Insights Blog

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

Did You Miss This Step For Your Last Hire?

How do you figure out if someone can actually do the job that you’re hiring for?

You don’t want to have to wait until after you’ve hired them and put them through their induction before you find out they could talk the talk but not walk the walk, do you?

You might think that the easiest way to filter out for the best candidates is to advertise with a higher salary to indicate a more ‘senior’ position.

Maybe not. Let me explain the simple process my client used to filter out three very strong candidates for his bookkeeping role…

You can see that this applies to literally any job you are hiring for – sales, marketing, operations, business development. Don’t just read the cover letter (I mean, does anyone even read them anyway?) and the CVs… Put them to a good, well-crafted test and you may just find it easier to start hiring some superstars!

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. In fact, I’ve just come out of a coaching session with my client and that was a very interesting one, so I thought I need to share this with you. My client actually has been trying to hire a finance person who could do bookkeeping, can work with sage, can do basic reporting, and just a reconciliation, follow up on, you know, the outstandings and so on and so forth.

Before we started working together he hadn’t seen much success in hiring for this position. So he was like “Shweta there’s this position I need to fill. I’ve not been very successful. And how do I go about this?” So I obviously started asking a few questions just to figure out his process. And at one point I told him, I said “Adam, the issue is that you are not deselecting enough in your selection process.” Like what? What do you mean? Deselecting in selection process? I said yes, in recruitment the main thing that you need to do is to de-select very quickly and very confidently. And he said OK, so yeah I do ask questions but how do you know that someone knows the subject or not because they all claim they do? So that’s very easy.

What I helped him implement is simple interventions, simple. Loop or hoop, whatever you want to call it. So we want to check, for example in this position, can the person speak proper English? That’s easy right? Because they talk. Can they write well right? The email communication, there’s a simple document with four questions which the candidate needs to answer. Very simple, straightforward, tells us about their written English. Then we want to check their technical strength. And in fact Adam very smartly prepared ten multiple choice questions that shouldn’t take more than five to ten minutes for someone who knows the subject to complete very successfully.

I mean questions like– I’ve kept it open here, what tax code do you use on an exempt transaction? And there four choices. What nominal code range are sales normally? And and so on and so forth. I have no idea about the answers, but I’m not supposed to know this. The person whose good will know the answers.

Now once you have these documents in place and you go to the answers, you know who your deselecting and who you’re moving forward for the final round, which is exactly what he has done. He has got three solid candidates who have scored like really high marks on all the tests and now I’m very certain that Adam will be able to successfully fill this position and this person will do a great job.

Now what I want you to understand is that it’s not just for this finance position. Whether it’s marketing, whether it’s sales, whether it’s operations, whether projects, you name it. Any position in your company you need to learn how to de-select people rather than just listening to words and big claims. Make sure you put your candidates to test so that you can assess for yourself if they understand the subject, understand the position or not. And once you’re clear as to who you’re hiring and what they need to know it’s very easy to put those tests in place. But please make sure because remember if you learn how to de-select rigorously then getting superstars on board is relatively easier.

Want a recruitment process that works?

Business Coaching London Recruitment ProcessIn the years of coaching we have done, we have refined a recruitment process that takes up 4-hours of your time if you follow it properly.

Get the entire process – with templates and everything – PLUS a training on how to do it for just £47 + VAT. And with that comes a FREE voucher to use with our recruitment agency to post your job ads worth £50!


Your Website Has More Traffic This Week

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As the leader of your business, what is your awareness of the actual operations of your business? Do you have a bird’s-eye view with an understanding of the overall picture but not the specifics, or are you down on the ground, plugging away at individual parts with an intimate understanding of each turn of the cog?

Business owners who successfully maintain growth have the former rather than the latter.

Do you know the answer to whether your site had more traffic this week as compared to last week? Or this same week last year?

Do you know if the marketing campaign that you started last month has directly led to the leads you’ve received this month, or did they come from somewhere else? Do you know which link on the email you sent out last week was most clicked on?

There is a range of tools and processes that you are likely already using in your business to keep it ticking. When you were in start-up stage, you most likely will have been that engineer that is running around, knowing exactly which lever to pull and exactly when. As you grow, and you start recruiting, you must start to step away from the levers, start focusing on the dials instead, and architect the overall machine.

You should focus on the dashboards and the overall results of the business, not the processes.

There is a tool out there that you can access on your website right now, which will put the numbers right in front of you, so you can start seeing exactly how many people are visiting your website during whatever time frame you choose…

What I’m talking about is Google Analytics, and it is not so much a lever, but more like a set of instruments of measurement. Google Analytics is the set of wings that will let you soar above your digital marketing and give you that bird’s-eye view on all of your digital efforts.

Let me give you four reasons why Google Analytics is a tool that every business owner should be using and understanding:

1. It’s Free!

I am not going to lie – there are better web analytics tools than Google Analytics out there. But Google Analytics is free. It lets you gain in-depth insight about your company’s online activities at no cost.

It would make sense to get more advanced analytics software if that kind of information is going to give you a return that pays off. Otherwise, why would you waste the budget when Google Analytics comes at no cost?

Business coaching often comes down to helping business owners weigh up the balance – marketing is investment, not a cost, but knowing what is a good investment means understanding the return on that investment.

If your business isn’t performing complex analysis on your data to eke out specific returns on your business, then Google Analytics will serve your needs.

2. You’re Getting Information From Google

Anyone who has any sort of digital activity should know about the term “Search Engine Optimisation” or SEO. Sometimes it’s known as SEM – search engine marketing. This is essentially a marketing channel whereby you are trying to show up in in the search results on search engines organically (i.e. you aren’t paying to be there).

This has the obvious benefits of that if someone is specifically looking for what you do, and you appear on the search results, they’re likely to be a good lead.

And since Google has a market share of 85.74% as of April 2017 (according to Statista), the only engine you really want to focus on is Google.

And if you are trying to boost your SEO for Google, doesn’t it make sense to find out how Google itself is looking at your website?

Ta da – Google Analytics gives you exactly that. So if you are doing any sort of SEO activity, then Google Analytics is only going to improve that.

3. There Is An Abundance of Support

The great thing about Google Analytics is that it is really popular, and Google is massive. This means that there are plenty of online resources available to ensure you can get as much nuanced education in it as you want.

There’s no need to pay someone for training. There’s no need to order a special manual. There is plenty of support for using and understand Google Analytics to the nth degree.

Whether you just want to know what it is capable of, or you want to delve deeper and use it for complex data analyses, you will easily be able to find the tools and resources you need online.

Just a thought: your competitors are probably learning about Google Analytics, so this may well be one of the things that will determine whether you are falling behind or staying ahead of them.

4. You Can Test and Measure EVERYTHING

If you are doing marketing without being able to test and measure the results of that marketing, then you are essentially stabbing in the dark and hoping you hit something.

Google Analytics shines a light on your digital activity – IF you know how to read it.

You can track where people are coming from as they land on your website, what they do when they are on it and on what page they leave it (amongst many other things).

You can use the data to test and measure the effectiveness of almost any kind of online marketing, and pick out when something has suddenly worked well, and when something has completely tanked.

This gives you extreme power to hone that marketing investment and ensure you are putting your money into the channels and strategies that are giving you actual return (and not perceived return).

Want to Know Your Website’s Visitor Numbers?

If you haven’t yet got Google Analytics running on your website (or, worse, don’t even know whether you have it or not!) then now is the time to get it sorted.

Even if you do not plan to use it or look at these numbers until later, you have to set it up now.

The reason being that Google Analytics cannot start tracking any information until after the code has been installed. It cannot look at historical information – so prioritise just getting the code onto your site.

Fortunately, it’s not too difficult to do so – like I said before, there is plenty of help. If you have a web developer, they should know how to do this really easily. If you are on a WordPress site, you can do this easily with a plugin. And most other websites will have some sort of function that makes it as easy as copying and pasting the code from Google Analytics into a box on your website that puts the code onto every page on your website (inside what is known as a <head> tag).

Once you strap on these Google Analytics wings, I hope you can learn to take to the skies above your business, and start seeing where you can target and hone your digital marketing and become a true business leader.

Not convinced Google Analytics is for you?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionThere are a number of tools and strategies that we put forward for business owners to use in their businesses when we are coaching them.

These are specifically chosen for where their business is and what their goals are.

The best way to discover whether Google Analytics or any other tool is what you need right now, is to book a complimentary session with us and let us take a look at what kind of tools could be helping your business see double-digit growth in the next 6 months.

Book a Free Strategic Review


What is the Opposite of Fear?

When I first asked my son this question, he picked “Courage”, “Strength” and “Determination.”

While these are all correct answers, there is something else that I put at the other end of the spectrum from fear.

In this video, I explain how I have now developed my own thought around this and how that has translated to the one powerful practice I have for myself and recommend to our clients to keep a positive state of mind and pursue peak performance.

This is one of those Mindset Principles that are critical to becoming the kind of business owner that can stimulate exceptional growth in your business.

Most people spend an inordinate amount of time fighting or succumbing to the realities of the present. They battle every day against the immeasurable amount of negativity outside and inside themselves. Unfortunately, they often do this without ever directly facing the realities that these fears and negative talk exist.

Whether it’s about being able to deal with pressure, developing ownership of your confidence or understanding the elements of the iceberg that help form your identity, it’s really important to understand that hard work is not enough and you must work on your “being” and not just your “doing”.

Successful people realise that they are ultimately responsible for creating a positive and driven environment for themselves – an environment where they are creating positive energy and affirmations for their own inner self.

The action I’ve explained in this video is something you can do at the end of each day. It doesn’t take more than 30 seconds but makes a huge difference to how you end the day, and how you start the following day.

This is a condensed version of the longer exercise I explain in my book, SPARKS (see below).

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

3 Gratitudes Before Bed

Hi, this is Shweta from London Coaching Group what I want to talk about today is something slightly personal. I want to talk about the question that I ask my 10-year-old every night just before he goes to bed. OK. So we have a ritual between mother and son. So I tuck him in give him a nice kiss on the forehead and then I ask him a question. And the question is.

“What are your three gratitudes for today?”

To which he smiles and he gives me his three gratitudes which are different every day. And then he smiles back and looks at me and says “What are your three gratitudes mum for today?” And I’ll obviously share my three gratitudes with him which I absolutely love doing because it helps me think about the whole day and actually the good things that have happened.

But this time last night actually my son asked me saying, “So mum you’ve been doing this and why do you do this? Like, what’s what’s the reason behind it?” And that made me think because I have to explain it to him in very simple terms as to why I’m doing this every night. And I just want to share this with you. Of course, you know you can and you should be doing this. It’s a very powerful thing with your loved ones with your kids and more importantly with yourself.

The Spectrum of Fear

Now the way I explain this to him and again, to myself because I like to keep things really simple, is that actually, this is a spectrum, a line. OK. And I said let’s divide this line in half. This is one side. This is the other side. This is the midpoint.

And on one side of the spectrum is something called fear. And I I asked my son saying “What is the opposite of fear? To which he said, “Courage.” I said, “Yeah. Courage, strength determination. These are all the right things.” But then actually. As far as I’m concerned and I was sharing my philosophy with him I said the way I see the spectrum is that on the other side is something called faith.

Why Faith is the Opposite of Fear

And why faith because. Fear is when your mind is projecting negative outcomes. You’re thinking of all the things which could go wrong, or can happen. Wherein in faith, your mind is projecting positive outcomes. There is no evidence for both the things. It’s just what you decide to project. Now if this is the midpoint. The choice that one needs to make is on which side of the spectrum. One needs to play the game or live life. And the number one thing that I have found for myself and for much for my clients for them to stay in the top state of mind and to project the positive outcomes because it’s weird. You know it’s wherever your mind is projecting it starts attracting more of that. And therefore one needs to be very conscious of that especially as a person who wants to achieve more as a person who wants to build a growing enterprise and add value out there. You have to be really really careful because what you’re focusing on is what you start getting more of. So the number one thing that I’ve found very useful in terms of being on this side of the spectrum is gratitude. It’s remembering.

Now if this is the midpoint, the choice that one needs to make is on which side of the spectrum does one need to play the game or live life.

And the number one thing that I have found for myself and for much for my clients for them to stay in the top state of mind, and to project the positive outcomes… because it’s weird; you know it’s wherever your mind is projecting it starts attracting more of that and one needs to be very conscious of that especially as a person who wants to achieve more as a person who wants to build a growing enterprise and add value out there. You have to be really really careful because what you’re focusing on is what you start getting more of.

The Number One Thing To Stay on the Faith Side

So the number one thing that I’ve found very useful in terms of being on this side of the spectrum is gratitude. It’s remembering that good things are happening and good things will happen. And consciously going through the good things which have happened to you and your life and it’s a simple question doesn’t take more than 30 seconds but makes a huge difference to how you’re ending the day and how you start your next day.

Finally, when I was explaining this to my son, I said right towards the end, on this side (the fear side) life happens to you. But on this side (the faith side) life happens for you. And he said that’s a change of prepositions.

I said yes. But it’s actually a huge change in belief system. And that’s what makes a difference because it all starts from what you believe in.

Order Your Free Copy of SPARKS

The Mindset exercise I’ve described here is a condensed version of a longer exercise that I explain in the first chapter of my book SPARKS. While the book does delve into other Mindset principles, I also give you further pieces on the 6 areas that I help businesses focus on in order to achieve growth sooner rather than later.

Use the button below to grab your free copy of the book – you only need to pay the shipping / handling costs!


Did You Get My Message In A Bottle?

business-coaching-london-man-island

Do you sometimes feel like you are alone on an island and the only way to communicate is by placing rolled up messages on faded parchment into bottles and throwing them out into the ocean, hoping for a decent response?

When you build your business, it can be really lonely. You have to devote so much of your time, effort and headspace into creating success, that it can sometimes feel like you have forgotten how to interact with other people. Working with team members, communicating with suppliers, talking to customers – these seem to be monumental tasks, but also not the absolutely critical skills to prioritise when you are just trying to keep the right pace in your business.

When you grow to a size where you need to start bringing in the help of team members, it can be frustrating when they are unable to do the work the way you want them to – and it feels easier to just do it yourself. So, to just get on with it – to just keep the business moving – you knuckle down, sweep away the faults of your team environment, and continue on your journey. You haven’t really changed the way you work to adapt to this new business size.

Additionally, at this size, communication with your customers becomes a lot more complicated than when you were just your own little island trying to shout out about your product. Often, you just end up shouting louder to try and be heard by more people, which comes at the expense of the clarity of your message.

While the approach of just working harder at what you’ve always done might keep the business ticking over in the short term, you not only run the risk of burning yourself out, but you may also be missing out on leveraging the power of your team and your market, which holds you back from greater, longer-term, sustainable growth.

If you learn how to build strong and free flowing bridges, you can leverage good communication to ensure your business is a wide-spread and connected archipelago sending out radio signals rather than just your lonely island that’s trying to throw thousands of bottles out into the ocean.

Here are some ideas that have cropped up in recent business coaching sessions that may help you streamline your business’s internal and external communications.

Internal Communication: One Thing You Can Start NOW

A client once said to me: ‘I wish I could grow my business without having to hire anyone’. To them, the idea of finding new employees, providing them with training and managing them as a team sounded exhausting, time-consuming, complicated and entirely unappealing (even with our streamlined 4-hour recruitment process).

Our clients tell us that they hesitate to hire because they do not want to waste time constantly firefighting. They tell us how they wish they could align their team’s focus with their own focus when it comes to business matters – because these are so frequently maligned.

If you have felt the same, know that you are definitely not alone and, fortunately, this usually requires a reasonably easy fix to get a powerful team working well: improve communication.

There is one simple intervention that I think every business owner with a team of more than 2 can do in order to improve internal communication. That is to introduce formal, and well-run periodic team meetings. These should be scheduled, structured and focused meetings that your team know about ahead of time and are prepared for.

This gives them an opportunity to quickly address issues that need to be addressed not only with yourself (so you don’t become a got-a-minute boss) but also with other team members.

Not only that, it also ensures that each week, everyone on your team has some idea of what others on your team are doing – which ensures that everyone has a wider scope for their work and do not get stuck in a demotivating silo-type work environment.

Internal Communication: How to Implement Formal Team Meetings

There are 4 key points to consider when you are arranging your team meetings.

  1. Purpose: Why have you scheduled this meeting? What focus will it take, and what do you want to get out of it? This will help you maximise useful time during the meeting.
  2. Agenda: What do you plan to discuss in the meeting? You might want to tell the team about this ahead of time so that you can get the most out of it and so they can also add items to the agenda if they have things to bring up.
  3. Time: How long is the meeting going to last? Sitting around and having an informal chat is unlikely to help move the business forward. Set a time limit and put a check in place to make sure you stick to it.
  4. Attendees: A huge mistake is including the entire team in every meeting. Think carefully about who is actually needed so you are not wasting the time of employees who could be spending that time on something more useful, maybe. This requires careful consideration because sometimes your team members may not feel like the meeting is relevant, but they will, in fact, benefit from being there. You should make the final decision on this: in the end, it is you and your business that is paying for your employee’s attention and time. Use that resource wisely.

Internal Communication: What Type of Team Meeting Should You Hold?

Not all team meetings are made equal. Different meetings serve different purposes – so think carefully about the format of your meeting and align it with the purpose. The kinds of meetings we suggest to our business coaching clients are:

  1. Daily check-in meetings: These should last between five and ten minutes and should help give managers an overview of immediate actions for the day, and help team members bring up any pressing immediate issues impeding their work.
  2. Weekly meetings: These are tactical meetings that focus on the current operations and allow both team members and managers to highlight priorities, and for you as the leader to ensure that the priorities are still aligned to optimise growth.
  3. Monthly meetings: These should be more strategic than tactical and should focus more on the wider goals and progress metrics. Typically, these meetings will have fewer people and be more targeted to particular teams or departments.
  4. Quarterly meetings: These are most important for taking a giant step outside the business to assess it from afar. These should be in-depth, long meetings where you celebrate wins of the previous quarter, and set the larger, business-wide strategies for the coming quarter. Doing this ensures you align everyone in the business with the longer-term goals so that they remember what their day-to-day operations should be ultimately contributing to.

You must remember that you will be much more able to run a large, powerful business when you have more than just your will-power and expertise alone to pour into it. A good team should mean that you are working with people who are as smart, if not smarter, than you. When you effectively systemise and manage good team meetings, you can leverage that collective intelligence to take your business further than you even imagined it could go.

The frequency and format of your meetings will largely depend on where you are in your business lifecycle and the kind of culture you have fostered. And as you transition from a smaller to a larger business, you will find there is a critical balance to be maintained with regards to how often you should have meetings and how important they are. Where in massive corporations fewer meetings are more productive, in small and medium-sized businesses you may find that more frequent meetings are exactly what your business needs to progress quickly and with precision.

And that’s where having a business coach can be invaluable – I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have helped dramatically improve productivity simply by seeing that the frequency of team meetings wasn’t quite right for where a business was currently at.

External Communication: Your Marketing Message

If you are trying to constantly throw bottles into the ocean hoping that your customers are going to find them, you will struggle to ever achieve the kind of growth that you have the potential to reach.

If you are a bit fuzzy on who you are supposed to be communicating with, or how those people best like to communicate, you are highly likely to send out confused messages to your customers or worse, not reach your customers at all.

Having clarity about who your customers are and what they respond to is the first and most critical step to providing them with relevant and consistent education about how you can help them.

Do you know who your target customer is? Not your target market mind you (target markets don’t work!) – your target customer. Simply saying ‘interior designers in London’ is actually NOT specific enough.

As we regularly tell our clients, marketing is often thought of as 1:many. However, what marketing really is, is 1:1, many times.

Define how you would communicate with one individual customer (your ideal customer) – know that person inside out and know exactly the words you need to say to them – and then replicate this so that you talk to your entire audience in an extremely personal way.

External Communications: Define Your Marketing Avatar

A simple way to determine your target customer is to create a marketing avatar. Our Avatar Creator Toolkit is how we help our clients to do this for themselves (you know your customer best – you are the best one to define the Avatar).

Identifying your marketing avatar is quick and easy, and makes it so much simpler to develop your business’s ongoing communication strategy. It also helps make it clear to your team who your business is selling to and how you are selling to them so everyone is on the same page and is sending out the same message.

As some general rules of thumb, your marketing avatar should:

  1. Like your business.
  2. Be easy to reach out to.
  3. Be receptive to marketing.
  4. Have a relatively short sales cycle.
  5. Buy from you repeatedly.
  6. Be profitable to your business.

Once you have clearly and precisely defined your marketing avatar, you can use this information to write relevant content and decide which communication channels to use.

You should be where your target person is. If they mainly connect with brands on social media, for example, then social media is where your strategies should be focused. If they are the kind who are surprised and delighted by something coming in snail mail, then focus your strategy meetings around how to best leverage a direct mail strategy. If they think a message in a bottle is actually quite exciting, then figure out how to systemise sending out those bottles to them!

By taking this systemised and considered approach, you can stop using a haphazard method of tossing those bottles out and letting the tides hopefully carry your message to them. In doing so, you can drive your business forward more efficiently and effectively.

Business owners who focus on streamlining their internal and external communications are much more likely to find that their team is happy, their growth is consistent, and their customers are satisfied.

You may still wish to retreat to your island from time to time, but as long as you establish a secure network for communication across the other islands – and with the wider world – you can participate in a network of minds, and truly transform your vision of a larger business into your reality.

Need more business communication strategies?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionA large component of business coaching for London businesses has been to help business owners transform their communication with their teams and with their prospects – marketing and team management are always some of the most useful ways we can help business owners.

If you feel like we may be able to help you streamline your team management or your marketing, book a complimentary strategy session with us and let us dive in and see how we can help you grow.

Book a Free Strategic Review


Is Next Week Wasting Your Time?

There’s a small mistake you may be making unknowingly, which could be massively impacting your productivity.

This came up in a recent business coaching session when we were discussing how one of my clients goes about delegating tasks to their team members.

This small shift could be saving you days of work with your team members, and could help you spur on even faster growth in your business.

So the first step you have to remember is to make sure you set some sort of clear communication about the timeline of tasks (remember – manage activities, not people) that your team members are executing.

But secondly, and importantly, you must stop thinking about tasks as being done in this week or that week, and start narrowing them down further into days.

Stop waiting for a week when the task may only take a few days. Then you will gain days of work that can be put towards taking your business to new heights.

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. As you can see I’m about to leave the office, but I had to capture this learning which got featured in one of the coaching sessions with the client. Now the topic really is that when we are delegating tasks to our team members, one thing that I see very commonly is that business owners don’t allocate or assign a specific timeline to a task.

The Question To Ask When Delegating

So it’s like asking a single simple question: By when do you reckon you will complete this work? So that’s one. But what I really want to focus on today is how the timelines get agreed and the very common phrase, a very very common phrase that I hear from my clients, that I hear them saying to their team members and vice versa, is “next week”.

What I mean by that is, yup Shweta we’ll do it by next week. Yup, my team member, can you come back to me by next week? The team members say yeah I’ll come back to you by next week or I’ll finish it by next week. This whole “next week” phenomenon, if you think about it, there are 52 weeks in a full year. By the time you say next week, roughly 2 percent of the time is gone and how many times do you say this in your business?

Let’s sit down next week, let’s do this next week. All this, when it gets accumulated, a lot of time gets spent and wasted and the most important thing is that it generally doesn’t take a one full week to complete the work. It happens in a certain number of hours.

Team Management: Think in Days Not Weeks

So what I’m really trying to explain here is that when you are next time allocating or assigning some task to your team member, try to think in terms of days and not weeks. Try to say OK and give them a choice. Do you reckon you can give it to me tomorrow or day after? And they might say day after – perfect! That’s good. We’ve just saved three to five days for ourselves and for our business.

So again start thinking in terms of days and not weeks when you are delegating tasks to your team members and to yourself.

Ready to start climbing to those new heights?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionI’ve developed a six essential elements that I have found most businesses need to focus on to start growing exponentially.

At the web event, I delve more deeply into one of these six areas and show you the benefits of business coaching through solid, proven strategies that we know have worked for hundreds of businesses.

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