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

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:

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The Dirty Secret of Outsourced Marketing

outsource-or-hire-in-house-marketing-executive

“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.


Is There Conflict in Your Team?

Your team members are arguing with each other? Good!

One of my clients said it best: “Silence is violent disagreement.”

Let me explain what he means:

Ultimately, you want to run a business with an open and comfortable culture which allows for discussion and in which people are engaged.

If you are experiencing silence from your team, then there should be some red flags going up – and it might be time to review how you are conducting your team meetings.

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

Silence is a violent disagreement. This is what Adam shared with many business owners in the room and he himself runs a high growth successful company. What he was talking about was that how it has steam meetings if someone is not saying something keeping quiet then they take it as a violent disagreement that person’s silence. He wants his team members to engage, to debate, to discuss to actually have conflict to fight it out. And for him it’s a healthy sign. It’s a sign of a functional team. And I’m sharing this with you because I wanted to have a check for yourself as to how much of conflict is present in your team meetings.

And it’s really important that you see some conflict because if there’s no conflict then people are sitting silently VIOLENTLY DISAGREEING or actually being disengaged from the whole process. And remember one thing that the conflict is good when the fundamental of that is present which is the trust. And there are ways to build trust and there are many ways to break that trust. And today I just wanted to flag it up for you because we and our clients be very aware of the fact that yes we want to create the ongoing trust in the team members in their businesses and that trust leads to more conflict, healthy conflict which leads to more commitment, more accountability and much better results. Because at the end of the day having a business does not mean that you have to drag and push the team members. It doesn’t mean that you have to do everything on your own.

What it means to actually to have talent on board to actually leverage that collective intelligence that collective efforts, collective engagement for your business. So everyone and that process and being better, doing better, and achieving better.

We have strategies for team engagement

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionOur strategies have literally been personally tried and tested by us on hundreds of businesses – and have helped thousands of businesses worldwide in our wider network.

Sit down for a free session with us and find out whether they could be helping your business. No obligation to continue at all.


Why You Should Be Micromanaging

Let’s take a look at Mr. Nice Manager’s business.

Mr. Nice Manager steps out of his office to where his team is working. The business grew recently – there has been a small surge in clients – so he hired some superstars to join the team.

These are good team members, he had been really careful with his recruitment. He gazes around at the room and notices there is a bustle of activity. Everyone is busy.

He walks around and has some brief chit-chat with his employees.

He asks one of them, “How is work going?”

His team member replies, “I’m really busy, but I think it’s all fine. I’ll just get on with it.”

“Great!” Mr. Nice Manager says, glad to see his team member taking initiative, and continues on his way. He has similar experiences with all his other team members. Everyone is busy with whatever they are doing, but they’re fine.

The next day, Mr. Nice Manager does the same thing. He walks around and asks his team members, “How is work going?”

And they all reply with, “Great. I’m really busy, but I think it’s fine. I’m getting on with it.”

So Mr. Nice Manager is happy, his staff like him, and everyone is working hard.

However, when it comes time to review the business performance at the end of the month, there aren’t any new leads! There are 20 customer complaints still pending. Profit has dropped to dangerously low levels.

“What happened? Who was responsible for this?” Mr. Nice Manager asks. No one is quite sure who was meant to handle the complaints – was that Fred’s job? Or Anne’s? Or David’s? No one knows exactly where the profits got lost, and the marketing team don’t know why their latest email didn’t produce any leads.

So Mr. Nice Manager has to spend the next few days scrambling to track down what went wrong with each complaint, to figure out which marketing channels could get leads quickly, to track down where money is haemorrhaging out of the business, and fix a thousand small problems that he didn’t know had cropped up.

It suddenly feels like he is doing a lot more work than he had ever been doing before when it was just him.

Now let’s go across the street…

This is where Mr. Detailed Delegator runs his business. He isn’t walking around his office today because it’s Wednesday. Although he does ask his marketing executive if the blog post is ready for his review. “It’s in your inbox, as usual,” is the response.

You see, on Monday, Mr. Detailed Delegator has meetings with each of his employees. Each team member comes to the meeting with a simple spreadsheet. This meticulously details the activities they are planning to accomplish each week for the next quarter.

They run through the activities they were meant to do the previous week, assessing if they were done or not and why. He praises them for jobs well done and gives them the room to be accountable for anything outstanding.

They then confirm the goals for the coming week, identifying what is particularly critical. The planner is a living document that updates every week. Activities move around as new priorities crop up and as things don’t go as initially planned. However, together they carefully ensure that the ‘big rocks’ are still getting done and the primary goals of the business are being met.

By Wednesday, everyone is very clear on what they are doing, which jobs they need to prioritise, and what is most important to keep the business ticking. Mr. Detailed Delegator confidently knows what each and every member of staff is doing and why they are doing it.

And he has freed up both time and headspace to work ‘on’ the business (and to go home early to help his daughter prepare for her upcoming exams).

When it comes to the end of the month, a selection of new leads is presented to Mr. Detailed Delegator, each labelled with the stage they are at in the sales pipeline and with notes about whether or not his sales manager thinks they’ll convert.

There were 3 customer complaints, and each has been explained and handled with the kind of precision and care that Mr. Detailed Delegator is satisfied with.

Profits are stable, and it is clear exactly which channels have driven profit up that month and where money is being drained, so that they can work towards an even better profit margin in the following month.

And Mr. Detailed Delegator has noticed that one of his employees didn’t miss out a single task this month so was easily able to give him a small reward for this.

Mr. Detailed Delegator is happy, has enough time to spend with his family, his staff like him, and no one feels overworked.

A lot of people would say that Mr. Detailed Delegator is a ‘micromanager’. But the truth is, one of the primary reasons businesses fail when attempting to expand is due to poor leadership, or more, lack of delegation. And delegation has to come with micromanagement.

If you, the business owner, delegate work without being specific about the reason for that work being done, the specific activities that are needed to reach the end desired results, and how you are going to measure the progress and results – then you are not delegating, you’re abdicating.

When your business is growing and you are not able to delegate effectively, you’re hiring people and you’re getting busy and bogged down in the minutia of attempting to manage this now highly complex business. There’s more stress, less profit, and it feels like things would just run smoother if you did everything yourself.

What you need to do is be a little more of a micromanager: monitor the activities of your team carefully and make sure they are staying on course. You (together with them) lay down the train tracks and they charge the trains down that path.

You should not need to hover over your team, or be constantly breathing down their neck. But you do need to be aware at all times of what your team is working on, and they need to be aware at all times about why they are doing it.

That way your team is motivated, you’re in control, and your business can only soar.

Want to become a Detailed Delegator?

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionAt our complimentary strategy sessions, we will give you actionable strategies – such as implementing planners for your team – that you can do right now.

If you don’t think coaching is going to help, you can take those strategies and do them yourself, no questions asked.


The Measure of a Leader

As the leader in your business, you have probably spent some time defining your team’s key performance indicators. Have you ever considered what your own KPIs should be?

I believe that there are 3 key KPIs that every business leader needs to measure for themselves – and these are very different from a manager’s KPIs.

Leadership is about aligning people to the big picture. Management is about the details of the mechanics and efficiency in the business.

It is only by measuring and tracking your own KPIs for each of these roles that you can truly take your business to the next level.

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, where I want to talk about today is the difference between leadership and management. We’ve seen, very often, leadership and management, they are used very closely and in a very intertwined way. But they have some very distinct features.

Now before we talk about that, a very simple question which I asked my clients, saying that if you are the head of the company, what are your key performance indicators? How would you know that you’re doing a good job as the head of the company, as the business owner? And at this point I really want you to pay attention to three simple key performance indicators that you have as the head of the business and in fact jot them down.

  • The first one is setting the direction of the company. Right, being very clear as to where this company is heading to.
  • The second is actually ensuring that there is network of people. Who are there to deliver on the tasks and products and services?
  • The third one is actually ensuring that people are doing what they have to do.

Let’s recap, the first is setting the direction. The second is ensuring that there is network of people, including your hired people plus the outsourced people, plus the suppliers, the whole network which is required. The third is ensuring people are doing what they have to do now across these three key points, which are the key performance indicators for the head of the business. There are distinctions as far as the leaders concerned and the managers concerned.

Now it’s possible that you’re lucky and you have a co-partner or a co-director who’s actually the complement to your style of working in the business. Or, it’s possible that it’s you who has to wear the hat of both the leader and the manager in the business. Now let’s try to understand as far as setting the direction for the business is concerned.

The leader sets the goal right? Sets the bigger picture, the vision that this is where we are heading to. Where the manager, you as a manager, you’re supposed to be planning and budgeting, you know the small steps. How are we going to go to that end goal?

As far as the creation of the networks of people is concerned, the role of you as a leader is to keep aligning the people to that direction. Wherein, you as a manager you’re supposed to be organizing the talent hiring the talent and managing the performance of that talent which requires a lot of detailing.

Lot of day to day management of the activities of people, and then again ensuring that people are doing what they have to do. The leader is the one. And you as the leader are supposed to be motivating people whether it’s on a monthly basis, quarterly basis, fortnightly, or weekly basis. Wherein you as a manager on a day to day basis, your role is to actually make sure that you’re controlling the problems, you’re preempting the problems, and you are systematizing the solution.

Now if you have been listening to me you will realize that leadership is more about the motivation. It’s about the big picture. It’s about aligning people to that big picture. Wherein the management is more granular, it’s more detailedIt’s controlling the problem, systemizing the solutions. It’s about hiring people and making sure that they are actually getting inducted properly.

About planning, budgeting the details, the orientation of a leader. When you are a leader your orientation should be. Why and what and when you are in your managerial role at that time, your orientation is how you know the details of how we’re going to do that and what I have seen working with different businesses across different sectors.

Generally speaking, business owners are clear as to what they want to achieve. Mostly, yeah, most of the times. But in terms of how to go about achieving that, what is the most efficient manner? I see that you know a lot of mistakes happen and I’m fine with mistakes, but the things which can be avoided should be avoided because at the end of the day if there is a critical success spot, as in the shortest and the most sustainable path from point A to Point B from where you are to where you can be, then I would highly recommend that please get in touch with us so we can sit down and we can identify that what is the best part from where you are to where you can be. Which can help you save time, which can help you save money and, most importantly, which can help you become the best that you can be. Achieved the best that you totally deserve and desire.

Be the best manager and leader you can be.

London Business Coaching Strategy SessionIf your business is ready to ascend to that next level of growth, then you may find that the growth begins with you.

Find out if our strategies could be helping you get more efficiently from where you are now to the place you want to be.

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