Posts

Hidden Costs Of Poor Business Management

As they say, if a business is not growing it is dying. Business growth is always the aim for the entrepreneur but often you can find yourself in a plateau that is difficult to pull yourself out of. As you go about the day to day of management of your business, you will see the things that you’re spending money on, the performance of your staff, customer responses, and engagement to advertising.

Often we measure what IS happening in our business but we overlook what IS not happening. If you don’t manage your human operations well, you may find yourself off the beaten track of business growth. There will be five key things that you won’t be seeing in your business:

business process mapping melbourne

CUSTOMERS

The first thing you won’t be seeing is returning customers, which is a devastating hidden cost for the business owner seeking growth. If you don’t have systems in place to guarantee that your customers will experience an overwhelmingly positive experience every single time, you may well find that many simply won’t come back. You will miss out on their business, their referrals, their testimonials and their rave reviews. If you are trading online you will also pay the price with Google when you lose their visits to your website.

CASHFLOW

A decline in customers will of course lead declining revenue, and if you mix this challenge with poorly managed expenses you could land yourself in hot water with your cashflow. Poor management is expensive. If you’re running too much stock, too many staff, exorbitantly expensive advertising or training, or if you or your team are doing poorly with controlling regular the costs overheads, you’ll find cash flow will take a nosedive, and you will miss out on the profitable cash flow you need to grow your business.

REPUTATION

Your reputation is everything in business. So a decline in customers won’t only mean declining revenue and referrals, it will also open up the risk of them creating quite a nasty reputation for you in negative reviews and feedback online. Good news spreads fast, but bad news spreads like wildfire. You need to ensure you get the referrals and the testimonials you need to thrive, which will always come down to how you train your staff, how you delivering your products and services, and how you follow up to nurture your precious customers.

STAFF

You’ll find the next hidden cost of poor business management in your staffing. The investment most business owners make into their staff recruitment, onboarding, and management is often one of the biggest costs on the balance sheet. You need systems to facilitate a positive experience for them professionally, socially and emotionally, or you may find yourself spending too much money on training, wages or ongoing maintenance. If your staff are not productive and efficient, they will cost you too much in time and money.

TIME

The last hidden cost of poor business management is found in your time, and the time of the people in your team. Inefficiencies are expensive because all those tiny little micro-moments lost in poor management add up. You might explore how much time is lost in your business because people don’t know what to do, they can’t find what they need, or they stall over a cuppa or conversation because they’re not really motivated. That cost of time takes its toll, and it’s certainly a cost of poor management that most people simply don’t count.

Every business owner wants to deliver a really happy, wonderful, reliable experience for their staff and customers alike, where you’re solving problems and exceeding expectations You want to earn great word of mouth feedback to go out into the community for referrals and testimonials and it takes great systems to achieve that. When systems are bedded down and clear for everyone, you will be able to nail those goals every single time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

If this article has struck a chord with you, please go right ahead and message me. I would love to hear more about what you do, and how I might be able to help you transform your business into the Freedom Machine you have wanted all along. Let’s establish a proven system in your business to create team certainty and sustainable expansion which open pathways to the lifestyle choices you’ve worked so hard for. No matter where you are, I am only a message away.

Not Everything We Touch Turns To Gold

Everything He Touched Turned To Gold

The only way Output Goals can be achieved is by setting and fulfilling Input Goals first. I keep learning that it’s true, but one of my earliest experiences with this lesson makes me smile every time I remember it.

Stepping Out Into The Wide Blue Yonder

Alec and I started out in business together as vacuum cleaner sales people. We then turned our work into a Godfrey’s franchise, which we changed again a few years later to open an appliance repair center. Soon after that, we took our work online, first selling vacuum spares on eBay, then opening our own website in 2004. We proudly called our online business ‘Nelson Vacuums’. This was a massive step into the unknown for us. We made it a little more manageable by buying a standardised “off the shelf” e-commerce store rather than building a website from scratch. It worked through a subscription which gave us empty website templates to populate with our logo, business blurb, images and product descriptions, and account details for payment. It was a fun toy that Alec loved playing with.

The Midas Touch

Alec always described himself as being like Uncle Scrooge. You know the Donald Duck character who used to love rolling around in monstrous stacks of gold coins? Alec had a Midas touch when it came to sales, and he loved the idea of rolling around in piles of money. He was the master of positivity and optimism, and honestly expected that everything he touched would turn to gold.

On the day he listed our first product on our brand new Nelson Vacuums website, he was like a kid in a candy store. Pure glee poured out of him. We’d not sold anything yet, but the POTENTIAL was there. That was all he needed to expect those golden outcomes he was so used to.

Waiting Game

When the listing was up, he waited in excited anticipation for our first sale. He got up, made a cuppa and came back to refresh the screen. Then he checked his emails for the notification that he was sure would come through any minute now. Then he refreshed again … and he waited some more. Then he did a test transaction to make sure it was all working properly, then he refreshed to check again. He switched back to his emails to check there again too … nothing yet, but there would be soon, without doubt!

This routine went on in 5 minute intervals for a couple of hours. Literally! Alec was absolutely convinced that with the website up and that one single product available for purchase, he would see our first sale come through fast. Super quick. Really, he expected that it would happen instantaneously. With every passing minute it became clear that this was not going to happen.

And The Heavens Opened

Well … this story ends that after that first little window, Alec got busy listing more products, and amazingly he did see our first sale come through by the end of the day. It was miraculous in so many ways. I think it shows just how young online retail was back then, and how little competition we had in our niche. The sales trickled in over the next few days, one at a time. Over the following weeks and months we continued to populate the website with more product listings which kept sales ticking along. More importantly we learned about how to succeed in online retail, and the more we learned the more we realised how naive we were in those early days.

The Penny Drops

The more we learned the more we realised that Alec’s early expectations had been absurd. We worked hard to optimise our website, create back links with blogs, guest posts, and you tube videos, and we embarked on our first ever Google Adwords campaign. We were dedicated to the mission of making this website successful, and we had set a goal that it would generate a small income by the year’s end.

Goal setting has to be about what we put in, before we measure what we take out. Alec’s outlook at the start was comparable to the person who weighs themselves, then runs around the block, then wonders why the scales haven’t changed on their return. Goal setting doesn’t work like this. You know it, and I know it, and yet still we continue to pursue aims that focus on output rather than input.

This is important in all areas of our lives, but understanding how this works in our business can make the defining difference to our progress. When we are setting any of our goals for growth we must do this in such a way that prioritises the actions we need to perform to achieve the goal, rather than simply ‘putting it out there’ and hoping that we make it somehow. Our driving goals must be for consistent daily action.

Output goals for increased revenue need input goals for more sales or a sustainable price rise. Output goals for more profits need input goals for better supplier deals, lower overheads, or greater sales. Output goals for more sales need input goals for more sales calls, better staff training, and possibly better products or services. The same approach goes for the productivity of our staff, expansion into new offerings, promoting events and special offers, and reducing our expenditure. All of our business goals must be anchored into what must be done to achieve them.

IN SHORT:

  1. Simply “putting your goals out there” is an ineffective success strategy
  2. Goals which measure output cannot drive progress as much as goals which measure input.
  3. Goals must be clearly defined and pursued with a specific daily action plan.

 

 

Cancelled

With half an hour to go before the scheduled Facebook live broadcast, I message my guest to say good morning and confirm that we are good to go at 8AM.

“I’m ready for you at 10,” he says.

I message back, my heart beating just a little bit faster, “um … no … you mean 8 right?”

“No,” he sends his reply message straight back. “I have 10 in my phone.”

Then he calls, and with 30 minutes until the broadcast he explains his father has fallen drastically ill and he had the wrong time scheduled.

Right now, he cannot make our 8 o’clock interview. He had to go to the hospital.

LIFE HAPPENS! WHAT CAN I SAY?

I’m sure I’m not the first mouse or man (or woman) whose best laid plans have gone awry. I had a plan, it was confirmed, and then it changed. It was completely understandable. A mistake mixed with a family crisis. But I was left with no-one to interview and a group that was waiting.

This interview program was only a few weeks old. I had started it simply to add value to the Facebook group I created earlier this year. The program was called #tuesdaytactics to go with Tuesday’s hashtag theme in our Facebook Group, Personal Development in Business. My intention with these sessions was to promote key members of my group through the weekly Live Interviews in Facebook, and showcase their professional knowledge and expertise for the rest of our members. Through this I had hoped to increase engagement in the group which would hopefully create greater member connection, and growth.

I always see a bigger picture…

In the grand scheme of things, the plan was to continue to invest into the growth of a strong healthy group. I wanted to give my community genuine reasons to participate, with offerings that allow them to enjoy huge value every time they check in with us. People who belong to a group like this are much more likely to come along to our monthly events, and they might even connect with me further when they are ready to develop new systems for their own business growth.

I am convinced you can give your way to business growth.

The success of any business activity is built on consistency. None of these outcomes could occur if I didn’t get an interview up today. Not only is it embarrassing to fail publicly, but worse … it reflects instability, uncertainty, and a lack of reliability. These are not the attributes of a successful business leader. For all of us, success relies on us being consistent and dependable for the people we serve. Like I always said to my children growing up:

NO, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT, BUT IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY

I am the Queen of the back against the wall moment. That rising surge of tenacity which never says die is a familiar friend of mine. When adverse changes happen, something raw (and almost primal) takes over. I refuse to accept that this undesirable outcome will be the end of the story. In business and in life

When changes happen, we must happen right back.

It would have been easy for me to pat myself on the back and tell myself I’d tried. I might have even thought I was a good person because I felt sorry for my guest whose dad was unwell. It’s amazing, the sorts of excuses we can hang our hat on. Yes, it was sad that he was sick, but that has nothing to do with the commitment I’d made. The best outcome could only occur if I saw it through. In one lightening fast moment I had gone from having a solid business building plan to facing failure, and I said NO!

I scrolled (like the Dead Sea but faster) through my Facebook friends list,   to find a new #tuesdaytactics Live Interview guest. My fingers were a blur across the keyboard as I typed fast. Copy message … Check the name is right. Read it back to make sure it suits the person. … and Send! Paste to a new friend. Paste again. Surely there would be someone online right now who would be up for a spontaneous promo interview?

Kerry Anne Nelson Melbourne based Speaker, Author, Business Process Genius

Business leaders you can depend on invest into business growth with a defining commitment to generously add value

TURN HALF AN HOUR OF HUSTLE INTO A WHIRLWIND OF SUCCESS

Not only did I find my dear, dear friend Andrea Dix to share her inspiring message from her new book Permission To Shine, but I also managed to book up five more Interviews that would see me through into next month. Andrea and I had a wonderful talk that morning and continued to chat for a while after the #tuesdaytactics Live Interview was done.

I could have seen this moment in many ways. It could have been the moment I took to console my friend whose dad was sick, and in that moment I would have felt lovely about myself and written his sadness into my own identity story. It could have been the moment I let slide because it was too late to do anything now and I could just pick it up next week. It could have been the moment that I walked away from the plan altogether. It had only been running for a few weeks, so there really wasn’t much to lose.

But I saw this moment as a defining one

I am the captain of my ship and the maker of my opportunities. In that moment, I rallied my resources of time, social connections and technology to create a new outcome from the one that my circumstance proposed.

HOW DO YOU USE WHAT YOU’VE GOT?

Tips for the Day:
  1. Build a strong community of support by always giving more than you get. You never know when you will need to cash in those credits.
  2. Stand strong and firm in leadership, in business, in relationship, in yourself
  3. Never give up. Never, never, never give up (Churchill was really onto something).
When Life Gives You Lemons

Why Do Unnecessary Obstacles Block My Business?

Growing a business is not a task for the faint hearted. Every day you face the problems of not having enough time, money, support, clients, sales, opportunity. There is too many appointments, bills, needy people, frustrating customers, unmoving constraints. As start ups we were filled with optimism, but this real life business caper is not what we signed up for. With a few business years under our belts we can get to feeling like change is never going to happen and growth is impossible. We start feeling the desperation of despair and hopelessness. But I have news for you about those obstacles you face …

"Why Do Unnecessary Obstacles Block My Business?" by Kerry Anne Nelson, The Happy Widow, Melbourne based professional speaker - kerry@kerryannenelson.com - 0412 898 363

When life gives you lemons, set up a global lemonade franchise. The more lemons the better.

There are no unnecessary obstacles. every roadblock you face is exactly what you require to grow. You need them all.

Personal Roadblocks in Business

You need the ones you have made yourself because you have old mindsets that must be broken through into transformation. Start setting and stretching personal limitations with identity.

Social Roadblocks in Business

You need the ones put there by other people because they give you the chance to learn how to build a business in a world that is inherently social. Start setting and stretching personal boundaries with people.

Financial Roadblocks in Business

You need financial obstacles to make you see what I learned from Zig Ziglar: The solution to financial problems is never more money. Start setting and stretching personal strategies with resources.

Structural Roadblocks in Business

You need challenges with your structures and admin because you need to realise that without efficient, well considered systems you do not have a business that can grow … and when it’s not growing it’s dying. Start setting and stretching personal routines with time.

I have grown through seasons of hardship, challenge and trial. I have conquered through every one because I chose to see all of it as an opportunity for growth. It’s a lemons to lemonade mindset that will stop you finding reasons to stop and start you seeing opportunities to go. This blog “How You See Changes What You See” highlights my attitude best, so take a read.

There is so much you CAN do. Those challenges you call road blocks have actually built you the stage for you to grace the world with your most spectacular performance. There are no unnecessary obstacles. If you need help making a plan, this is what I do best. Contact me today to get started.

Why We Must Slow Down To Accelerate

Our western culture is too fast. We are too rash, too reactionary, too impatient, and too impulsive. We need everything yesterday. We demand everything now, and we want everything instantaneously. For a culture that is stricken by crisis across all areas of our mental health, physical wellness and personal relationships, our “rushing blur” lifestyle is a recipe for disaster. This is bad for everyone, but for small business owners, this microwave lifestyle creates three nasty problems:

Sales versus Cashflow

Trying to build a business on the strength of individual transactions looks very different to establishing healthy, sustainable cashflow operation. When our business works by chasing after the next big deal, we exchange the refreshing certainty of a surging income stream for the dangers of hot water. One day, that essential sale will not come, and that day will be followed by another, and then another. That quiet spell will hit us like a ten year drought. We’ll find ourselves gasping for relief from unpaid supplier invoices and bills that we simply can’t afford. It will sap the life right out of us.

Chasing sales is a mugs game. I’ve had the stressful phone calls from debtors which leave you choking on payment plans that you’re not sure you can keep, as you splutter through yet another embarrassing apology. I know firsthand the anxiety of being desperate for the cash, when each sale that comes in is a very welcome sweetener to a very bitter situation. It’s very easy to become hooked on the pursuit of the sale and addicted to the thrill of the transaction.

Every business needs money coming through the till in one way or another, but when our entire operation hangs on the balance of each new deal, we are in trouble. Just because the bubble hasn’t burst yet, doesn’t mean it won’t. It’s only a matter of time.

Slow Down To Accelerate business Growth Kerry Anne Nelson

We need systems to turn our plans into cashflow

Ideas versus Plans

When our business is in the grips of our microwave mindset we jump at our first thought and try to sell it to someone instead of nurturing that seed of an idea through until it grows into a strong, sustainable plan. We humans have at least 70, 000 thoughts every single day, but 95% of these thoughts are ones we have had before. We can’t possibly expect to build a strong, robust business that grows from strength to strength if we don’t give time to developing fresh, thoughtful, well considered plans for survival and then growth.

I’m a Doer. I’m naturally a go-getter and an action-taker and I have a million creative ideas that all feel like a stroke of genius the moment they hit my neurological synapse! When I talk, I talk fast and when I work, I am a blur. My fingers move across my keyboard with the speed of a thousand gazelles 😉

But in business, this tendency towards fast action is not an asset. Indeed, experience has taught me that it can be my most costly liability. Spend hours, days, weeks, months and even years pouring yourself not into building growth, but into building systems for growth. The best investment we can make into our business is well-structured time to imagine, explore, research, document, structure and plan.

Jobs versus Systems

When jobs are done on impulse rather than being slotted into a workflow routine, we exchange the control of our business for a wild animal that ends up controlling us. Studies show that only 2% of us are good at multi tasking (Konnikova, 2014) , which explains why 40% of workplace productivity is lost to transitions. Random jobs do not a productive workplace make. We need tight systems to drive our business to its fullest potential.

Losing my husband was one of the most devastating events of my life. Aside from the personal loss though, was the business crisis I faced. My retail website was in debt, with no systems for stock control, order fulfilment, or workflow management. Despite turning over a million dollars annually with hundreds of weekly orders being processed through our warehouse, we’d been a small business with largely manual processes for our core operations. My survival after my husband died depended on implementing systems to make the most of the resources I did have. Within five weeks I had conducted a stocktake, installed inventory management software, and commenced the mammoth task of organising warehouse locations for every single line we carried. We streamlined our pick-pack process and used sales data to inform the stock we carried. Yes, this took work, but I knew that this short term investment would result in long term gain. I worked 16 hour days for six months straight, but by the end of 2014 had systemised every single job so that I could hand all of our warehouse operations over to a third party order fulfilment company. I sent my two new team members to work from home with voip phones, skype and Google drive. I sold the business 12 months after that. I was free!

From the moment we rise until the moment we retire, the jobs are there. Calling, hounding, screaming, rushing relentlessly. Like a woman’s work, the jobs in business are never done, and if we are not careful they will get the better of us. This might sound like where you are right now. Do not despair! You can clear the bottle neck of your business by exchanging sales for growing cashflow, by turning ideas into plans, and by creating systems for all of the jobs to work together like a well oiled productivity machine.

I Can Help

If you have been working hard to accelerate and now you see that you need to slow down and systemise, I would love to help. If you would like support with taking the first steps please Contact Me Here to learn more about what you can do to reclaim your time and reignite the passion you have for your business.