Insights Blog

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

Tackling the Steeper Slopes in Your Business


I only learned to ski about 6 years ago. And as an adult, it was difficult and painful!

I’ll admit, I watched with some amount of jealousy as my son – a small and nimble child – would bounce right back up after each tumble into the snow. And his young, sponge-like mind picked up the skill so quickly that, in no time at all, he wasn’t even falling over anymore!

Myself, on the other hand, had much further to fall when I slipped on the skis and therefore took a lot longer to get up, and earned a lot more bruises. Trying to learn this obscure way of moving my limbs was also a much more difficult and lengthy process for us.

However, during this last winter we took our son for a skiing holiday and it felt really, really good to be able to soar across that picturesque landscape. After quite a few years of painful endurance, the perseverance was paying off as I zoomed across the smooth snow with the cold wind whipping my face alongside my son who laughed with infectious joy.

There’s a good chance, however, that that feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction may not have been so salient had learning to ski been easy. My appreciation for the joy of skiing came hand-in-hand with the initial difficulty of learning how to do it.

There were a few learnings from this experience that I realise makes it an apt metaphor for the process of running a business:

1. You’ll take tumble after tumble into the snow

When you’re running a business, you should expect to fail fast and fail often. You will make mistakes because that is how you learn what works.

This is especially intense as you near the boundary of one ‘level’ of business to the next – the growing pains in getting from a medium-sized business to a big business is a difficult experience and you can expect to endure a number of bruises (but remember that bruises are temporary!).

2. You need to learn to move in a different way

At some point, a part of your brain clicks, and your body physically realises that the way you walk isn’t the way you ski. A new ‘system’ develops in your brain and your improvement begins.

In your business, there eventually comes a point when you cannot operate your business the way you have been doing everything else to continue on your path. You need to adopt a different system (or set of systems) that works for what you are trying to achieve (which is usually growth). New skills need to be acquired and new processes need to be implemented.

3. The pain you endure correlates to the pleasure you get

Clients usually come to us when they are fed up of ‘falling into the snow’ over and over again. We teach them the systems and tools they need to learn how to glide along the mountain of success.

And without question, it is those who put in the most effort, who push through the hardest of times and most difficult of lessons, that have ended up the most joyful and contented when their systems start working the way they want them to.

The ones who enjoy the struggle of learning are the ones who achieve the most and feel the most satisfaction in the end.

So, shall we hit the slopes?

Want to tackle the hardest mountain?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionAs a successful business owner, you’ve managed to get your skis on and take on some of the lower slopes.

But when you want to get up to that massive mountain with the sharp turns and the steepest of slopes – you will do much better if you have someone helping show you the best ways for you to do it.

Don’t Promote Your Sales Champion

When you have hired a sales person who has gotten your sales process flowing like the machine it should be, what’s the next step?

Most business owners would be tempted to say, “Promote them to manager and expand the sales team to increase capacity.”

Here’s why that may be a mistake:

If you do plan to promote your sales person to a position of management, make sure it’s not just because they have done well as a sales person. Sales and management are two very different roles that require very distinct skill sets.

Your sales person may well have the capability to be a good manager but trial him for that ability and formalise the promotion only once you are convinced. Remember, you want to do your best to set your people up for a win.

Even if they are not suitable for management, if they are a good sales person then create other relevant and meaningful career growth opportunities for them e.g. nature of sales accounts, geography, position titles, salary, bonus, awards, company perks, paid learning courses etc.

The sales machine is critical to your business so make sure you do not promote your sales champion to his level of incompetence. Otherwise, it could be a double whammy!

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.

What I want to talk about today is a very fundamental mistake that people make in sales. And, that fundamental mistake is when they actually promote their sale superstar to a sales manager.

Now, in the scheme of career progression, and someone doing well and you wanting to recognize that person, it might sound like a common-sensical move, but actually if you were to reflect on it, you will realize that management and selling, they’re two different things altogether. They require a different skill set. They require different profiles.

When this is done just because you want to retain that Sales Superstar and want to promote that person, in that whole process, generally speaking, the person is promoted to his or her level of incompetence. They are no longer delivering on their sales because, obviously, they have management to do. And they are not really skillful at management, which eventually suffers, which means the overall sales division suffers.

So I really want you to be very mindful of this. If you have done something similar in your business or if you’re planning to do something similar, just be very careful. Just identify the fact that, actually, management requires a different skill set from selling.

Your sales superstar should continue focusing on sales and not management until and unless it’s a conscious decision on their part and you both feel that they’re ready for that promotion.

Otherwise, there are different ways of actually recognizing and rewarding the person for their stellar performance in sales. And remember, every business needs a strong sales pipeline and strong sales superstars, so make sure you protect them and nurture them well.

Is your sales process in place?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionOne of the main reasons that business owners start working with a business coach is to create the systems in their business to maximise leverage.

The first and most important thing to do is develop a fine-tuned sales and marketing machine. Find out if our systems may be what your business needs to step up to the next level:

Book a Free Strategic Review

4 Elements of Superstar Employees

When you go through the 4-hour recruitment process, you may find yourself spoilt for choice with a set of incredibly talented candidates for the role in your business.

The process has cleared the wheat from the chaff, but how do you now find the very finest cream at the top of that crop?

Here are 4 things to look out for that could help you discover the true superstars amongst the collection of talent.

Keep these 4 traits in mind when crafting your questions to ask your top candidates, and watch as the cream floats to the top and you easily pick out your winners.

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

I get this question asked very often saying how do we identify superstars, you know, in the recruitment process when you get to interact with so many candidates. How should you choose and pick that right talent, that right superstar. Now I have read quite a few books on this topic and of course working with different business owners, you know, one gets to interact and experience many many situations. Now, you might want to make note of this, there are simple four things that I look out for when I’m identifying a superstar. The first is that this person needs to have the core talent in the area, in the field that you’re looking for the person to come on-board, right, the core talent is required, the skills is where I am really talking about. Now that’s the base level, people need to have that because especially the business which is in a growth phase you cannot afford to become the training ground for people who have no idea and you’re trying to up skill them. So just make sure that they have the core talent, the core skill in the field.

Then the next level, which is a very interesting level, then which is what starts to actually distinguish real superstars from the talent, the regular talent. The next level is the coachability. The person needs to really be very very coachable and they should be willing to learn, they should be having an open mind and willing to grasp the things that you’re talking about and that’s really required for the superstar. The third ingredient or the element that’s required is the curiosity, and if you think about it, curiosity is the willingness to be engaged in that current moment. The person needs to be curious should be asking relevant questions, should be genuinely interested in what’s happening around this person. And the fourth element which is again a very very critical element is the work ethic. Superstars have amazing work ethics. They don’t watch the time. They don’t watch the clock. They are there to put in their best, to put in their passion, to put in their heart and soul into whatever they are doing.

So again if you think about, it they need to have the core talent, they need to be coachable, they need to have that curiosity and finally an amazing, amazing work ethic. And, if you identify the right questions to ask in your recruitment process to assess the level at which the candidate is playing for all these four elements the chances are very high. A few actually bringing that superstar, the real high talent on-board for your company which clearly enables the future progress for yourself and for the business. I hope that helps and helps you recruit the right kind of talent for your business.

Need A Recruitment Process That Works?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionCountless business owners have successfully used this tried and tested process to find the superstars for their business.

It works. We know it because we’ve done it. Over and over and over again.

Best Business Books to Read: One Minute Manager

Have you ever revisited a book and found that it was completely different and a lot deeper than how you remembered it? The book has not changed, you have. And now the lessons are a lot more relevant.

Here is one of the books that you may want to read again.

One Minute Manager is an incredibly short but powerful book by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson that highlights three rather simple techniques for being a great manager. Those are “One Minute Goals”, “One Minute Praisings” and “One Minute Reprimands”.

The book itself may be a few years old now, but its concepts are still as relevant today as they ever were. If you haven’t read this one yet, then make sure you pick it up – it won’t take you much longer than a few hours to read.

And if you have read it, you might want to consider sending it to the other managers in your life. I recently gave it to one of my team, and I’m confident it will truly help them to become a better manager.

Who in your business would this book be relevant to today?

Discuss Management Strategy At Mastermind

If you hadn’t heard already, we are hosting a round-table discussion with just a few businesses. We will deep-dive into what strategies may help those particular businesses achieve even more growth. Team management is almost definitely going to feature.

Our previous top business books recommendations:


The Dirty Secret of Outsourced Marketing


“Do most business owners outsource their marketing or do they employ a full-time marketing resource directly?” was a question one of our clients asked during our fortnightly group Implementation and Accountability calls.

“I have two options,” she went on. “On one hand, I have a very good and experienced marketer who has her own company. However, two days of her consultancy costs me as much as having a full time marketing executive at about £22,000!  What do I do?”

“It feels like I’m stuck between getting two days of high-skilled work versus five days of marketing assistance with someone who is much more directly involved with all the processes within the business. But then I have to train and direct and manage this new person. What option makes the most sense for me?”

I told them to take a step back and ask a fundamental and important question here…

What Core Skills Are Required For Your Marketing?

Before you even come close to being able to make a decision on how you are going to build the sales and marketing machine in your business, you need to know what kind of person is required to sit at the centre of that machine. You should sit down with your business partner, or your business coach or mentor – whomever helps you make strategic decisions in your business – and discuss what you actually want from your marketing.

What are your most critical marketing endeavours in the next quarter? The next year? This is a perfect example of where the quarterly strategic planning we do with our clients (and sometimes a few guests) helps to draw conclusions on these sort of things faster and therefore help you make important decisions quicker.

Will you be setting up lead generation funnels? Do you need to rebuild the website? Do you need to release a book and other written content? Are you attacking social media or do you need to learn clever PR hacks?

This can be more overwhelming than you may initially think. To maybe help guide you on this dissection, here are 10 major areas that we have found most medium businesses look at ramping up in order to launch to the next size bracket:

  • Copywriting
  • SEO
  • Pay Per Click Advertising (Google, Facebook Ads etc.)
  • Email Marketing
  • Video Editing
  • Graphic Editing
  • Web Design
  • Social Media Strategies
  • PR & Press Coverage
  • Direct Marketing

That’s definitely not a comprehensive list of everything that your marketing may eventually entail, but it’s a good place to start when building the foundation of your machine. Which item on that list is the most important one for your business?

And so following on from that, what kind of person do you need to run that core part of your sales and marketing machine?

Choose One or Two First

“But I want all of those things in my business! That’s how we’re going to grow,” my very eager client said exasperatedly on the call. “How am I supposed to choose which is most important?”

My first answer was, “Well that’s what me and my team are here for! Let us help guide you through what the value is of these channels, and focus down on the right one for you.” But of course, deciding on what is most important doesn’t necessarily require a coach: it requires focus. What products are you focused on selling this quarter? Who is the target person (not the target audience!) that you are focused on reaching out to this quarter? The choice of marketing channel naturally leads on from your focus.

You know that if you need your site rebuilt, then web design and graphic editing are skills you might need from your marketing person. If you know that you are focusing on an upsell product, you need to reach out to your existing customers, and so you know that copywriting and email marketing are the most important skills.

Get your focus, and then you’ll get to the core of the marketing for your business – and the core skills you need from your marketing person.

So Now What? Do I Hire In-House or Outsource for Those Skills?

The short answer is both!

“Well, I’ve got a list of the skills I need from my marketer – can’t I just hire a junior and train them in those skills? Then I’ll craft someone who’s perfectly suited to my business.” This was what one of my newer clients said on the call.

“But then you have to spend all the time training them and teaching them – which requires a cost in resources that your business probably doesn’t have at this time,” interjected one of my more experienced clients. “Your business is not a training ground right now.”

This client had obviously absorbed something I’d repeated often to my clients: you cannot afford for your business to be a training ground. That doesn’t mean that your employees do not train, grow and learn. On the contrary, you should be crafting a culture of active training, learning, and growing – in areas they are not already experts in. But they should already be experts in something that you need in order to consider them for your business in the first place. You should hire to immediately fill a need in your business, not hire to train someone who adds no immediate value.

And that’s what you need from your first marketing hire. You need someone who already has certain skills that will form the core of your particular marketing direction – whether that’s copywriting, graphic editing, pay per click analysis or whatever is important to your business. Then, if you’ve hired a superstar, they should learn the other areas they are not yet strong in.

In a sentence: you want to hire a specialist, and transform them into a generalist. Look at that list of marketing areas once again. Do you really think you are going to find someone who is an expert in every single one of those areas?

As one of my clients put it: “You’re looking for a unicorn!”

What you are instead looking for is someone who eventually will develop enough knowledge in the other areas of marketing so that they can manage the outsourcing of those areas to other specialists, as and when you need them.

Your business won’t be at training ground for the executive, but it will be a training ground for the manager.

So at the start, you have a marketer who can hit the ground running to set up your marketing foundations, and who can then grow into the marketing manager that manages the addition of new cogs and levers to that initial machine.

Wouldn’t Outsourcing Everything Be Easier?

“Surely I can just be that manager then, right? I could just manage all the outsourced channels for marketing as and when we need them, saving me from hiring in-house. It’s like managing my team, just a wider team.”

My understanding of successful businesses has led me to the conclusion that irrespective of what you do and how you do it, the bedrock of business is a sales and marketing machine. You can be cracking at what you do, but if you cannot communicate to the outside world and educate people as to how your product helps them, you aren’t going to be doing anything.

Therefore, you need to build this capability in-house because your company is growing and you are going to have a lot to handle in the coming months. If you are even considering the next level of your business, then you are probably sitting on some sort of growth track, and you must support that by developing the communication of your product and your brand. This needs to be managed in-house by someone who knows your business, and you trust.

Most business owners can do things faster by themselves, but they can go further with the support of others. I believe if you want to build a really good business, you will need in-house marketing support for the core activities at some point, and that person (or team) should be a ‘hub’ for a lot of peripheral outsourced activity.

Want to discuss strategies with other businesses?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionWe are sitting down with just a few businesses to deep-dive into what they are doing and how they could be achieving further growth.

Would your business benefit from that? Click below to find out more.

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