach is wrong, or that they haven’t been putting in the hours and rolling back the sleeves. They aren’t doing the hard work required to keep the growth up.

The answer then seems to be, to push themselves harder and run faster on that treadmill. They put in more hours than they promised their family they would and they start researching mindset principles.

In the vast majority of cases, though, the reality is that business owners of businesses that have reached a successful level of stagnation have done so through blood, sweat and tears. There isn’t more to put into it. What has actually happened is that they have not created an efficient business plan, or the business plan does not involve the implementation of new systems and techniques to facilitate growth.

Instead of thinking you are the cause of the business’s stagnation, you need to return to your business plan (or write one!) and ensure that you have a focus on creating the systems that will not only keep your business running, but will also facilitate growth.

Of course, there is a lot more “head-trash” around business plans than the three I’ve mentioned. That’s where getting the guidance of a business coach can be really helpful – we’ve seen time and again what kind of business plans help take businesses to consistent and sustainable double-digit growth, and which ones just end up sitting on the shelf all year. And I think you’d prefer the former!

Do You Need a Better Quarterly Plan?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionOur business coaching in London involves quarterly intensives where we roll up our sleeves and work with businesses to develop a clear plan for the next quarter.

You can attend alongside our clients and see how we help them grow and win award after award for their exceptional growth – and learn how to achieve that growth for yourself.


When Planning, Remember This Step

As a switched-on business owner, I am sure that near the beginning of the year, or the beginning of the quarter, you are in planning mode. You are crafting the strategies and tactics, and forming an action plan, to take your business forward in the coming months.

Most people when doing an exercise like this generally go in with a mindset of wanting a “clean start” or focus on setting resolutions. However, I think you need a slightly different way of thinking, which I explain in this video.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi, this is Shweta from London Coaching Group, I hope you’ve had a great start to 2017 and you’re absolutely looking forward to the year. Now, just last week actually, our clients and my team and I, we were in a full day workshop. And the whole idea was, actually this was the workbook, so the whole idea was to spend time thinking strategically and also then planning the execution and detail for 2017.

The Importance of the Rear View Mirror in Strategic Planning

Now, there’s a very interesting section in this book, which is called “Rear View Mirror”, which is all about actually analysing 2016. You know, what went well? What what did not go so well, and so on and so forth. Now, we had to give some very important reminders to our clients when they were doing that exercise and I wanted to share that with you because I’m hoping that you are spending time thinking about 2017 and actually making plans around your strategy and tactics.

Now when you are doing that, people are generally in a mindset where they want to have a clean start, a new start, right? So let’s focus on 2017. But then my viewpoint is that we need to take some time to reflect about 2016 and that rush should not be there, at least for that reflection time. There are two main reasons why you need to go back in your past.

The Two Reasons for Reviewing the Past During Strategic Planning

The first reason, let’s talk about that, so the first reason that you need to go back to 2016 is for the learnings. You’ve had learnings in 2016. Both from your wins and from your failures, and it’s really important for you to identify those learnings so we can actually take them forward in 2017 in a positive way. So that’s the first reason.

The second reason that you need to go back to your past or 2016, is for the self-belief. And why that is important is because… think about it: again in 2017 you will have those moments of high demands, of pressure, you know the moments where you will have to excel, and when you look at the moments in 2016, when you’ve done the same. That gives you the self-belief, that gives you the confidence that yes, you can take on things and you can come out of it stronger and better.

So two reasons, remember. Only two reasons that you look back and you go back in your past. The first, to get learnings, and the second is to get self-belief.

So I really hope you will have a really good 2017 and you will have a great plan of action and good execution and in fact, on that note, if I may say that… Look, if you are open-minded to letting someone help you with your business, becoming even better, even stronger, even more efficient, then please feel free to reach out and just have a chat to explore how we might be able to help you. To help you actually make 2017 your best ever year yet.

Join Us at the Next Intensive

Reminders to reflect on your past is one of the ways we help our business coaching clients (and other business owners who choose to join us) at the Strategic Growth Intensive.

Join us at the beginning of an upcoming quarter and find out how our tools and systems could be helping you achieve double-digit growth in the next 90 days!


Are You Stretching in Your Office?

In sports, a player’s coach (or coaches) ensures that they stretch before they take to the field. This is all part of ensuring that the sportsperson gives their best performance and can play to their maximum potential without hurting themselves.

In business, we coach business owners to stretch in a slightly different way but to achieve the same result: deliver the best performance without hurting themselves.

When we talk about stretching, we are talking about stretching yourself and your business to achieve more, and move the business forward. This does not just involve working hard in your business, but ensuring you are also working on the right things so that you are achieving the greatest outcome possible.

Let me share with you a framework that may make this whole stretching in business thing a little bit clearer.

Let’s plot a graph with 4 quadrants, where the vertical axis determines your results – going from “similar” to what you are achieving now to “greater” than what you are achieving now. The horizontal axis determines your activity, going from doing “similar” activity to what you are doing now to “different” activity to what you are doing now.

london-business-coaching-stretching-fulldiagram

Similar Results for Similar Activity – Stagnate

In the lowest quadrant, we’re talking about when you are coasting along, continuing with the same work, the same profits, and the same stuff that has been happening all along. 

While you are not moving backwards, you are also not moving forwards. You are not innovating and you are not increasing the impact of your business in any way.  

Here, you are at a stagnate stage. I would venture to say that it can be one of the most boring places to be in business. At least, it is if you have the drive to want to do more, be more, and impact more with what you are doing.

Some people may be satisfied to cruise at this point, but most of the business owners I know are not content with that. 

Greater Results with Similar Activity – Systemise

In the next quadrant up, your output has started to increase. Maybe more leads suddenly poured in and you now have lots of customers. You are probably having to work harder – maybe even work longer – in order to keep up. And your profits are growing along with this increased workload.

Sounds like a good place to be right? It might feel like your business is moving forward. But the reality is, your business is ‘growing’ but it is not ‘stretching’. If you are still doing the same kind of work you have always done, in the processes that have always existed, but you are now having to do more of it, then you are simply working more and not stretching out your business muscles.

If you are sitting in this quadrant, then what you need to focus on to move up into stretching is how to systemise. If you are constantly now doing the same things over and over – and that’s generating profit – then create processes to streamline, automate, or delegate that work now, so you can move on to opening new channels, products, and markets.

Similar Results but doing Different Activity – Satisfy

In this quadrant, you are probably working at about the same level and your profits are remaining steady, but you are constantly pivoting, trying new ideas and releasing new products and services. 

This too can feel like a good place to be. It feels like you are innovating and doing interesting things. I call this quadrant “satisfy” because many business owners feel a sense of satisfaction or even fulfilment and excitement by the constantly changing environment. Entrepreneurs enjoy discovery, so constantly doing new things can feel like fun. 

However, while it definitely is fun and exciting, you are once again not actually stretching your business – or yourself. That should actually already be clear to you, as a shrewd business person, if you are listening to the numbers. Your profits are steady – they’re not increasing. If the output or impact of your business is not increasing, then you cannot call that stretching. You are simply experimenting and testing and measuring.

If you are in this position, then what you need to do is ensure you have a proper business plan in place and that you are consistently paying attention to this plan and reviewing it (preferably quarterly) to avoid being distracted by shiny things. Make sure that if you are moving to try something new, that you are not replacing the things that are working and bringing you profit, and you are instead building in addition to those things you have already tried and tested.

Greater Results and Different Activity – Stretch

So we come to the final quadrant. Here, you can finally feel the stretch. If you are sitting in this quadrant, then I’m sure you already know that stretch feeling we are talking about!

Here, not only are you seeing your profits and results increasing, but you are also changing or expanding the way you do your business. It is that wonderful combination of both increasing your impact, and having fun while you do it. This is what we aim for in every business coaching session.

At an SME level, this might be evident in that you are finally building a marketing funnel; or choosing your niche and marketing avatar; or creating clear inbound marketing strategies; or developing a clear sales process. These are changes where you are systemising and moving forward with your business and if combined with increasing profits, then it is a clear indication that you are stretching and progressing.

In larger businesses, the stretching might be evident in opening up more marketing activation strategies; creating entirely new teams (and better management of those teams); creating parallel marketing funnels for multiple niches and avatars; refining your referral strategies and filling up the upper tiers of your loyalty ladder; or it might even be the creation of new products or services in order to service new markets.

Can you see how when you stretch properly in your business, you need be both doing more, different, and exciting things, but also keeping an eye on your output to ensure you are also progressing in impact and profit as well?

And now can you answer – are you stretching properly in your office?

Want more frameworks to help stretch?

Every quarter we pull together all our clients to get them to assess the next quarter and deliver them tools and systems to help them reach actually achieve their goals.

You can join us and see for yourself how business coaching could provide real, tangible results for you and your business.


Why Speed In Business Isn’t Enough

You may be sitting in your business thinking that there is lots of activity happening and you are getting a lot done. However, if that activity is not manifesting as cash, profits and sales at the end of the day, then there may be something wrong.

In this video, I talk about a concept I use in my business coaching sessions to explain why the speed of your business may not be the best indicator for how well your business is actually doing:

When you understand this critical difference between speed and velocity, you can get yourself in a better mindset to run your business effectively.

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi this is Shweta from The London Coaching Group. What I want to talk about today is the difference between speed and velocity. And how understanding this difference can influence your day-to-day working in your business.

Now speed is generally defined as how fast an object is moving; 20 miles an hour, 120 miles an hour. So if the object is not moving, the speed is zero and obviously there’s a lot of movement happening, a lot of frenzy activity happening – there is a high speed.

Where in the velocity is defined as the rate at which the object changes its position. So for example, imagine you’re point A and you take one step forward, and you take one step backward and come back to the original point A. In this case, your speed could be 40 miles an hour, but your velocity will be zero because the displacement has been zero. So velocity would be defined as 40 miles an hour, in the north direction.

Now when you think about this, there could be lots of frenzy activity, lots of pace, lots of action, a lot of activities getting implemented in your business. But the question that you need to ask as a business owner, ‘Is it leading to positive displacement?’ ‘Is it moving me in the direction that I want to move?’

Because just having speed in the business is not sufficient, what you need to do is you need to choose the velocity over speed. Because that’s where movement in the right direction at the right pace happens.

Looking for more help with your team?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionOnly having speed in the business is not sufficient, you need to do find out how you can focus on the velocity over speed. An outside perspective usually helps shed light on key areas to focus on. 

Book a free strategic review of your business and find out how we can help you see double-digit growth in the next year.


The 3 KPIs for Managing Directors

As the person who runs the business – whether the business owner, Managing Director or CEO – you are probably familiar with the idea of setting and measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your team members. However, when I have sat down to do this with many of my clients the question often comes up, “But how do I set my own KPIs?”

In this video, I explain the 3 key metrics you should be measuring to indicate your own performance. These should also help provide you with a bit of focus as to what you should be paying attention to in your business.

 

Prefer to read rather than watch and listen? No problem – here’s everything I said in the video as text:

Hi this is Shweta from The London Coaching Group. As a business owner, I’m sure you try your best to extend clarity to your team about their roles and key performance indicators.

Working on Your  Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Now when I’m working with my clients and we’re working on the KPIs of the team members, invariably the client would turn around and say “So, what should be my KPI Shweta?” “What should be my top key performance indicators or goals?”

Now that’s a very good question to ask, and if you have ever asked yourself this question then this might be useful. There are three KPIs, which a successful MD or a growth-driven business owner needs to have.

The First Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – Common Goal

The first question you need to ask or the KPI that you need to have in place, is that does the company have a common goal? So ask yourself a question; Is there a common goal to which the whole team is aligned?

The Second Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – Right Team

The second KPI is that does your company have the right team members in place, to help you achieve those targets? So again, the question is – if I were to ask you to let go all of your team members, just a clean slate to start all over again. How many of them would you rehire?

So do you have confident people, and maybe it’s a good time for you to answer this question. Or are there some positions which are vacant? Or maybe one or two people are actually extending themselves to multiple roles, and therefore not really doing their job properly because it is just too much.

The Third Key Performance Indicator (KPI) – Right Activities

So that’s the second KPI, the third KPI is; to make sure that these right people are doing the right activities which will help the company move towards that one common goal. Which is what the management is all about. On a day-to-day basis, are you really managing the activities of people to make sure they are moving in the right direction?

How Do You Rate?

So once you have clarity on your KPIs and you are asking yourself these questions saying; “How do I rate on these three KPIs?” “Am I doing a great job?” “Or do I need to become better?” Because I’m sure that we all have our next levels, if that’s the case with you then see below because you can find out more about what we do and how we can help you become a better MD and a better business owner.

Want more focus in your business?

business-coaching-london-webinar-marketingIn our web workshops, we show you directly some of the tools and strategies used in business coaching. Register your spot at the event and discover tools that could potentially help you leverage double digit growth in your business over the next quarter.

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